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Chat: Marc Normandin

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday June 10, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Marc Normandin.


No, it's not a fantasy and it's not just about fantasy, it's your chance to chat with Marc Normandin about baseball!

Marc Normandin: How's everyone doing? I'm sitting here listening to the new Black Keys album, getting ready to take your questions about baseball, video games, music or whatever it is you're in the mood to talk about. Let's get started.

JimmyJack (Issaquah, WA): Hi Marc, Anything wrong with the PFM? I'm getting Rasmus, Colby CF $55.63 106 15 8 73 0.249 in my 8 team 5x5.

Marc Normandin: I was just going through it after seeing this question, and nothing is popping up wrong on my end. You trip an incorrect setting somewhere along the way?

William (Whatifsville): If the Padres had come in last two years ago and drafted Strasberg instead of Washington, how would their playoff hopes being looking right now?

Marc Normandin: Better than they look at present, but they are currently 63.8% to make the playoffs, best in their division, so it's not like they are in an awful state.

Lane (Austin, TX): Who gets called up first: Carlos Santana or Pedro Alvarez?

Marc Normandin: Pedro Alvarez will be called up first, but I don't think Santana is that far behind. I wish Santana would get called up now so he could move from my bench and replace Lou Marson in my deep AL-only (just like real life!)

dianagramr (NYC): Good afternoon Marc! Please rank the following SPs in fantasy-preference order for the rest of 2010: Morrow, Richard, Hammel. Thanks!

Marc Normandin: I would go Richard, Morrow, Hammel. Morrow is probably a bit better than Richard, but between the NL and Petco, I like what Richard can bring you.

Mike (Chicago): When you have a roster that includes aramis ramirez, nate mclouth, gordon beckham, zach grienke and yunel escobar, is there anything you can do but cry a little and wait 'til next year? I mean I don't think you can go negative in roto, but my team is sure trrying.

Marc Normandin: That's rough. I have a team with McLouth and Beckham on it, but thankfully McLouth was my fifth outfielder. It looks like you took a bullet for the rest of the fantasy baseball universe--about the only thing you're missing is Adam Lind. Some years just don't work, or at least they don't from the start. It's getting to that time of year where it's okay to feel antsy though, so make some moves if you can.

Ethan (New York, NY): It was surreal to watch Kerry Wood throw 95mph with a 88mph hard slider and a curveball with ridiculous movement the other week. If he gets command on his curveball, what's his peak value this year?

Marc Normandin: I still don't trust him very much--I dropped him for Axford and his mustache (in a league where I could probably pick him back up if I needed to) but I can see him turning into what we thought he was at the start of the season, before the injuries and the horrid start. I just don't want it to happen while he's screwing up my stats.

Terrence (Mathis, GA): Is Carlos Quentin done? He doesn't drive the ball very well and not too many of his flyballs have been leaving the park this year

Marc Normandin: I put Quentin in four-stars with the caveat that it assumed perfect health for him. He just hasn't looked like someone who is 100%, as far as his power is concerned. Lingering issues from the wrist sapping his power, perhaps?

Phyllis (Irvine, CA): What can we expect out of Miguel Montero when he gets back?

Marc Normandin: The same thing you should have expected out of him at the beginning of the year. Dude's one of the better hitting catchers out there, and very undervalued.

Bill N (Buffalo): 12 team 5x5 single season, I have two DL slots, currently occupied by Derek Holland and Michael Gonzalez. Should I replace either with Orlando Hudson, cut Hudson, or cut Nate McLouth or Chipper Jones from my bench. Also, have you played God of War III, and if so were you put off at all by how violent some of the game was?

Marc Normandin: God of War's combat bores me. I don't mind the violence, but that's really the selling point for it IMO. I'm also someone whose favorite part of Gears of War is sneaking up on a baddie with a chainsaw bayonet, so I might not be the best person to ask about that.

It might be time to cut Nate McLouth--it's not like anyone is going to snag him off of waivers if he starts to hit, because his current line is so awful that he won't show up on anyone's radar unless they are beyond desperate.

Charlie Wax (Paris): What's wrong with Pedroia? Line drive rate is good, is he just getting unlucky with the balls in play?

Marc Normandin: He's posting his highest ISO, but he's also striking out a bit more. Still not a ton, but more. He does own a .248 BABIP though, so yes, he's mostly been unlucky. He's seeing more first-pitch strikes than are normal for him this year, so once he wises up I'm sure he'll start turning those into parts of his laser show and everything will be back to normal.

Jeremy (NYC): This is a little off-topic, but what are your thoughts on the so-called "Facebook generation"? They care nothing for their own privacy and it's going to bite them all in the behind some day. They're practically announcing to the world everytime they drive drunk or toke up.

Marc Normandin: It might be a problem when Little Billy Daterape tries to run for President, yes.

Gordon Beckham (A Massive Slump): Please tell me there's been someone more disappointing than me this year!

Marc Normandin: We're not on speaking terms, Gordon. You're not the man I thought you were when I drafted you, or told my friends about you.

Ed (Cranford, NJ): Hi Marc I have been offered Francisco Cordero for either Chase Headley, Chris Young or Kelly Johnson. My closer was Trevor Hoffman and I also have Evan Meek. What do you think of the offer? Thanks

Marc Normandin: I wouldn't give up Chris Young, but either Headley or Kelly Johnson would be fine. Johnson's slowed down a bit since April, but he has that park to help him, whereas Headley is more of a batting average guy with low power in a park that hurts both of those things. Headley may be your low-cost option here.

clete6 (Longmeadow): Any chance I'll run into you at Herrell's or Turn It Up the next time I get to NoHo?

Marc Normandin: I moved back to eastern Massachusetts actually, so there's pretty much a zero chance that happens.

Andy (Baltimore): I've often found a dedication to sabermetrics and/or video games is a response to a broken home life. What do you think?

Marc Normandin: You'll have to ask someone with a broken home life! I'm just your classic geek/nerd/whatever

achaik (maine): Four years ago I had an initial draft for an AL only dynasty league and built my team around Grady Sizemore, Alex Gordon, BJ Upton, Felix Hernandez, Scott Kazmir and Joba Chamberlain. Do you know of any support groups I can join?

Marc Normandin: Well at least Bossman Junior is doing well again!

dianagramr (NYC): re McLouth, are you implying that the Pirates actually evaluated one of their traded players correctly? (gasp)

Marc Normandin: The Pirates got lots and lots of assets back in return for their traded players. Some of them will turn into future flippable assets, and others will fizzle out (or never turn into anything). I understand why they did what they did, now it's up to the farm system to start spitting out players they can use to help those flippable commodities out more often than previous regimes were able to.

Tabata, Lincoln, Walker, Alvarez is a pretty good start, and McCutchen is already up as well.

Will (Mactaquac): In an OPB/holds redraft league, would you drop Frank Fransisco for Soto or Gavin Floyd? I have McCann, but having Soto for off days could be groovy.

Marc Normandin: Isn't there some Koyie Hill drama going on in Chicago right now, or did Sweet Lou already drop that BS and put Soto back where he belongs?

Lance (Boston, MA): What do you think Justin Upton's final line will be? You think he can come close to this projection? .275/30/100/20

Marc Normandin: Not if he keeps striking out at pre-2009 rates, he won't. I thought that was over with, but here we go again with the Justin Upton who can't make contact.

Steve (Boston): After a 2 HR day, Soto is fine until is first 0-4.

Marc Normandin: Funny, but also true. Sigh.

redsoxin2004 (Columbia, CT): Einstein thought experiment. Strasburg pitching, Harper catching, and Weiters hitting. Does the combined hype reach the speed of light?

Marc Normandin: Hype has a higher mass than light, so it wouldn't be able to reach light speed. The high mass of hype has an advantage though: if you combined that with the unrealistic expectations set for the Mariners prior to the start of the season though, you may be able to manipulate space-time enough so that you could shorten the distance between two points and conceivably travel through time. Massive objects distort space-time, so there's some merit to exploring this further. It may turn out we also need to include Brett Favre in here somehow, but that's a sacrifice that man may need to take in order to travel to new worlds.

dianagramr (NYC): My McLouth question was more focused on the Pirates possibly pegging McLouth's REAL value at somewhere LESS than 2008/9, and then trading him at that (to their eyes) incorrect high(er) value. This would be unlike the Buccos of the past.

Marc Normandin: Totally possible, and a good point. Things like that give me a better feeling about this rebuilding project of Pittsburgh's relative to their other ones.

Negativity (Running Rampant): Where's the guy that picked up jose bautista, mike leake, carlos silva, and traded mark teixeira for andre ethier and kelly johnson pre-season to balance things out? (it's not me)

Marc Normandin: I ended up with just Leake, but yeah, it's been such a strange season so far. Things will probably balance out, but I feel like we have a lot of weird performances in both directions these first two months.

Steve (Chicago): Add LeBron and cub fans in the mix, and you might just reach critical mass to turn time back to before the BP leak started and stop it from happening.

Marc Normandin: I'm not sure if we can go back in time though. I'm with Hawking on that note, that if there were time travel backwards, wouldn't we be seeing time traveling tourists all of the time, everywhere we go? Maybe in an alternate universe we could stop the BP leak, but that wouldn't do anything about this one.

Nater1177 (NJ): The flip side of thinking I got a steal with Sizemore in the late 3rd round and B. Anderson and Scherzer in the 9/10th has been being thankful I got Latos in the 23rd and C. Lewis in the 30th. All that being said, if you were going to deal one of Lewis/Latos (one year only league), who would you keep and what can I hope for in return as an OF. Fowler and Laporta as the later round OF backups didnt work out so well.

Marc Normandin: At least Scherzer is back! I would deal Lewis--less helpful park, AL guy, and the team may not contend all year. You can probably get a better outfielder for him too, but I'm basing that on your league not being excited about Latos enough at draft time. I would float both and see what difference there is in a return.

Dennis (LA): Dynasty league question: Would you rather have Aroldis Chapman or Mike Leake over the next six years?

Marc Normandin: Chapman for upside. I think Leake is basically Tim Hudson. He's really good and really polished already, but how much better do you think a groundball guy without a true out pitch is going to get? If you want the safer pick, Leake is a great one, but he's up now because he's basically a finished product.

KD (Chicago): 12 team, NL only league, time to sell high with Jonathan Sanchez?

Marc Normandin: I like Sanchez a lot, so it depends on what you can get back for him. What do you have for needs? Realistically will you pull in enough to make it worth selling him?

nschaef (CT): I'm very far ahead in about 5 hitting categories in 10 category, 12 team roto league, and in first place overall. Moves are at a premium (only 10 non-injury moves over a full season), so I'm reluctant to make them. As a general philosophy, do you believe in changing to improve your team even if it's doing very well, or to ride it out until you need to make a change?

Marc Normandin: It's not like you're going to upset the clubhouse if you make a move, so if you are getting players back that you *know* will improve, I see no problem with it. I'm a tinkerer though--my team four months in looks a lot different than the one I start with, more often than not.

Frank (Vegas): Hi Marc, Is the Buc's strategy to use the 1-2 year window to spend more than anyone else on the draft, before that loophole is closed with the new bargainig agreement? Sounds like a plan to me, but after 2011 what to do then?

Marc Normandin: I think that's something the Pirates will worry about after they already have a few strong drafts in a row. It's not like MLB can retroactively take players away from them, so they'll worry about it when there are new guidelines in place.

Dennis (LA): Hi Marc, thank you for the chat. Assuming he doesn't need TJS, what do you see as Brett Anderson's upside for the next few years? And do you think Alex Gordon can reinvent himself as a solid OBP corner outfielder?

Marc Normandin: I think (healthy) Anderson is one of the best pitchers in the American League. Gordon will be fine no matter where he plays, the Royals just need to put him back in the majors so he can show them that.

One Flap Down (Clearwater, FL): Am I a bad person to be rooting for Huston Street to have another setback in his rehab? I'm a Manny Corpas owner in desperate need of saves.

Marc Normandin: We've all done some things we're not proud of as fantasy owners. Unless you're actually rigging traps in his place of rehab, you should feel the same as always.

Steven Goldman (Halifax, Nova New Jersey): Marc, rank these classic time travel stories: Robert Heinlein's "By His Bootstraps" Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder" Jack Finney's "Time and Again" Harlan Ellison's "City on the Edge of Forever" (original script version, not broadcast episode)

Marc Normandin: The only one of those I have read is the Bradbury one, because I love Bradbury. Of course, how do you go wrong with a T-Rex?

AW (PA): What is Robinson Cano?

Marc Normandin: A second baseman for the New York Yankees.

Somebody (Wouldn't you like to know): What do you think about the pending trade, Cliff Lee to NYY?

Marc Normandin: Well I would have to know details of this pending trade before I can have an opinion on it, no? More realistically though, the Yankees lone trading chip is probably Jesus Montero, at least trading chips on a level that the rebuilding Mariners could use.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): It sure would be nice to see Carlos Santana up on Sunday to face Strasburg.

Marc Normandin: That would be excellent, for both my love of new talent and my AL-only team.

Bo (Tecmo Bowl): I was unstoppable, if I wanted to go back in time there would be no defense to stop me. Strasburg's first outing rates only a .15 TecmoBo rating, even chuck Norris only rates a .5 TecmoBo.

Marc Normandin: Michael Vick in Madden 2004 rates as a .25 TecmoBo, for those keeping score at home.

Will (Mactaquac): Can I confess that I can't distinguish between the faceless legs of the OF? How do you rank Ellsbury/Morgan/Davis/Pierre/Borbon/Stubbs etc for this year? Are any safely used in OBP/OPS leagues?

Marc Normandin: I would say Ellsbury, though his ribs are keeping me from suggesting this. You can safely use them assuming the R/SB are high enough--I might shy aware from Pierre, but that's a personal preference.

Jack (Boston): What the hell do I do with Justin Upton (taken 11'th overall)? And Dracut isn't Eastern MA, it's Southern NH

Marc Normandin: It's more like Northeastern MA!

maryac850 (CA): Would you drop Quentin for Stanton?

Marc Normandin: I like that gamble.

Randy (Camden County): Can someone let Porcello know that Roy is the better idol than Garland or Carmona? Thanks.

Marc Normandin: Someone needs to tell him to ease up on the two-seamers and use that four-seamer. I don't think wishcasting Roy on him is realistic, but he has a lot more potential than Garland/Carmona--no offense to either of those fine gentleman or their strategy, of course.

Dark Steven Goldman (X-Mansion, New Jersey): Austin Romine might be a better trade chip than Montero just now as (1) He can sort of catch, and (2) is having a very good offensive year despite playing in a very tough park (.368/.417/.558 on road).

Marc Normandin: Is Dark Steven Goldman anything like Dark Samus? Do we need to destroy your body with a concentrated blast of Phazon energy?

WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): In a 10 team (typical 5x5 roto) league I just traded away Jose Reyes and Wade Davis for Zorilla and Scherzer (I'm 1st in steals, last in RBI). Fair trade? Winner? Loser?

Marc Normandin: I *love* Max Scherzer, so the fact you were able to get him while selling low on Reyes is pretty great in my mind.

WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): Are you a believer in Stanton as an impact bat right away ala Ryan Braun? Or will he K far too much? Have you gotten any feedback from KG on it?

Marc Normandin: I don't think Stanton is going to be a Braun-esque talent out of the gate, no. The K's may not hold him back as much as some people are predicting--I think he may have a pretty good idea of how the strike zone works, but that's to be seen with more time in the majors--but expecting him to be like Braun may be asking a bit much.

Ben Lindbergh did a pretty good analysis of Stanton yesterday.

Harvey Dent (Arkham Asylum): What do you think of Sean Marshall as a reliver in mixed leagues?

Marc Normandin: I love strikeouts, and Marshall's got a whole bunch of 'em. I'm all for using relievers who don't provide saves to bolster your other statistics.

I'm currently listening to "Legendary Demo" from Clouds.

steve (boston): Which manager in the majors is least likely to know what statistical anlysis is and how it has a place in the game? Piniella? Baker? Someone else?

Marc Normandin: Ken Macha? Help me out here--I'm pretty sure all of them are aware of it, it just depends on how much they utilize it, either through their own doing or how much the FO makes them.

WilliamWilde (Boston, MA): I'm getting sick of Adam Jones. Would you hold on or dump in a deepish 10 team league?

Marc Normandin: You can have deepish 10-team leagues? What kind of outfielders are available to replace him?

Eric (Calgary): How worried are you about Rajai's hamstrings? It's not he's going to hit for power if he can't steal, right?

Marc Normandin: He sure doesn't look as good without a high BABIP, huh? I don't think Davis could hit for power if it was his intent. The A's are being careful with him so he comes back at 100%, so I'm not too concerned until we hear otherwise.

JT (Michigan): High highly would you rank Kuroda now? I look at his season to date numbers and like him, but when I see the game by game breakdown, I don't trust him.

Marc Normandin: He's a solid option, but he's mostly good for ERA. He's striking out a below-average number of hitters, and is kind of lucky the Dodgers defense hasn't hurt him much yet.

gorillamonsoon (Fresno, Cal.): 12 team, points, H2H, Keeper (8) Should I hold Granderson in hopes he starts scoring for me, or is a trade for Kelly Johnson or Howie Kendrick a good return from here on? Thanks.

Marc Normandin: Granderson had a poor April, but he's hit .308/.378/.564 since coming back from injury. Both sample sizes are ridiculously small, but there's no reason to panic yet.

800 pound gorilla (In the room): Sell high on Strasburg now? What are some good trade targets in terms of bats?

Marc Normandin: If you're going to sell on Strasburg, you need to set your sights so unrealistically high that you can giggle about pulling it off. Like Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols high. Just to see what happens.

Dennis (LA): Thank you for answering my previous questions. The only pitching categories in my league are Innings Pitched and Runs Allowed. Do you think Jake Peavy might be a good buy-low target for the next couple of years? And do you think Pat Burrell will emerge from the grave in SF? Thanks again!

Marc Normandin: I think Peavy's days of being an ace are over, but he's not as bad as he's been this year, so yes, he's a good buy-low target. Burrell wasn't just having a hard time hitting in Tampa Bay--he was overly selective at the plate and let a lot of pitches he used to crush go by without a swing. If he changes his approach in San Francisco, the hits could come, but it all hinges on that.

Minneapolitan (Nashville): Justin Morneau: best, bester, or bestest?

Marc Normandin: Finally hitting like the reputation he unfairly developed years ago acted like he already did.

dianagramr (NYC): Is there ANY way Jeter is NOT back with the Yankees next year? What do you see as the value/length of his next contract, assuming its with NY?

Marc Normandin: Jeter won't be back if he doesn't want to be back. Probably short on years, and less money than he's making now--I have a hard time thinking he expects a raise at this stage of his career.

Minneapolitan (Nashville): The reputation that permitted him to steal the 2006 MVP from the clearly correct choice, Joe Mauer?

Marc Normandin: That's the one! I think he got tired of people saying Justin Smoak was the switch-hitting Justin Morneau, or that Joey Votto was the hitter people thought Justin Morneau was. He's taken it up a notch or six.

supercool (Bay Area): Historically, how good of a haul are the Nationals getting with (potentially) the back to back number 1 picks of Strasburg and Harper?

Marc Normandin: I have no idea, but that's because prospects are invisible to me until they hit Double-A. One of our more historically oriented writers (or KG, of course) would be of more assistance.

Will (Mactaquac): So re-reading Moneyball is kinda, sorta really funny now, hey? I really appreciate some of the lessons, but it's hard to re-read with the benefit of hindsight on the careers.

Marc Normandin: The book was always about lessons, but a lot of people lost Billy Beane's underlying message. The same thing happened to his other books, like The Blind Side.

PF (Loop): Middle of the pack in saves with lots of room for upward movement in NL only 12 team, top 3 in 4 of 5 offensive categories. Trade Stephen Drew for H. Street? Drew would not be a save player for me.

Marc Normandin: I hate the idea of trading that much talent for a closer. If you really need the saves and have another SS, it can work, I'm just leery of that sort of thing in general.

Will (Mactaquac): Well, I mean, the principal might be true that make up and performance matter (or is true) and that "performance scouting" has its place, but it's funny to see projections of power for Teahan.

Marc Normandin: Teahen can hit for power, he just doesn't. And I don't mean it in the Ichiro! way, I mean he likes having a singles-hitter approach and sticks with it when he's shown he can have pull power.

dianagramr (NYC): Its been said that the only thing that could stop the BP spill would be the 2010 Orioles, as they suck everywhere they go.

Marc Normandin: Poor Baltimore. I'm listening to "Yank Crime", by Drive Like Jehu. Love this band.

Mountainhawk (Salem, MA): Jimmy Rollins ... getting old fast, or just a muscle pull that he bounces back from?

Marc Normandin: It sure is taking him a long time to get back from that calf injury. He was hitting well before he went down, but it's tough to take 52 at-bats seriously. I'm not hopeful for much more than 2008-level production, and with fewer steals.

Andy (Chicago): In my very deep, 14 team mixed league I'm in need of some pop, and have a day to put in a claim on Stanton (thankfully I have $ to do so). The question is, my pitching staff is very young & volatile, which of these 4 guys would you recommend dropping: W. Davis, Ely, C. Richard, W. LeBlanc? I'm leaning Wade Davis fwiw...

Marc Normandin: I can see Davis getting pushed out by Hellickson. Wade LeBlanc had a few iffy starts, but he's in the NL with Petco, and probably won't get bumped by Tim Stauffer if he can keep it up.

steve (boston): You got me started on this- Geovanny Soto has a .406 OBP and a .463 slug. Ryan Theriot has a .313 OBP and .309 slug. Theriot hits 2nd, Soto 7th. Why would a GM smart enough to draft Heydon Simpson 15th overall continue to allow Piniella to manage? That whole system needs an overhaul...

Marc Normandin: I know some people disagree with me on this, but I feel like the only curse the Cubs have dealt with over the years is their own management.

I'm going to be heading out soon folks, so lightning round time.

Hokieball (Washington, DC): Enerio Del Rosario and Daniel Ray Herrera ... effective mid-innings relief combo or young serial killers on the rise?

Marc Normandin: Maybe they'll split the difference and kill opposing lineups.

achaik (maine): "The book was always about lessons, but a lot of people lost Billy Beane's underlying message. The same thing happened to his other books, like The Blind Side." IF I WERE BILLY BEANE I WOULD NOT HAVE WRITTEN MONEYBALL!!!!!!!!!


Henry (Fairport): Where can I find BABIP stats for hitters and pitchers on the BP stats page? Also, I can't make sense of how the order the pitchers are listed when I pull up the standard stats. Any tips for navigating through those? Thanks.

Marc Normandin: You can organize them how you like based on the options in the drop down menu, but they start out sorted by name by default.

BABIP is in the Pitcher Season - Rates report.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): I'm in a bit of a bind with my fantasy team. (5x5 HU both leagues). I have both Kinsler and Uggla. Who should I be starting on a regular basis?

Marc Normandin: I would start Uggla until Kinsler starts to hit and steal more consistently. Don't want to miss out on Uggla's power production in the meantime.

Someone close by (MA): What impact do you think Bryce Harper will have and what position do you tihnk he plays?

Marc Normandin: Outfield, and lots. But not until, let's say, 2013, with a possible Justin Upton-esque debut in 2012.

stewbies (rochester): thoughts on these sp's the rest of the year in a non strikeout league - billingsley, lilly, harang and lowe?

Marc Normandin: Billingsley can be productive but frustrating. Lilly is going to regress if he doesn't get his strikeouts back, especially with his walk rates not as low as 2009. Harang has had some awful luck to begin the year, , but until that homer rate drops (and who says it will?) he's an iffy guy to use. Lowe should be doing much better than he is, especially with Atlanta playing solid defensively--he's got the grounders, but his walks have been hurting him a bit.

Marc Normandin: It's been fun everyone, but I have some things to take care of, so until next time, good luck to your teams, assuming they aren't playing my own.

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