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Chat: Josh Shepardson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday January 07, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Josh Shepardson.


It's never too soon to start preparing for fantasy season. Ask Josh your questions about baseball in 2013 and beyond.

Josh Shepardson: Good afternoon. With fantasy drafts just around the corner, I'm chomping at the bit to chat with you all today. Let's get this started.

Alex (Anaheim): Where in the world should anyone draft A-Rod this season?

Josh Shepardson: He's likely to miss, at minimum, the first half of the season, and that's assuming no setbacks post-surgery (which he has yet to have). He's un-draftable in all but large mixed leagues and AL-only leagues, and even in them, he's a late round flyer. If you're in a league with many DL spots, you can draft him and slot him there without harm, but otherwise I'd pass entirely.

Jonah (Phoenix): Handicap the odds of Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa sticking at SS. 75% & 85% respectively?

Josh Shepardson: Well, this question would be much better for the prospect staff. From what I've read from our hardworking crew, Bogaerts seems unlikely to stick there longterm but may reach the bigs while still playing shortstop. I wouldn't put the percentages very high given that info. Correa was just drafted last year and so early in the development process that I think it would be unwise to set any percentage chance of him sticking or moving off shortstop.

Francois (Toronto): Speedsters Delino Deshields Jr. and Roman Quinn are (understandably) caught in the shadow of Billy Hamilton's dust. How do you see them in terms of their big league futures?

Josh Shepardson: The prospect staff recently ranked Delino DeShields Jr fourth in the Astros system. He grades as an 80 runner, and should be a huge stolen base option in fantasy should he put it together and reach the majors. His play last year provides more optimism for his rough 2011 season. As for Quinn, his speed is also game changing. There is a big gap between what he is and what he can become. Don't expect him to be an impact fantasy player in the near future, but he certainly warrants monitoring in dynasty leagues.

Sara (Tacoma): Who's a good buy-low MLB regular for SP this season?

Josh Shepardson: I'll give you a few to cater to leagues of a variety of sizes. Hisashi Iwakuma is a sleeper I like a great deal. His high groundball percentage will help him in the transition to Safeco's new ballpark dimensions. Brett Anderson was impressive in his brief return to the hill at the end of last year and is currently a draft value at his current draft position in Mock Draft Central mocks. A few ugly starts to begin Ryan Dempster's time with the Rangers seem to have driven down his value. He'll be fine pitching in Boston and remains an undervalued starter. Chris Tillman enjoyed his first taste of success in the majors last year. He's not as good as his sub-3.00 ERA suggests, but some backlash from those looking at the peripherals may make him a value in AL-only in deep mixed leagues. I think he's capable of improving his underlying stats and staving off some of the regression that would otherwise come from him pitching at the same level this year.

Kelvin (Brooklyn): Do we see any major trades before spring training? #Bourjos? #Stanton? #Upton? #Kubel?

Josh Shepardson: With the Angels having dealt Kendrys Morales, I don't think we'll see them move Bourjos. Stanton's displeasure with the Marlins has been made clear, but I don't see him being dealt before the season. However, I do think the Diamondbacks will clear up their outfield logjam. I'm not sure whether it will be Kubel or Upton that is dealt, but I can't see Parra reduced to a fourth outfielder role again, nor can I see Adam Eaton stuck in that role.

Shaun (Redwood): Rafael Soriano and Michael Bourn are still unsigned. When will we see some action on either front?

Josh Shepardson: Your guess is as good as mine, I'd imagine things will pick up steam shortly, but I'm not sure.

Mike (Dover, DE): Bruce Rondon saves ___ number of games of the Tigers this year. Tru or false: Rondon has the team lead in saves among Tigers players this season?

Josh Shepardson: I like this question. I'll take a guess and say 15 games. I know Jim Leyland has been quoted as saying Rondon will be in the mix for the closer gig in Spring Training, so it's possible he breaks camp with the gig. I do think Joaquin Benoit could help ease Rondon into the closer job if they go that route as well.

SJLedet (Alexandria): Auction/keeper league decision. I have Belt $3 this year or $8 this and next year, Jay $1 for 2 years and Eaton $3 for 3 years. Can keep 2. I should contend this year and next. Can wait till mid March to make decision, but assuming Eaton will start in CF.

Josh Shepardson: I agree with your assumption for Eaton, and if that ends up true, I'd keep he and Belt. Jay certainly merits consideration, but I slightly prefer Belt over him.

SJLedet (Alexandria): Forgot to put 5/5 roto, OBP and SB-CS, instead of BA, SB on Belt, Jay, Eaton question. Thanks

Josh Shepardson: With this new information, I feel much better about my selections. Belt gets a big boost in OBP leagues.

Tony (Minneapolis): Hello, I am in a 12-team, 8-man keeper league and have six of my keepers set but am having trouble determining my last two. They are all cheap pitchers and none are ideal but ... anyways, the choices are Brandon McCarthy ($6), Justin Masterson ($5), Randall Delgado ($2) and Glen Perkins ($1). What are your thoughts? Thanks

Josh Shepardson: I like Perkins the best. He's the cheapest and there is a chance he saves some games this year.

jlarsen (chicago): I am all for writers and TV baseball analysts getting paid to share their opinions, but predicting divisions and determining who did well/horribly in Decemeber/January seems quite questionable to me. Angels & Red Sox teams who "won" previous 2 offseasons probably can attest that winning an offseason really doesn't matter much to them. Thoughts?

Josh Shepardson: I think you can add the Marlins to the list of team's who won in December but didn't enjoy the carryover to when the games counted. People like hot stove coverage, and media outlets have to fill air time. I think you have to take the coverage for what it is and understand that, as you say, winning the offseason doesn't guarantee a championship.

Chopper (Indy): Do you have an ETA for Miguel Sano, and what kind of stats are feasible. Thanks!

Josh Shepardson: In the Twins top 10 write-up for him the prospect crew gave him a 2015 ETA, and they know a heck of a lot more than I do. As for stats, the power is huge but comes at the cost of high strikeout totals. He could be a home run monster with some batting average risk.

brianincbus (Cape Coral, FL): Weekly h2h points league, keep 4 out of these 5 please: Longoria, Castro, Pedroia, Sale, and Prado (he has eligibility at every position except C and 1B in our league). Thanks

Josh Shepardson: Prado's eligibility is nice, but I'm tossing him back and keeping the other four. In fact, I don't see it as being a close call.

Michael (Milwaukee): I don't really have a 1B. I have excess pitching and RF: If I package one of Hunter Pence/Jose Bautista and Max Scherzer, what kind of 1B would you target (my team is built to win now).

Josh Shepardson: It really depends on which one of Pence/Bautista you package. Bautista/Scherzer should probably fetch you one of the elite first baseman. I'd probably pair Pence and Scherzer and aim a bit lower. Perhaps target someone like Edwin Encarnacion in hopes that his owner has questions about his ability to follow up on his breakout. You could also inquire about the availability of Paul Goldschmidt or Billy Butler in a deal revolving around Pence/Scherzer.

Donald (Henrytown, PA): How much (fantasy wise) is Ryan Howard worth at this point)? Meaning does he have good long-term value? What about 2013 value?

Josh Shepardson: I'm not a fan of Howard's long-term value. I do think he has some upside this year. Could be a good buy-low option with some upside. I'm willing to give him a partial pass for his bad year last season given the lengthy layoff.

Josh (Tampa): If you have Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Billy Hamilton and can only player two of them (CF, DH, bench), but could trade one for pitching help (an area of dire need), who do you deal, and who do you target with said player (20 team keeper league, 25 keepers).

Josh Shepardson: I'd probably deal Adam Jones of that trio. He is coming off a huge year, but he isn't as valuable as McCutchen. You'd be dealing him at what could be his peak value and filling a need. If you are willing to sacrifice the future some, trading Hamilton is a reasonable decision as well. There is a lot of buzz around him, and rightfully so, but he probably isn't going to help this year.

Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds): What is my long-term role?

Josh Shepardson: I don't have the vast knowledge of our prospect writers, but it is safe to say he won't be cracking the rotation to start this year. His strikeout rate was tantalizing in his brief time in the bigs last year, and it could be tempting to keep him in the major league bullpen if the conversion of Chapman to starter goes well.

The Commissioner (The War Room): In a large dynasty league you will have the ebb and flow of rebuilders, playoff pushers, and guys who are stuck in he middle. What do you do with a) a team that is constantly stuck in rebuild mode that fiends on draft picks and prospects, but never seems to develop them, or b) a team stuck between rebuilding and competing that is incapable of deciding which it wants to do and is thus always finishing below .500? Do you replace the managers, let them stay, or give them a warning? Being the Commish is hard work!

Josh Shepardson: Rebuilding can be tough, just ask real life teams such as the Royals and Pirates. It's not that different in dynasty leagues. If that owner is paying their league dues, and making a conscious effort to improve their team, I don't see a problem. If they continue to lose I find it hard to believe they'd want to continue to play, so no warning is necessary. If it becomes known they are colluding with another owner, then you have trouble. Agreed on the difficulty of serving as a Commissioner, it is often a thankless job. Keep up the good work.

Matt (Chicago): Would either a Bourn signing or an Upton trade make sense for Theo/Jed at this point on the rebuilding curve? They've been pretty aggressive about improving the pitching. Is that just to create flippable assets?

Josh Shepardson: A Bourn signing would be puzzling in my opinion. Kicking the tires on Upton could be a possibility since he's under contract through 2015, but I'm not sure they'd be willing to pay the prospect price to acquire him.

Mitch (Buffalo): In a keeper league w/ farm system (7x7 obp, xbh,hld, qs)- I am being offered my choice of Matt Moore or David Price, Tyler Skaggs, R. Soriano, Jonny Venters, and two-4 first round picks for my Gerrit Cole and Craig Kimbrel, and Clayton Kershaw. Yes, No, or Maybe So?

Josh Shepardson: I'm not sure what's going to be available at those picks, but unless it is substantial talent I would pass.

maattwind (Brazil): Options for my 6th and 7th AL only keeper include: AJ Griffin ($1), Milone ($1), Iwakuma ($5), Vargas ($1), Jim Johnson ($9). Which 2 do you prefer?

Josh Shepardson: I prefer Iwakuma and Jim Johnson. The Orioles haven't brought in anyone to supplant Johnson, and even if he takes a step back in his production he should easily surpass his $9 price tag. As I said earlier in the chat, I'm a fan of Iwakuma as a sleeper this year.

Steve (Dallas): Super-Deep Dynasty league with auction draft... $500 budgets for 25 roster spots. If there's one player you want to build you team around (maybe 3-4 players if you're feeling generous!), who are they/is he?

Josh Shepardson: If starting from scratch, I'd absolutely love to build around Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, so will everyone else though. I'd probably try to nab a pair of high upside prospects/youngsters who have yet to breakout in the bigs such as Jurickson Profar, Manny Machado, or Gerrit Cole. Buying in on a young player coming off a disappointing year such as Eric Hosmer would also make a lot of sense.

Kristen (Canada): Is Matt Davidson's long-term future at 3B and if so, is this why ARI has turned down offers from the Rangers for J. Upton centered around Mike Olt? Thanks!

Josh Shepardson: Funny you should ask about Matt Davidson. The Diamondbacks Top 10 list went up today. The write-up on him suggests he should stick at third base. As far as the Upton/Olt trade aspect of the question, I can't speak to what offers have been made (if any). I can say Upton is under a reasonable contract and should fetch a huge prospect haul if dealt.

stewbies (Rochester, NY): 14 team 5 x 5, re-draft league, but we can keep 4 players every year. I have Braun, Cano and McCutcheon. Who do you like as a 4th - Pedroia, C. Santana, Cain, Darvish, Sale, Bruce or Machado? If I could trade 2 of those for R. Zimmerman, is he a better 4th keeper?

Josh Shepardson: I would not trade two of those players for Zimmerman. If the league is a two catcher format, I'd probably keep Carlos Santana. If it is a single catcher format and you can keep players forever without escalating cost, I'd give long hard thought to keeping Machado. You also couldn't go wrong with keeping Bruce. I love the pitchers, but I'd probably toss them back in the pool, and with the presence of Cano, Pedroia becomes expendable.

Vic (San Diego): You wrote in the KR about Kipnis, but long-term do you think he will at least be a .280+ hitter with double digits in HR's and 25+ steals?

Josh Shepardson: I think that's definitely a possibility . Something like a .275-.285 hitter with 15-18 home runs and 25 or so steals seems reasonable. As he ages, he could possibly swap some speed for power.

PaulVilma (Detroit): Where do you think Adam Laroche will sign? If he ends up back with the Nats hitting clean-up, do you think he can put up similar numbers. I think it gets lost among people that he was 4th among 1st baseman with 33Hrs last year.

Josh Shepardson: It seems like the most likely destination for him is back in Washington, but that remains up in the air. It definitely does feel like LaRoche's 2012 season is lost in the shuffle. Expecting him to repeat a career year is probably a bit much, but nothing stands out as fluky in last year's stats.

Kyle (Fort Worth): Do the Rangers still intend to move Kinsler to the OF and let Profar take the job at 2nd?

Josh Shepardson: The move of Kinsler to the OF has been speculated, but I've yet to read Jon Daniels say it's imminent, so I'm not sure if that is their intention. It seems like a possibility.

SJLedet (Alexandria): Thanks for reply above. Standard 5x5 pitching categories, I have Iwakuma, Straily, C. Kelly, Peralta all $3 or less, can keep 2. Thanks again.

Josh Shepardson: This is a tough one, but I'd probably keep Iwakuma/Straily. Keep tabs on how the A's rotation shakes out because that could change the decision.

jlarsen (chicago): Has anyone pin-pointed the exact date/game where teams looking to get additional service-time out of a prospect(Myers, TDA, etc.) can call-up players from their "extra development" time in AAA?

Josh Shepardson: The date moves year-to-year as it is dependent in part on the service time of other players. You can find the exact definition of what qualifies a player for Super Two status here: http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/info/faq.jsp

michaelmcduffe (ottawa): Josh, thanks for the Iwakuma info. This is probably more of an appreciation than anything and if it were a question probably should be addressed to Doug the Prospectus' pitching guru but I'll go ahead and fire away here. I love the distinct point in Sabathia's delivery when he is loaded up on his rear leg and hesitates, balancing on that rear leg his entire 300-plus lbs. then strides and fires away. So graceful. Iwakuma hesitates when he's loaded on the rubber but then does an Eckersleyan foot kick not once but twice before firing. I got a huge kick (pun intended) out of watching it last season. I think it must be a timing/trigger mechanism for his delivery in purpose not unlike that move of Sabathia's. Your mention of Iwakuma reminded me of all this. Funny thoughts of baseball to warm a winters day. I'm enjoying the chat. Thanks

Josh Shepardson: Thanks for stopping in for the chat. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Adam (NY): NL SP's - 12 team league, 4 pitching categories are w, s, era and k's minus bb's. How do you rank the following for 2013, keeping in mind that each can be kept for up to 4 years with $2 increases every year - Santana 9, Volquez 8, Miller 10, Kelly 5, McDonald 8, Corbin 6 and Turner 10. Teams can keep 12 guys, so high inflation at the auction. Thanks.

Josh Shepardson: Miller is the best option of the bunch factoring in short-term and long-term. Behind him I like Kelly and Corbin next. Santana has short-term value if you can win now.

Joe Madden (The Dugout): In 4 years time, the better pitcher between Matt Moore and David Price is _______?

Josh Shepardson: David Price is the safe bet, since he has done it at the big league level, but Moore has a chance to close the gap. I'd guess Price, but it wouldn't shock me if Moore surpassed him.

captnamerca (dunedin, fl): Heyward or J. Upton in a dynasty points league?

Josh Shepardson: I prefer Heyward, but it's really close. The two year age difference is what swayed my decision.

Catcherless (In The Rye): Thanks for the time, Josh. As someone who hates wasting a pick chasing the good catchers, who do you like as a usually undrafted or late-round catcher? And feel free to tell me my strategy is not wise.

Josh Shepardson: I wouldn't ever rule out taking a player at any position if value presents itself. I'd probably try to target someone just after the premier names go off the board. As for cheap catchers that could surprise, I like Welington Castillo.

Paul (DC): Which of these young starters has the best year in 2013: AJ Griffin, Matt Harvey, Drew Smyly, and Jose Quintana?

Josh Shepardson: I like Matt Harvey by a wide margin. He's easily got the best stuff of the bunch, and his debut was electric. Quintana/Smyly/Griffin are back of the rotation types and they lack the sizzle of Harvey.

stewbies (Rochester, NY): To follow up my question on the 14 team 5 x 5 league with 4 keepers, yes, we can keep players without escalating cost, but no, it is not a 1 catcher league. Last piece of info is that I don't have a 1st round pick, so my first pick will be near the end of round 2. So Santana or Machado (I would have to trade Pedroia, Santana or Bruce for Machado)? How do you rank Darvish, Sale and Cain in this type of league?

Josh Shepardson: I'd take Santana over Machado. I'd rank that trio Sale/Cain/Darvish. I like all three, and think they could be shuffled up and an argument could be made with any order. The depth of pitching is what prompted me to suggest keeping four hitters. I'd probably nab a starting pitcher with one of your first three picks.

Henry (NY): Please rank the following $1 Pitchers in a 19 team 4 x 4 league (no k's): Griffin, Cobb, Estrada, McDonald, Benoit, Perez?

Josh Shepardson: Benoit, Estrada, Griffin, Cobb, McDonald, Perez (assuming Martin).

Josh Shepardson: It has been a lot of fun chatting. Thanks for joining me today, and I look forward to doing it again in the future. Good luck in upcoming fantasy drafts to everyone, and keep your eyes on the fantasy section here. There is some exciting content on the way.

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