The "Daily Hit List" and "Out of Left Field" author stops by to take your questions in his inaugural BP chat.
Matthew Kory: Hello, BP readers! It is I, Matt Kory, the (as the above probably notes) author of your favorite columns/features here at the Prospectus. I'm here to take your questions. We can talk about anything. The Red Sox, Albert Pujols, Archduke Ferdinand, electronic survivor-shot, cats, or really what ever. Let's dive right in!
Brandon5tewart (Miami): What are the chances that the Red Sox reach out to JD Drew, need a solid bat in the lineup!
Matthew Kory: Considering they just traded for Marlon Byrd, I'd say fairly limited. Drew was so bad not to mention injured last year that, at his age, I'd be surprised if he got another shot in the majors. Which is kind of a shame. I've always been a fan of his.
Preston (Washington, DC): Did you have a winning record in Electronic Survivor Shot when you were younger?
Matthew Kory: As a matter of fact, I did. I'm the one who figured out how to shoot through the windows into the back yard and if I got to the tree around the house without taking fire you were toast, my friend. Toast.
k3o3r9n0 (Santa Clara): Since you asked.... how would you have assassinated the Archduke to avoid getting caught by the Austrian authorities?
Matthew Kory: I'm not sure avoiding getting caught was really the issue, but since you asked... I'd probably have run him over with my go-cart. (I have a go-cart in this fantasy.)
Tim (NY, NY): What would surprise you more?: Bobby Valentine coaching the Red Sox on April 1, 2013 or Youkilis playing elsewhere on April 1, 2013.
Matthew Kory: I'm not sure either of them is likely to happen. If the Red Sox continue to play they way the they've been playing, Valentine may not last very long whether or not he deserves to. Youkilis has an option year on his deal after this one, so getting a player like him on a one year deal (at, I believe $13 million) isn't so bad. That assumes Youkilis isn't in the midst of falling apart. I don't think he is, but there are some who might. But you asked a question and I haven't answered it yet. So: I'll go with: if Valentine is still the Red Sox manager next April I'll be (mildly) more surprised.
Chester Trout (Dallas): Knock Knock: I eat mop.
Matthew Kory: You go, girl.
jr (mass): Hi matt thanks for the chat! How would u fix the red sox pitching and bullpen? That is the issue with this team no? Bard to the pen???thanks
Matthew Kory: You're quite welcome. I'm excited to do this. Fixing the Red Sox? That's like solving the problem with the environment. There are lots of things that go into it. Yeah, the pitching has been bad, no question (I wrote about that today (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16617) but the hitting has been (forgive me) very hit or miss. They score nine or 12 runs then they one or two. But on the whole, the pitching has been the problem.
I think they can get better performances out of some of the guys they have in the pen now (Aveces and Morales aren't this bad). Pulling Bard and Doubront from the rotation would improve things, but that's cutting off your nose to spite your face. Or pulling your ear off because you're hungry. Or something of that nature involving body parts. I don't think it fixes the greater problem.
The answer is, I think, they just have to get better performances out of most of the guys they have. I wouldn't move Bard. I like him in the rotation. Now the Sox need good innings and he'll give you more of those in the rotation than out of the pen.
Besty (Las Vegas): What team is going to win the Stanley Cup?
Matthew Kory: Probably not my Capitals. Other than that it's an interesting field of teams, all with some problems. The Bruins sure could win again. I'll go with the Blues. They seem to have it, as the kids say, going on.
Derek (Washington, DC): ...but seriously. Are you surprised by the Washington Nationals pitching staff success this year so far?
Matthew Kory: Well, yes and no. They've got a lot of talent there in Gonzalez, Zimmermann, and Strasburg. That's a formidable top three, no question about it. I think they may be a bit over their head right now, but this is probably a better team than some of us (me) thought. Now a question for you: how come people aren't coming out to the park more? The Nationals are in first place. I don't think the DC baseball team has been in first place this late in the year since probably 1924 or something.
HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): I love the Daily Hit List, at least now that the Nats are near the top. If they don't start hitting, though, I don't see that as sustainable. It appears that the Nats are trying to get Tyler Moore to play LF so he can provide some of the needed pop. Assuming that some of that translates as it has every time he has moved up, would it make sense to have him learn LF in the bigs so that we no longer have to see Xavier Nady or even Roger Bernadina?
Matthew Kory: Thanks! The Hit List is fun to write, so I'm glad you're enjoying it. I understand we are endeavoring to add comments soon so that should make it even more interactive.
I agree the Nats will need some more offense if they want to make the next level, proverbially speaking. My guess though is that any additional offensive boost will come in trade. Unless you think Bryce Harper can play in the majors now. I'm dubious of that, but I'd bow to Kevin Goldstein if he has a different answer.
David (Fredericton NB Canada): Now that the AL East seems to be a dog fight how will the Blue Jays depth and youth give them an edge over the long season?
Matthew Kory: It could, but I'm not sure I buy that they are much deeper than their AL East competition. If they are going to stay in the race long term they're going to need their pitching to hold up, and I'm not sure that is likely to happen. Still though, you have to like what the Jays are doing over all if not this year.
Mike (Philly): What's wrong with Matt Moore? Slow start or should we start to worry/move on to Bauer?
Matthew Kory: Well, his strikeouts are way down and his walks are way up, but we're talking about 19.1 innings at this point. I don't think that is nearly enough to determine if something is wrong with him or not. I'll go with "nothing is wrong with him" until I hear otherwise.
Jason W. (It's a secret): What if Bobby Valentine just put the fake mustache back on? That's the most obvious solution to the team's ills, right?
Matthew Kory: There is nothing in the world that isn't improved by fake mustaches. That includes real mustaches as well.
Eric Johnson (Costa Rica): Albert Pujols is now enduring the 2nd longest HR drought of his career. The 1st longest being during last season if I remember correctly. Is this an age regression that we are seeing?
Matthew Kory: It could be. I think it's important to remember though that when we talk about peak years and age regression we're talking about the whole of baseball history. Albert Pujols is a massive exception. Could he be taking a step down? Maybe, but I think it's still early. If you can trade for him in your fantasy league for cheap, do it now.
LindInMoskva (DC): The Nats were in first place on 7/24/2005.
Matthew Kory: This is true. I stand corrected. That team didn't have the talent that this team does though.
Brandon5tewart (Miami): Now the burning question we all have been waiting for... Cake or Pie?
Matthew Kory: You're going to hate me... it depends. Carrot Cake is the bee's knees. But generally I consider pie more decadent. I love both... ?
toadhunter911 (Eastpointe. MI): Has Justin Verlander shown anything so far that leads you to believe he can NOT reproduce the season he had last year?
Matthew Kory: He hasn't, but he's a pitcher so he's saddled with the inherent infallibility (did I spell that right?) of his kind. His arm/shoulder/elbow could explode at any moment. I don't expect it to, but that's always the danger. He's pretty awesome though and so far has been every bit the force he was last year.
9mangame (ATL): Is Colby Ramus going to break out this year? Seemed like he had/has all the right stuff; power, speed, etc. Thanks for the chat!
Matthew Kory: I'm not sure what you mean by break out. I have him at .255/.311/.473 so far this year which is pretty outstanding for a center fielder if he keeps it up.
tim (seattle): Hi, I'm afraid to go outside my house because I might suffocate from the analysis of the proper way to use Jesus Montero. Isn't it simple? Shouldn't he be the backup catcher and DH when he is not backing up cather? So, at the most, he plays catcher twice a week and his bat is in the lineup everyday. Maybe I can be a GM.
Matthew Kory: I'll be honest and say I haven't seen Montero play catcher. If he's as bad back there as everyone seems to say maybe the answer is just put him at DH, let him mash, and stop complaining about it (not that you were). He'd be a much bigger asset if he can catch, but the possibility exists that he just can't do it.
What a beautiful day here in Portland, OR. I hope it's as nice where you all are.
R.A. Wagman (Toronto): Matthew - could you provide some parenting advice? I just became a father last Wednesday and need to find new and creative ways of juggling that in amongst the watching of baseball, hockey, writing about the latter and having a day job. What do you got?
Matthew Kory: Congratulations, R.A.! Well, it's complicated. (Duh.) When the little one is still young you just put on the game you want and sit there holding them. When they get bigger and can run around, that's when it gets really tough. So enjoy it now before they're chewing on electrical wires and pooping on the kitchen floor. Or maybe that's just my kids.
MartinRiggs (Toronto): In a 12 team mixed H2H league. 26 man 6x6 scoring. I have Jose Reyes and Dee Gordon, Gordon doesn't see much time, and I need SP help. What should I expect in return for Reyes and what for Gordon? I have been told for Reyes a top tier SP + B bat/B arm...people have scoffed at such offers though. Thinking Gordon could get Lohse type pitcher. Thoughts?
Matthew Kory: OK, I'm really not much of a fantasy guy, but I'm learning. Reyes is a huge talent and plays in a big market. You very well could get some real pitching talent for him. As for Gordon, it probably depends on how desperate/smart the other people in your league are. I'd stay away from Lohse though. He's been excellent this year, but nobody, not Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander, is as good as he's been.
Matt (not as nice as Portland): What is it with the Boston media and fans that cannot grasp that the problem is 95% the players and not the manager?
Matthew Kory: Hard to say. Some writers just like to stir stuff up. I'm not sure why. I guess they just want page-views or attention. Maybe it's a conscious effort to drum up interest in their papers. Be careful about painting with too broad a brush though. The guys at the Providence Journal do an excellent job as does Alex Speier at WEEI. I'm big fans of all their work.
Valentine hasn't covered himself with glory, but the problem is almost always the players. As I said above and has been said elsewhere, the bullpen has been sub-atrocious and the starters outside of the guys they're considering moving to the pen have been pretty bad as well. I think there is a zero percent chance though that the team is this bad. They've been '62 Mets bad so far.
JuanBobo (The Sun): Do you think one of the big 3 of Arizona's pitching prospects will be moved by season's end to address current or impending holes? If so, who do believe who be most likely to be moved?
Matthew Kory: Arizona is middle of the pack offensively but losing Chris Young obviously hurts a lot. I'm sure they'll look to add offense as the season continues, but who they give up will depend on the talent coming back. Personally I wouldn't trade Trevor Bauer period.
A lady just walked by on the street crying. I always wonder about stuff like that.
jcjohnson (Washington, DC): To answer your question about the crowds at Nats Park, I'd compare it to the crowds for the Caps at Verizon Center. There's a loyal core, but the masses are slowly realizing that this is a talented team ready to win. If they have success, you'll see regular sellouts, just like the Caps have for the past several years.
Matthew Kory: That's a good and reasonable answer. Being from the DC area (though I haven't lived there in a long time) it pains me to say it, but I think that's probably true of all their pro sports teams. People like to except the Redskins from that, but football is such a different animal in the way the tickets are sold and the number of games.
Tim (Seattle): How does it feel to be the master of the chat?
Matthew Kory: It feels pretty awesome, actually. I've long been a BP reader and I've participated in lots of chats by asking questions, but, and I probably shouldn't say this, this is way more fun.
And there goes a guy playing an accordion. Right on the street. Oh, Portland, you weird weird place you.
Karl (Chicago): Brandon Belt comp at his career peak?
Matthew Kory: I'm so not the guy to answer this question. So on that basis I'll go with part John Olerud, part Babe Dahlgren, and part sad clown. I'll let you pick which parts.
halbent (Boston ): If Red Sox hovering near .500 at trade deadline, is there a possibility that the team gets blown up? Youkilis/Ortiz/Ellsbury/Crawford/Beckett/Bucholz/anyone else not named Lester, Pedroia or Gonzalez on the block? What do you think. I say start right now. :)
Matthew Kory: Yeah, though I don't see it being that extreme. I can't imagine them trading Ortiz or Ellsbury. I think Crawford is pretty much untradeable. Buchholz is either a part of the Sox future or he's untradeable too. I could see them moving Youkilis and some supporting players if they're around .500 at the deadline though.
David (Fredericton NB Canada): Who do you see making the most impact this year, in 3 years, in 5 years: Brett Lawrie or Jesus Montero?
Matthew Kory: I'm tempted to go with Lawrie because he can play defense. If Montero figures out how to catch then he's huge, just huuuuuuuuuuuge, but from what I know that probably isn't going to happen.
Steve M. (Winnipeg): Could Atlanta be the best team in the NL this year? Or does Fredi screw it up? Thoughts?
Matthew Kory: Winnipeg! I've always wanted to go there. Seriously. How do you like living there?
Sure, Atlanta could blow everyone away. They have a pretty impressive offense and run differential going on now, but it's early. Chipper hasn't even got hurt yet (again). As for Fredi, well, he's a manager and as bad as people seem to think he is at in-game decision making (and lineup decision-making for that matter) if the team is that good he probably can't screw it up. Please don't read that as a challenge.
jr (mass): Pooping on the floor? What??? My kids too lol jk.
R a wagman congrats cherish the time they grow up fast!
Replace bobby this quick? Really
Matthew Kory: I'm not the only one!
I don't see them replacing Valentine unless he decides to go. Not this early. I do think the Red Sox front office and ownership expected the team to compete this year though, so if they aren't doing that then firing the manager is always an easy thing to do even if it isn't actually a solution.
HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): Although I have been a fan of the Nationals since the beginning in 2005, I have not always been able to make it to a lot of games each year. I expect, though, that many fans will intend to see more this year, as I do. It will show up as an overall improvement.
And hey, it's a lot more than the Expos drew.
Matthew Kory: I know attendance picks up when school lets out (and a friend of mine just wrote me to say he just took his daughter to a game the other day) so maybe that'll improve things. I just know what DC summers are like so... I don't know. It's a nice park though and a compelling team.
HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): BTW, no matter how weird Portland is, it needs to pick up its game and population. As the US population grows, we will need a team in Portland and another somewhere else to give us 32 teams and even numbers in the AL and NL.
Oh, and Fairfax has the Tuba Guy, who walks 5 miles through town every day playing a sousaphone with propellers and messages all over it.
Matthew Kory: I'd love to have a team out here in Portland. The economy won't support it now. The barriers to entry are too huge. They'd have to build a new stadium (the old Triple A park is now a soccer stadium) and considering the weather it would probably have to have a retractable roof. The expense would be dramatic. I'd go to a ton of games, but for now I'll probably have to make the trek up I-5 to Seattle to get my baseball fix.
I'll one-up your random weird guy story: there is a blue guy in Portland. He's blue. His skin is blue, his hair is blue. He's blue. Top that.
Steve M. (Winnipeg): Living here is okay. Drivers are awful though. And if you can deal with the temperature extremes it can be a pretty fun place for a small big city. Just stay away from the North End
Matthew Kory: I've lived on both coasts of the US and spent time in Florida and Massachusetts and all over. Everywhere I go people complain about two things: the weather and the drivers. Everywhere. I suspect they complain about the weather in southern California where it's perfect. In fact, I know they do.
Winnipeg is on my list of places to visit though. Now that they have the Jets maybe I head up there one winter. How's the beer?
Chester Trout (Dallas): Qualitatively, how different is the current Red Sox mess than the team that, for 3 months last year, was basically an 800-pound gorilla with an Uzi?
The September collapse lingers in people's minds, but that team was nearly unbeatable during the summer.
Matthew Kory: The Sox were ridiculously good from May through August. I believe (from memory) they went something like 80-41 over that time. The thing is, this team isn't really that different. They're missing Papelbon who is the biggest name (how about that contract?) to go, but other than that they're very similar. A few different role players, some different names in the pen and in the dugout, but I think that's what makes the way they're playing so perplexing. This is pretty much that team.
I think they'll start winning soon. They're too good to be this bad. Everyone is too good to be this bad. If they don't though, you're going to see some impressive fireworks.
Jarrod Parker (Oakland): Will I be fantasy-worthy right off or will I need adjustment time? And, they told me to get that T-John surgery because it is now almost necessary. Doesn't sound right but the arm feels good! thx...
Matthew Kory: I guess that depends on the depth of your league. Will you need to play him immediately or can you just hold on to him and see how he does?
Chester Trout (Dallas): Basic one since it's yr first BP chat: Your favorite MLB park(s)?
Matthew Kory: I love Fenway. Whatever-they're-calling-it-this-week in San Francisco is an amazing place to see a game. The berm in San Diego might be the most awesome way to spend $4 or however much it costs to sit there (and they sell vegetarian hot dogs!). Camden Yards is a wonderful place to see a game too and you can usually move up to better seats.
One place I've always wanted to go is Kansas City. It just looks really... nice.
Mike Fuji (Ottawa, ON): How long would you give Eric Thames in the Blue Jays outfield before considering a change? He is already being benched in favour of Rajai Davis/Ben Francisco vs. LHP and his power has yet to show up vs. RHP. Blue Jays fans should know that AA is pretty committed to giving Eric Thames a fair chance to keep the LF job. However, if his current offensive production is determined to be roughly in the neighbourhood of his ceiling and his defence remains painful to watch, how long will it be until they give the major league at-bats to Snider who has offensive upside for days and can actually play above average D in LF. He's not going to learn to hit breaking balls in the thin air of Vegas, so the choice for me is obvious. I'd honestly only give him 3 more weeks, but I'm admittedly partial to Snider. What do you think is a reasonable sample size to allow AA to show players he didn't mess with Thames and gave him the fair shot that he was promised?
Matthew Kory: You wrote so much I had to answer it.
I think it depends on what AA thinks. I know that's a terrible answer, but with this kind of sample size I think you have to fall back on scouting. Can he hack it at this level? I don't know. The other thing is that the Jays are tied for first place. Are they going to try to stay there? If so they might need to get some offense at the position. If they're going to play for next year then maybe you try to give the young guy some ABs and hope he gets it. That's probably what I'd do.
David (Fredericton NB Canada): Do the Texas Rangers win 120 games? Seriously they are loaded and firing on all 12 cylinders! Not fair as the rest of the league (maybe not Detroit) has a sixpack under the hood..
Matthew Kory: The Rangers are crazy good, no question about it. The baseball season is a long one though, so injuries will play a role. How hurt is Adrian Beltre? If he's out for a long time how much defense will they lose by playing Michael Young there? There will be some inevitable downturns in performance as well. Josh Hamilton is good, but he's not .418/.438/.776 good.
I don't mean to rain on Rangers fans parade. The team is crazy good.
Chester Trout (Dallas): How's it feel to spend your afternoon rooting like crazy against a Boston team, then your evening rooting like crazy for a different Boston team?
Matthew Kory: It's odd, I grant you that. (the question refers to my pro-Red Sox and anti-Bruins stance) But Go Boston/Down With Boston!!
Charlie (Bethesda): I think DC has the transient issue - but the stadium is also pretty tough to get to from the NW Maryland suburbs, which also happens to be one of the most affluent areas. That being said, there isn't a ton of baseball tradition here, the Senators left before anyone under 40 was born. Give it some time, I think they'll draw more and more as the years go on. This team is going to be good for quite a while
Matthew Kory: That's the hope, isn't it. DC doesn't have that downtown core like some of the other East Coast teams do. But they're building up the area surrounding the new Nats Park (and pushing out some long-time residents to do it, which is another issue) so I imagine as more people move into the area and density increases that could help attendance too.
LoyalRoyal (Kansas): Rumor has it Jordany Valdespin is being called up. Do you see him carving out a role in that offense or is it just a short-term move? Thanks..
Matthew Kory: Considering who the Royals have at shortstop, he probably isn't any kind of drop off. But Yuniesky Betancourt is the very definition of a low bar to jump over.
Matthew Kory: Well BPers, that is going to do it for me. I have to head home and help the wife with the kids. Let me say though that it has been an absolute pleasure chatting here with you all today. This has been a blast. I hope the powers that be let me out of my cage again soon. Thanks!