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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday January 20, 2016 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher Crawford: Dang, I haven't chatted with you guys since LAST YEAR. By the way, January 20 is the last day you are allowed to make that joke. Let's have some fun.

Slinkey1998 (California): At what point is Sonny Gray traded? Is the return the Braves got for Miller a reasonable expectation for return A's might get, or will they get even more?

Christopher Crawford: I have no idea when/if Gray will be traded, though I can't imagine his value getting any higher than it is right now. As for the return, I think it SHOULD be right around what Miller got, but I'm not sure it's really feasible. That's one situation where the market can't really be set because the Diamondbacks ruined the market.

Pfife Dawg (Linden Blvd.): Hey Chris, Curious what the buzz around Kohl Stewart has been in the scouting community. Are his lack of Ks a product of a change in approach or in a regression of his 'stuff'? Thanks as always for being on point

Christopher Crawford: Was just listening to "Award Tour." Stewart still has his supporters, as he should, but the stuff has seen a bit of a regression, and he's really struggled to miss bats as you mention. He looks more like a backend guy right now, which is a bit disappointing. He'll need a big 2016 to reclaim his draft stock.

MonkeyEpoxy (Amarillo): If Lewis Brinson hits his ultimate tools based ceiling, is he basically centerfield Jesus?

Christopher Crawford: I wouldn't go that far, Byron Buxton is centerfield Jesus still, to me. If Brinson maxes out, he's more like....centerfield Santa Claus.

delatopia (the 415): How about ranking MLB-debuting starting pitchers Jorge Lopez, Tyler Duffey, Cody Anderson, Zach Davies, John Lamb, Colin Rea, Mike Montgomery and Jerad Eickhoff for long-term value in a dynasty sim league, if you please? Are there big tiers or divisions there? Thanks for all your time spent on scouting and chats.

Christopher Crawford: Lopez is a clear No. 1 to me. After that I'd go Rea, Davies, Lamb, Eickhoff, Duffey, Anderson, Montgomery.

Truganini (CO): Having a hard time buying the Indians OF next year. They have always been higher on Tyler Nanquin than the rest of the world. Where would you place him amount Abraham Almonte, Rajai Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Collin Cowgill, Joey Butler, and Shane Robinson next season?

Christopher Crawford: Well, that's not exactly man inspiring group, is it? I'd probably plays him right below Chisenhall, though I should probably start treating Chisenhall with so much adoration. Davis is...well he's Rajaj Davis. The rest of those guys aren't very good.

Mokajige (Sheboygan, WI): I feel like Domingo Santana and Michael Reed are more or less a wash defensively in right field. Santana has more power than Reed. But Reed doesn't strike out near as much, walks a lot, and has better speed on the bases. Am I crazy for thinking he could be the better MLB corner OF, in the mold of Nori Aoki?

Christopher Crawford: Crazy? Nah. I don't agree, however. I think Reed profiles much better as a fourth outfielder, and Santana I still think has a chance to be a very good starter in right field, maybe even a middle of the order hitter someday even with the strikeouts. I've been a fan for a long time.

Cubbie Bear (Chi-Town): Was Willson Contreras breakout batting performance more of a product of his extraordinarily high .370 BABIP or was there some true improvements in his hitting approach?

Christopher Crawford: No question that a .370 BABIP is unsustainable, but no, there was real improvement in the approach/swing path. If there's such thing as an underrated Cubs prospect, it's Contreras. He's one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball, maybe even the best.

Rick (Sheboygan): In May, Erick Fedde will be two years removed from TJ surgery. He was a top prospect before the operation, and was still drafted 18th overall despite just having gone under the knife. Obviously there is talent and potential there. What do you expect from him going forward and what kind of ceiling does he have?

Christopher Crawford: Cautiously optimistic. When he was healthy he shows two plus pitches and above-average control, and he still has some projection; that fastball could be plus-plus someday. Needs to throw the change more, needs to show he can handle a full season, but there's a lot of reason for optimism. Cautiously?

Paul (Montauk): Can you do a compare/contrast between bradley zimmer and brett phillips? Which is the more exciting offensive prospect?

Christopher Crawford: Sure we can. I they're pretty similar offensively; but Zimmer with a much better approach and I think slightly more power potential (need to see Phillips hit for power somewhere other than the Cal league.) Phillips is a little more likely to stay in centerfield, but I think both will, and that's why I like Zimmer more; he's just such a fun combination of ceiling/floor.

Chris (Baltimore): In a 14 team 5 x 5 Mixed for the next 3 years, would you rather have Donaldson for 25,28,31 or C. Seager 7,10,13 & Yelich 11,14,17?

Christopher Crawford: I think probably the latter? I'm such a big Seager fan (shocking, I know) and Yelich still shows so many flashes of brilliance. Donaldson is a stud, but, I prefer the young/cheap option.

John (CT): Thanks for the chat Is Grady Sizemore at his peak a good comparison for Bradley Zimmer's potential?

Christopher Crawford: As far as comps go, it's not a bad one at all. Sizemore more power and real speed, but Zimmer applies himself so well on the bases and obviously isn't bereft of pop.

Sean (Death Star): Carlos Rodon - better to keep for one year at $5 or for two at $10 & $15? Also what do feel Trea Turner's production will be this year? Seems cloudy with the recent signings and idea that Espinosa will start at SS. Thanks

Christopher Crawford: I'd want Rodon long term. He's ridiculous. As for Turner, I think he probably doesn't make the move up until later in the year, which obviously limits the fantasy value. Once he's up though, he could be a lot of fun because stolen bases are fun. Still not entirely convinced he's a long-term shortstop but he's made strides there.

Jeff (SoCal): Assuming the white sox don't have the funds to sign Cespedes and don't want to part with a pick, what would you do to improve the ballclub. Or do you go into the season as is and wait for opportunities to improve open up.

Christopher Crawford: That's a great question, I thought we'd see Chicago much more active. At this point -- assuming no Cespedes -- I probably wait and see how the first two months play out and figure out where to go. The only problem with that situation is that the system stinks, so unless you move Fulmer, Anderson or Spencer Adams? You probably aren't getting much. Pretty tough situation.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Chris, My team figures to be a contender this season in a 12 team 5x5 OBP keeper league based on my offense. My pitching was barely in the upper 1/3 last season. I am debating whether to keep Price at $30, Lester at $21 or Tanaka at $12 as my #1 starter. If I keep Lester, I could use the money saved to pick up a decent starter, and if I keep Tanaka I could probably pick up two starters, yet Price is the only true #1 pitcher I have. What do you recommend?

Christopher Crawford: I'd keep either Price or Tanaka, I'm never a huge fan of the middle option, and I don't know why. I think even at 2.5 the cost, Price is the safer option. Do that. Flags Fly Forever.

Chris (Baltimore): Help me dream on Bubba Starling. Is this the year to add him in a 4 yr 4 round penalty 15 team 5 x 5 league?

Christopher Crawford: I do have to admit that I had to ask my buddy Craig Goldstein what a 4 yr 4 round penalty was. Now that I know, man that sounds like a ROUGH league. I'd say no, we need to see Starling have another year of competence at the plate. I realize if he does that you risk having to take him much higher, but it's just too much risk for me.

TrickDaddy14 (Ohio): I've seen projections all over the board for both Eddy Julio Martinez and N. Mazara... Please rank in order: Mazara, Brinson, Robles, Beninetendi, N. Williams, EJMartinez.

Christopher Crawford: I think you just did. Trick love da kids.

Mike (Baltimore): Chris, thanks for the chat. Who do you prefer as the potential long-term 1B for my Orioles? Mancini or Walker? I've noticed Mancini getting more and more love after a fantastic 2015. What kind of numbers do you see him putting up in his prime? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: Long-term? I think Mancini; I just don't know if Walker is ever going to hit for enough power to be my long-term answer at first. Mancini isn't perfect by any means, but unless you're a guy like Dominic Smith, I prefer my first baseman to be a bopper. Just a personal preference.

Paul (DC): Several promising starting pitchers got partial (more than just a September cup of coffee) or half seasons in last year. Kindly sort who you like most to least over the long term: Severino, Matz, Iglesias, McCullers, Jungman, Nola, and Ross. Cheers!

Christopher Crawford: Well, since you asked nicely: Nola, Matz, McCullers, Iglesias, Severino, Jungman. I'm the low man on Severino though.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Will JP Crawford or Orlando Arcia be in the bigs this year for more than a cup o' coffee?

Christopher Crawford: I think if one of them is going to be, it's Arcia. Neither one is guaranteed, but I think Arcia is slightly more ready to contribute offensively at the big league level. Crawford the better prospect/last name, but Arcia slightly more ready.

Karl (San Angelo): Is Buddy Reed or Corey Ray the better prospect?

Christopher Crawford: I like Ray substantially more than Reed, though that is not necessarily the industry consensus. Reed's the better athlete and more likely to stick in center, but I just don't see either the hit or power tool above 50 at this point. Ray can really hit and can play center, and he starts the year as my best collegiate bat by a considerable margin.

MascherD (Missouri): If soler were still eligible for prospect lists, where would he rank right now in the Cubs system? Do you think they should move him for pitching and acquire a true CF and move Heyward to right?

Christopher Crawford: I would have Soler at No. 1, and pretty easily. I'm still a big, big fan. That being said, if you could trade him for say...a Sonny Gray? I'd consider it. I'd consider it a great deal. That Cubs team is ready to win right now, darn it, and they can "afford" to lose a talent like Soler even if he becomes a middle of the order star in right.

Chrishatesmyteam (Everywhere): Why do you hate my favorite team?

Christopher Crawford: There's a couple of reasons, really. I don't wanna get into them, though. But gosh do I ever hate your stupid, stupid team.

Tim (AZ): If the Astros offer Reed, Martes, Fisher and Daz/Tucker for Freeman and Perez. How can the Braves say no?

Christopher Crawford: I don't think they can. I don't think there's anyway in hell that the Astros would offer that much.

mbeemsterboer (Wisconsin): Who are your top 3 prospects from last years draft and recent int'l signings?

Christopher Crawford: From the draft it'd be Brendan Rodgers, Dansby Swanson and Dillon Tate. From the international signings it'd be Yadier Alvarez, Eddy Julio Martinez and Vlad Guerrero, Jr.

JERVIN (DFW TX): I was actually wondering if you recommend any specific sites to set up a deep dynasty league with a farm system, etc.?

Christopher Crawford: If anyone can help with this, I'll be sure to link.

James (No Rams Land): Early predictions on your AL and NL rookies of the year? And perhaps the runners-up?

Christopher Crawford: This is highly speculative but I'll go AL 1. Buxton 2. Gallo NL 1. Seager 2. Matz. Probably captain obvious with both.

Jimmy (Texas): It seems like Byung-ho Park has 70+ raw power, but there understandably remains uncertainty about his ability to adjust and make contact in the show. He was near-top or really good in the KBO in walk rate, strikeout rate, and ISO (but so was Eric Thames). 20HR seems like a good baseline, but is 30 HRs too much to dream on?

Christopher Crawford: That's a great question. I really don't know if it's fair to answer that question. From what I've seen, I think 20-25 is pretty likely if he hits enough to play everyday. The difference in pitching in the MLB and the KBO is just so different in terms of quality/need to make adjustments, though. I think we'll get a better idea in Spring Training. Sorry to answer your question with a non-answer.

big time timmy jim (somewhere): Can you please rank the following outfield prospects on how much you like them in terms of future fantasy potential? Andrew Benintendi, Trent Clark, Kyle Tucker, Daz Cameron and Cornelius Randolph. Thanks for the chat!

Christopher Crawford: I would go Benintendi, Tucker, Clark, Cameron, Randolph.

Grizzle (the 513): What wonderment shall we find on your Reds top 10 list?

Christopher Crawford: That comes out tomorrow, and there's SO much wonderment. SO MUCH.

No but seriously, this system 1-8 is pretty darn good. Takes a pretty big dive after, but 1-8 is pretty darn good.

fightingmoose (Manitoba): RE: Deep dynasty league fantasy sites. CBS Fantasy works very well for us. 320 minor league players deep. 16X 20 man minors rosters. Annual CBS fee though.

Christopher Crawford: Thank you, Mr. Moose.

JT (Alabama): What are your thoughts on Derek Hill? I know he has crazy speed, but will he hit enough to be a factor or will his defensive value carry him?

Christopher Crawford: I think so. He got off to a disaster of a start but he was starting to hit before the injury. Still think he's easily the best offensive player in the system. That may not be saying a whole heck of a lot, I know.

JohnJacob (Irvine, CA): Have you been to any amateur games/events other than PG All American? Seems like most of your scouting is done off of video.

Christopher Crawford: It is true that I do a lot of video scouting, more so last year than any other as I adjusted to the new role at BP. I did go to the Area Code Games for a couple of days this summer, however, and I'll be doing a LOT more coverage this spring.

Mike (Vegas): Is Brett Phillips really 5-tool?

Christopher Crawford: Depending on your definition of 5-tool. I think there is a CHANCE at five above-average ones. Certainly not five plus tools, though.

fightingmoose (Manitoba): What are the chances that Pompey could wrestle the LF job away from Saunders in Toronto and bat lead off? Pompey's value could skyrocket if he can get on base ahead of those Blue Jays bats am I right?

Christopher Crawford: Certainly a chance, absolutely. I think the Blue Jays would honestly prefer it, even with Saunders flashing so much potential with the bat at times. I still think he could become a top of the order hitter who steals a lot of bases and scores a lot of runs, but he really needs to show he can make some adjustments, particularly with secondary stuff.

Joe Madden (Chi Town): I really want to utilize Javier Baez to the best of his abilities, but can't find anywhere to play him! This kid could be something very special, am I correct?

Christopher Crawford: You are correct, and you're in a tough spot. If you aren't playing him everyday, you need to send him to Iowa. It's not like he's 26, let the kid develop and get the at-bats he needs. It doesn't sound like he's going to play everyday anytime soon, so, either trade him or let him pile up the PCL stats.

the biggest CHC fan (parent's basement): Can you give me a quick scouting report on Ian Happ? What kind of player can he become and what are the chances? He made quite a good impression in his short stint in the minors last season. Offensive minded 2B with 15/15 potential?

Christopher Crawford: A lot to like. Really strong approach at the plate, good swing from both sides of the plate, sneaky pop, above-average runner. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE NEXT BEN ZOBRIST I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY THE GUY WHO MAKES THE MOST SENSE AND YES THE CAPS ARE INTENTIONAL BECAUSE IM TIRED OF THIS QUESTION. Anyway, yeah, Ian Happ is pretty good.

John (PA): Any no-doubter type talents in the 2017 draft field? curious if there's anybody that is worth knowing about 17 months out.

Christopher Crawford: No doubters this far away are impossible, but you should be looking at guys like J.B. Bukauskas (UNC), KJ Harrison (Oregon State), Hunter Greene (Notre Dame HS), Hagen Danner (Huntington Beach HS). Those are the guys off the top of the dome.

Matt (DC): Hey Chris, thanks for the chat. As a college kid close to graduation who wants to work work as a scout, what would be your recommendations on things I need to learn (outside of going to games)? ie. Analytics, computer language etc. Thanks

Christopher Crawford: Having an understanding of analytics certainly can't hurt. Big thing is organizational skills, showing quality time management, and a willingness to stick your neck out on players. I don't have a job in baseball, but, I feel pretty confident in saying those things are big.

mrbunnyhead (terres des lapins): not a question, actually, just a picayune correction : Buxton and Gallo are not eligible for ROY in '16.

Christopher Crawford: Oh. Well, not those guys then!

mbeemsterboer (Somewhere Cold): Blake Swihart for Raimel Tapia - which side you like?

Christopher Crawford: Swihart, by a lot. Like a lot a lot.

Chris (NY): Thoughts on the Yankees top prospects, Sanchez, Judge, Bird and Mateo? Do they become the new core 4 or are they over hyped? Rank them for us dynasty league players, please. Thanks.

Christopher Crawford: They have a solid young core of players. It's so much improved from where it was a couple of years ago. I'd go Judge, Mateo, Sanchez, Bird. I don't know if they're guys to "build around" but they are very, very nice supplemental pieces, and Judge just might be one of those 5 win type outfielders.

Kalimantan (Cornwall): The prospects series are great, thanks. I'm asking about a guy who is a couple of years removed from being a prospect and isn't setting the baseball world alight yet, Kolten Wong. I enjoy the way he plays the game and was rooting for him to be the next Dustin Pedroia, so his big second-half slump in 2015 was rather disappointing. Is there still projection there for him and what can he become?

Christopher Crawford: I've always been lower on Wong -- and outside of position he and Pedroia couldn't be much more different -- but I still do believe he's an everyday second baseman even with the struggles in the second half. Still a good approach, still a solid defender. Just not gonna be a guy you want hitting at the top of the lineup. Not for me, anyway.

Silverback38 (VA): Would you stash Shohei Otani in a dynasty league with only 12 prospect slots?

Christopher Crawford: Ya know, I think I might, just because if you hit on him, my gosh. Huge risk, HUGE reward.

Gary (Ellicott City): Some think Delvin Perez is a better talent than even Rutherford in the upcoming draft. What are you thoughts? Stick with Rutherford who most scouts have tracked for a couple of years or Perez who came out of nowhere it seems?

Christopher Crawford: Based on what I've heard recently/video (YEP, VIDEO), Perez by a significant margin. That's not to say I don't like Rutherford, he's the second best prep hitting prospect in this draft, and he MIGHT establish himself ahead of Perez with a big year. But Perez has that "you know, this guy could go 1.1" feel. Never have gotten that feeling with Rutherford.

Umm.. think of something clever... (Couldn't): F*** one, marry one, kill one. Lindor, Correa, Russell.

Christopher Crawford: Nope.

Christopher Crawford: That was the perfect non question to end the chat on, as I have to go take on the real world/make some important phone calls. Reds list will be up tomorrow. Thanks for reading/chatting, everyone!


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