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Chat: Jesse Roche

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday March 06, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jesse Roche.


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

Jesse Roche: TGIF, everyone! We are nearly through the positional series at BP, with just relievers-the most complicated position group-to go next week. On Monday, we will post Part 3 of the starting pitcher dynasty rankings (76-175). Now, on to the questions!

slappy123 (Charlotte, NC): Hey Jesse, I didn’t get a chance to chat because I had to get going but you did a fine job at first pitch Florida. I caught your session w/Ian about getting an edge in dynasty. A lot of brainpower in that room! Had a question about Kevin Newman. Does he win the job? Over 500 at bats?

Jesse Roche: Thanks! First Pitch Florida was a fantastic event and a blast. It is a great opportunity to finally meet so many industry minds in person. The next First Pitch event is October 8-11 in Mesa, Arizona!

Ian Kahn from Rotowire/The Athletic was a fantastic co-presenter and a brilliant dynasty mind. Be sure to seek out his work!

Kevin Newman most certainly has the Pirates' shortstop job locked down at the moment. He is coming off a 2.8 WARP season with 107 DRC+. Absent struggles or injury, I would expect Newman to eclipse 500 ABs. Cole Tucker is still around and could push Newman to 2B or an everyday utility role, which is the only risk I foresee to his playing time. The Pirates are a mess and I see no reason why Newman would not get run as an everyday player. Just do not expect much in the way of power from him.

Dynasty Leader (Canada): I am looking to tank the following based on their dynasty ceilings (and their likelihood of reaching such ceiling): Witt jr...Luciano....abrams. Are any of them five tool guys?

Jesse Roche: Whether someone is a five-tool prospect has little bearing on fantasy (which is ironic since I am joining a podcast called the Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball podcast). Rather, I would like to think of prospects in terms of the standard five categories (BA/HR/R/RBI/SB).

Of those three prospects, I would rank them (on ceiling) as Marco Lucianco, Bobby Witt Jr., and CJ Abrams. In terms of likelihood to reach their ceiling: Witt Jr., Abrams, then Luciano. That said, Abrams is the only prospect who likely contributes to all five categories. I am not confident Witt will provide much more than average BA, and Luciano likely only has borderline speed at peak (I do not expect many SBs from him). All three are fantastic prospects with huge ceilings, though.

John (Florida): If Spencer Torkelson, Austin Martin, Pedro Leon and Oscar Colas were in the minors, about where would they rank in terms of top prospects? Can you offer any comps for each of them? Thank you.

Jesse Roche: As an initial matter, comps are a dangerous path to take, but why not!

(1) Spencer Torkelson, top-30 prospect, rough comp: Pete Alonso
(2) Austin Martin, top-50 prospect, rough comp: Ketel Marte
(3) Pedro Leon, top-150 prospect
(4) Oscar Colas, top-200 prospect

I do not feel comfortable even offering a comp for the Cubans. Leon lacks much size (5-foot-9), but offers some pop, speed, and arm strength. Colas has big power and a big arm, but not a lot else. His performance in Japan was in the Western League, which is basically the NPB minors. I get Julio Pablo Martinez vibes from Leon for whatever reason. I am suspicious of both until we get more concrete information.

Craig Counsell (Milwaukee): How likely is that we'll have to move Keston Hiura to a different position because of his defense?

Jesse Roche: Eventually, I think Hiura moves to LF or DH, but while he is young and spry, I expect him to labor away at 2B. Even if he is a borderline defender there, he will provide tons of value. The hope is he is not a 4 at 2B, and, based on his debut, he very well may be just that. Hiura lacks the arm strength for just about any other position.

Vic (Baltimore): Benintendi and Laureano in a 10 AL Only. Would you rather have them for $10 this year only, $15 for 20 and 21, $20 for 20, 21, 22, or $25 for 20,21,22,23. I am thinking of the $20--3 year route.

Jesse Roche: It is difficult to judge auction values without more context, and often contract values are very league-specific based on inflation, active roster size, replacement value, etc. That said, I would favor shorter term deals with just a steep per/year rise in cost ($5). I always judge contracts using a present value formula. Assess the player's projected value in each year, subtract the contract price, then see what the present value is of the surplus. I imagine a 1-year deal provides the most PV in this case. For example, if they are both $20 players, they give you $10 in surplus in 2020. While they would give you $5 in surplus in 2020 and 2021 under a 2-year deal, the surplus from 2021 is worth less than $5 today so a 2-year deal is not worth it. So if you think they are $20+ players, maybe consider a 2-year deal. I would not consider a 3-year deal unless you think they are $25+ players in each year.

CubbieBear (Chi-Sox): I recognize it’s only preseason but the Angels have seemingly changed Dylan Bundy into the frontline starter he always was projected to be. Do you think his spring performance is sustainable?

Jesse Roche: Bundy has an elite slider. It generated 47.9% whiffs last year and 50% the year before. Yet, he only threw his slider 22.8% of the time last year. At the same time, his fastball is garbage (hitters hit .335 BA w/ .645 SLG against his fastball last year). The math is pretty simple. Throw the dang slider more and the fastball less! If he goes all Patrick Corbin on us, then I think he has a chance to be a solid fantasy performer (not Corbin, mind you). Bundy is an excellent target late in drafts.

Greg (Ohio): Ronny Mauricio for Johnny Cueto in a dynasty league: who wins?

Jesse Roche: The owner who got Mauricio, easy.

Craig (Chicago): Anyone in COL starting rotation intrigue you behind Marquez and Gray? Deep NL only league.

Jesse Roche: Roster Rockies' starters at your own peril, especially the likes of Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, and Antonio Senzatela. If I had to pick, I'd take a chance on Freeland, hoping he rediscovers his 2018 magic. I am not at all confident, though.

whiskeyblood78 (NYC): What are we supposed to do with Brad Keller in a 16 team dynasty league, 28mlb, 24milb? Seems like industry is vaguely hopeful. Obvi not much on the wire, but guys will pop up, like Houser last year or Keegan Akin maybe this year. Thanks!

Jesse Roche: Keller is fine. He is a sinker/slider specialist who generates tons of grounders and few whiffs. I would expect him to continue to outperform metrics like FIP/xFIP since he strikes few hitters out, walks plenty, and consistently has sub-.300 BABIP. The guy pitches to contact and generates a bunch of weak grounders. Plus, he has a solid middle infield behind him (Mondesi/Lopez). Keller should not hurt you much, but he also will not win you any leagues. Serviceable backend roster guy for innings in a pinch.

boatman44 (Liverpool): Hey Jesse ,thanks for the chat. I need to drop one of Monte Harrison or Yusneil Diaz, I know it may seem a WTF kind of question, no one cares, but I have held them both for at least 2 seasons in this league, so I care about them, looking at your dynasty rankings didn't really help as they are 2 places apart. The real question is which one would I be more likely to pick up in the forthcoming draft after I have dropped them. 24 team league,keep 24, I pick 13 th ? Cheers

Jesse Roche: I'd hold Harrison between the two. That power/speed upside is still so tantalizing.

MK (Houston): For roto dynasty, how do you adjust relief pitcher for Saves+Holds leagues? Its already a crap shoot for saves, so I'm considering just waiting til round 25+ to grab anyone with promising rates

Jesse Roche: Check out the draft results this fall from Prospects 365 expert league here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oOr5RHFObDBt6fZPegvhLW5EDie7XYXYu4OvAMDoRp0/edit?usp=sharing

Most relievers plummet in SV+HLD formats. You can capture a lot of value if you wait and scoop top middle relievers later in the draft.

bob m (philly): What are your thoughts about Van Meter and Tapia this year? I like the upside of both players(possible breakout guys?)but PT is an issue for both, although Van Meter does play multiple positions which should help him in that regard. I see some nice speed/power upside possibilities for both players but wonder how you feel about each of them. Thx.

Jesse Roche: Josh VanMeter and Raimel Tapia are fine fliers in the 400+ range of drafts. I doubt either sees the field very much, though. The Reds obviously have a crowded OF, but the infield is also stacked. Maybe if Suarez's shoulder is not ready for Opening Day, VanMeter could squeeze PT at 2B. Meanwhile, the Rockies' outfield is a mess as well, with 5 players vying for 2 open spots. Of the two, I think VanMeter has a better path to playing time, at least as a super-utility piece. He has a bit of pop and speed for owners in a pinch.

Jordan (South Dakota): I run a dynasty league and one of my owners offered his Michael Chavis and Deivi Garcia for another owner's Ozzie Albies. The second owner then tweeted a fantasy expert asking if he should do this trade. Other members of the league saw the tweet and began circulating it. First of all, this would've been a terrible trade, right? Second, if you were offered the same deal, would you have gone to Twitter first seeking industry advice or gone to the league's trade block and posted to see what else is out there for Albies? Almost every team in the league could've beaten this offer probably, right?

Jesse Roche: In a standard dynasty league, it would be a bad trade, yes. If I (Albies owner) was offered that trade, I'd just decline, check the other owner's roster out, and counter if I saw a fit. The industry does tend to get bombarded by trade questions, but I'm fine with it to a point. It never hurts to shop a player league-wide if you intend to move them.

James (NY): Who would you consider to be a better pitcher prospect Mize or McKay?

Jesse Roche: Mize

Victor (Tempe): Got offered Jason Dominguez for my Jorge Polanco in a dynasty league. My team is good and trying to win now, so is this an overpay for a 16 yr old? It's a pts league if that matters.

Jesse Roche: No. I'd take Dominguez and run, even in points. It never hurts to acquire high-end youth in dynasty if the price is right (it is) even if you are win-now.

Pete (Tampa): As commish of a dynasty, how many seasons do you tolerate an owner that clearly doesn't get the rules/settings? The person in question is nice and active but his poor decisions and constantly having to reshuffle his deck because he doesn't get the rules are going to really impact our competitive balance long term.

Jesse Roche: It depends on the league and the owner. In home leagues, I tolerate it indefinitely. I'm not burning bridges with friends or family. If this is a random person you found online, you can boot them. It is a serious issue when an owner does things that disturb competitive balance. As a commish, you also do not benefit as much from that owner's mistakes because you must think about the league first rather than selfishly poaching players from that owner.

pauls121 (Madison WI): We are a 33 year old league, 5X5, 15 teams 26 active, 8 reserves, minimum actives: 15 hitters, 8 pitchers. There are no bargains, there are no sleepers, there are no secrets. The winner is usually the guy who can avoid injuries. I do have one idea that might help me: Find a rookie who will come up in June and hit .250 6 HR 30R 30RBI. for my 26th roster spot he will be a stud. He will not be a top 50 prospect. He will be in an organization like Baltimore or SF or any time with a .219 banjo hitter ready to ride the pine -where breaking into the lineup is not a challenge. Where is such a list? Who are these guys?

Jesse Roche: This is a good idea for an article. Top of the head types that fit the bill at each position:
C-Tyler Stephenson
1B-Lewin Diaz
2B-Andy Young
3B-Bobby Dalbec
SS-Willi Castro
OF-Jared Oliva, Daniel Johnson & Anthony Alford

brad (NJ): Will Mauricio ever reach his top 5 overall prospect potential or should I deal him now while I can get decent but not great value.

Jesse Roche: I do not think Mauricio has top-5 overall prospect potential. That said, I would hold for now unless you are getting top-50 prospect value in return. He should continue to appreciate in value.

jack (St Louis): In a 7x7 keeper league with OPS, batter Ks, HD, QS, I have Juan Soto and too many ok OF on my keep list. You can keep up to 10, with 3 of them being players that are ROY eligible. I can get Scherzer back for him (both of them are on the last year of their contract, no price attached). How much of a draft pick sweetener should I be looking for? Significant upgrade? Middling upgrade?

Jesse Roche: I would not trade Soto for Scherzer under 1-year deals with a draft pick sweetener unless it was a significant upgrade. Even in redraft, I prefer Soto by a large margin to Scherzer.

Full size man turd (In the litter box): Do you see Sam Hilliard carving out any more than a strong-side platoon role with the Rockies this season?

Jesse Roche: I doubt it. That is such a LHH-heavy lineup (Blackmon, Dahl, Murphy, McMahon, Wolters) that I would not even be confident projecting Hilliard to be the strong-side of a platoon.

Mr. Fister (Arlington): Even if not this year, barring horrible seasons, are Karinchak and Munoz the heir apparents in Cle and SD for 2021 when Hand and Yates contracts are up?

Jesse Roche: I think so, but bullpen roles are so fluid and difficult to predict these days, especially with young arms and arbitration considerations.

Kkelly (IL): Any chance Yordan Alvarez gets 20 appearances at 1st or the OF? Does Alex Kiriloff see any time at 1st base this year when he gets the call? Thanks

Jesse Roche: Yes, there is a chance Alvarez gets 20 starts at 1B or the OF, but I doubt it absent an injury. I do expect him to get enough time in the OF to gain eligibility there this year.

I am not sure Kirilloff arrives in 2020. He is not on the 40-man roster and he really needs to accumulate plate appearances in the upper minors and stay healthy. If he does arrive, I would expect him to see some time at 1B. The Twins do have a crowded roster as well.

pauls121 (Madison): Always scrounging for filling out the team. Based on ADP I see the following players undervalued by the market, your thoughts? Alex Dickerson, Anthony Santander, Nicky Lopez, Hanser Alberto, Miguel Rojas, Brandon Belt, Adam Frazier (ugh), Victor Reyes, Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, Mauricio Dubon, Nomar Mazara, and why not Josh Donaldson?

Jesse Roche: Based on ADP, I like Mazara (of course) and Donaldson. I am not in on the others mostly due to lack of impact offensive ability (Lopez, Alberto, Rojas, Frazier, Reyes, L. Garcia), lack of consistent playing time (Dickerson, Avisail Garcia, Mauricio Dubon), and simply proper pricing of the talent (Santander and Belt).

Bubic Hair (In your soup): Keith Law has Daniel Lynch ranked in his top 15 prospects. He is obviously the high guy on him in the industry. Do you see that kind of upside due to his entire package of stuff and left-handedness?

Jesse Roche: Maybe. it depends on how you assess risk and his stuff. I have Lynch with three above-average offerings (FB, SL, CH) and a fourth show-me pitch (CU). Some see his fastball or slider as potential plus offerings. If you think he has a 60/60/55/50 arsenal with strong command of each pitch, and you are not concerned about his mechanics and prior arm issues, then there is a strong case for him to be ranked that high.

Parts and Gleyber (The shop): Any updates on Mitch Haniger's ruptured testicle?

Jesse Roche: I'll let Ric answer this one

Ric Flair (Atlanta ICU): Woooooooooo!

Jesse Roche: Thanks, Ric!

Jesse Roche: Again, thanks for all the questions! It has been 2 hours so it is time to tap out. Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy your weekend! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @jaroche6. I am also joining a weekly podcast on Fantrax with Eric Cross and Jake Devereaux, talking all things dynasty, prospects, and redraft! Exciting times ahead!

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