Craig Goldstein is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus.
Craig Goldstein: Let's...not do April Fool's this year, huh?
Thomas (Arizona): Who is more likely to take over the closer position at the start of 2021: Bummer or Ginkel?
Craig Goldstein: Bit of a fun one. I think Bummer is the better pitcher but the overall lack of strikeouts makes me wonder if he's more subject to year to year variability than some other relievers. Obviously the contract says they think he'll be good for a while yet, but I think I might go Ginkel? Surprised myself there.
John (Seattle): If it is true that the agreement between mlb and the players union includes that everyone will gain a year of service time, how does that impact when minor league players will be called up. I’m looking at Rodriguez and Kelenic. Do you think it will change when they come up? Do you see either of them coming up next season?
Craig Goldstein: It's not that everyone will gain a year of service time. Players will gain a year of service if they play the full partial season. Players playing less than that will get a prorated portion of service time based on the number of service days they have in the partial season spread out over what a full season would otherwise be. I wrote about the ways it could impact various players here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/57956/dissecting-the-service-time-implications-of-the-mlb-mlbpa-agreement/
Ultimately I don't think it changes when guys like that will come up substantially. Next season meaning 2021, seems possible.
Pete (Massachusetts): I've been trying to follow the Cardinals' back-end rotation situation. From the outside, it looks like Kwang Hyun Kim could be leading the pack for that 5th starter spot, followed by Daniel Ponce de Leon and Genesis Cabrera. I think there's something to like about each of them, all were sharp in spring training, and assuming some missed time for Wainwright plus potential double headers, they may each get a chance to start at some point. Who do you like most from a skills perspective for a dynasty team that probably won't be competitive this year?
Craig Goldstein: We've got Austin Gomber in that mix as well. I like Cabrera most from a raw stuff perspective which is mostly what I like to gamble on when talking back-end guys in fantasy because they're easy enough to drop if needed. Kim is second for me in that he can probably help with WHIP assuming he doesn't get hit around much. He is always in the zone and won't walk much. I don't think Ponce de Leon should be factoring into a long-term dynasty team as a starter, really. Although in all honestly, probably none of these guys should. Cabrera is almost definitely a reliever long term.
Goat & Soda (Sarajevo): What do you think of my 12 team 5 x 5 pitching staff? Enough to compete?
Nola, Erod, Ryu, Maeda, Odorizzi, Chirinos, Gausman, Hand, W. Smith
Craig Goldstein: Seems more depthy than I'd want in a 12-teamer. You can find guys like Gausman/Chirinos/Maeda/Odorizzi off the wire in a league that shallow (depending on your roster size, I guess). I'd want significantly more top-end talent.
seabass77 (Milwaukee): How do I look at my team, as I'm drafting, on AX?
Craig Goldstein: Currently that's not a capability we have available on the AX, unfortunately.
CubbieBear (Chi-Town): What sort of player would you expect Jake Fraley to become? Looks like he will have an opportunity to play in Seattle this year. Thoughts on upside?
Craig Goldstein: Fourth outfielder who flashes more but is injured too often to capitalize. A modern day Chris Snelling.
Loria (Milwaukee): I'm in a 12 person, 6 x6 H2H league with 7 keepers and MiLB lineups where minor leaguers become "free keepers" for 3 yrs following promotion.
We finished offseason, with draft completed & everyone's favorite prospects drafted..
IF (hate typing that) the season is cancelled, we've floated 3 options for 2021 (group decided previously promoted guys like Vlad & Acuna wont lose a yr as free):
a) revert to last year's lineup and "re-do" the Whole off-season (re-builders & guys who got their favorite prospects don't want).
b) keep the whole season/draft intact and just start 2021 with current rosters (guys re-building don't want to wait a whole extra year)
c) keep these rosters, but do a new "off-season" with keepers & draft (best teams who drafted to go for it lost the chance and rostered older players while others took high upside flyers)...
Any options seem most fair?
Craig Goldstein: I think B seems the most reasonable to me. I understand rebuilders don't want to wait another year but...effectively this year didn't happen. Their guys didn't get to develop, etc. I don't see why you'd undo much of anything, though I get it sucks for people who drafted older guys who just...got older without the benefit of the production. That said, they saved some wear and tear on their arms. Plus I think the Sale/Syndergaard/Beede injury situations roll over into 2021 in the most equitable way.
Ultimately we can't predict any of this kind of stuff so I think stasis tends to be the best way to just roll through it.
eamuscatuli15 (work from home office): Do you think there will be a baseball season?
Craig Goldstein: I do think there will be, though I don't think there should (but I want there to be, under safe circumstances). I think there is too much capital on the line for owners not to push through this and do something with empty stadiums to make good on tv contracts and the revenue entailed in them. I don't think it will be smart and I wonder what will happen when an MLBer tests positive but there are also a few months between now and when a season might start. If tests can truly become available and players (and citizens!) can be tested and retested and quarantined effectively, I think that's viable. I don't think we're really going to reach that stage, but I think the league might make a risky play for some money anyway.
And to be clear this isn't based on talking to anyone in the game, just my personal thoughts.
bg (Sea): How many aces are there in the National League right now? And who is right on the cusp?
Craig Goldstein: sorry, had to attend to a baby!
This is a fun one: Strasburg, Scherzer, deGrom are my definites. I think you can be a larger circle type and include Flaherty and Corbin? Buehler is on the cusp, Castillo if he repeats. Nola seems right there, potentially but not quite yet. The version of Darvish that doesn't walk anyone...
brad (NJ): What players gain/lose the most dynasty value if there is no season? My guesses are losers are older SP, Verlander, Scherzer, Morton, Greinke, Hamels,etc.. and gaining value would be the youngest spects who their value is tied to physical projection and maturity, and years away from MLB like Jasson Dominguez, Erik Pena, Acosta, etc...
Craig Goldstein: Dominguez is essentially mostly filled out, so you can't group him in with projectable types like Pena just because he's young and signed recently. I also think you're overlooking that all of those guys are missing a year of development in terms of facing live pitchers in a competitive environment. I also think the older pitchers are going to avoid some wear and tear on their arms, mitigating some of the age-related attrition. Not all, to be clear, and broadly your thesis is fair but there are reasons why this isn't uniformly bad/good for those types.
coffeeguy8806 (Chicagoooo): One of the coolest aspects of baseball is that it has this embedded historical nature. What is your favorite historical aspect of baseball? (ie Flood with race/labor etc) thanks!
Craig Goldstein: Great question. I'm actually pretty terrible with baseball history overall but I think my favorite aspect in that regard is just how much of it there is and how it can trace and tie-in with historical aspects of the country. That was one of my favorite parts about Rob and Ginny's series on 1968-69 the last two years.
dylanrox (Inside the house ): Which pitchers would you target in a dynasty startup?
Some RP names I am mulling - Karinchak, Graterol. A Reyes. Burnes and F Peralta
SP: Garrett Richards K Wright Canning Alcantara
Trying to balance upside and current performance.
Craig Goldstein: I'm not sure RP targeting in a dynasty is highly worthwhile since the value of these types are tied to saves, which aren't always about skill. That said my ranking would be:
Garrett Richards (I think he starts, is more valuable)
Loria (Milwaukee): In a Keep 7 with Minor League rosters where guy are "free" keepers for 3 yrs following promotion. Usually its early picking of high upside guys way out (Luciano, N. Marte, Torkelson) etc.
I used my extra picks to stock up on almost ready arms instead: was able to nab May, Pearson, Manning, Pitino..
Could you guesstimate their upside, likely outcome, and when they will be fantasy relevent? Any Aces?
Craig Goldstein: Dying at Pitino as an autocorrect for Patino, honestly. Put Rick on the mound!
May, Pearson, and Patino have ace upside to me, though all come with varying risks. May needs to prove he can throw what was his best pitch in the minors (curve) in the majors, Pearson needs to prove he can stay healthy on a full slate of innings, and Patino hasn't broken 100 innings in a season yet, so there's always the question of how the stuff holds up over the course of a full season.
Manning isn't quite there in that group, for me, because the fastball is a little too straight for my tastes. I see him as more of a mid-rotation type at this point.
Will (Indianapolis): What do you think the Cubs' long term plan is for starting pitching? Lester is gonna retire after this year. Yu and Hendricks are a good start, but after that it's a whole lot of unknown.
Craig Goldstein: They're going to have to continue to look outside the organization, whether it's for free agents or in trades (Bryant, Contreras, etc.). I like Brailyn Marquez a lot, perhaps too much especially with his late in-season adjustments last year, but the cavalry isn't coming from within the system right now. I continue to see the Braves as logical trade partners for a Bryant deal because they have two outfield prospects who can both play center (or Austin Riley, if needed), plus Acuna, and a ton of arms that could be superfluous in Atlanta but useful in Chicago.
bob m (philly): Can KeBryan Hayes hit enough to be an above average ML 3rd baseman?
Also, how good can Tommy Edman be nummbers wise with 500+ AB's? Thx
Craig Goldstein: His glove is so good, I think he can do that without hitting a *ton*. But yeah, I still believe in the hit tool and his power isn't non-existent, the bat path just isn't geared for extra bases right now. I'm curious how the new regime in Pittsburgh will handle Hayes and his approach at the plate, in terms of development.
The Fonz (Milwaukee): What do you think the Yankees will get from Deivi Garcia this year (assuming we have a season of course)?
Craig Goldstein: They're benefiting a bit from the delayed start in terms of pitcher health (although it won't save Severino, obviously). I think Garcia, especially in a shortened season, can be really useful as a multi-inning relief guy.
dylanrox (In the house ): Thanks for the quick reply Craig. I failed to mention it’s a h2h points league and so closers are less valuable and the SP/RP eligibles get an extra bump and holds are half as valuable as saves.
Does that change the order entirely for you?
Craig Goldstein: I think I'm right to value the potential starters where I did, then, though you miiiight bump Wright up a bit if you think he gets a crack (I think he might not). Let's say...
Graterol (I think he starts getting holds a lot this year)
I think that's everyone. The reasons for the switch i/r/t Reyes is valuing the half value of holds this year against someone with his health history. I'm worried he misses a lot of time so if holds are of value, they move some of these guys up in the short-/mid-term compared to a guy I think will miss time.
Craig Goldstein: Thanks for the chat, folks, and sorry for the brief delay caused by the baby. Check in on Friday with Jesse Roche for all your fantasy and rankings questions!