Craig Goldstein is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus and co-host of the Five and Dive podcast.
Craig Goldstein: Welcome to the Game 5 of chats. It's all on the line.
The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): Who would you rather have, the fairly-solid certainty of mid-rotation Zac Gallen or Brendan McKay?
Craig Goldstein: I've always been a bit low on McKay, and I'll continue that trend here. Gallen for me. I think he's a stud.
Yuri (Israel): I'd much rather get the opinion of any other BP writer on this, but you're on the schedule, so I guess you'll have to do. Ugh. Anyway, the Rays used an opener facing elimination. Who's knocking that strategy now?
Craig Goldstein: I think there's something to quibble with in regards to saying they used an Opener. They had a bullpen game. There was no bulk pitcher. Yarbrough can be used like that (and often was) but he went two innings basically. I also think this was less "strategy" than "necessity." They weren't going to push Glasnow given his health issues and they don't really have a fourth starter. That's not to knock it, either. I think Cash managed the situation beautifully, but this felt like a must more than it was an intentional choice.
Frustrated Twins Fan (The Dumps): Can you give me something positive about the Twins' awful playoff legacy over the past 15 years? Fifteen plus straight postseason losses is incredibly improbable, right? Especially in baseball, where good teams beat better teams all the time? Is their record against NY still just small sample size? If they played a full season against each other, it's not like the Yankees would win 150 games, right? Is it their advance scouting? Mental toughness? I'm seriously entertaining conspiracy theories ranging from MLB "suggesting" the umps call close pitches for the Yanks, to elaborate sign-stealing schemes, to even more nefarious methods (should the Twins be testing the water in the vistors' clubhouse?). The Yankees aren't THAT much better, right?
(Also, I'm writing this on Monday morning, so if they Twins have won games 3 and 4, please disregard.)
Craig Goldstein: Can I make fifteen straight post season losses a positive? I cannot. It is incredibly improbable, of course, and no the Yankees wouldn't win out. The Twins beat the Yankees twice this year! It's also very different iterations of these teams facing each other over time so I don't think there's a consistent sample to draw from even if the overall sample grows. It's mostly two things, in my opinion: 1) The Yankees have had the better team overall in most/all the matchups and, 2) Variance. Things are weird sometimes. I wouldn't put too much stock in it even if it is incredibly crappy emotionally.
Vic (Baltimore): Would you Gerrit Cole should be the 1st SP off the board in a 15 team 5 x 5? (assuming he winds up in a good situation)
Also, do you prefer Cole at #7 overall or a Top 5 SP at #22?
Craig Goldstein: Yes, Cole would be the top pitcher. I wouldn't take him at 7 and might not take a pitcher at 22, either. If you're making me choose between Cole at 7 and a top-5 arm at 22, I'll do the latter.
RotoLando (Cloud City): Settle this debate: robot arms or robot legs?
Craig Goldstein: Legs no question
RotoLando (Cloud City): Craig, are you someone who brings your lunch to work most days? How do you resist eating everything in your bag by 10:30? I'm not even heating things up. I just ate a cold chicken sausage using the plastic bag as a holder.
Craig Goldstein: Well I work from home so no I do not bring my lunch. When I did go to an office I would usually buy food out as a way to get away from my desk. I also usually don't eat until lunch and tried to have lunch on the later side (1 pm) so that my afternoon was shorter and I felt like I was closer to leaving work upon being done with lunch.
Raymond (Washington DC): I'm a lifelong Pirates fan. And I'm wondering if any other fan base will experience something as painful as what will occur this evening: the Glasnow v. Cole matchup. In a Good World, they would be in our rotation together leading us to glory ... Instead this as we lost 93 games
Craig Goldstein: Well you could always be a Twins fan when they face the Yankees in the playoffs.
Richard (Phoenix, AZ): Recently I read a interview of a power hitter. He was asked why he always hit in ball in air. He answered; BECAUSE 99% OF BALLS HIT ON GROUND were outs.
Is there a stat that measures NUMBER OF OUTS: GROUND BALLS V BALLS HIT IN THE AIR?
Craig Goldstein: yeah you can look up batting average on balls in play for ground balls vs. flyballs. Groundballs have a higher batting average in play (but aren't as productive because they're usually singles). Flyballs tend to be a lower batting average, but it's worth noting that this excludes home runs because they're not "in play." The TL;DR of looking all this up is that the power hitter was wrong.
mlbrandomfandom (Oxford, OH): Craig, another crucial mascot question for you:
If BP had a mascot, who or what would it be?
Craig Goldstein: A wallet full of coins inside a hot dog bun wearing a sash that says "sandwich"
The Fonz (Milwaukee): Zack Wheeler feels like a future Cub to me. Your thoughts? Ayyyyyyyy!
Craig Goldstein: This implies they'd be willing to spend money on the roster. Ayyyyyyyy!
But seriously, they're dropping ~$32 million between Hamels and Zobrist. That gives them some flexibility but they need to address the lineup spot that Castellanos filled and Kris Bryant is going to get a bump from his Arb 2 salary of $12.9 million. Probably a substantial one. Wheeler might fit the tier of guy they want, but I'm guessing they're going to have around $25 million to spend on that rotation spot, the outfield spot, and some bullpen pieces combined. Might be a tight fit.
RotoLando (Cloud City): Who is your favorite post-season personality, so far?
Craig Goldstein: Probably Girardi? It was harder to get from the MLB-N broadcast but I think he's worked really well on FS1. Assuming to mean off-the-field guys. On the field it's hard for me to pick anyone but Acuna.
fake name (fake location): in your opinion what would be the absolute funniest alignment of current managerial candidates and current managerial openings
Craig Goldstein: METS: Beltran
PADRES: The embodiment of a rule that AJ Preller can't follow
GIANTS: Someone with a larger noggin than Bruce Bochy
PHILLIES: Brad Ausmus
Spotted cow (Rockford ): If atl's SPs keep them from a deep playoff run do you think they could be in the cole or stras bidding contest or that it'd be better for them to shore up bullpen. My thoughts, not that they matter, is that all the highly thought of youth pitchers they posses the pen could be figured out utilizing them and if need be trade in season for a true closer, so I'd try to sign cole
Craig Goldstein: I think it's a good idea for basically anyone to sign Cole. I don't think they will. That hasn't been Anthopolous' track record, which has largely been to say "we can shop in every aisle" as he's walking into the dollar store.
Okay, that's kind of unfair since he shelled out for Donaldson (good idea, it worked!). He'll need to address multiple rotation spots and third base or the outfield assuming Donaldson moves on and they want to slot Riley at third. I'd opt for a premium starter and potentially shifting their talented arms to the pen (it's looking good for Fried in the playoffs, for example), but the reality is they need to look at all of those options at once because everything is about depth now.
Johnny (WC): Who are the role 8's in MLB right now?
Craig Goldstein: fun one: Trout, Betts, Yelich is the inner circle answer. Can expand potentially to Bregman, Lindor, Scherzer, Verlander, deGrom, Arenado. I think after that you get even more questionable.
bob m (philly): Do you see either Naylor or K.Cron (or both) carving out roles next year (at least platoon AB's)? Can they be impact bats going forward or are you less than excited about them?
Also, what are your thoughts on G. Marquez for next year------Love his K ability/potential but a tired arm this year ended his season, however I still love his arm/stuff if healthy-----so would he be a Top 25 NL starter in your mind if healthy? Thx
Craig Goldstein: I think they could potentially get platoon at-bats. I think if Cron gets regular ABs something went wrong for AZ, which isn't meant as a shot at him but I do think they need a big bat and if he's getting a lot of PT they probably lost some guys to injury. Naylor seems more reasonable to me but I am less than excited about them as fantasy plays, yeah.
Regarding Marquez, J.P. Breen wrote a good piece on him (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/article/53751/fantasy-freestyle-the-german-marquez-riddle/). I am worried about the slider and his location. I love the raw talent but if we're already limiting him to non-Coors starts, the valuation gets pretty tough. That said, is the upside there when healthy to be top 25 in the NL? Absolutely.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Just to add to the Cub contract discussion, they also have about $28 million coming off the books between Morrow, Strop, Cishek, and Kintzler.
Craig Goldstein: Good point. I didn't realize they allocated that much to Cishek, but I think this still holds true for my answer. You have to replace a majority of your bullpen. It's true that Morrow wasn't there and most of these guys weren't good, but you still have to replace them with people who are going to cost money.
BD (DC): What are the chances we get an inning out of Max tonight?
Craig Goldstein: I think they're pretty high if the Nats are ahead. He's a maniac and their other options are dicey. I don't think he's the first option (Corbin) but if they need Hudson earlier than the 9th you could see the inverse of when Kershaw trotted out to the bullpen in DC in the prior LAD/WAS Game 5.
cowhitchurch (Austin): Did you intentionally leave Bellinger out of your role 8's answer because you're doing everything in your power to not jinx tonight's game?
Craig Goldstein: Ha, no! I thought about him, but I don't think the track record is there at this level of production. Even his second half production at the plate was more Role 7 to me than Role 8, though if you want to add bonus points for the variety of defensive positions all of which he plays well, I'd acknowledge that that's reasonable.
sportsguy21792 (madison): Milwaukee has to resign Grandal, right? Even at 3/$60 he is an expense they just have to agree to take on. He rarely took a day off and was beaten like a rented mule. Braun will eventually come off the books and 3m fans come through the gates every year. Being a small market team just gets old assuming they cannot afford both Grandal and Mous as free agents.
Craig Goldstein: I think he's well worth that price point you set out and there are basically no catchers available that offer what he can at the plate and behind it. If Milwaukee wants to continue to challenge for the top of the division, I think he's the guy they can most ill-afford to lose this offseason. Moustakas was obviously great for them but probably easier to replace if they want to go a different route, especially with a full season of Hiura (who needs to cut down on the strikeouts, tbf)
Paul (NJ): How would a reliever need to be used/how good would they need to be in order to be considered for a role 8?
Craig Goldstein: Mike Marshall 1974, for more than a season? Like, regarding Bellinger, he is obviously having a top tier season. No one would argue that. As to whether that can become the _expected_ output? Well, that's a little different. In that regard, given the relief variance and the toll the type of usage it would require would take, I'm not sure you'd be able to find a Role 8 relief guy.
Lt. Commander Data (Space): Is Schowalter to the Padres a real possibility, or just talk?
Craig Goldstein: I don't have any inside info here. It sounds like Machado asked for him to be considered a possibility. He wouldn't be a bad fit for them, in my opinion.
Pinnacle Racing (Miami): What non playoff team do you see making the biggest turnaround in 2020
Craig Goldstein: Assuming you mean like, wins gained relative to the year prior there are three that stand out to me as possibilities. San Diego (we were a year early on the hype, additional experience/graduations of rookies, maybe a better manager, full season of Paddack/Lamet), Cincinnati (tougher one bc of division but the run differential says they were better than this, I like what DJ has done with the pitching, maybe a fuller year of Senzel), Los Angeles Angels (Jo Adell)
Paul (NJ): Do you envision Andujar and Frazier both remaining in NY next season or do you see one or both being sent elsewhere for another starter perhaps?
Craig Goldstein: I struggle to believe they're both there. The only thing holding me back from guaranteeing it is that the depth is the name of the game and the season the Yankees just went through only proves it even more. You can't have too much and if that isn't the most optimal use of the talent you have...well, that's okay because they have a good chance of winning that division anyway.
Rickey H. (Las Vegas): Do you think most baseball fans are okay with the balls/strikes called in the game 4 in St. Louis? Do you think MLB should be okay with it? That game pushed me into the automated strike zone can't get here soon enough camp.
Craig Goldstein: I'll be honest that I'm not recalling anything specific regarding balls/strikes in that game but I also care a lot less about it than most seem to. I think we've explained a lot of potential issues with the automatic strike zone before and that it isn't the cure-all that many believe it to be. That said, I can understand preferring it to human error. I just don't mind differences in strike zones if they're called consistently.
capesq (Detroit, MI): In hindsight, the Twins' record this year was an inflated mirage due to the other teams in the AL Central, correct? Talent-wise, there can be no argument that they were on the same level as the 100+ win teams.
Craig Goldstein: Yeah, sure. We touched on this in one of the game recaps but they were below .500 when facing teams above .500 and also below .500 when facing other playoff teams throughout the season. They absolutely beat up on CHW/KC/DET. That said, the Yankees got to play Baltimore and Toronto a lot too. Houston got to face Seattle and LAA. It's not that these all cancel out, but selectively deploying those arguments can be misleading, too. 100-win teams always fill up on bad competition. That's how they get to 100-plus wins.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Surprised the Cubs are even bothering with a Girardi interview. There's no way he's going to manage the way they want, and he's going to cost much more than they're willing to pay.
Craig Goldstein: Eh, they might pay him since it has nothing to do with the CBT. I'm not close enough to know how they'd want him to manage, exactly, but it's worth noting he was really good with bullpens while in New York. Whether that was him or the FO or both, it's something to consider for a team whose weakest spot is the 'pen.
Babyfarts (PGH): What are your thoughts on Julio Urias next year? Do the dodgers continue to limit his innings so much so that he is not a viable SP in fantasy or will he make a leap?
Craig Goldstein: I think he'll be more of a starting pitcher but probably not extensively so. There's very few people not named Walker Buehler that I'd predict in that rotation for more than 175 innings. Ryu is a free agent, as is Hill, but I kind of expect Hill might come back in a limited role. That leaves some openings, but Gonsolin and May are right there too.
yasmani grandal's bald spot (the top of yasmani grandal's head): how do you feel about sean manaea's fake stirrup high socks he wore during the wild card
Craig Goldstein: I'm a fan of stirrups, fake or not, at any opportunity. Wear them to weddings, cowards.
cowhitchurch (Austin): If you don't end this chat by making a prediction for all three Game 5s you're a coward.
Craig Goldstein: Okay, okay. Give me St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Houston.
Craig Goldstein: Alright, that's it for me, I'm off to record TINO. Any prospect questions can be directed towards Friday's chat with Jeffrey Paternostro. See ya next week!