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Chat: Daniel Rathman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday June 11, 2013 2:00 PM ET chat session with Daniel Rathman.

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Dan tells you what you want to know.

Daniel Rathman: Hey, everyone. It's an exciting day, as Gerrit Cole is set to make his major-league debut. To help pass the time between now and then, let's get this thing started...

Teddy (Brooklyn): Dan, thanks for the chat. Which of the A's four young starters (Parker, Milone, Griffin, Straily) do you like most for the long term? PS Go Jumbos!

Daniel Rathman: You're welcome, Teddy — are you a Tufts alum, too?

I think that Jarrod Parker is the best of that group for the long haul. He has the best stuff, and he seems to have come around nicely from a rough start to the season. In terms of long-term upside, I'd probably rank them Parker, Straily, Milone, Griffin, though the back three are pretty close and could end up in the reverse order.

seabass77 (Milwaukee): Daniel,like George who wanted to eat, watch tv, and have sex at the same time I would like to acquire Samardzia and Anibal Sanchez in my dynasty league. Unfortunately, I do not have the Costanza charm and have to choose between them. Who is the better pitcher for next five years?

Daniel Rathman: Haha, seabass77. I think in this case, I'd consider Anibal Sanchez the strawberries with chocolate sauce and Jeff Samardzija the pastrami on rye with mustard. The risk associated with his shoulder occasionally flaring up notwithstanding, I think Sanchez has a good deal more upside and will be a much more stable source of wins (assuming your league counts those). If the price tag is the same, get Sanchez and be happy with that.

Jordan (KC): Name one player who has started slow who you expect to have a much better 2nd half?

Daniel Rathman: This isn't an entirely fair choice, because he dealt with an injury and is already turning the corner, but Jason Heyward was the name that jumped to my mind. Heyward is 14-for-37 with three homers so far in June, and I'd expect much more of that if he can stay healthy the rest of the way.

Spirou (Montreal): What do you make of the Twins decision to stick with Aaron Hicks when most organizations would have him perfecting his game at AA or AAA .What do you think is the best approach in his case ?

Daniel Rathman: Hicks is now on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, but in general, I think the Twins might have been a bit overzealous following his impressive spring. Hicks had a nice breakout year in Double-A, but his 56 strikeouts in 190 plate appearances do suggest that some more seasoning is needed. On the other hand, the Twins know their players better than we do, and it's possible that what they know about Hicks tells them he'll be better off in the long run if he makes the necessary adjustments on the fly.

LittleRon (WV): Will need 3 pitchers for next week in 5x5...main need is saves but can use all categories...Suspects are Lyons, Gregerson, Jansen, Maholm, Turner, Tillman, Vargas...WW has guys like Phelps, Westbrook, Kendrick, Norris, Straily, Lohse, Gee, McCawthy, Archer...Suggestions please!

Daniel Rathman: If you need saves, keep an eye on the news regarding Huston Street (who is ready to begin a rehab assignment) and Brandon League (who might not be long for the ninth inning). Depending on the headlines there, either Gregerson or Jansen could take one of the three spots.

For the others, without taking the time to look closely at matchups, I'd roll with Paul Maholm and Dan Straily (who I believe will face the Mariners at the tail-end of the week, albeit with a start in Texas earlier). Also, I'd recommend checking out Paul Sporer's SP Planner on Friday for more info.

Mike (CT): Would you trade Wil Myers for Byron Buxton in a 5x5 rotisserie keeper league?

Daniel Rathman: I might be in the minority here, because of how close Myers is to the majors, but yes, I would make this trade. I'm a sucker for upside in dynasty/keeper leagues, and Buxton's upside might be a top-three player in fantasy with across-the-board contributions. Myers will help in several categories, potentially at an elite level, but Buxton has a chance to be special.

Alex (Anaheim): How long can Domonic Brown keep this up?

Daniel Rathman: If by "this," you mean the power, I think he can keep it up for a long, long time. Brown's home run ceiling, particularly in light of the ballpark, might be in the high 30s. With that being said, in order to keep it up, he can't endure too many more months like May, when he struck out 21 times without drawing a walk. The 4-to-6 BB:K so far in June is a step in the right direction.

boatman44 (Liverpool): What do you see as Cole's numbers tonight Daniel,I'm going nine innings pitched twenty seven strikeouts, and two home runs, what say you? (:

Daniel Rathman: Putting aside my Giants-fan bias, I'll peg his line at 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, and a win over Tim Lincecum.

John (Toronto): What are your expectations for Brandon Morrow for the rest of the season? Are his bad numbers injury related?

Daniel Rathman: It's hard to say for sure, but I'd guess that at least some of Morrow's struggles can be attributed to the forearm injury. A fluky 15.6% HR:FB rate might also be at play. I'd expect some improvement, assuming that his arm is back to full strength, but I wouldn't bank on a sub-4.00 FIP (which he has produced in each of the previous three seasons).

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): Similar question...Profar for Buxton in a dynasty points league?

Daniel Rathman: Lots of Buxton-related questions, so I'll use this as sort of a catchall answer. Based on what I've read and seen, I agree with what Jason Parks tweeted (https://twitter.com/ProfessorParks/status/344223610795335680): Buxton is the number-one prospect in all of baseball. If you're competing now and need a middle-infield boost, factoring that in might lead me to hold on to Profar. If you're playing for the long haul, I'd put my chips in on Buxton.

JT (Michigan): Brothers and Bautista for J Up. No brainer, right?

Daniel Rathman: Upton's recent slump aside, yes, I would make this trade.

Aaron (Long Beach): Over his last 18 games, Andre Ethier is batting .150/.239/.200. Do you bench him if you're Mattingly?

Daniel Rathman: I don't think you can do much more than platoon Ethier right now, with Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp on the DL, but as the outfield gets healthier, Mattingly (and perhaps Ned Colletti) will have some difficult decisions to make. If Yasiel Puig keeps this up, it'll be nearly impossible to bench or demote him, and in that case, I think Ethier—despite his contract—might be the odd man out.

Steve (Indiana): I am a Cubs season ticket holder for the first time this year. Wrigley nostalgia aside, have I made a worthy investment? I don't live in Chicago area, so I attempt to sell most of them. Will my investment payoff with a contending team more times than not in the next 10 years?

Daniel Rathman: I like their chances, Steve, in part because of the answer coming to the next question, from another Steve...

Steve (Office): Hi Daniel, thanks for the chat. I'm a Cubs fan. The big league team is hard to watch but there are some intriguing prospects. Among Baez (4 HR's yesterday-wow), Kris Bryant (assuming he signs), Almora, Brett Jackson, Soler, and Vogelbach...do you think that the Cubs have the best crop of power hitting prospects in the minors? I know the system is probably not considered as a top 10 but it seems as though there is some excitement around the position prospects.

Daniel Rathman: Hey, Steve. That is definitely an impressive crop, albeit with some question marks about Jackson's future and Vogelbach's ability to handle a defensive position. I'll toss in one more name to keep a close eye on: Arismendy Alcantara, who is scorching the ball of late for Double-A Tennessee. A largely homegrown, potent lineup could be coming by 2015, and the system may well climb into the top 10 heading into next year (Parks ranked it 12th this spring).

LittleRon (WV): 5x5 Keeper lg...Need C, 3B, CI, UT for next week. Currently have Gattis, Frazier, Swisher, Iglasias, Sandoval...could drop someone for Saltilamaackia, Morrison, M. Montero, Ruiz, Carp...Suggestions please...Thx

Daniel Rathman: Sandoval is heading to the disabled list, so you're down to four options for four spots. I'd drop Iglesias for Miguel Montero, whose slump is being driven at least in part by a .253 BABIP, and roll with the other incumbents.

Chuck (NYC): Could you rate the following young SPs for ROS and careers: Cole, Fernandez, Straily, Archer, Wacha and dark horse Eras Ramirez, thanks

Daniel Rathman: These answers may diverge depending on whether your standpoint is fantasy or real life, but I'll say...
ROS: Wacha, Fernandez, Cole, Archer, Straily
Career: Cole, Fernandez, Wacha, Archer, Straily

Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Is Dan Haren droppable? Josh Johnson? This is in a 12 team mixed dynasty league, and Chris Carter is a FA (Berkman's my 1B currently. I know, I know).

Daniel Rathman: Yes, at this point, I think Haren is droppable in non-K:BB leagues in favor of pitchers that you could stream off the waiver wire in a 12-team mixed league. If your league does count K:BB, though, I might be inclined to hang on, because he'll contribute in that aspect regardless of his other struggles. I'd drop Haren before Johnson, just on a gut feeling of JJ having a better chance of turning things around.

Dr. Mike (Milwaukee): 20-team dynasty. In a vaccuum: Dylan Bundy, Anthony Rendon, and top 3 pick (rd 1) in prospect draft for Matt Cain and bottom 3 pick in prospecf draft (rd 1)?

Daniel Rathman: I think Matt Cain will eventually bounce back, but would still prefer the Bundy/Rendon/top 3 side of that deal.

colin dejong (houston): every1 has a different answer to this question, so what's your's? Who is the most underrated player on baseball? Mine is matt carpenter so far this season.

Daniel Rathman: So many to choose from, but the first name to jump to mind is another NL Central leadoff man: Norichika Aoki. He hasn't struck out since May 25, and has provided the Brewers with 4.3 WARP through 1.4 seasons of a two-year, $2.5 million deal. At this point, there may not be more of a no-brainer option than Aoki's $1.5 million price tag for 2014.

Scott (LA): Do you think there is any connection with how many of this year's high profile TJ surgery class have had significant setbacks - Ryan Madson, Daniel Hudson, Cory Luebke, Scott Baker?

Daniel Rathman: Given that this spans four teams, I think it's coincidental. I could be swayed with some evidence, but I just haven't seen anything to suggest otherwise.

Jim Clancy (Exhibition Stadium): Of the following young~ish hitters, who's the best bet for long term success? Ike Davis, Eric Hosmer, Chris Carter, Moustakas, Billy Butler...... How many times are you asked about these chumps in a chat?

Daniel Rathman: Some of those names—Hosmer and Carter, especially—do pop up pretty often. It's hard for me to bet against Billy Butler, because he's done it before, and beyond that, I'm still on the Eric Hosmer bandwagon.

Chad (OKC): Where do you consider the ceiling on Hellweg as a starter? How much longer can the Brewers wait until they give him a shot with the state of their rotation? Is he a starter long-term or ultimately a closer in the future?

Daniel Rathman: It's hard for me to say the Brewers are wasting time with Hellweg considering that his K:BB for Triple-A Nashville is 46-to-42 in 63 2/3 innings. The command issues about which Jason Parks wrote in his Brewers top 10 list are still present, and the longer they last, the more likely I think it is that Hellweg's long-term future is as a setup man or closer. In the rotation, the command will determine the ceiling, but I don't see more than a number-three.

Jim (Boston): Xander Bogaerts is tearing it up in AA as the youngest player in his league. Is he ready to move on? Where do you see him playing at the end of the year and the beginning of next year?

Daniel Rathman: He's getting there, but I think that the Red Sox will bide their time unless injuries force their hand, with perhaps a September callup to give them a boost down the stretch if they remain in the AL East hunt. Regardless, Bogaerts should have a strong chance to compete for a major-league job next spring.

Joe (Miami): Any truth to the rumor Mike Zunnino has just been called up?

Daniel Rathman: I trust Seattle Times beat writer Larry Stone enough to take his word on it: https://twitter.com/StoneLarry/status/344522123383029761.

Dave (Chicago): So Sean Doolittle has been nearly unhittable in his first season-plus in the majors as a reliever. But in his last five appearances, he's given up 10 runs. Is he hurt/tired? Has the league figured him out? Or should A's fans just not worry because of small sample size?

Daniel Rathman: I haven't seen anything to suggest that fatigue or an injury is at play. Instead, I think this may be a product of the league slowly figuring out Doolittle's "grip it and rip it" approach. He should recover and be a solid reliever regardless, but improving his secondary-pitch command so that he can keep hitters on their heels instead of simply blowing them away could be critical to his ability to reemerge as an elite setup man.

AJ (Phoenix): Think we see a call up for Marcus Stroman this year (September)?

Daniel Rathman: Given the way their season is going, I think the Blue Jays would rather see if Stroman can stick in the rotation than rush him to the majors as a reliever. But yes, I do think he'll get a September cup of coffee.

Chad (OKC): How concerned are you with Stanton's injuries? Are they a trend that is likely to continue or is he still worthy of anchoring a dynasty lineup for years to come?

Daniel Rathman: The injuries are definitely a concern, and the knee worries me more than the hamstring. Still, it's hard to call someone with legitimate 50-homer upside anything other than a lineup anchor. He hit 37 homers in 123 games last year, so he doesn't really need to play 150 games to be a top-shelf contributor.

jharrison3 (Illinois): How long until Starlin Castro gets real hot and bounces out of this slump?

Daniel Rathman: The talent is certainly there, so I don't think it'll be too long. He's a big part of the Cubs' future, and I'd expect them to let him work his way out it, however long it takes.

Dirty Dave (Parts Unknown): Do you think Castellanos get the call soon and will he be worth an add in deeper leagues? Also what about for dynasty formats do you see him as a future Top 30 OF?

Daniel Rathman: Yes to all parts of that. There's tremendous counting-stat potential in that lineup, especially if his power reaches its above-average ceiling.

JT (Michigan): Who's up to stay out of Cole and Rendon?

Daniel Rathman: I think that both will be given every opportunity, but there is a greater need in Pittsburgh for Cole than in Washington for Rendon. Cole will need to show that he has the command to take full advantage of his electric stuff. For Rendon, the concern is that he just doesn't look comfortable at second base. I'll forgive the misplayed popup—plenty of regular second basemen do that—but things like this are a legitimate concern: https://twitter.com/AdamKilgoreWP/status/343914490263384064.

Jim (Detroit): Nick Castellanos has 2 more hits today through six innings at AAA Toledo. When do Tigers fans get to stop suffering through Andy Dirks at bats in favor of their top prospect?

Daniel Rathman: If Dirks doesn't heat up, I could see the move being made within a couple of weeks. That said, sweeping the Indians to gain some breathing room might allow the Tigers to give Castellanos a bit more seasoning.

boatman44 (Liverpool): Now that Cleveland have regressed to their mean, do we see Michael Bourn being traded for some prospects and to whom?

Daniel Rathman: Don't close the door on the 2013 Indians just yet, because of this fact: https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/343836504960933888. They may have the easiest schedule in baseball the rest of the way, and that might be enough to help them contend for a spot in the wild card playoff. They're closer to contention than they were at this time a year ago, so I don't expect Bourn to be shopped this year.

Shawnykid23 (CT): In a Dynsty League, all else equal would you rather have Segura or Heyward? Basically how much do you believe in what Segura is doing?

Daniel Rathman: I'm a huge fan of Segura's tools, and loved him as a sleeper coming in, but I don't see 20-homer power over the long haul, and his batting average should settle south of where it is now. It's not nearly as far off as it was two months ago, but give me Heyward.

Daniel Rathman: The queue has run dry, so we'll call it a day. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. I'm looking forward to doing this again soon!


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