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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday October 23, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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Talk World Series and upcoming offseason moves with BP's Transaction Analysis specialist.

R.J. Anderson: Happy World Series Day, folks. Let's get cracking.

Alex (Anaheim): What's the best reason you can think of that the Cardinals will win it all?

R.J. Anderson: The Cardinals are a good team, and we all know good teams can beat other good teams four times in seven tries. If you want an actual reason, then I'd point to St. Louis having (likely) two of the three best starters in the series. Given how teams can leverage their top starter, that's a notable advantage—albeit not an insurmountable one.

Jose Abreu (Cuba): The White Sox? Really?

R.J. Anderson: It was a little surprising at first, seeing as how nobody expects the White Sox to contend next season and maybe not the season after next (at least not at this point), but it makes some sense. Chicago has the payroll flexibility to take a chance, and their offense could use the help.

I don't know if Abreu is going to develop into a difference-maker type—too many smart people have tagged him as a potential Quad-A type for anyone's comfort—but the White Sox weren't the only team offering around that dollar threshold for the same opportunity.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi R.J., Who would you rather have long term, Wacha or Gausman, both said to be mainly FB CH pitchers without great 3rd pitches. Gausman had been more highly rated before the season.

R.J. Anderson: This is a tougher question than it would've been six months ago. Gausman did enter the season with more prospect cachet than Wacha—in fact, he was ranked 40 spots higher on the preseason top-101 list—but the latter's in-season performance certainly carries weight. I'd like to say Gausman, but the fact that Wacha's been there and done that makes it tough to do so. Man, I don't think you can go wrong either way.

Spam Fuld (St. Pete): Why did the Giants give Lincecum a No Trade Clause?

R.J. Anderson: I assume to get the deal done or to save some money. I don't know if it matters much either way, honestly. Technically it does limit flexibility, but I question if the Giants would trade Lincecum under any circumstances; they didn't do it this year, after all. If he stinks they can try him in the bullpen (or release him sometime in year two), and if he's great then they'll work on an extension.

Chopper (Indy): R.J.- Do you think Bogaerts is the everyday SS in Beantown next season? What are realistic expectations of Jorge Alfaro, assuming he reaches MLB?

R.J. Anderson: I think Bogaerts is an everyday player in Boston next season, but the position is to be determined. I could see Boston keeping Drew and throwing Bogaerts at third base just as easily as I could see them inserting him as the new shortstop. He's been very impressive this postseason at any rate.

I've never seen Alfaro, so I don't feel too comfortable dishing on him. Instead I'll defer to Jason Parks who threw an All-Star ceiling on him not long ago.

bradleyankrom (NYNY): If you and Rich Garces were trapped in a bottle, how would you escape?

R.J. Anderson: Depends on the size and type of the bottle.

Tee (Phoenix ): A bit off topic R.J. but I'm a senior in college looking for a thesis topic. Is there anything you can think of that you would like to know more about that involves baseball and statistical analysis? Thanks!

R.J. Anderson: There are a lot of things. I don't know the parameters here, but something I've been interested in is if certain teams beat the arbitration projections more often than others. I don't know if that helps you any though.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi R.J., Assuming Tanaka comes to MLB in 2014, where would he rank on a list of starting pitching prospects?

R.J. Anderson: I haven't seen Masahiro Tanaka for myself but, based on what I've read and heard, he'd likely rank pretty close to the top. Should everything translate, he seems like a potential no. 2 starter.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Aside from Giancarlo Stanton, what are some OF you think might be available for trade that are both above-average regulars and relatively young/cost controlled?

R.J. Anderson: Cost controlled and above-average who might be available via trade. Hm. Generally speaking, there aren't too many of those types out there at any position. Maybe Gerardo Parra? Granted, I'm not sure if Arizona would/intends to move him, but he fits the bill otherwise.

Steve Kinsella (Tampa): Between Tampa and Cleveland which team needs Justin Morneau more and which team do you see him ending up with? In your opinion what type of contract is he looking for & what will he get.

R.J. Anderson: I would expect a one-year deal worth a few million. Morneau is not a player I feel as though I have a good grasp on, and I'm struggling to place him as a potential top-50 free agent. Maybe Tampa Bay re-signs James Loney and Cleveland wins by default. Although would the Indians be better off with Swisher in the outfield and Morneau at first base, or with Swisher at first base and someone else in the outfield?

Paul (DC): How many years does Kris Bryant man Third for the Cubs before he gets shifted over to First? And how much of this answer depends on where other top Cubs prospects shake out to their natural positions across the defensive spectrum?

R.J. Anderson: A fair amount, which is why it's tough to answer these kinds of questions. It wouldn't surprise me to see Bryant spend a few years at third base, nor would it surprise me to see him transition to another position if needed. I will say I was impressed with what I heard from Bryant in a few interviews. He's obviously talented, but how he presents himself gives him face of the franchise potential.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): Does Noah Syndergaard have ace potential? I remember you guys ranking him a high-6 on last years mets top ten Propsects.. I mean he dominated double A (take away that last start and his numbers were crazy). Or is his ceiling still a number 2? Also, from what we saw offensively from d'Arnaud, is it anything to worry about?

R.J. Anderson: Zach Mortimer threw an ace projection on Syndergaard. Obviously that's aggressive, but that's how Mortimer views his talent. My guess is he's more likely to turn into a no. 2 starter, though that's true of every elite pitching prospect.

Regarding d'Arnaud, I wouldn't be too worried yet. We're talking about a rookie catcher learning a new league and a new staff while having a rough month at the plate. Without taking a closer look, I'd say the most important thing for him is staying healthy. If he does that I think he'll be okay.

Paul (DC): I play in a 20 Team Strat-o-matic League and we are allowed 3 'uncarded' slots on our 40 man rosters for players with no MLB experience the previous season. Last Strat season I had Toronto pitcher Drew Hutchison on my roster. He didn't make it back to Toronto in the 2013 MLB season after 2012 TJ surgery. Is he worth one of my 3 'uncarded' roster spots?

R.J. Anderson: Without knowing the alternatives it's hard to say, but if Hutchinson gets healthy he has the chance to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Matt (Chicago): There seems to be a disconnect between local writers & national writers , with regard to Theo/Jed's level of aggressiveness in upcoming FA mkt. Locally , the expectations are very modest- save a run at Tanaka. Nationally , people see them in on Choo, Ellsbury, etc. What gives?

R.J. Anderson: That's an interesting observation. My guess would be the national guys talk with league-wide execs more often, and that can paint a different picture from what the team tells the local types.

jlarsen (chicagoland): Arb. projections of Price have him making 13.1 MIL in '14. Does this help the Rays case in possibly keeping him long-term or does this price(no pun intended) make Price more enticing of a trade piece?

R.J. Anderson: I don't think the Rays can justify signing Price to a long-term contract regardless of whether he was projected to make $13 million next season or $16 million. Both are below his market value. His agent knows it, too, so it's not as though you can convince him to take $13 million for the next five seasons.

One Flap Down (Leonardsville): What do you think is most likely move the Rays make with respect to David Price? And what do you see as a fair (and realistic) return for him in trade?

R.J. Anderson: Lots of Price questions today.

I would guess a trade is the most likely move, with the return following the template used in the Matt Garza and James Shields trades. Obviously Price costs more money than either of those guys did, but he's also the best pitcher of the three.

Matt (MA): Salty, Drew, and Napoli. Who would you give a qualifying offer to and who do you think will get one?

R.J. Anderson: If I'm Boston I probably give one to each. Why not? I'd be fine having them on a one-year deal. It wouldn't surprise me if Boston does the same thing.

JusitnG (Pittsburgh): Think Price and/or Stanton get moved this offseason? Potential spots? Not too many teams have both the need and prospect currency, IMO.

R.J. Anderson: I'd be surprised if Stanton gets moved. He's still affordable and the Marlins can justify keeping him and trying to extend him. At worst, they see how their young guys look in 2014 then evaluate whether they can make a push in 2015; if not, then they can trade Stanton and aim for 2016 or 2017 instead.

Price I expect to see moved. Obviously the Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs, Pirates, Diamondbacks, and so on are going to be mentioned. Some of those teams could get it done if they wanted to, but you're right—plus, the Rays aren't going to trade Price just for the sake of trading him.

MrNegative1 (Tampa): How big of a disadvantage will the Red Sox be when playing in St.Louis. At least having Napoli or Ortiz on the bench helps in late innings (right?)

R.J. Anderson: They are disadvantaged, no doubt. Although, as you mentioned, they'll have a good pinch-hitter available off the bench either way. The weird thing is the Cardinals will be hurt by not having a DH, too, since they'll need to sit Matt Adams or Allen Craig.

Josh (Wyoming): If you're running the Dodgers, do you keep Mark Ellis around next season now they you've signed Alexander Guerrero?

R.J. Anderson: Probably. But, if I'm the Dodgers, I probably have a higher opinion of Guerrero.

cracker73 (Florida): Can you tell me anything about Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez? Is his ceiling a number 3 in the rotation?

R.J. Anderson: Haven't seen him but that seems to be about right.

JusitnG (Pittsburgh): Since ERA - FIP discrepancies no longer appear to be a bargain hunting tool (according to the Lincecum deal), do you have any ideas of what else could be used for FA bargains that a non-GM and non-scout and non-stats guru wouldn't know about yet?

R.J. Anderson: This is a lame answer but I don't think there's a single number or characteristic that you can look at and say for certain whether a guy is going to pitch well next season.

I will say I don't buy into the idea that the Lincecum deal is based on FIP. That's not because I think the Giants are too stupid to use FIP or anything of the sort—they're not, and they appear to be ahead of the curve in some other analytical areas—but rather because I think they're too smart to overlook that FIP ignores holding baserunners, which is a skill that Lincecum does not possess. Jose Contreras had the same issue when it came to keeping runners at first and, when you look at his years as a starter, his ERA was almost always worse than his FIP as a result. That's going to be the case with Lincecum, too, unless he improves in that facet or keeps everyone off base.

nictaclacta (Glendale): With Xander Bogaerts showing maturity in playoffs and Kris Bryant tearing up Arizona Fall League, who do you think has the better MLB career? Thanks

R.J. Anderson: I'd lean Bogaerts.

Derek (Orlando): Top draft prospects from 2014 draft ? Thoughts on Gordon ?

R.J. Anderson: I don't follow the amateur circuit too closely at this point in the year. We've had some 2014 draft pieces already though, and there's more on the way.

Matt (Chicago): Outside of David Price, which cost-controlled arms do you see being potentially available this offseason?

R.J. Anderson: Off the top of my head, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals moved one of their arms in a trade to shore up the shortstop position.

Jason (Philly): Fantasy Keeper League, you can only keep 3 of the following players. Who do you keep? Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Fernandez, Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainwright

R.J. Anderson: I'd lean Hanley, Harper, and Felix. Although you can probably make a case for Fernandez.

justarobert (Santa Clara): What are your expectations for Jeff Samardzija in 2014? He got off to a fairly impressive start this year, but still hasn't seemed to put it all together.

R.J. Anderson: Something like a middle of the rotation starter. Come to think of it, perhaps he'll be on the move this winter.

L'Chaim Bloom (HoustonHangout): Is it too late for the Red Sox to sign a velocity masher like Donnie Murphy?

R.J. Anderson: This seems like a good place to call it a day.

R.J. Anderson: Thanks for the questions. We'll do it again soon. Enjoy the World Series.


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