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Chat: Jesse Roche

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday April 03, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jesse Roche.


Jesse Roche is a member of the fantasy team at Baseball Prospectus.

Jesse Roche: Apparently, it is Friday. Who knew?! Stay-at-home orders have swept the country (for good reason). I hope everyone is staying safe at home with enough toilet paper to ride out this pandemic. (I took an inventory and we have 15.5 rolls so we are OK for a little while at least.) In non-COVID-19 news, we finally released our Top-500 Dynasty Rankings for both batting average and on-base percentage formats! You can find these rankings using the Fantasy dropdown menu. These rankings will be regularly updated throughout the season, whenever that may be. Now, on to the questions!

Goat & Soda (Sarajevo): What do you think of my 14 team 5 x 5 pitching staff? (8 pitchers per team) Enough to compete? Nola, Erod, Ryu, Maeda, Odorizzi, Chirinos, Gausman, Hand, W. Smith

Jesse Roche: I think it is competitive, but it is probably below average in a 14-team league. You do not have a SP1. Instead, you have a SP2 (Aaron Nola), two SP3 (Eduardo Rodriguez & Hyun-Jin Ryu), two SP4 (Kenta Maeda & Jake Odorizzi), and two SP5 (Yonny Chirinos & Kevin Gausman). You will probably need some overperformance to keep pace with the top teams in the league. You also may be struggling for saves as Hand is a potential midseason trade candidate (he could lose his role) and Smith is technically not a closer at the moment, though I do expect him to receive 10+ saves.

sykklone (IA): Hey thanks for the chat. What NL guys mostly out of the top 100 do you like? My options include Vilade, Vargas, Perdomo, Canario, etc.

Jesse Roche: It depends on format (presumably NL-only at least), but both Geraldo Perdomo (72) and Alexander Canario (78) are top-100 dynasty prospects. You can find our top 350 here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/article/57806/top-350-dynasty-prospects-march-2020/

Others outside the top 100 I personally really like include Luis Matos (105), Jose Garcia (106) & Liover Peguero (133).

spotted cow (Rockford): Is the excess down time noticeably affecting any of your dynasty leagues communication? I.E. More trade offers, more random check ins, or have they just turned down for time being?

Jesse Roche: Yes. It is not just the down time and absence of baseball, but the uncertainty regarding when (and if) the 2020 season will begin. There has been next to no activity in my dynasty leagues lately. It is difficult to make trades when certain player values are in flux. I definitely could see like-for-like trades happening (i.e., prospect for prospect), but those are few and far between. For example, I do not think it is wise for a win-now team to try to trade for win-now assets at this time since we do not know what constitutes a win-now window without more information. A rebuilding club certainly should try to move win-now assets now, but the market may simply not be there.

coffeeguy8806 (Chicagoooo): Hey Jesse! Hope all is well and you are staying safe. When looking through reports are there physical attributes or scout type words that you look for when comparing deeper/younger prospects. IE physical projection vs already filled out. Thanks!

Jesse Roche: Thanks! Doing my best to stay safe here in Greensboro. Hope you're doing well in Chicago!

For deeper/younger prospects, I look for bat speed, bat-to-ball ability, raw power, and raw speed. In fact, the physical aspects that may be the easiest to scout for these prospects are what draws my eye. Things like strike zone judgment, plate discipline, all-fields ability, spin recognition, etc. are easier to develop over time and are extremely variable for young hitters.

As for pitchers, I want to see present fastball velocity and at least one promising secondary. Command and repertoire depth take time to develop. Athleticism and a good frame (6-foot-2 to 6-foot-5) is also ideal. Bigger/smaller often equates to relief risk in some shape or form. A clean, repeatable delivery is a plus, while balancing against deception.

I do not really ascribe by the physical projection mantra. It really needs a lot of context as some body types, while thin, are simply not likely to add impact weight as they mature. Guys like Triston McKenzie, for instance, are not going to suddenly not be pencil thin. I like high-waisted, long-legged, and broad-shouldered frames. An ideal scout frame is Fernando Tatis Jr. I am all about a foundation to build from rather than hoping that foundation eventually develops.

This really should be an article for the prospect team. I'll pass the idea along.

Brandon (MO ): Any deep league specials that could help this season or early next? Thinking Cory Abbott Kevin Padlo deep. (450 specs owned)

Jesse Roche: Who may help in 2020 is becoming cloudier and cloudier. Both Abbott and Padlo are good picks. Others (by position) include:

C-Dom Nunez COL (2020), Cal Raleigh SEA (2021)
1B-Taylor Jones HOU (2020), Tyler Nevin COL (2021)
2B-Andy Young ARI (2020), Travis Blankenhorn MIN (2021)
3B-Lucas Erceg MIL (2020), Rylan Bannon BAL (2021)
SS-Jake Cronenworth SD (2020), Owen Miller SD (2021)
OF-Jaylin Davis SF (2020), Ryan McKenna BAL (2020), Daz Cameron DET (2020), Jarren Duran BOS (2021) Mickey Moniak PHI (2021)
P-Dean Kremer BAL (2020), Nick Neidert MIA (2020), Trey Supak MIL (2020), David Peterson NYM (2020), Ljay Newsome SEA (2020), Sean Hjelle SF (2021), Eli Morgan CLE (2021), Thad Ward BOS (2021)

BJ (Boston): I can't help it, I'm still compulsively tinkering with prospects for the last few spots on my deep dynasty roster. Would you drop any of: Rafael Marchan, Johan Oviedo, Yolbert Sanchez, John Doxakis, Jordan Humphreys; for any of: Jose De La Cruz, Yohendrick Pinango, Junior Santos, Nasim Nunez, Darryl Collins. Thanks Jesse!

Jesse Roche: Yes. I would add Nasim Nunez and Darryl Collins, and drop Rafael Marchan and Jordan Humphreys. If it is a 30-team league or 2-catcher 15-team league, then I would probably hold Marchan over Collins. Jose De La Cruz and Junior Santos are interesting, but I think Johan Oviedo, Yolbert Sanchez, and John Doxakis are high-probability prospects with value in deep formats. If it is a shallower format (20 or less teams), then I would definitely drop any of those three for De La Cruz and Santos, both of which have more upside.

Chris (E-Ville): I play in an open universe dynasty league and one of the better teams in our league just drafted Asa Lacy, Nick Gonzales, Zac Veen, Reid Detmers, and Jud Fabian (2021) this year. And then he picked up Nick Bitsko and, for next year's class, Brady House and Braylon Bishop. He's basically rebuilt while simultaneously competing. I don't have a question. I just wanted to say I'm super jealous and wish I'd thought of this strategy myself.

Jesse Roche: Ha nice work! No matter your contention cycle, you should always be looking to improve or subtly rebuild. I am all about competitive rebuilds.

Mookie betts (Los Angeles?): Will I ever play a game for the Dodgers?

Jesse Roche: I hope so, because that means there is a 2020 season. At this point, I think the season begins in July, plays through October, with playoffs in November and the World Series around Thanksgiving.

Chris (Cleveland): I haven't you say much about Peyton Burdick in the past. Are we buying in on his 2019 season? I've heard him nicknamed "Baby Trout" for his similar body type. What sort of upside does he have offensively?

Jesse Roche: I noted him previously in chats on 2/14 and 2/21 stated: Peyton Burdick was a 3rd round pick in the 2019 draft. He impressed in the Midwest League (.307/.408/.542) and offers plus raw power with a touch of speed. His hit tool remains questionable, and he had some swing-and-miss (13.3% SwStr) in Low-A. Still, he is a nice mid-round pick in FYPDs this offseason.


I am buying in to a point. I think he has intriguing tools (plus raw power, 50+ speed), but his hit tool may only be borderline. It is unclear if he will hit enough to profile as a R/R corner OF bat. That said, Burdick has nice fantasy upside. Think .250/25/10, maybe even more power.

Gerald (Canada): I drafted an okay team in a dynasty league a few years ago but haven't really done much with it. I don't trade much. I'm playing the long game. So in a way, baseball just not happening plays right into my hands. No game at all is basically the same as the long game.

Jesse Roche: You need to hustle and trade to turn the corner. Open a dialogue, gather information, and find those valuation gaps!

Frank (Columbus): Is Tyler Ivey a legit rotation option for the Astros this year or next?

Jesse Roche: I do not think so. Ivey fits more in the bullpen long-term given his messy delivery and borderline command. He does have three 50+ pitches (FB, SL, CB) and his CB flashes plus. All probably play up in the pen and I could see him developing into an excellent 7th inning arm.

Elton (Pacific Northwest): Everyone said I shouldn't plan to tank 2020, now the season is probably canceled, score one for the rebuilders. Right?

Jesse Roche: Definitely. Everything that is happening only benefits rebuilding teams and, well, the Orioles (poor O's).

Jordan (South Dakota): In terms of baseball, nothing seems fine anymore. Do you like Will Smith as my long term catcher in a dynasty league? Thank you

Jesse Roche: Yes. Will Smith is our 6th catcher in dynasty formats. I see his peak around .250/.340 with 25 HR, give or take.

Kyle (Miami): I traded away Francisco Lindor for a 2nd round FYPD pick in 2021 on April 1st, it got accepted, and now the guy wont reverse the. trade. What do I do?

Jesse Roche: April Fool's Day can be a double-edged sword. Talk with your commissioner. I cannot imagine any commish allowing such a trade to go through in the first place.

meswan (Texas): Hi Jesse, Thoroughly enjoy the BP chat sessions - Always look forward to reading them. I was able to view Sherten Aspostle a bit during Spring Training, he looked extremely green from my eyes. It was difficult for me to conclude anything else. I am curious about his future, BP has him at #98 on the recent ranking. What’s your crystal ball on his potential MLB successes?

Jesse Roche: Thanks! Sherten Apostel is certainly extremely green or raw on both sides of the ball. He has plus bat speed, plus raw power, and strong plate discipline. His swing can get a bit long and pitch recognition is a work in progress, but he makes enough hard contact to offset those concerns. I think he develops a borderline, or even average, hit tool at maturity to go along with plus or better raw power which he should get to in games. I see something like .265/.350 with 30+ HRs at peak. It is unclear if that will come at 3B or 1B, however.

madison28 (Phoenix): what is the difference between Drew Waters and Dylan Carlson? Both seemed to have similar years and Carlson seems to have better path to majors...but Waters appears to be a better dynasty prospects (according to your rankings).

Jesse Roche: Bret Sayre is the high guy on Waters, hence his ranking. I am not quite as high, and I actually do prefer Carlson to Waters ever so slightly. The argument for Waters is he has a slightly better hit tool and far more speed than Carlson. From the left-side, he is a potential plus hitter with potential 50+ raw power. His right-handed stroke still needs work. Waters is also an aggressive hitter, resulting in an elevated swinging strike rate and lower OBP. At peak, he could hit .285/.340 with 20 HRs and 20 SBs.

As for Carlson, he has a touch less hit and less speed, but a good bit more raw power. At peak, he could hit .280/.360 with 25 HRs and 10 SBs.

Overall, Waters gets the edge due to his SB potential, but in OBP formats or formats that ding SBs (like points), Carlson is the choice.

Cyle (Sioux Falls): I traded Mookie Betts for Spencer Howard, CJ Abrams, and Nate Lowe. Did I dominate the trade?

Jesse Roche: It depends on league size/scoring, but I would not trade Betts for that package in most formats. Sorry :(

Ben (Quarantine ): Hi Jesse, can you please talk about your draft prep process for redraft and new dynasty leagues, and adjustments you typically find you’re making through the draft?

Jesse Roche: I first address the league size and scoring and make necessary adjustments to rankings/projections. Then, I analyze each position group and find players underrated in that particular format against ADP and circle/highlight those players.

Once draft order is determined, I try to figure out who may fall to my various picks based on ADP and when to target the highlighted players. Still, I tend to take best player available for awhile. In redraft roto, I want to acquire a SP with one of my first 3 picks normally. In dynasty, I normally enter the draft with a plan (i.e., 27 and under, 25 and under) and shape my early picks around that plan. I always want to compete and I do not believe in the prospects-only and tank approach to a dynasty startup, even if it can be quite successful.

As the draft progresses, I try to go with the flow. If everyone is taking pitchers, I want to make sure I do not miss out even if there is better value elsewhere. Granted, I also try to avoid reaches at all costs, but sometimes you just have to get your guy. Hell, I took Mike Soroka at 64th overall in Prospects 365's Expert Dynasty League last November. Had to get my guy there.

Flexibility is crucial in all drafts. Your draft board will change and you may find yourself passing on the top guy on your board for several rounds. Just because a player is atop your board, does not mean you need to take him. Too often owners take a player in, say, Round 6 that they could have taken in Round 10.

Goat & Soda (Sarajevo): How close is Logan Gilbert to the Pearson, Whitely, Manning class?

Jesse Roche: Not that close. His raw stuff pales in comparison.

Goat & Soda (Sarajevo): Are you of the mindset that you should especially favor hitters in the first 5 to 10 rounds with this delayed start to the season? I would think pitcher injuries will be more widespread.

Jesse Roche: Yes, but for a different reason. I think more pitchers will be healthy for the entire season. We also will see more pitchers under an innings limit be able to pitch the entire season (i.e., Jesus Luzardo). So guys you can get around 100th overall (Luzardo, Montas, Lamet, even Gore) could produce similarly to top-50 arms.

Dusty (Colorado): How has quarantine changed your thoughts on Wander Javier? What's his upside?

Jesse Roche: A history of my Wander Javier chat takes:

1/24: As you well know, Wander Javier represents a dyad in the baseball force between Wander Franco and Javier Baez. Hence, the name.

2/14: His upside is such that all your tireless effort will be recognized throughout the industry and Dusty Colorado will be hailed as a prophet.

2/21: His upside is so high, I had to remove him from the Ceiling-Only Top 101 because it burned with the light of a thousand suns.

And today . . . his upside is so high, he will still break minor league single season hitting records despite the shortened season.

Jesse Roche: That is it from me today. Be sure to check out the Top 500 Dynasty Rankings and the latest episode of the Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball Podcast: https://twitter.com/5ToolPod/status/1245680808180023301?s=20

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