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Chat: Wilson Karaman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday July 01, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with Wilson Karaman.

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Wilson Karaman: Dr. Banzai is using a laser to vaporize a pineal tumor without damaging the parthogenital plate. A subcutaneous microphone will allow the patient to transmit verbal instructions to his own brain. Us? We're just chatting. Let's do it!

John (CT): Prediction for Angel's Heaney this season please. Is he about to live up to what was expected? Looked very sharp against the Yanks last night. Gets Colorado in Denver next.

Wilson Karaman: Andrew Heaney: I'm a big fan of Heaney in the longterm. Fastball command in the zone seems to be his one continuing issue in need of further refinement, but he's got a solid arsenal and appears to have taken to his TJ recovery from a velo and stuff perspective. As a ROS fantasy play he's more of a mixed league match-up play. I would not start him at Coors, for example.

Eric (Colorado): Thoughts on Eddy Julio Martinez? Best International Prospect?

Wilson Karaman: Our own Chris Crawford thinks so, yeah. He just rated him as such with a more detailed write-up yesterday: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26794

Craig (Philly): What kind of fantasy prospect will JP Crawford be like?

Wilson Karaman: We've got him 13th on our first draft of the mid-season top 50 (which will drop next week). The approach is top notch, and he can be a solid source of AVG, SB, and R from a notoriously thin position in the near future. Ryan Parker broke down his exciting swing development earlier today, recommended reading: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26811

Tommy (Chi Town): Yoan Moncada - that good?

Wilson Karaman: As of right now we have no reason to believe he won't be. 110-some odd low-A PA's shouldn't change anyone's opinion. David Lee put together an excellent report on his initial viewings that went up Monday: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26778

Ben (NH): Carlos Rodon a future ace?

Wilson Karaman: Certainly has the stuff to be, yeah. Slider's been good as advertised and his change has at least shown the ingredients of a usable, groundball-generating third pitch. The loose command makes me think it may take a bit longer than his fast track would suggest, but the ceiling remains unchanged IMO.

Jay (CT): Yoan Moncada or Eddy JUlio Martinez?

Wilson Karaman: I'll take Moncada

Silverback38 (VA): Who is the better pitcher in Dynasty league, Alex Reyes, Daniel Norris, or Steven Matz?

Wilson Karaman: Matz is the most polished and getting his chance now. Norris has shown he can hang in there in the bigs already. Reyes is still raw as anything, but man that FB/CB combo is one to dream on. I'd go Matz/Reyes/Norris I think, but if you're so inclined to value safety first then Norris leaps comfortably ahead of Reyes. Reyes is your boy for ceiling, though: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=256

Basil (Waco): Thank you for taking the time to chat. Would you give up Bogaerts and Danny Salazar to get Correa in a H2H dynasty league? It seems Bogaerts isn't the game changing elite player that most thought of him. What are your thoughts?

Wilson Karaman: Thanks for taking the time to ask a question! That's a bunch of value to ship, albeit for an elite talent. I wouldn't be so quick to jump off the Bogaerts bandwagon (or overreact to Correa's absurd debut, for that matter). I'm a Sox fan and I lean Correa for longterm value, but it's very close. A lot closer than Salazar's (very good in his own right) value, certainly.

Viktor (Baltimore): How encouraged are you by the performance of Kendall Graveman that he could potentially sustain it and potentially being an SP3?

Wilson Karaman: Wrote him up in last week's Starting Pitcher Planner. Isn't as good as his recent numbers suggest, and I wouldn't go nearly so far as to slap a 3 on him, but I think he can continue to be an effective 4-5 guy depending on the depth of your league http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26767

Rich (Ellicott City): Adam Eaton was over-hyped at the beginning of the year, wasn't he? Or is the terrible Chi-Sox offense affecting him as well?

Wilson Karaman: He was terrible in April, but he's at .275/.347/.440 with 5 homers, 4 bags, and 33 runs scored since May 1st. I don't think that is an unreasonable performance level for him at all, and there's room for growth in the R department since the ChiSox offense cannot POSSIBLY be any worse than they have been.

George (Costanza): What are your thoughts on Sean Newcomb so far? Lots of K's already.

Wilson Karaman: I like him. He's a big dude with mechanical inconsistencies and less polish than you'd typically see from a college pitcher (cold weather guy), so the burn's gonna be longer and slower. But he's got the kind of body and athleticism that I can see developing average command eventually, and if that happens he's got the arsenal to develop into a very, very good pitcher. Wrote him up at length after his Cal League debut: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2015/5/19/8620681/scouting-the-california-league-sean-newcombs-debut-other-notes

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): 8-team NL-only standard 5x5 keeper league with 8 keepers per team & $260 salary cap. I had an offer of his Jay Bruce ($28 next year) and Michael Wacha ($17 next year) for my Nolan Arenado ($15 next year). I'm on the fringe of contending, he's in last place. Fair deal?

Wilson Karaman: I would really be loathe to give up Arenado, especially at that price and if you're only on the margins of contention presently. It's probably fair value, but it's a bunch of salary coming in and an elite player going out, so unless you feel like this deal's going to address enough of your team's deficiencies to put you squarely into the mix for a title this year I'd probably pass.

Karl (San Antonio): Trade opinion in a long lasting dynasty league: I give up Eaton and Salazar to get Yelich of the Marlins.

Wilson Karaman: I'd make that deal, yeah. I think Yelich can develop quickly into one of the better fantasy assets in town if he stays healthy.

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Wilson. Any thoughts on Keury Mella, Blake Snell, and Michael Kopech? Think they can all possibly be role 6 pitchers?

Wilson Karaman: Mella has one of the better fastballs I've seen this year, and had made some notable strides in refining his delivery when I caught him at the Cal League AS game last week. Note on him here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26806 Full report from earlier in the year here: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2015/4/13/8398623/scouting-the-california-league-tyler-beede-keury-mella-brett-phillips

Snell still faces some command and arsenal depth concerns, but the performance has obviously been lights out this year. And Kopech might have the most upside of all on account of an evil FB in his own right: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26455

mbeemsterboer (Chicago): With Alex Meyer moved to the pen and out of a starting role, his value is basically null right now, right? Any hope for a higher FV from him?

Wilson Karaman: The FB/SL combo gives him the opportunity to develop quickly into a high-leverage reliever, but a reliever nonetheless, and that does put a lower ceiling on his FV. He can be a 5 as a reliever, maybe a bit more.

Amazin (NY): Is Justin Turner the real deal? Do I keep him in my Roto league and drop Brandon Moss?

Wilson Karaman: I don't think he's quite as elite an offensive player as he's behaving like right now, but he's made legitimate adjustments and turned himself into a really, really good hitter over the past season and a half. Moss is having a weird year where he's hitting lefties but not righties. I'd have no problem riding Turner for now over Moss.

Wesley (Florida): Are Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts in the same class of SS, skill level wise?

Wilson Karaman: Yes. That'd be a worthwhile longer form piece to explore, but the short chat-length answer is that these are two of the best young shortstops in baseball.

Grizz (Chi): Mookie Betts is walking at a 7% clip this season while walking in double digit rates in the minor leagues in prior years. How do walk rates typically translate from the minors to majors and do you see Betts walking closer to 9-10% in the future?

Wilson Karaman: This is where scouting statlines becomes problematic, because there's no hard or firm answer you'll be able to decipher without seeing the guy. Minor league walk rates are not all equal: sometimes they're the result of minor league pitchers having bad control and hitters taking advantage of that with a passive approach. Other times it's a legitimate skillset. With Betts all signs pointed to the latter scenario, and it's important to keep in mind that he's still just 22 and was in the Sally League this time two years ago. That kind of jump in BB rate wouldn't surprise me at all in the not-too-distant future.

franklip (New York): Any thoughts on the Cubs (position player centered) vs. Mets (pitching centered) team model?

Wilson Karaman: I think intrinsically I'd lean towards the Cubs model. I'm not a TINSTAAP guy, but I do think there's broadly a much greater variance in pitching prospect outcomes. Especially for a rich team like the Cubs who can afford to buy a couple pitchers when they need 'em it works. That said, I'd feel just fine about my young core if I were sitting in the Mets front office too. At some point young talent is yougn talent, and collecting a lot of it is a good thing.

GPT (San Jose, CA): Who has a higher ceiling/floor between Tyler Beede and Keury Mella?

Wilson Karaman: Wrote up both here: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2015/4/13/8398623/scouting-the-california-league-tyler-beede-keury-mella-brett-phillips

Beede's a safer bet, although recent reports I've heard of him since his promotion suggest a player that may have a few too many cooks in his developmental kitchen right now. He brought two new pitches into his arsenal this year (cutter, 2-seam) despite an already-abundant supply of options. Mella's FB is awesome, and with standard development of his CB and CH he can turn into something.

MATT (Wis): dynasty league, rather have matz or alex reyes? ceiling for each? do you think reyes is a late '16 debut or 2017?

Wilson Karaman: Shallower leagues for gamblers I'd lean Reyes, anywhere else I'll take Matz's present value and generally safer profile (injury history notwithstanding). If Reyes someday works a change into even fringe-average territory and gets the command to acceptable levels we're talking about a potential low-end SP1 in fantasy with gobs of K's. Matz is probably more of a 2-3 guy, but a good one. I'd lean more conservative with Reyes' timescale on account of organization and developmental distance remaining.

Alex (Anaheim): Is Judge playing the outfield in the Bronx next season?

Wilson Karaman: He probably gets his first few cracks later this summer. I'm not sure I can see the Yankees handing over the keys to the castle to a rookie, and Beltran's got another year left still. He'll be in the mix though, absolutely. I'd peg an expectation for somewhere around 250-300 PA's if I were trying to plan for his potential impact.

Grizz (Chi): What are your thoughts on Daniel Norris? Really liked him coming into this season but seems to be struggling even after his demotion.

Wilson Karaman: I like Norris a lot too, and I don't think some initial big league struggles are enough to derail that enthusiasm. He wasn't TERRIBLE by any means, but it does seem as though the control has some more road to travel. We're still discussing him as a top 10 guy in our #BPTop50 debates, so I think the general consensus remains unchanged on him as a high-end prospect.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): What is Yasiel Puig's value in dynasty formats? And is there a better word for him than "mercurial"?

Wilson Karaman: Bret just put him 15th in his mid-season update over at Dynasty Guru, and I'm not sure you can value him any lower than that. The offensive package is just off-the-charts if he ever finds the missing consistency. It's critical to remember he's still just 24, after all.

http://thedynastyguru.com/2015/06/25/the-top-500-overall-dynasty-league-rankings-june-2015/

sykklone (IA): Are Rymer Liriano and/or Trevor Story back in the top 50?? 100??

Wilson Karaman: Story certainly should be in the top 100, yes. Despite his swing-and-miss I haven't seen anyone question his ability to play a passable shortstop recently, and the offensive production in spite of the warts can still be very good. Liriano I honestly haven't heard a recent report on, though the production at AAA would suggest he'd be in the top 100 conversation. Neither are in consideration for our mid-season Top 50 that'll be out next week.

RatedRookie (Atlanta): Is Carlos Martinez the most talented starter in St. Louis?

Wilson Karaman: By the metrics this year he projects to be the best for the rest of this season, yes. I think the raw goods with Martinez are up there with any young pitcher in the NL, and he's taken significant steps forward in refining his command and approach this year.

BL ((Bozeman)): What kind of future do you see for Jorge Bonifacio?

Wilson Karaman: He's been eaten alive by upper minors breaking stuff since getting promoted last year, and the hit tool hasn't shown much improvement this year from what I've heard. It's more of a 4th OF/2nd division hope at this point, and he'll need to show the ability to make adjustments in order to get there.

Garret (Toothsford): Is Anthony Alford a top 100 prospect next year?

Wilson Karaman: Very well might be. The athleticism is through the roof and it sounds like he's made some solid strides in honing it into baseball skill. He's a longer term project, but the raw materials are very exciting.

Matt (Wis): Need to make up for loss of Stanton in 6x6 h2h dynasty league. Taking this year into greatest consideration, how would you rank the following as trade targets? carlos gomez, pujols, bruce, ortiz, marte

Wilson Karaman: Marte, Gomezz, Pujols, Bruce, (sad face) Papi

RatedRookie (Atlanta): Dynasty format: would you trade Puig for Stanton (and one of Stroman or Giolito)? My window to compete is a little wider next season and I'm a bit concerned by the unrest that Puig seems to generate.

Wilson Karaman: Just in general if you're able to get Stanton for Puig, let alone Stanton plus an elite young starter, you pull that trigger yesterday. Stanton's a top-three asset in fantasy baseball.

Bill (Earth): Would you even bother owning Mallex Smith in an OBP dynasty league? He seems to get on base all the time.

Wilson Karaman: Absolutely. Has shown an impressive ability to get on base at what, a .415 clip over ~500 A+ and AA plate appearances in the last two seasons, and the speed might be a true 80 grade.

lipitorkid (costa mesa): Is there ANY way Castro plays himself into a trade before the deadline and the Cubs bring up Baez? Baez really looked like he was figuring things out in his last go around in the minors.

Wilson Karaman: No. I know people like to get excited about prospects and Castro is seen as some kind of failure for whatever reason, but he'a very good, experienced, cost-controlled MLB shortstop. He's not a dude you trade away just because. Baez's injury makes this a non-possibility.

Will (Seattle): Wilson, thanks for the chat. You guys are the best! Should I be jumping on the Mike Montgomery bandwagon, or is he just experiencing a lucky MLB debut with painful regression in his future?? Thanks for sharing your insights.

Wilson Karaman: He's been great so far. Our metrics don't love it to continue - his 111 cFIP paints the picture of a below-average starter going forward. But he's certainly worth grabbing right now until we see whether or not the pixie dust wears off.

Basil (Waco): As difficult as it might be, what is they dynasty upside of Cobb when he returns from injury, SP2?

Wilson Karaman: Whew. I wouldn't feel comfortable with that kind of projection, certainly if I'm valuing him as a trade target. TJ's no slam dunk, and you're realistically looking at 2017 before he's providing even 140-50 innings of production.

Dave (Houston): Do you know anything about Jacob Nottingham? Can he catch and will the bat stick?

Wilson Karaman: Just got promoted to Lancaster, I'll see him next week for the first time. They were working him much more regularly at first base, and I'm assuming after A.J. Reed's no-really-it-was-time promotion that'll continue to be the case at Lancaster. He certainly did some interesting things to Midwest League pitching in the first half.

George (Georgia): How could I became a member of the Baseball Prospectus scout team?

Wilson Karaman: Go to games. There's a longer answer, but the nuts and bolts is that. Watch as much live baseball as you can and ask scouts questions about their evaluation processes whenever the opportunities arise. Start writing about players on your blog or someone else's, and get your name and work out there.

Wilson Karaman: Alright kids, we're going to have to leave it there. Apologies to anyone I didn't get to, and a hearty thanks to all who asked questions. Catch y'all further on down the trail.


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