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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 15, 2015 2:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher Crawford: If Luke Skywalker ends up the bad guy, I'm going to be really upset.

Ash Roth (Durham): Any chance Jeff Ames or Parker Markel become setup men?

Christopher Crawford: High-leverage guys? Eh, I'm not sure I see it. Bullpen guys, but I'm not sure I ever see them pitching in that kinda role. Ames more likely than Markel, in my humble opinion.

BC (Urbandale): If this Cubs lineup stays the way it is, and of course there are no major injuries, is it better than the Blue Jays this past year?

Christopher Crawford: I'd say it's a more complete lineup, but I prefer the middle of the Blue Jays. But your question is lineup so yes.

Drew (Cincy): Is Bradley Zimmer and Justus Sheffield too much or fair in a trade involving Todd Frazier ?? Thanks

Christopher Crawford: You're welcome. I'd say that's a little on the high side, as much as I like Frazier. But I've been infatuated with Zimmer for a really long time. Maybe I'm underrating Frazier, though.

Bob (Ohio): Any idea on the prospects Dodgers were going to trade in the Chapman deal ?

Christopher Crawford: Not for sure, no. I'm not really a rumor-monger guy, so, I'll keep the names I heard private. Reds fans would have been happy if what i heard was true, though.

AJ (IL): What do you think the Cubs do next ?

Christopher Crawford: Maybe add a bullpen arm? Or a Soler/Baez trade for a starter?

Pink_Avenger_429 (Hong Kong SAR, China): Alex Jackson is coming off a down year where he struggled to hit above .150 in A-ball. What does the future hold for him? Is he a bust?

Christopher Crawford: Definitely not a bust, I refuse to label someone a bust off a one bad professional season as a teenager. I have some concerns I didn't have when he was a prep, which is...weird...but there's still a lot of upside here.

Brian (Seattle): Who is your favorite prospect outside of the top 5? Who has the highest ceiling?

Christopher Crawford: Assuming you mean the Mariners, I think Liberato, just because I see a lot of 50 and 55's here if everything works out. The highest ceiling is Brayan Hernandez, but he also one of the lowest floors, which is saying something in this group.

Pete (Vancouver): If you could only choose one, who do you choose among Odubel Herrera, Joc Pederson and Delino Deshields and why?

Christopher Crawford: Pederson. Yes, he was dreadful at the end of 2015, but this is still a guy who can get on base, play okay defense in center and hit for power/steal bases.

Brian (Seattle): Gareth Morgan - what is his ceiling, what are the chances he can get there?

Christopher Crawford: Ceiling is a 20-plus homer guy who can play okay defense in right field. The chances of him reaching that ceiling are very, very low. I wasn't a huge fan coming out of that draft, and I am unfortunately not surprised to see him struggle as a professional. Still time, though.

Dennis (LA): Which among Alex Gordon, Justin Upton, and Yoenis Cespedes do you think would be the best fit for the Angels and their dire need for a LF? Which one do you think is the likeliest signing for them?

Christopher Crawford: Man, that's a great question. I think Gordon is the least likely of these, but he might be the best fit. I love Gordon. He's one of the best defensive LF I've ever seen and he's not exactly bereft of offensive talent. Yo is the most likely, though. Artie loves dingers.

Pelecos (Granville): When an amateur or recently signed player is flashing a plus curve, but only on occasion, how do you predict if they're going to consistently spin a plus breaking ball?

Christopher Crawford: GREAT question. Some of it depends on just how often he's flashing it, and some of it depends on how well he repeats his actions. If it's a case of a guy just not having great feel for it yet, it's easier to project plus long-term. If it's a case of a guy who never has a consistent slot or doesn't finish the delivery? That's a little tougher.

John (CT): Aside from Junior I can't remember many Mariner prospects living up to their billing?

Christopher Crawford: Alex Rodriguez and Felix Hernandez say HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE

Mike (DeKalb, IL): Of the following, which guys do you think could defensively handle CF for the Cubs in 2019 if Heyward opts out: Almora, Martinez, Dewees, Happ? I realize their bats may not make it, but I'm curious about defensive ability only.

Christopher Crawford: Defensively? Almora, Martines and Dewees. Lot of questions about Almora's bat. Happ more of a corner outfielder, in my estimation. But those three are the "guys."

oscarbluth (Madison, WI): Do you like that baseball doesn't have a salary cap or is the payroll inequity getting too great? Is there a point when you would start having a problem with the lack of a salary cap?

Christopher Crawford: Without getting too political, I'm very, very glad that there's no salary cap for political reasons.

Truganini (CO): Tyler Anderson and Alex Balog have seen their star fade. Any chance they get into the Rox rotation in 2016? And what is the realistic impact they make long term with the Rockies?

Christopher Crawford: I could see Balog getting there, maybe not in 2016 but at some point. Very much a backend starter profile, and stuff has regressed since he was in college.

Joey Gladstone (full house): Cam francis martes be a top of the rotation arm? Xoxo

Christopher Crawford: I think he absolutely can be. One of my favorite pitching prospects in baseball right now. I love you too, Uncle Joey.

Nick (TN): Harrison Bader had a solid pro ball debut, any chance he can develop into an above average center fielder?

Christopher Crawford: Above-average? Nah, I think that's asking too much. A lot of average tools though, so, there's a chance he becomes an average regular there if everything "maxes out."

uncle jesse (tanners basement): Anderson espinoza a top 30 prospect?

Christopher Crawford: Lot of Full House today. That's kinda fun. No, not yet. I love him, he may be my favorite pitching prospect not named Giolito (please note that favorite doesn't mean beast, it just means favorite). But there's still a TON of volatility because of the lack of experience.

John (CT): Please give me your best guess as to the top 5 rookies at the end of the 2016 MLB season. Does Buxton lap the field?

Christopher Crawford: No.

Oh, okay. Buxton, Seager, Gallo, Arcia, Matz.

Bill Clinton (Las Vegas): Gotta keep the streak alive Chris. How about that Victor Robles fella?

Christopher Crawford: Never heard of him.

He's a lot of fun.

Jameis (Winston Salem): I've seen it go both ways but do you prefer half grades over full?

Christopher Crawford: I definitely don't PREFER half-grades. If you can avoid half-grades, that's great! With that being said, sometimes a full-grade doesn't work. Sometimes a guy is between average and plus, sometimes a guy is between plus and plus-plus. It happens. I respect teams that say YOU MUST PICK A GRADE, but at the same time, I also respect those who realize that being definitive is not always the best way.

Chris (IL): I know you had noted Eddy Julio Martinez as the top international prospect a few months back - could you help me understand where he might stop up to say, recent Cubs pick Ian Happ or Billy McKinney?

Christopher Crawford: Potentially, he's better. The Andruw Jones comps aren't fair, but they aren't there for no reason. I think he could be a star. I don't think either of those two are stars, but if you asked me who was more likely to become a big leaguer, I'd go with both of those guys, and that's why they're better prospects -- for now.

Prich (Seattle): Just read the M's system write-up... I think I need to watch Love Actually or something to pick me up.

Christopher Crawford: I love that movie. It might be a top 15 Christmas movie.

Ryan Divish (Some Bar): You should pause to see what I'm saying about you on Twitter right now

Christopher Crawford: I have notifications on. You're a horrible person and I hope you don't have a good holiday. I like you a lot.

Carl (Eugene): I've seen a lot of criticism in the comments lately, how do you deal with negativity like that? Seems like it's been more pronounced this year over last.

Christopher Crawford: I am not an embrace debate guy. I never have been, and I never will be. I love it, though. If everyone agreed on everything, this would be super boring. As long as people respect the work I/we do, I'm great with it.

Steve (Seattle): Stick a fork in Kyle Crick? He done, even as an RP?

Christopher Crawford: Hey, speaking of criticism, this was the most "controversial" ranking we had so far. That command is terrible. Terrible. But man the stuff, I can't give up on that stuff.

Viktor (MD): How would you rank these Dynasty league players: Rutherford('16 draft-HS), Buddy Reed ('16 draft-college), Robles, Benintendi

Christopher Crawford: Oooh, this is fun. I'd probably go -- and man this is risky -- but I'd probably go Rutherford, Robles, Benintendi, Reed. I don't know if Reed can hit, but a lot of folks I've spoken with think he's the best hitter in this class. I think those people are nuts.

Luke (TX): I was reading Wilson Karaman's write up on the Phillies Astros trade, and it sounded like there may be some kinks that prevent Derek Fisher's hit tool from being above average - obviously double A ball will provide a lot better data, but curious for your perspective?

Christopher Crawford: I'd agree with Wilson, as I usually do. It doesn't have to get to above-average for him to be a regular, though. Average to ta tick above and he's an everyday corner outfielder, in my opinion.

Ted (Teddy Land): Socrates Brito -- bat profile as a fourth outfielder or a regular?

Christopher Crawford: I think the bat profiles as a fourth outfielder, there's no above-average tools there. The fact that he's a plus runner with a plus arm and a solid defender, however, make him a starter. Probably.

Mike (Chicago): Why does Tommy La Stella have a hard time getting a full-time gig? Hitters gonna hit, right?

Christopher Crawford: Hitters gonna hit, but when you lack a finite position, it's tough to play you everyday.

Joe (Olympia): Which prospect in the Lind trade was the biggest loss?

Christopher Crawford: I don't think any of them were huge losses -- none of the three were brought up in our top 10 discussions. But I'd say Missaki, he offers the most "floor/ceiling" of the three. Just as likely to be an organizational fodder guy as he is to pitch in the big leagues, though.

noone99 (Ann Arbor): Hello, who would you put the best chance of being a star -- Lara, Sierra, Robles, Monte?

Christopher Crawford: Hello. Of being a star? Robles. Lara a close second because of positional value, but Robles.

Joe (Mke): What could the Brewers get for Lucroy?

Christopher Crawford: I think you could get an A prospect, a top 30-40 guy and then some nice pieces around him. If I'm Milwaukee, I'm not dealing him unless you got a top 20 guy, though. I'm a big fan.

Jason (Philly): How do you like the ken giles trade from the Phillies perspective?

Christopher Crawford: I think they did great. I have to be honest, I was a little confused why they were moving him at first, but now that I see the return, I think they did very well for a reliever. I like it for the Astros, too, but I really liked it from the Philadelphia side.

Jeff (Manhattan Beach): Expectations for Angels' Rule 5 selections?

Christopher Crawford: I would be very, very surprised if Ji-Man Choi was on the big league roster next year. Maybe a guy the Angels could work out a deal with to put him in the system, but there's just not enough positional value to think he belongs on a roster right now.

The Dude (Office): Top 5 albums of 2015?

Christopher Crawford: Oh man, I'd have to think hard on this one. To Pimp A Butterfly is the best album of 2015, the next four? I'd have to think hard on. Maybe I'll list them as I answer the rest of these questions as they come to my mind.

William (Pensacola, FL): Any concerns with Brett Phillips and what does he need to work on in 2016?

Christopher Crawford: I guess my biggest concern is that there's not much power production outside of the California League. Thing is, he doesn't have to hit for a ton of power to be a regular in centerfield. If he can show some pop in the upper-levels though? That'd be ideal.

Ray (NYC): Thoughts on Phillies OF Nick Williams: is he a 25 HR, 15 SB, .260-.340 hitter?

Christopher Crawford: I think that's pretty much exactly what he is. Maybe there's a chance he's slightly more, but I think that's a pretty safe bet on what he is.

Kamasi Washington -- The Epic. I'm not even a huge jazz guy? But man oh man oh man is that album GREAT

Greg (Virginia Beach, VA): Do you see Amir Garrett in the Reds' rotation in a year or so? Bullpen? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: Hey Virginia Beach! I kinda miss Virginia Beach, I lived there for a couple years.

I'd say he's in the rotation at some point in 2017. His improvement in '16 was really impressive, much more consistent delivery/secondary stuff.

Future's DS2 was really good, I'm not sure if it's top 5, but it belongs in consideration.

Jack Z (Unemployment Office): SO... I couldn't build a 40-man; couldn't build a farm system; had awful people skills; didn't understand the concept of value in modern MLB... What would you say my chances of getting another GM job are!?

Christopher Crawford: Another GM job? Not anytime soon. A director job? I could see it. He was damn good at that job.

Shawn (Cubicle): Is Lucas Giolito going to be everything we all wanted Stephen Strasburg to be? Strasburg hasn't (yet) taken the leap to transcedent talent - could Giolito be that good?

Christopher Crawford: I feel like Strasburg has been a lot better than given credit for, but, yes. Giolito is the best pitching prospect in baseball. It isn't that close.

Lieutenant Kaffee (Red Sox): If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in any danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?

Christopher Crawford: I can't handle the truth.

Sufjan Stevens. For sure Sufjan Stevens.

Jerry (NYC): Who's the player with the best hit tool that you've seen in person? Can be active/retired. What's the best hit tool you've ever seen in person?

Christopher Crawford: Edgar. Incredibly biased, but Edgar. Unreal approach, repeated his swing, used the entire field, man. Edgar. Get that dude in the HOF NOW

Kimmy Gibler (Pedicure Salon): If the M's pick players at 11 & 28 that you have as the 11/28th-ish best prospects in this draft, where do you anticipate they will immediately jump in the M's system... 2/3?

Christopher Crawford: I would say that is probably right on. If Jackson struggles, maybe 1-2, or 1-3, or some variation.

Comet (the dog) (tanners backyard): What's Rafael devers' best case scenario?? Ruf

Christopher Crawford: And now we have the whole Full House family outside of Michelle and Stefanie.

I think the best-case scenario is a .300/.360/.480 type third baseman. I think the most likely scenario is a .280/.340/.460 third baseman who makes you groan with the glove here and there.

sbnbaseball (NYC): Is Rhys Hoskins an org guy, MLB regular, or star. Same question for Jeimer Candelario. Thanks Chris.

Christopher Crawford: I think he's closer to an org guy than MLB regular. A nice bench bat, perhaps. Candelario probably needs to change organizations.

CyMature (Cooperstown Retirement Home): Any word about DBundy and Hunter Harvey? Are their injuries a string of bad luck and coincidence or do they become cumulative after awhile?

Christopher Crawford: I do believe the Orioles list goes up this week!

Cubs Fan in (Oman): After Willson Contreras's breakout at AA, is he more valuable as part of a trade for a cost-controlled young starter or remaining on the Cubs?

Christopher Crawford: I wouldn't trade Contreras. It was a limited viewing, but what I saw in AFL suggests to me that he's a regular, and a really good one. What the Cubs are building right now -- and I know, you're probably sick of hearing about them if you don't live in Chicago -- is special. It's really special.

traindoggah (maine): Sickels notes Marcos Diplan as a high upside arm in the Brewers system, but he seems to be under the radar ... your take?

Christopher Crawford: I don't know if under-the-radar is fair, he was certainly considered for the top 10 and he would have made a top 15. I'm a fan, 60 fastball, solid-average curve, improving feel for pitching. Wouldn't shock me if he was a reliever because of the delivery, but, a really good one, and if he can hone it in he could be a No. 3.

Cubs Fan (Where the Best Fans Hang Out): Between shocked if it does and shocked if it doesn't happen, how surprised would you be if #MyCubbies didn't win the WS in the next 7 years?

Christopher Crawford: Shocked if it doesn't. And when it doesn't, leave me alone.

Christopher Crawford: Thanks for chatting everyone. We'll do it again in two weeks or so. Really appreciate you guys taking the time to ask me questions.


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