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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday February 13, 2014 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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Ask R.J. about transactions past, present, and future.

R.J. Anderson: Hey folks, let's get started.

Pete (Chicago): Hi R.J., Read recently where Adam Eaton said he'd like to have an OBA of .400 and steal 40 bases. I know he's done it in AAA but do you think that's realistic with the Sox ?

R.J. Anderson: Pete, I like Eaton as a player and as an acquisition, but he's unlikely to hit those marks. We haven't seen a player pull off 40/.400 since Bobby Abreu in 2004, and it's only been done four other times since the latest round of expansion. Of course there have been three close calls over the past five seasons: Mike Trout missed out by one point of OBP in 2012; same with Matt Kemp in 2011; and Chone Figgins was within five points in 2009. It's just a tough combination to achieve.

Figgins is probably the best-case scenario for Eaton, as he lacks Trout and Kemp's strength. Still, I think it's more likely that he hits around .270, which ... just to do the math ... assuming he gets 500 AB and maintains his current HBP and SF rates ... he'd need about 96 walks to get a .400 OBP. That's a ~16 percent walk rate, or what would've been the second-highest rate last season in the majors.

So no, I don't think those are realistic expectations for Eaton. He should help the White Sox nonetheless.

Silverback (Va): What is BPs thoughts on prospects of Joey Gallo and Josh Bell? Bright future or just every day players?

R.J. Anderson: I would consider a future as an everyday player bright. I'll defer to Jason Parks' recent reports on those guys, as he said Gallo had the OFP of an all-star player, while Bell checked in as a first-division talent. Both of those projections paint the players as better than your typical everyday player.

Beaux (La): Who will be the future ace arms of the twins organization?

R.J. Anderson: It depends on which definition of ace you're using. If we're employing the scouting definition (i.e. one of the best dozen or so starters in baseball) then Kohl Stewart has the most realistic chance of reaching that upside. If we're just talking Guy Who Starts on Opening Day then Alex Meyer (a probable no. 2 or 3 on the scouting scale) is a good bet in the short term. Terry Ryan upgraded his rotation this winter, but it's still mostly no. 4 types.

Lewis Thorpe also deserves a mention, though he was born in 1995 and that makes me uncomfortable.

Pamey Wright (L.A.): Favorite low key acquisition this winter?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not sure if they qualify—you could probably call both mid-key acqusitions—but I loved the Norichika Aoki deal for Kansas City, and I think David Freese will help the Angels more than people think. If we're talking low-low key then Burke Badenhop is a good get for Boston. He's dependable and didn't cost much.

Ned (Atlanta): Thoughts on Brian McCann in New York this season?

R.J. Anderson: Ned, I like the pairing. The Yankees needed a catcher, and I believe McCann was the best available. He can obviously hit a lick, and his power should play well within that ballpark. He's been a consistent 20-homer guy, but I think he should see that number increase a few per-year in the short run. Maybe not all the way to 30, but he ought to set a new career-high (currently 24).

Defensively, McCann doesn't have a great arm but he's regarded as a solid defender, due in part to how he manages the staff.

For 2014, PECOTA says .255/.335/.448. I'd probably take the over, assuming he stays healthy.

Vic (Dumfries): I've heard of Trea Turner but don't have a grasp of him? How good is he?

R.J. Anderson: Vic, Keep in mind I'm far from the draft expert on the staff. A few people have asked about certain draftees, however, so I'll try my best over these next few questions.

Turner is good enough to be a first-round pick. He has an elite tool (speed) and shows enough arm and glove to project as an average or better shortstop. The bat will determine whether Turner is a top- or bottom-of-the-order guy, but if he stays healthy he's a solid bet to reach the majors.

John (Boston): Hey R.J. Realistically speaking...how high can Tyler Beede and Kyle Schwarber go in the upcoming draft??? Thanks....

R.J. Anderson: There's enough time between now and then for one of these guys to gain helium, John, but most seem to anticipate both going in the first round. Should Beede show improved command, or Schwarber convince a few teams he can stick behind the plate, then they could certainly move up to the top half of the first round, if not higher. Even if they don't show marked improvement, someone's going to take a chance on Beede's arsenal and Schwarber's raw pop before long.

Lou (DC): Curious on HS player....and thoughts on Daz Cameron? Elite due to pedigree?

R.J. Anderson: Lou is talking about Mike Cameron's oldest son, Dazmon, a center fielder who won't be eligible until next draft. We're 16 months away, but he's the trendy pick to go first overall in 2015 due to his impressive set of tools and instincts. He has the chance to be really, really good and looks the part of an elite amateur prospect right now.

cdgoldstein (DC): Who is the Roman Reigns of baseball?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not into the wrestlemen stuff at all, so I asked Marc Normandin, who is, what this would entail: "Someone with a monster, limitless ceiling who also looks like a prince."

Giancarlo Stanton would be my answer. Normandin offered healthy Matt Kemp.

TeamPineTar (KC): Can anybody make sense of the 1B/DH situation in Seattle?...or How would Pecota/PFM be set to predict playing time?

R.J. Anderson: Barring another addition, Seattle has a spot for each of Smoak, Morrison, and Hart. If they do add Cruz or Morales, then I would suspect Smoak is on the outs. He's projected to be the worst hitter of the three by PEECOTA, and I doubt Seattle would trade for/sign Morrison and Hart if they weren't sold on them playing more often than not. Obviously plans change, but maybe Smoak winds in Pittsburgh by the time the gun sounds and solves two questions at once.

lipitorkid (California): Deep Roto Keeper League Q: Looking to make a splash with an early pick of a prospect. We can keep players forever at no cost, but just five next year w/ my #5 being Matt Kemp. Are any of these players capable of being better than Kemp by next year: Oscar Taveras Jose Abreu Gerrit Cole Tanaka All other prospects like Bruxton are not available in our pool.

R.J. Anderson: It depends on how lucky you feel about Kemp's health. If he's hearty and hale, he's the best player of the bunch. But how likely is that? If you have the stomach to stand with him another year, that's what I would advise, because I think he has the highest 2014 ceiling of the bunch.

GrinnellSteve (Grinnell): Describe for me the market for Jeff Keppinger. He's blocking pieces of the future. My hope is that he can prove the start to last season was an aberration, and Rick Hahn can flip him for prospects to some team in need of infield versatility. The Yankees come to mind. Thanks.

R.J. Anderson: My guess is plenty of teams would be interested in Keppinger. He's got some versatility on the defensive end, great bat-to-ball skills, and a history of hitting left-handed pitching. If he shows last year was an aberration then I'm sure the Yankees and others would have interest. I don't know if he'd bring a ton back, but at his finest he's a capable bench/platoon player.

cdgoldstein (DC): If you had to go without James Franco or Nelly for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?

R.J. Anderson: I'd go without Franco. They don't give nobodies starring roles in Cheerios commercials—the honeybee wouldn't let them.

Eddie (Pennsylvania): How high are you on Freddie Freeman going forward? Does the power breakout ever come?

R.J. Anderson: Eddie, I think Freeman is a pretty solid player with a chance to improve more. The power potential is obviously there; he has the frame, the ability to hit for power to all fields, and even the odd backstory—he didn't start lifting weights until a few seasons ago—to go with it. I doubt he'll ever have a five-year stretch like Adrian Gonzalez did, where he hits around .300 with 30 bombs per season, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had a season or two like that at some point.

Danny (Boston): Nate Karns or Jesse Hahn?

R.J. Anderson: Looks like the details of that Rays-Nats swap are coming in, so we've got a few Qs on that front.

This is a fun one because the Rays just traded Jesse Hahn (and Alex Torres) for Logan Forsythe and a grab bag of prospects a month ago, and now they've traded Jose Lobaton (and a grab bag of prospects) for Nick Karns.

Hahn and Karns are similar in a few senses: both were college arms, both have injury histories, both have two good pitches, and so on. Even their outlooks are a lot alike: possible MOR arm or impact bullpen guy. I guess it comes down to the medicals, and without knowing which is better, I'll just call them evenish.

Alex (Anaheim): Who will be the ultimate winner of Pineda for Montero?

R.J. Anderson: I guess the Yankees? Say this about Pineda and Campos: at least they haven't been disappointing due to performance reasons.

cdgoldstein (DC): Would you say that Addison is the only Reed?

R.J. Anderson: No.

NatsGM (Bethesda MD): What are your thoughts on Felipe Rivero and your overall opinion of the Nats/Rays trade today? Thanks-

R.J. Anderson: I like Rivero. He got lost in the Rays system because they have flashier international arms, but he's got a legit chance to be a back-end starter or a decent reliever. Nats fans should like him.

We'll have a write-up on the deal tomorrow, I think, but it seems like a fair trade now that the details are out there.

The Nationals get their backup catcher, a potential BOR starter, and maybe a fourth outfielder for a guy who probably winds up in their bullpen anyway.

Meanwhile, the Rays get another close-to-the-majors arm who could be a MOR type if they help him with his command and changeup. If not, he can become an impact reliever.

Both teams should be satisfied.

IceJJHardyFish (TheTweets): What's with the Rays giving up low-level arms with high upside for upper-level arms with perhaps less upside but more polish?

R.J. Anderson: It's been an interesting offseason for TB. They usually don't sign veterans to multi-year deals or trade prospects, but this winter they've added four vets on multi-year deals (including extensions) and traded three guys who were in their top-30. I guess they just like the guys they're getting better than the guys they're sending off. That or they like the fits better. Worth watching, at any rate.

BugattiBiebs (Burbs): How is Jack Z feeling about not including Walker in a deal for Price?

R.J. Anderson: Yesterday Seattle lost Iwakuma for a few weeks, today Gutierrez says he's out for the year and Walker has a tender shoulder. Someone in Arizona should hide Felix and Cano before they inhale whatever's in the air out there.

Marcus Stroman (Toronto): Any chance I make the rotation out of spring training? If so, what is a realistic expectation for my stat line?

R.J. Anderson: I think there's a chance, but it could depend on other happenings. If the Jays miss out on adding a free-agent starter, or see a pitcher go down with an injury in camp, I think Stroman opens the season in the majors. It's just so much easier to say screw the Super Two deadline when it comes to pitchers because we all know anything can happen health-wise. Plus, given the overtures from that front office about Stroman already, I suspect we'll see him one way or the other before June.

For what it's worth, PECOTA has you with a 4.06 ERA. That seems high at first blush, but it's not easy for a rookie starter in any division or park, let alone the ALE and Rogers Centre.

Matt (Minneapolis ): What should Bud Selig do on his last day of commissioner of baseball?

R.J. Anderson: Listen to Nelly.

Wesley (Utah): How much college baseball are you going to watch this season?

R.J. Anderson: I always resolve to watch/go see more amateur ball. So probably less than I'd tell you now.

Paulette (Naples, FL): Tell me that the Cubs have a new player who has potential to be an All-Star someday before I die.

R.J. Anderson: There are plenty of players on that team and within that system that have the potential to make an all-star game. Unfortunately, the big-league roster has a lot of volatility and make-or-break years coming up.

hotstatrat (Toronto, O.): Matt Joyce and Andy Dirks were benched during the play-offs last year. Are they washed up or were they just in a temporary funk?

R.J. Anderson: I don't think they're washed. Same with Daniel Nava. Each is a useful player; they were just caught in bad spells at the wrong time.

cracker73 (Florida): I can keep Pablo Sandoval or Wilson Ramos on my fantasy team. Who do you think will have the better season?

R.J. Anderson: I want to say Ramos but the health aspect scares me. So I guess Sandoval.

Brian (Orlando): Are you on that Jason Heyward bounce back bandwagon or not?

R.J. Anderson: It's kind of funny that Heyward had a respectable season as a 23-year-old and we're talking about him bouncing back. I would guess he has a better season this year, if only because I doubt he gets hit in the face with another baseball.

Alex (Anaheim ): How much would you pay to go to Jeter's last game in the Trop?

R.J. Anderson: Not as much as I would pay to go to his first game in the Trop.

Ian (NYC ): Do you think the overall amount of talent in MLB has increased over the past decade?

R.J. Anderson: Absolutely. I think that's true of all sports. Look at the dunk contest; we're bored with acts now that a decade ago would've been incredible.

Pete (Orlando ): So with Tampa Bay trading away Jose Lobaton where does that leave them in terms of overall catching depth?

R.J. Anderson: They have Hanigan and Molina in the majors. After that they have a few generic minor-league backstops (Roman Ali Solis and Eddy Rodriguez) and a younger, potential backup catcher type in Curt Casali to round out the upper-minors. Deeper in the system they actually have some interesting prospects: Nick Ciuffo, David Rodriguez, and Oscar Hernandez. So they aren't necessarily great at the top levels, but as an organization they're okay. It's not like they could've kept Lobaton anyway.

Conner (OH): I came out of my draft with a 3rd base combo of Lawrie & Sandoval- one of the two has to rebound no?

R.J. Anderson: Probably Lawrie. He has the hops and the demeanor to clean the glass.

But yes. I would expect at least one of the two to play better.

Thomas (Tampa): After writing a TA on a player has said player ever contacted you in a negative way?

R.J. Anderson: No. I'd like to think if—for whatever reason—they read the piece and perceived me as giving them a negative write-up that they would understand it wasn't anything personal. Plus, it's not like my opinion should matter to them. I'm wrong all the time. The whole industry is.

I will say I try to avoid being nasty about a player out of respect for them and their family. I wouldn't want my loved ones reading nonsense about me, so why should I put it out there about them?

Scott (LA): Despite the inherent costs of starting the arbitration clock earlier, shouldn't the immediate success of top NL fireballing pitching prospects last year like Gerrit Cole, Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and even lower ceiling guys like Tony Cingrani and Alex Wood made it more likely that Archie Bradley, Noah Syndergaard and maybe even guys like Matt Wisler and James Taillon come up to help their clubs as early as possible?

R.J. Anderson: Maybe, but remember everyone's developmental cycles are different. Kevin Gausman seemed like a good bet to succeed right out of the gates, instead he allowed more hits than innings pitched. So it's really a case-by-case thing.

Plus, with the exception of Jose Fernandez, all those pitchers were on quality teams. If I'm the Mets I'm not eager to cost myself more money later on for two months of a guy who, let's face it, isn't the difference between the postseason and the golf course.

Rhonda (Detroit): Wacha or Cole?

R.J. Anderson: I think I was asked this right after the postseason and said Cole. I'll still say Cole.

Barney (Biloxi, MS): If Billy Hamilton is the fastest man alive, don't you think that he will get 600 AB this year in Cincy?

R.J. Anderson: Unless he's so fast that he winds up skipping ahead in time and the Reds can't find him.

I do think he'll bat near the top of the order and get plenty of at-bats this season, but I'm concerned about the approach. He should help them with the glove and his wheels, I'm just not sure how much he'll hit right away.

HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): I know you will discuss the Lobaton-Karns trade in more detail later, but I am interested in your assessment of Mike Rizzo overall. He seems to preferentially partner with whom I would consider "smart GMs" in many of his trades, concentrating especially on Oakland.

R.J. Anderson: I wrote about Rizzo's legacy during the season.

I'm not sure I'd read into the Rizzo trades with Friedman and Beane too much. Think of it this way: when those GMs make a trade, they're usually trading higher-salaried veterans, right? Well someone has to acquire the players, and that someone is usually a large-payroll team. Add in that the Nationals have had some solid prospects who they were willing to move, and I think it could be that straightforward.

Besides, the Nationals are into sabermetrics. I don't know if they're in on the same level as the A's and Rays, but they're definitely into this stuff. Same with the Angels and a few other teams that might surprise people based on their reputations.

Tom (NJ): Felipe Paulino. Any shot at him making good on his lukewarm promise?

R.J. Anderson: I think so but health is always difficult for us on the outside to evaluate.

Paulette (Naples, FL): Hey R.J., I'm the one who asked the Cubs question. What kind of an answer was that? The Cubs will have a "lot of volatility"? Sweetheart, I'm 76, and I don't have much volatility. Just tell me that the Cubs will win more games than the Cardinals some year before I turn 80, and I'll accept your word on that.

R.J. Anderson: I can't do it.

Alan (Jacksonville): Is this the Bryce Harper breakout season?

R.J. Anderson: This is like the Heyward question. Harper had a 133 OPS+ as a 20-year-old and we want moremoremore. I blame Mike Trout. Anyway, I think Harper will improve, just not by a huge leap because he's already so good. To put it another way: Miguel Cabrera didn't post an OPS+ better than Harper's 2013 figure until he was 22.

Donnie Baseball (LA): How do these end of rotation guys sound in a deep 15-team league - M.Perez, I.Nova, & T.Walker to go with Price & Latos?

R.J. Anderson: That's an interesting mix of upside and safeness.

Jackson (Massachusetts): Could you recommend a book that provides a current, in-depth analysis of the business side of baseball?

R.J. Anderson: Have you read Diamond Dollars by Vince Gennaro? Here's the Amazon link.

your conscience (your brain): Hmm. Lindbergh looks so effin adorable on mlb tv.

R.J. Anderson: He belongs to the streets.

Rob (Baltimore): What is a realistic projection for Suk-min Yoon this season for the Orioles? Is he a starter or reliever in your opinion?

R.J. Anderson: I don't know a whole lot about him beyond the Kyle Lohse comparison floating around. I guess I should ask around, but my understanding is he's a starter.

NightmareRec0n (Boston): IF you were Theo Epstien, would you see if you could use a Baez-led package to acquire Giancarlo Stanton and extend him? The Cubs have Starlin Castro locked up until 2020(he'll only be 30). And the Cubs also have to prospects/money for Stanton.

R.J. Anderson: Probably not—if only because I likely wouldn't be sold that Castro was my guy just yet and I'd like to see how he responds to Rick Renteria before I trade Baez for anyone.

Keith (Vegas): MLB adds two more teams starting in 2015, how long would it take those clubs to make the playoffs?

R.J. Anderson: Arizona made it in their second season, Tampa Bay in its 11th. So let's say both would be in within 12 years, although I doubt either could make it before their third or fourth year.

Francisco (Atlanta): is Max Pentecost a top 10 draft pick. what MLB player is comparable?

R.J. Anderson: I believe Law and Crawford had Pentecoast at like 11th or so in one of their rankings. So it's not hard to envision him being ninth or 10th on some team's board if all else remains equal.

I haven't seen him so that's all I can offer.

dastard (CA): does Hamels' injury scare you?

R.J. Anderson: It's not a positive development but for now I'm not going to assume he's done for the season or anything.

Number27 (Milwaukee, WI): What's Neifi Perez up to at this very moment?

R.J. Anderson: The usual: submitting questions to baseball chats asking what Neifi Perez is up to at this very moment.

Harry (San Bernadino): R.J., What type of year do you expect from Tyler Skaggs ?

R.J. Anderson: Solid but unspectacular, Harry. You figure he might be the odd man out if Mark Mulder makes that club, which seems unlikely but who knows. Skaggs still has a chance to become a no. 3 starter type, and though that's not what we envisioned for him a few years ago, that's a mighty fine pitcher. I'm curious to see if the Angels tweak his mechanics a bit this spring.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): What do you think of the Nate Karns - Jose Lobaton deal? Seems like the Rays did better, but the Nats getting Felipe Rivero might help their case a bit

R.J. Anderson: We covered this earlier in the chat but it's been a while so:

It seems like a fair deal. Lobaton was out of options and the Rays had two superior catchers they made multi-year commitments toward this winter. They obviously wanted Karns, but the Nationals didn't consider that a fair swap, so the Rays added two interesting, but limited parts to make it work. Both sides should be satisfied with the deal.

Francisco (Atlanta): where do you see Jagielo starting this year? low A or hi ?

R.J. Anderson: I would guess high-A due to his polish but that's only a guess.

Matt Joyce (Tampa Bay): I can still provide value to Tampa Bay despite my high salary right?

R.J. Anderson: You're going to make $3.7 million this season. That's not a high salary for a player with a 119 OPS+ the last three years.

Joe (SC): What level hitter would you trade Harvey for in a 12 team roto dynasty? Got an offer of Hosmer and Lawrie for him, Tillman, and Craig. Do it or wait for something better for Harvey?

R.J. Anderson: I asked Craig Goldstein about this because I was torn. He said he wouldn't take that if he were you.

Hector (Chicago): I know he's light years away, but do Sox fans have reason to be excited about Micker Zapata?

R.J. Anderson: Yes. To quote Parks (from the ChiSox top 10 piece):

In January, I wrote that Micker Zapata was one of my favorite prospects at the MLB Dominican Showcase, mostly because of his swing and strong arm. He’s a very long off, but the power potential makes him a prospect that could jump into the top 10 in this system with a strong stateside showing in 2014.

lipitorkid (California): Expectations for Jose Abreu for 2014 and beyond? And do you expect a small improvement or a big boy leap for Gerrit Cole?

R.J. Anderson: I'm going to remain conservative on Abreu until I see him against big-league pitching. The power seems legit but I'm concerned about how he'll translate against quality big-league arms. It's possible I'm way underselling him and he'll be a monster, I just don't want to get too hyped only to be disappointed by just a solid performance.

I'd guess marginal with Cole because he was better than I anticipated. Having those backstops, that defense, and that park help, too, of course.

mmcd (ottawa): Drastic falloff in store for A.J. Burnett? Leave Pittsburgh where you're content and pitching supurbly with a dynamic young team that plays great defence behind you for basically, the opposite in Philly. Yeah, I get that.

R.J. Anderson: Pride can be an ugly thing. I'm not sure if he'll have a drastic falloff, but his raw numbers will probably take a few steps back.

OB1 (N.Y.C.): Marisnick and Ozuma which will have the biggest impact in Majors and why? Who would you count on for your production?

R.J. Anderson: Marisnick could have the bigger impact. He can stick in center field and flashes more tools. Ozuna could be a solid player himself, but it's a right-field profile and he's obviously not going to start there over Stanton. My guess is he's traded at some point.

HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): Nationals get two prospects with Lobaton. Should they now give up draft pick and sign Ervin Santana?

R.J. Anderson: Interesting thought.

Dan (NYC): Yankees traded for Dean Anna from the Padres -- he hit 331 in AAA last year and plays 2nd/SS. Does he make a significant impact with the Yanks this year?

R.J. Anderson: I wouldn't say significant, though PECOTA (.265 TAv) likes him more than scouts do. Ben Lindbergh covered him last September as part of the all-fringe-prospect team.

Angie (Tupelo, MS): What about that catcher guy last year for the Mets? He was a rookie that was hot, but got hurt, and didn't play much. Should I marry him or not?

R.J. Anderson: I'm concerned about the durability but if he's healthy he should develop into a solid player.

Dave (San Francisco): Has Oakland's offseason actually made them a better team, or is Billy Beane just moving a lot of parts around in hopes, with some more good luck, that they can plug the holes from various departures (Colon) and likely regressions (Donaldson, Lowrie, Crisp)?

R.J. Anderson: A better team than they played as last season? Probably not. A better team than they were at the the start of the offseason? Yes. The Kazmir deal does concern me some. Maybe I'm too risk averse when it comes to starters.

Dave (San Francisco): Has Oakland's offseason actually made them a better team, or is Billy Beane just moving a lot of parts around in hopes, with some more good luck, that they can plug the holes from various departures (Colon) and likely regressions (Donaldson, Lowrie, Crisp)?

R.J. Anderson: A better team than they played as last season? Probably not. A better team than they were at the the start of the offseason? Yes. The Kazmir deal does concern me some. Maybe I'm too risk averse when it comes to starters.

OB1 (NYC): Do you put Ozuma bat ahead of LoMo before all the health problems.

R.J. Anderson: In terms of pure hitting ability? No. That's the big weakness with Ozuna.

meiersam22 (Sterling, IL): Hi R.J.; thanks for the chat. What PECOTA projection for team record suprised you the most?

R.J. Anderson: Kansas City. I don't think of them as a sub-.500 team anymore. They filled their holes and while they have a few question marks, that seems like a better-than-.500 team to me. We'll see how it plays out.

Derek (New York): Will Jeter have a monster year to close it out?

R.J. Anderson: Probably. Because it seems like the universe just likes him more than the rest of us.

Oaktown's 357 (The Bay): What kind of pitcher is AJ Griffin going to be at his peak?

R.J. Anderson: A solid middle-of-the-rotation guy whose park and defense make him look better than he is.

GrinnellSteve (Grinnell): Based on their winter roster machinations, what teams do you see losing ground this season? I feel like a lot of teams have really helped themselves in terms of aligning their talent and plugging holes. But if that's true, the progress has to come at some other teams' expense. What are your thoughts? Great chat today. Thanks.

R.J. Anderson: I assume we're comparing them to last season, Steve? If so, I'd say the Pirates, Tigers, and Reds took steps backward. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati haven't really done anything this winter, while the Tigers are depending on youngsters to pick up the slack. Maybe that'll change over the next few weeks.

Robert (California): Any thoughts on what a Trout extension may end up like if it does get done after opening day? http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/02/angels-mike-trout-to-discuss-multiyear-deal.html

R.J. Anderson: You gotta think it's gonna be massive, or at least relatively massive. He's alarmingly close to the arbitration process already, and he's put enough on paper to get a big raise right away.

The most interesting aspect to me about that report is it confirms the Angels have enough money to support another sizable deal.

Scott (Chucktown): You see Hosmer going 300 and 30 this year? Lawrie going 20/20? Which one is more likely?

R.J. Anderson: Sheesh. I don't know if either is probable, really. Lawrie's career-highs are 11 and 13; Hosmer's are .302 and 19. I guess if you're an optimist you could see a few of Hosmer's 34 doubles clearing the fences this year, but I wouldn't bank on either hitting those marks.

Robbie (San Francisco): In 2025, do you want one-half of the estate of Mike Trout or Bryce Harper?

R.J. Anderson: Harper because he seems more likely to own a pet wolf.

Moose (NE): Am I crazy to expect a big breakout from Freddie Freeman? I'm thinking 35 HR, 530 SLG.

R.J. Anderson: I addressed Freeman's breakout chances earlier. I wouldn't put the house on 35 home runs but I could see him adding strength in the years to come, and perhaps having a .300/30 season or two.

Jim (MA): Is there one under the radar prospect that's not getting a lot of love out there, that you think has a shot to be a top-25 prospect next year?

R.J. Anderson: Jason Parks would be a better person to ask this.

Teddy (NY): Is Jason Kipnis' breakout sustainable? How do you see him aging?

R.J. Anderson: Kipnis should continue to be a good, well-rounded player for the years to come. PECOTA expects him to regress a bit (from a .303 TAv to .277) but if the increased power is legitimate then he's probably going to outhit that projection.

Robert (California): RE: The most interesting aspect to me about that report is it confirms the Angels have enough money to support another sizable deal. They are already under the tax by $12-15M, and the big key is "after opening day" since that allows them to avoid the tax penalties, due to $30M+ coming off the books in Wells/Blanton/etc

R.J. Anderson: Great point.

Carlos Beltran (NY, NY): Will I really bat third for the NYY, will I get 500 AB, and will I hit 25+ HR?

R.J. Anderson: Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to the batting order stuff unless it's something unusual. Beltran has reached 500 at-bats in each of the last three seasons and that was without the benefit of the DH. Things happen, but it wouldn't surprise me if he gets that amount of playing time. As for the home runs, PECOTA's guess is better than mine and it's got him at 23.

Ted (New Jersey): Will Derek Jeter be spending more time at the Taco Hole in retirement? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6cqpEn48-A

R.J. Anderson: I wonder if Jeter is going to be one of those players who fades from the public realm. You'd think not, but think about how relatively private the guy is as it is. He's played in New York as the face of the franchise for almost 20 years and the only real dirt the media has uncovered is that he enjoys the company of attractive women.

rsambrook (Granite Bay): Will Myers or Puig?

R.J. Anderson: Tough choice. On one hand you have a young player known for making questionable decisions, and on the other side there's Yasiel Puig; no stranger to a blunder now and then again himself. Flip a coin. You get a talented young corner outfielder either way.

Related: PECOTA says Puig will have the better season.

Bub (Ft. Lauderdale): Is Mike Trout or Bryce Harper better at snowboarding?

R.J. Anderson: Harper's recklessness would probably cost him, so Trout.

Jose (FA): Thoughts on Ozuna in Miami? Will he be left only to play CF? No other real options are there? Also, thought on G.Jones in deep, deep league as a back up/potential fill in?

R.J. Anderson: Lotta Ozuna fans out there.

I think he's got a chance at starting in center field for them this season by default, but it wouldn't surprise me if he opens the year in the minors, either, with Marisnick or Johnson-Bogusevic out there instead.

Jones works as a guy who'll play most days. He wasn't his usual self versus righties last year, however, so keep an eye on him.

Billy Been (Atlanta): Which Atlanta pitcher will have the best year?

R.J. Anderson: Craig Kimbrel.

But I assume you meant starting pitcher, in which case it's a tougher choice. Minor, Teheran, and Medlen all have cases. You could maybe even argue Beachy, but his health is in doubt.

Matt (Chicago): R.J., Do you think Oscar Taveras will put up decent fantasy numbers this year?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not sure because I don't know if he'll get the extended chance. You figure STL is going to use Bourjos until the inevitable DL stint. Do they call upon OSCAR then, or do they play it safe with Jay or whomever? Given how last season played out, it wouldn't surprise me if he spends more time in the minors than we'd like.

Andrew (Canada): Where do you think Ubaldo Jimenez ends up and what might the deal look like?

R.J. Anderson: Toronto for a fatter version of the Garza deal would be my guess. It's just hard for me to picture the Blue Jays ending this winter without acquiring a starter.

PJ (Oswego, NY): RJ, Tyler Skaggs has been pretty disappointing so far albeit being young for the levels he's pitched at. Do you think he's been rushed and do you see him improving this year as the Angels 5th starter ?

R.J. Anderson: We talked about Skaggs a bit earlier. I think it was Keith Law who pointed out the D'Backs tweaked his stride a bit last season, which may have hurt him. I suppose it's possible he was rushed on top of that as well. He should improve. The materials are still there for success, albeit at a lesser level than before.

Gila Monster (Massachusetts): Who has the best season? Xander Bogaerts,Brad Miller, or Profar?

R.J. Anderson: I can't tell if we're talking real-world or fantasy value. I like all three players and I hate taking the cliche pick, but I'll go with Bogaerts. He didn't look like a rookie last season, and at this point it doesn't seem like Drew is returning to Boston, which frees him up to play shortstop all year long.

LetsGOakland (mount shasta ca): What's the fantasy outlook for alfaro? Too much glovework and hitting adjustments to reach bigs in a timely fashion? And in a potent enough fashion to justify the wait? I guess for fantasy purposes I just worry about the high k rate, low walk rate and the chance he moves away from catcher due to defensive concerns?

R.J. Anderson: Parks has been a fan of Alfaro for longer than anyone else I can remember. He pegged him for a 2015 arrival and said his glove was improving. So, it depends on your roster and aversion to risk. There's a chance he doesn't work out for the reasons you state, but it's possible he does hit 20-plus homers and swipes double-digit bags, like Bret Sayre suggested in November.

Scott (CT): Where does Drew sign, and when does he do it?

R.J. Anderson: Yankees seem like the logical choice still, don't they? Probably within the next week or two.

Tino (St.Louis): Adams - does he remain relevant throughout the year, or does Taveras butt into his playing time mid-season? As long as he's productive he stays in there right?

R.J. Anderson: I feel like if Adams is hitting as well as he can he's not going to be removed from the lineup instead of Bourjos. Defense absolutely matters but I don't buy Bourjos' bat and I think the Cardinals showed last season they're willing to sacrifice defense if need be.

Wilbur (Nashville): Who are the top three leadoff hitters in MLB?

R.J. Anderson: Choo and Ellsbury are up there assuming they'll continue to lead off. If Puig leads off he's up there, same with Matt Carpenter. Jose Reyes deserves a mention, too. Granted, that's five, but those were the names that came to mind.

Clyde (Missouri): Why does it seem so wrong to keep a closer in fantasy leagues? Is this an approach you would avoid? The reason I ask is because I could keep Greg Holland this year at 13th round value and he is projected to go well before that. Thoughts?

R.J. Anderson: I'm not a great fantasy player but it's because they only have so much impact, right? A starting pitcher can rack up more innings in one start than a closer can all week, etc.

Without knowing your league I think you're in a much better position to judge, but that seems like positive value to me.

R.A.Wagman (GTA): Everytime I see your byline, I do a double take and think it is me. Then I remember that I write about hockey, not baseball - comments notwithstanding. Preamble out of the way, care to comment on the Blue Jays' offseason "strategy"? Thanks.

R.J. Anderson: I would like to say I do the same with you but I'm neither smart enough nor brave enough to write about hockey. I do enjoy watching it, however.

It seems to me like Toronto's just been waiting out the starting pitcher market with an eye on plucking whichever of Santana or Jimenez fell through the cracks. On paper, they don't have a bad team in place. Obviously it hasn't worked out (especially last year), but they're probably better than their record last season and boring offseason suggest.

Eric (San Jose): What should we expect from Jarrod Parker this season? He struggled in the last months of the season and his peripherals haven't been strong.

R.J. Anderson: Parker had a bizarre season. I think he's probably about an average starter going forward, with an assist from the park and defense. For its part, PECOTA has him with an ERA in the 3.7s.

Santa (North Pole): Who gets the prize for ROY in AL and NL?

R.J. Anderson: I haven't looked into it either way, and probably won't until we're closer to the season, but at this point I'll guess Tanaka in the AL. That's because I'm playing it conservative on Abreu and Castellanos, and assuming Stroman doesn't get a full slate of starts. In the NL I don't know. Billy Hamilton is the chic pick but maybe the Pirates promote Taillon earlier than anticipated and he has a Cole-like run.

Patty P (peenys couch): Jeter or Cal, who was better?

R.J. Anderson: I would rather have Jeter's career.

krrtaa (Snowy South Jersey): Thoughts on who makes it to the bigs quicker this year, Robert Stephenson or Jorge Soler, and who would be better long term keeper in NL only league?

R.J. Anderson: Stephenson on both ends for me.

Adam (LA): Does Uehara completely collapse this year? So many innings and such a freakish performance last season...

R.J. Anderson: Collapse? Nah. He's been a quality reliever for years now. Maybe he gets hurt, and he almost certainly won't be as good as last season, but he should remain competent.

Big Tex (Houston): G.Springer makes the team out of spring training, or a late May/early June call up? I've seen him rising up draft boards. Out of all of the fringe prospects, he might have the easiest path for immediate opportunity.

R.J. Anderson: I think it was Sam who said he could see Springer up early. I'm less optimistic about that. Houston is going to be horrible either way, so why do something that's counterproductive to building for the future? Now, once the Super Two deadline passes, then I think he'll be up. Maybe I have them pegged wrong.

Tommy (Minneapolis): Who can throw a ball the farthest? Puig, Harper, or Kershaw?

R.J. Anderson: It's gotta be Puig or Harper, right? Kershaw wouldn't try to throw the ball the farther.

scoresheetwiz (world wide web): What is the prognosis on Mark Teixeira's wrist . . . what's the likelihood he will be an outstanding hitter again?

R.J. Anderson: Last a I saw, Teixeira suggested the wrist would be stiff or something like that all year long. Seems promising. I would guess he's never going to return to his prime form. Unfortunate, because the dude could hit.

david (Orange County, CA): What's the max ceiling for Posey as a hitter if he played 1B full time? (Not that he will, just curious...)

R.J. Anderson: I don't have any real way of answering this but he'd be pretty darn good. Almost assuredly good enough to be one of the better first basemen out there.

j'cory (huntsville): Who wins in a fight, the genie from alaadin, mufasa (before the stampede scene) or roger rabbit?

R.J. Anderson: Lions are the fiercest creatures in the animal kingdom, and Mufasa is one of the most important figures in American history. You figure it out.

R.J. Anderson: That's probably a good place to stop. I tried answering as many questions as possible. Great crop this go around. Thanks for your time and interest and we'll do it again soon.


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