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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday July 15, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher Crawford: Hello, everyone. Thanks for coming to talk baseball with me!

Averym2 (Murfreesboro TN): Richard Shaffer was drafted 25th overall in 2012. He has struggled almost every year until this year, and after hitting 7 homeruns in 39 games at AA he went to AAA and has hit 14 more in the same amount of games. Now my question isn't about Shaffers future, but what is your stance on players like this? A guy is drafted in the first round and breakouts years later at the highest minor league level. Are players like this believable or should we just not put any stock into a player like this? Apologies if this isn't the place to ask this or if its too long.

Christopher Crawford: That's a great question. For me, it's a balance of figuring out why he struggled those first few years in the system, and what's made him successful in 2015. I was a big fan of his bat coming out of Clemson, so it's nice to see he's figured some things out (shorter swing, better pitch recognition). I think he's goign to end up a very nice corner infielder, maybe even their first baseman of the future.

Bob (Cincy): Overall thoughts on Reds outfield prospects Jesse Winker and Yorman Rodriquez ? Do you think Yorman could handle CF and could both be starting next year ? Thanks !

Christopher Crawford: Still a really big fan of Winker's bat; he struggled early but -- last time I looked anyway -- the on-base percentage was solid and the slugging was on its way back up. Rodriguez...I just am not sure. He's a really good corner outfielder, but I still have a lot of questions about how that swing will handle big league pitching.

James (San Francisco): What do you make of Matt Chapman's performance in Stockton this year? He's hitting .257/.348/.545 with 32 XBHs. It feels like the pro-hitters' environment is hiding some otherwise pedestrian numbers. Plus, he's a year older than Matt Olson, who posted better numbers in Stockton last year, and is now struggling mightily in Midland.

Christopher Crawford: Chapman frustrated the you-know-what out of me in his time at Cal-State Fullerton, but the talent was always there, and I think the overall numbers are fine -- even if they are in a pitching cesspool that is the Cal League. Also, I wouldn't say Olson is "struggling mightily," the walk rates are great and he's picked up 28 extra-base hits. Obviously not as good as what he was doing last year, but, that's okay.

Matt (Cambridge): Is Lewis Brinson figuring it out and becoming an elite prospect? He is tearing up high-A showing off his tools and much improve discipline after being a big "IF" guy. Is an likely outcome of a Stubbs/MUpton-type fair? With maybe a Carlos Gomez with less speed representing a ceiling? I mean it is High Desert, but he has shown the ability to adjust twice after repeating a level.

Christopher Crawford: I have always been a huge fan of Brinson, and I'm really impressed with the adjustments he's made at High Desert. Again, super friendly hitting environment, but the approach is so much better, though the strikeouts are always going to be an issue. Gomez is asking too much, but a quality starting centerfielder who is above-average both offensively and defensively is nothing to sneeze at.

Paul (San Diego): The A's are 41-50, 8 games out of a playoff spot, and with every AL team in front of them. Yet, Billy Beane hasn't deal Ben Zobrist, Tyler Clippard, Scott Kazmir, or Jesse Chavez. At some point, isn't waiting going to reduce their trade value since there are less games for them to help?

Christopher Crawford: This could be just me, but I feel like the A's feel like with that run differential, they're due to get back in this race. The division is extremely flawed, so I sort of understand this thinking, but there's just too many teams to jump over now. The overall point is correct though, the longer they hold on, the more the value drops.

RDBL2014 (Concord, Ca): I know BP has been higher on Nick Williams then most. What are your thoughts on his potential? Impact bat, 4th Outfielder or Quad A?

Christopher Crawford: It was just one look, but I was really impressed with what I saw from Williams in the Futures Game. The swing isn't picturesque but it stays in the zone, and everyone I talked to raved about how much better his approach at the plate -- including Nick himself. He's probably somewhere between impact bat and 4th outfielder; a guy who hits .270 with 15 to 20 homers a year.

Nick (LA): What can you tell me about Billy Mckinney? Does he have a chance to be a big league regular? What's his upside? I don't see a stand out tool, but the guy keeps on hitting. Any chance he develops more power with age? Was he in the conversation for the top 50 or not? Thanks Chris!

Christopher Crawford: Oh yes, he definitely has a chance to be a big league regular. I think the hit tool is a standout tool by the way, coming out of high school I thought it had a chance to be plus-plus, and I still think it can be plus, and I think there's a little more power coming. I think you see him in the Cubs outfield in 2016, assuming he's not used as a very nice trade chip before that point.

Michael D (Kansas): Bubba Starling seems to kinda be putting some things together. Any word on what he's doing and do you think he's regained some stock (though it's only been 200 PA of good results this year vs 1200 meh ones)

Christopher Crawford: There have been some ups and downs, but the scouts I've spoken with say Starling looks much improved from 2014, when many were ready to write him off. I think it's a case of him being a bit of a late-bloomer -- let's keep in mind that this was a very highly recruited QB who spent much of his time playing that "other" game -- and he's picking up on some things like spin and that it's okay to take pitches. I think he's still a fourth outfielder at best, but that's a vast improvement over what he was last year. Another jump and who knows?

Harold (Boston): Any rumblings on who Eddy Julio Martinez may sign with? Is there an All Star ceiling with him?

Christopher Crawford: I still think it'll be the Dodgers, though the Giants have a pretty good shot apparently, too. I'm a big fan of what I've seen in video, and the international scout I trust the most believes he's going to be a stalwart on defense and a pretty darn good hitter. That's an all-star to me.

Jack (Ridgewood): How good is Anderson Espinoza? Could he make the top 100 list over the off-season?

Christopher Crawford: I think that's a bit of a stretch, but he'll definitely be a candidate in 2016. The arm strength is insane, and the secondary stuff is all flashing plus with outstanding feel for pitching for someone that young. There's a LOT of work to be done because of his age, but the upside is pretty special.

Patrick (Bikini Bottom): Where do you stand on Tim Anderson? I'm concerned with the plate discipline as the improvements don't seem to be coming along as some hoped, and the power hasn't shown up much this year. Should I just go back to living under a rock or am I actually onto something here?

Christopher Crawford: Nah, I get your concerns Mr. Starfish. That being said, I think there's more reason for optimism than pessimism. He's still piling up extra-base hits, and if he adds some loft to the swing, I think some of the doubles/triples turn into homers. He's also improved his footwork significantly defensively, so I'm no longer worried about him moving from shortstop. The lack of walks is pretty darn concerning though, and he'll have to show more patience as he moves up the system.

guest (NY): If (big if) you KNEW Dylan Bundy would have absolutely no ill effects from the tendinitis in his shoulder, where would you guys (or you in particular) rank him on that mid-season list?

Christopher Crawford: Very big if. Probably in the top six; definitely below Seager and Giolito, but after that the stuff is just too good to have him outside of that range. Alas, we do not know, so we couldn't accurately rank him.

Mike (Denver): Did you ever play baseball?

Christopher Crawford: Nope. It was banned from my house.

Nah I played up until high school and played fairly competitive travel ball. My senior year I take pride in the fact I didn't walk a single hitter. I just threw too slow for that to matter.

Larry (Catskills): Is Hector Olivera the next great Cuban? What kind of slash line could he put up over the course of a season?

Christopher Crawford: Great is too strong. There's an awful lot to like, his barrel skills are really impressive and there's some sneaky power, but I don't see a ton of upside here. A 270/300/420 hitter is what I'd expect in his best years.

Vince (Saratoga): If Aaron Judge running as fast as he could ran into Tony Kemp, how far would Kemp fly?

Christopher Crawford: I believe if that were to happen we'd have a superhero the likes of which we've never seen. Or villain if you hate the Astros and Yankees, which I know many of you do.

Alfredo (SF): I know Baez is injured right now, but what do you think of the changes he's made this season? Do you like the approach of crowding the plate? He's cut that K% to 25% and the contact rates are up. From what I've seen, looks like he's cleaned up his stance a bit. Heard rumblings of him getting rid of the leg kick too. Is the super high ceiling still there for Javy Baez? What's your opinion on him? Do the new changes help him reach his ceiling?

Christopher Crawford: This is tough for me, because I was always the low man on Baez; but now I feel like we're sort of underrating him. His ability to make adjustments I believe is substantially underrated; take a look at his stats when he starts a level compared to where he finishes it. Of course the big leagues is his one example of that not improving, but the big leagues are hard. Baseball is really hard. I still think he's a starting second baseman with big -- if frustrating -- offensive potential

agetting (Flushing): After watching last night, would you consider deGrom a top 5 SP in all of baseball right now? If not, who is better?

Christopher Crawford: That's too strong for me, though good gravy was he good. Kershaw, Felix, Scherzer, Sale all significantly better off the top of my head, and I'm sure I'm missing quite a few guys. He's really, really good though, and NO ONE saw this coming.

Will (Chicago): Hey Chris, I'm stuck in Chicago but love following prospects. Outside of Nick Gordon, Gleyber Torres, Grant Holmes, Kodi Modieros, am I missing anybody to watch in the MWL? Closest teams to me are Kane, then South Bend and Beloit. Thanks

Christopher Crawford: Hi Will. Don't feel bad about being stuck in Chicago. It's a great city. I like how there's beautiful architecture and a beach. You don't get that from many other places. Of course the last time I went someone stole my laptop, so nuts to your stupid city now that I think about it. Also those are pretty much the guys.

johnhoag (Seneca, SC): Mixed league/Roto. Not desperate for pitching, but offered Arrieta for K. Bryant. Assuming my offense won't suffer greatly, should I pull the trigger?

Christopher Crawford: For this year? Meh. If it's a keeper league? Don't you dare trade Kris Bryant. Don't do it, please don't do it.

Steve (Not Saratoga): I think he meant how much damage Judge could do to Kemp if he plowed into him.

Christopher Crawford: Right, and I'm saying that the force would cause them to merge into each other and create Tonan Keudge, aka the World's Defender (patent pending).

Math Hoffa (Jersey): Kendrick Lamar or the field?

Christopher Crawford: Kendrick, in a landslide.

kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Chris. Between Keury Mella, Jairo Labourt, and Michael Kopech, what would your order be of these prospects if you had them in your farm? Any thoughts and opinions on them if all could possibly be role 6 pitchers?

Christopher Crawford: Boy that's a great question. I'd probably go Kopech, Labourt, Mella. Kopech's arm strenght is just stupid, and he's flashing a pretty nice curveball, though the delivery isn't ideal. If Labourt starts throwing more strikes he wins, but I need to see him do that.

ayzzya (Left Shortstop): Will Anthony Alford crack a top 50 list within the next 18 months? Top 25?

Christopher Crawford: Nah, that's too high. As athletic as he is and as much as he seems to have figured out how to use it to play baseball, there's still some work to be done, and he's still more projection than player. A nice one, but not a top 25-50 guy for me.

Max Kepler (Max Kepler): Max Kepler. No seriously how good is Max Kepler?

Christopher Crawford: Max Kepler.

Brian (NYC): On a scale of 1 to Chuck Norris, how worried are you about Byron Buxton?

Christopher Crawford: Assuming Norris is extreme concern and 1 is nah he's fine, I'm a 2. Did I mention baseball is hard? Buxton is taking his lumps, but the long-term profile is still very, very exciting.

agetting (Queens): Can Michel Fulmer become a top of the rotation caliber pitcher? Seems like he's been dominating AA and he was hitting 97 mph late in the game

Christopher Crawford: That's asking too much, I think. Secondary stuff is still too inconsistent for me to believe he's anything more than a backend guy, and as good as he's been, reliever isn't out of the question. Very much improved though, no question.

agetting (Flushing): Who wins more Cy Young's over the next 6 years.... The Mets or the National League

Christopher Crawford: The National League.

Lars (Seattle): The Mariners have an interesting situation with Miller, Taylor and Marte. How do you see this panning out in 2016 and beyond? One to SS, one to CF, one traded?

Christopher Crawford: Well, I'm kind of alone on this one, but I sort of feel ike there's only one shortstop in that group, and it's Taylor. Miller is a guy that I'd move to centerfield, and Marte doesn't have the actions or arm strength to play there. So, I'd make Taylor the shortstop, move Taylor to CF in 2016 and trade Marte for help. But that's just me.

Mokajige (Sheboygan): I'm hoping to get your opinion of the Brewers' Michael Reed. Do you think he could factor into the back end of a Top 101?

Christopher Crawford: Not a top 101 guy to me, but that doesn't mean I'm not a fan. The approach is impressive, and he's a guy who's going to steal 25 to 30 bases if he gets on base enough, and he should. Add in his quality defense and arm, and you have a guy who could hit near the top of a lineup. I just would like to see more power/a little more consistency with the swing.

elthompso (Cubs Fandom): How far (if at all) has Mark Zagunis' stock risen in your eyes? Is he a top 5 in the Cubs system? Is he a Top 100?

Christopher Crawford: His stock has definitely risen, but not sure he's either of those things just yet. He's an underrated athlete with a solid-average hit tool, and as you can guess from the on-base percentage, his approach is really impressive. If he can handle Double-A like he has Myrtle Beach, then I think you have to consider him for the aforementioned spots.

Grizz (Chi): Why doesn't plate approach regularly get listed as a tool among hit, power, speed, glove, arm? Seems like it's a very important factor that scouts rely on when evaluating a player. Taking walks, working to get to hitters counts, making the pitcher throw additional pitches, spoiling pitchers' pitches, etc all seem incredibly valuable - enough to require a tool grade. That being said, if approach at the plate could receive grades, which prospects would rate the highest on the 20-80 scale?

Christopher Crawford: It's a great question. I think it's vastly underrated -- as you can tell from me using the word about 800 times today -- but I think sometimes teams get concerned that the walks won't translate because big league pitchers are going to challenge these guys, and the walk totals often don't translate over. It's why in my draftbook I always listed hit/on-base together, but most teams just note it in the report. It's a little frustrating, but it is what it is.

cowboy2024 (Chicago): Which of the Cueto trade proposals would you take if you were running the Reds? Or do you have a crazy trade proposal of your own?

Christopher Crawford: I definitely would have taken mine and am not biased at all. Nope. No sir heck no at all.

Nah I can't blame Russell/Walt for taking the Toronto package; Stroman is a personal favorite and there's some upside in that package too. I just felt like the Cardinals were dealing from a position of strength, and I think that offer would be very hard to turn down.

Steve (Chicago): I wasn't the one who stole your laptop. Rank the following Cubs pitching prospects by upside: Jake Stinnett, Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Dylan Cease.

Christopher Crawford: Thank you for not stealing my laptop. Cease, Sands, Steele, Stinnett.

Jimmy (Ballard): What could possibly be going on with the Mariners development? It can't be dumb luck that Ackley/Smoak/Zunino/Montero have all grossly under-performed, can it?

Christopher Crawford: I think there has to be SOME luck, but for all of them to essentially fail? That's just too coincidental. Way too many guys have gone stagnant at some level for me to believe the Mariners PD is doing their job, and while I don't wish for anyone to get fired, a regime change is pretty necessary if you ask me.

Alex (NY): Speaking of Stockton players, has Barreto's ETA changed from 2018 this season? I have to imagine he (at the latest) starts next season in Double-A, and could be on the fast track after that (knowing the A's). He had that adjustment period in the first month of the year, but it doesn't seem like there's much else for him to prove in High-A now that he's hitting over .300 with power and close to .400 since the start of June.

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, I think we're looking more likely at 2017 now for sure. Outside of that slow start he's been outstanding -- though again, very friendly confines -- and he's looked better and better with the glove in my looks. I don't see a star, but he should be a competent starter in the middle infield who gets on base with some sneaky power and speed as well.

Wilson (DC): Could Erick Fedde be a top 100 guy in the off-season? Loved the kid's stuff in college and while the TJS sucked, I think the Nats got a real good pick here. Is there #2 upside in Fedde's profile?

Christopher Crawford: I like Fedde a lot, but like everyone else that's been mentioned -- sorry everyone -- I think that's a bit strong. There's two 60 pitches and a solid-average offering in his change when he was at his best at UNLV though, and I do believe he was a steal that late in the draft. Lets just see how things shake out when he comes back before we talk about top 100 though.

Jason (Phoenix): If you had to choose between Xander Bogaerts and Corey Seager based on offensive production over the next 15 years, who are you choosing and why?

Christopher Crawford: Just offensive production? Seager, because I like the hit tool a lot more. I like Bogaerts slightly more because I believe he's a shortstop and I believe Seager is a third baseman, but just based on pure offensive ability, I like Bogaerts.

Daniel (Texas): What's going on with Hunter Dozier? Looks like a year and a half of AA struggles. I thought he had some concern handling upper velocity but didn't expect things to be this drastic. How do you feel he's positioned going forward?

Christopher Crawford: I don't wanna say he's been exposed, but the reports I've gotten back are not good. A ton of swing-and-miss, and if your'e a third baseman who doesn't have plus power, you better be really good with the glove or have an average or better hit tool. Dozier looked to have the latter, but the length of the swing and lack of patience appears to have caught up with him a bit. Still time, but no longer a starter at the hot corner for me.

markdavo4 (Newcastle, Australia): Do Alex Jackson's early struggles mean he has lost some of his lustre? Or do you still see him as an elite prospect?

Christopher Crawford: Sorry about the delay there. Maybe some, but I don't think he was an "elite" prospect to begin with. That being said, this is still a guy who has above-average hit and power tools at his disposal, he's just obviously not as advanced as many (me) thought he was. Don't give up on him just yet.

Grizz (Chi): Any chance Tony Kemp can be an MLB regular?

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, but I wouldn't necessarily count on it. He's a really smart hitter with plus speed, but there's no power, and the defensive profile is fringe-average because of so-so hands and a below average throwing arm. I like him more as a speed weapon off the bench, but weirder things have happened.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you expect an active trade deadline this year, or do too many teams believe they are still in the race?

Christopher Crawford: Boy, good question. I hope it's active, but like you mentioned there are so many teams still alive -- who can you seriously eliminate in the American League? Maybe the A's? I think there'll be a blockbuster or two, but the volume will probably be down, no question.

Bill Clinton (Las Vegas): With the Blue Jays developing Jeff Hoffman with a more cross-fire type of delivery, how concerned are you? Sounds like they changed his delivery to make it more upright. Why would an organization do this? Is this just something for this season or are these changes Toronto made the type of delivery they want him to be executing for the future? Why change it to more cross-fire after coming off of TJS? What is there to gain from changing it like that?

Christopher Crawford: Before I comment, I'd like to see what the delivery looks like, and I hope to get some video shortly. That being said, the idea of "making" someone a cross-fire guy seems pretty foolish to me, unless you're intending on moving him to the bullpen, and they aren't as far as I know. I really like the stuff, but he's had major issues with consistency even when healthy, and that goes back to college. Very high reward, but high risk if you're expecting an ace.

Jack (GA): Braxton Davidson has been pretty productive in lo-A, but it's been mostly based on BB with just decent BA and SLG. I know he has a long developmental road ahead of him, but is that a profile that can round into a middle of the order hitter?

Christopher Crawford: I'd like to see a little more assertiveness out of him, but it's tough to complain about a .400 OBP in your first full year of professional baseball. There's above-average power in his bat though, and I think that'll show more as he becomes more assertive early in counts. Not a great defensive profile at all, but a pretty darn good offensive one. He was a great pick.

RP (Blandon, PA): Would you pay the price of admission just to watch JP Crawford's footwork around the bag?

Christopher Crawford: I'd buy bitcoin to do it. And I hate bitcoin. This has been financial watch with Chris Crawford.

Barney (Milwaukee): How advanced is Gleybar Torres and do you see him as the eventual SS in Chicago or will it be Russell ?

Christopher Crawford: Well I mean, he is going to be their starting shortstop by 2017, there was an article about it and everything. (ducks)

I think he's a really nice player; a 55 hit tool, 40-45 power, 50 speed shortstop who's good around the bag. If there was a gun to my head -- I'd run, but I'd also say that I think Torres is the better long-term answer at shortstop. It's close, though.

Todd (Fargo): Has there ever been a trade(s) centered around good prospect for good prospect? For example; Like a Baez for Berrios (MI for SP), or a position player for a position player?

Christopher Crawford: It's usually really good young player for good prospect; like Montero for Pineda or Garza for (LOL) Delmon Young. I can't think of a big time prospect for prospect trade. I bet you these reader can though!

Mark (Connecticut): I'm rebuilding in a dynasty mixed league. Was offered my Ervin Santana, Eovaldi or Leake, and Jim Johnson for Alen Hanson and Gleyber Torres. Yay or nay? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: Do it. Embrace the rebuild.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): Living in the NY listening area, I am bombarded with Michael Conforto this and that. The hype is off the charts and I hope he is still at Binghamton when they come to NB next week to see for myself. The word is that he is strictly a LF but that rocket he unleashed Sunday looked like it could play in RF. Where do you sit?

Christopher Crawford: First, I hate to be "this guy" but that throw wasn't THAT great, it was accurate and had some mmph but I don't think he has the arm strength to be more than a left fielder. That said, the offensive profile is really, really impressive; he's so patient, and if you watch him take BP you know there's plus power from the left side. I think he can help the Mets this year.

Josh (NYC): I'm interested in your views of Brett Phillips. I was surprised he didn't make the Midseason Top 50 list, not even an honorable mention. Do you think he is a Top 25-50 guy by the off-season? Do you think his upside is still role 6 player? Do you think he ultimately plays CF for the Astros? Thank you.

Christopher Crawford: I tried to get Phillips in the top 50 -- I had him in the 30's when we submitted our initial lists -- but I certainly understand why he didn't make it; not because we don't like Phillips, there's just a lot of good baseball players in this world. I like him though, there's no reason he can't play centerfield, and despite the swing and miss there's two solid-average offensive tools in his hit and power. He'll be a top 100 guy, I'm pretty sure.

Willie (Annandale): Adam Brett Walker. Seriously, what should we make of him? Is there any chance he can be a plus-WAR player in the MLB with his high K% and low BB%? Any current or historical comps that made it in the pros, or guys with this profile that never translated to the pros? Twins homers are going nuts over him.

Christopher Crawford: To me, the ceiling for Walker is a bench corner outfielder who murders left-handed pitching while not killing you with the glove.The floor is a guy who challenges Crash Davis for his minor league home run record. I tend to think the former is more likely than the latter.

Kyle (Chicago): Imagine the surprise of your laptop thief when they opened your "pron" folder and discovered videos of Schwarber crushing fastballs.

Christopher Crawford: Give me back my laptop, Kyle.

Bart (Vegas): The top 5 "real life" and or "fantasy" 3B and SS's in 3 years will be? I'll try the Fantasy version to see how it compares to someone much smarter than me: 3B; Bryant, Machado, Sano, Gallo, Arenado. SS; Correa, Seager, Russell, Polanco, Turner.

Christopher Crawford: In real life 3B I'd go Donaldson, Aranado, Seager, Bryant, Machado. Fantasy, same thing. Shortstop I'd go Bogaerts, Simmons, Crawford, Russell and that Tulo guy.

John (CT): Tristan Cockcroft just released his all-2019 team, which caused a chain reaction of me looking at other all-20xx teams which caused me to come to this question: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO TOMMY HANSON?!

Christopher Crawford: Baseball is a cruel, cruel sport. I think we overrated his stuff a little bit -- so much of what he was doing was deception -- but injuries. Injuries are the worst.

Chuck (NJ): I saw Greg Bird was called up to AAA - does he get a september call up? If/when do you think he's a regular on the big league squad?

Christopher Crawford: Certainly possible, though he's limited to first base so unless Teixeira was to get hurt, he's probably not playing a ton. I think he's someone's first baseman by the end of 2016.

OB1KENOBI (NYC): How would you draft these guys and who are the real Aces in the group if any? Kevin Gausman Eduardo Rodriguez Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Kyle Gibson,

Christopher Crawford: None of these guys are aces in my opinion, but I'd go Norris, Rodriguez, Gausman, Sanchez, Gibson.

The Dude (LA): Chris, I'm curious what you think about the 2015 draft class overall compared to previous and future years. For instance (obviously with your limited knowledge of the future), how would you rank the 2014, 2015, 2016 draft classes?

Christopher Crawford: It wasn't a great class by any stretch of the imagination. 2016 -- on paper, anyway -- has a chance to be the best class since 2011, maybe even since 2005. It definitely goes '16, '14, '15.

GPT (San Jose, CA): What do you make of Tyler Beede's transformation from a power arm to a 89-91 sinkerballer? Is this a permanent change or does will he go back to his explosive 4S FB sometime?

Christopher Crawford: I think you'll see an uptick in velocity soon; it looks to me like he's working on keeping the arm slot consistent, which has led to much improved command/control. The arm strength/stuff is still there for him to miss plenty of bats. He's been impressive.

John (Ontario): Is Alen Hanson's peak performance a second baseman with 10 HR, 20 SB, and a .275 average?

Christopher Crawford: I think you hit the nail on the head, John. You're hired. When can you start? I'm sorry the position has bee filled.

ironcityguys (out back): Rank the following players likelihood of ML callups in 2015? Alcantara- Cubs, Mazara- Rangers, Mondesi- Royals, Nimmo- NYM, Seager- Dodgers. I realize Nimmo isn't a likely 2015 guy, but I threw him in with the others.

Christopher Crawford: Alcantara, and everyone else is kinda a tie because I don't think any of them see the field in 2015. Maybe Nimmo, but that's a big maybe.

Bart (Vegas): No Correa at SS?

Christopher Crawford: Sorry, Correa absolutely belongs.

Kyle (Chicago): When you look into your crystal ball, who is the best prospect that is traded before July 31st?

Christopher Crawford: Josh Bell.

Kyle (Chicago): Carl Edwards Jr. still have the potential to be a high-leverage bullpen guy or lacking the command to be trusted in those situations?

Christopher Crawford: Potential? Sure, but he's not there yet for the reason you just named. They made the right decision moving him to the bullpen though, as good as the stuff is.

Matt (DC): Victor Robles is an exciting player to keep tabs on?

Christopher Crawford: Very exciting. Plus-plus runner's with some feel for hitting and above-average raw power are always exciting. Light years away from contributing, but definitely keep an eye on out.

JonKneeV (Indy): I'm REALLY down on Albert Almora. There's just nothing there to be impressed with. Am I wrong? Finish this sentence: In 2017, Albert Almora will be ________.

Christopher Crawford: Can't blame you, unfortunately. He's a really good kid, but the results just haven't been there, and in fact the tools have regressed the past two years. He's probably nothing more than a 4th outfielder by 2017.

A Dad (Atlantis): Say you have a Mythically gifted son, that loves to throw a baseball, and shows very good skill in doing it. If he were mythically able to be ++ any 3 specific pitches, but only 3, what 3 pitches would you want him to be ++ profiled at? I.e: Sinker, slider, and knuckle change.

Christopher Crawford: This might be my favorite question ever. This is really tough, because I'd love my son or daughter to be dominant, but look good doing it. He or she has to have a big time fastball, because velocity is awesome. Did you see the hitters marvel at Aroldis last night? I also want him/her to be able to make hitters look foolish, and nothing does that like the change. For the third pitch, I'm going curveball, just because of its aesthetics, and it'd be a true curveball, not this power curveball bullcrap that everyone seems to throw now a days (it's really effective I know, I just don't think it's as pretty).

Elisa (ChiTown Chic): Has Willson Contreras as a catching prospect shown enough to consider either flipping Schwarber or giving up on him as a catcher, and try to get him to the bigs ASAP as an OF'er?

Christopher Crawford: No, I think Contreras is probably just a backup.

Jeb (Iowa): Why do you say that about Josh Bell? Who could the Pirates get for him?

Christopher Crawford: I just think he's the prospect who makes the most sense to move, and if they're really serious about winning a World Series -- and they should be -- he's the type of guy that can acquire something pretty, be it offensively or on the mound.

xavier (texas): What is Forrest Wall's offensive profile?

Christopher Crawford: Have to give my frenemy Kiley McDaniel a lot of credit here, he was high on Wall before anyone was. I love the swing, and that along with borderline plus-plus speed gives him a chance to be a .300 hitter, and there's just enough loft to project some pop as well. The issue is he can't throw at all and he's not great around the bag, so the bat will have to carry him. I think it can.

Christopher Crawford: Unfortunately, I have to go pretend I enjoy the real world now. Thanks so much to everyone who came into the chat today, I had a lot of fun and we'll do this again soon.


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