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Chat: Ben Carsley

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday June 16, 2015 8:00 PM ET chat session with Ben Carsley.

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Ben Carsley: Between the Red Sox and GoT this chat is pretty much all I have left to live for. Let's get to it.

Greg (California): Are you worried about Yoan Moncada's slow start?

Ben Carsley: No, not at all. He just turned 20, he's adjusting to stateside ball and it's been 85 PA. The Red Sox have enough wrong with them. No need to go looking for more bad news.

Patrick (CT): Purely fantasy - Corey Seager or Byron Buxton?

Ben Carsley: Buxton, though it's a lot closer than I thought it would be a year or two ago. Seager can really hit and I think he'll stick at short for a while. Buxton's upside just can't be matched.

Bris Kryant (Chicago): For Dynasty Leagues, how would you rank Raimel Tapia, Nick Williams, Brad Zimmer and Brett Phillips? More in terms of upside then ETA.

Ben Carsley: Sigh, that username. In terms of pure upside I'd go with them in the order they're listed. Overall, I'd go Williams-Zimmer-Tapia-Phillips. Be warned that Zimmer is probably the safest and I'm the highest dude in the planet on Williams.

DJ (TX): This Eddy Julio Martinez a beast or what?

Ben Carsley: Lot of Eddy Julio Martinez questions. I don't know a ton about him other than what you can read. My best advice is to listen to last week's TINO and hear what Bret Sayre has to say about him. The link to that is here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26639

Cameron (Boston): Likelihood of Cherington getting fired at the end of the season? And if he is.. do you think ownership sways away from the younger front office brass they've had in place since Theo's hiring?

Ben Carsley: 10%? There's no way he embarked on this strategy without the green light from Henry/Lucchino et al, so firing him now would be a bit disingenuous. He also won the World Series 1.5 years ago. I would give him at least one more year, probably two.

Farrell, however ... I think he's gone if the Sox don't play much better in the second half.

Eric (Philly): How good can JP Crawford be?

Ben Carsley: Quite good. Better MLB prospect than fantasy one because of his defense, but we're still talking about a shortstop with a potential plus hit tool, 10-plus homer power and 15-20-steal speed. Those guys are pretty rare, and if he stays in Philly he's got great contextual factors, too. Easy top-20 fantasy prospect for me.

Grizz (Ch8): Grade the dynasty trade: Rougned Odor and a second round pick for Robert Stephenson

Ben Carsley: Not super high on either player, but give me Odor and the pick pretty easily here.

JQ (NJ): Do Lindbergh and Goldstein have inverse diets?

Ben Carsley: I don't know what Lindbergh eats, but I'll give Goldstein this: the man eats what he wants when he wants to. We went out for brunch (really lunch) and he got a side of bacon with his steak-and-cheese sub. That's being honest with yourself, and it looked delicious.

Jason (Seattle): Digging for diamonds... is Joe Musgrove one?

Ben Carsley: Potential MLB contributor for sure, but not a diamond. Certainly not for fantasy purposes.

ravenight (Boston): In-season roster management question. How do you approach filling out a weekly lineup when you've got a couple extra starters? For example, let's say you've had Heyward, CarGo, Hosmer, Longo, Souza, and Tomas fighting for 4 spots and VMart and Holliday are sitting on your DL for the moment. Do you try to play the hot hands, or just stick with whoever you'd consider the most talented in general? How close are these guys?

Ben Carsley: Good question. I generally just go with "who's better," but I'd be lying if I said who's hot/not has nothing to do with it. If I have the time, I look at pitching matchups and ballparks for the week, and that usually serves as a tie-breaker.

In terms of how close the guys you mentioned, I'd be most likely to sit Tomas and Souza.

Alex (Towson, MD): Reports have Anderson Espinoza's velocity up to 99 in the DSL. Have you heard any reports on him? With the increase in velocity, what is his ultimate upside?

Ben Carsley: I've heard the same thing you have re: his velocity. Probably because we read the same Baseball America report! This doesn't change his upside or anything in his profile for me. Obviously it's a positive sign, but he's still like four years away. Seems like TOR potential, though you can say that about a lot of young, electric arms.

A.J. Bumpass (MLB Draft): For real, bruh? 100 names better than mine? I don't care about your silly "restrictions" YOU MAKE SPACE FOR THE BUMPASS!

Ben Carsley: When you're right you're right. Next year Craig and I need to do more research. When names like Bumpass, Trey Cabbage and Hurlbutt miss the cut, you've done something wrong.

DJ (Dallas): Ben, Thanks for the chat!! Is Rougned Odor going to be the real deal now that he's spent a few weeks in Round Rock, or was he just lucky last night (or both)?? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

Ben Carsley: I think he's much better than he showed earlier this season, yeah, but I don't think he's a star. At 21 he's probably too young to be in the majors, and I don't think he's going to approach his top-10 fantasy 2B upside for another few years.

John (PA): Hey ben, I'm in a long term keeper league. I'm competing this year and looking for a bit more offensive help. I've been offered an expiring hanley ramirez and a rookie contract (5 years at low salary) Taijuan Walker for my bauer also on a rookie deal. Should i do this if hanley helps me this year or is the difference between pitchers too big and i should find help some other way

Ben Carsley: You gotta taken Hanley, even with the downgrade you get re: Bauer and Walker. Hanley's Magikarp-esque defense can't hurt you, and the man can still hit.

Grizz (Chi): How would you rank Reynaldo Lopez, Jake Thompson, and Grant Holmes in dynasty?

Ben Carsley: Jake Thompson > Grant Holmes > Reynaldo Lopez, imo.

Old guy (Cigar room): I heard a theory that pitchers get injured more now than they used to because the pitchers of the good-ole days never used to lift in the weight-room and now they do. What do you think?

Ben Carsley: I think I'm not at all a doctor but that having more muscle and being in better shape (to a certain extent) shouldn't lead to more injuries. Don't see the connection there. But if I (or anyone) had the answer, I'd be working for a team!

grimoren189 (Houston): Are there more organizational reputations for development? Like how the Orioles don't develop pitchers well? Or the White Sox and position players?

Ben Carsley: There are a bunch, sure. The Giants are generally considered a good org for pitching. Mariners bad for hitters. Cardinals are good at everything, save discretion. Hard to tell what's a real pattern and what's just the nature of the beast, though.

Tommy (Worcester): What's the REAL story behind the Red Sox season

Ben Carsley: They're have a below average (probably bottom-5) pitching staff in terms of pure talent, their lineup has underperformed/been unlucky, they look undisciplined in the field and they lost both of their catchers by early May. Equal parts bad luck and poor planning, in my book.

El Hombre (Depends when this goes up): Is Pujols back to Cardinal form?

Ben Carsley: Not quite -- he was generally, like, .320/.440/.650 in those days, which I think people forget -- but he looks like he can still be an impact bat for a while, which is great. He's still "only" 35.

ravenight (Boston): I've got a roster crunch coming up in a keeper points league, and if I can't work out a 2-for-1 trade soon I'm probably dropping someone I'd rather keep. What's your take on points league value of Russell, Corey Seager, Buxton, Tomas, Souza, and Hosmer over the next couple years? Salaries are basically the same, and I'm competing now. Who would you try to trade? Who would you drop if it comes to that?

Ben Carsley: Tomas in a points league smells like trouble, given the swing and miss. For the next, say, three years only, I'd rank them Hosmer-Russell-Seager-Buxton-Souza-Tomas

jackman (Cheers): Will Dahl's stock drop with his injury? Who do you like better, Dahl or Meadow? Where do you see them ranking in the top 100 at the end of the season?

Ben Carsley: I've long loved Dahl and while the injury is a bummer (and scary) it doesn't change his long-term outlook for me. I think he's a star. I still like him considerably more than Meadows. It's honestly too early for me to answer where they'll be in a top-100 at season's end, but you can see where I ranked them in March here - http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25744

John (Boston): Do you have a goal of one day working in Baseball Operations, and what do you think of that career path or those internships?

Ben Carsley: I do not, and it's not something I've ever seriously pursued. For me, writing about baseball and following around scouts is the perfect part-time job. There are lots of smart people at BP who should be able to answer the career paths part of this question, though.

Holly (Ballpark): "Brock Holt" has two anagrams: "lock broth" and "throb lock" - which do you prefer and why?

Ben Carsley: This is a Good Chat Question. I prefer throb lock for impolite but obvious anatomical reasons.

Nick (NJ): Who in MLB would you compare Miguel Sano to?

Ben Carsley: I can't think of a great comparison. I think from a fantasy POV he's Better Pedro Alvarez to start (~240, 25 homers) but his upside is considerably higher.

ArkBuilder (Texas): At this point last year , most writers in the industry were not high on Billy Burns bat at all. What has changed in his approach or is he set for a collapse soon?

Ben Carsley: .362 BABIP, but he rarely strikes out and his LD% isn't totally embarrassing. He's due for some regression to be sure, but I do think he hits enough to stick around the majors. Still don't see a first-division guy.

matzabal (Denver): Hi Ben, we've been playing with our league categories trying to find something that is balanced, fun and playable. Currently we have 6x7 with R, HR, RBI, SB, BB, AVG, and IP, QS, SV, Hld, ERA, WHIP, K/9. What's your favorite league set up?

Ben Carsley: I prefer 5x5 with OBP, SLG, HR, SB, RBI + QS, ERA, WHIP, K, SV. Nothing too crazy but a little more advanced than going with W/AVG/R.

Tommy Herr (St. Louis): Are you a Pats fan? If so, how would you advise Cardinals fans in dealing with this little controversy?

Ben Carsley: I really, really, really hate the Pats. But I'm a Steelers and Red Sox fan and on Twitter, so I'm used to having other sports fans hate me for one reason or another.

Honestly, I'd have fun with it. The absolute worst thing you can do is try and make excuses for your club or attack people who are enjoying this. Your team messed up and there are gonna be consequences, but the Cardinals are still a model of success. Roll with the punches and strike back when you're still playing in October.

doclove (Ann Arbor ): Talk about the domino effect the Rodgers signing in COL is likely to have on T Story, F Wall (if Story gets moved to 2B) and Tulo's trade likelihood/timeline

Ben Carsley: This just really isn't how it works. They're not going to be at the same levels any time soon (Rodgers and Wall could overlap, but Wall will be at 2B) and the odds of all three of these guys panning out is very, very slim. Rodgers and Wall are several years away, meaning we don't know what Tulo will be at that point, and while Story is closer he's not good enough to warrant moving Tulo. If by some miracle they all max out, that's a good problem to have, but these perceived "logjams" almost always work themselves out before it gets to that point.

Matt (CHI): Do you see Baez settling in Cubs' IF situation by the end of the season? He seemed to be getting squared away before injury.

Ben Carsley: It would see to me that they need to make a decision between Castro and Baez. Baez has the most upside of anyone in the system other than Bryant, but that floor is quite, quite low. I guess they could move Baez or Bryant to the outfield, but I think I'd rather trade Baez or Castro for pitching at that point.

Major Tom (Ground Control): Do you think anyone would change his mind in the Team Xander vs. Team Mookie debate from several weeks ago? Xander seems to making steady progress, is that what you see?

Ben Carsley: I'm sure a lot of people will change sides dozens of times before their careers are over. When I asked the question, Mookie was having a better month. Xander's had a much better 4-6 weeks since. I remain adamant that Xander has a similar floor and much higher than ceiling than Betts, and I think that's what you're seeing play out right now. I still believe they are the leadoff and No. 3 hitters in the long run, however -- I still like Mookie plenty.

Colin (WI): So when should people start sending police wellness check ins to your apartment?

Ben Carsley: I'm assuming this is a Red Sox question, in which case the answer is "weeks ago." If it's just about my life in general, that's quite rude. And the answer would be "years ago."

Ron (Texarkana): If Dansby Swanson was in the 2014 Draft, where would he have fallen? Is he the best player in an off-year for a draft, or can he really be a dominant MLB player?

Ben Carsley: The consensus seems to be that Swanson wasn't even the best player in the 2015 draft -- seems like that goes to Rodgers.

Swanson is a fine fantasy prospect in his own right, though. I prefer him to any of last year's top-10 picks save for Rodon and Schwarber.

Quigley Q (The Moon): What kind of prospect would you trade Brandon Moss for? Points league.

Ben Carsley: Ugh, these questions are so hard. I'd try to give up a No. 3/4 fantasy starter prospect, since those guys are super fungible anyway. Sooooo, like, AJ Cole? Sean Manaea?

Jackman (Cheers): Thoughts on Aaron Nola's upside? Any changes in your thoughts of him with the good start to the season?

Ben Carsley: It appears I was too low on him, though his contextual factors are disastrous. Seems like a real life No. 3 starter and fantasy No. 4/5 guy to me.

Chuck Norris (Chicago): These rumors about my facial hair hiding another fist are false, they infact hide another Cubs SS prospect.

Ben Carsley: Is Gleyber Torres is blocked by Chuck Norris' facial hair? My column:

Jon Snow (The North): What now?

Ben Carsley: You need to hold a player's only meeting #turningpoint

Mike (Approx 5 ft away from you): If you could choose any baseball player (current) to split a bottle (read: handle) of scotch with, who would it be?

Ben Carsley: Scotch leads to more of an introspective drunk than a rowdy drunk, so some of my usual answers (Pence, Napoli, etc) are out. I think I'd go with Andrew McCutchen. Seems like a genuinely awesome dude.

jonraypyle (TX): In my AL only league I managed to end up with 4 closers after picking up Tolleson and a guy wanting to sell street for a starter. so now i have Robertson, Tolleson, Street, and Perkins. not getting any good bites on the trade front and i am only in 2nd in saves. how long can i hold all 4 before i need to just get whatever value i can. FWIW my rotation around them would be Felix, Kazmir, Chichi and either Yordano or verlander.

Ben Carsley: You can hold on until right before the deadline, or until you have a really big lead in saves. I doubt Tolleson has the job all year anyway. I agree you should look to trade but you're not at "get whatever I can" yet.

Koji (Bullpen): Is a stuffed Arepa a sandwich?

Ben Carsley: I really thought we were gonna make it a whole chat without a sandwich question. No. It's in the same family as the taco -- a close cousin to the sandwich, but not in and of itself a sandwich.

Art (Lexington): Does it bother you that Bulleit isn't made in the legacy Bulleit distillery (assuming you like Bulleit to begin with)? Or is good bourbon just good bourbon regardless of process?

Ben Carsley: Not a huge bourbon guy, though I've had and enjoy Bulleit (thanks to Jeff Quinton once, in fact). I really just go for scotch if I want brown liquor and tequila if I want shots.

Grizz (Chi): Thoughts on Duane Underwood? Putting together another great start tonight. Seems to be flying under the radar.

Ben Carsley: TINSTAAUCP (There is no such thing as an underrated Cubs prospect)

justarobert (Santa Clara): Can you get behind an AL All-Star slate of players who upset the Royals' fan base? To wit, C Flowers 1B Cabrera 2B Infante SS Sogard 3B Lawrie OF Trout OF Eaton OF Reddick DH Butler. (If you want to volunteer another SS or swap in ARod for Butler, I wouldn't complain.)

Ben Carsley: This is a phenomenal idea. I'm so on board. Everyone stop reading this and go vote for the players above 35 times.

navarra (Ukraine): When you was recruiting staff for BP Boston, you promised to answer every e-mail. I sent you mine resume (maybe little funny, but certainly not trolling) and you never answered. Why, Ben? Why you did that to me?

Ben Carsley: This hurts my heart. Honestly, I thought I'd get 10-20 emails. I got over 70, so there was just no way. Email me again and I swear I'll answer!*


*I might forget again

doclove (Ann Arbor ): Dare to be the first to give a good comp for Forrest Wall.

Ben Carsley: Woodland Partition

Bill (Los Angeles): If the Red Sox were characters on Game of Thrones, who would they be? thanks

Ben Carsley: This is super played out ...

... and as such, right in my wheelhouse.

Xander Bogaerts: Jon Snow
Mookie Betts: Danaerys Targaryen

Ben Cherington: Ned (tried to do the right thing, will probably lose head)
Wade Miley: Catelyn (doesn't do much but yell)
Rick Porcello: Robb Stark (handsome, ineffective)
Clay Buchholz: Sansa (WHAT EVEN ARE YOU?)
Eduardo Rodriguez: Arya (so much potential)
Brock Holt: Bran (takes a lot of forms)
Joe Kelly: Rickon (why do you exist?)
Mike Napoli: Hodor (...yep)
Christian Vazquez: Benjen Stark (plz come back)

John Henry: Tywin (still calling the shots)
Dustin Pedroia: Tyrion (most watchable/resourceful)
Larry Lucchino: Cersei (...)
David Ortiz: Jaime (lost a step but still badass)
Blake Swihart: Tommen (keep trying, little guy)

John Farrell: Stannis (stern but no one seems to listen)
Melisandre: Pablo Sandoval (is your power real or what)
Our Hopes/Dreams: Shireen

Hanley Ramirez: The Hound (unlikeable but powerful)
Koji Uehara: Brienne (still rooting for ya)
Daniel Nava: Pod (you too!)

Junichi Tawawa: Bronn (just gets stuff done)
Allen Craig: Janos Slynt (just doesn't)
Shane Victorino: Jorah (always hurt)
Jackie Bradley: Theon (has he not suffered enough?)
Justin Masterson: Beric Dondarrion (should not have been revived)

Craig Breslow: Doran (smart, ineffective)
Alejandro De Aza: sandsnake 1
Alexi Ogando: sandsnake 2
Tommy Layne: sandsnake 3

The Yankees: Roose Bolton
The Rays: Ramsay Bolton
The Blue Jays: The Night's King
The Orioles: Mance Rayder

And two for the book readers ...
Yoan Moncada: Young Griff
Rusney Castillo: Patchface

Ben Carsley: And I shall leave you with that. Sorry we only went a bit over an hour this time -- I'll go for a marathon next time. Thanks for your company as always!


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