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Chat: Jesse Roche

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday January 24, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jesse Roche.


Jesse Roche is a member of the Baseball Prospectus Fantasy Team and a ranking savant.

Jesse Roche: TGIF, everyone! Excited to partake in my very first chat at BP! It is a crazy time of year here with all kinds of content rolling out on a daily basis. The fantasy staff continues to move through the positional series with second base next. That said, let's dive into the questions!

Yuri (Israel): Hi Jesse and welcome to BP! I'm looking forward to all your contributions. Will you be doing a lot of chats? I'm mostly curious if this means fewer Craig chats, because if so that'd be so great!

Jesse Roche: Thanks, Yuri! I hope to do weekly-ish chats depending on my schedule. There is a ton of dynasty-related content on the way in the coming months and throughout the season. I am not sure how much I am allowed to divulge at this point, but there will be regularly updated dynasty rankings, which will be new for BP and a whole lot of fun. The more chats the merrier!

JayDub (PNW): Is Kevin Cron going to see significant playing time at the MLB level this year?

Jesse Roche: Kevin Cron is a first base (and, technically, third base) prospect for the Diamondbacks. The younger brother of C.J. and built very similarly. I do not think he profiles well at third base, and I see him as strictly a 1B/DH type moving forward. The emergence of Christian Walker, who is a surprisingly good defensive 1B, blocks Cron in the short-term. I do not think Walker will have a long leash, and, if he struggles, Cron could see time at 1B. Cron has nothing left to prove in the PCL as he has obliterated it for two straight years. However, I am not confident he will see significant playing time absent a trade or Walker being out of the picture (injury/poor performance). I would expect he makes the OD roster used chiefly as a pinch-hitter. I really would love to see what he could do with an extended opportunity. HUGE power.

caseyj15 (Medford, OR): What do you think of Eduardo Rodriguez and Trevor Richards over the next 3-4 years. What kind of pitcher do they develop into?

Jesse Roche: I think we have seen the best Rodriguez has to offer, which is quite good. 200+ IP with 200+ Ks is a rarity these days. He turns 27 just after OD and I would expect more of the same from him, though he did outperform his 4.46 DRA and prior knee issues are still a background concern for me. I know some value him more highly than I do, but his early NFBC ADP is reasonable (136) and he is a top-150 dynasty asset for me. As for Richards, it is hard to say exactly what Tampa Bay plans to do with its plethora of arms, especially since they heavily utilize the opener. Last year, he was used as the arm behind the opener akin to Ryan Yarbrough and Yonny Chirinos. That rotation is loaded, though, with Snell, Morton, and Glasnow as locks, and Yarbrough, Chirinos, McKay, and Richards as the chief competition for the 4/5 spots. Given Richards' so-so control and basically two-pitch arsenal (FB/CH), he probably profiles best in a middle relief role.

Bruce Springsteen (The Stone Pony): Cubs trading Bryant; Sox trading Mookie. How are either of these possible? These are two historic teams with owners swimming in money. Hello?

Jesse Roche: Money is everything in baseball these days. The luxury tax has operated as a soft cap with more and more teams striving to get under it to avoid penalties. I also think there is incentive to reallocate resources/expenses throughout the roster and shore up areas of need. Acquiring young cost-controlled talent is what put those two organizations at the top of the game in the first place.

Tim (SLC): When will the BP Top 101 be released?

Jesse Roche: The Top-101 will be released next Monday, January 27th! https://twitter.com/baseballpro/status/1220520277223731201?s=20

The plan is to release the fantasy 101 on Thursday, January 30th.

Kkelly (IL): Keeper issue. I have the opportunity to keep the following players in the first 8 rounds of a 16 team league. I currently have two 8 round picks. Y Alavarez, S Bieber, Vladdy, Tatis, and Hiura can be kept anywhere 1-8. Acuna and Soto have to be rounds 1-7, and Yelich has to be round 1-6. Every year they move up a round. Having a difficult time trying to figure out how to place them. Currently have Vladdy/ Tatis 8, Acuna 7, Soto 6, Bieber 5, Alavarez 4, Yelich 3, and Hiura 2 leaving my first pick open for another pitcher. Your thoughts would be helpful. Sorry for the long question. Thank you

Jesse Roche: If you can acquire more late picks to use to keep players so they are cheaper to keep in the future, you should do it. Such a strategy feels like gaming the system, but if you can, go for it. If you cannot, then I'd go Tatis/Alvarez 8, Acuna 7, Soto 6, Yelich 5, Vlad 4, Hiura 3, and Bieber 2. It is quite the group of keepers!

spotted cow (Rockford ): In a 15 team dynasty league I took over for an owner who was sick of having a pretty solid team that couldn't compete with the top 3 super teams. How would you advise going about a rebuild? We have minor league rosters that can have up to 20 players but most only have half that. And only 2 drafts a year to procure prospects. Should I compete as best as possible knowing at best 4th place is my prize or start targeting Juan soto/Fernando tatis jr's and overpaying as well as kicking the tires for acquiring more draft picks?

Jesse Roche: Rebuilding is tricky business in any league, especially one with super teams as there may be an extremely limited market for older, win-now pieces with most of the league also rebuilding. I took over a team in TDGX last offseason in a similar situation with 2 absolute super teams and most of the league rebuilding. I decided to push my competition window out by 2 years (2021) and moved win-now pieces for prospects/picks or young MLB pieces. My idea is to be flexible in such a rebuild and try to acquire talent and upgrade where you can, even if it means acquiring an old player if the price is right. For example, I acquired Joey Votto for Austin Hays then spun him for Tarik Skubal and Josiah Gray. Rebuilding takes WORK, but if you are an active trader and there is a market for it, you should begin by targeting a competition window in 2021 or later and move pieces with depreciating value in that time frame.

Keaton O. DeRocher (@TheSpokenKeats): How do I be a less terrible writer and podcast host?

Jesse Roche: Keaton! More haikus. If you all are not already checking out the Dynasty's Child podcast, you definitely should. Great dynasty discussion and insights! You can find them on Twitter @DynastysChild

Dusty (Colorado ): Welcome to baseball prospectus Jesse. As you know I've followed your work for some time. I'm a fan! Can I get your thoughts on Wander Javier and what's his upside?

Jesse Roche: As you well know, Wander Javier represents a dyad in the baseball force between Wander Franco and Javier Baez. Hence, the name.

Dusty (Colorado ): Welcome to baseball prospectus Jesse. As you know I've followed your work for some time. I'm a fan! Can I get your thoughts on Wander Javier and what's his upside?

Jesse Roche: As you well know, Wander Javier represents a dyad in the baseball force between Wander Franco and Javier Baez. Hence, the name.

Dirk (Dallas ): Will Mason Martin hit well enough to be a major league regular?

Jesse Roche: Whew, hard to say. I saw Martin a few times in Greensboro last year and he whiffed a bunch. Dude is jacked, though, and he really can drive the ball. His performance in the Florida State League opened my eyes. Martin is certainly young enough (20) to cut down his swing-and-miss, but I am not convinced about his bat speed or pitch recognition.

George (ATL): Who's a prospect you think you're the highest on within the industry? And why?

Jesse Roche: I tend to be a bit more conservative than many so I can always find someone who values a prospect more than me. That said, I absolutely love Heriberto Hernandez. He lacks a position, playing OF, 1B, and C last year, but he has awesome bat speed and big power (320-ft avg est FB distance according to Prospects Live). I think he'll hit enough to force his bat in the lineup no matter where he plays. Looking forward to seeing him in the South Atlantic League this year!

brad (NJ): Hoerner had some nice moments end of 2019 and put up solid numbers, but they say he has a lack of power. That means for fantasy most of his value will depend on lineup placement. Is this maybe a good sell high point for Hoerner. How about him for a buy low on Luke Voit? I need a CI I have J-Ram at 2B and Machado at MI for 2020, but likely 2021, I need another MI.

Jesse Roche: I have seen Hoerner go just outside the top-10 prospects in some industry mock drafts. If anyone values him that highly, SELL SELL SELL. On the other hand, I do think he has enough pop to be a .280/15/15 type, maybe even a tick more power if he shifts his hit-over-power approach. I see average raw power there, but I expect it to play down a bit. However, I do prefer Hoerner to Voit ever so slight (they are 9 spots apart in our upcoming Top-500), but if you can get Voit+, especially given some of the Hoerner love out there, then I'd pull the trigger. Not a big difference between the two.

Craig (Chicago ): For deep league, is Josh Rojas a potential sleeper candidate for this season in ARI? Seems like there could be playing time opportunity.

Jesse Roche: Yes. I expect Josh Rojas to be a jack-of-all-trades type for the Diamondbacks in 2020. I do not expect him to be an everyday player, however, especially following the Kole Calhoun signing. Sneaky 5-category upside with Rojas if he can find regular playing time. He is definitely worth a stash in deep leagues.

boatman44 (Liverpool): Hey Jesse thanks for the chat , Just to get a feel for first base ,where would Yasmani rank in the top 50 dynasty first basemen? Cheers.

Jesse Roche: Yasmani Grandal should be playing catcher in all dynasty leagues ;) but, as a 1B-only, he would rank 26th right behind his teammate Edwin Encarnacion.

Brandon (MO): Any fast moving arms say after pick 50 in a FYPD?

Jesse Roche: Depends on the FYPD, but fast moving arms in that range include Ethan Small, the imports (Kwang-hyun Kim and Shun Yamaguchi), Tommy Henry, Ryan Jansen, TJ Sikkema, Matt Canterino, among others.

rolliesmustache (Frozen Tundra, Canada): How soon do you think Corbin Burnes has a path to a regular role in the rotation? He's a hard guy to stash in certain formats but he's available in a 14-team dynasty and I'd love to snag him.

Jesse Roche: I am out on Corbin Burnes for now outside of super deep 24+-team formats. 17 HR in 49 IP is just scary. His FB got absolutely destroyed last year. I also think he is destined for a relief role. Better to wait and see and let someone else eat up a roster spot with him if they want.

Matt (IL): Welcome Jesse! Have you made any drastic updates to your personal top 200 prospects from TDG? (ie. How much MORE do you love Jordan Groshans now?)

Jesse Roche: Thanks, Matt! There are significant updates to the top-200, which can be found via the Top-600 on TDG (access through donation). Since then, the rankings have evolved to a point to represent something closer to a consensus between me and Bret Sayre. We will be rolling out our Top-500 dynasty rankings and Top-250 prospects soon so stay tuned! As for Groshans, he now slots in the top-50. Where? You will see next week when the fantasy 101 is revealed!

The Rock (Miami, FL): Is Hunter Dozier's 2019 sustainable? I can't seem to find the right numbers that flag him as someone who was playing over their head.

Jesse Roche: I think Dozier's performance is fairly sustainable. He had an elevated .339 BABIP and there is some swing-and-miss to his game so I would expect his average to fall to the .250-.260 range. However, his power is legit and he hits the ball hard. I definitely could see him hitting around 30 home runs in 2020.

Craig (Chicago): A lot of Zac Gallen buzz but will he even win a starting job to begin the season? Merrill Kelly finished last year very strong. Chance that Luke Weaver outperforms Gallen?

Jesse Roche: This is a fair point and something has to give. The rotation is full with Bumgarner, Ray, Leake, Gallen, Weaver, and Kelly. There have been rumors of a potential trade of Ray, and I would expect something to happen in the next month or so. If nothing happens, I have to imagine Gallen earns a spot in the rotation. I do think Weaver could outperform Gallen. Weaver has slightly better stuff and command than Gallen, but with the injury flag clouding his short-term future.

bpalee (DC): Wondering what you think of Carrasco for 2020? He seemed to still have his stuff after his cancer treatment, but if he is back to healthy, is Cleveland thinking of trading him?

Jesse Roche: Wish I knew. His stuff appeared back, but he was also working in shorter stints in the bullpen so it is hard to say how his velocity will hold over longer appearances. I do think he represents a good buying opportunity as his advancing age and recovery from cancer may cause some to jump ship. If Carrasco proves his health, I do think Cleveland looks to trade him. I just doubt the market is where they (or a fantasy owner of Carrasco) want it be at the moment.

B-Rad (OC): Will Carter Kieboom at least partially fill Anthony Rendon's shoes in the long run?

Jesse Roche: I think so. I expect the Nationals to turn to Kieboom at least by May. He will be given an opportunity to compete for the starting job, but I think he'll have to earn it given his struggles in his debut and down the stretch in Triple-A. The Nationals do have other options for 3B, including some combination of Asdrubal Cabrera, Starlin Castro, and Howie Kendrick. I would not enter the year with the expectation that Kieboom is a lock at 3B. As a Nats fan myself, I love their offseason approach (again) and that they appear to be tacitly committing to Kieboom at 3B moving forward.

MATZABAL (CO): Steamer has its Corey Kluber projection as: 4.22 ERA / 1.26 WHIP 187 IP. What would you change?

Jesse Roche: Kluber is yet another enigma entering 2020. His health, performance, and move to Texas make projecting him particularly difficult. It is also unclear how the new Texas park will play. As for his Steamer projection, I think he beats the ERA/WHIP figures. I see him around 3.80/1.20. I also think he beats the IP projection if healthy for the full season. Both Lynn and Minor topped 200 IP for the Rangers in 2019. No reason to think Kluber, who had 5-straight 200+ IP season prior to 2019, cannot do the same (health-pending).

Craig (Cicago): Any deep sleeper catchers? Tucker Barnhardt?

Jesse Roche: It depends on how deep you're looking, but I personally like Jacob Stallings (458 NFBC ADP) as a super deep sleeper. Austin Romine is also a popular pick here at BP. Chance Sisco and Mike Zunino are intriguing late round fliers. For more shallow leagues, I like Tom Murphy.

boatman44 (Liverpool): In a 24 team dynasty league that has 12 pitching categories I can keep only one of Folty,Brad Keller, Porcello or possibly Colome , though he would be my only closer at that point,What you got for me? Cheers.

Jesse Roche: Mike Foltynewicz easy. Highest upside and strong finish to 2019 with 2.65/1.08 ERA/WHIP over 57 2/3 IP in the 2nd half.

boatman44 (Liverpool): What should I do with Brent Honeywell (please,please don't let his arm fall off ,while I'm typing) sell low or hold and keep fingers crossed.

Jesse Roche: Hold and keep your fingers and toes crossed

bhacking (Toronto): Will there be specific Scoresheet material this year including the SSIM? Will it be available on PECOTA day Feb 4th? It's an invaluable starting point for me. Thanks.

Jesse Roche: I have been informed it will be updated around PECOTA time.

That is it for me! Happy Friday, everyone, enjoy the weekend, and count down the days (even hours) until the release of the 101 on Monday!

Jesse Roche: Thanks for all the questions! Until next time, you can always reach out to me on Twitter @jaroche6

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