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Chat: Harry Pavlidis

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday August 21, 2014 1:00 PM ET chat session with Harry Pavlidis.

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Our director of technology has big thoughts on all topics. Ask him anything.

Harry Pavlidis: are we ready? We're ready. Let's talk about baseball, pitching, player development, Robin Williams, and anything else that's even remotely relevant. Mostly baseball.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): Travis d'Arnaud has hit like many expected him to when he was being scouted.. Do you think he can learn to walk more and become more of a "complete" offensive player? And what about his defense? It's been awful

Harry Pavlidis: He is what he is, for the most part. If he has some kind of power surge maybe pitchers will be more careful, but as a catcher he's not a weak bat overall. Defensively he has some room to grow, the one positive so far is his framing. So he's got some room to grow there, practice can improve blocking skills, foot work on throws etc.

MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): What are your thoughts on Steven Matz? His control has gotten better in Double A. I know he's giving up more hits and striking out less, but those numbers for a lefty are still solid. Top 75 prospect?

Harry Pavlidis: I'll punt on the ranking, but there's a lot to like. As Jeff Moore noted http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=72 that velocity comes easy. He's left-handed. He's on the young side for a AA pitcher. Good chance at being seen in 2015 with a real impact in the back/mid rotation in 2016 very much in reach if he doesn't flat line from here.

jbirenbaum (Toronto): Daniel Norris is making me feel things in my private areas. Where does his OFP currently stand with you?

Harry Pavlidis: 55/60 -- he's legit. Not going to be a TOR talent but he's got the makings of solid starter.
Also, you should see a doctor about that other thing.

Kevin (New Jersey): Hi Harry. Do you think that jurrickson profar still has the potential that he possessed when he was a top prospect? And if so, what do you think Texas will do regarding profar and odor in the field?

Harry Pavlidis: Profar's shoulder will answer most of these questions. He's back on the field working out, and maybe we'll see him this winter (AFL?). Crowded positions with young guys with an injury mixed in tend to fall into the 'work themselves out' category. Maybe Profar loses some shine and comes back as a more of a (super?) utility guy. Maybe one them is traded to help bolster next year's club. But with Profar's injury still a concern it will take a bit to reset expectations.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Harry, Gausman vs Smyly in 2015? How about 2016 and beyond?

Harry Pavlidis: Smyly in 2015, but Gausman beyond that would probably be my choice given current projections.

gilpdawg (OH): Before Colin Wyers left BP, (RIP Colin)he was working on a series of articles entitled "Reworking WARP." Is that ever going to be revisited?

Harry Pavlidis: yes, we have some plans for WARP (MWAH HAH HAH) so we'll start rolling out some articles/blogs on that. We want to roll in our catching metrics, for example. But we're also looking at FRA pretty closely right now.

tomshipley75 (Chicago): Will MLB ever employ the "line technology" used in tennis to help determine whether balls are fair or foul?

Harry Pavlidis: I hope so. You've got a different physical space (larger) to deal with, but it doesn't seem intractable to me. I'd like to see it for the inner/outer edges of the strike zone someday, too. I'm a little tired of the difference in the shape of the zone for LHH and RHH hitters (lefties get such a wide outside edge it gets silly to the observer even if the call is consistent with the 'zone' as played).

John (Chicago): Does Shelby Miller still project to a top 20 pitcher? Was last year the fluke or this year?

Harry Pavlidis: No (did he ever??). I felt last year was the fluke.

JMR (Chicago): If you had to cut one of Porcello, Odorizzi, Cashner, or deGrom for next year, who would you cut?

Harry Pavlidis: cut from what? My imaginary big league team or in my fantasy league?

Owen (Boston): Trying to plan ahead for 1st round of playoffs in two weeks, which two-starter should I pick up? Colby Lewis (@KC, vs. SEA) or Hector Santiago (@HOU, @MIN)? Thanks.

Harry Pavlidis: Santiago, and it's not a hard choice IMO

justinjabs (Currently Chicago, IL): I'm curious on your general thoughts about today's Cubs resumed game "starter," Jacob Turner. What do you like about him, what don't you like, thoughts on his repertoire, and whether Chris Bosio & company can turn him into something special.

Harry Pavlidis: He's young and has an MLB track record. He has a power sinker. Right now he's acting like a back-end guy but I do feel like his age and the possibility that the Bosio/McLoed trawler knows what to pick up and train gives him a little more upside than that. I feel like Miami let one go, I understand the roster crunch they were facing, but (a) I've always liked him and (b) I would hope that if there's a good match b'twn him and Bosio, and he puts in his work, this could be a mid-rotation guy for a few years at low cost.

Dan (Toronto): Hey Harry, I need some help deciding on keepers. I can only keep 9 of the following players, who should I stick with? (I am currently in rebuilding mode) Mesoraco, Zunino, Kipnis, Trumbo, Rollins, Bogaerts, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Castellanos, Marte, Yelich, Joc Pederson, Bryce Harper Thanks!

Harry Pavlidis: this one is out of my domain, I'l defer to the Fantasy guys on this one

Matt (Chicago): There seems to be a growing sense that the Cubs could be WC contenders in '15. How aggressive do you see them being to acquire SP this offseason to achieve that end? Which avenues will they pursue?

Harry Pavlidis: mildly, but I would be surprised if the Cubs broke the bank. 2016 seems like the better shot to contend, and I know everyone talks about Lester, but I'm skeptical. They will be active on the free agent market--I think they need catching help--but not sure it would be heavily loaded on one arm. Then again, they were willing to spend large on Tanaka so what the heck do I know.

Matt (Chicago): Where do you eventually see Hendricks settling in? He can't sustain this type of success, can he?

Harry Pavlidis: back of the rotation. It's really hard to pitch long-term in MLB without the margin of error that nasty stuff provides. Hendricks may be wise beyond his years and really knows how to pitch, but he throws a lot of soft stuff and that lends itself to having bad days.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you have high hopes for Aaron Judge?

Harry Pavlidis: That's one for the prospect guys--minor league OFers are usually off my radar :) Check out this report for more http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=160

Matt (Chicago): What do you make of James Paxton? Having seen him only a couple of times, his mechanics don't seem to lend themselves to a repeatable delivery.

Harry Pavlidis: he's funky but the stuff is there. He's managed to keep the walk rate down, which mitigates any concern on the mechanics repeating--throw strikes, it's all good. But, that said, he could regress to his minor league form where he walked a lot of guys. So, in sum, I like him a lot but I'm slightly cautious to believe he's totally found it.

JamesHardy (Toronto): Hi Harry, long time subscriber. Thanks for the chat. As a Blue Jays fan it seems that Matt Smoral is making the adjustment to the Northwest League (9ip 2h 4bb 9so in his last two games) ERA now down to 2.79. Can you tell us about his progress this year and what it means for his future projection.

Harry Pavlidis: Don't know about him, maybe our prospect guys do.

edgardiazrocks (Seattle): Is it true that you're a terrible driver? Matthew Kory keeps repeating this on twitter. What does the data say?

Harry Pavlidis: Matt has no data on that. I was his passenger.

Mark83 (Jacksonville): Other than Kenta Maeda, are there any other NPBL players that could be posted in the off season that we should know about?

Harry Pavlidis: Good question. I don't know. I usually take notice of the int'l players pretty late in the process, 90% of my work is tracking advanced pro pitchers on this continent and even that I can't do exhaustively by any stretch.

edgardiazrocks (like everywhere, man): How much has Mike Zunino improved the '14 M's pitching staff?

Harry Pavlidis: Team framing #s indicate the M's have gained 30 runs defensively between 2013 and 2014. That's a lot, we're talking ~3 wins. Zunino is obviously a big part of that. He may have some other weaknesses (blocking balls has been a problem, and his game calling supposedly needs some development) but he's been a huge asset to the staff and the playoff run.

Greg (Texas): Since you guys often work closely together do you know when Perfect Game is going to upload the 2014 PGAAC online? I've read the recaps but missed the game itself. Thanks.

Harry Pavlidis: That would be one to ask them or the prospect guys. If someone's lurking maybe we can get an answer here, but ... I'd check with them directly.

edgardiazrocks (neither here nor there): Today in his Lucroy piece, Dave Cameron called you a "pretty smart guy". Do you feel uncomfortable with him discussing your looks on the internet?

Harry Pavlidis: Lucroy is the NL MVP for me. We don't even credit him for game calling yet, and he's in Stanton/Trout range already.

Kevin (SD): It's not really a "sexy" prospect status, but who are the top 5 relief prospects in the minors? Thanks.

Harry Pavlidis: pick five starters you like that may fail, write them in.

edgardiazrocks (here today): Mike Fiers 2.0. Thoughts?

Harry Pavlidis: he's added some velocity, which makes his stuff play up (I like FA/FC/CU guys FWIW, they can be deceiving over the top) (note: I'm rushing now since I'm out of time but the queue is not empty, I'll try and quickly get to all of the rest)

Kevin (NJ): What do you think of enny romero and where do you see him ending up in regards to the rotation or the bullpen?

Harry Pavlidis: I feel like he's a reliever, but that's my opinion.

Matt (Chicago): Do you see any further evolution in Jason Heyward's game? Is he merely a good OBP + good D guy? Still see some upside there....

Harry Pavlidis: I don't imagine much of that power will show up. Considering his back is always barking, I think we're not going to see much more. His range will start to decline, so he may fade quicker than you think.

Kevin (NJ): Do you think Jean Segura and jay bruce will be able to turn it around and return to last season's form?

Harry Pavlidis: Jean's hot hitting was a bit of a mirage, and Bruce's peak year may have just passed us. h

nottes (work): Do you think the lack of strikeouts for Gausman is just part of him still adjusting to the majors? Not using the third pitch enough? I'm curious why a guy with his stuff isn't striking out everyone.

Harry Pavlidis: adjustment is part of it, but I do think he needs to find some glove side magic.

Ja (Columbus): Is this the real Rick Porcello? Do you think he can pitch at this level for the next few years?

Harry Pavlidis: I think this is real, he's an example of a young guy who matured on a big league mound. It happens and I think he's going to stick around with his command/sinker/cutter profile.

JMR (Chicago): If you had to cut one of Porcello, Odorizzi, Cashner, or deGrom from your fantasy team next year, who would you cut?

Harry Pavlidis: deGrom or Cashner, flip a coin/injury report.

blazeswim (Chicago): Which of the twice-TJ'd pitchers (Beachy, Medlen, etc.) are the best bets to return to previous form?

Harry Pavlidis: I'd say none of them will ever return to their previous form.

AlexTheGreat (here): What do you expect from Wacha next year?

Harry Pavlidis: 150 innings of goodness.

Michael (Jordan): Is Austin Jackson ever going to have the breakout year we've been waiting for?

Harry Pavlidis: odds are tilting against him. Maybe he's a late bloomer, a really late bloomer.

LANEGS1974 (Atl): Mike Fiers, Carrasco, or deGromm, you like those guys the rest of the way?

Harry Pavlidis: Carrasco, he's kinda nasty

Harry Pavlidis: Hey, I did it. Thanks for coming! See you next time...


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