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Chat: Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday August 25, 2014 1:00 PM ET chat session with Mike Gianella.

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You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity to ask Mike Gianella all your fantasy/baseball/fantasy baseball questions comes once every six months or so, yo.

Mike Gianella: Running late and sounding great, as they used to say on the Zoo morning show I listened to when I was 12. On we go...

ravenight (Beantown): So I know that the default answer is "he's young, he'll be fine", but at what point is it time to worry about Xander? I haven't done any deep digging yet, but cherry picking some of the best careers of players who came up young, he's well behind Tulo, A-Rod, and Trout at this number of PAs. So "he'll be fine" as a major leaguer, but what's his fantasy value looking like? Still a $35+ guy?

Mike Gianella: I wouldn't worry about him yet, but I do understand your point: it is not like the sample we have is too small to draw any conclusions. However, different players do have different points where they break through and contribute. I never thought he was an A-Rod/Tulo type but more of a $25 ceiling with maybe a $30 if everything broke right. I think the power could still be 25-30 HR but I'm not envisioning a five-category, across the board stud. There's still plenty of time, though (sorry).

Colin (Milwaukee): Is Dee Gordon's likely to be sustained next year, and if so would he be worth keeper over Gregory Polanco?

Mike Gianella: He can probably sustain most of it. A few years ago I would have warned against Gordon as a dangerous candidate because of his OBP risk, but with offense down in general I think teams can carry a 300 OBP guy if he's a weapon like Gordon. For Roto, I'd definitely go Gordon over Polanco (in real life I'd obviously rather have Polanco, hands down).

Genie's Army (Everywhere): No one wants to be the guy that sells low on Bryce Harper, right? That being said, what is he worth in a dynasty league??

Mike Gianella: Yep, nobody does. That being said if you can get $25-30 worth of in-his-prime talent for him you have to consider it. The dynasty factor does pump up his value though. This year is kind of the exception to the rule with Harper: even in his down years, he has been putting up earnings in the low $20s. If he's healthy, that's his floor. And he's 21 years old. I'd be really reluctant to move Harper unless somebody offered late first round/early round talent in a deeper dynasty.

Chris (Baltimore): Can I expect Ackley in 2015 to be closer to 1st half Dustin or 2nd half Dustin? Please not the dreaded somewhere in between answer.

Mike Gianella: My guess is much closer to his second half. The improvement seems legitimate and I think he might even add a little power to the mix as he approaches his later 20s. A 15 HR peak with a solid .280 batting average wouldn't surprise me. I just wouldn't expect the high end projections from his prospect days.

Cal Guy (Cal): OK, NOW is it time to worry about Joey Gallo?

Mike Gianella: I'm probably the wrong person to ask because I have never been as high on him as most of the BP fantasy team has been. I love the power obviously, but you have to be able to make a certain amount of contact to succeed in the majors, even in today's high strikeout environment. I get it: he's a 20-year-old hitting monster home runs in Double-A and there is still a lot of time for him to improve. But he's still going to have to cut down on those whiffs, and that's a project, not something that will happen overnight. The guy he reminds me of is Russ Branyan: a 90s prospect who had monster power and just couldn't get past the strikeouts in the majors.

Kyle (Florida): Jake Arrieta a top 20 pitcher going into 2015? Who would you rather have in a Dynasty League, Oscar Tavares or Joey Gallo?

Mike Gianella: Maybe not top 20 in a mixed but he's close. I think the improvements are legit and we are looking at a 1b or a 2a in fantasy. If someone puts him in their top 20 I won't be shocked. I definitely want the all around player in Taveras. I see a superstar in the making with him and a $20-25 player if I'm wrong. With Gallo I see a one-trick pony who is going to hurt the average or - at best - be BA neutral.

Daniel (Orlando): Brett Lawrie and George Springer sleepers heading into next year? Both could easily be top 50 players if they get 600 at bats.

Mike Gianella: Springer is only a sleeper in shallower formats; there is no way people aren't going to be aware of him based on the early outburst. Many still see 30-35 home runs. Lawrie fits the classification better. He hasn't lived up to his early potential in his initial, truncated season and there is definitely the possibility he improves. That being said, I wouldn't have him in my Top 50 for '15.

Chris (Baltimore): Do you prefer Starlin or Samardzija for the next 3 years in terms of 5 x 5 production?

Mike Gianella: I generally go with hitter and I think I'd lean Castro here. Samardzija doesn't quite fit into that ace box for me so he's a high teens/low $20s kind of pitcher. Castro should be able to earn in the low $20s barring injury and though I'm not as high on him as the growing contingent of Chicago writers we seem to add to the staff daily, I do see some room for improvement. So Castro for me, though it's not a blowout and I could easily see the argument going the other way.

Dave (Des Moines): Better bet for next year, Brandon Belt or Eric Hosmer?

Mike Gianella: I prefer Belt. Injuries are mostly what kept Belt back this year, whereas Hosmer's lack of power really makes me wonder if 15 home runs is his sad ceiling.

Brett (Calgary): Is Billy Butler's second half, reason for optimism in 2015?

Mike Gianella: Maybe, but he's a fairly established player and we're talking about a fairly limited sample size. I could see some improvement but not a big leap forward.

Silverback38 (VA): What are your thoughts on Kenny's Vargas and his prospects after his productive start?

Mike Gianella: I like him a lot. I could see him in his prime becoming what Kendrys Morales was before his season-ending injury.

Corey (San Jacinto): When it comes to saves in 2015, can you please rank the following. Vic Black, Josh Fields, Zach Putnam, Junichi Tazawa. Thanks dude.

Mike Gianella: Putnam, Fields, and Black, Tazawa with the caveat that anything can happen between now and ST 2015. If you're looking for fluidity, Chicago and Houston are better place to go than Boston (sounds like they might bring back Koji Uehara) and New York (Mejia is OK if he's healthy, and Familia looks like a solid back-up plan).

Milstead (Denver): As long as Stubbs is in Colorado, he's worth rostering in deep leagues. Correct?

Mike Gianella: Absolutely. I traded him in my NL-only early this season and I'm sorry that I did.

Looking Good (Feeling Good): Danny Salazar or Rubby De La Rosa in 2015. Go!!

Mike Gianella: Salazar has struggled but I still like his ceiling better than De La Rosa's. The potential for nearly a strikeout an inning makes me go with Salazar. And De La Rosa could be the Salazar of 2015: a hyped guy who will be good at some point but isn't there yet.

Jean's Owners (Everywhere): Is there reason for optimism when it comes Jean Segura?

Mike Gianella: Given the personal tragedy he went through this year, I think that you have to take his 2015 with a huge grain of salt. Yes, I know he struggled in the first half too, but it's understandable if he's having a down year. I see some bounceback, though I was never as high on Segura as some, particularly where the power is concerned. A .270 BA with 35-40 steals and 8-10 home run pop is one possible outcome.

Rory (Hartford): Assuming the concussion issues are in the past, what can we expect from Brandon Belt in 2015?

Mike Gianella: More improvement. Maybe 25 home runs with a .280-.290 batting average. I like him a lot if he's healthy.

Sean (Toronto): What do you make of Carlos Carrasco's improvements over the last 3 starts? JP wrote about him, but curious about your own individual thoughts.

Mike Gianella: i haven't seen any of Carrasco's starts, so I'm at a disadvantage over JP. His article was good though, and I see the same things in the numbers that others do: he's throwing the slider more and keeping the ball down in the zone. His raw stuff was always pretty good (I dig mid-90s heaters) so it's quite possible that this change is legit. In fantasy, you probably can't wait for the sample to normalize and have to grab him in all formats.

Not Shelby (STL): What happened to Shelby Miller? Top 10 prospect in 2012, great rookies year in 2013, and hot garbage in 2014?

Mike Gianella: Doug Thornburn had a good piece about this earlier this year. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=24249 He has had issues with command in the zone, particularly fastball command. Combine this with Miller's earlier problems with lefties - particularly with his off speed stuff - and this is what you get. There is a lot that needs to be fixed here, and really it wasn't so much a great rookie year as 10-12 dynamite starts to start 2013 before he put up a 3.89 (I think) the rest of the way.

Rick (Detroit): What do you think of Rick Porcello's value over the next few years?

Mike Gianella: He's starting to look like a solid #2 arm. A high teens earnings peak is not unreasonable, with the possibility that he exceeds that once or maybe twice.

John (Chicago): Should i try to talk myself out of keeping Kole Calhoun?

Mike Gianella: In a standard mixed, sure. Everywhere else I think you keep him.

Alex (Anaheim): Is Brandon McCarthy going to keep pitching well down the stretch?

Mike Gianella: He should keep pitching well but this level of performance is still sustainable. Why the Diamondbacks wouldn't let him use his four-seam fastball and cutter are beyond me, but McCarthy has thrived with those pitches back in his arsenal. The potential was always there, so I could see him putting up a 3.50 ERA or so with the stuff he has, even in the AL East.

John (Ohio): Is Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner the most underrated top of the rotation in baseball?

Mike Gianella: When they are both healthy, you can make a good argument for them. Ross is probably more underrated outside of fantasy circles: I know a lot of casual fans who don't even know who he is.

Dayton (KC): Is Odorizzi better than Shields right now?

Mike Gianella: He's not quite there yet, but the strikeouts make him close from a fantasy perspective. I'd like to see Odorizzi sustain that K rate before I put him ahead of Shields.

phin82 (milwaukee): A manager in my 15 team deep roster dynasty wants my Scooter Gennett. I have 2b depth with Walker, Baez and Odor, so I'm willing to deal. He offered deGrom and a throw in for Scooter. I countered with Scooter, Nathan and Hawkins for deGrom and Hahn. He countered with deGrom and Hahn for Scooter , Feliz and $100 FAAB. My counter back was the same deal and he throws in Francisco Mejia. If he says no should I just take his offer and stop pushing my luck? I'm in 7th and out of it this season/playing for next year.

Mike Gianella: I'm not really in love with that deal for you, but I don't see how Mejia should be a deal breaker. I'm not sure what your FAAB rules are but maybe try zero or less FAAB in a counter if he pushes back.

tomshipley75 (Chicago): Where do you expect Javy Baez to settle in terms of batting average? Can he be a .300+ hitter if he "puts it all together?" Or should Cubs fans be ecstatic if he's a perennial .270 hitter?

Mike Gianella: I'd say .240 is probably realistic and with his strikeout profile is he hits .270 the Cubs should have a party. .300 is a hard mark the hit even for very good contact hitters.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you think Eric O'Flaherty keeps the Oak closing gig until Sean Doolittle comes back?

Mike Gianella: It sounds that way, although I'd be wary of the A's playing matchups. On the other hand, it sounds like they went O'Flaherty because they felt their set-ups were comfortable in their roles and didn't want to rock the boat.

Joe (Tampa): What are the odds on Kluber winning the Cy? Sustainable as a top 10-12 SP for 2015?

Mike Gianella: He probably has a 10-15% shot. Felix wins if the season ends today and given Felix's name, Kluber will likely have to do more than just catch up. Yes, Kluber definitely could be a Top 10 guy again next year. The stuff is legitimate.

Kevin (NJ): Do you think Jay Bruce reaches 30 homers again?

Mike Gianella: If he's healthy, I don't see why he can't. He's only 27 years old and this is only one down year. Maybe it's the start of something, but at the moment I'm just going to write it off as a down year.

Joseph (Florida): Who would you rather keep: A-rod $0, Coco $7,or Starlin $15?

Mike Gianella: It's a close call, but I'd probably go Crisp assuming it's not a keep forever. In leagues with higher auction inflation, go with Castro.

JMR (Chicago): Is it time to move on from Billy Butler and Joe Mauer in dynasty leagues?

Mike Gianella: Depends on the format. A lot of dynasty leagues are deeper so you can't move on entirely, but it is time to downgrade valuation/expectations for both, particularly Mauer now that he won't have catcher eligibility going forward.

Mike (Minneapolis): Oswaldo Arcia looks like a power hitting stud some days and other days it looks like he can't see the ball. What's your opinion of his upside potential? Thanks for the chat!! You guys are the best!!

Mike Gianella: Somebody on Twitter put it best the other day: I just think he has to stop swinging so hard/ for the fences with every at bat. I could see a 30 HR/.250 guy but I could also see someone who flames out and never does much more than a .210 BA with a lot of strikeouts.

Kevin (NJ): Long term would you prefer George Springer or Gregory Polanco (fanatsy and real life)?

Mike Gianella: I want Springer in fantasy (this assumes he's going to run a little bit) and Polanco in real life.

Al (Denver): Arenado - what's the expectation for 2015 - where would he rank amongst starting fantasy 3rd baseman?

Mike Gianella: he's a likely top 10. I'm curious to know if we see a power spike or if 20 home runs is what we'll get. the power spike obviously pushes him up higher.

Royal diehard (KC): Are you a Danny Duffy believer?

Mike Gianella: Yes. Bret Sayre and I own him in mixed LABR and I like Duffy a lot. Maybe he's not a future ace, but I could see a solid #2.

Jasper (NY): A starting OF next year of Stanton, Gomez, & Harper - I should be good to go right?

Mike Gianella: Unless you're in a four-team mixed, yes you're good.

Billy's Beans (Chicago): Is David Wright going to be one of the top-5 third basemen in the NL next season?

Mike Gianella: I don't think so. I'd like to know if his shoulder ailment is more serious than he is letting on and if surgery/rest/rehab can cure it. IF this is the case, then maybe there's some bounce back here. If not, I'm concerned that the decline could be moderate to rapid.

Eric (Atl): Chances Carlos Rodon pitches in a White Sox uniform next month?

Mike Gianella: I have no inside information, but 30%? Think we might see a handful of innings out of him.

Will (Boston): Is Mookie Betts a fantasy star next year? He would have had 15 HR/45 SB if he wasn't called up.

Mike Gianella: Probably not. I'm not sure the power or the speed completely translate. That being said, I could still see 8-10 home runs with 20 steal potential in the short term. That isn't a star for me.

Tex (Houston): I understand I'll take the hit in batting average, but Carter has to be considered a top 12 fantasy 1B in 2015? If he hits 40+ - he's a decent option in a 20-team league, right?

Mike Gianella: He's definitely decent in everything from 15 team mixed and deeper. Top 12 is tough because there are some guys I'd rather have because of the average but maybe? Top 15 I'd say yes.

Mike (Chi-town): A couple of great value picks in C.Carter & Arendo - would you view either as keeper options heading into next year? Both were had on the cheap this year, & only a slight increase for keeper purposes going into next year - thx

Mike Gianella: Depends on your format, but I think if you have them cheap and it's anything like a deep mixed or deeper then, yes, they're keeps.

Matt (Chicago): What type of return could the Cubs reasonably expect for Castro? One established young SP plus something else to sweeten the pot?

Mike Gianella: I'm terrible with these types of questions, but I would say that the Cubs are probably going to want at least two high quality prospects close to the majors.

The Dude (Office): Are Seinfeld and The Simpsons 2 of the top 5 sitcoms ever (maybe even 1 & 2)?

Mike Gianella: Probably Top 5 for both. The Simpsons is tough to grade, though, because the show has been on for 25 years and has gone through so many different sets of writers and creative directions that there are (conservatively) four distinct eras for the show that could each be graded differently.

Shawn (Cubicle): Do you think Jorge Soler will have an every day job if/when he gets called up?

Mike Gianella: This year? Maybe, though it's hard to say. I could see it going either way: the Cubs either play him a little bit to give him a taste or give him a long look.

Kevin (NJ): Do you consider Jackie Bradley to be done in Boston? Also is Justin Masterson having a down year or should we expect bad numbers from him in the future?

Mike Gianella: I think they could give him another shot if they don't trade him, but given the crowded OF a trade wouldn't surprise me.

Masterson looks like a mess right now. He is another pitcher (see my Miller answer earlier) who is having problems with his command in the zone. Is it fixable? Possibly, but I always felt like he had to be just right to be good anyway.

phin82 (milwaukee ): Homer's Enemy or The City of New York vs Homer Simpson. Who do you have in keeper?

Mike Gianella: Homer's Enemy. My #stateyourunpopularopinion is that I don't like The City of New York Versus Homer Simpson's Homer story line. It's 10 minutes of Homer frothing (though the Steve Grabowski bit is admittedly funny).

Shawnykid23 (CT): Are there any non-closing RPs that you think could begin 2015 as the closer, that we can stash now (other than Dellin Betances)?

Mike Gianella: This is always pure guesswork. I love Ken Giles if the Phillies can move that Papelbon contract, but who the heck knows how that will play out?

phin82 (milwaukee): not in love with it eh? why? what are your thoughts on hahn and degrom going forward? i like them, especially in a 15 team league with major and minor league rosters that go 45 deep. while i love scooter i'm fine at 2b without him and could use the young pitching.

Mike Gianella: I like them both but I think they're not going to be this good and I'm particularly concerned with Hahn that he's going to be exposed his second time through. I think the deal is fine if it fits a need, just don't bet on deGrom and Hahn doing THIS going forward (I know you don't need me to tell you that).

Donald (Denver): Mazara, Josh Harrison and Carlos Carrasco for my Daniel Norris, how do you feel about that trade in a dynasty league?

Mike Gianella: Seems like a good deal for you, particularly if Carrasco is legit (see my earlier answer for Carrasco).

RatedRookie (Atlanta): Any chance Giolito could accomplish enough in his limited 2015 innings to get called up to DC? What's realistic and what's his ceiling in real life and fantasy?

Mike Gianella: I doubt it, though he could be an August/September guy. He's realistically a #2 but is the rare guy in the minors that you can truly put an ace ceiling on for him.

Matt (Toledo): D.J. Peterson doesn't seem to get any respect from the prospect ranking community. What gives? I realize he is not a great fielder or amazing athlete but production never lies. Are these the same morons that thought Jose Abreu didn't have enough bat speed? Or that Hosmer was going to be better than Freeman after Freeman already had legit MLB seasons. Production never lies hommie :)

Mike Gianella: I can't speak to him from a scouting perspective but Peterson hasn't done a lot above A ball yet which is probably why some are wary. I do agree about production, although I do look at Peterson's .250 or so BA so far in AA and wonder if that's something he'll need to improve. Seattle prospects move into a tough hitting environment from a friendly one in AAA. Most struggle initially.

ravenight (Kitchen Table): Thanks for the chat and for answering my last question! What's your take on CarGo next year? He's still young-ish and could be totally healthy (right?), but even if he's still a Rockie is he a first-rounder? Top 20? Or do continuing injury concerns drop him even further? Same question for Tulo.

Mike Gianella: Potential superstar, has to stay healthy, seldom does. If you get the 120-130 game Cargo in a shallower league great, but if you get 80-90 games then uh oh. Tulo is even more of an injury risk and I'm a little worried there's a trade coming. They're both elite but there are a few guys ahead of them I'd rather have in a straight draft. To your question, though, both Top 20 still for me.

maicunni (Toledo): D.J. Peterson is a top 25 prospect! Admit it! #production #rake

Mike Gianella: ask the prospect guys or the other guys on the fantasy team. unless they're studs, my prospect knowledge below AA isn't in their class.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): I should probably risk the Atlanta rush hour on Friday and drive up to the Gwinnett stadium to see Carlos Rodon strike out AAA-Braves, right? I'm not sure I've ever seen a grade-80 slider.

Mike Gianella: I love seeing prospects so I'm the wrong guy to ask. I live 20 minutes from Trenton and am very tempted to go see Aaron Nola on Friday.

phin82 (milwaukee): do you think heaney, taijuan walker or jesse hahn have an impact down the stretch? i'm rostering them along with buxton, sano and giolito in dynasty. i'm currently in 2nd place and might need an extra roster spot in the h2h playoffs.

Mike Gianella: Walker and Hahn seem the most likely. I'm wary of predicting future success with Heaney given his earlier struggles. I like Hahn given the park and the potential of facing September lineups for a team that isn't contending.

Jeff (Des Moines): Would you be surprised if Joc Pederson becomes a more valuable fantasy player than Wil Myers? How do you value Pederson moving forward?

Mike Gianella: I wouldn't be surprised becaue Pederson runs and Myers (for the most part) doesn't. I'd say Pederson is a $15 or so player initially with a $25 ceiling.

Charlie Manson (Corcoran, Cali): Who's the A's future 1st baseman? Renato Nunez or Matt Olson?

Mike Gianella: Nunez is the safer bet but is boring and Olson has the higher ceiling. If you're forcing me to pick, I'd take Nunez.

Dave (Des moines): Isn't Hahn close to reaching his innings limit?

Mike Gianella: Yes, but I haven't seen an exact number, just that the Padres are thinking about "winding him down"

Shawnykid23 (CT): Anyone coming up in September that you think could have an impact for the last month? I know a lot of names could be up, but do you think any are going to get the daily playing time to make an impact?

Mike Gianella: Jorge Soler is the guy who leaps off the page. Now that he has been sent down, can I cheat and say Gregory Polanco?

Rich (Baltimore): Is Kenny Vargas mini Big Papi or not?

Mike Gianella: not for me.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): In a dynasty format (5x5), which side of a Gerrit Cole for Kris Bryant trade would you prefer?

Mike Gianella: I'd take Bryant.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): Wil Myers has struck out a lot since returning from the DL but he has also taken walks and looked more patient than he did before the wrist injury. If this is a true development with him, it has to be good news, doesn't it?

Mike Gianella: It could be a development, but I'd like to see more at bats before jumping to any definitive conclusions. He's better than what he did in the first half of this year.

RetroKryptonite (Oklahoma): Not a lot of coverage on him, but what do you think the ceiling is for Forrest Wall of the Rockies? I know the arm is well below average but it sounds like the bat is legit. Any comps you can think of for him, particularly offensively? Thanks!

Mike Gianella: He has 152 plate appearances in rookie ball so it's really hard for a non-prospect guy for me to say. $15-20 player, particularly in Coors.

Kevin (NJ): Does this season indicate that Jon Singleton's future is a power hitter who can't hit for average? Or does he still have good upside?

Mike Gianella: I see him as better than this. He should be able to hit .250 or so at the very least and while the power might not be monstrous he should be solid. Give him a little more time.

Ed (Minnesota): Thoughts on Kennys Vargas' hot start and future as the Twins DH/1B?

Mike Gianella: I was asked about him earlier. His peak might be Kendrys Morales before the Morales season-ending injury.

Hope (Hopeville): Is Carlos Beltran more than just a dead body in 2015?

Mike Gianella: Unlikely, though given his past potential I wouldn't put a strong September past him.

Mike Gianella: I've had a good time, but now it's time we say goodbye (insert upbeat, annoying theme song here). Until next time...


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