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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 03, 2016 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher Crawford: It's been too long. I missed you, Victor Robles questions.

Chris (California): In a 6x6 dynasty league (OPS and K/BB added) with no keeper costs, I can only keep 7 of these guys: C. Frazier, McMahon, B. Zimmer, Gallo, T. Anderson, Bregman, De Leon, and Robles. Who do you cut?

Christopher Crawford: That's a solid list. For me, the easy cut is Frazier, but -- again -- I'm the low guy on him. I just don't see a centerfielder, and that puts too much pressure on the bat, in my humble opinion.

Tom (Chi TOWN): Who would you take in a Dynasty League right now? Shohei Otani or Anderson Espinoza?

Christopher Crawford: Otani and it's not close, and I say that as the founding member of the Anderson Espinoza fan club.

Chad (Colorado): Shohei Otani - Best Pitcher not in MLB? When will he come over?

Christopher Crawford: Yes, and no idea, but hopefully soon.

DavidMGibson (Home of the BC Manatees): Joc Pederson has come to spring training supposedly with a new swing he's worked on in the offseason, a la Mike Moustakas. He says he's worked on better contact and spraying the ball to all fields and not concerned with hitting HR's. How much of this spring training talk do you buy into? Does it take a couple of years to really adjust your swing?

Christopher Crawford: The "new swing" isn't quite the "best shape of my life" in terms of making me roll my eyes, but it's close. That being said, it's nice to hear, and if Pederson can make more contact/trust the natural strength, it will help the hit tool immensely.

Buck (Ohio): Which Jays prospects would be an appropriate bounty in exchange for Jay Bruce?

Christopher Crawford: I wouldn't give up very much; even in a system as weak as the Blue Jays I wouldn't give up a prospect in the top 10. Maybe someone like Reggie Pruitt? Brady Dragmire? Something like that.

Truganini (CO): In the Jay Bruce / Michael Saunders trade, who on earth was going from the Angels' wasteland of a system to the Reds? Actually, better question, if you were the Reds who would you want back from the Angels for Bruce?

Christopher Crawford: I have no idea, but I can guarantee it wasn't much more than a mediocre prospect, because, well, you know why.

Reid Scott (Cleveland): I just moved to Cleveland. I am the king of my fantasy baseball league. How do I become the King of Tinder?

Christopher Crawford: Swiping in the direction necessary. I have no idea what the direction is, but you must swipe it in order to rule the land of Tinder, I guess.

Drew (Illinois): How come BP doesn't have a little blurb at the top of the chat page, when the chat is posted but prior to when it starts, giving a blurb about what the writer who will be hosting it specializes in? I assume it has to be tiresome for whoever is chatting to reply umpteen times a chat with "that's a question better asked of BP group X". And this seems like it would at least stop the questions from people who didn't know any better. That being said I love this website and all of the content you and the other writers produce. Thank you.

Christopher Crawford: That's a question that's better answered by...

Sorry. It's not a bad idea, though. I'll bring it up to the higher ups!

Chopper (Indy): Do you foresee Tim Anderson (White Sox) being a first-division ss in the future, and what are the chances of CarGo getting dealt by the Rockies?

Christopher Crawford: I think that's the ceiling, yes. Plus hit tool, double-plus speed, good enough defense. I sure would like to see more patience at the plate (outside of a VERY small sample size at the end of the year) but yeah, he's good.

I would guess CarGo is dealt either this summer or this spring. It doesn't make sense to keep him on the roster if anyone is willing to give something good, and assuming he's healthy, they will.

I think they SHOULD deal him, but it sure se

coffeeguy8806 (Chicago): Do you think Adrian Rodon will blossom into an above average player at short? Seems like they spent allot to sign em... Thanks

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, I think he can be. Very talented player, a chance for three plus tools. It's just a matter of putting it together, and as you can see from his stats, that's a long way away. Still, I'm on the high side, and by the end of the decade I think he absolutely could be a regular at shortstop or third base.

Chris (Baltimore): Really like BP chats the best out of all the options on the internet. Your guys are helpful without appearing to have a chip on the shoulder. Question: Please rank the following 6 players as my 1st pick in a minor league draft. I'll likely be able to choose from the following: Brinson, B Zimmer, Brendan Rodgers, Nick Williams, Benentendi, and Snell.

Christopher Crawford: Thanks!

I would go

Rodgers
Zimmer
Brinson
Snell
Benintendi
Williams

There all great options, I just think Rodgers ability to play shortstop and chance for plus hit/power totals makes him the guy.

Jimmy (TX): if I recall correctly, you haven't been the biggest fan of Kolten Wong's bat in the past (e.g., platoon struggles vs LHP, limited power) ... is that still the case? In light of the Cards' long-term extension, just wondering if they see something in terms of upside?

Christopher Crawford: He's certainly been better than I thought he'd be, and I think he is a solid starting second baseman. That being said, that extension surprised me. Seems pretty aggressive to me. The Cardinals love him, however, and if you think he's the guy, I guess it's nice to know you have him long-term.

Viktor (MD): Blake Snell came out of nowhere last year to fly through the minor league system. In first appearance of spring he got lit up. Any concern that he's not legitimate and is more of back of rotation guy than front of the rotation?

Christopher Crawford: Definitely not concerned based on a Spring Training start. Stuff has always been impressive (though it did take a step up in 2015, no question) but it's his ability to throw that stuff for strikes that made the jump. He's legit.

Jimmy (TX): Does the evaluation of a hit tool include on base skills? Correct if off base, but seems like this varies across the industry? E.g., some folks evaluate on base as part of hit tool - whereas some might address as a footnote, such as below-average hit tool with good OBP skills. Just curious for your general perspective in terms of contextualizing scouting reports.

Christopher Crawford: Great question. Personally? I absolutely evaluate on-base skills in the hit tool. I think you have to; the ability to recognize pitches and show the ability to work counts is critical. Of course, we're not scouting the stat line, so we're looking more for things like bat speed, swing plan, ability to keep the hands in, etc., but in the overall grade of the player/reaching the hit tool's ceiling, I think you have to keep the on-base skills in mind.

Nick (Wilmington): Do you think Wheeler is drastically better than Archie Bradley?

Christopher Crawford: No, not drastically. Wheeler is -- and this is weird to say -- probably the safer prospect, but Bradley has plenty of upside and looked good in instructs.

Sam (Connecticut): Victor Robles a top 5 prospect next year?

Christopher Crawford: I would be very, very surprised if Robles was a top 10 prospect next year, much less a top five. I love the guy as much as everyone else, but that just seems like a massive jump.

Ed (NY): Where would Shohei Otani be in your prospect rankings if he was eligible?

Christopher Crawford: I would put him at number one if he was a real life prospect. He's not a prospect, though. He's ready to pitch in the big leagues right now.

edwardarthur (Illinois): Scouting a stat line, I see a strong similarity between Ruddy Giron and Rougned Odor at the same age -- short middle infielders with similar pretty good lines as 18 year olds in A ball -- in both cases accompanied by good reports on their make-up. Is there anything to this comparison?

Christopher Crawford: I think that's the best case for Giron, but I don't think he's nearly as talented, with all due respect to him. I might be overrating Odor, but I don't think Giron is ever an above-average regular up the middle.

cflanders (BC): Hi Chris, With Yusniel Diaz's lack of power, is that due to his physique or his swing? Is it possible for him to add power down the road?

Christopher Crawford: It's a little bit of both. He's not bereft of strength, but this is not a bopper profile by any stretch of the imagination. The swing path also doesn't have much loft, so expecting more than a handful of homers is expecting too much, in my opinion.

Kyle (Long Island): Seriously, with all the hype aside, who has the more achievable upside and likely the better long term player: Victor Robles or Anthony Alford?

Christopher Crawford: More achievable upside? I'd have to go with Alford. The improvement in the approach cannot be overstated; his hit tool grade probably went up a grade and a half, if not more. Robles substantially higher upside, but Alford more likely to reach it.

Lonny (Cleveland): What are your thoughts of Cody Ponce?

Christopher Crawford: Cautiously optimistic. Ponce shows two plus pitches in his fastball and cutter, and mixes in a solid average curveball as well. I don't love the delivery, and he's not gonna have much more than average command -- if that. Still, I think you could be looking at a solid mid-rotation arm if everything goes right, or a high leverage reliever if it doesn't.

Jerry (Earth): Hey Chris. Was wondering if I could get your opinion on these 3 low minor prospects: Stone Garrett, Wuilmer Becerra, Luis Alexander Basabe. How would you rank them if they were in your system?

Christopher Crawford: I like all three. I'd go Basabe first, followed by Becerra and Garrett. Many in the industry prefer Garrett, and I may just be late on him. But Basabe to me has the highest probability and ceiling, so that's the call for me.

David (Atlantis): Mr. Crawford. Any chance you can hit us with some knowledge on Michael Kopech, Triston McKenzie & Michael Gonsalves. Or was it stupid to even bother you with.

Christopher Crawford: It's only stupid to bother me if I haven't eaten and/or am sleepy. I'm only one of the two right now so that's okay.

Kopech is fun; plus-plus fastball, plus slider, feel for missing bats. If the change can be more than a third pitch/he can throw enough strikes, he could be a No. 2. Nonzero chance he ends up in the bullpen, however.

McKenzie is almost entirely projection, but projection is fun. A chance for three above-average pitches, learning to repeat the delivery. I just don't know if he'll be durable enough to pitch in a rotation.

I assume you mean Stephen Gonsalves here, and he's also fun. Gets downhill with the fastball, plus change. Just needs to show more consistency with the breaking ball and he's a mid-rotation guy, too.

dre day (NY): 14 team, 6x6, roto auction league with $260 to spend at draft, but goes up to $300 at start of the season. Do you keep Goldy at $54, Kang $11 or Moncada at $11? Would love to lock in Goldy, but is that price too steep?

Christopher Crawford: Boy, that's 1/5 of your budget on one guy, but in my opinion, Goldschmidt is the second best fantasy player in baseball, so...I do it.

TrickDaddy14 (Love da kids): What is your projected stats lines for Victor Robles, Bradley Zimmer and Andrew Benintendi? Please rank them for fantasy dynasty purposes. Thank you.

Christopher Crawford: Trick do, in fact, love the kids. I wouldn't dear give projected stat lines, but ranking for fantasy I'd go Zimmer, Robles Benintendi.

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): Two catcher dynasty points league: Chris Sale or Kyle Schwarber?

Christopher Crawford: Schwarber, I always take the hitter over the pitcher.

paladin (philippines): eddy julio martinez seems to have four solid tools but not much HR pop as yet while willie calhoun hit very well with power in high Class A. what is the realistic upside, chances of reaching their potential and ETA of each? if you had to choose one, which one would you choose?

Christopher Crawford: I'd take Martinez and it isn't close. Calhoun is more of a bench bat to me, Martinez has a legit chance to be a five tool player if the power comes. Not a guarantee, but that's much more valuable than Calhoun, with all due respect.

Hank (Charlotte): Is there any college player that you've seen in the short season that is really improving his draft stock into top 10 picks this summer?

Christopher Crawford: I think Matt Krook being healthy gives him that chance. He wasn't great for me opening weekend, but there were flashes of brilliance; particularly with the curveball.

fightingmoose (Manitoba, Canada): Do you see Kenta Maeda as a top 60 pitcher or is he more in the 60-90 range? The incentive rich contract he signed should be a good thing right?

Christopher Crawford: A top 60 pitcher implies to me that he should be close to a No. 2 starter. That's asking a lot. I'd say he's closer to a three. The contract is nice for both parties, potentially, but I was surprised there wasn't more guaranteed cash.

Roger (Helmand): What is your opinion of Jorge Ona?

Christopher Crawford: Haven't had a chance to see more than a few moments of video, but reports are interesting. Plus power, good approach at the plate, plus arm that should play well in right. Volatile because there isn't a lot of experience here, but the upside is a first division right fielder.

Jack (TN): Would you trade Stras and Baez for Salazar and ARussell in a H2H 5x5 dynasty? I need a SS, but do you think I need a prospect or something thrown into the deal?

Christopher Crawford: Dealing Strasburg would crush me, but yeah, I'd probably do that deal if only because I think Russell is substantially more valuable than Baez.

nubber (tx): Who is the most real deal Holyfield: Alex Reyes, Tyler Glasnow, or Blake Snell?

Christopher Crawford: Before seeing him this fall, I would have put Reyes behind Glasnow. I kinda/sorta fell in love in the AFL though. I go Reyes, Glasnow, Snell. Man oh man are all three good, though.

brian (WIS): High upside but far away pitchers. who ya got? kopech, oscar de la cruz, kilome, david paulino, dylan cease, junior fernandez, triston mckenzie? can you rank your top 3 or so?

Christopher Crawford: Cease is easily the top of that list, for me. Probably go Kopech, Kilome next. Industry is higher on Kilome than I am.

Fishinrob (MI ): I see you had Zimmer higher rated than Brinson, is it the higher floor ? And what do you realistically see each becoming?

Christopher Crawford: I do, which is not to say that I don't like Brinson, I like Brinson a lot. Zimmer just is a much safer prospect, in my estimation. There are still some questions that I have with Brinson's hit tool, even though he's an elite defender. Both end up starting centerfielders, I'd just bet on Zimmer having the more sustainable career.

Jon (CA): With a half season in AA, I was surprised to see you give Jose Deleon a 2017 ETA. What's keeping him from getting a look this and maybe even contributing?

Christopher Crawford: There's absolutely a chance that Deleon reaches the big leagues in 2016, it's just not what I would bet on. He needs to show more consistency with the breaking ball if he's going to get a call up, and I think there's still some work to be done there. Like him a lot, just not sure he's a rotation member this summer.

nubber (tx): Nick Williams, Andrew Benintendi, Lewis Brinson, and Nomar Mazara: who do you think is best in real life and in fantasy?

Christopher Crawford: Mazara. Always go with Mazara. Did you see that homer yesterday? Googily moogily.

Gary (Indy): After last season and blocked in the rotation, what are your thoughts on Marco Gonzales?

Christopher Crawford: Still think he has a future as a starting pitcher. Last year was no doubt is a disappointment, but he still has the stuff/command to pitch in the middle of a rotation. Whether or not that's in St. Louis is another question.

Okie (Muskogee): How good do you think Berrios can be? His showing in your Ask the Industry article was impressive.

Christopher Crawford: Don't wanna spoil the Twins rankings -- which will be out next week! -- but I like him. A lot.

Jack (MN): Do you think Jorge Polanco can hold his own defensively at SS and be a league average bat?

Christopher Crawford: Same deal, don't wanna spoil, but I will. yes, I do.

traindoggah (space): If you had to cut two of the following (Huascar Ynoa, Jairo Labourt, Adonis Medina & Jermaine Palacios) from your (extremely deep) dynasty roster, who would it be and why?

Christopher Crawford: Good Lord. Probably Labourt and Palacios. Definitely not Medina. I like Medina a lot.

Eric Cartman (CO): Where is the punch and pie!?

Christopher Crawford: I lied.

Christopher Crawford: Thanks for coming to chat with me, everyone. Twins and Cubs lists are up next week. Also, the 2016 Draftbook is coming soon! Be on the lookout for a way to purchase that, because you're gonna love it. I promise. Talk to you all soon!


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