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Chat: Grant Jones

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday June 15, 2016 8:00 PM ET chat session with Grant Jones.

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Grant is a member of the BP Prospect Team, focusing on the Midwest League.

Grant Jones: Alright, lets get this chat started. Yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.

D- Lez (D- Lez): Lindor or Machado? who would you rather have for the next decade? they are both at short and money is no issue

Grant Jones: I would go with Machado, and it isn't really close for me. Lindor is an amazing player, and its great to see that potential all come together. Hes hitting better than he ever has, and his defense has always been elite. That being said, Machado is probably the third or fourth best position player in the game.

Paul (Not Sure): Heading into the season I bought stocks in both Eloy Jimenez & Franklin Perez. Do you see these stocks going to continue to rise into next year? Any opinions on these 2 players?

Grant Jones: I am not a fanasy guy, like at all. But I have seen a good amount gf Eloy this year so far and really am impressed by him. He will continue to rise, especially if he continues to work with coaches on his approach.

Bob (Northern Hemisphere): Are there any prospects you are higher on then your colleagues? Also are there prospects we aren't aware of that you think will be getting buzz by this time next year?

Grant Jones: I think I am higher on Cease than most. I really like his mix, and the Cubs cleaned up his delivery, change sounds like its well on its way. This from seeing one outing last summer, and just a lot of video and talking to people though. I am probably also higher than most on Jacob Nix, of the Padres. He has impressed me in multiple outings with Fort Wayne this year.

its really hard to say there is anyone people aren't aware of. Its been less than a week since the draft, and most every team has a fan blog out there that has broken down every player drafted by their team. The players that we aren't aware of would have to be DSL guys, or players that haven't signed yet. Someone will go from a day one or two watch, to a top five drafted player.

BC (Urbandale): If the Cubs get Aroldis Chapman, can you book the World Series? Also, what do you think it would take to aquire him?

Grant Jones: You can book the NLDS either way, but calling the World Series a shoe in is impossible for any team. The playoffs represent a different game than a 162 marathon. Do their odds improve? Yeah. But as for what it would take? The Yankees reportedly want Kyle Schwarber, which isn't happening. Jeimer Candelario seems like a nice fit with the Yankees, and would almost definitely be involved. The Cubs FO isn't going to trade someone they don't see as expendable, and I have my doubts the Cubs are interested in Chapman due to his past issues. Getting one of Chapman or Miller seems to be a priority of many NL clubs because of the dominant lefty hitters in the league.

Gregg (LA): Who are some overrated prospects given how well they have played compared to their actual long term skill sets?

Grant Jones: Hmm. There are a few guys in the MWL that can qualify. Usually they are the college players that are a little older for the league, or just completely should be higher than they are now. Austin Allen is a name that comes to mind, just because he is older for the league and is doing pretty much what a 22 year old should be doing in the MWL. Thats not to say he isn't a prospect, or that people shouldn't be expected about him, just that I don't see him as a guy that will be sustaining those numbers for long once he gets to age appropriate levels.

Jim (Helfaer Field): Seen Trent Clark? Why does he grip the bat funny?

Grant Jones: Yeah, lots of Clark. I'll start of by saying Clarks make up is off the charts. His swing has that weird grip, but as long as it is working there is no need to change it. I don't know the backstory on why he holds it that way (thumbs along the bat, similar to a golf grip). I have wondered how a thumb injury would disproportionally hurt his production compared to other players, but thats not a reason you would change anything about a player.

I do really like Clark though, he is an all out type of player, and I think he will be a first division starter. I was surprised to see him last until 15 last year.

Donny (CLE): What are some possible moves the tribe could make before the deadline. And what are some moves you feel would get them over the hump and into the post season where they can hopefully make a run? Do you see the Indians making the playoffs and making a run if they make it?

Grant Jones: Yes, I see the Indians making the playoffs, and again similar to the Cubs once you're in the playoff that's all that matters. You cannotpredict who will be hot, cold, injured, overworked, and beyond that you see bad team beat good teams everyday. On any given day in October the two teams playing are two of the top teams in baseball and either can win. We have seen how crazy the Wild Card games are with a one game play in. Its madness, and I love it.

I thought that when the Cubs traded Coghlan the Tribe should have traded for him, which was a match if I have ever seen one. The OF market is going to be brutal at the deadline, so unless the Indians want to trade from their top tier prospects I don't see an obvious move. CA said that Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier have "become options", so they may even just be best served standing pat and given that Frazier can rake.

Kevin (Toledo): Hey Grant, being a frequent MWL goer, what teams would you say are worth watching? Also, what makes you qualified to be a part of the prospect team? What are your strengths and weaknesses of evaluating?

Grant Jones: Fort Wayne, which is close by you (and I as a result), is one of the more stacked teams in the MWL. South Bend is fun to watch. As is Lansing on the days Jon Harris pitches. Wisconsin is the best team in the west to watch. Most all teams have a few guys worth watching, and luckily James Fisher and I did a preview of what teams to watch http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=28865

I don't know what about my resume in particular convinced Craig that I was qualified to work with BP, but I have worked with teams in the past along with having worked in baseball since I was 16 as a bat boy and clubhouse assistant in the MWL. I think it is important to have a desire to learn, and I have learned a lot about scouting from the likes of Adam, James, Wilson, Craig and just about everyone on the staff. Its a great community we have here and I am glad to be a part of it.

I think the most important part of scouting is getting consistent viewings of games. It's impossible to become a good evaluator of talent without going to thousands of games, and that means that the process of becoming a good evaluator of talent takes a lot of time.

Kyle (FL): What type of pitcher does Julio Urias become? Does he really have ace potential? 200k a year kinda guy in the future?

Grant Jones: Yes he does. He's 19, when you break away from 19 being just a number think about what you were doing at 19. He was in the MWL when he was 16, which is utterly insane. He has ace potential, and the Dodgers are doing that they believe is the best way to build him up. His stuff is too good to not be considered ace level, it is just a matter of building up the innings to get to that point.

Dr Ursialockenschnock (Canton): How about that Victor Robles fellow?

Grant Jones: He sure seems to know how to baseball, doesn't he?

Timmy (Peru): Who would you draft first overall in 2017?

Grant Jones: Well this time last year the names for number one overall were a mix of Alec Hanson, Blake Rutherford, Nick Banks, Puk, Pint, and a few others. Things change. Luckily I will tentatively be at the Under Armor All American game this year, and workouts. Hoping to come back with a ton of video and a clearer picture of the players available next year.

Vincent (Tacoma): Who has a better chance of making the MLB playoffs: the Blue Jays or the Cardinals?

Grant Jones: Our playoff odds page has them as essentially the same odds. I would probably go with the Blue Jays because I think the Blue Jays are better than the teams in WC contention in the AL, while the NL is a tough competition with the Cardinals/Pirates, Mets/Nats, Giants/Dodgers all in the same boat and of comparable talent.

Vincent (Tacoma): Who has a better chance of making the MLB playoffs: the Blue Jays or the Cardinals?

Grant Jones: Our playoff odds page has them as essentially the same odds. I would probably go with the Blue Jays because I think the Blue Jays are better than the teams in WC contention in the AL, while the NL is a tough competition with the Cardinals/Pirates, Mets/Nats, Giants/Dodgers all in the same boat and of comparable talent.

David (Atlantis): Could you tell us what should we think about the performance of Cody Reed so far this season? (I refer to the Arizona one) Is his performance something we should be paying attention to as legitimate or is it more smoke & mirrors?

Grant Jones: I unfortunately have not seen him, but James Fisher has and he puts him as a 3/4 starter. He also has video here if thats your thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0rrcGETCi8&feature=youtu.be

Leonard (None of Your Business): Hey Grant. As a member of a prospect team is there a specific type of player you seem to be more inclined to? Some former members have been more inclined towards Dominican hitters & some others with pitchers with good change ups

Grant Jones: I don't think that there is a type of player that I am inclined to specifically. But I would say that I am less afraid of players that have effort in their deliveries. If its works for them and they can maintain it then ride it out, or just make small adjustments. I don't think that just because their delivery is non traditional that they cannot succeed, yes it is more difficult probably but why would you draft a player then change everything that made them successful? If its a sequencing or approach issue thats different.

gerrybraun (san diego): You're the GM of the Dodgers. Do you stand pat, and if not, what piece(s) do you acquire?

Grant Jones: Sweet! Well. I would sign Gourriel and plug him in. That would help, but I think that the pitching staff is obviously delicate and we will see how the market develops, but as of right now Rich Hill is the best option for anyone shopping for pitchers.

Jim (Georgia): Manuel Margot or Byron Buxton for 2017 and beyond? Or are they pretty similar?

Grant Jones: Buxton. He has been at the top or near the top of prospect lists for a while now for a reason. He has been up and down, which isn't great for his development. Beyond that, injuries have taken time away here and there.

Jason (FL): You mean Rich Hill is the cheapest decent starting pitcher who will be available at the trade deadline right? Because he is obviously not the best option, maybe the best cheap option.

Grant Jones: Yeah. You can take risks on guys that are injured like Ross or Cashner if thats your thing. Teheran and Gray are the premier guys that are around, but the Dodgers haven't shown any indication that they would trade the prospects needed for a trade of that magnitude.

Donny (Cle): You never answered my question tho. Who do you see the tribe trading for or who is the most likely target

Grant Jones: Fair enough. I don't see them trading for outfield help, and I don't think the Lucroy rumors make much sense because of what he would cost in trade, and Gomes is still very valuable defensively so it wouldn't take much offense to make him valuable (he's not doing that right now, at all).
That kinda just leaves the bullpen as an obvious spot. So someone to shore up the pen, Vizcaino or Doolittle would be really nice additions that could help them a ton if they are willing to give up the prospects. I don't see them trading the prospects needed for Miller or Chapman.

Trevin (NW Ohio): Hey Grant, I'm thinking about going down to Charlotte for the AAA All-Star game. What exciting players should be down there to keep an eye on?

Grant Jones: Voting is happening right now, so luckily if you go onto any PCL or Il teams website you can help decide who you will see!
Players that should be there? Willson Contreras will I assume. Orlando Arcia, Gallo, Hoffman from the PCL.
IL guys Josh Bell, Steven Moya, Glasnow.

Dan (Chicago): What kind of stat line can Dan Vogelbach put up in 2017 if he gets traded to a AL team where he can get 600 at bats at DH?

Grant Jones: If you let him get 600 ABs with the Yankees he will mash ton of home runs with how the dimensions are but he literally can't play in the field, and he's not giving you any value on the base paths. Theres no where for him on the Cubs to play, especially with the Cubs roster construction and how Maddon likes to play. So we have a guy that can't play the field, won't provide value on the base paths, and hasn't shown the game power he shows in BP. Its not very promising.

Line? Not my strong suit. He has a great eye which helps him, but theres so much working against him. He would be an improvement over some teams current DHs. Or at least I would give him at bats over some current DHs.

I did see him steal a base once in the MWL though and I will never forget that.

Arthur (Vegas): Grant, Have you seen Phil Bickford and what is your opinion of him and his chances of staying in the rotation.

Grant Jones: I have not, but fortunately we have a recent eyewitness report on him here. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_pit.php?reportid=370

Dan (Chicago): Can Vogelbach bring back Chapman?

Grant Jones: No. It would require much more than Vogelbach. He would probably be the third piece in a three player package.

Dan (Chicago): For two months of Chapman? No way. No need to answer though. Chapman will bring back similar to what he did this offseason, which was not much. Yanks should jump all over Vogelbach + something small for Chapman.

Grant Jones: They will require at a minimum someone better than what they can get at the end of the first round next year. Compensation pick > Vogelbach. Though, I suppose with the CBA in limbo that has some cause for concern, but I wouldn't trade Chapman for Vogelbach if I was the Yankees. I really don't think the Cubs are interested in Chapman though because of the DV suspension. Doesn't fit their recent trends.

Dan (Chicago): This is fun. So if your the Yankees you would rather have a comp pick than Vogelbach? Thats nuts. These comp picks may never even make a MLB roster, Vogelbach could hit .280 with 20 home runs a year right now as a 23 yr old.

Grant Jones: Draft picks aren't just the player you're getting anyone, its the slot money that comes with it. Yankees also have no where to put Vogelbach in their line up. Even so, another team will offer a better package than Vogelbach.

Grant Jones: Alright guys! That was fun but no one else seems to have any questions. Feel free to reach out on Twitter whenever with any questions.


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