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Chat: Jesse Roche

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday April 30, 2021 1:00 PM ET chat session with Jesse Roche.


Jesse Roche is a member of the Baseball Prospectus fantasy team.

Jesse Roche: TGIF, everyone! Today, we released the updated Top-500 Dynasty Baseball Rankings, including plenty of movement up and down the list. You can find the rankings here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/66533/top-500-dynasty-baseball-rankings-may-2021/ With that out of the way, let's get right to the chat!

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

Jesse Roche: Javier has enough upside still to make everyone look like fools for doubting Dusty after all these years.

Jim (Chicago): Aside from the entertainment that comes from Rizzo striking out Freddie Freeman, the novelty of positional players taking the mound is over. Is it time for MLB to allow the losing team an opportunity to do the chess equivalent of resigning?

Jesse Roche: Or the "slaughter rule" in amateur baseball. I doubt that will ever happen, but maybe a 27th man designated for use if down by X-number of runs after Y-inning. There have been far too many position players pitching this year, including 46-mph-stud Willian Astudillo. Truly, La Tortuga!

Salad Parooch (Flavorville, USA): I've invested a lot of fantasy cash in Victor Robles and Gavin Lux, but I'm obviously not getting much of a return these days. Should I sell or be patient?

Jesse Roche: It always depends on the value you can obtain in return. Just today, I dealt Robles in a deal for Christian Yelich in TDGX2. Neither are untouchable, and I would jump at a reasonable offer given the heightened risk for both.

Boo from TD (Bottom of Standings): Did MWG fleece me in a dynasty trade where I gave up Mahle and Reid Detmers for his Yermin Mercedes + Adolis Garcia

Jesse Roche: Sorry, but I do not like that deal for you. I do think much of what Mercedes is doing is legitimate, but he carries so much long-term risk given his DH-only profile and the presence of Jose Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, and Eloy Jimenez on that roster. As I noted in the Top-500 article, I am buying Mahle given his fastball progression. Garcia likely is organizational depth long-term given his approach (lack thereof) and contact issues, though he does have above-average power and speed, and plays solid outfield defense.

John (Boston): Hi Jesse, Which of Mize Manning and Skubal will you think have a better 2022 and who will have the better long term stats?

Jesse Roche: I will forever by a proponent of Casey Mize. The only thing holding him back from taking a big step forward is his fastball, which has improved this year. Manning has a nice two-pitch mix, but his changeup remains a work in progress, and there are concerns about the effectiveness of his fastball at the big-league level. Skubal still lacks an out pitch to support his plus or better fastball. His development of a splitter to pair with his average-to-above slider has not faired well thus far.

Buff (Colorado): How about giving me some odds for the Philadelphia Derby in center field? Or do we just send all of the entrants to the glue factory?

Jesse Roche: It is grim, but I tend to think the latter there. No Philly CF is rosterable in fantasy outside of deep leagues (800+, maybe 1000+, players). Just bide your time until Johan Rojas arrives (he is the real deal).

dzemens (Toledo, OH): Why is kenta maeda broken, and do you see a return to form? Id kind of like to sell him based off age but performance hindering that it seems, unless I want to target a senzel type guy.

Jesse Roche: Maeda has been a bit unlucky this year (.372 BABIP). His stuff is still fine. The new ball may be messing with him a little since the splitter is such a feel pitch and he relies on it so much. He is also leaving his slider in the zone way too often. Basically, those lower right quadrant sliders are finding more of the plate and getting walloped. Ultimately, his struggles are more small sample noise than anything. That said, I think the window to sell Maeda at top value has passed. I'd wait for a rebound before exploring a trade.

meswan (Texas): Hi Jesse, love this forum and thank you in advance for taking my question. It looks like the. Cubs have a lot of SS in the minors. One in particular that I am curious about is Reginald Preciado. Do you envision him separating from the rest of the group? He is tall and maybe moves over to 3B, time will tell. What are your thoughts on his future - Does he become a mainstay for the Cubs? Thanks, Mike

Jesse Roche: Thanks! We are quite high on Preciado, ranking him 177th in our Top-400 Dynasty Prospects in March. He has a projectable 6-foot-4 frame that may require a move to 3B long-term, but he has enough range and solid actions to fit at SS in much the same way as Corey Seager does. The bat is the real draw, though. Preciado is a switch-hitter with a feel for the barrel and massive power upside if everything clicks. Despite his long levers, he also makes plenty of contact, though he has understandable issues with offspeed pitches at times. If you squint, you could envision a .280/30 bat at SS. There is real upside here, and his professional debut is highly anticipated. Preciado is a potential big riser as soon as the next Top-500 update (i.e., he may crack the top-150 prospects by the end of the month).

Travioli (Hoboken): Hey Jesse, wondering what your thoughts on Michael harris are? Been seeing some people say he's a star and others saying he's raw and a ways away from the bigs?

Jesse Roche: Michael Harris was a 3rd round pick by the Braves in 2019 as a raw, toolsy two-way prospect who fit best in the outfield. The Braves aggressively assigned him in 2019, and he forced his way to Low-A, where he struggled (no surprise). Since then, Harris impressed at the alternate site and again in spring training. He flashes plus raw power, good bat-to-ball ability, and above-average speed. While Harris is still a bit raw, he has 20/20 upside, and I would wager the Braves assign him to High-A to start 2021.

Harris is a rising prospect, who is now within the top-200 prospects overall. I know others are even higher on him than that (James Anderson at Rotowire in particular). I do think he should be rostered in all dynasty formats with ~200 prospects. I drafted Harris in TDGX2 (300+ prospects) this offseason.

jepoyntz (North Carolina): Could you please rank these for rest of season ( we use: W,QS,IP,K,K/9,ERA,WHIP) ..have these SP in my rotation/bench and am going to have to drop a couple for returning players from DL soon Stripling J Hoffman C Flexen Z Eflin Kikuchi Elieser Hernandez Thanks!

Jesse Roche: Eflin, Kikuchi, Hernandez, gap, Flexen, gap, Stripling, Hoffman

The last three probably should only be rostered in deeper formats (600+ players).

Travioli (Hoboken): How do you know when to make the transition from rebuild to contending? I know this Q is a it amorphous (and league dependent)but are there certain benchmarks you want your team to hit before you shift gears?

Jesse Roche: It largely depends on the strength of other rosters in your league, how active your league trades, and the type of players you own.

I rarely seek to fully rebuild, but rather employ a competitive rebuild where I seek to get younger while remaining competitive. I did write an article on this topic for two teams I inherited that required a rebuild: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/article/63659/the-dynasty-corner-the-anatomy-of-a-rebuild/

dylanrox (PDX): I have an open spot to stash some upside in 14 team h2h weekly Dynasty Points format. My team is deep (especially in SP) and built to win so I am looking to add a piece with a high ceiling. Some possible adds: Brendan Rodgers Noelvi Marte Brandon Marsh Royce Lewis Jordan Hicks Garrett Whitlock Tony Gonsolin Corbin Martin Justin Dunn Any stand out Jesse? Thanks

Jesse Roche: If you are looking for a high-upside piece that may pop this year, I would consider Rodgers, Marte, or Marsh. Rodgers will be up as soon as he recovers from his most recent injury (it is getting tiresome). The Rockies are in disarray, and I imagine he will be given every opportunity to stick. Plus, you may be able to stash him on an IL spot in the short term. Other than Rodgers, Marte has huge upside and it'll be interesting to see where the Mariners assign him in the coming days (probably Low-A). With a strong start, his value may sky rocket. Finally, Marsh also may arrive later this year, though the emergence of Jared Walsh in RF limits that opportunity. As such, I would probably target Rodgers or Marte (or both) at this point.

brad (NJ): Still have high hopes for Brendan Rodgers, he should have clear path to PT once he comes back which looks like soon. Can he step up and be a star with that home park?

Jesse Roche: Another Rodgers question! Yes, I still believe, though the injuries are adding up. There is little standing in his way in Colorado (under new management) for regular playing time. We still see a potential 6/6 (hit/power) bat there. His value may also be at an all-time low. It is a good time to buy!

ironcityguys (daBurgh): Mitch Garver for 2021? With Ryan Jeffers sent down, does Mitch click finally?

Jesse Roche: I'd say Garver clicked in 2019, then the league adjusted and he has yet to adjust back. He has plus power and a clearer path to regular playing time. His approach needs work, and all those strikeouts are not necessarily tied to an inability to make contact. Garver has started to be a bit more aggressive (last year he only swing at 6% first pitches like he was playing machine pitch). Ultimately, he likely is a three-true-outcomes bat, which is perfectly fine at catcher as long as the strikeouts do not overwhelm him.

Buff (Colorado): Does Spencer Howard come back up as a starter?

Jesse Roche: I hope so. Velasquez really belongs in the bullpen. The Phillies likely want to both manage Howard's innings and service time. I would expect him to be up as a starter full-time by midseason.

ironcityguys (daBurgh): Any concerns yet about Luis Castillo's slow start? Speaking of the Reds, any chance Tyler Stephenson takes over the full-time C role?

Jesse Roche: Yes, I am a little concerned about Castillo. His velocity is down 2 mph, which may be due, in part, to early season weather conditions. His fastball has never had very good shape and he gets poor extension so it plays far worse than its velocity. That said, he has been a bit unlucky this year and his changeup/slider remain plus pitches (the elite change has actually backed up a little since 2019).

No, I do not think Stephenson takes over as the full-time catcher until 2022. Barnhart is a superb defensive catcher, plus he is hitting this year. I think at best this is a 50/50 timeshare at some point this year absent an injury to Barnhart. The concern is the Reds pick up Barnhart's $7.5 million option next year (uncertain at this point).

ironcityguys (daBurgh): Any chance to see Tony Gonsolin before Memorial Day? He pitched so well in limited innings the last 2 seasons.

Jesse Roche: Last question!

No, I do not think Gonsolin arrives before Memorial Day. He is recovering from shoulder inflammation and started a throwing program last Saturday. The Dodgers can afford to play it safe with Gonsolin. Even when he does return, it likely will be to a relief role this year.

Jesse Roche: Thanks everyone for the questions! Again, be sure to check out the updated Top-500 Dynasty Baseball Rankings. Also, follow me on Twitter @jaroche6 and check out my podcast, Five-Tool Fantasy Baseball Podcast @5ToolPod, with cohosts Eric Cross and Jake Devereaux!

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