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Chat: Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday October 19, 2015 7:00 PM ET chat session with Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella.

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Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: PECOTA says there is a 57.4% chance that this will be a good chat. Let's buck those odds together.

Tom (NY): Thoughts on where Eddy Julio Martinez lands on prospects lists?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I tend to fall on the conservative side with these types of things, so I'm guessing Top 30. But if people are more optimistic with the Andruw Jones comps, it's not harder to see him falling into the Top 20. Jones is not really remembered that favorably now, but the guy was a fantasy monster for a few years.

Ben (DC): Victor Robles Potential?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Two prospect questions right out of the gate.

The ceiling is high, so if you're asking about pure potential, he seems like someone who could be a 20/40 guy if everything breaks right. More realistically, the power doesn't quite get there, he's more of a gap power guy than an over-the-fence player, and it's more 10-15 home runs with 25-30 steals.

Colin (WI): How's it going Mike?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Pretty well. Can't complain too much, outside of the cold. It's a little bit soon for that. But postseason is here, and we've got a lot of exciting baseball left to go.

PoutWars (Fantasyland): Mike, congrats on your continued fantasy success. Quite an accomplishment! Instead of asking about my specific players, I would like to hear your thoughts on keeper decisions in general. For deep "only" leagues, how do you think about keepers? For example, our league allows 7 keepers max. Do you select keepers for maximum "profit" even if that's 7 $1 guys? Do you keep one or two expensive but highly productive guys (e.g. a $50 Harper or Goldschmidt)? A mix? What about hitters vs. pitchers? Closers as keepers? Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts. Recognize it's not an exact science, but would be interested in your views.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: It's kind of hard to explain in this format, but I generally try to mix and match between bargains and stats. So while seven $1 guys could be the correct formula, it generally is a bad idea to have $253 to spend (assuming a $260 cap) because inflation will eat into the value of your team. You do want some stats, but whether or not a $50 Harper or Goldschmidt is worth the price depends on the inflation factor in your league. If inflation is at 30% or higher, you almost HAVE to keep one of those guys in order to hedge against spending $50 on an inferior player. If inflation is low, keeping one of those guys at $50 is a bad idea.

I don't necessarily have a philsophy about hitters versus pitchers but hitters are more stable investments. However, pitching freezes are generally cheaper (and thus carry more value) for this reason.

I'll keep closers, but I don't want to build around them. Again, just like with starters, they're generally cheap if they were picked up the year before as set up guys. Elite closers at high prices I like to avoid unless my freezes are stacked otherwise.

Charlie (Montreal): is a hot dog a bat flip

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: America.

@NamelessRanger (Long Island): Is there a greater high than winning Tout Wars? I imagine it's gotta make birth of your first child look pretty insignificant tbh

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: ha ha, it's up there. Birth of my kids and running a marathon are the two biggest highs of my life, but it's gotta right up there with my wedding day and that time in college when my friend stole all of the McDonalds Olympic promotional scratch off tickets and we had free food for a month.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers, Florida): How much do you run like a Dad? I'd bet it's a lot.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Do you mean like slow and steady? Yeah, that's about right. I get looks in the park, because they see this dude running like he thinks he's 20 but he's got the #dadbod. They know what's up (looks around suspiciously). They know what's up.

Graig Coldstein (The Tweets): Which one of the remaining four mascots is the best representative of real-life Craig?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: OMG, now I have to go look up mascots?

(goes to Wikipedia so as not to mess this up)

(wow, there is a lot of space on Wikipedia devoted to MLB mascots)

I'm going to go with Clark the Cub. From Wikipedia:

"He is a 'young, friendly Cub' who will wear a backwards baseball cap and greet fans entering Wrigley Field" This sounds an awful lot like Craig if you have ever met him in real life, which I have. I was enriched by the experience, and am forever grateful.

JoelNick11 (Indiana): In your Tout Wars season. If you made 1 draft mistake, what was it? And if you made 1 in season mistake, what was it?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: My big auction mistake was purchasing Ryu for $11, not because of the injury news (which was positive the morning of the auction) but because it hindered me later and kept me away from pitchers like DeSclafani, who I liked, and other cheap pitchers who would have been better to speculate on than the $11 Ryu. It also kept me from buying some slightly more expensive fliers on the hitters side. Based on when I purchased him, the timing was bad.

It didn't hurt me, but trading Addison Russell and Jeremy Hellickson for Shelby Miller was awful, particularly because I was gunning for wins. Never trade for pitcher wins. It almost never works out.

Ryan (Ny): What do you project Brett Phillips potential to be?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Will he hit? That was his only non-plus tool entering 2015, so if he can even manage to muster a .240 batting average he could be quite the stud. However, it's always easier said than done. If I had to guess, I'll say that Phillips' ceiling is as a .260 BA guy with decent power and enough speed to make him a first division regular.

Odorificus (OK): Different teams, but when do you think A. J. Reed and Tim Anderson take over as starters?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: The Astros are kind of stacked, but I think if Reed keeps hitting he'll get a look in late 2016 with a shot in 2017 to start. Anderson could be up in mid-2016 even if the White Sox exercise Alexei Ramirez's affordable 2016 option. If the White Sox pull the trigger on the option on flip Alexei, I think Anderson could be up even sooner.

Snowborne (Pittsburgh): What level of a SP could I get in return for lindor in a dynasty format? Any good young specific guys you recommend shooting for?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Lindor's offense exceeded expectations and he's so young, so I'd think that you have to shoot for something just below ace level in a dynasty league. Shoot for someone at the James Shields level but obviously younger. I like Lindor's teammate Danny Salazar as a target. If you're rebuilding and want someone young, Giolito, though I personally hate trades for projection when you have the potential youn stud like Lindor.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers, Florida): F/M/K Murphy, Cespedes, Duda

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: This is a really weird question, Yancy. I owned Duda in every league under the sun so I guess he's my F. I want to marry Murphy because it would annoy the heck out of him and be extremely ironic. That leaves Cespedes as my K, but since I'm a non-violent dude I'm going to pretend the "k" means "kid around with" and we'll make jokes and have Cuban sandwiches together.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers, Florida): Have you ever swam in a pool and not peed in it?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Yes. I'm not a child, Yancy.

yancyeaton (Fort Myers, Florida): From a talent and depth standpoint, which AL pitching staff do you think is the most comparable to the NYM?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Off the top of my head, the Indians. It doesn't really show up in the numbers because of the defense and the park (particularly pre-Lindor), but Kluber, Salazar, Carrasco, and Bauer if he hits his potential all could get close if they all hit their ceilings (well, Kluber has already), though obviously predicting that would be folly.

Silverback38 (VA): when drafting for dynasty, which would you rank as being the better asset to own:player already in minors, ie Wilson Contreras, college player, ie JJ Schwartz, or the high school senior.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I prefer the guy in the minors just because so much can happen once a guy hits the pros. Mark Appel, while certainly not indicative, is an example of how someone who is highly touted pre-pro, can go wrong.

Myers08 (Detroit): Do people play fantasy playoff baseball? Fantasy AFL? Meta-fantasy baseball, where owners draft famous fantasy owners like you and root for the (your) players? Do you?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Besides DFS? Probably not, though I've seen pool type leagues where you pick a lineup and get to cycle players out in each round from a points perspective. It's not really fantasy but it's kind of points lite. I have never seen fantasy AFL. No one has ever drafted me in a league as far as I know.

I don't do anything like this. I'm in anywhere from 6 leagues to 9 leagues in the offseason and I need a break in the winter, especially since I start writing prep articles in January.

Viktor (Maryland): Assuming Devers moves to 1B, if you're of that belief, who is better player, Josh Bell or Devers?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: It's still Devers though the positional move probably would knock him down 5-10 slots from BP's midseason dynasty/fantasy rank.

Karl (San Antonio): Has Jonathan Schoop figured it out enough to make a solid impact instead of just HR and otherwise empty stat line? How far behind is he from Brian Dozier?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: The answer is somewhere in the middle. Not quite a pure BABIP fluke but I would expect some regression. He's a few ticks behind Dozier for me, and I don't see enough speed or a sustained high batting average that will get him to where Dozier has been.

Tribe Java (Aromas): Is Adam Jones on the downhill slope? All he gives is HRs and is even a drain in OBP leagues.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: He is, but it looks more like a gradual decline than a fall off of a cliff. If the Orioles lineup is strong, he will also provide runs and RBI.

cr787 (north): Thoughts on Kennys Vargas? Worth holding onto in dynasty?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I'm not as high on him as my colleague Craig Goldstein is (was?) but I think in a dynasty league with deeper freeze lists you can hang on. I still like the power potential and think he could latch on somewhere as a reliable if not spectacular DH option.

Basil (Twmple): How would you rank these comeback kids: Gio Gonzalez, Verlander, samardizja, Cobb?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Verlander already had a solid year if you go by our DRA metric and the velocity was higher Post All Star so I'd rank him highest. Gio is second just because he's in the NL and gets the advantage of facing the pitcher and facing the weak NL East lineups. Cobb ranks ahead of Shark if he's healthy out of the gate but that's obviously an open question right now.

bgrosnick (Ann Arbor, MI): Hey Mike -- do me a favor and pick one FA OF for next year -- Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, or Jason Heyward.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Upton though they're all really close.

Iris (Outside Detroit. ): How much concern should we have for Daniel Norris and this cancer news? Does he still have SP2 upside?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I'd be concerned because it's malignant but it's really hard to say what his recovery path will look like. He has the upside in terms of his stuff but we obviously have to see what his treatment entails with this late breaking news.

Mark (DC): I enjoyed your pre-season rankings, will you do those again before opening day? Ian Desmond was a 5 star SS for you pre-season 2015. How many stars will he get in February and who has passed him? Does his lower BABIP in 2015 factor into your ranking of him? (Oh the Blue Jays are playing baseball now!) Thank you.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Yes, we'll do rankings again next year. I would think that Desmond has to drop down into the three-star tier, which means that a number of players have passed him. Carlos Correa and Brandon Crawford are ahead of him now, and I wouldn't be surprised if Lindor sneaks in there too. Based on last year, this would probably put Desmond on the periphery of the top 10.

Kevin (Los Angeles): What should I make of Devon Travis? Is his injury a worry. I've got Travis, Gordon and Baez at 2B, who should I look at moving?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I'm not concerned about Travis' injury long term but I would like to see him on the field. I think you have to try to move Travis and hope that Baez delivers sooner rather than later on his high ceiling.

Majortom (Texas): More SP bounceback question: How much do you like Cashner and Mat Latos next year? (Say, compared to the Verlander/Gio/Shark/Cobb? Below all of them on both, I'm guessing?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Yeah, I'm really wary on both of those guys. If Latos' problems were injury related, then maybe he moves up, but I wonder if Latos is just going to be one of those guys who is a fringe deeper mixed guy going forward. I have owned Cashner every year in Tout since 2013 but he just hasn't delivered. He throws hard but never has enough movement or deception to be more than an SP3.

Darren (Houston): There's a lot of guys coming out with shorter stature these days, with prospect Haold Ramirez being one of them. What are your thoughts of him in regards to his achievable upside compared to his soon to be hype train.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I'm less concerned about the height and more about the weight combined with the height. A lot of his value is presumably tied into his speed and he got caught a lot last year. If he can't run in the majors, he's going to be a light power guy whose batting average alone may not be enough to carry him.

Kory (Las Vegas): Who of these do you have confidence in as they all seem to have their issues, even in dynasty leagues. Shelby Miller (any offense support); Teheran ( more of his own failure than run support); Taijuan Walker (will new management continue to tinker with his form causing him to veer further and further away from his once astronomical hype); Zach Wheeler (didn't have great control before surgery, post surgery = ?)

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Miller bugs me a little bit not so much because of lack of support but because his fastball seemed to lose some movement Post All-Star. He was still throwing hard but didn't have the same kind of results. Teheran looked better Post All-Star and I think will bounce back to a degree. I still like Walker a lot but to your point it's hard to know if the new regime in Seattle will just leave him alone. Wheeler is a total wild card given that TJ recovery paths aren't all alike.

Sarah (Chicago): Ryan Braun or George Springer? I can keep one for 2016 only. HR/RBI/R/AVG/OBP I wonder when Braun finally declines? Or when Springer rises?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: In that format roll the dice on the upside and go with Springer.

Peter (IL): I know it's hard to predict, but do you see AJ Ramos, Glen Perkins, Tom Wilhelmson, Arlodis Vizcaino and Scott Tolleson are all closing next year?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: They should all start with the job (with the possible exception of Wilhelmson), but none is a great bet. I'd rank them Tolleson, Perkins, Ramos, Vizcaino, Wilhelmson, but in terms of job security Vizcaino is higher than anyone but Perkins.

Paulie (The Keys): Is Heywards success tied to him staying in St Louis or is he hitting his prime and will be successful anywhere?

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Nah, I think he's really good and that bat will play anywhere. He could even run more on a different team.

Anderson (Parkersburg, WV): Is JJ Hardy a potential 2016 bargain or someone to avoid in a 16 team 5x5 league? In other words, is the decline/collapse real? Do you think PECOTA will like his chances to rebound? Thanks for chatting during the game!

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: I've never really been a big fan and I think that the decline is legit. He's borderline for me in that format. I can't comment on PECOTA since it hasn't come out yet but PECOTA often does favor veterans post-peak to bounce back.

Tout Wars Champ Mike Gianella: Thanks everyone for joining the chat. I hope you enjoy the rest of the Blue Jays/Royals game. Looks like an exciting one.


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