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Chat: Mark Barry

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday September 04, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Mark Barry.


Mark Barry is a member of the Baseball Prospectus fantasy team.

Mark Barry: Hello everyone. I hope you're well. Let's do a chat.

coffeeguy8806 (Chicago): What’s your take on Kyle Tucker? As you e stayed, Stros reluctant to play em. But he has decent scouting reports... what to do?!? Much love, stay safe. TINO FOR lyfe

Mark Barry: Well, as the great American poet & Macho Man, Randy Savage would say, it would appear as though the proverbial cream has risen to the top. The Astros started slow and Tucker has just gradually inserted himself as a key bat in their lineup - pretty much hitting 5th everyday.

For me, I was always more concerned about his playing time than his talent. It seems like rhythm is so important to production and development, and it's hard to find that rhythm with sporadic playing time. He's at .262/.319/.548 right now (which is almost exactly what he did last season) and he's striking out less and walking more.

I think I'm back on the bandwagon. Perhaps a little too late.

darielsantana (Santo domingo): What can we expect from Mountcastle?

Mark Barry: I don't think he'll post an OPS over .900 for the long haul, but he should be a legit threat to hit .280ish with 25 homers at a low-stakes defensive position. He should be a solid OF3-4 for awhile.

Capital.frock (HongKong): I'm emerging from a 3 year rebuild in a deep 15 team dynasty (roto 6x6 obp, slg, holds, 1 catcher, 20 minors spots per team) and have been offered George Kirby + 1st rounder in the FYP draft for Will Smith. Am I crazy not to take it? I've heard he's added velo this year, but what kind of upside do you see from kirby in SEA?

Mark Barry: One catcher definitely makes Will Smith less valuable in dynasty, so I'd always listen to offers. I like Kirby a decent bit. He had the reputation of "strike-thrower" coming into the draft, and he hasn't really done anything to dispel that. He reminds me a little of Shane Bieber in that way - though I'm not saying he'll turn into Bieber by any stretch. I think Kirby could be a solid SP4, with a handful of SP3 seasons.

It sort of depends where the 1st rounder might land, but Kirby + a top 30ish prospect seems like a decent enough return, but I wonder if you might be able to do better by putting Smith on the block for everyone to bid.

meswan (Texas): Hi Mark, thank you for taking your time to answer my question. I thoroughly enjoy the BP chats. What do you think the future holds for Kevin Cron? Does he have the chops to be a starting 1B/DH in MLB or is he pretty much destined for backup and AAA duty for most of his career. On watching him he looks to have some power in his bat. Thanks, Mike

Mark Barry: Hey Mike, thanks for the question!

Cron definitely has some power, but it also feels like that spot is so loaded in Arizona that he's going to have to absolutely go off to get a consistent shot. With no minor-league season, that really hurts. At the risk of being super lazy with the comps, he does remind me of his brother, and I think he'd do well on a second team where there's a little less of a logjam at the cold corner.

jacquehamed (baltimore): In a roster crunch in AL only league. Have to drop someone today, and I am debating between Hansel Robles or Kris Bubic. I lead the league in Ks, I am top 5 in ERA/WHIP, top 3 in Ws, middle of the pack in saves. I dont think Robles gets that job back, even if he is great the rest of the way. But Bubic is more redundant to my roster with enough SP on my team to survive. So who to drop? Leaning Robles.

Mark Barry: Yikes, I didn't realize how dicey it had gotten for Robles. In my "expert" opinion, a 13.09 ERA is really not what you're looking for. That said, he's stranding 39% of baserunners and opponents are hitting .406 against him on balls in play. Both of those numbers should see some positive regression.

Even still, like you said, it's hard to imagine him getting that job back in the next month, so I'd probably roll with Bubic and hope for a few wins.

Patrick (MPLS): Not so much a question but an observation that with all the rescheduled games due to COVID and weather, we are being treated to the rare sight of teams being the visitors in their own parks. Today's examples are Minnesota "at" Detroit, Pittsburgh "at" Cincinnati, and Boston "at" Toronto/Buffalo.

Mark Barry: This season is insane. I wish all of the health concerns weren't still lingering in my mind because seeing the Marlins, Blue Jays, and hell even the Tigers linger around the playoffs is bonkers and I love it.

As long as people can stay healthy, I'm rooting for just the weirdest stuff across the board.

Kyle (Il): Sorry for long question...H2H pts league. Players move up 1 Rnd each year. Please tell me what rounds you would keep the following group of players in rounds 1-8. I have the following picks available. 2 in the 8th, 1 in the 7th & 6th, 2 in the 5th, 2 in the 4th, none in Rnd 2 & 3, and 1 in the 1st. Bieber, Hiura, Vladdy, Y Alvarez, Tatis Jr can be kept anywhere in the 8th on down to 1. Soto and Acuna can be kept in the 7th on down, And Yelich can be kept in the 5th on down. If it helps I have Groshans, Luciano, N Marte, K Robinson, G Valera, Ian Anderson, T McKenzie, and Josiah Gray in my minor league system. We sat this season out. Thank you. Entire Minor league system graduated at the same darn time

Mark Barry: Hopefully I interpreted the question right - 8th: Tatis & Vlad, 7th: Acuna, 6th: Soto, 5th Yelich & Bieber, 4th: Hiura & Alvarez .

For your graduates, I'd definitely keep Anderson and keep an eye on Triston and his health the ROS before making that decision.

bozodidthedub (my own failures): I didn't pickup Pablo Lopez over the winter when I had a chance, as recommended on TINO, because I wasn't sure about strikeout potential (it's a K/9 dynasty). He's still just around league average, but that's an improvement from last year, and I'm kicking myself, trying to figure out how to avoid this mistake in the future. Are there any ways you can tell when a young pitcher might make gains in K% without a big change in raw stuff? Gerrit Cole would be the extreme example, but maybe not helpful because in his case the strikeout stuff was apparent.

Mark Barry: I love Pablo Lopez.

With Lopez specifically, he went through a stretch of looking really good last year, then gave up something like 8 runs in less than an inning and then got hurt. So his bottom line really didn't vibe with what we were watching. To keep an eye on future breakouts, I like to look at walk rates and swinging strike rates. Or even more in depth - swinging strikes for different pitches. So many guys are trading traditional arsenals for the "Throw Your Best Pitch All the Time" method, so if a guy has a standout pitch (Lopez's changeup), it's easy to imagine the scenario where he just throws it more and has more strikeout success. Like this year.

I'm sorry if that sounded ramble-y, I just get excited talking about Marlins pitching, apparently.

Donnymo (Bremen): 20 games on one day; have you ever experienced that before? Will Billy save his job with the Angels?

Mark Barry: I have not. It is going to be wild.

And man, I don't know how much of it is his fault exactly, but it definitely seems like the water is getting warmer. You can't really have the Angels' payroll, the best player in the world, and not have success. I'd be worried for him.

Jefferson Airplane (Boston): Curious to know what you thought of Jesse/Bret's rankings, and whether there are any players you're notably different on?

Mark Barry: Those guys do such a great job, I think arguing with them about dynasty rankings would be a little like me trying to tell Clayton Kershaw how to throw a curveball or arguing with Craig on how to bake pies or do Twitter.

I will say that I'm a little more scared of Yordan Alvarez (health) and Victor Robles (productivity) than Jesse/Bret. I wonder if Giolito shouldn't be a little higher (currently behind Clevinger, Paddack, & Snell), and I can't seem to figure out what is going on with Adalberto Mondesi. He's either way low or way high and I can't seem to tell. Which probably just means that he's ranked correctly.

Rain (The Clouds): There appears to be a reasonable dropoff from the top 4 in next years FYPD options. Would you agree that there a a reasonable tier drop from there until the mid-late teens?

Mark Barry: I think there's a drop off after the top 3. But then 4-12ish are all pretty interesting and could be pretty productive, so there's some decent depth at least.

John (Whereabouts): Gerrit Cole - just a slow and unlucky start in his new digs, or something more there?

Mark Barry: I think he's done. He had a good run, but it's over now.

Kidding. He's just giving up a ton of homers. His DRA is still pretty good (3.48) and he's still striking out a bunch of dudes. I think 2019 was probably the best Cole we'll see, but that just means he'll be good from here out as opposed to otherworldly.

Bphil (MO): Correa a nice buy low in dynasty?

Mark Barry: I was off Correa heading into the offseason, thinking he was a little overrated for my taste. Then in February/March he was being drafted as like the 12-13th best SS, so I thought maybe he was a little underrated there, actually.

It's pretty much always been about health for Correa, and that's what makes him a tricky dynasty target. If you feel like he's going for a discount, though, I wouldn't hesitate to pounce.

coffeeguy8806 (Somewhere): Hey Mark, Given the way prospects have been promoted this year, do you foresee this changing the general approach by MLB teams? Calling up players sooner, to help tip the scales. Or are teams just doing this for a shortened season/impending CBA? Thanks! Stan (stay safe!)

Mark Barry: Hey Stan! Hope you're safe too, buddy!

I think it's probably a combination of a few things this season: 1) The alternate sites aren't really helping that much with development, 2) Teams know that the CBA is going to change service time rules, so it could be a moot point, 3) (Perhaps naively) Prospects are fun, and calling them up instead of yanking them around does gain some goodwill.

Honestly it could also just be that things are weird, and teams have found service time loopholes in correlation with days in the league during a shortened season. It's really fun, though!

Mark Barry: Thanks everybody for the questions, this was fun. Hope everyone has a safe/healthy Labor Day weekend. Wear a mask. It's cool and you feel line Bane. Win/win.

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