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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday March 08, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Geoff Young.

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Got Padres questions? Ask Geoff. (He also accepts questions about the 29 lesser teams.)

Geoff Young: Howdy, folks, and welcome to the chat. Let's talk baseball!

Ernie (Boston): Geoff, Your thoughts on whether Shane Victorino can bounce back this season or is he entering his decline phase ?

Geoff Young: Ernie, thanks for the kicking things off for us today. Disclaimer: My wife is from Hawai'i, so I have a soft spot for players native to our 50th state. That said, although I doubt Victorino will ever repeat his success of 2011, a rebound to 2008-2010 levels (787 OPS) seems reasonable. He's still only 32 years old and he did steal a career-high 39 bases last year, so it's not like his legs are shot.

Todd (Seattle): What kind of season do you think Mike Morse will have ?

Geoff Young: Todd, I'm slightly less bullish on Morse than is PECOTA, which projects him at a .288 TAv on the heels of a .276 showing in 2012. The 40th percentile projection of .272/.322/.472 with 19 homers seems more realistic to me. I'm still fascinated to see how many DHs Seattle can get into the game at once.

zwestwood (arizona): I HATE saves. Do you? and Why?

Geoff Young: Hey zwestwood, I don't hate saves. Why not? Because usually I find statistics to be less of a problem than those who would misuse them. Saves tell us something about the game, although there are better ways to convey the same information. Still, they aren't to blame for their limited utility, and I can't bring myself to hate them.

Shamu35 (the twitter): It's easy to imagine what can go wrong for the Padres this year. What has to go right for them to be a *good* competitive team -- let's say 80-85 wins?

Geoff Young: Good question, Shamu. The easy answer is "a lot." More specifically, they need Nick Hundley and Cameron Maybin to step up their games, Jedd Gyorko to establish himself at second base, and most importantly get a surprise or two out of the rotation. That last one is going to be tough, though, as there just isn't anyone who inspires confidence.

Alan (Daytona): What do you expect from Matt Moore this season?

Geoff Young: Alan, PECOTA has Moore essentially duplicating his rookie season, which seems like a reasonable baseline to me. He's at an age where he could take a step forward, but he did well enough last year that even no/limited growth shouldn't be viewed as disappointment.

Carl (New Mexico): Is Justin Upton the 2012 version or 2011 version?

Geoff Young: Carl, if anything has been the hallmark of Upton's career so far, it's been inconsistency. He has pretty well established the ability to keep the batting average around .280 and the OBP around .360, but it's the power that confounds. His ISOs for the past four years are .232, .170, .240, .150. The guy is 25 years old and I do not believe he's a .150 ISO hitter. The safe bet is to say that Upton's true level lies between his 2011 and 2012 performance, but every time I watch him, I wonder why the 2011 version doesn't show up all the time. He's still young enough to get to that next level and stay there.

Brian (Madison): Any concern about Felix's elbow? Should I be concerned about him in fantasy this year?

Geoff Young: Hey Brian, I don't know that I have a specific concern about Felix other than his significant workload. The last three pitchers to log 1,600 innings by age 26 were Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, and Frank Tanana. Those guys went on to have great careers, although not as great as people might have expected based on their earlier success. On the bright side, Bert Blyleven was the last before them (he had thrown 500 more innings than Felix by this point), and he ended up in the Hall of Fame. You never know with pitchers, but so far it seems like he's up to the task.

Tony (Penn State): What kind of sophomore season are you expecting from Harper?

Geoff Young: Thanks for the question, Tony. PECOTA see Harper regressing, and I agree. He'll still be very good, but one problem with setting the world on fire at age 19 is that it can create unreasonable expectations. He's a generational talent, but baseball is a game of adjustments. If his greatness doesn't manifest itself right away, there's still plenty of time.

Ryan (Nevada): Jason Heyward will be a top ___ outfielder this year. What numbers do you expect from him?

Geoff Young: Ryan, I have no idea but I'll say top 20. Maybe higher? PECOTA has Heyward at .259/.347/.447 with 21 HR, but I can easily envision him beating the SLG and HR projections by plenty.

Wayne (Atlanta): For head to head points league that have Martin Prado eligible at shortstop, where would you rank him at the position?

Geoff Young: Wayne, I'm afraid I haven't played any kind of Roto in years. Maybe a reader can help?

Ian (Kansas): Is this the year Adrian Beltre falls off or does he have a few elite years left? He's getting up there in age.

Geoff Young: Interesting question, Ian. Beltre's career path is so weird it's hard to guess what will come next. He was in the big leagues at 19, had a monster season at 25, then hit .266/.317/.442 during what should have been his prime before hitting .314/.353/.558 over the past three years. It seems like he could fall off, but then, I still can't figure out his age 26-30 seasons. I don't know. This is the most unsatisfying answer ever, but he baffles me.

Bryant (Oceanside, CA): Thoughts on the most recent Donavan Tate news?

Geoff Young: Hey Bryant, yeah, that's a bummer. For those who don't know, Donavan Tate, the third pick overall in 2009, is not in Padres camp due to "personal reasons." Tate owns a career .241/.358/.320 line in about 700 PA spread over three seasons, none above High-A. He isn't quite in Matt Bush territory yet, but he is fast approaching. What a complete disappointment.

MerleDixon (PA): Chase Headley, where do you rank him among baseball's top 3B? Where would you rank him for fantasy purposes also?

Geoff Young: Merle, I think Headley is one of the elite third basemen in baseball. Even if he doesn't hit 30 homers again, his mix of on-base skills and steady glovework make him an asset in real and fantasy baseball. Headley is valuable in Scoresheet leagues, where OBP and defense matter. Roto might be a different story depending on how much of his home-run power is legit. PECOTA has him hitting 16 HR this year. I'm not the most optimistic person in the world, but that seems a little low to me, especially with the fences moving in at PETCO (almost an anagram of PECOTA, I just noticed) this year. I'd put him more in the 20-25 HR range.

hotstatrat (Toronto): Scoresheet keeper league round 21 or 22: Lorenzo Cain or Peter Bourjos?

Geoff Young: Hey hotstatrat, I miss your city... best dim sum I've ever had (but I get to see Rush inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF next month, so I can't complain). Those are the tough rounds. In my combined league, both went in round 17, with Bourjos coming six picks after Cain. The former gives you sick defense, while the latter might have some untapped offensive upside. If this is AL-only, there's a remote chance that Cain becomes a keeper. I'd take him first.

Batpoet (San Diego): Who are a few of your favorite players this season? (MLB or minor)

Geoff Young: Hi Batpoet, always good to see my Twitter friends here; glad you could join us! At the big-league level, I have a fondness for guys who attended my alma mater or who I saw play a lot in the minors. That would include A.J. Griffin, Oliver Perez, Kyle Blanks, Headley. Current minor leaguers? Austin Hedges, who I look forward to watching at Lake Elsinore. And of course, Billy Hamilton, who is just so disruptive. I doubt I'll ever get tired of watching him play.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): What are your thoughts on Lucas Harrell? He was one of the few bright spots for Astros fans last year, and he's looked solid in the Spring so far (insert S.T. caveats). Do you like his chances to repeat or even improve upon his 2012 performance?

Geoff Young: Ashitaka, thanks for the question. In all honesty, I think Harrell's best qualities are that he is durable and that he plays for the Astros. The stuff isn't great, the command isn't great. He is a decent back-end option, but what you see is what you get.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you expect Headley to make a run at an All-Star spot in 2013?

Geoff Young: Yes, Alex, I see Headley making a strong bid for an All-Star spot. He should have been there last year but the powers-that-be anointed Huston Street the Padres' obligatory representative. They won't repeat their mistake... I hope.

Kai (SLO): how do rymer liriano and jorge soler compare? ceiling and potential impact of both?

Geoff Young: Kai, I'm afraid I don't have a good enough feel for Soler to give an informed opinion on him. I will say that I like Liriano a lot and am disappointed that he'll be sitting out 2013 with a bum elbow. I think he's got the talent to be a first-division starter, but he remains a work-in-progress. Assuming he suffers no lingering effects from Tommy John surgery and continues to develop once healthy, there's a lot to like.

aschauer (LA): What the heck is going on with Adrian Gonzalez's BB rate? It's cratering, but I haven't really seen any stories on it or anyone even being really concerned -- BP rates him as 4th best fantasy first basemen. Have there been any other players who've gone from 110+ walks to literally 11 in just a couple seasons?

Geoff Young: Good question, aschauer. Adrian actually drew 42 walks last season (11 with the Dodgers), but yeah, he has slipped big time in that area. His BB% over the last four years are 17.5, 13.4, 10.4, and 6.1. One factor is fewer intentional walks, but even without those, his UBB% has gone 14.2, 8.4, 7.6, and 5.4. So 2009 was probably a fluke helped by the absence of any real threats surrounding him in the lineup, but there has been decline since as well. I'm not sure what to make of that, but it bears watching.

Kai (SLO): Can Dorssys Paulino stick at short? if not, does he move to 2b or 3b? If its 2b, how does he compare offensively with Eddie Rosario?

Geoff Young: I have no clue here, but Dorssys might be new favorite first name: 42.9% esses. There are no esses in my name. This fills me with sadnessssssssss.

B.T. (Munich): How does that NL West play out?

Geoff Young: B.T. This is the boring answer, but I'll say SF, LA, Ari, SD, Col. Dodgers are a strong Wild Card candidate, while D'backs could surprise despite their off-season blunders.

Oldwell89 (Far, Far, Away): Now hearing rumors that Pads are taking calls on Headley. What's the best case scenario for the Pads if he stays or he goes in your mind?

Geoff Young: Oldwell, I personally hope they keep Headley and extend him. The trouble is that right now nobody knows how much money the new Padres owners have and/or are willing to spend. Which, come to think of it, is a central theme throughout the franchise's existence. It's a little disconcerting to fans that he hasn't been locked up long-term already. It would be a shame to see Headley follow Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzalez, and Mat Latos out of town.

matthewverygood (Los Angeles): I know Spring Training stats and performance are useless and junk, but I must say I am encouraged by Kyle Blanks so far. The problem is there's no room for him on the Padres roster, unless Quentin or Alonso go down. What say you?

Geoff Young: Hey Matt, as I mentioned earlier, I'm a big Blanks fan. I would love to see him succeed, but as you note, the situation is crowded. Quentin's track record suggests that he'll go down at some point. Unfortunately, Blanks' track record suggests the same.

Bryant (Oceanside, CA): Which baseball player has the kindest eyes? The most inviting smile?

Geoff Young: That's easy, Bryant: It's Albert Belle.

Quest (Philly): Does Headley hit 20 home runs again?

Geoff Young: Hi Quest, I think he does. And I would have said that even before they moved the fences.

fgbaloh (Allentown): As a Pirate fan, do I have any reason to think any of our potential outfielders not named Andrew will be above average major league players? i.e. Snyder, Tabata, Marte?

Geoff Young: fgbaloh, the good news is that those guys are all young. The bad news is... Jose Tabata has teased but seems to have plateaued. Travis Snider is not a bad gamble, but as with Tabata, he looks more like a role player to me. Starling Marte could be something. Scouts love him, PECOTA loves him, I have concerns about his plate discipline. But yeah, there's hope with him.

Brandon (NY): Can Hiroki Kuroda put together another good year at age 38?

Geoff Young: Brandon, I don't see why not. Nobody is immune to the effects of aging, but Kuroda has shown no signs of decline.

pconnor117 (NJ): Tony, i draft 12th in a standard 12 team league. I want bautista over stanton and harper over tulo since i end up getting zobrist in the 5th each time. The league is better at drinking than fantasy. Would you grab tulo instead or do settle for Zo?

Geoff Young: Tony isn't here, but I like Tulo and drinking. Not necessarily in that order.

James (Portland): thanks for the chat, do you think this is the year Carlos Santana breaks out and becomes the top catcher in baseball?

Geoff Young: Thanks for being a part of it, James. Your fine city needs to open its library on Mondays. Then again, Powell's makes up for a lot. As for Santana, I don't see him overtaking Buster Posey, but he's still a stud... much more useful to the Indians than Casey Blake, anyway.

Kyle (San Francisco, CA): The Padres seem to have a glut of super utility players this season, who makes the roster and who is out? I'd like to see Blanks make it but that probably means Guzman is gone. Does Forsythe have a shot at being the everyday SS? I love his bat. Thanks!

Geoff Young: Hi Kyle. I agree with your assessment of Blanks and Guzman. They fill the same need. Guzman has done it, but I cling to the hope that Blanks still has untapped potential. I'm not sold on Logan Forsythe as an everyday shortstop. It'd be fantastic if he can do it, because he has nice on-base skills, but it seems to me he's a bit stretched defensively at that spot.

Dave (Boston): How would you handicap the risk around Nelson Cruz being suspended this year?

Geoff Young: Dave, that is a fascinating question. I will deftly evade it by saying I'd let someone else handicap the risk.

zwestwood (lake havasu city, az): I hate saves. Do you?

Geoff Young: I've given it some more thought, and no, I still don't hate saves.

Matt (Chicago): How likely is it that Yonder Alonso's college career at Miami was tainted by steroids? 60-40?

Geoff Young: Matt, based on my knowledge of the situation, I'll put the likelihood at somewhere between 0 and 100%.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Thoughts on Addison Russell- potential Tulo-like ceiling?

Geoff Young: Shawnykid, I wouldn't lay a Tulo comp on anyone with just 55 pro games to his credit. I was watching the Astros/Nats games yesterday and one of the TV broadcasters compared Carlos Correa to A-Rod. I understand being excited, but that's not fair. And I'm not picking on you personally, this just happens to be a pet peeve. As for Russell, from what I've read and heard, he has a chance to pretty darned good.

Paul (DC): Give us a 2013 Casey Kelly prediction.

Geoff Young: Paul, my prediction is that Kelly won't play shortstop this year. Something useful? I'll say 15-20 starts, ERA in the low-4s.

Shawn (Snow Storm): Does Max Fried have #1 starter potential?

Geoff Young: Shawn, Jason Parks puts Fried's ceiling at no. 2, which is special. Of course, it's a long way from here to there. He'll need more than 18 innings to show us what, exactly, he is.

Big McLargeHuge (Space): What do you think of this Erasmo Ramirez guy for a late-round fantasy flier?

Geoff Young: Hey Big MLH, Ramirez is a high-floor low-ceiling guy who should have plenty of opportunity in Seattle. In Scoresheet, he's a welcome alternative to the dreaded P,AAA. He might have less value in Roto because his team isn't going to give him the opportunity to rack up wins.

Geoff Young: Okay, that's a wrap. Thanks for hanging out with me on a wet Friday morning in San Diego. See you next time!


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