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Chat: Ben Lindbergh

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday April 25, 2013 12:30 PM ET chat session with Ben Lindbergh.

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Ask the editor-in-chief.

Ben Lindbergh: Don't have a ton of time today--heading up to Yankee Stadium soon-ish to pester people about catcher framing--but I'll get to as many questions as I can before I have to go. Let's begin.

cal guy (cal): Who do you think will take over for Mo as the Yankees closer next year?

Ben Lindbergh: Well, I'm not sure if I'd take David Robertson over the field, but he has to be the most likely candidate, right? He doesn't necessarily have the typical closer's repertoire, and he struggled in an extremely tiny sample as the pre-Soriano interim closer last season--I mention that only because there's a chance that it could impact Girardi's willingness to go to him again, not because I think it's indicative of any lack of closer mentality. I think he'd make a perfectly fine closer.

Jim (Chicago): Is BP going to update the propect tracker soon?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes. I got an email about some progress toward this goal a few minutes ago. It's definitely in the works.

Alex (Anaheim): When will BJ Upton start hitting more like his brother?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes, in that he'll start hitting better than he has. No, in that he won't hit as well as Justin. Justin is the better offensive Upton.

Brandon (Albuquerque): Who will be the best starting pitcher for Oakland this year?

Ben Lindbergh: My heart wants to say Anderson, but I'll go with Parker. Or possibly Straily, who isn't on the active roster right now.

Paul (DC): The Pirates are off to a nice 12 win and 9 loss start to the season. Do you take the over or the under on a .500 season?

Ben Lindbergh: Over! By like one win.

Jacob (Anaheim ): Pujols: "I'm dying" Arte: "I've made a huge mistake" Sound about right?

Ben Lindbergh: Maybe a little less melodramatic, but you have the broad strokes right. I wonder what kind of contract Pujols would get today if the Angels could wipe the slate clean.

Jesus Montero (The Bench): What in the name of sweet Jesus is going on here? Any chance they'll let me play 1B?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes, I'd think that will happen eventually. Montero has a better chance of salvaging some of his projection than Smoak does, so he's going to get to play one way or another.

Paul (DC): Before his (inevitable?) injury, Mets' catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud drew 12 walks in only 49 plate appearances. This is a guy who walked only 19 times in 303 PAs in 2012 and 33 times in 466 PAs in 2011. Is something like this most likely small sample size anomaly or pitchers simply not throwing a player strikes or a hitter suddenly "getting" the strike zone, or a little bit of all three?

Ben Lindbergh: That is a pretty drastic change, albeit in a tiny sample. If I were writing about it, I'd try to ask him, or one of his coaches, or at least someone who's seen him, to find out whether there's a conscious change in approach. In the absence of any other information, though, I guess I'd say mostly small sample with a pinch of "player repeating the level."

Scott (LA): With the sky high expectations, who do you see as being the answer to the St Louis closing situation long term?

Ben Lindbergh: I don't know whether you mean long term as in "the rest of this season" or long term as in "for years to come," but either way, I'd probably say Trevor Rosenthal is the likeliest candidate. Not that he couldn't be a successful starter, but Shelby Miller looks great in that role already, and it can be hard for managers to unlearn what they've learned when they see a young pitcher dominate out of the bullpen.

TheAAGuy (Ann Arbor): Does Jon Pettibone get to keep the 5th starter job until Lannan gets back? Will he do a decent job?

Ben Lindbergh: I think he can do a decent job. "Decent" sort of seems like Lannan's upside, anyway.

Rick (Toronto): What role do you see lavarnaway playing in boston?

Ben Lindbergh: Right now? A transient one.

Shawnykid23 (CT): What type of ceiling does Nick Castellanos have? Typcical RF-type, or less power?

Ben Lindbergh: Castellanos scouting report from today's Minor League Update, courtesy of Zach Mortimer: "hit tool could reach plus-plus level; plus power potential; fringy reads on balls in the outfield; developing pitch recognition; arm is easy plus; great makeup." You should all be reading the MLU if you're interested in prospects, by the way. Zach has really made it his own.

Paul (DC): Bo Jackson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1982 June draft by the New York Yankees. He didn't sign and in the fall entered Auburn as a freshman. If he had signed with the Yankees and foregone any sort of football career, how much better of a baseball player might Bo have become?

Ben Lindbergh: It's a great question. Obviously he was an all-time athletic talent. It's incredible that he was as good as he was with as little minor-league seasoning as he had--just 212 plate appearances before he made the majors. I don't know that it would be wise to throw a Hall of Fame projection on him, even assuming health, but perennial All-Star for sure.

Shawn (Office): Do you see Bruce Rondon winning the closer job this year?

Ben Lindbergh: Yes.

Anthony (nyc): thinking about offering the Matt Harvey owner Shelby Miller and Angel Pagan in a 12-team mixer. thoughts?

Ben Lindbergh: Can a trade be both sell high and buy high? Both Harvey and Miller have looked great, but Harvey's looked a bit better. If we're talking just for this season, I don't have a problem with that offer.

justarobert (Santa Clara, CA): Better fringe MVP candidate: Coco Crisp or... Shin-soo Choo? Jonathan Lucroy? Chris Davis?

Ben Lindbergh: If Lucroy keeps getting as many borderline calls as he has thus far this season, he might be an actual MVP candidate. He's pretty much lapping the field right now. Of course, we're a ways away from a player getting award consideration because of his framing, so Choo makes a more likely choice.

Chesty (New Bern,NC): Milky Cabrera is off to a slow start how much longer should I hold onto him.I am thinking about dropping him and picking up Adam Eaton or Taveras since I have room.

Ben Lindbergh: I wasn't a big fan of Melky heading into the season. Depending on team needs, I think I'd rather have a healthy Eaton, if you can afford to carry him until he comes back. Not that much longer now.

Baylor (Carrollton): Seattle is 1/2 game ahead of Houston for goodness sakes. How long do you think they will take to make some changes to their team? Zunino looks, even though he went through a rough patch, but he has looked good. He could come in and add a spark to this team. Smoak needs to go, thoughts?

Ben Lindbergh: Paul Sporer and I talked about the Mariners at length on Effectively Wild today. I'm sure Zunino will be up at some point, but I think this team needs more than a spark. It needs some sort of bonfire that consumes all the bad players. (Not literally. Raul Ibanez is really nice.)

dianagram (VORGville): If Keith Law states that Eric Hosmer's hands are still setting up wrong on his swing, then what does this say about the KC coaching staff? Or does it infer that the coaching staff might already have worked to correct that flaw, but Hosmer can't seem to bring it into games?

Ben Lindbergh: Well, it could be that Keith is wrong. (Note: I'm not saying Keith is wrong. I like and respect Keith, and I haven't even heard what he said about Hosmer.) But if Keith is right, then yeah, either of those explanations could be the correct one. I wouldn't know without asking someone closer to the situation.

G Money (Atlanta): When do you think that J. Leyland will realize that Porcello is better suited on the bench or the minors than starting over Drew Smyly? One, maybe two more starts?

Ben Lindbergh: I'm as guilty as anyone of expecting big things out of Porcello this season, even before his great spring training. The fact that Detroit's bullpen isn't exactly rock solid will buy Porcello a few more starts, I'd think, since Smyly is a guy who can go multiple innings out of the pen.

Garcia (Flowmont): It seems Jordany Valdespin plays well when given a chance, typically better than the other players they are throwing out there. Why does he get little love from the Mets?

Ben Lindbergh: Well, he used to be an unpopular, or at least divisive, player in the clubhouse, apparently. But reportedly he's matured, and the guys ahead of him aren't entrenched. Byrd and Cowgill have to have pretty short leashes, so I expect that we'll start to see more Valdespin. Last night's game-winning grand slam didn't hurt his case.

Paul (DC): Back to Bo, what if he simply never played pro football after joining the Royals? No career ending injury. Full time dedication to baseball starting at age 22. IMHO I envision a Dave Kingman-esque career, but with more steals and better defense. Low batting average, low OBP, high slugging, 400+ career homers, and top 20 all-time in strikeouts. Maybe a 35 WAR.

Ben Lindbergh: Sounds about right. Losing the early development time would have lowered his ceiling even if he'd played baseball exclusively after college, but still. He was a hell of a player the season before his injury. If he'd stayed healthy and strung together several more seasons like that, he might have topped 35.

Ben Lindbergh: I usually like to chat much longer than this, and there are still some good questions in the queue, but the Yankees' clubhouse opens at 3:20, and I intend to be there when it does. I'll do another one of these soon. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon, and thanks as always for supporting BP.


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