Craig Goldstein is the editor in chief of Baseball Prospectus.
Craig Goldstein: Hello everyone, thank you for your patience as I snagged some lunch to eat while answering questions (it's leftover breakfast casserole plus some leftover shoestring fries, and a Hibiscus La Croix (the best la croix))
Mike (NY): The Childish Bambino is getting comps to Ted Williams, crazy or is it possible he could become a top 10 hitter of all time.
Craig Goldstein: Admittedly I have not yet read Jayson Stark's article on this (it's in a tab), but it's both crazy and possible? I don't think you can reasonably predict such a thing for any hitter this far out, there's just too much we don't know about what could happen. That said, he's done what he needs to do at the start to justify the conversation, which is more than almost anyone else could say.
Marcus (Tampa, FL): I’d love to hear your take in TeJay Antone and what you think his future upside can become. All he does is dominate nearly every outing he pitches. Thanks for taking my question!
Craig Goldstein: My take is that I'm extremely in on TeJay Antone. I think he can be a mid-rotation arm with bushels of strikeouts that keep fantasy managers content.
Johnny Tuttle (Battlecreek, Michigan): Wilman Diaz didn't get a write up in the annual, and the lineouts are gone! Crazy.
Thoughts por favor?
Craig Goldstein: Wilman Diaz hadn't signed with a team when the Annual was sent to publishers. Lineouts aren't gone, they just were put into a "full comment" format so you got 2019 information for minor leaguers who didn't have a 2020 season, plus a projection for 2021. It was all in service of giving you more, rather than less.
valslight (Dallas): Craig, The Rangers have two “Run Prevention
Coordinators.” Could you tell me what they do?
Is there good money in all these coordinator
Craig Goldstein: If the question is "is there good money" about a baseball job, the answer is generally "no," although admittedly what "good money" is is different to every person. I'm sure the pay is okay, but the hours and lifestyle are a lot, in most industry positions.
I don't know what they do specifically, but I'd hazard a guess that they look at how to position the defense, broadly.
yazzman (New Jersey): Not sure if I can name names so I will not. Any idea why a major source for fantasy drafting for cash has been unable to open their cash drafts?
Craig Goldstein: I certainly don't mind if you name names, but I also have no idea what you're referring to, apologies.
Derrick (PA): Will Spencer Howard makes the Phillies' rotation out of camp? Or is he destined for long relief and join it in time? Or... something else
Craig Goldstein: I think it's unlikely he makes it out of camp without an injury or something to slow down Matt Moore/Vince Velasquez. I'm not sure it matters. So many rotations are going to see less than full seasons from starters coming off an abbreviated 2020 that whether someone is in the rotation or not when camp ends is more a matter of timing of inning than significance.
circleback (Denver, CO): Favorite essay in the 2021 BP Annual? Need to know where to start.
Craig Goldstein: Great question, and a tough one because there are so many good ones. I absolutely adored Kelsey McKinney's Braves essay. Her writing is just something so far from what I can produce that it is such a luxurious way for me to spend time. I also recommend Justin Klugh's Royals essay, which absolutely goes for it with a wild premise/frame.
John (Boston): Hi Craig, Who will be the closer by the end of the year in Clev. and in Seattle?
Craig Goldstein: Karinchak and [throws a dart] Andres Munoz
mikewilsonelgin (Rhode Island): How did Foltynewicz lose his fastball?
Craig Goldstein: Health, presumably. Sounds like he was back in the mid-90s in camp though.
ari blum (ny): Hey, thanks for doing the chat. Can you give me an over/under for Zach Eflin holding the gains he made in 2020? Thanks.
Craig Goldstein: Hey, thanks for spelling Eflin correct, rather than Elfin. I don't know that it's reasonable to expect he holds the gains he made in 2020. DRA thought he was an ace. But something like a solid 3rd starter (which Philly definitely needs)? I'm like 60/40 he holds that level.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): The more I look at the NL Central the more I lean toward the Reds. Am I nuts?
Craig Goldstein: Buddy, you're nuts. I mean, it's fairly reasonably packed outside of Pittsburgh but I am not seeing reasons they'd improve drastically over last year's performance, plus they shipped out their closer and lost an ace. I like Antone, as I said, but...yeah, you're nuts.
Jay (WI): Obvious general answer is “all of them” since no minor-league games last year sucked – but are there any particular players who you’re especially interested in once MiLB returns?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah I think there were some players who it would have been really nice to know what a full-season debut would look like for. Guys like Erick Pena, who I'm very high on but also just...haven't seen at all. Kristian Robinson, we've loved for years but again, a real stretch of lower minors ball would tell us a lot, there.
yazzman (New Jersey): Yahoo pro leagues were their cash games available. They haven't opened them up and I figured there would be some buzz out there regarding the reason. I use them and NFBC for my drafts
Craig Goldstein: Gotcha, yeah I'm sorry I don't know any specifics other than the homepage says they'll be opening soon.
ezra bitterman (LA): The Cardinals have a lot of money coming off the books next year even with the Arenado deal, namely Carp and Dex. What do you think of them going after one of the top-end shortstops next year, or a top-of-the-rotation starter?
Craig Goldstein: I think they really need to do one or both of those things. I don't think he'll be ready next year, but one guy to keep note of is Delvin Perez. He's looked much better this spring (better shape, etc.) and is a former first-round pick. But yeah, the rotation is something that really concerns me with them, and a not small reason why PECOTA isn't as high on them as people expect.
Craig (Chicago): What do you foresee Johan Oviedo's role being in 2021 with STL? As a top 10 prospect in STL system and several STL SP's being injury prone, perhaps he gets a real shot along the way? Pitched pretty well in 4 of his 5 starts last season. What are reasonable expectations for him?
Craig Goldstein: Yeah Oviedo generated some surprising hype from readers/chatters late last year I never fully understood. He's...fine? I think he's a back end guy, mostly. As with the Phillies question, I think he'll get a shot because this is going to be a really weird year for pitching overall but I don't know that there's anything to get super pumped about.
meswan (Texas): Hi Craig, awesome forum. My question is about Tyler Soderstrom. I am attempting to process what he will be like in 3-4 years from now. Do you see him as a catcher longterm? If not, do you project him to carry enough bat for any of the other potential landing spot positions? Thanks in advance, Mike
Craig Goldstein: Hey Mike, thanks for the kind words. Earnestly I hadn't done a chat in a while because of some schedule stuff but also, they were pretty quiet late last year, so thanks for showing up!
I think the tough part with catchers who can hit is that when they can actually really hit, it behooves teams to get them out from behind the plate, where the bat can flourish. I think Soderstrom falls into that group. He might be able to catch but I wouldn't be surprised if he's elsewhere by the time he hits the majors. But yeah, the bat could be really good.
Johnny Tuttle (Battlecreek, Michigan): Is the discrepancy between Biggio's reality and fan perception of him perhaps the greatest going now? I'm surrounded by Blue Jays fans who all love him, and I'm reasonably certain he's, well, not going to be a first division regular.
Craig Goldstein: I'm kind of with you, but I've also been wrong about him thus far. I think the walk rate is based on passivity and it is exploitable, without enough power to truly punish pitchers for attacking the zone. Maybe I end up right but only because they changed the ball and it won't fly as far. I'd take the win, though :)
BC (Fort Myers, FL): I know spring stats are meaningless, but spring performances can show a trend. Any thoughts on Akil Baddoo and Micky Moniak this year? Not superstars for sure, but still too young to give up on, I would guess. At least their respective teams are bad enough that they could give them a look...
Craig Goldstein: Earnestly, BC, I haven't watched either one so far. I don't value the stats very much (who are they coming off of, etc.) but I do value if there's been an approach/swing change that drives the stats. Without having seen them, it's hard for me to say. I expect both to get some run throughout 2021.
blakehagerman (sitka, ak): points based 5x5 keeper league. Acuna or Soto?
Craig Goldstein: Hey Blake, I'm a bit confused, so apologies. I've never played points leagues but I thought the whole idea was that they aren't 5x5, because while stuff like steals give you points, they're not actually category based? My general understanding of points leagues are that steals aren't as valuable (as noted), and thus I'd go with Soto, I think. Sorry if I'm not following though.
Champdo (Florida ): What would you say the ceiling is for Willi Castro?
Craig Goldstein: I just talked about him with Jeffrey Paternostro on the AL Central preview for Five & Dive, but I don't think last year was anything close to sustainable. He had a .500+ SLG with an average exit velo of 85 mph, and a 20% HR/FB. Just a bizarre year for him. I'd previously pegged him as a second-division starter and I'm not sure we should really change our minds based on the 40-game sample. That's different from ceiling, I suppose, but perhaps a more realistic expectation.
Johnny Tuttle (Battlecreek, Michigan): BP's rating of Deivi Garcia at #17 was an industry high (that I've seen anyways).
Trust the talent and the role will settle itself?
Craig Goldstein: Basically, yep. I don't think it's particularly useful to evaluate the potential role change, given that he started for the team last year.
Byron (Portland, OR): Being 3 years younger, is Andres Gimenez really less likely to get stronger than Amed Rosario is to get better at hitting the ball and playing short? Trying to figure out which is the upside guy is driving me crazy!
Craig Goldstein: Well, yeah I think so because Gimenez is mostly physically developed at this point. I don't know that Rosario suddenly improving at shortstop is in the cards either, but he has the physical tools for the position and to hit better than he has. Mid-20s breakouts happen, and while Gimenez might suddenly find a different route to more power, I don't think it's a matter of "getting stronger" exactly.
DynastyOnly (Pensylvania): Odds that Wander Franco's real life position is 3B? 50/50 or better?
Craig Goldstein: I think it's more likely he ends up at second base if he shifts off shortstop.
James (NY): Hi Craig, What do you think of J Uriquidy? What will his 2021 stat line look like?
Craig Goldstein: I'm not going to predict statlines any better than PECOTA will, so I'd recommend looking at the projections we offer on depth charts/in the spreadsheets. I think broadly speaking, Urquidy is a fine fourth starter.
Jo Man (West Elm): Do you think now is a good time to deal Madrigal or Gleyber? Or in other words, do you see their value rising or falling as this year goes on?
Craig Goldstein: I would hold right now, I think there'll be mid-season peaks to take advantage of.
Jay (WI): Would you anticipate any recent international signings being on the Top 101 radar next winter?
Craig Goldstein: I don't know that it's super useful to make these estimations this far out. I know you (the broader you, not you) are looking at who to invest in for fantasy reasons, most likely, but on that I defer to our excellent fantasy team. Jesse Roche and Bret Sayre rank these guys on 101s and in FPYD contexts and all that. We're gonna do our best to see what they do and how they actually look once they show up and judge it based on that.
Vic (Accord, NY): Choices for my 2nd Round pick in a 15 team 5 x 5 Keeper league...won't be able to keep this 2nd round pick in 2022
Does one of the 7 stand out to you?
Here are the likely options that will be available:
Arenado, Rendon, Bregman
Springer, Ozuna, Starling M, Merrifield
Note: 2B eligibility of Whit isn't that important to my team construction.
Or maybe just tell me 3 to definitely avoid as my 2nd round pick?
Craig Goldstein: I'd prioritize Arenado, Rendon, Bregman, and Ozuna (Ozuna/Springer is a tossup for me, but while I think it's unlikely Marcell repeats 2020, I like the bat/team context).
Vic (Accord, NY): Trying to narrow down my last 2 keeps in a 14 team 5x5 five year keeper. Down to these 3 choices...
A. Verdugo and Swanson
B. Verdugo and Maeda
C. Swanson and Maeda
Craig Goldstein: B, easily for me.
darielsantana (Santo domingo): How do you like more Andrew Vaughn or Alec Bohm?
Craig Goldstein: I'm not sure Bohm is a third baseman, but I think I like him more overall. I waffle on Vaughn a lot and there's a good chance if you ask me next week, I pick him instead?
Johnny Tuttle (Battlecreek, Michigan): Re. Lineouts. That makes total sense.
What do you think Wilman Diaz? Would he have been a Top 101 last guy candidate with his upside?
Craig Goldstein: We tend not to pick guys that we wouldn't have a chance to get any eyes on and would only be able to take the organization that signed him's word on it (these guys have deals so young, it's often the case other org's scouts haven't seen them of late by the time they actually "sign")
dp14313 (Texas): New to this site. Any suggestions on where I can locate a tutorial for this website as far as where to find info not directly on the drop downs. Auction strategy for example.
Craig Goldstein: Hey, welcome! My rec is to start with Mike Gianella's archive. He publishes his bid limits and discusses strategy throughout a range of articles. Also, if you're a super-premium subscriber, you have access to the Bat Signal, where a member of the fantasy team will answer your question within about 24 hours.
Dave (Philly): Where should my expectations be for Mickey Moniak? He looked utterly lost last year in limited big league action, but less so this spring.
Craig Goldstein: I'd expect something between a 4th and 5th outfielder
James (NY): Thoughts on A. Hays for 2921? Long term?
Craig Goldstein: If 2921 isn't already long-term, I don't know what is.
I don't really know what to expect from Mr. September. I think something like a second-division starter is a reasonable starting point.
Flipai (Maryland): In looking at the Pecota Player Projections, are the NL at bat projections based off of there being a Universal DH? If so, will these be updated now that we know there will not be a Universal DH? Thanks!
Craig Goldstein: Yep, we're going to be flipping that over extremely soon.
Byron (Portland, OR): Will the hardcover always come out weeks later than the paperback Annual? I'm still waiting for the copy I ordered in January.
Craig Goldstein: Hey Byron, there was a small delay this year but I don't think you should still be waiting. Can you follow up with firstname.lastname@example.org with more info and we can look into it for you?
Craig Goldstein: Alright everyone, thanks for the chat! It had been too long and I'll schedule another one soon. Jeffrey is chatting Friday to answer all your prospect and cocktail questions.