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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 10, 2013 6:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.

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Mike talks fantasy and Hot Stove.

Mike Gianella: Couple of trades to talk about today, and lots of other doings pre-Winter Meetings, so let's get started.

David (Montreal): At this point is it realistic to see Cano to the Ms?

Mike Gianella: Hi David.

Unless something crazy happens (happened) with his physical, Cano is on his way to Seattle. He might not be their second baseman for the next 10 years, but at $24MM a season, he will be in their line-up in one way, shape, or form for as long as his body allows.

baseballjunkie (SF Bay Area): Hi Mike, It sounds like Rakuten will not stand in the way if Tanaka wants to come to America for the 2014 season, but that convincing him to stay is going to be their priority. From Tanaka's point of view, doesn't it make sense for him to come over this season? He just won the Japan Series with the Eagles, had a historic 24-0 season, and his value will probably never be higher. Are the Rakuten owners deluding themselves?

Mike Gianella: Hi Baseball Junkie

Based on Masahiro Tanaka's numbers, what the scouts say about his ability, and everything else I know about him, it makes perfect sense for him to come here now. Of course, Japanese teams are no different than American teams and if the money and the situation is right, I'm sure they'll want Tanaka to stay. I don't think Rakuten is "deluded"; rather, I think that Japanese teams don't view themselves as an inferior enterprise to Major League Baseball or as some sort of farm system for MLB. That being said, it seems likely that Tanaka is going to be pitching somewhere in the United States in 2014.

Slevin (Brooklyn): Dynasty league (no limits or costs): Matt Moore, Jameson Taillon, Ryan Cook, and picks first 2 rounds in prospect draft, for Taijuan Walker, Shelby Miller, Yordano Ventura, and Joakim Soria. I assume you'd take Walker side, but I am selling a bit low on Moore considering the potential should he find his command?

Mike Gianella: Hey Slevin:

Hmm. I have to think about this one which means that the offer is probably in the ballpark in both directions. A lot depends on what is available in your prospect draft and what you think you can land with those 2 picks. Even in dynasty leagues, I generally like taking the proven commodity over the uncertainty, so from that standpoint I like Matt Moore better than any of the other pitchers in the deal. However, I have to assume that there isn't anything wrong with Shelby Miller and he certainly put up enough innings last year to be considered a Major League asset as well. With that in mind, I like Taijuan Walker and Yordano Ventura better than Jameson Taillon in that deal, and Joakim Soria has a better chance of closing than Ryan Cook in 2014. Again, much depends on what those picks will net at the minor league auction. Since it's dynasty, I'm assuming those picks will get you players who are talented but very far away. If you think you're going to compete this year, you probably want the Walker package.

Sam (Fort Worth): Dynasty trade: Shelby Miller, David Robertson, and Brian Wilson for David Price. Fair?

Mike Gianella: Hi Sam

David Price is better than Shelby Miller, although I don't know by how much. As of right now, it looks like David Robertson will close. Brian Wilson won't close, but should provide solid value in middle relief. If your league uses holds, I think that's way too much to give up for Price. If it doesn't, I think that's still a little too much to give up for Price, and the deeper the league, the more you're giving up in terms of the potential closer.

floydwicker (NorCal): Which rookies do you see making the biggest impact in 2014?

Mike Gianella: Hi FloydWicker.

From a fantasy perspective, Billy Hamilton is probably #1 with a bullet. He's going to steal a lot of bases, and even if he only keeps his OBP around .300 he will still get on base enough to be a category monster. Xander Bogaerts is the other guy I really like in 2014. He should leave camp with the job and should be even better than he was last year. I expect more power from him. If you're looking for someone a little less obvious, I like Maikel Franco a lot. Cody Asche is likely a placeholder, and I could see Franco up with the big club in June. He isn't a fantasy beast, but could be a decent contributor at 3B for both the Phillies and his fantasy squads.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse ): Fanstays question (wouldn't happen) A trade where the mets send Noah Syndergaard to the Dodgers for Kemp and some salary relief (say around 2-3 million off each year) is that possible.. Or mets would have to add another propsect/ ask for less salary relief. This more so helps see where Syndergaards value is at and how far (if so) Kemps value has fallen.

Mike Gianella: Hi Mets:

With Curtis Granderson in the fold, I don't see it happening. Matt Kemp is intriguing but also very risky and while the Mets have opened their purse strings somewhat this winter, I don't see them making this big of a splash financially. Noah Syndergaard is also their best prospect and they're probably not going to trade him straight up for an outfielder coming off of a big injury year. The entire scenario seems unlikely. While the Mets might not be as adamant as the Mariners have been about not moving Taijuan Walker, the price for Syndergaard is still likely to be very high.

Chris (Dallas, TX): How much does Nick Castellanos' fantasy value improve with the news that he's going back to 3B? Wondering how to value him in a dynasty league.

Mike Gianella: First and foremost, check your league's eligibility rules. In my leagues, Nick Castellanos is eligible at outfield only because that's where he played in 2013 in the minors. Long term you are correct though; Castellanos' value is helped by the move to third base. I do like him but I don't feel like he's a monster, and down the road 20-25 home runs at his peak are more likely than 30-35. He is very young though, so obviously there are a lot of different outcomes. His ceiling is likely as a 5th round player in a standard mixed league, or a $20-25 player in deep auction formats.

allangustafson (San Diego ): When you are looking for players that might be under the radar, might be undervalued towards the end of the fantasy draft, and trying the get players that will contribute in the five major categories moderately, what stats and do you use to identify those players? What are those numbers in those identified stats?

Mike Gianella: Hi Allan.

At the end of a draft/auction, I probably look more at playing time than I do at stats. If I see a player with a weak everyday player in front of him or a player with injury risk, I'm more likely to take that player than a borderline guy who has Paul Goldschmidt in front of him on the depth chart. If I were going to look at categories though, I'd probably look at batting average and line drive rates first and foremost. A hitter with a good batting average is more likely to score runs, drive in runs, and hit home runs than a hitter that doesn't. Likewise, a hitter with a high line drive rates is more likely to have a good BABIP...or at the very least have a good expected BABIP, which is more useful in predicting future performance.

Miguel (Venezuela): Hola. In a 10 team 5x5 with OPS instead of AVG and starting 5 OF, CI, MI, and 1 UTIL, plus 9 P (can be SP or RP). I am leaning toward the following 5 keepers at the cost of the round in (): Fielder (1), Votto (2), Craig (6), Choo (9), Dunn (21). My other options are Beltre (2), Stanton (2), Kinsler (3), Perkins (19) and Uehara (23). Did I choose the right 5? If you keep 2 players from the same round (e.g. Beltre and Votto), it costs that round and the preceding round (e.g. 1st and 2nd). So I couldn't keep 2 2nd's and a 1st. In other words, I can only choose 2 of the 4 from Fielder, Votto, Beltre and Stanton. Stanton's injuries and Beltre's age concern me and I'm loathe to keep closers. Muchas gracias!

Mike Gianella: Hola Miguel.

The move to Texas obviously helps Prince Fielder a great deal, but I'm not convinced that it provides a complete panacea for his woes at the plate last year. Fielder was a mechanical mess last year, and while I'm sure the Rangers know this and will work on it, he isn't a sure thing. Given the differences in position, I might keep Adrian Beltre over Fielder. It might sound crazy, but Beltre has been an elite third baseman the last couple of years. His age worries me a little bit, but Fielder's off year combined with his physique worries me a little bit as well. Yes, I know Fielder hasn't been hurt and plays a lot but I'm not convinced this trend can last indefinitely.

I might consider Koji Uehara over Adam Dunn, but in an OBP league Dunn in that slot is probably worth it. I am wary of Dunn's age and that any decline in bat speed in 2014 would impact Dunn a lot. He'll be 34 next year, which doesn't sound old but isn't a great age for a hitter of Dunn's profile.

Pedro (San Juan): I'm facing a dilemma in a deep dynasty league draft in a league with no adds/drops. Do I use (waste) precious draft picks to ensure I have backups at every position? I currently have JJ Hardy, B. Phillips (no MI slot) and C. Santana without backups. Do I tolerate the injury risk for these three and potentially being forced into making a lopsided trade if they go down, in order to use the draft picks for high-ceiling prospects? The idea being that said prospects could be used as currency to acquire a better injury replacement than a Willie Bloomquist type backup available in the draft. Of course I wouldn't have any leverage in dealing said prospects when the alternative is taking a zero at a position. What's a guy to do? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hi Pedro.

A lot of this depends on your chances entering this year, but I don't really like the idea of using high draft picks to take backups at a position. Your question makes me think that your league isn't super deep and that you might be able to find some decent replacements in the later rounds of your reserve phase. What I think I would do is try to take osome of the high ceiling prospects early in your reserve phase and then go for some positional backups later instead of taking second or third tier farm players who might not pan out anyway. It does put you at some risk, but the hope here is that you get someone better than Willie Bloomquist on reserve and still are able to build on your talent base for 2014 and beyond.

Josh (Philly): Mike, big fan of your work. Deciding between R. Ludwick and C. Parmelee for my last cut in a dynasty points league. I am set with backups at 1b so Parmelee's eligibility there is a non-factor. I have 4 solid starting OF and two decent bench options ahead of these guys, who would be my OF7. Does Parmelee have enough upside left at this point to sacrifice Ludwick's safer playing time in 2014? I'm thinking not but I tend to lean toward younger players when possible. Thanks.

Mike Gianella: Hi Josh;

At this point, I think I'd have to go with Ryan Ludwick over Chris Parmelee. Parmelee is an intriguing play for power potential, but he is getting to the age where he is going to get tagged as a fourth outfield/backup first base type soon. Ludwick is older, but as you noted he should play every day barring a trade or another serious injury. You don't want to give up on young/talented guys in dynasty, but I don't quite think Parmelee fits that bill at this point. Sure, maybe he goes the route of Raul Ibanez and does some major damage in his 30s, but how likely was that career path even for Ibanez. I'd stick with Ludwick there.

Jim (Baltimore): The Orioles announced Jonathan Schoop will start 2013 in AAA. Does that mean their opening day 2B will be Jemile Weeks, or will they go get someone else?

Mike Gianella: It is probably going to come down to Ryan Flaherty or Jemile Weeks at second base, although it is possible that the Orioles do make a move to bring in a second baseman. Even if it isn't a big name, there could be an NRI or minor league free agent who comes into camp to compete for the job.

Frank (Seattle): Where do you see Kendrys Morales ending up?

Mike Gianella: Given that the Mariners made a qualifying offer, the most likely destination for Kendry Morales is back to Seattle, since I can't see a team like the Pirates or the Rays surrendering a first round pick for a talent like Morales. The 10 teams that have protected picks either don't seem to need a first baseman or haven't expressed a lot of interest in Morales. I thought the Twins might have made sense before they announced they were moving Joe Mauer to first base. My guess is Seattle, although this could be one of those situations where the qualifying offer makes Morales' market tepid and he signs late with a team where an injury crops up and makes Morales a contingency plan.

James (Arlington): Who do you like to be the next closer for the Rangers?

Mike Gianella: Barring a setback, it appears that it's going to be Neftali Feliz. He is pitching well in Winter League ball and it seems that the Rangers intend to make him the ninth inning man in 2014.

kevin (oakland): Which lefty would you rather have for this year, and the future: Derek Holland or Matt Moore?

Mike Gianella: Hi Kevin:

Definitely Matt Moore. He has some control issues, but if he can harness those to even some degree he is an ace starter in the making. Derek Holland is very good, but I see him more as a solid #2 going forward, not an ace. If you're talking fantasy, Moore is an even better option because all of those strikeouts can win you a category.

Todd (Dallas): What do you see from Profar for the upcoming year(s)?

Mike Gianella: Hi Todd:

Jurickson Profar has the potential to be a superstar, although he could be one of those players who is more of a real life superstar and "just" a very, very good player in fantasy. I think long term that you're looking at a 15-20 HR, 25-30 SB player with good batting averages and an on the field presence that makes him a leader. He's going to be a stud. Whether he's a fantasy stud or not remains an open question.

JasonPennini (Denver): Hi Mike, If you're a David Price owner. What are the best and worst cases for this offseason?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jason:

Price is an ace or near ace, so it doesn't matter all that much (to me at least) if he gets moved. A trade to the Rangers is probably the worst case for Price, although Arlington hasn't been the death to pitchers that it has been in the past. I like him with the Dodgers just because they have a strong team, he could put up a lot of wins, and facing the pitcher 1-3 times a game could bump up his strikeout totals. He's a solid ace anywhere he goes though, and should bounce back this year no matter how this is resolved.

Paul (DC): In a keeper league I traded Robinson Cano for Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, and the rights to Javier Baez. Crazy smart or crazy stupid?

Mike Gianella: Hi Paul:

I like that trade for you a little bit, although a lot depends on what your needs are, whether or not you're on a competitive footing for 2014, and how deep your league is. In a really deep league, that's a great trade for you; in a shallower league it's close. I like Baez a lot so I think that if Pujols can put up "only" a 25 HR/90 RBI year that you still did the right thing here. I think Cano will be fine in Seattle, but that's still a good deal of value you're getting in return.

rwallik (Toronto): Hi MIke, To your knowledge, to what extent is the Blue Jay front office analytically-focused/driven? Below average? Above average? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: Hi rwallik.

I'm probably the wrong person to ask about this. I'm personally interested in analytics (and I work in an analytics department in my "real life" job) but I don't study MLB front offices very much. Nearly every front office in 2013 has some analytical aspect but beyond that it's very hard to judge. A lot of the work each front office does is proprietary and is also a few years ahead of the "standard" models that even the most analytical baseball web sites are putting out there. Is this true for Toronto? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.

mycards (arkansas): who are the cardinals looking at for a right handed bat off the bench?

Mike Gianella: The Cardinals have done a pretty good job of filling holes like this internally, so I suspect that they're not going to make a big free agent splash or bring in anyone significant for this role. If I were the GM and wanted to upgrade, I'd probably look to improve on the middle infield depth more than specifically attempting to add a right-handed bat. My guess is that if someone fills this hole it will be someone in the organization now.

Matt (NYC): Hi Mike, I'm really enjoying your player valuation series so thanks for that. What are your thoughts on the methodology used for inflation adjustments in the PFM?

Mike Gianella: Hi Matt:

I usually calculate my own inflation manually, but if you aren't inclined to do this I think the PFM works very well for this purpose. The PFM is particularly useful prior to your league's freeze date if you want to enter different scenarios for low, medium, or high inflation to evaluate a player's value prior to a trade. I like doing a lot of this work by hand both as a learning experience and to get a feel. But the PFM's methodology is strong. My reasons for using it is because I'm a masochist who likes to do his own work.

Alex (Anaheim): Does Cano's fantasy value drop at all playing in Safeco? Or does positional scarcity make this irrelevant?

Mike Gianella: Hi Alex:

Robinson Cano's value drops a little bit moving from Yankee Stadium to Safeco. The HR overlay between the two parks shows that Cano only loses one HR, but I do think that over the course of 81 games that park effects will take more like 3-5 HR away from him over the course of a full season. I think the larger impact will come with the weaker line-up and the move from the AL East to the AL West. Cano will play in Seattle and also have road games in Anaheim and Oakland and will be in pitchers' parks much more than he was in the AL East. That will impact him. He also will score fewer runs and drive in less in a weaker line-up. This drop shouldn't be overstated, though. You are probably talking about dropping him 4-5 slots at most in a draft format and $2-4 in an auction format. He is still an elite second baseman and should be treated as such until his performance shows otherwise.

DF (Wilmington, NC): Soup starter: Matt Kemp to Cincy for Brandon Phillips. What needs to be added, and dare the Reds get bold and try Billy Hamilton at 2b, at least until Ludwick's deal is up, at which time they put Kemp in LF and BHam in CF?

Mike Gianella: I think the Dodgers would have to kick in some money to make this happen and even though their pockets are deep I think the goal in moving Matt Kemp is to try to save money, not add another long term contract in Brandon Phillips. I suspect that the Dodgers are more likely to move Andre Ethier than Kemp and aren't simply going move Kemp for salary relief. It also seems that the Dodgers are going to try Alexander Guerrero at the keystone and if they do bring in a 2B will bring in someone more "marginal" to compete for the job.

The Reds priority is going to be to make Billy Hamilton comfortable both at the plate and on the field so I think it's unlikely they move him to 2B. That doesn't mean it's impossible, but the club seems committed to keeping him in the outfield for now.

J.R. (Brooklyn, NY): Fantasy question: What will be the role of NL Stolen Base leader EY Jr be for the Mets in 2014-15? Thanks.

Mike Gianella: Hi J.R.

As of right now, Eric Young Jr. looks like a bench player. There are rumors that the Mets might try to move Daniel Murphy and slot Young in at second base, but if that doesn't happen the outfield looks set with juan Lagares, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson. It's possible that Eric Young spells Chris Young against some righties, but EYJ's numbers against righties aren't particularly favorable and there isn't a great advantage to starting him over Chris Young.

mlee730 (Boston): in the Twilight Zone where the nation and the universe come together how about a trade Peavy and 4m for Gardner

Mike Gianella: You mean if the Red Sox and Yankees decide to hug it out the way the mail carrier and the dog did at the end of The Naked Gun?

Brett Gardner is probably an upgrade on Daniel Nava because of the former's defense, but not a huge upgrade and not enough for Boston to trade an asset like Jake Peavy. Even if the Red Sox thought that Felix Doubront or Brandon Workman could slot into the rotation, starting pitching depth is always at a premium. The deal would be great for the Yankees, but I think Peavy could bring back more in trade for Boston.

JJ (MPLS): What do you think of Marco Estrada? Is his sample size enough to make you think he could finally put it together at age 30? His K rates are nice, walk rates low.

Mike Gianella: Yes, I do think that the sample size is enough to show legitimate improvement and perhaps a chance at a step forward in 2014. On the other hand, Estrada has never put up a significant number of innings and this makes me curb my enthusiasm. The HR/9 is still high and the BABIP was a little bit low given Estrada's skills. Yes, he's a bit of a sleeper in shallower leagues but it's more likely that his ceiling is as a #2 in a best case scenario, not as an ace. I still see him as a mid-tier starter, though.

Dennis (LA): Thoughts on the Angels/Dbacks/White Sox trade? How do you like Santiago and Skaggs in Anaheim?

Mike Gianella: Hi Dennis.

I'm glad somebody asked this.

Let's start with the White Sox. A lot of the smart baseball folks on my Twitter timeline were enthused by Adam Eaton, but I'm not all that excited. Even if you see him as a starter and not a fourth outfielder, Eaton's upside seems limited to me. His batting averages in the minor leagues were PCL driven and I see more of a .260 hitter here with not enough power to make a huge splash. From a needs perspective, I can see why the Sox gave up Hector Santiago, but I think the Sox could have done a little better.

The Diamondbacks made the play for a big power hitter, but while Mark Trumbo might hit 35-40 home runs for Arizona he has a number of flaws. He isn't a good on base option, and his defense in the outfield is going to be a big downgrade for the D-backs. Moving an outfielder made sense for Arizona but moving Eaton for another outfielder isn't necessarily the right play. Trumbo is an overall upgrade on Eaton, though, so even though the Diamondbacks are paying a lot for the right to this upgrade, it is an improvement overall.

However, the Diamondbacks didn't just give up Eaton. They also gave up on Tyler Skaggs. A number of scouts/scouting types are down on Skaggs now, but he's still very young and could develop into more than just a #3 or #4 starter. The Angels give up Trumbo and lose out on a power hitter but gain some considerable upside in both Skaggs and Santiago...and avoid paying a pitcher like Ubaldo Jimenez $15-16 million per year in this crazy free agent market. Maybe Skaggs and Santiago work out and maybe they don't, but I like the play that the Angels made here. From a fantasy perspective, the park is going to help both of those pitchers out a lot, but from a baseball perspective the Angels suddenly look a lot stronger than they did yesterday.

AJ (Phoenix): What's a realistic ETA for Twins mega-prospect Miguel Sano, and prospect overlord Byron Buxton?

Mike Gianella: Hey hey AJ.

I would have guessed the end of 2014 for Sano, but an injury to his throwing elbow puts his status up in the air for now. Sano has been shut down from baseball activities and will be reevaluated shortly. If he requires any kind of surgery, mid to late 2015 is a more likely guess. Byron Buxton could move fast, but he's very young and finished 2013 in High A ball. A less aggressive timetable has Buxton spend 2014 in Double-A, 2015 in Triple-AAA and open 2016 in the Twins outfield as a 22-year-old starter. A more aggressive timetable sees Buxton tear up Double-A to start 2014, has him promoted to Triple-A in the summer and starting in the Twins outfield in 2015. My guess is that Buxton is probably in the Twins outfield in August 2015 and never looks back, but this is only that - a guess. What winds up happening with Buxton depends on his performance. If he rips it up this year, an August 2014 promotion wouldn't surprise me in the least. Buxton is that good that he could be in the Majors as a 19-year-old.

Jeff Passan (#BathEvening): So I'm walking around the hotel in my Birkenstocks, thinking about taking a bath, when I hear about todays three-team trade. Who are the trades fantasy winners/losers?

Mike Gianella: Hi Jeff:

I already answered the three-way-trade question a couple of questions ago, but looked at it more from an MLB perspective. From a fantasy standpoint, Adam Eaton probably figures to gain more playing time, while Alejandro de Aza could lose time or get traded. Mark Trumbo should see a home run boost moving from Anaheim to Arizona. Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago both benefit moving to pitchers' parks. Archie Bradley is the sneaky winner; he might have seen his timetable moved forward with the trade of Skaggs out of the organization.

Rich (St. Louis): Dynasty 10 keeper in both MLB level and MILB level. I can keep Wong for free as one of my 10 MILB but can also probably trade Wong straight up for Profar (no longer MILB eligible) but would have to use a MLB keeper spot on him. Would probably cost me Rios or Ryu. I have no 2nd baseman (not keeping Utley) going into the year. Is the keeper spot worth the trade for 2014? Who do you foresee having a quicker/bigger impact Wong or Profar?

Mike Gianella: Hi Rich.

With Ian Kinsler out of the way, Jurickson Profar should have a much bigger fantasy impact than Kolten Wong in 2014. I could be wrong about Wong ( the way I was off base about Matt Carpenter) but I see Wong as more of a steady performer and not as a player with significant upside like Profar. Your decision is kind of tough, though, because you would have to give up either Alex Rios or Ryu. In this case, I might simply keep Wong since you're not surrendering the MLB slot and can keep both Wong and Rios or Wong and Ryu. It's a close call for me. I think I'd make the deal but I can see why you wouldn't either.

Jonah (Redwood): Between Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard, and Jonathan Gray, how would you rank their ceilings/fantasy upside? ETAs? Bonus: For how long will we have to deal with 50 shades puns based on Gray's name (Sonny's as well... who also gets the "It's always sunny" puns).

Mike Gianella: Hi Jonah:

I would probably rank them in the order that you have them ranked, with Bradley and Syndergaard very close and Gray a little bit behind. Both Bradley and Syndergaard have ace potential, with Bradley a tick more likely to be that ace with Synergaard falling in as a #2. Gray looks more like a #2 to me, which certainly isn't shabby; I just don't see him as that #1 stud.

The puns are up to the masses. I didn't even think of the 50 shades of Gray thing, and as far as Sonny Gray goes I didn't see the It's Always Sunny comparison either. If anything saves us here from the puns, it's that the A's aren't high profile.

Sara (Tacoma): Are you a fan of Kevin Gausman: for 2014? long-term?

Mike Gianella: Hi Sara:

I'm not particularly enamored with Gausman in 2014 but I do like him long term. He strikes me as a pitcher who will struggle this year but will eventually put it together and be a solid #2 or #3 down the road. I'm just not sure if that "down the road" will be in 2015, 2016, or later.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse ): I don't know if this is something you are good at, but do you think it's more likely that Granderson is the one from the tigers ( 23+ Homeruns- 25 plus doubles and 15ish triples and s old 250ish average/ 340 OBP) or the Yankees? I hope it's the tigers with a few more homeruns (30 WITH the 25 plus doubles and 15 triples) then he'd be a top player with his defense factored in.

Mike Gianella: Hey again, Mets faithful.

It's hard to tell because of the injuries and the fact that he's downgrading in terms of the parks. It's also complicated because Kevin Long tinkered with Curtis Granderson's swing and made him into a hitter who was able to completely take advantage of that short porch at Yankee Stadium. Granderson will probably need to adjust so that he doesn't simply fly out repeatedly at Citi Field. If I had to guess, I'd say Granderson is probably going to be a 20-25 HR guy with a .240 or .250 batting average. I don't see the triples or the steals returning, since guys in their 30s generally don't suddenly see a big burst of speed as they continue to age.

Fred (Georgia): Is George Springer going to be a legit 30/30 threat and a fantasy stud?

Mike Gianella: Hey Fred.

He could be. I see more of a 25/15 or 25/20 kind of guy here, which is still really, really good. It's really hard to predict 30/30 for any prospect. Power hitters don't run the way they used to in the 80s and 90s and teams are more likely to play a station to station game unless a hitter is an absolute burner. All that being said, I like Springer and think the talent is legit.

Michael (Texas): Is there any new news on JR Graham's injury and what is the ceiling for Jason Hursh and Cody Martin?

Mike Gianella: Hi Michael:

I haven't heard anything new about Graham. He's supposed to be ready to pitch this spring, but we won't know much until he's out on the field and in action.

Hursh's best case scenario is probably as a #3 or #4 starter, although some think he could wind up in the bullpen as a set up or a future closer. Martin is harder to project because while he looked like a #5 at best entering 2013 he made some significant strides and could also be a #3 or a #4 down the road.

Robert (California): Angels rotation: Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs Any strong opinions as either Buy/Sell for 2014?

Mike Gianella: Hi Robert:

No, not particularly. A lot depends on your league. Weaver's declining strikeout rates make him a sell if people still value him like the pitcher he was 3-4 years ago, but everyone else is probably valued appropriately. I think Skaggs might be overvalued if people see him as the prospect he was a few years ago. Richards could sneak in cheap, but I'd like to see more refinement of his secondary stuff (not only the pitches but the sequencing) before buying in on him.

hotstatrat (Toronto, O.): Do you play Scoresheet?

Mike Gianella: I do not, although I've always meant to give it a try.

justarobert (Santa Clara): I was lucky enough to hit on all of Ryu, Colon, Porcello, and Kazmir last year. Would you rank them in that order for 2014? (18 team league, points roughly akin to linear weights, wins essentially not important.)

Mike Gianella: Hi Justarobert (if that is your real name!)

I would probably rank them Ryu, Colon, Kazmir and Porcello. I know some people are really high on Rick Porcello and point to his 2 horrific outings as killing his stats, but I'm just not a big believer. I think he'll be OK mind you, but I like Scott Kazmir's upside, particularly in that park. Depending on where Bartolo Colon lands, I might even put Kazmir ahead of Colon.

Mike (Milwaukee): What's the likely outcome of the teenage soap opera that is the A-Rod suspension hearing?

Mike Gianella: Baseball Prospectus' own Eugene Freedman has done some great work here at our site, and I'm just parroting what he has said, but if I had to guess I'd say something in the neighborhood of a 75-100 game suspension is a likely outcome. It doesn't seem like the arbitrator will be able to hold up a 211 game suspension based on the JDA but it does seem that the JDA does allow for Bud Selig to suspend Rodriguez based on the Just Cause provision. 50 games for PED use seems like fait accompli while the rest would be the arbitrator's discretion. A-Rod's attorneys will probably try to appeal to a U.S. Court but - as Freedman has written - legal precedent makes it extremely unlikely that a federal court would intervene with a union/management arbitration matter.

justarobert (Santa Clara): How nasty is the AL West going to be next year? Seattle and Houston will be quite a bit better; the Angels are a decent bet to bounce back; and the A's and Rangers don't show signs of regressing.

Mike Gianella: A lot depends on how much more the Mariners do between now and Opening Day. I still think the Astros have a long way to go and I'm not particularly sold on the Angels as having a significant bump given some of the holes they have overall. But you are right; it should be a tougher division if everything holds up on paper and it might be similar to 2012 where three teams compete for the division and the wild card.

Chad (OKC): What are the chances that Matt Adams gets the 1b job full time in STL with Craig moving to the OF?

Mike Gianella: Hi Chad:

At the moment, this seems likely. I have Adams penciled in for 1B with Allen Craig moving to the outfield. It's not a perfect scenario defensively, but I can't see St. Louis moving either player to the bench.

Chad (OKC): Hi Mike, Who is the better keeper in a dynasty league? Olt, Garin Cecchini or Espinosa?

Mike Gianella: Hi Chad;

Danny Espinosa? Of the three, I think I like Cecchini. Mike Olt should be solid, but I could see him being good and not great. Cecchini has the higher ceiling in my opinion.

Michael (Pennsylvania): Hey there. I'm in the middle of a start up keeper league draft and was wondering how/where to value Jose Abreu. I'm thinking about taking him with the 20th pick possibly ahead of some guys like Syndergaard/Appel. Is that over valuing him? Would I be better off drafting best availae pitcher? My first pick was Sano, FYI.

Mike Gianella: Hi Michael:

I think this is overvaluing Abreu a little bit, although if you're looking at this year instead of the future that isn't the worst idea in the world. I would probably take Syndergaard, but if you decide to go with the more Major League ready player, Abreu is OK too.

Chad (OKC): Hey Mike, Where will Rougned Odor rank among 2b prospects? Do you like him more long-term than Wong?

Mike Gianella: Hi Chad:

It could be argued that Odor is ahead of Kolten Wong and ahead of all 2B prospects, keeping in mind that 2B is generally a thinner position prospect wise than most positions. I think that Odor has a higher ceiling than Wong but given how young Odor is time will tell (yes, I know this is a big old copout).

David (Montreal): How much money do you think Garza is getting? 60 million would seem realistic, no?

Mike Gianella: If I had to guess, I would say $75 million/5 years, though I have no idea what Matt Garza's market is like and who is in on him. It would seem that the Angels are out after today's trade. The pitching market is kind of nuts, so maybe Garza gets gets even more money than that though.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Any SPs you think will breakout in 2014?

Mike Gianella: I have been down on him for years, but I think this might be the year that Jeff Samardzija puts it all together and finally becomes a solid #2 at the very least. If he gets the innings, Danny Salazar is another guy I really like; he could strike out a batter an inning with some pretty nice overall numbers. Zack Wheeler is another candidate. This is a guy where you should ignore the peripherals (FIP, FRA, etc.) and look at the ability. Wheeler is a potential stud. Maybe I'm a year off on him, but keep in mind that some scouts liked him better than Matt Harvey when he came up. That doesn't mean that Wheeler will be 2013 Harvey good (that's silly), but he could be a pretty fine pitcher in his own right.

SJLedet (Alex, La): Hi, Mike, I have Jose D Abreu at $3 1/3 in an auction keeper league. OBP instead of Avg. Inflation usually runs about 40%. I've gotten interest about him. What type of value should I look for in a trade. I'm hearing mixed things about him? Would someone like M. Sano $3 1/3 be a good return? I'm kind of on the fence about playing for this year or next.

Mike Gianella: Hey SJ

I like Miguel Sano a lot in a deal like that, but I think that you answered a lot of your own question. If you're playing for this year, that's a hard deal to make unless you're CERTAIN you can flip Sano for more than Jose Abreu in season. But if you're playing for the future, I think you HAVE to get Sano for Abreu now if you can. If it were me I think I'd make that deal and hope that if I did wind up contending that I could flip Sano for something better.

Andy (Milwaukee): Better trade target for the Brewers 1B issue...LoMo, Davis, or Smoak? Personally, I'm hoping they just re-sign Hart.

Mike Gianella: Hi Andy:

Yes, I think Corey Hart is the best option for Milwaukee. But of those three hitters you mentioned, I think I'd roll the dice on Ike Davis. All three are risky, but I think Davis has the most upside. This, of course, assumes cost is no object. One of the reasons the Mets might move Davis is that he's entering his arbitration years and is about to get expensive.

Jim (Boston ): Who will be the top 5 fantasy SS in 2015?

Mike Gianella: Gee Jim, way to put me on the spot.

Injuries last year make this a tough position to rank, but I would go Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Ian Desmond, and Jean Segura. Hanley would rank #1 if I wasn't concerned that he wouldn't get hurt again/miss time, but all of the top three have injury concerns. I'd rank Segura higher but I'm not sold on him as a top option. However, given who else is out there, he should stick in the Top 5 in 2014. The position is a little thinner than I once thought.

RMR (Cincinnati): Joey Votto's paucity of RBI was a topic of big discussion last year. What should we expect on the RBI front in 2014 and how would you rank him among 1B in a standard 5x5?

Mike Gianella: Hey RMR.

All of this depends on whether or not the Reds put someone decent in front of him in the lineup. Votto was virtually the same as he ever was but suffered through Todd Frazier's miserable OPS and a wounded Brandon Phillips most of the year. If Billy Hamilton can get on base at a semi-decent clip/stick, then Votto's RBI opportunities instantly go up. I'm an unashamed, unapologetic Votto lover. In my mixed valuations last year, only Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis, and Michael Cuddyer ranked higher at 1B (not including any non-OF who were 1B eligible). If Miguel Cabrera isn't 1B eligible in your league on Opening Day, Votto's 3rd behind Goldy and Davis. Some of this is just the weakness of the position, some of it is that runs count - and Votto's walks lead to runs - but some of it is that I like valuing skills over stats, particularly since even in a "down" year Votto was still a Top 25 mixed league hitter. I might even put Votto ahead of Davis when I actually sit down and rank these guys in February.

Chad (OKC): If Tanaka is posted, where do you see him landing? Do you think Yu Darvish gives Texas any sort of advantage?

Mike Gianella: Hi Chad:

Los Angeles seems as good a destination as any, but I have zero insights into Mr. Tanaka's thoughts, feelings, hopes, or dreams. Seattle has always had strong local ties to the Japanese community, but maybe New York appeals as well. I'm sure having Darvish in the fold can't hurt. But who knows? He could wind up anywhere.

Jim (Boston): All but one of those SS are in the NL. Who will be top five in the AL in 2015?

Mike Gianella: Reyes would be #1 followed by Elvis Andrus, Ben Zobrist, Alexei Ramirez, and Asdrubal Cabrera. Yikes...I didn't realize what a drop off there was at SS in the AL compared to previous years.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you think Yoenis Cespedes is still a potential 30/20 guy or will nagging injuries continue to hold him back?

Mike Gianella: I think he can do it, but I think the injuries you mention will cut the steals down somewhat and make him more of a 25/15 guy.

Mike Gianella: Thanks everyone for coming out. I think 2 3/4 hours is my record so far on one of these; maybe in March I'll be like Paul Sporer and do a crazy 10 hour marathon chat. Talk to you later.


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