Matthew Kory: A happy rainy morning from Portland, Ore to all you BPers out there in internet-land. I'm here, I'm Matt, I have coffee, so let's talk some baseball! (non-ironic exclamation point) Also, I want to blame "Matt Chat" on Ben Lindbergh. Unless you like it, then I totally thought of it myself!
John (CT): Is Hunter Harvey better than we thought?
Matthew Kory: He might be, but he might not be. How's that for an answer? He's undeniably good (18Ks, 4BBs in 17 IP), but we're talking about a 19-year-old in Single-A, so tempered expectations is my happy place. Also, the Orioles don't have what you might call an impressive track record when it comes to developing young pitching. I'm not sure how much that applies here, but it does apply at least somewhat. So, to sum up, Harvey = good (probably (I think) (unless he gets hurt) (or the Orioles mess him up))!
Brian (Boston): So what do YOU think of Iron Man?
Matthew Kory: I haven't seen it, but my 5-year-old kid is all of a sudden obsessed with it. So he's asking me questions about Iron Man like I know anything about Iron Man which I don't. Do you know anything about Iron Man? Because I kinda need to find out! (Like, is it Iron Man or IronMan or Ironman? I don't know!)
Shaun (Detroit): Dynasty: Baez + Pence for Stanton+ Bundy... fair?
Matthew Kory: It sounds fair, but depends on the rules of your league, too. Where do your points come from? I'll say this though, I just traded Jason Heyward for Stanton (with some other players switching sides) in my dynasty league, so I'm all in favor of acquiring Stanton. Especially if you get points for home run length, which I don't, but which I should and so should you.
phin82 (MKE): Who do you think are the next prospects that come up?
Matthew Kory: I have this strong sense that George Springer is going to come up soon. Call it a hunch, but I'm telling you, it's going to happen. I feel it! You heard it here first!
higgsboson (Guelph): Buy low on Kimbrel now with the shoulder talk, or stay away and grab Walden or Carpenter?
Matthew Kory: I don't know about your fantasy league, I really don't. But I do know that pitcher's shoulders are generally terrifying. So when Kimbrel says his shoulder hurts, or is tired, or needs a nap, or is angry that it missed the finale of HIMYM, man, that's not a good sign. Someone much smarter than me once said that the biggest indicator of future pitcher injuries is previous injuries (and he said it more clearly than that, too). This might not quite qualify as an injury, but when Kimbrel misses a game, I think it does, and it makes me take notice. Hopefully he's ok. He's fun as heck to watch.
Marlon (CA): What is the general consensus on Julio Urias? What he's doing at his age is impressive, but what exactly is his long term upside? Is he a front of the rotation starter, or will his potential be limited due to his size? Do you think his production at his age is sort of masking some of his flaws in his long term upside? Thanks in advance for the help. Absolutely love these chats.
Matthew Kory: Thanks, Marlon, I love doing these chats. It's a privilege. As far as Urias goes, what he's doing at his age is very impressive. I haven't seen him pitch so I'm just going off the numbers, and right now the numbers aren't great. He's 17 and in High-A though, and that is very impressive. That means he's farther along developmentally than all of his age group. I'm sorry I'm not answering the specifics of your question, they are better left to one of the BP prospect team, but when you see a guy pitch as well as Urias (i.e. miss bats) at his age and at this level, it bears watching. (Or is it bares watching? Pretty sure it's bears...)
dmaybee (Lynchburg): In light of Arizona's starting pitching woes, when do you expect a Archie Bradley callup?
Matthew Kory: Yesterday? I mean, six walks in 16 innings isn't ideal, but it won't kill you either, and right now, according to MLB Depth Charts, the D-backs 'ace' is Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy is a nice pitcher, and he's killer on twitter, but he's not who I want at the front of the rotation, and I'm not saying that just because he doesn't follow me on twitter (seriously, Brandon, what that..?) It's early in the year so maybe AZ is trying to ride through the injury storm without throwing their top prospect into the middle of it, and that's reasonable. But if they're trying to win now, and their moves say they are, Bradley would seem like the best possible solution.
gilpdawg (OH): Is the podcast dead? I've missed it.
Matthew Kory: No, not dead. gilpdawg is referring to The Back of the Bullpen Podcast, a general baseball podcast that I do with Jason Wojciechowski (co-editor of the very excellent BP Annual, which if you haven't purchased you should). We're hoping to get back into it in a few weeks. Keep watching your iTunes and hopefully we'll pop up one of these days.
higgsboson (Guelph): Will Uggla's BA + BJ Upton's BA be greater than Votto's OBP this year? I had to ask.
Matthew Kory: That's a good one! Votto had a .446 OBP last season and has a .420 career OBP. BJ Upton's BA last season was .184 and he's hitting (wait for it...) .185 so far this season. Uggla seems like the wild card here. He could hit .230 or he could hit .170. Still though, I think I'll take Votto's OBP over those two.
John (Toronto): Hi Matthew,
What is your take on Pineda ROY? With the likelihood of an innings cap should I deal him now and what kind of player would you target? pitcher or hitter.
Matthew Kory: Pineda has looked impressive so far. I did a piece on him for a different site before the season starts and the history of players with his shoulder injury is terrifying. I'm going from memory here, but I think it's something like nobody with that injury has thrown more than 50 innings? I'll have to look it up and get back to you on that. The thing about Pineda that is so interesting though is how he's now a different pitcher than he was with Seattle before the injuries. He's still striking guys out, but he doesn't have the high-90s FB. Now it's a low 90s offering, but he's still getting swings with it. The changeup was always described as a work in progress, but it's looked legit so far this season, and the slider seems just as killer an out pitch as always. How weird is it that the Yankees have two young starters in their rotation at the same time?
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): I have Taveras and Piscotty in my bench/minor league spots. Keep both of them or drop one for Alcantara?
Matthew Kory: I have no idea, but Grinnell, Iowa, huh? My sister went to school there. She loved it, can't stop raving about it. I'm like, seriously, stop raving about how great Grinnell, Iowa is, please, and she's like rave rave rave and I'm like /leaves and she's like /follows me /raves. How is life in Grinnell? Is my sister right and Grinnell is the best place in the history of all humanity?
Kevin (PA): is there any word on Suk-min Yook, or when he is expected to make the Orioles MLB team?
Matthew Kory: Suk-min Yoon has given up 12 runs in six innings in Triple-A so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for him right now. They're not going to pull Ubaldo out of the rotation now anyway, so unless they're going to ditch Gonzalez (which I guess they could do, but seems hasty) there's no space for Yoon in Baltimore anyway.
Drifter (Long Branch): How dire is the Cubs need to shore up 2nd base with one of their infield prospects? And when might it happen? Barney can't hit, and from having observed Bonifacio last year in Toronto, I know he can't field. What's the expiration date on these placeholders?
Matthew Kory: I don't think anything the Cubs do this season is dire. Maybe continue the positive development (or begin it, depending on where you stand) of Rizzo and Castro. Beyond that, this team isn't trying to win now so whether or not Barney hits makes little difference. If they need him to stand at second base because they don't have a prospect ready for MLB then that's what he'll do.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): I think the local chamber or commerce or tourism commission or some such entity needs to hire your sister!Grinnell is a pretty nice place to live. For a small (~10,000 pop.) farming community, it is fairly progressive here thanks to Grinnell College.
Matthew Kory: Maybe I need to get out to Iowa... Though things are pretty nice here in Portland (the current rain not withstanding).
John (CT): Earl Weaver and the ORIOLE WAY are rolling over...
Matthew Kory: The Oriole Way has been dead for a while now. That's not to say it can't be revived, Frankenstein-like, to zombie-walk its way through the AL East yet again. If it was stirring though, the injury to Dylan Bundy probably pushed it back in the deep freeze. You don't hear much about how teams have specific 'ways' anymore, though. Maybe still with the Yankees, though that's mostly a product of Derek Jeter being there. I bet next season we won't hear that anymore.
phin82 (MKE): what kind of impact do you think the SP prospects that get called up this year will have? Syndergaard, Stroman, etc.
Matthew Kory: Every year (seemingly) some new starters step onto the scene and make an impact, so I don't imagine this year will be different in that regard. Stroman is particularly interesting. He's small (5'9-10 I believe) and throws super hard. Everyone has pegged him as a reliever because of his size, but he keeps starting and having success starting, so as long as that continues, why would the Blue Jays move him to pen? Answer: they won't. This season he's got three starts under his belt and he's struck out 21 guys in 15.1 innings with six walks. Can't wait to see that in the bigs!
phin82 (not grinnell): I saw a free Built To Spill show in Grinnell once and the town was very odd and small. There was only one restaurant and it was super creepy and out of an old house. Also, the students were very unique.
Matthew Kory: Any town that hands out free Built To Spill shows must be wonderful!
And now I'm trying to decide if I should mention the 'very unique' thing... hmmm... maybe better not.
Drifter (Long Branch): Aside from being Paul Goldschmidt's plaything, how good will Tim Lincecum be this year? Improve on last year? There was some suggestion that the presence of Tim Hudson (and his methods) might be of benefit (certainly Hudson has been good so far) - is that asking too much of a veteran teammate? Thanks, again, Matthew.
Matthew Kory: I think there's a better Lincecum in there than he's showed over the last couple seasons. This season he's got 17 Ks and one (!) walk in 15 innings, which is terrific. Then you look farther down the list and see he's got a 7.20 ERA because he's given up 12 runs and five homers in those 15 IP. He can clearly still get guys out, but what I keep hearing is that he hasn't ever adjusted to pitching with lesser velocity. The margin for error of a pitcher who throws 90-91 is much less than for a pitcher who can hit 96. The command has to be there and it seems it just isn't. He can't live up in the zone and out over the plate like he used to and unless that changes, it's hard to be optimistic. I do think a change of approach could benefit him, but the Cy Young winner is gone.
hdub (the hottub): please, please throw some cold water on this gallo hype. i understand optimism but i dont see him leapfrogging any of the top hot corner prospects without a major swing overhaul.
Matthew Kory: Gallo has five homers in 55 PAs this season in High-A. He's not striking out too much and he's also walking a ton. The numbers look better than solid, they look fantastic. I just watched some highlights and I'm not seeing much on his swing. It's long, maybe that's the problem, and I'm not a scout so I can't watch two highlights and say "that guy needs a swing overhaul." The key with any prospect of this type is to be patient and let their power work in the zone. Power is an incredibly valuable tool, but as we've seen with some players, power with little else doesn't make for a particularly valuable player. Gallo looks promising from where I sit, but there's much development to go and when you're asking players to learn and develop their skills, that's where things get dicey because some of them quite simply can't do it. And we don't know who those guys are until they fail. So Gallo could be the next great home run hitter. He has the power, it appears, but there's much to do between that power as it is now and that power as a game-altering skill in the majors.
wendtm (Chicago): Dallas Keuchel has much better K and BB numbers so far. Anything new with him or just small sample size theater?
Matthew Kory: Small sample size theater. He's thrown 18 decent innings, but I don't see how anything has changed from last season.
Kingpin (Grinnell): I'm not sure who told phin82 there is only one restaurant - we have 2 Chinese places, 2 Mexican restaurants, 3 pizza places, 2 fine dining places, and numerous other eateries not including the restaurant phin mentioned or fast food joints. Plus, we're 2 1/2 hours or so from 6 minor league ballparks.
Matthew Kory: I love a good restaurant, but that minor league park thing is pretty sweet. Here in Portland we've got to drive an hour to get to the nearest park, the Hillsboro Hops (who are wonderfully fun to see), but beyond that there's the Salem Volcanoes and then the Seattle Mariners who are 3+ hours, or if you hit traffic on I-5, seven days away.
In any case, Grinnell sounds nice. Maybe my sister knows what she's talking about after all!
nickkappel (Miami (via Iowa)): I've been to Grinnell. Stayed on a farm there. It was .... Anyway, Jack Taylor went to Grinnell College. He scored 138 points in a college basketball game in 2012. And then dropped 109 in a game in 2013. So, there's that...
Matthew Kory: 138 points? Man. That's some Wilt Chamberlain stuff right there. (Have you all ever seen Remembrances of Love, With Wilt Chamberlain? It's an old SNL skit that spoofed Chamberlain's claim of having had relations with 50,000 women. "Number 18,763 was in the bathroom when there was a knock at the door...")
Jason (Brooklyn): What would you say Abiatal Avelino's upside is?
Matthew Kory: The BP Annual (which you should totally buy because it's awesome!) says the following about Avelino: "A fine defensive shortstop with a contact-oriented, line-drive swing that has produced little power." I'm good with that.
John (CT): Red Sox closer at the end of the year? White Sox, Rangers?
Matthew Kory: Probably Uehara. He'll probably miss some time along the way, that was his rep last season and the team monitored his workload in attempt to mitigate against it, but he's 39 and coming off a season in which he threw the most innings he'd ever throw in a big league season. But unless you expect long-term injury, probably Uehara. If not him then Mujica or Tazawa probably takes over.
As for the White Sox, I'll stick with Lindstrom. He's alright and they don't have anyone better. The Rangers? I think you have to go with Hector Noesi. Noesi won't be denied! Noesi all the way! Noesi 2016!
--------------------------- (Parentheses): Please tell me you havent been swept up by Candy Crush mania. No. Please not you Matthew. Nothing at BP will be real anymore.
Matthew Kory: I've never played it. I did recently beat 2048 though and thank whatever you thank because now I have my life back. I don't often get sucked in by games, but that one... man. The one that got me before that was geoguessr which Sam Miller showed me because he hates me. That's actually an amazing game, and fortunately it's one you can't do on your phone, so that's a saving grace. But no, no Candy Crush for me. I have now saved BP for you. You're welcome.
Alex (Anaheim): Trading away Pineda: big mistake, or the biggest mistake?
Matthew Kory: I'm assuming this is a fantasy question because in real baseball, it's not possible now. In fantasy, I'd say yes, do it immediately. Here's a study by the excellent Jay Jaffe here at BP on pitcher's with labrum tears like Pineda. I warn you, Yankee fans, this isn't pretty: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16634
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): How long do I wait to drop AJ Burnett in my keeper league where he was 1 of my 8 keepers? I have offered him around but nobody will give me even a bucket of balls for him.
Matthew Kory: Depends what else is available. Burnett has been bad this year (14 UIBB and 2 HBP in 16 IP?), but chances are, unless he's hurt, he'll turn it around a bit. He may not be great, but he's better than this. Though playing in front of that defense in that park can't be helping.
Drifter (Long Branch): Which organizations do you admire most (maybe one NL and one AL, or more if you think it's close) when it comes to team-building vision and player development?
Matthew Kory: That's a good question! I admire the Red Sox for the way they changed course so quickly and so successfully. It's hard to fathom but they got rid of Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez and $300 million or so in future salaries (I used to know the number, but I can't recall off hand at the moment), then fired their manager after his first year. All of this falls under the category of publicly admitting huge mistakes. It probably helped that the GM changed, but still. Then they won the World Series. And now they're integrating one of the game's best farm systems with a WS winning roster. That's admirable. In the NL? I'm very interested to see if the Cubs can develop any pitching prospects to work with the talented hitters they have coming up through their system. But the easy answer there is the Cardinals who just keep winning and plugging in talent from all angles as they go. But those are obvious answers. What do you think?
John (CT): Speaking of Seattle, and Pineda, think Jesus Montero reappears this season?
Matthew Kory: Montero came to spring training 40 pounds over-weight and, when asked what he did this off-season, gave a quote akin to "I just sat around and ate candy." He was terrible last year before this (specific) weight problem. Thing is, he's still just 24, so maybe there is some talent left in his bat. He's got three homers in Tacoma this season, so... maybe? I wouldn't bet on it though. I'll guess he gets traded somewhere and eventually reaches the majors as a DH/pinch-hitter. Not what he was supposed to be, but more than he his now.
Jeff (New Hampshire): What are your thoughts on Steven Matz of the Mets? I recently heard Dan Warthen comparing him to Kershaw, which to me sounds crazy, but coming back from TJ, he did pitch well last year. Do you think he'll shoot up prospect lists this year? Could he form a nasty set of pitchers in NY with Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard, and Montero sometime in the future? Thanks in advance Matt. I really appreciate the help.
Matthew Kory: First, how perfect is it that Matz plays for the Metz, er Mets? I personally find it perfect.
Comparing anyone, let alone a minor-leaguer coming off TJ surgery to Clayton Kershaw sounds foolish to me. From what I know about Matz, he might be better off in the pen (high stress delivery and undeveloped secondary offerings). Still, it never hurts to have a young guy who can miss bats with his fastball. I feel comfortable saying he's not Kershaw, but he could help the Mets in a few years and we all know they can use all the help they can get.
Ted (Lexington): Any ideas on how to reduce strikeouts. I got nothing and I'm not so sure I even care about it.
Matthew Kory: Depends on how much you want to monkey with the game. Lowering the mound will reduce strikeouts. So will moving it back (which brings with it an added safety component). But I don't see either of those happening, especially since they'd both bring about a corresponding drop in offense, and we know MLB isn't interested in promoting less offense. As Ben Lindbergh has pointed out, strikeouts have gone up and up and up throughout the history of the game. There's probably a breaking point, but we're not there yet. As long as it's in both the batter's and pitcher's interest to aim for strikeouts, there will be strikeouts. And personally, I like strikeouts. A strikeout is just as interesting as a weak grounder to second base, or a foul pop to third. More interesting even. Also, the number of strikeouts difference isn't that great. It's going up, but I'm not sure there's a perceptible difference in adding one or two extra strikeouts per game.
James (Wisconsin): Matt, will Jason Heyward ever put it all together? Still only 24, but it feels like I've been owning this guy in my dynasty forever. Patience or cut bait once a sell high opportunity opens up?
Matthew Kory: As I said, I just traded him for Stanton, so I'd rather have Stanton. But Heyward is a guy who might not translate well to fantasy. Much of his value comes from defense. That said, 24 years old isn't old by an stretch. There are highly thought of prospects who are just breaking into the majors at that age, and Heyward is getting knocked for not posting another 6 win season. I like him, but I'm not sure he's a superstar. Act accordingly.
mattstupp (NYC): What are your thoughts on Matt Cain right now? Would you start him tonight against the Padres?
Matthew Kory: I'd start any pitcher in Petco. That said, I'm not hugely big on Cain. He's always out-performed his peripherals and pitchers who do that consistently are probably better than their peripheral numbers, but they also always scare me just the same. I'm always waiting for that second shoe to drop. We're super early into the season (I know I've said that a million times so far but we are!) so I'm not putting much stock in any numbers right now, but Cain was a bit worrisome to me before the season started so he's a bit worrisome to me right now.
toot toot (beep beep): you're not a man until you reach 4096.
Matthew Kory: I have a wife and a family and if I ever reached 4096 I would not have either of those anymore. Has anyone ever hit 8192? That's naked on the floor of the 7-11 at 4am territory.
Albert (Dallas): Is Brad Miller's awful start to the year worrisome? He looked good in ST, and looked good in limited time last season. Is this just a matter of a slow start, or was it all hype the entire time? Nick Franklin being called up can't help either I assume.
Matthew Kory: I like Miller a fair bit, but yeah, he's not played well so far. That said, 63 PAs, so I'm not too worried. The Mariners might not want to play through a slump though, so that could hurt fantasy-wise, but the long-term outlook for Miller is still good player.
Matthew Kory: And with that, it's time for me to go. My coffee is cold, and I have some work to get done. Many thanks for your time today, and don't forget to check out the Hit List on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and buy the awesome BP Annual and thanks so much! Hope to do this again soon!