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Chat: Christopher Crawford

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday May 12, 2016 1:00 PM ET chat session with Christopher Crawford.

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Christopher is a Senior Prospect Writer at Baseball Prospectus. Don't get him started on Dom Smith.

Christopher Crawford: Hi!

dylanrox (New Orleans): Best stash in 14 team H2H points league - a prospect like JP Crawford, Swanson or TAILLON OR a DL stash like Ryu DeSclafani or Devon Travis (Rendon is my 2B, Parra or Tomas my UTIL). Would you drop Tomas or Carlos Rodon to clear the roster spot? Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: I would not drop Carlos Rodon because I am contractually obligated to always have Carlos Rodon. I don't think any of these guys but Ryu is helping much in 2016.

Dan (LA): Is Anderson Espinoza the #1 pitching prospect next season?

Christopher Crawford: I adore Anderson Espinoza, but probably not. Really good chance that both Giolito and Urias qualify, same with Alex Reyes, and those guys will get the nod, me thinks.

Ben (Texas): Victor Robles - a top 5 prospect now?

Christopher Crawford: Keep the streak alive!

Nah. And I don't think he ever will be. Top five is rare air, my friend.

Craig (CT): What kind of potential does Ronald Acuna have? Victor Robles Potential?

Christopher Crawford: Looks left.

Looks right.

I think he has MORE potential than Victor Robles. How's that for a hot take at 10:00 in the morning on a Thursday?

JR (b Town): Worried about JP CRawford? Can he better then Francisco Lindor?

Christopher Crawford: Not worried at all. Dude has a .391 OBP. The hits will start dropping.

I'm not sure he can be as good as Lindor, but, that's because Lindor is sensational. Crawford will be good, I'm just not sure he's Lindor.

wileecoyote121 (Larchmont, NY): Thanks for the chat. I have not heard a lot about David Thompson, the Mets farmhand slashing .299/.370/.496 (with 36 RBIs) in A ball for Columbia. Should I be excited, or what?

Christopher Crawford: I was surprised Thompson lasted to the fourth round, and I do think there's some offensive upside. Above-average power, some feel for the barrel. My question is defensively. Below-average arm, below-average hands, well below-average speed. Could he be a platoon first baseman? I think so, but an everyday third baseman is probably out of the question.

Bob (Cincy): Recently, Delvin Perez seems to be connected to Reds at #2. Thoughts on if you've heard similar things or anyone else connected to them ? If maturity issues check out ok for Reds, I love the upside pick with no clear cut, top 2-3 elite prospects in this draft.

Christopher Crawford: Certainly a player they're considering, along with Corey Ray and Groome. He'd be a fine pick, he's as talented as any player in the draft. High risk, high reward.

Ryan (USA): What's up with Jorge Lopez? Has had an awful start to the year.

Christopher Crawford: Command has been atrocious. I think he's working through some stuff right now, maybe trying a little too hard to get back to Milwaukee. Long-term I think he'll be fine, but the control/command has to get better.

Paul (DC): Rate your top 5 historical Crawfords. As this is a baseball leaning site, I'll go out on the proverbial limb and guess you will list Sam Crawford as #1.

Christopher Crawford: 1. Sam 2. Joan 3. Carl 4. Me 5. Paxton

Andrew (DC): Have you heard anything about Austin Voth this year? He's tearing up AAA, with 36 Ks and 5 BBs in 35 innings.

Christopher Crawford: I like Voth a lot. He pounds the strike zone with all three pitches, and even if none of them are plus, all three flash above-average. Not an ace, but the type of guy who could pitch at the back of a rotation for a long time, or, maybe you could see if the stuff plays up in the bullpen. That'd be a waste, but the Nationals rotation could be full.

Jerry (Earth): Hey Chris. Was hoping to get your thoughts on some Low Minor Pitchers off to strong starts: Stephen Gonsalves & Mitch Keller? Should there strong start adjust our perspectives on them or too early?

Christopher Crawford: Both are people you should be paying attention to, in particular Keller. He showed filthy stuff as a prep in Iowa, and flashes of brilliance (and a lot of not so brilliant) as a pro. It really seems to be coming together, and it gives the Pirates ANOTHER potential stud in their rotation. They're getting good at this.

Leonard (None of Your Business): Mr. Crawford. As someone who hoped on the pre-season bandwagon of Eloy Jimenez & Luis Alexander Basabe what should we be looking for from them this season as seems mixed results as of now?

Christopher Crawford: Mixed results are going to happen all year, what I think you should be looking for is some semblance of consistency, particularly in the second half. Both these guys are extremely talented, and their upside suggests they can be impact players. It's just gonna take some time.

David (Atlantis): Trying not to scout stat lines but the start of the season so far for both Francis Martes & Erick Fedde hasn't been what I expected. Any concerns or do I need to relax as still early in the season?

Christopher Crawford: The thing about scouting the stat line is that when you're walking guys like Martes is, you can go ahead and scout the stat line. You can't create that much self-inflicted damage, you just can't. Stuff is elite and I don't have long-term concerns because he's thrown strikes at every other level, but he's gonna have to make some adjustments.

I've gotten mostly positive reports on Fedde, it looks to me like he's being BABIP'd quite a bit. Also keep in mind there's rust to shake off there.

Bob (Northern Hemisphere): Can we get your thoughts on some diverse group of prospects: Joe Musgrove, Ronald Guzman, Jacob Faria, Tyler O'Neill, & Max Fried? Can we see any of them this year in the show & should we be buying or concerned in there early season performance?

Christopher Crawford: Well, that certainly is a diverse group of prospects. The only one I would say is going to make an impact in 2016 is Musgrove, he was just promoted to Triple-A after dominating in Corpus Christi. Really impressed with O'Neill's start, the approach has improved a lot over this first month. Fried is struggling to throw strikes (common theme!) but like Fedde, some rust to shake off there, he needs to just stay healthy. But yeah, the guy who is gonna make an impact in 2016 is Musgrove. I was too low on him this preseason.

Greg (NY): Hey Chris. What do you think of Amed Rosario? Looks great so far. Is he a guy who could skyrocket on top prospect kids by midseason?

Christopher Crawford: A ton to like. Chance for an above-average hit tool, average power at the plate, and he can flat out pick it at shortstop with a cannon for an arm. There's a real chance he's a top 50 prospect right now, maybe higher.

gumby (WI): Could Mitch Keller be shaping into something much more than a back-end starter? Could he be a 2?

Christopher Crawford: It is not out of the realm of possibility that Keller is a top of the rotation guy, but I'd bet on something slightly lower. Mid-rotation guy.

padremurph (Los Angeles): How worried should I be about Rudy Giron's awful start repeating the MWL?

Christopher Crawford: Slightly. I like the swing, but he's apparently making a lot of weak contact, and he's another of these guys who doesn't see a ton of pitches while working counts into his favor. He's a teenager, though, and there's a lot of baseball to be played. I think he'll be fine. I'm feeling optimistic today.

BC (Urbandale): First of all, this is just a for fun question. If the Nationals were going to try and trade Harper, which teams have the horses to land him? Cubs? Giants? Dodgers? For the Cubs example, who all would it take to get Harper?

Christopher Crawford: I just tried to trade Mike Trout, now I gotta try and trade Bryce Harper? FUN FOR WHO? FUN FOR WHO???

I'd want Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, an early viewing of Episode VIII, and a dune buggy that shoots fire.

gumby (WI): In the Astros system, who has the highest ceiling (as a SP) amongst Musgrove, Paulino, A Abreu? Any potential #2 in that bunch?

Christopher Crawford: I would say Abreu has the highest ceiling ever-so-slightly above Paulino. He also is the least likely to stay a starting pitcher, so, take that for what it's worth. But with a 70 fastball and a 60 slider, I'd go with Abreu. All three are fun.

General tso (Miami): Steve matz is a top __ pitcher in the major leagues

Christopher Crawford: I'm terrible at this kind of thing. Top 40? Is that too high? Low?

Freakish (Tulane): How good is Michael conforto? 4-6 WAR player per year guy?

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, I think so. Maybe closer to a 3-5 WAR player to play it safe, but he's really good.

padremurph (Los Angeles): What do you think of Fort Wayne's trio: Austin Smith, Jacob Nix, and Logan Allen? Who has the highest ceiling?

Christopher Crawford: It's a pretty good trio. The highest ceiling to me is Smith, but Nix and Allen aren't far behind. I like Smith a lot, 65 fastball, above-average curveball and flashes of a pretty good change, too.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Chris, Who is the one minor league OF you would choose for your team- Robles? Benintendi? Someone else?

Christopher Crawford: I would probably go with Bradley Zimmer. Those guys are really good, but I just think Zimmer's combination of upside and high floor is too good to pass on.

Ants (OK): With Diaz now a reliever, who is the best Mariners SP prospect? Does this make it more likely the M's look for a starter in the draft?

Christopher Crawford: Great question. I know this guy has been disappointing, but I'm still gonna go with Luiz Gohara. But this is the best of a bad situation. I don't know if it makes it more likely or not, but if they did take someone with pick 11 (I think that's the pick number, anyway), it'd almost assuredly become their best pitching prospect. Yuck.

Richard (Boise, Idaho): Hello. Five weeks into the season, the Giants seem to be getting a lot of good performances out of their pitching prospects. Anybody particular standing out for you?

Christopher Crawford: They really are. A couple of things. Tyler Beede throwing strikes is huge. It's never been a question of stuff with him. If he limits the walks, he's really interesting. I've also heard really good things on Michael Santos. Four quality pitches and he pounds the strike zone with all of them.

Ian (NYC ): What is Going on with Clint Coulter?

Christopher Crawford: Really rough start. I've always been low, so, I'm probably not the guy you should ask. Platoon outfielder for me.

Larry (NC): How good is Jorge Mateo?

Christopher Crawford: Really good. Man. Shortstop. So hot right now.

James (Houston ): Let's say a player who was a projected back half of the 1st round talent comes out as gay. How much would this hurt his status?

Christopher Crawford: I would love to tell you not at all. I don't know for sure that I could tell you not at all, because, well, society. I could not say for sure that it'd be a non-issue.

Ryan (LA): What does your day consist of?

Christopher Crawford: Lot of watching baseball. Lot of phone calls. Lot of emails. Lot of playing with my dogs. Lot of writing. It's not so bad.

Jimmy (TX): Recently you mentioned that Jamie Schultz's stuff is for real. As usual Tampa seems to be stacked with SP talent. Could you describe how Schultz compares to Snell/Faria/Odorizzi? Just wondering what his chances are to make it into the rotation based on talent vs. injury (or trades).

Christopher Crawford: I'd say it compares favorably with Faria. Not so much those other two guys, but it doesn't have to be. I hope he gets a chance to start, but with Tampa Bay having so many talented hurlers, I think it MIGHT make more sense to move Schultz to the pen. He could be lights-out there.

Wesley (Denver): What is your report writing music of choice?

Christopher Crawford: I actually usually don't listen to music when writing. I turn on a show on Netflix that I have seen a lot (The Office, Parks & Rec, Everybody Loves Raymond) and write away. I love music, but I get distracted when I listen to it and write.

Brian (Culver city): What's up Chris. How do you feel about me moving Altuve and Cody Reed ( CIN version ) for Abreu and Rodon. Dynasty, obp league. Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: I would not trade Altuve. But I get it. Those guys are really, really good. I just...Altuve is special, man.

Cindy Crawford (Pretty People Land): Cousin Chris, how could you leave me out?

Christopher Crawford: I really hope we're not related. Really, really do.

Bobby (Earth): Is Manny Machado one of the five best (non-pitcher) players in baseball?

Christopher Crawford: Without question.

Jeff Bridrich (Denver ): Do you see Riley Pint getting to us with the 4th overall pick?

Christopher Crawford: I do, and I think there's a really good chance that's the pick right now. Wouldn't "lock it down" or anything like that, but I think that's a real possible landing spot.

Carlos (Chicago): With Fowler a free agent after the season but Schwarber hopefully returning with a healthy knee, what do you expect to happen to Almora? Is he a 4th OF/starter/above-avg starter/star? Is he in Chicago long term or is he deadline trade bait?

Christopher Crawford: I think fourth outfielder is the floor, because he's so good defensively. He has been outstanding so far this season, and the reports have been glowing. I'm just not sure if Almora is the guy they go with. It's so hard to say. Chicago is loaded.

Straight Money (Homie): You are answering fantasy questions on here? If so, would you trade my wife for the bartender down the block and a hoppy IPA?

Christopher Crawford: No.

Okie (Muskogee): Which group of players will the Astros regret trading more? Dealing away Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel or Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, and Josh Hader?

Christopher Crawford: The latter, which is weird to say, because I've been pretty slow to come on the Hader train. I have loved most of what Houston has done, but I think they're really going to come to regret that deal.

Craig (Georgia): Albies and Swanson can both stick and be impact guys at shortstop. So isn't the guy who moves to second base having his stock hurt? I know it sounds dumb, but would it be a good idea for the Braves to trade the guy they plan to move to second and max out his value?

Christopher Crawford: I think it's something you consider, but if you really want both guys hitting at the top of the lineup, you don't really care about the "maximum value." I think the Braves want both guys hitting at the top of their order, so, I don't think either guy gets moved.

Greg (Atlanta): Who's your guess on who Atlanta takes at 3?

Christopher Crawford: The best player on the board. Right now, I think that'll be Jason Groome.

Dom smith (Minors): What do you think of me?

Christopher Crawford: I'm quite smitten with you.

Okie (Muskogee): People take up for Reyes on the pot suspension, but isn't it a legitimate crticitism that he was foolish enough to do it? I would imagine teams let players know ahead of that testing happens in the AFL. Do you think he plays at all in the big leagues this season?

Christopher Crawford: I'm tempted to link the Thomas Jefferson unjust law quote, but nah.

I will say that I don't completely disagree with you, but, yeah, that's not a debate I wanna have right now. I'm feeling too optimistic.

Okie (Muskogee): Is David Dahl a top 10 prospect in the game?

Christopher Crawford: Nah. Not even sure if he's top 25. I like Dahl, but I'm not getting ahead of myself just yet.

andrew (denver): how about brendan rodgers. does he have a shot to be a top 5 guy?

Christopher Crawford: I think he's a top five guy right now.

Alex (Atlanta): Everyone's high on the Braves system, but as a Braves fan, I'm confused. I don't see any pitchers with ace potential other than Newcomb, who can't throw strikes. I don't see any hitters who could hit 20+ homers. So what am I missing? Can a team win with a bunch of 10-15 homer guys in the lineup and a bunch of middle rotation guys in the rotation?

Christopher Crawford: First of all, Dansby Swanson. Second of all, Austin Riley and Braxton Davidson absolutely could hit 20+ homers. Third of all, Dansby Swanson. Fourth of all, not a lot of ace guys, but a TON of middle of the rotation guys. Their depth is simply outstanding.

Larry (New Castle): Do you like Pedro Payano or Mitch Keller better?

Christopher Crawford: Like Payano, but Keller by a wide margin.

Jake (Kalamazoo): Would you trade Albies and Vogelbach for Jason Heyward in a dynasty? Trying to win now but willing to pay a bit of a premium for younger guys like Heyward.

Christopher Crawford: I still don't believe Vogelbach is an everyday big league player so you bet your bippy I would be willing to.

Mike (CA): What have you been hearing about Phil Bickford so far this year? Not walking many and striking quite a few out in Low-A.

Christopher Crawford: Much more good than bad. Still needs to show more consistency with the slider and the change is hit and miss, but more good than bad is good.

Matt harvey (Ct): Do I get traded this offseason? What teams could put together a package for me?

Christopher Crawford: I don't think you do, but if you did, you'd command a lot. A lot a lot. The Dodgers would be the first team I talked to, then the Red Sox. I don't think he's getting dealt, though.

Alex (Atlanta): Austin Riley strikes out a ton and can't walk. Davidson isn't good. Even for young guys, their seasons look miserable. There is no power in the org.

Christopher Crawford: Way too soon to make these kinds of statements. I just don't agree at all that there is no power in the organization. It's not its strength, but there's pop.

Okie (Muskogee): How would you rank the Reds top 3 pitching prospects of Stephenson, Reed, and Garrett?

Christopher Crawford: I think you just did.

Ruiz (Chicago): Is Willson Contreras' defense major league ready?

Christopher Crawford: Not yet. He's never going to be a stalwart, either. The bat will more than make up for the deficiencies.

Number27 (The Good Land): Chris! Thanks for the chat. My question is in fill in the blank format. This year's draft class features the _th best talent pool out of the last five years. Thanks!

Christopher Crawford: Sigh. Probably fifth. Maybe fourth. It's just a mess of a draft. There's some quantity, but my goodness the volatility, even for a draft class, is just so rough.

jsdspud (My Desk): Chris, what type of ceiling does the recently promoted to AA Brandon Waddell have?

Christopher Crawford: I think he could be a backend starter. This was a kid at UVA who at one point was considered a first-round talent, but then things didn't go so well. It's nice to see him putting some stuff together, and yes I'm biased.

"The Cuddler" (behind you): Do you like to cuddle?

Christopher Crawford: Creepy. But yeah.

jdc1989 (MO): What do you make of the struggles of Lucas Giolito early this season? Adjusting to the double A hitters?

Christopher Crawford: Yeah, I think that's probably fair, that and he's just a little off with his command. Not a lot, but just a little. He's still showing the stuff that suggests he's the best pitching prospect in baseball.

Wesley (Georgia): Is there any new chat on Kevin Maitan?

Christopher Crawford: He's really, really, really, really, really, really good. Oh, and he'll (probably) be another power hitter in the Braves organization.

Christopher Crawford: Gotta go pretend I enjoy going to the doctor. Thanks again for chatting with me. Have you bought the draft guide yet? You should. Here's how. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/baseball-prospectus-mlb-draft/id1090576351?mt=11


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