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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday August 25, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher Crawford: Hello! We'll get started in just a minute. I need to get a glass of milk. You can't do these things without a glass of milk

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Chris, Do you think Odor will rank in the top 20% of 2b in baseball in 2016?

Christopher Crawford: Hi! So, basically is he one of the six best at the position next year? I think he might be. I wouldn't bet on it, but that's just because I'm not allowed to bet on things.

Esco Raff (44 Wash): Erik Johnson has put up quite a year in AAA. John Sickels recently mentioned in his White Sox top 20 review that the reports of his stuff match the numbers. Will he be a contributing rotation member this year or next year? How do you see him?

Christopher Crawford: I was always lower than the industry on Johnson, but he's been fantastic in Triple-A this year. I think the ceiling is a No. 4, but he should be a competent back-end guy for them, probably next year.

Mike (Chicago): Gilbert Lara started great, then really coooled off - anything more to that besides normal teenager adjustment to stateside ball? (I.e., no change to his evolving profile?)

Christopher Crawford: The report I received was that Lara looked exhausted without the big bat-speed he showed early, and that's totally understandable. This is still a very talented prospect, but one who is going to go through his fair share of growing pains. This is one of them.

Bennybizness (Pittsburgh): Should I still own Vogelbach in an NL only dynasty league or is it time to move on?

Christopher Crawford: See, this is tricky, because I don't think you should give up on Vogelbach, but if it's NL only I think you should. I just don't see anyway he's not a DH.

Alex (Anaheim): Where do you expect Justin Upton to land next season?

Christopher Crawford: Seattle! (airplane emoji) (airplane emoji) #tweetliketrout

scott (louisville): which minor leaguers have 40+ homer potential in the majors?

Christopher Crawford: Gallo, Joey. There are a lot of guys with big power, but not sure I'd count any outside of Gallo as a 40-plus kinda guy.

Dan (DC): Where would you rank Victor Robles in your rankings next year? Top 50? Do you like his potential?

Christopher Crawford: I don't think he'll be in the top 50. Definite candidate for the top 100, but there's a LOT of work to be done and a LOT of things that could go wrong. Too much volatility to rank him among the 50 best prospects in baseball right now.

Cal Guy (Cal): Chris, Should we be a bit worried about Price's xFIP being nearly a run higher than his ERA?

Christopher Crawford: Nope. That guy is really, really good. And he's going to get paid a lot of money very soon. These hot takes are way you come to my chats.

Jake (TX): Of the Astros' rookie / spec SPs (Velazquez, McCullers, Feilz, Martes, Musgrove, Bostick), who are the ones to be most excited about? Does that change next year vs. long term?

Christopher Crawford: An awful lot to like with all of those guys. Martes is the one who has the most helium right now; I was hoping to see him in Lancaster before the promotion. The one I'd probably the "lowest" on is Bostick just because of the volatility, but he has a chance to pitch in a rotation. That system is so much deeper than people think.

sdsuphilip (San Diego): Avocados are gross

Christopher Crawford: Sir, if you are trying to hurt me, you have succeeded.

John (CT): Do you think we're seeing the true upside for Lindor? He exhibited consistent improvement in the minors. Is it possible that will continue in the majors?

Christopher Crawford: Man, that guy is GOOD. I don't know how much better he can get, if he can get better Cleveland has a future MVP candidate in their hands. Heck, they might anyway. If it's possible for a guy that was a top five prospect to be underrated, Lindor was just that. Man he's good.

sdsuphilip (San Diego): Qdoba or Chipotle?

Christopher Crawford: I've never had either, so Chipotle.

JustinPerline (NY): If LaMonte Wade can keep his performance up, what would his ceiling be?

Christopher Crawford: Good question. I think he might be a guy you hit at the top of the order. He was a steal in the ninth round, and Minnesota has done as good of job as anyone of developing these talents the last five years. He could be a sleeper for those of you who partake in the fantasy world.

Eric (B Town ): Yoan Moncada - top 5 prospect next year?

Christopher Crawford: (shuffles feet and looks down at the ground nervously) Mayyyyyyyyyyyyybe.

Gene (STL): Did the Cubs relocate to the East Coast? Every flipping game they win is a national story. Oh look....still 6.5 games behind a depleted Cards team that has 2 rookies outperforming all of the Cubs class. Maybe the Cards will get some respect once they win ANOTHER World Series trophy to end the 4 year drought.

Christopher Crawford: #BFIB

Good gravy.

Ron (Texarkana): In a world where fantasy is real (Hal Douglas)... how would you rate these SP going forward? Jungmann, Iglesias, Nola, Hutchison, Matz, Heaney, Jon Gray.

Christopher Crawford: Oh boy, this is a good one. Nola, Matz, Heaney, Iglesias, Gray, Jungmann, Hutchison.

cowboy2024 (Chicago): Thoughts on the future of Willson Contreras?

Christopher Crawford: I have about 20 Wilson Contreras questions. He's interesting; should be able to stay behind the plate, strong throwing arm, average hit and power tools. IF you're expecting a star you're going to be disappointed, but he could be an everyday backstop, certainly.

Chris (KS): Matt Olson has played about half his games in RF this year.. could he be serviceable there in MLB?

Christopher Crawford: He certainly has the arm strength for it, but I think he's too slow -- and likely to get slower -- so I wouldn't put him out there very often. First base is just fine, and the bat should play there.

cowboy2024 (Chicago): Have you ever been invited to dinner with KLAW and Old Hoss? If not, do you think your food rant yesterday improved your chances?

Christopher Crawford: I have had meals with Klaw. I still am not sure who Old Hoss is, as in who he really is, I have a REALLY good idea, but I'm not sure. Next time Keith is in Chicago I'm gonna put a tracker on him and figure it out.

sdsuphilip (San Diego): Jabari Blash, major league future?

Christopher Crawford: I think he probably gets a cup o' coffee at some point, but he's certainly not a regular or anything like that. One-dimensional prospect.

Tim (NY): Is Eddy Julio Martinez a top-100 prospect for you if (when?) he signs?

Christopher Crawford: I think so, yes. And to answer when and where he's signing, I dunno. I ask a lot. I get nothing back. It's weird.

Asparagus (Your plate): ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Christopher Crawford: Asparagus is so disgusting. Like seriously, gross. How can anyone stand the smell of it? What is wrong with this world? I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS

sdsuphilip (San Diego ): Jose Berrios ace upside? or just a tick below?

Christopher Crawford: Ace upside. Now, that's not saying he'll become an ace, but if everything clicks, he's a guy you put at the top of your rotation and watch him miss bats like crazy. I was skeptical on Berrios coming out of the draft. That is no longer true. He should be in Minnesota right now.

Shoeless Joe (North Carolina): Chris, is there a player eligible for the 2016 draft who you would rather have instead of the following players? Blake Rutherford, Will Benson, Alec Hansen, AJ Puk, Jason Groome and Riley Pint. Thanks. Love following you on the twitter box.

Christopher Crawford: Thank you for putting up with me shenanigans and tomfoolery. The only guy missing there is Buddy Reed, who I'd rather have than Benson, but those are the guys.

Justin (Chicago, IL): The White Sox system has been a mess for years now. Besides guys like Tim Anderson, Spencer Adams, and Carson Fulmer, is it really improving at all?

Christopher Crawford: Well, the depth is still pretty awful, but lets remember that this system didn't have guys like that three years ago, so yes, it's improving. They've done a better job in the draft, they're starting to explore the international market more (Frankie Montas is in that group for me, as well) and these are good things. There's just a long way to go.

Brady (Gary, IN): With the likely departure of Alfredo Simon do you think both Boyd & Fulmer both start in Detroit next year ?

Christopher Crawford: If you mean start in Detroit in a way that means begin the season in Detroit, I don't think that's likely. Both guys will be in that rotation though. Fulmer might be the most improved prospect in all of baseball. Sometimes these things just take time.

Reyaldo (Lopez): Chances we see him in the Nats bullpen this season?

Christopher Crawford: I wouldn't do it, but I guess there's a chance because that organization is desperate. I wouldn't do it though. Did I mention I wouldn't do it?

Tom (Tx): One prominent prospect analyst recently said AJ Reed has Votto, Goldschmidt type upside. Your reaction?

Christopher Crawford: For me? That's a little nutty. But that prominent analyst probably has his reasons for thinking it and I won't ever insult another analyst. Oh, except Kiley. Kiley is a nincompoop.

rookie319s (Saint Louis MO): You do realize that Gene (STL) wasnt appointed or elected to speak for all Cardinals fans right?

Christopher Crawford: He was though. Showed me his card and everything.

Spencer (Wisconsin): What do you see Orlando Arcia's ceiling being? Also, if you have seen him, can Brett Phillips hit lefty pitchers?

Christopher Crawford: I'd say Arcia's ceiling is a guy who gives you average to above-average offensive production from a shortstop, while playing above-average to plus defense. That's pretty good. And I have seen Phillips, and I do think he can hit left-handed pitching. That was a great deal for Milwaukee. A good deal for Houston, too. Win-win trades are fun.

Matthew (CO): Two Indiana prep guys: Nolan Watson vs Ashe Russell. I think I like Watson slightly more, even with a perhaps lower ceiling and raw stuff. Your thoughts?

Christopher Crawford: Same, though we are far from the consensus. Russell certainly has the better pure stuff, but the cross-body delivery scares me. We've seen guys like this start and pitch well recently, but I trust Watson to become a starter more than Russell, and it's not like Watson is lacking in stuff.

Mike (TX): Could Anderson Espinoza have gone 1-1 in this year's draft?

Christopher Crawford: Well, a right-handed prep has never gone 1-1 in a draft before, so probably not. That being said, he wouldn't have been on the board for very long.

(Good) (Gravy): Top three gravies?

Christopher Crawford: Ranking any gravy over another is unfair to gravy, because gravy is...gravy is gravy.

Dustin (TX): Is Lewis Brinson a top 50 Prospect in your opinion?

Christopher Crawford: No, not a top 50 guy for me. Still a lot of concerns about the swing-and-miss and whether the hit tool can get to even fringe-average at the big league level.

Steve (Newport (RI)): I know that over time these things take of themselves, but who is the Red Sox CF of the future in your eyes- Margot or Benintendi?

Christopher Crawford: I would say Margot is the better prospect, but Benintendi probably has the higher floor, so...I'll say Jackie Bradley, Jr.

Derek (Minnesota ): Have you ever played OOTP?

Christopher Crawford: Oh my, yes. I'm in a sim league right now. www.mblsim.com. Check it out, I think we have an opening!

Scott (Lincolnshire): Is Gleyber Torres a legit top end prospect, or is he just an over-hyped Cubs middle infielder?

Christopher Crawford: What's up with all the Cubs hate? Jeez. I really like Torres, and assuming Schwarber graduates (he will) I think he might be their best overall prospect. High ceiling with a relatively high floor as a shortstop is pretty nice.

cowboy2024 (Chicago): Have you ever been contacted by an agent with questions about why their client isn't ranked higher on your draft board? I assume agents have better things to do...

Christopher Crawford: Player's don't have agents. They have advisers.

I have been contacted by agents, coaches, players, players moms, players dads, players girlfriends, players cousins, players dogs, and The Players Club on HD-DVD. They all contact me and yell at me and it's not a lot of fun.

John (CT): Kyle Zimmer or Bradley Zimmer?

Christopher Crawford: Good question. I probably go with Zimmer.

Sorry, that was too easy and fun. I would say Bradley is the MUCH safer option, but when Kyle was healthy he was 7-7-6, and there aren't too many guys who are 7-7-6. I just don't think we ever see that version again. I hope I'm wrong, I really do.

Barry (San Diego): With the mess of a rotation LAA has do you think they go after one of the premier free agents or stay in house with Skaggs, Tropeano, etc. Also, what do you think of Chris Ellis ?

Christopher Crawford: Boy for having one of the best young players of all time that whole team is kinda a mess. I think they probably spend the $ because that's what Moreno does. Ellis is interesting, maybe their second best prospect behind Sean Newcomb with two above-average pitches. Being the second best prospect in that system isn't saying a whole lot, but Ellis could be a solid back-end guy.

John (GA): Any early reports on Kolby Allard?

Christopher Crawford: Yep, and they're good, which is not surprising; I thought Allard was the best prep pitching prospect in this class, and Atlanta got an absolute steal. There's a chance he becomes a No. 2.

Mr Kmetz (Queens): Is Michael Fulmer a starter or reliever? Comparable stuff to McCullers?

Christopher Crawford: He's a starter, and I think the pure stuff is pretty comparable, and MIGHT even be better. Now, I was the low man on McCullers so maybe I'm the wrong guy to ask, but still, that should tell you how much Fulmer has improved.

Nick (MN): Have the concerns about Berrios' lack of fastball plane dissipated?

Christopher Crawford: Yes, mainly because the fastball command has improved so much. Yes it'd be nice if he got more downhill with extension, but when you're able to put the ball on the corners with movement? That erases a lot of concerns, quickly.

J. Lydon (London): Better future 1B for your dynasty team: a. Matt Olson b. Sam Travis c. find another option, dude!

Christopher Crawford: Depends on the league. If it's a standard one that includes batting-average, Travis. If it's OBP, Olson. If it's none of those things, you play in a weird league. I like both guys quite a bit.

Phillip (Dallas): Is Austin Barnes a starter in MLB? With the Dodgers? 2B/3B/C Super Sub?

Christopher Crawford: I think super-sub is a more likely landing spot. Not sure he's a long-term catcher, but not sure the bat is good enough to play everyday at third base. A very intriguing bench piece though.

David (NY): Thoughts on Marcos Molina? Saw a prominent writer think he could be a 2, but #mechanics and stuff...

Christopher Crawford: We sure are using the word prominent a lot today. Am I prominent? I'd like to someday be prominent.

The arm strength is legit, but man oh man do I not like that delivery, there's just not enough incorporation of the lower-half. The Mets have done a fantastic job of working on these mechanical deficiencies in the upper-levels though, so it wouldn't shock me if he was a riser in '16. A lot of work to be done, though.

Luke G (KCMO): Alright, let's talk Bubba Starling. Kinda doing some thing in AA this year. Outlook changed on him? Top 10 Royals guy now?

Christopher Crawford: HE's for sure a top ten Royals guy now, and he might even be a top five guy. That sort of speaks to both how much attrition has happened along with Starling's improvement, but yes. Starling is definitely a top 10 guy, and it's awesome to see, because I no longer feel like a crazy person.

Underling (D.C.): What do you say to a fan whose team is a perennial World Series contender but still has a big chip on his/her shoulder? I've got a Giants fan coworker like that, and she's otherwise fun to talk baseball with, but man.

Christopher Crawford: You either sing them Ooh Child by the five stairsteps very sarcastically, or, you ignore them and shrug. I haven ever understood why people care what the national media thinks of the team they root for.

Eric (DC): Better offensive profile - Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson or JP Crawford?

Christopher Crawford: Good one! Very good one. Because of the steals I'd probably go Turner, Crawford, Swanson. But I think Swanson is a better overall prospect than Turner, and there's more power. So...man. That's a really good one. They're all great. Everyone gets a participation trophy.

Tom (SF): Alex Jackson kinda started hitting again. He's probably not a top-50 prospect, but does he still have the 60 hit, 65 power potential?

Christopher Crawford: I thought he was a 60-60 guy coming out of high school, and I still think that potential exists. He was a disaster in Clinton, but a lot of teenagers are disasters, not just in baseball. He's just not the fact-track guy so many of us thought he was, but the upside is still legit.

Dave (TB): What kind of ceiling would you put on Blake Snell these days?

Christopher Crawford: I'd say he's got a chance to pitch at or near the top of the rotation. If Fulmer isn't the most improved pitching prospect this year, Snell is.

James Harrison (Pittsburgh ): WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?!?!

Christopher Crawford: I only meant well. Also I thought you retired. Also Super Bowl 40 is still a terrible memory for me. Go Hawks.

Crazy Crawford ([-_-]): ''Starling is definitely a top 10 guy, and it's awesome to see, because I no longer feel like a crazy person.'' Quiet, you! They'll catch on to me. Wait...can they hear us? *runs away*

Christopher Crawford: Now before anyone goes nuts, top 10 ROYALS guy.

Scott (IL): What kind of upside does Franklyn Kilome have? Is he a potential ace?

Christopher Crawford: That's probably asking too much, The secondary stuff just isn't quite there yet. I'd say he's a potential mid-rotation guy, with lights-out closer a possibility.

Chase (LA): So Braden Shipley has been disappointing this season, but I feel like the hate has gone wayyy too far. Guy's still new to pitching and has a 3.43 ERA in Double-A, and is giving up almost no HR's.

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, this is a good point. Shipley hasn't great by any means, but I know some who are ready to write the guy off, and that's not fair. I'd say he's fallen behind Aaron Blair, but that's okay, he's still a potential mid-rotation starter.

Paul (Miami): Chances that Tyler Kolek comes back next year in better shape and starts throwing 100 again, making us all laugh about worrying so much?

Christopher Crawford: I'd still say pretty good. I just refuse to write off guys based on one year. But yes, he has to come back in better shape, and he has to show vastly improved command.

Frank (IL): Token Javy Baez question - no, seriously, I know he missed a big chunk of the season, but do you know if he's adjusted at all this year? Related note, rather have Rodgers and Swanson than him?

Christopher Crawford: I think he's been okay. I got a lot of Baez questions today about whether the Cubs should trade him, and quite honestly I think I would, because I think he's one of their best realistic pieces. And yes, I'd rather have both Rodgers and Swanson.

Bill (TX): Surprised to see Mazara in AAA? Overall, how would you assess his season?

Christopher Crawford: I'm not, and I'm not surprised to see he's played well in a (very) small sample size. The stats aren't overwhelming, but when you consider the age and when you consider just how much upside there is in this young man, you take it. He's got a chance to become a star.

Best Fans (Baseball): Please rank the following by real life value: Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Christopher Crawford: Bryant, Cardinals, Russell, Schwarber.

Kris Bryant is still everything.

Or Moyal (Dallas): How good a prospect is Lewis Brinson? How would he compare for you with Nick Williams?

Christopher Crawford: He's a very good prospect, one that could have four plus tools. I prefer Williams at this point because Williams tools are more advanced, the approach has improved drastically and he's probably in a better situation right now. But Brinson is good, there's just more risk involved here than with Williams.

steelydanu (L.A): With Urias and Giolito getting a lot of attention, which other NL minor pitchers do you see as promising for potential #1/2/ace?

Christopher Crawford: Well Tyler Glasnow for sure. Alex Reyes. Maybe Jose DeLeon?

Jack (Toronto): First of all, thanks for doing this chat! Also, what do you think about how the Blue Jays are handling Roberto Osuna? I really liked him as a pitching prospect, but there's no way they send him down to High-A or Double-A to spend a year or two developing as a starter now, right? Do you think he has more value as this kind of closer, or as a mid rotation starter in two or so years?

Christopher Crawford: First of all, you're very welcome. I think the handling of Osuna has been okay because realistically reliever was the most likely landing spot. I think any chance of him becoming a starter now has gone the way of the extinct bird I can't spell, but I think it's been fine. He's been fantastic.

Why (Is): Kaleb Cowart?

Christopher Crawford: What is Alaska? Who is Brazil?

Cowart still has a chance to be a big leaguer because of that defense, but man oh man has he looked bad in my looks at the big league level. The PCL can make an awful lot of guys look good.

Corey (PA): How far away is Glasnow from being major league ready? Biggest development hurdle left?

Christopher Crawford: Stuff-wise? He's pretty close. Command-wise? He's not ready to start. The biggest development for him is having a clue where the ball is going on a consistent basis.

Best Fans (Baseball): Kris Bryant vs. the hurricane, who wins?

Christopher Crawford: Depends on the hurricane. Kris Bryant vs. Hurricane Andy? Bryant. Kris Bryant vs. Hurricane "aye baybay" Chris? Hurricane Chris. Kris Bryant vs. Hurricane Kris Bryant? Kiss your loved ones.

Jerry (MD): Too early to write off Dylan Bundy? Certainly a discouraging situation at the least.

Christopher Crawford: It's too early to write him off as a potential contributor. It might not be too early to write him off as what we thought he was going to be, which is one of the best pitchers in baseball. I've never been more impressed with a prep pitcher than I was with Bundy. It makes me sad. Baseball is a stupid, stupid sport.

Christopher Crawford: And we will end the chat with that , as I have the compliment I need to have a great day. Thanks for chatting, everyone. We'll do this again in a couple of weeks. Have a great one!


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