Jeffrey Paternostro is the Lead Prospect Writer for Baseball Prospectus.
Jeffrey Paternostro: Driveway is dug out, coffee is over ice, let's chat
ari blum (ny): Who is the most likely to stay on their teams roster from: Akil Badoo, Ka’ai Tom, Luis Oviedo or Jose A. Rivera?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Pitchers are easier to roster than position players. Pirates have the least incentive to optimize their roster spot. Oviedo has the highest 2021 upside with the FB/SL combo assuming the velocity is back for good. So I guess I will go with him. I would not be shocked if Baddoo makes it the entire season and is a passable bench piece though.
tommy (New York ): Who gets more ABs this year: Tork or Vaughn? Do you think Vaughn’s opportunity for RBI and R long term in that lineup outweighs Tork’s power edge?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd say Vaughn could force the issue and there is a decent chance the White Sox can open up a 1B/DH spot at some point. I think there will be incentive for Torkelson to "work on his defense" for most of 2021, and while the bat is possibly MLB-ready it would be unusualy to not at least get him a couple hundred at-bats in the minors. Over the long haul, it's very close (as the 101 will demonstrate), but I think in a standard 5x5 type situation, the lineup context for Vaughn matters, and it's not like he doesn't have thump.
CubbieBear (Chi-Town): It would seem the roster conditions in AZ are ripe for Alek Thomas to make an impact in 2021. What are your thoughts on this and how you see his overall game developing? Thanks for your insight.
Jeffrey Paternostro: So one thing (among many) that is difficult for me to project is how teams view the reps prospects got in 2020. If you view Thomas's alternate site work as a decent proxy for what would have been an A+/AA season under normal circumstances, than yeah, he might be ready for major league reps fairly soon. This is going to be extremely individualized based on the player though. 2021 league assignments will be very telling. Overall though, the reports from the AS were good, and he's on pace to be a well-rounded center fielder even if the offensive upside is merely above-average.
Jefferson (Ohio ): Does Anthony Alford have a legitimate shot at winning a starting job in PIT? He has never had a prolonged time in the majors, but kepts being very fun to watch. I want to see more!
Jeffrey Paternostro: As someone who saw Alford in Double-A show good on the odd occasion he was actually healthy, I've got no problem rooting for him, but the injuries do appear to have muted the tools at this point. Somehow he is only 26 though.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Assuming health, Lux goes off this year, right?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Yeah, if the Dodgers give him a full-time gig, I'd expect him to run with it.
Buff (Colorado): For keeper league fantasy purposes, Cabrera or Gray?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I'm gonna assume Edward Cabrera vs. Sonny Gray here (I'd take Cabrera easily over Jon). Gray for his career has been about 15% better than league average and spiked better than that on occasion. Made a couple ASG. That's probably around the 75th percentile outcome for Cabrera. So then it becomes a balancing act of how likely you think Cabrera gets there, versus how many more years you think Gray has left at that level. I think I'd go Cabrera, but I'm not convinced strongly.
Anthony (Citi Field ): Trading for Nolan Arenado is not a great use of the Mets’ resources, given his cost in terms of both money and talent, not to mention age and injury concerns. Prove me wrong.
Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd prioritize Lindor at roughly the same contract cost, even if it cost more in prospects. And you could argue they need pitching and a center fielder more. I just don't actually think it's gonna cost much in prospect capital to trade for him and he's been like a 6-7 win player for the last five full seasons. Yeah, the shoulder thing would concern me some, but you don't deal for him without doing your due dilligence and it was his non-throwing arm and didn't require surgery. Basically any time you can get a top-three player at their position, you do it.
Scott (FLA): How do you see the Marlins 2B/SS situation working out this year/the future? Is Isan Diaz a long-term solution at 2B? Is Chisholm the long-term SS or a better fit at 2B?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Jazz is an above-average shortstop now, and could get to plus with more MLB reps. I didn't understand why they played Rojas (who granted is fine there himself) over him given the latter's flexibility. Both Rojas and Berti strike me as useful second-division starter types but if you are serious about competing you'd prefer they be 400 PA flex types. That said I don't know that Diaz or Chisholm are the short term answer. Jazz could use a consolidation year in Triple-A and Diaz has struggled to make enough contact in the majors. If you are transitioning to the competition window (which the Marlins should be) you might want the surety for 2021 over the upside. I do think long term Jazz figures it out and is the every day SS, I am less sure about Diaz, and you could see Jose Devers in the mix there soon.
ari blum (ny): Does Estevan Florial still have a decent chance of becoming a regular at this point?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Decent? Yes. Would I take it at -105? I'd like to see him dominate an upper minors level first.
CubbieBear (Chi-Town): What’s your take on Luis Campusano and how he fits in SD’s plans. Any chance he sides ahead of Mejia? Could we see him late 2021? Thanks
Jeffrey Paternostro: So in a vacuum, I'd say there's a good chance you see him in 2021 and that he's at worst the 1B catcher by 2022. However, as he is currently under indictment for possession with intent to distribute in Georgia, that makes things murkier. I hope (and AJ Preller seems to expect) that to get dealt with favorably before the spring, but it does make it more difficult to evaluate his future in the prospect sense.
Buff (Colorado): With all the positives, why is Burdick not ranked higher?
Jeffrey Paternostro: Lack of professional reps, lost year/age-relative-to-league stuff, some questions about how good the bat actually ends up. He could answer most of those and move up quickly with a strong start to 2021.
Jim (St. Paul): Do you expect Alex Kirilloff to be in the lineup everyday for the Twins this year? What sort of production would you expect if so?
Jeffrey Paternostro: I'd assume that's one of the reasons Rosario was non-tendered. We've never been overly effusive about Kiriloff's bat, some of that is injury, some of that is some approach and swing tweaks that got him out front and pull happy. But I'd expect him to be a solid enough regular in short order.
Jefferson (Ohio): Does Dustin fowler have anything left in the prospect tank? He was fairly well regarded, but no one wants to give him a chance at the mlb level after his poor 2018 session (which was only 200 PAs)
Jeffrey Paternostro: You could possibly apply a lot of what I said to Alford here as well. Fowler wasn't amazing in Vegas in 2019 either, and unlike Alford is not in an org where he can be given a half season to figure it out in the majors. Might be a good change of scenery option for someone.
Jeffrey Paternostro: Milwaukee and Minnesota round out our 2020 schedule and I will see you in 2021.