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Chat: Jesse Roche

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday September 02, 2020 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jesse Roche.


Jesse Roche is a member of the BP Fantasy Team and co-authored the recent updated dynasty rankings

Jesse Roche: The updated Top-500 Dynasty Baseball Rankings went live yesterday, following the hectic trade deadline. Lots of movement throughout, and I will detail some big risers/fallers in an article later this week. Meanwhile, I am here for a midweek chat to discuss all things baseball, including, of course, the rankings. For those expecting Craig, I apologize, but hopefully I can fill in admirably! Now, to the questions!

Jimmy Nutron (Space): Which team struck your favorite deal and why?

Jesse Roche: While I really like the Mike Clevinger trade for the Padres (and I think it is a perfectly adequate haul for the Indians), my favorite deal was another Padres trade, which I like for the Mariners. Here is the deal:

Padres acquire C Austin Nola, RHP Austin Adams and RHP Dan Altavilla in exchange for OF Taylor Trammell, C Luis Torrens, RHP Andres Muñoz and INF Ty France

Now, Austin Nola is a very valuable piece. His bat appears legit, he is a solid defender, and he is under team control through 2026 (despite being nearly 31 years old). However, the value of that team control is questionable given his age and lack of much track record.

For Nola, the Mariners snagged Taylor Trammell (broken swing but tooled up prospect with big potential), Andres Munoz (broken arm but electric when healthy), Ty France (good hitter with uncertain defensive home), and Luis Torrens (decent enough replacement for Nola with team control). I think it is a home run for the Mariners. All three hitter may be starters next year, and Munoz may close at some point next year. Love it!

moistmeter (Los Angeles): Thoughts on keeping Lance Lynn? This seemed like the best time to get the most value for him.

Jesse Roche: If the right deal was not there, no reason to rush it. Lynn is signed through 2021. The Rangers could decide to move him this offseason or wait until the deadline next year. Plus, the Rangers may believe they can compete next year, in which case it makes sense to retain Lynn under his team-friendly contract. Given that the Padres received what many believe to be an underwhelming haul for Clevinger, the market may simply have not been there (which makes some sense in his shortened season).

Huey (Providence): who are some starting pitchers you would target in a k/9 dynasty?

Jesse Roche: Tyler Glasnow, Nate Pearson, Dinelson Lamet, Corbin Burnes, Deivi Garcia, Forrest Whitley, and Matt Manning (though we are lower than most on Manning)

Mike (PA): I imagine you will discuss Cronenworth's rise in a follow-up article. I certainly believe he will regress once we get more data and scouting reports can pinpoint his weaknesses. Would I be wise to flip him for a slumping Kingery in an OBP dynasty setting?

Jesse Roche: I do plan to discuss Jake Cronenworth in my article this week. No doubt he will regress, but I am mostly buying his bat. Small sample size, but he is 80th percentile in average exit velocity, 82nd percentile in hard hit rate, and even 93rd percentile in sprint speed. The big question was whether his power outbreak last year was a product of the PCL. It does not appear to be so. If anything, we may be too low on him.

I would hold Cronenworth over Kingery in an OBP dynasty. I believe Cronenworth is a .280/.350, 15-20 HR, ~10 SB type bat over a full season. While Kingery has more playable speed, his OBP may tap out around .320, if that, which is a big difference.

Sean (Chicagoland): Why is Mondesi so high?

Jesse Roche: Adalberto Mondesi comes in at 66, falling 30 spots between updates, which equates to 2 tiers. It is difficult to sugar coat his dreadful performance, but here goes. First, Mondesi has only played 35 games, which is far from a reasonable sample to pass too harsh a judgment. Second, he still possesses elite speed and average raw power. Now, the power has not really manifested this year, but he did undergo serious offseason shoulder surgery which almost certainly is effecting his ability to impact the ball and make contact. Of course, that ability to make contact (or lack thereof) is an ongoing problem, but I do expect it will improve enough for him to scrap together a serviceable batting average (~.240). Currently, Mondesi is sporting a .276 BABIP, which is ~50 points lower than normal. Once fully recovered and healthy, I expect he returns to a .240/15/50 type performer (or better). He is extremely polarizing (most players with his contact issues are), but his upside, when right, is nearly unmatched.

John (Boston): I see Vlad is holding steady in your ranks. So you guys aren’t down on him much this year?

Jesse Roche: Not at all. We are still big believers. In fact, I would say his season so far at just 21 years old has been a success. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting .269/.340/.462, and .297/.377/.515 since 8/4, with 92nd percentile average exit velocity and 93rd percentile hard hit rate. At the same time, he makes plenty of contact (15% K%, 24% Whiff%). I expect he will continue to improve as well. The kid is legit.

Frank (Reno): Thoughts on Jeisson Rosario’s fantasy ceiling? Great walk rates and speed and there should be some pop in there, right?

Jesse Roche: Brandon Williams had this to say about Rosario pre-season:

[Rosario] a plus-defending outfielder with exceptional athleticism. Playing as a 19-year-old in High-A last season, Rosario led the California League with 87 walks, though the patience came at a cost, as the deep counts he routinely worked resulted in a lot of hittable pitches passing by and sub-optimal contact quality. His is a lean wiry strength, and while he’ll show occasional gap power, he rarely seeks to drive the ball and most of his extra-base hits are the product of his plus-or-better speed. He shows some baseline aptitude for swiping bags, and positive baserunning value should be a part of his game. Rosario possesses the arm strength to play right field, but his expansive range and predatorial closing speed are best utilized in center, where he’s capable of growing into a true plus defender. While the hit tool looks like it may be a slower burn in refinement, Rosario’s blend of dynamic play-making and graceful athleticism gives him a lot to build on and should afford him all the time he needs to round into a valuable player.


I am not entralled with Rosario's fantasy ceiling. He has very little present power, and his frame does not necessarily project for much more than borderline-average raw power at best. Rosario is a plus runner with the makings of a possible plus hit tool (especially in OBP leagues). All that together looks something like best-case-scenario late-career Lorenzo Cain (.280/.370/.400/10/20). If he reaches that outcome, that would be fantastic.

Alex (Texas): Hi Jesse! Love the rankings! I was wondering who the biggest risers and fallers where? Also is Luis Robert keeps this up for the rest of the season how high do you think he could rank?

Jesse Roche: I will list the risers/fallers in my upcoming article, but here is a sneak peak:

Risers: Kyle Lewis (+214), Anthony Santander (+170), Corbin Burnes (+135), Dominic Smith (+135)
Fallers: Kirby Yates (-260), Oscar Mercada (-250), Mallex Smith (-150), Tommy Pham (-125)

Plus, several players jumped from off to way up the rankings including Triston McKenzie (319) and Jake Cronenworth (354).

As for Robert, he could climb into the top 15 by season end if he continues to rake.

darielsantana (Santo domingo): Why so low on Ian Happ?

Jesse Roche: Being low on Happ is news to me. Our ranking of Happ (192) is actually 61 spots higher than Eric Cross at Fantrax (for example) ranks him. Over his last 3 games, Happ has gone 7-for-14 with 4 HRs so his overall stat line is much better than when rankings were finalized. Still, just a good game or two is not going to cause him to move much, if at all. I remain concerned about his hit tool. Despite a decent 23.7% strikeout rate, he has a terrible 34.9% whiff rate. Happ has always had a propensity to whiff, which will cap his batting average and upside. The power is very real, though. Still, I see him as a .240-.250 hitter with 30+ HR pop if he continues to receive everyday PT (which he will if he continues to hit). I certainly could see Happ moving up the rankings further by the next update.

brad (nj): still holding Rodgers or time to sell?

Jesse Roche: Always depends on the market. Sell if you can get proper value for him, but otherwise continue to hold. I know it has been a frustrated waiting game for Rodgers owners.

Jarred (AZ): How do you feel about Carter Kieboom in dynasty, still a bright future? Debating swapping him for the returning Donaldson.

Jesse Roche: Kieboom still has a bright future. However, he has really struggled in his two brief stints in the majors, plus during the second half last year in the PCL. I think it is right to be a bit worried. A swap for Donaldson is reasonable, especially for a win-now team.

Jake (NY): Are there any pending FAs whose value could vary significantly based on their destination?

Jesse Roche: Trevor Bauer (1-year deal man himself). GABP is a difficult place to pitch so he could end up in a better situation or, well, Colorado.

DJ LeMahieu may regress a bit outside of NY.

Joc Pederson could finally receive everyday ABs (probably not, though)

Closers like Kirby Yates, Liam Hendriks, Ken Giles, and Alex Colome may end up on a team in which they do not close.

No obvious other big names that could see a change in value. Realmuto, Springer, Ozuna, and Semien are also FA after the year.

Alex (Texas): Hi Jesse! Thanks again for the rankings! I was wondering what your thoughts are on Isan Diaz and Abraham Toro. I have both in my minors in a deep dynasty league with 30 minor spots. Was hoping they would become decent bench pieces but now I'm thinking of cutting for some lotto ticket J2 guys. What are your thoughts?

Jesse Roche: I would hold in a deep league unless you are replacing with like prospects. It is not like you will see a value boost for any international prospects until next June/July anyway. Of course, if someone like Maximo Acosta is available (or a prospect ranked higher on the Top-500), then go for it. Between the two, I prefer Diaz.

Dusty (Colorado): Thoughts on Wander Javier? What's his upside?

Jesse Roche: Final question! Wander Javier, not Mike Trout or Juan Soto, is the GOAT.

Jesse Roche: That is it for me! Thanks for all the questions! You can always reach out to me on Twitter @jaroche6. Be sure to check out my podcast, Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball Podcast hosted by Fantrax. Another rankings update will occur in two weeks. Stay tuned!

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