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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday January 22, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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"Painting the Black" and "Transaction Analysis" author R.J. Anderson answers your questions.

R.J. Anderson: Hey folks, let's get started.

Nick (Kansas City): What is your assessment of Lorenzo Cain? 15/15 season? 20/20?

R.J. Anderson: Hey Nick,

Every time I look Cain up I realize he's older than I assume. If we're talking about 2013 then I think 20/20 is optimistic; 15/15 probably is, too. He should get the steals but I don't know if he'll hit 15 home runs in his first full big-league season. I feel more comfortable betting on the steals being there than the power.

Alex (Anaheim): What should I expect out of Pineda in 2013?

R.J. Anderson: Hi Alex,

Good question. Unfortunately, I don't know what to expect from Pineda, either. Last I read he was out until the summer. If this is for fantasy purposes then I wouldn't expect much.

Paul (DC): Does the sublime Roy Oswalt pitch again or has the fork been stuck in him?

R.J. Anderson: Paul,

With pitchers like Miguel Batista still getting jobs, I have to assume someone out there would give Oswalt a contract if he wants it. I don't know if he wants to still pitch, but it wouldn't shock me if he's on someone's roster come July.

smitty99 (Federal Way WA): When guys like Aaron Cook and Chris Volstead sign a $1.5 million minor league contract, is the $1.5 million in effect only if they make the big club? How much do they cost the club as AAA depth?

R.J. Anderson: Hi Smitty,

In many cases these deals are of the split variety; so, as you stated, Cook would only earn the $1.5 million salary if he's in the majors. If he's in the minors he'd earn a lower wage, depending on their agreement. You used to see the split contract arrangement with recent draftees as well.

jj0501 (E. Washington): In the big picture, what is Erasmo Ramirez going forward for Seattle ? A place holder until the Big Three arrive or a legit #3 or 4 type on his own ? Or something in between ?

R.J. Anderson: My guess, jj0501, is that Ramirez is a number four. I wouldn't call him a placeholder for the Big Three—in part because it's possible that shrinks to the Big Two or the Big One thanks to trades, attrition, and role changes—but I also don't believe you should ink him in like you do with Felix Hernandez.

Alex (Anaheim): Is there a reason why the World Baseball Classic is avoiding California altogether this time around?

R.J. Anderson: Hadn't noticed that, Alex, but I don't know if there is an explanation. Maybe they intend to cycle through venues?

Todd (Oakland): Thanks for the chat, R.J. Please rank the following infielders by 2013 fantasy upside: Josh Rutledge, Logan Forsythe, Jed Lowrie, Everth Cabrera, Chris Nelson, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Donovan Solano.

R.J. Anderson: Hey Todd,

I'm not too good at fantasy (as Marc Normandin can attest) but I'd rank 'em something like:

Lowrie - Hurt often but probably the best hitter of the bunch
Cabrera - Should swipe a ton of bags and he has the positional advantage over Forsythe
Rutledge - Not as good as last year but he can hit and that park will help
Forsythe - Park hurts
Nelson - Park should help
Solano - I think I undersold him last year, but I don't know that I can put him higher
Hechavarria - Not sold that he's a fantasy contributor

Paul (DC): Mike Zunino becomes the starting Mariners catcher on mm/dd/yy?

R.J. Anderson: Paul, I would guess sometime in July—July 23, 2013 if we're being exact. I don't think they should rush him and I wouldn't have a problem if they held him down until after the projected Super Two deadline.

Jacob (Utah): What can I expect from my boy Brett Anderson this year if he's fully healthy?

R.J. Anderson: Jacob, if Anderson is healthy he should be an above-average starter. Jack Moore, of FanGraphs and half the internet, pointed out that Anderson looked slimmer during his appearances this season. He's always pitched well when healthy and I don't see any reason to bet against that continuing, provided the "if healthy" caveat is in place.

SecondHandStore (Sheboygan, WI): WBC Semifinals and Championship are in San Francisco this year.

R.J. Anderson: Thanks SecondHandStore. So the WBC isn't avoiding eye contact with Cali after all.

Dickie (SRQ): Thoughts on Vogelbach?

R.J. Anderson: Should mash but he's going to have to keep that body in check, Dickie.

sitdancer (DC): What is your expectation for Matt Moore in 2013 and beyond? He was ranked ahead of even Trout and Harper only last year, but it seems like people have soured on him considerably after a soso rookie year. Is that because of how great Trout was or are there bigger underlying problems that make it less likely for him to reach his ceiling?

R.J. Anderson: Sitdancer, I think it's half Trout (and Harper, to an extent) and half Moore. Moore had some issues putting batters away and tipping pitches, so his overall numbers suffered. Frankly, he pitched about as well as I expected given that he was a rookie in the AL East. I'm still high on him—the stuff and makeup are still great—and I think he reminds people of his potential this season.

John (Chicago): Have we seen everything we need to see out of Colby Rasmus, or is there reason to hold out hope he can still be a superstar and/or get his OBP above .340?

R.J. Anderson: John, I wouldn't hold out for superstar status out of Rasmus but I do think there's some chicken left on the bone. That being said, it's possible he never beats his 2010 production (though he could still contribute to a good team).

Hoot Stromboli (Snowed In): Chances these outfielders will have starting jobs by the middle of May: Oswaldo Arcia ____ Jackie Bradley ____ Shane Peterson ____ Trayce Thompson ____

R.J. Anderson: Hoot, I can't place percentages on each. I think Thompson is the most likely because the White Sox always seem aggressive with their prospects. I would put Peterson next—if only because I think an injury to Beltran could happen and it's too early for OSCAR—then Bradley and finally Arcia.

Paul (DC): After Yu Darvish, the most effective Pacific Rim new or returning import this year will be ... ?

R.J. Anderson: Hm. I had to think about this one Paul, but in the end I'll cheat and go with Hisashi Iwakamua due to the park.

Grady Sizemore (Oklahoma): Hi R.J. any chance I play in the big leagues next year?

R.J. Anderson: Sure, Grady. But it's hard to bet on you playing much.

Garcia (The A): How early can we start eliminating the Mets and Marlins from contending in the NL East?

R.J. Anderson: I don't think either will compete, Garcia, but after the Orioles did what they did last year I'm weary of crossing the Mets or Marlins out until the summer.

John (LA): How in the world is Bobby Grich not in the HOF?

R.J. Anderson: John, I'm not much of a HOF guy so I don't feel qualified to answer this one.

Derek (Kansas City): Thanks for the chat! In my keeper league I kept Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Brandon Belt, and Kyle Seager. Smart move?

R.J. Anderson: Derek, it depends on the opportunity cost. I can see reasons for keeping all four of those players in a vacuum, but we both know that's not how this thing works.

Paul (DC): OMG, There is a Mark and an RJ Anderson on the BP Staff. When you're walking down the Halls of BP Justice together, how do we tell you apart?

R.J. Anderson: I'm the robotic one.

Booker T (Vermolusca): What do you expect of Dan Haren this year? Do you think the back issues make him risky?

R.J. Anderson: The back issues do make Haren risky, Booker. I'd anticipate him being an average starter or thereabouts.

Spirou (Montreal): Always been a fan of Saltalamacchia but with Lawarnway coming up,is it the time for me to jump off the bandwagon ?

R.J. Anderson: Spirou, I think Saltalamacchia will land on his feet. Switch-hitting catchers with that kind of pop don't go without jobs too often.

Dickie (SRQ): Which prospect are you most excited seeing getting a potential call up this year?

R.J. Anderson: Ignoring the elite prospects: Kolten Wong. I love how he makes hitting look easy and I think he'll have a lengthy career as a solid starter.

Chris (kc): I enyoyed your article on Porcello, RJ. What do you make of Dombrowski's comments in regards to the Porcello/Smyly question that he's not interested in having rotational depth because it's tantamount to assuming you will have bad luck or an injury?

R.J. Anderson: Thanks, Chris. I didn't see the original quote so some context might get loss in translation. My guess is he meant something other than, "We won't have injuries because we don't believe in them/aren't equipped to handle them." Without knowing the context I don't want to read too much into it.

Txt hrs (Dallas): Tyler Austin legit? Do scouts agree with the numbers?

R.J. Anderson: Depends on the numbers, but scouts seem to think he's going to be a solid-to-good player.

John (Boston): Hey R.J.,can you put these guys in order,Jose Fernandez,Almora,Solar,Zimmer,Syndergaurd,Hedges,Allen Webster,Aaron Sanchez,Alen Hanson,Sean Manrea,Clint Frazier and Kevin Gausman...thanks for all the hard work!!!

R.J. Anderson: John, I don't think I know enough about these players to give you a useful answer. I will say that I like Webster and Hanson quite a bit.

Paul (DC): Everyone knows about Buehrle and Dickey being paragons at shutting down the running game from the mound. Who are the up and coming youngsters with the potential to subtly add to their VORP and WAR with this talent?

R.J. Anderson: Good question, Paul. If we're talking about big-league pitchers then Kris Medlen springs to mind. He's a tremendous athlete and he's allowed something like one steal per 30 innings pitched during his time in the majors.

Justin (Cleveland): If you had the choice to draft Buxton or Almora in your league who would you take? Who is the riskier pick?

R.J. Anderson: Justin, it depends on my philosophy. If I value upside over everything then I take Buxton because he's got the higher roof. Almora seems to have the more polished game right now, and I'd guess that he's also got the higher floor. So Buxton is the home run pick while Almora is a solid double or triple, depending on how things shake out.

Frahm (Getty): With all the young unproven OFer's the Phillies have, why even consider Delmon Young? He does not seem like a difference maker.

R.J. Anderson: Frahm, my guess is that teams still see some positives in Young's game that could translate into more production given his age. I tend to agree that he's not a different maker, but that's probably the reason. Whether that's the correct strategy for the Phillies to take depends on how they feel about those unproven outfielders.

michaelmcduffe (ottawa): Do you think Domonic Brown will get 500 ABs in 2013? What will he do with them?

R.J. Anderson: Michael, this ties in with the previous question. It's a little too early to say whether Brown will get the at-bats. I'm not sure what he'll do with them. Part of me thinks he can still turn into a good player, but another part of me is hesitant to buy too much into the hype.

JPinPhilly (Excellent): Taijuan Walker and Oscar Taveras are both on their respective big league rosters by August of 2013. True or false?

R.J. Anderson: Probably true.

Jacob (San Diego): What is your assessment of Kevin Gausman, Max Fried, and Kyle Zimmer? Who has the most upside? Thanks.

R.J. Anderson: Jacob, I haven't seen any of the pitchers in person so I'm going off second-hand info here. I've heard a ton of good things about Fried, but it wouldn't surprise me if, in five years, either Zimmer or Gausman is viewed as the best pitcher of the trio.

Jeff (Houston): What are your thoughts on the 1B competition in Oakland? Who wins the job in Spring Training?

R.J. Anderson: Jeff, I think there's room on the roster for Carter and Moss.

William (Pensacola, FL): Eight months from now, what minor transaction that didn't get much fanfare when it happened, will pay the most dividends for his team ?

R.J. Anderson: Tough one. I liked the Brewers adding Burke Badenhop, if that's a minor enough deal for you. He should help shore up the middle innings there. I know that's not going to yield too sexy of results but that's the first move that popped up.

Paul (DC): Who from the following list of young 4th/5th starter talent types have the best chances at a solid 2013: Dan Straily, Jose Quintana, Joe Kelly, Drew Smyly, AJ Griffin, David Phelps, Erasmo Ramirez, and Patrick Corbin?

R.J. Anderson: I don't know if Kelly, Smyly, or Corbin will get a full slate of starts, I know Phelps won't. That leaves Griffin, Straily, Quintana, and Ramirez and I'd lean toward one of the first two.

Steve G. (Athens, OH): Hey RJ, thanks for doing the chat today. How did you get started in the baseball business and the business of talking about baseball?

R.J. Anderson: Anytime, Steve. I got my start at DRaysBay thanks to Jake Larsen. From there I've lucked into a few more opportunities, like this one. A lot of right time, right place situations (though I'd also point to Marc Normandin, Ben Lindbergh, and Jonah Keri as people who helped guide me along).

Dave (Minneapolis): R.J., what are your thoughts on Tommy Hanson and his move to the AL?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not a believer anymore, Dave, just because of the shoulder woes. Maybe the Angels can keep him healthy and straighten out his mechanics to ease up the labor on his shoulder. I'm just not too optimistic in any case like this.

Tommy (Btown): How do you feel the Cardinals rotation shakes out? At what point for Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal get their chance?

R.J. Anderson: It comes down to whether the Cardinals re-sign Lohse (doubtful by all accounts), Jaime Garcia's health, and their evaluation of Rosenthal as a starter. I think Rosenthal could spend the season in the pen, and I wouldn't be shocked if Miller is in the rotation come October.

Spirou (Montreal): What should be expected of Jemile Weeks and does he get the job to begin with ?

R.J. Anderson: Toughie. I think Scott Sizemore could win the job there. I still believe Weeks could turn into a solid player for the long haul.

Steve (NJ): In terms of potential career value, how would you rank these young catchers: D. Norris, Rosario, Grandal, Lavarnway, Mesoraco, Brantly? How long until Montero is moved off catching forever?

R.J. Anderson: Steve, probably once the Mariners trade Montero or get tired of fooling with him back there. Here's how I'd rank the catchers if we're talking real-life value, with a few coin flips involved:

Mesoraco (still a believer)
Grandal
Norris
Rosario (defense is too harsh for me to buy in too much)
Lavarnway (not sold on defense and I'm not certain he's an elite-hitting catcher)
Brantly (solid guy, but not a huge roof)

Art (Mountain View): What are your thoughts on Jarrod Parker? His peripherals were just so-so, but he ended the year with solid numbers.

R.J. Anderson: Art, I'm a fan of Parker. Keep the ballpark and defense in mind. He might be one of those guys who outperforms his peripherals based on those external factors.

marcrenton (Newcastle, England): Hey RJ. Do you think that Carlos Gomez can improve further this year?

R.J. Anderson: Maybe, but if Gomez can just replicate last season you've got yourself a pretty nice player. I know Bradley Ankrom and a few scouts believed Gomez could hit for more power than he had previously because of his frame.

Bill (New Mexico): According to Mozeliak, the Cardinals have basically cut bait on Lohse. So where does he wind up instead? How much, how long?

R.J. Anderson: Texas, maybe? It's hard to say. Boras always seems to get his way, so I assume it'll be a three- or four-year deal worth an AAV of $13m or more. I think I like Lohse more than most of the community. He's not a frontline guy, make no mistake, but he's a solid pitcher. He'll help his team win games.

Scott Boras (Columbia, CT): Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Justin Verlander walk into the Owner's Meeting. Who walks out with the biggest contract and for what amount?

R.J. Anderson: Probably Kershaw because of the age. Beats me on the amount. Something unprecedented (for pitchers) with a lot of zeroes. All three would get paid extremely well.

Greg (NY): What are your thoughts on Jean Segura, can we expect close to 40 Stolens and a .330+ OBP? Also I would like to guage your thoughts on Matt Den Deker... does he ever become a 1st division starting player that is not looking to get upgraded? Thank you in advance.

R.J. Anderson: Are we talking this year or peak value for Segura? I could see Roenicke giving him the green light. The OBP is harder to peg but .330 seems doable.

Rockford (Flowmont): Thanks for the chat. Do you think the Aroldis Chapman experiment will work? He seemed to be too valuable closing out games. What are you thoughts on some sneaky good RP's like Tony Cingrani and J.J. Hoover in Cincinnati?

R.J. Anderson: A year ago I would've said no on Chapman starting because of his control woes. He seemed to improve on that aspect and if it sticks then I'd say he's got a chance. I haven't seen much of Cingrani—though he sounds like someone who could help now—but Hoover is a nice arm that got buried in Atlanta because others had higher ceilings.

Tommy (Houston): Which former Twins CF will have a better season? Ben Revere or Denard Span. I would assume Span due to the lineup around him?

R.J. Anderson: Span. Revere's defense is real nice but I don't like the swing and I don't buy him developing secondary skills overnight.

Jeremy (Edina, MN): Who plays CF for the Twins this season - and how good will Hicks be in 3 years?

R.J. Anderson: Mastroianni if they don't add anyone. I have some reservations about Hicks. If he gets over his hurdles he's someone you're happy to have on your club.

John (Chicago): RE: Weeks/Sizemore. Should Grant Green be involved in the competition for the 2b job? He is the least talked about good prospect.

R.J. Anderson: Green should probably be involved, yes. I'm not sure what they're going to do with him at this point. He seems like a man without a position and without the bat to force his way onto the club.

John Farrell (Columbia, CT): Am I crazy that the Red Sox can be a 90-93 win team?

R.J. Anderson: Man, it depends on how things break. The lineup should be solid and the bullpen has that look too, but the rotation could go either way. If Lester, Buchholz, and Dempster pitch like they're capable, and they get anything out of Lackey and Doubront then maybe. Then again, I thought people underestimated their chances entering last season and they imploded instead.

R.J. Anderson: Thanks for all the questions, guys. We'll have to do it again soon.


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