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Chat: Craig Goldstein

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday January 15, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Craig Goldstein.


Craig Goldstein is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus.

Craig Goldstein: [extremely Staind voice] It's been a while...

jwdalton (TN): Just dropping in to say I am THRILLED with the signing of Jesse Roche to expand dynasty coverage. If I wasn't already a subscriber, getting his content would have pushed me to be. Great hire!

Craig Goldstein: Hey thanks! We're very pumped to have him on board. I'm actually talking to him on Slack right now. Glad you're as excited about him as we are.

Craig (Chicago): Looks like there is going to be a lot of pressure in MIL for Adrian Houser to throw big innings this season. Is he ready for that role?

Craig Goldstein: A fellow Craig! Yeah... I tend to like a lot of what Milwaukee has done over the last few years but it seems like this offseason was more of a step back after they've gone for it a little more the prior two offseasons. That's not a surprise exactly but it's tough to look at that rotation and see a division championship in their future.

As to Houser... if my answer above wasn't a clue, you can mark me down as skeptical. I like what he did last year and I actually wrote some pretty positive things about him as a prospect, but I'm not sure he is going to maintain the type of quality they need over the course of a full season.

Karl (Berlin): Is Austin Riley one of the beneficiaries of the Josh Donaldson signing? And given the muddiness of Riley's 2019 (scorching start to ugliness to injury), what have you heard/what is your sense about how Atlanta views him today?

Craig Goldstein: I saw a Braves reporter say that if the season started today Camargo would open at 3B and Riley would be in Triple-A. That seems plausible to me, though I think if the Braves are going to win the division they're going to need Riley to be a consistent part of the club. I don't think they're down on him as much as opening at Triple-A might indicate. He's got some development to do, and Triple-A is a good place for it.

Bsg (Tucson): I know he's a lightyear away, but do you belive Rocchio has the upside of an annual allstar in his prime? Think you could have more power surprise then expected? Thank You

Craig Goldstein: I am probably a little lower on him than annual all-star. As always it depends how you mean upside. Does that possibility exist in the spectrum of his outcomes? Sure. But I don't think the power is there for that, and as much as I like him overall, I think that's a limiting factor.

Farting Right Now (Here!): Soroka or Woodruff for 2020, and beyond? Both are young pups with lots to like. Can you help me decide please?

Craig Goldstein: I'm a Soroka guy. I know Woodruff will outpace him on strikeouts in all likelihood, but I think Soroka piles up innings and wins on ratios over the long haul (and in 2020).

Craig (Chicago): Does Bryce Wilson finally get a fair shot to start this year in ATL?

Craig Goldstein: They have enough arms that I don't think he holds down a spot consistently but I do expect him to get a chance, yeah.

sportsguy21792 (Madison): So was the interview with Mike Fiers the start of the ugly episode in Houston or would they have gotten to this point another way?

Craig Goldstein: If you check this report from Jeff Passan in October 2018 (https://sports.yahoo.com/sources-red-sox-warned-indians-astros-attempting-steal-signs-information-032027336.html) he basically describes exactly the situation that The Athletic broke late last year. It was known around the game and it was going to come out. What Fiers' did was still valuable though, because it pushed the commissioner to act on something he already knew was taking place.

edwardarthur (Illinois): Can we get the Kindle version of the annual at the same time the paper version ships? Please?

Craig Goldstein: My understanding is that there will be an e-book available right around the time the paper version ships. I apologize as I've never had a kindle, but if that is different from a kindle version, let me know. I'll continue to look into it, if so.

Dustin (Illinois): I'm a Braves fan and a very sad one today, Craig. Please tell me something that'll make me feel better.

Craig Goldstein: I still think the Braves are the best team in the division. I like that Hamels add, even just as a depth piece, and while not bringing back Donaldson is going to hurt the lineup, there are other ways they could supplement their offense (Castellanos, maybe, and shift Ender to the bench). I think people are severely underrating the depth of that bullpen, which was an obvious sore spot for much of last year.

Craig (Chicago): Do you have the same type of expectations for Zac Gallen this year that so many seem to have? Could be have a Chris Paddack type season?

Craig Goldstein: Hell yes I do. I'm a Gallen Guy.

Fudgie the Whale Cake (Carvel ): If you could choose both of Jeff McNeil and Marcus Semien, which one would you be happier about owning for 2020 and why? Please limit your response to 3,500 words or less.

Craig Goldstein: This is a fun one. I really like McNeil and I think his positional versatility actually helps him out here despite Semien being a shortstop. Shortstop is crazy deep right now (partially due to his breakout) but I think I would opt for McNeil. AVG hasn't been a super strong spot generally, and I really like what he brings to the table there (and the flexibility he provides).

Jake (Tacoma): Which player do you thi

Craig Goldstein: Rodrig

Peter (Providence): How do you approach your draft in a dynasty startup league in terms of pitchers vs. hitters? I'm planning to draft to compete for the next 1-3 years, so will be looking for MLB value while others are targeting prospects. But does it being a dynasty league necessitate focusing more on "safer" bats with early picks? Or is the need to grab early rotation anchors (like mentioned in Gianella's recent piece) just as relevant in a dynasty format? Thanks!

Craig Goldstein: I've done a few dynasty start ups with this general plan (1-3 years starting immediately), and I'll warn you: you get caught in the middle very quickly. The sense I've gotten from my leagues is that the focus on youth movement creates a massive dichotomy and unless you're able to cull the useful vets from teams that decide to tear it down, you're going to be stuck, because all the credible "now" types will be concentrated on just a few teams. So take real stock of what you think others are going to do, otherwise you'll be tearing down soon enough, and be a year-plus behind the people who opened up doing that.

That said: I don't think you need to go "safe" on bats. Bats are, generally speaking, the safe pick already. I think you can go for some upside there. I usually try and blend them, and find some value pitcher picks I like. I think the recent advice from Gianella makes more sense for keeper/redrafts, just because of the year-to-year risk that pitchers bring to the table. That said, I really do defer to Mike (and Jesse, Mark, JP, our whole fantasy team). I learn from them consistently and have been a better fantasy player of late for it.

Anti-Yuri (Cornfields): Love your work Craig. You sound like a bad Phillip Seymour Hoffman impression on podcasts but nobody else I'd rather go to for hard hitting prospect or MLB info. #DownWithYuri

Craig Goldstein: Thank you, I think! I agree my voice is terrible. A face for podcasts and a voice for print, but the lack of shame for all of it. That's my credo.

spotted cow (Rockford): Whitesox have alot of high upside guys that haven't really proven anything and are counting on 3 or 4 guys who only have 1 year of being plus regulars. What has to break right for them to be in the playoffs?

Craig Goldstein: As much as I like what they've done (and I think it's similar to the Reds, a bit, in this way) they're really pretty thin overall. I think more than anything they're going to need health. Madrigal and Robert are going to have to be productive, if not stars, and as much as I may like Leury Garcia, he's really their only viable depth piece if someone goes down. Engel is only a glove, Collins is limited to 1B/DH (I mean, sure, backup C but Grandal/McCann will be there mostly). Then you're talking...Danny Mendick? Not great.

bhacking (Toronto): Timeline for PECOTA 2020? Changes we can expect this year?

Craig Goldstein: We're going be doing PECOTA day on February 4th this year! I'm going to withhold changes for the moment/let our industrious stats team speak to them when the time comes.

Craig (Chicago): Do you anticipate Logan Webb to be apart of the Gints starting rotation this year? Will benne on an inning limit?

Craig Goldstein: Yeah I think he makes his way there, and yes I think they shut him down at some point. They're not going to be playing for anything so towards the end of the season they'll likely rein in his workload.

The Colonel (Pasadena, CA): What are your thoughts on Abraham Toro? He seems to have a good hit tool, esp. from the left side. How do you see his 2020 and his future career going down?

Craig Goldstein: 45/50 type, for me, I think. Good hit tool for sure, but the pop is pretty moderate. Very useful piece overall and you're not screwed if he's starting for a stretch but I'd rather him as a bench piece than a starter overall.

The Way You Look Tonight (Elton John): Where are you on Gavin Lux this season. Please try not to hedge and say he will share time and get 400+ at bats, blah blah. Gimme something aggressive here!

Craig Goldstein: Understanding you want aggressiveness, you also want my opinion, right? The Dodgers are overcrowded and I can't predict injuries (though I do think Turner misses time at some point, probably Seager, too). I think he's a stud and that's why we ranked him so aggressively in the 101 (there's your aggression!), but the Dodgers attack the regular season with depth and I think his overall workload is going to be affected by that.

caseyj15 (Medford,OR): what is your take on the long range future of Trevor Richards of the TB Rays?

Craig Goldstein: Generally speaking I don't love mid-tier strikeout rates paired with fly-ball profiles.

Mountain of Margarine (Land O' Lakes): Yordan Alvarez wasn't with the team early enough to have garbage can cheated, right? I don't want people to mean to him if he didn't cheat.

Craig Goldstein: The Commissioner's report listed 2017 and 2018 as the seasons and said it was abandoned sometime in 2018. Whether you wanna believe that they'd just stop doing it...that's up to you.

Vic (Baltimore): 100 picks at #6 overall....16 teamer 5 x 5. How many times do you choose 1. Bregman 2. Arenado 3. Cole . 4. deGrom. FYI- No interest in Story, Lindor, or Turner due to abundance of SS already.

Craig Goldstein: If I understand the question right, you're asking what percent of times I choose which guy at sixth overall? Assuming it's a redraft (or light keeper), probably Bregman/Arenado 70/30, and I wouldn't take the pitchers. If it's a dynasty, I'd push it higher in favor of the younger Bregman.

Chi Chi (Warehouse): How good will Wander Franco be according to you?

Craig Goldstein: I think he's a perennial all-star waiting to happen. That kind of bat control is, well, it's tempting to say generational but Nick Madrigal is right there. Still, he's an absolute freak in the best possible terms.

Craig Goldstein: Okay, thanks for the chat everyone. A little shorter than normal but we're just getting back into the swing of things. Off to devise the season previews. See you next week!

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