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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday September 09, 2015 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher Crawford: Good morning/afternoon. Let's get this started. I enjoy baseball.

Chris (Baltimore): What explains Joe Mauer. So obviously his one power season will not happen again, but what became of his steady .300 AVG year in and year out?

Christopher Crawford: Man, a good question. I don't get to see him very often anymore, but I do know the bat speed isn't what it was, and pitchers do not fear pitching him inside at all. He was one of the best pure hitters I ever saw. Pretty sad, really.

Steven (NYC): Who would you rather have in a dynasty league: Mike Zunino or James McCann?

Christopher Crawford: Zunino. Look, Zunino has been terrible; the Mariners have handled him terribly and the upside he once had has vanished a bit....but he's still better than James McCann.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Can you rank these middle IFs for real-life FV: Drury, K Marte, Peraza, Refsnyder, Micah Johnson.

Christopher Crawford: Not only am I capable of doing it? I will!

1. Peraza
2. Marte
3. Johnson
4. Drury
5. Refsnyder

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Chris, In a 12 team keeper league, 5x5 with OBP, please rank Mazara, AJ Reed and Pompey for 2016 and beyond. Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: Well, the only one I think that's going to give you a good deal of value in '16 is Pompey, but long-term it's Mazara, Reed, Pompey.

padremurph (Los Angeles): Hunter Renfroe is putting up solid numbers since being promoted to AAA. Is that a PCL mirage or is it progress on the strong second half in AA?

Christopher Crawford: Progress on the strong second half. I still think Renfroe is one of the best corner-outfield prospects in baseball, and I think he'll help the Padres next year.

BC (urbandale): Think Bryant could ever be in the outfield full time? free up Baez for 3rd?

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, I think Bryant could play either corner, with the arm I'd put him in right field. He's a good enough athlete to play there, and third is probably Baez most logical position. It's possible.

Gary (Italy via Boston): The Red Six have a lot of prospects and young major league outfielders. In 5 years, who are the ones that they should keep around and who gets shipped out?

Christopher Crawford: The Red Six is a fantastic comic book name.

Really tough to say right now. I don't believe the Bradley power numbers are going to carry over, but he can hit, it just took some time figuring out the timing issues. I'm still not convinced Rusney Castillo is a guy, and if someone offered me something solid I'd move him, but I'm not sure anyone is going to offer something solid.

padremurph (Los Angeles): What can we make of Gettys first season? He didn't put up big numbers but he also didn't struggle like Alex Jackson. All the tools still there?

Christopher Crawford: He has all the tools in terms of athleticism and arm strength, but I still don't like that swing, and I don't see any chance he hits for average. Gotta give him time, but I'm not terribly optimistic.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Better career, Greg Bird or Stephen Piscotty?

Christopher Crawford: It's a little closer than some might think? But I'd still go with Piscotty; mainly because of the positional value. I really like Greg Bird, though, and I'm glad he's playing well.

AJ (Phoenix): 20-team keep forever dynasty (no farm, prospects eat bench space): This is my 1st-2ndish go-for-it year which should start a 3-4 year window for a title-worthy team. To get me over the hump I dealt Longoria, Gomez, Ryu, Glasnow, and the 1-1 for Donaldson, Storen, and Wisler. On paper... that's a lot to give up, but I have Machado at 3B, Trout in CF (use LF,CF,RF), and only one Util spot. With a bullpen that already had 4 closers, I needed a RP to pair with Keon Kela for saves. it also allowed me roster space to activate Derek Holland. If I get even one flag in the next 4 seasons, trade will have been worth it, right?

Christopher Crawford: Flags Fly Forever.

Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Chris. Who has the higher ceiling, Mookie Betts or Nomar Mazara? I love Betts, but I was blown away by Mazara's plate discipline as a 20-year-old in AA/AAA.

Christopher Crawford: Mazara, by a fairly substantial margin for me. And that's not to say Betts' ceiling isn't high, it's just Mazara has as high of ceiling as any player in the minor leagues right now.

GPT (San Jose, CA): Outside of Christian Arroyo, which Giants prospects have impressed you this year?

Christopher Crawford: (googles "do the Giants have any real prospects")

Not a good system, but Sam Coonrod has been good; missing bats and throwing more strikes than he did in college. Two above-average pitches, so if the change shows more he could be a solid starter.

Alex (Anaheim): Does Bird have this kind of pop long term?

Christopher Crawford: I think there's 60 power in his bat, and assuming he's not traded he's going to get to hit in as friendly of confines for left-handed hitters as anyone.

Tom (Philadelphia): Will JP Crawford be a top 3-5 fantasy SS?

Christopher Crawford: I think that's the ceiling. More than likely for fantasy he's a top 7-10 guy. "Real" value is higher, but he can help your fantasy club, for sure.

Sorry for the delay, had to pretend I like talking on the phone.

Duncan (Idaho): I've seen the Royals Josh Staumont a few times. The fastball is awesome, hiting 102 MPH and it seems like an easy enough delivery. It seems like they are giving him 2-3 innings to work with each outing and sending him out every 3-4 days which hints that they are eyeing him as a starter. That seems a bit out there maybe given his current command and lack of consistent curveball (or any other secondary pitch). Do you think he can develop at least a second pitch, and likely a third? Seems like you could just focus on the FB/CB and try to reign in command in the hopes that he becomes Craig Kimbrel-lite

Christopher Crawford: I don't think there's a question in there, but yes.

Paul (DC): Which September call ups have been showing they deserve starting jobs come 2016?

Christopher Crawford: Seager, Corey.

That is all.

In all seriousness, you really can't show enough in September to earn a job. It's just too small a sample size, in my humblest of estimations.

kcshankd (Maple Valley WA): Can Ketel Marte stick at short for a few years?

Christopher Crawford: Six months ago, I didn't think there was a chance. Now, I'd say it's 50/50. I still think second base -- or center -- is the better landing spot, but the footwork has improved and the hands much softer.

jwise224 (DTLA): He's obviously not a prospect any more, but is it likely that Yasmany Tomas can really grow from year one to year two? His approach appears to need a ton of work. How likely do feel it is that he makes that improvement?

Christopher Crawford: There's definitely some growth that's likely to happen, even if Tomas isn't a prototypical "prospect" guy. Players make adjustments. They have to, or the careers are very, very short. Overall, I think Tomas has been okay this year, considering that he looked like a dumpster fire in spring training.

BC (urbandale): who's your NL MVP this year?

Christopher Crawford: It's Bryce Harper and it's not even close.

Chris (Baltimore): Will Moncada skip High A?

Christopher Crawford: I have no idea, I think that'll depend on how he looks in spring training. Certainly possible they try and get him into the "upper levels" though.

John (Seattle): What have you heard about mariners prospect Drew Jackson? Very good year in Everett.

Christopher Crawford: Really impressive season, sort of came out of nowhere. Say what you will about the Mariners, but they've found some interesting collegiate infielders the past few seasons (Brad Miller, Chris Taylor, etc.) I think utility guy is the ceiling, but certainly a name to keep an eye on moving forward.

Brendon (Vancouver): How does a guy like Anthony Alford get evaluated differently than an equal age, toolsy player who has been playing pro ball since 18? Does he have a good chance of becoming an impact CF?

Christopher Crawford: Certainly have to keep in mind he was playing a different sport for the majority of his "young development" years, and it helps to understand the struggles. His improvement is pretty amazing, he was a borderline non-prospect last year, and now you could argue he belongs in the top 30. That's quite the turn-around.

Person (California): What guys not on the top 20 could shoot up the lists to it next year? Guys I can grab before waivers closes in my dynasty league.

Christopher Crawford: I'd say Alford is one of those guys. Jose De Leon, Bradley Zimmer, Grant Holmes, Austin Meadows. There's a lot of good stuff.

Dave (NJ): Yoan Moncada - number 1 prospect next year?

Christopher Crawford: For Boston? Probably. For baseball? Probably not.

jwise224 (DTLA): Are there any names in the D-backs system that have gained momentum in 2015? Guys who were previously off the general radar?

Christopher Crawford: Does Dansby Swanson count? If not, it's been a pretty bad season for that system. Marcus Wilson has gotten good reviews in the Pioneer, though.

Dalton (Pompeii): I'm curious as to your current thinking on Matt Olson. He doesn't seem to be making many top 100 lists, and forget top 50. Do you think he can end up as anything more than AAAA player at best?

Christopher Crawford: Uninspiring 2015 season, to be sure. But the approach is there, the raw power is there, and he's not the worst defensive first baseman I've seen, so I still think he can become a starter at the big league level, despite the 40 hit tool.

grimoren189 (Houston): Where does Moncada play in 2017? Pedroia is not going anywhere any time soon. 3rd base maybe?

Christopher Crawford: It's a great question. I think third is probably the most logical position if he's going to help the Red Sox in 2017. I don't think it's a lock that he's a full-time player by 2017 though.

Jim (Tampa): What are your career goals? Lofty expectations with those in your role who preceded you.

Christopher Crawford: Well, I'd really like to rule the world someday. My first order would be that hot dogs are not sandwiches.

Someday I'd love to work for a big league club like those who have left. That'd be fun. I sure like my current job, though.

Mike (Washington DC): Victor Robles is the next ?

Christopher Crawford: I hate comps, but Victor Robles is really talented, and I think he could be a star. There's loads of work to be done though with the approach and more consistency with the swing.

Doug (San Diego ): Evaluation question. How do you prefer to evaluate a prospect? I know you aren't a scout and don't really evaluate at the fields but do you rely more on trusted scouts and front office sources to form opinions? Do you read other sites to help gather information? Trying to find the best source to use for prospect lists and minor league info.

Christopher Crawford: So, I'm not sure if this question is serious or not. It kinda sounds like an insult from someone real tough on the internet, but I'll answer this seriously.

No, I didn't get as many chances to go to games in 2015 as I would have liked. I had some health stuff, some family health stuff, and also two articles a week plus other stuff.

Ideally though, I go to games every week, I trust my scouting eye. My scouting eye has been good enough to get interviews with other clubs -- though I guess not good enough to work for those clubs! -- so the idea that I'm an internet scout is factually incorrect, and kinda hurts my feelings. But yes, I do trust my sources, and whenever I compile lists I make sure I run those by as many people as I can. I also watch a ton of video, so maybe I am an internet scout.

Max (Oakland): Olson's season was uninspiring? You are really terrible at this. As a 21 y/o in AA, Olson walked 105 times. Low batting average, sure. But he also hit 54 XBH. You are just throwing crap on the wall to see what sticks. You clearly haven't seen any of the players you spout off about. BP has really fallen off a cliff.

Christopher Crawford: He also slugged .435 -- and need a hot finish to get to that -- struck out 139 times, and got worse defensively. Thanks for being a fan!

Danny (Colorado): Robles or Margot?

Christopher Crawford: Margot. Better defender and less volatility. Robles with the higher ceiling, though.

gerrybraun (san diego): Thanks for the chat! I have three candidates for long-term extensions next year in an NL-only, 12-team, 8-category Ultra league. How many years would you add (or not) to each? Kris Bryant, now 15 Corey Seager, now 5 Lucas Giolito, now 5

Christopher Crawford: So, I don't have a clue how extensions work in leagues but I'd want all three of these guys on my team for as long as possible. So...yes?

Ricardo (DFW): Are you a believer in Reds' Cody Reed or Cardinals' Jack Flaherty?

Christopher Crawford: Flaherty more than Reed. Flaherty has three above-average pitches and the command could be plus, he could be something. Reed has improved quite a bit, slider is routinely plus like it was coming out of the draft, so there's some upside there, too. I just think Flaherty offers more upside and safety.

Ryahn (LA): Is Eddy Julio Martinez a top prospect for you?

Christopher Crawford: Yep. I have no idea when he'll sign, I have no idea where he'll sign, but once he does he's one of the best outfield prospects in baseball. In my internet scouting opinion.

Mack (Ennis): Did you see Josh Bell since his promotion to AAA? Or spoken to somebody who has? There was talk of him working on re-incorporating a leg kick to get to his power stroke -- the ISO looks better but it's also ~120 PA. Any word on if he's looking better and driving the ball a bit more with the change?

Christopher Crawford: I haven't on either account, but that's interesting/makes sense. When I watched him take BP at the Futures Game I did notice more lift, but I thought that maybe was due to him treating it like a home run derby, as many prospects will do. More power is pretty key to his value since he's going to be at first.

Richard Herrnstein (Bell Curve): When using the scouting scale you say you believe in the 35/65. In 100 cases how many times should 35 and 65 be used?

Christopher Crawford: Whenever it's applicable.

Johnny (Philly): How does Mazara compare to Taveras coming through the minors? Is that a fair comparison?

Christopher Crawford: Kinda a fair comp, Taveras was a better prospect; there were some I spoke with who believed the hit tool could be 80, and I thought it was plus-plus. As good as Mazara is, I don't think that's gonna happen. He's really good though.

JT Smooth (New York, New York): Yes, flags fly forever, but in H2H leagues might it be a little wiser to aim toward making the playoffs as many consecutive years as possible? The playoffs can be a real crapshoot, is it worth hamstringing your team in 2 years for a slightly more favorable lottery ticket this year?

Christopher Crawford: In reality, yes. But reality is stupid. Go win yourself a ship.

Erik (Maryland): Have you had a chance to formulate some ideas on Anderson Espinoza?

Christopher Crawford: I have, though they are in the very early stages, just like Espinoza! Funny how that works.

In all seriousness, while internet scouting for that other thing I used to write for, I was given a 10-15 minute video of Espinoza, and I kinda sorta fell in love. The stuff, the ability to repeat the delivery at such a young age, the arm strength, it was all there. Like Robles, MANY years away from being a contributor, but my goodness the upside.

Hillbilly Hugging Tree (backyard ozarks): Is Travis Shaw for real? Can he be a league average corner bat?

Christopher Crawford: I'm skeptical. Think he's more of a bench bat guy, maybe a platoon option?

Duncan (Idaho): There was definitely a question in that Staumont question! "Do you think he can develop at least a second pitch, and likely a third?"

Christopher Crawford: Sorry! Reading comprehension skills: 35. I'd say the curveball is an average offering. The change sure isn't, though, and I don't know if it ever will be. That along with the command issues makes him risky, but the arm strength and feel for missing bats gives him a chance to be high-leverage.

toosight (Jersey): Are you a fan of Duane Underwood? Can he be a mid rotation or better starter?

Christopher Crawford: I am, and certainly. Three above-average pitches, improving command. Would like to see him miss a few more bats, of course, but he's only 21 and the stuff seems to get better each year.

gerrybraun (san diego): Well done!

Christopher Crawford: I agree.

Christopher Crawford: Thanks for the chat, everyone. Gotta get back to the real world responsibilities. We'll talk soon.


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