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Chat: Jesse Roche

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday May 15, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jesse Roche.


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

Jesse Roche: TGIF! I have been on a hiatus for a couple weeks as I had to prepare my house to be put on the market and make a house hunting trip to Charleston, South Carolina, all while working and taking care of a 1-year-old. So busy time! I am back to a more normal schedule now, especially starting next week. Meanwhile, I returned to the Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball Podcast presented by Fantrax this week and you all should go check it out including our other episodes (two of which included interviews of Shane Baz and Kody Hoese!). Alright, now to the questions!

John e (Quest): Last years july2 class aside from Rodriquez, puasaon, and j Dominguez - anyone else standout this early or creating buzz?

Jesse Roche: Erick Pena, Maximo Acosta, and Hedbert Perez have stood out, impressing in instructs and flashing big tools. Pena could develop into a 6/7/5 bat (hit/power/speed) who may stick in center field. He notably ripped a single off of a Michael Kopech heater. Acosta has received comps to a young Gleyber Torres, which is high praise. He has a well-regarded hit tool with potential average-to-above power and some speed. Perez is the son of former big-leaguer Robert Perez. He has a Tyler O'Neill-type physique (the kid is jacked), and probably similar FV grades for his tools with maybe a bit more hit.

Angel bravo (Cincinnati): Who do you see replacing Ryan Zimmerman Castro,and adam Eaton for the nats by 2022. Anything internally interesting?

Jesse Roche: Ryan Zimmerman is already a part-time player, likely ceding at-bats against right-handed pitching to Eric Thames at first base. The Nationals recently drafted Drew Mendoza and immediately moved him from third to first base. He is a polished college bat (Florida State) who should move quickly. That said, he may not be much more than a typical 4/6 (hit/power) type with a long swing (6-foot-5) and average bat speed. At second base, I would expect Luis Garcia will arrive by 2022. While his numbers in Double-A are far from inspiring, he was extremely young for the level and displays excellent bat-to-ball ability to go along with a touch of power and speed. Garcia is also a solid defender. A 2022 infield of Mendoza, Garcia, Turner, and Kieboom is quite good (though, Turner will be a UFA after 2022). The Nationals do not have any obvious internal outfield options other than organizational depth. I would imagine Eaton is replaced by a free agent.

Bob brenly (Athens): The dbacks outfield depth looks loaded with Robinson ,Thomas,carroll, and espinal. Wondering how you se that shaking out for 2022-2023 . Would one go to dh or1b

Jesse Roche: The Diamondbacks not only have a wealth of outfielders, but the entire system is stacked. Kristian Robinson, Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll, Wildred Patino, Jeferson Espinal, and Dominic Fletcher are an excellent group of outfielders. Not all prospects succeed, however, and several will surely regress and/or fail to reach FV expectations. I doubt any switch positions, either. Best case scenario is the entire group excels, then the Diamondbacks can always look to move excess for other pieces (like the Cardinals have done recently to questionable effect).

Art shamsky (Cincinnati): Will Francisco alvarez’s glove play in the majors.the bat certainly looks fine

Jesse Roche: It is difficult to project 18-year-old catching prospects, and, more often than not, they are poor dynasty investments. That said, all signs point to Francisco Alvarez being a solid defensive catcher. Our Mets write-up has this to say about his defense:

"Alvarez is very comfortable behind the plate, too, athletic enough to handle bad breakers in the dirt, and he shows a quick trigger out of the crouch that allows his above-average arm to play up. The receiving appears advanced for his age, and he takes charge with his pitchers."

The bat obviously carries the profile, but Alvarez is far from a one-trick pony. His glove projects to play behind the plate in the majors.

Ryan (Montreal): I am trying to figure out a way to ask this without sounding ungrateful. I do appreciate the time put in by the BP team. Many of BP's chats are quite, ummm, short. Is it strictly a number of questions in the queue thing or are some members of the team less willing to spend more time than may be mandated? My apologies if this didn't come out right. Thank you all for your work, especially during this difficult time.

Jesse Roche: I cannot speak to others at BP, but I normally answer all the questions I receive. Sometimes, I cannot get to them all. I try to spend time providing a well thought out answer to each question. Sometimes, I receive less than 10 questions total. For example, I only have 10 unique questions remaining today.

Jordan (South Dakota): I'm the commish of a dynasty league. We had our final cut down just before this all started and our auction was supposed to follow. We freeze trades between final cuts and auction so that people have time to digest the pool and everyone's budgets and prepare, etc. Anyway, the league has been on trade freeze all this time. Seems fine. However this week I negotiated a trade where I will rip off another owner. So I was thinking of lifting the trade restriction so that I may make this deal. There's precedent. Earlier in the offseason a new owner took over and was on an initial trade freeze, but he and I reached an agreement where I would acquire cost controlled Franklin Barretto for nothing before his freeze was lifted, so I went ahead and decided he was qualified to trade and lifted his restriction so we could process the deal. It was great. Thank you.

Jesse Roche: I am not sure this is the best practice as a commissioner of a dynasty league. I always try to put the league first as commissioner, which is not always ideal for me as an owner. If others in the league do not have issue with you lifting the trade freeze, then I see no problem in doing it. However, you should probably permit others to pursue trades in the meantime.

sykklone (IA): What do you think about Hunter Bishop's upside and chances that he gets to it?

Jesse Roche: Bishop has massive upside. My peak projection in my Ceiling-Only Top 101 is .260/.350/.490/30/15. He has huge power with playable speed on the bases. All about whether he will make enough contact. I wrote this about Hunter Bishop back in January:

The younger brother of Braden Bishop, a speedy outfielder for the Mariners, Hunter has the same plus speed and high-end athleticism. However, the comparisons end there. He inherited nearly all the power in the Bishop family. His large, 6-foot-5 frame generates easy double-plus raw power to all fields.

Until this past year, though, Bishop and his long levers struggled to make quality and regular contact. He hit just .242/.362/.381 with a 30.2 percent strikeout rate in 2018 between college and the Cape Cod League. A mechanical adjustment at the plate allowed Bishop to more regularly tap into his raw power and make more consistent contact. As such, he enjoyed a massive breakout performance during his junior year (.342/.479/.748), pacing teammate and potential 2020 first-overall pick Spencer Torkelson at the plate. During his brief debut between the Arizona and Northwest Leagues, he flashed power (307.7-foot estimated fly-ball distance, .200 ISO), speed (eight stolen bases in 32 games), and patience (26 percent walk rate).

Despite his progress, Bishop continues to suffer from an elevated swing-and-miss, partly due to his size, swing length, and, at times, passive approach. Further, he lacks much of a track record of success against advanced pitching, and he faltered a bit in Pac-12 Conference play (.269/.395/.529). Nevertheless, few prospects possess his combination of game-changing power and impact speed.

horns1c (Texas): In a 20 team dynasty league. I have Acuna but I’m thinking of moving him. Would a return of Tatis & Devers or Tatis & Lux be enough? Thanks.

Jesse Roche: I loathe moving elite young talent like Ronald Acuna Jr.; however, I would move him in a heartbeat for Fernando Tatis Jr. and Rafael Devers, both of which are top-15 dynasty assets.

MrWiseGuy (Souvenir City): Peak seasons, who do you favor and why: Austin Martin or Nick Gonzales?

Jesse Roche: Tough one! I favor Austin Martin, who was an elite performer over the last two years in the most difficult conference in college baseball. I think he develops into 6+/5+/5+ (hit/power/speed) bat with upside to hit .310/20/20 in the majors at peak. Of course, this would be an excellent outcome. On the other hand, Gonzales is also an excellent hitter and a better bet to play at a more shallow fantasy position (2B). He has a bit less hit and much less speed imo, even if he offers a bit more raw power. At peak, I could see Gonzales hitting .295/25/10. I think he profiles remarkably similar to Keston Hiura, though with less raw power and less pure hitting ability (it is difficult to comp anyone to a young star). Both are excellent dynasty assets.

Doc Antel (Oklahoma): Hi Jesse! Not sure if I'm overreacting due to lack of an update on his injury, but I'm considering shopping Judge around in a deep dynasty points league. How do you feel about trading him for Gore and Luciano?

Jesse Roche: The injuries are piling up for Aaron Judge over the past few years. I completely understand the frustration for a dynasty owner. He should be fully recovered by the time baseball resumes, whenever that may be. This is the latest article on his recovery: https://nypost.com/2020/05/05/yankees-aaron-judge-getting-ct-scan-in-couple-more-weeks/

(I hate citing the New York Post for anything . . .)

I think an offer of MacKenzie Gore and Marco Luciano for Judge in a deep dynasty points league is fair. Of course, it never hurts to try to squeeze a bit more (maybe a pick or prospect), and it does depend on your contention window. Though, baseball may not happen in 2020, and losing a year of Judge's prime is devastating for dynasty owners. I would strongly consider moving Judge for that package, especially with a kicker.

Jim (Chicago): Good luck in Charleston. I moved there in 2004 when I first had kids. Folly Beach is my favorite area, so recommend a place that can get you down there in 15 minutes or less. Anyway, should probably ask a question: If you've got a stable of AA to AAA prospects, what hope do I have of seeing any development assuming there is a limited if any minor league season?

Jesse Roche: Thanks! We are looking to purchase a house in James Island, not far from Folly Beach, so definitely looking forward to the beaches!

There was a false report in late April that the minor league season would be cancelled. I think it is very possible the season is cancelled even if MLB play resumes. It is understated how much of an impact the delayed season will have on prospect development. Many of these young men do not have a stable home environment or access to professional facilities. Not only could this delay (or cancellation) result in slowed development, but it could cause many players to regress. Shane Baz briefly spoke about how he had to scramble to acquire workout equipment on the Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball Podcast, and he has previously advised Emily Waldon about the creative ways other prospects are finding to work out and lift weights. Structure and routine is so vital for many of these young athletes, and this delay has thrown all of that out of whack. I think it is a real problem for all prospects, especially teenage prospects who cannot benefit from instructs. It is less an issue for prospects in the upper minors who have had several years of professional training and presumably will be more likely to continue and replicate such training during their time off. Prospects will less development needed will be impacted less. I think a stable of AA/AAA prospects is a good spot to be in at the moment, especially will 2020 contracts expiring after the year and upcoming Rule 5 Draft roster implications. Prospects on the cusp arguably benefit the most (other than injured players) from this delay as it brings their debut closer without having to wait for them in the upper minors.

Tommy (LA): When do you see Brandon Marsh coming up? How do you think he compares to Carlson, Monte Harrison, kelenic, Rodriguez etc.

Jesse Roche: I think Marsh arrives in 2021 at this point. He likely begins the season back in Double-A, though he should move to Triple-A pretty quickly (as soon as Jo Adell moves on to the majors). I prefer all those outfielders (except Harrison) to Marsh (Harrison really should not be part of this conversation). I view Marsh as a potential 5+/5/5+ bat, which is not too dissimilar from Dylan Carlson (5+/5+/5). Both Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic are next level in tools. At peak, I think Marsh could hit around .275/.350/.450/20/15, give or take, which is a stones throw from Carlson (.280/.360/.490/25/10). I just think he carries a bit more risk given his injury history, proximity, and production. We do really like Marsh here at BP.

brad (NJ): Jesse, what happens if they start the season and then a player tests positive?

Jesse Roche: https://images.app.goo.gl/UmUtfBTw8kju9uTe9

Morganna (Kississimee): Thoughts on a couple of cub kids_-Luis verdugo and Edmond Americaan

Jesse Roche: Luis Verdugo enjoyed a strong finish last year in the AZL, hitting .395/.439/.697 with 5 home runs in August. In fact, all 5 home runs came over a 6-game stretch! Despite his offensive outburst to close the season, he profiles as a glove-first prospect with enough hitting ability and pop to possibly carve out a utility role.

Americaan was a 35th round pick in the 2018 draft, who performed as a league-average bat in the Northwest League (104 DRC+) last year at 22 years old. I do not see much here. He has some speed, but little power, plenty of swing-and-miss, and so-so plate discipline.

brad14 (NJ): Last year, I heard that draft class was weak, basically 6 good players, but this year's draft was supposed to be the best draft in 9 years. Now I don't see any player grading higher than Adley and maybe more depth, but not a better top 6, so is this due to loss of development time or players regressed?

Jesse Roche: Last year was an excellent fantasy draft at the top (the top 5 are all top 30 dynasty prospects for us), but it lacked much depth and it had weaker pitching talent than many drafts. This upcoming class is stacked in pitching talent, from college to prep arms. Plus, it contains a few top-50 dynasty prospect bats in Spencer Torkelson, Austin Martin, and Nick Gonzales. This draft is lauded due to the aforementioned pitchers and the depth throughout. I agree that the very top of this class is not as good as 2019.

Jesse Roche: It has been yet another busy afternoon, and I tried to get to as many questions as I could while managing big life decisions (such as submitting an offer on a house in Charleston!). I will be back next Friday for even more questions. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @jaroche6 and follow the Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball Podcast @5ToolPod! Have a great weekend, everyone!

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