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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday June 19, 2020 12:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.


Jeffrey Paternostro is the Lead Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospects.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Chat time

Dan (Baltimore): The general consensus in Baltimore seems to be that Elias tried to play the bonus manipulation game and his guys didn't make it to 30/39. Do you think internally they're happy with how the draft went?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think a team has never been unhappy with their draft in the history of baseball drafts. I'm sure the Mets were pleased they got Steve Chilcotte. The bonus manipulation game is risky, as we cover in our roundtable, but there were still over bonus options at 30 that they passed on so you have to assume they were happy with their targets further down the line. As for me, well I don't think it was worth the difference between Martin/Kjerstad.

Jake (you don't want to know): Without the advanced rookie league level to bridge the complex league to lo-A jump how do you think teams will develop intl prospects? Sign at 16, play complex league at 17, play lo-A at 18 whether they are ready or not? Two years at the complex level and then lo-A at 19? Ignoring for now the backlog that creates in the complex league. Some intl players are ready for lo-A at 18, but I assume most are not. If I was MLB I'd be terrified that MiLB contraction is going to significantly hurt a big segment of prospects. Is the cost savings really worth that risk?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think some of this depends on what exactly the PBA restructuring creates in terms of contract ceilings. I could see some sort of tiered Complex League structure, where you have a mored advanced team and a regular GCL/AZL one, but it will I think change how quickly teams are willing to cut bait on prospects that don't immediately develop stateside or can't make the jump to Full-season-A" smoothly. If there is one thing we have learned from the last couple months, it's that cost savings in the main priority for teams/the league, full stop.

Dan (Baltimore): O's fan here, can you talk me off the ledge on our draft, or should I just jump? Having a hard time thinking the two over slot guys we grabbed at the end of the draft justify Kjerstad instead of Martin.

Jeffrey Paternostro: So the converse of my first answer is, well what's the actual percentage chance Martin has a better career than Kjerstad. It's better than 50% (hence our relative pre-draft rankings) but is it even 60%. Kjerstad probably wasn't getting out of the top ten, and you could certainly argue there is more upside in the bat. Even it Bitsko made it to 30 you are betting on a 17-year-old prep righty who no one saw in 2020. There's a reason we can only really analyze strategy until five years out.

Old Timer (Raleigh NC): More often than not, with later first round picks the A's tend to go for college players. This year they went against that trend with HSer Tyler Soderstrom at 26. Did the A's steal march on the rest of the league with this pick? Seems the advanced bat would have gone higher. Many thanks.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think they identified the best overall talent on the board at that point and determined the bonus number was feasible with the rest of their draft plans. My feeling about prep catchers are well known (don't draft prep catchers) but Soderstrom probably isn't a catcher long term so you are really just taking the bat. If you view him more as a 3B/OF prep bat (albeit one that can maybe catch here and there for you in a robot ump era) I don't know if he's all that different from Walker with similar risks in the long term hit tool projection. He was far from my favorite prep bat option in the draft, but I was surprised he fell to 26.

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