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Chat: Matthew Trueblood

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday September 27, 2016 9:00 PM ET chat session with Matthew Trueblood.

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Matt is a feature writer at Baseball Prospectus at at BP Wrigleyville.

Matthew Trueblood: Gary Sanchez got to 20 homers tonight. Entered tonight batting .295/.358/.556 in 522 PA between AAA and MLB this year. He's basically been what Kyle Schwarber was in 2015 (.286/.395/.542 in 583 PA across three levels), only as a much better defensive catcher. So ask me whatever you want; just know I'll be imagining what it would have been like if the Yankees HAD gotten Schwarber for Andrew Miller.

Jamm Onit (Chitown): Jeimer Candelario put up really nice #s in AAA (albeit with a high BABIP). What do you see his FV, is he good from both sides of the plate and can he stay at 3B for the long haul?

Matthew Trueblood: I've been aware of Candelario since he was a 17-year-old who jumped out just for his advanced approach. He doesn't seem to adjust to level progressions as fast as elite hitters, but he certainly rakes when he's on. I think he can be a third baseman. I don't expect stardom, but he's got a good shot to eventually be an average regular somewhere.

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): When Tyler Naquin's good luck on balls in play normalizes, what can we expect from the Indians CF? Is he a start MLB CF or a 4th OF?

Matthew Trueblood: Neither of those things, I don't think. How about a slightly underpowered corner outfielder? Not a long-term CF defender. But I think the pure hitting ability is good enough to keep him in lineups.

Hank (Georgetown): So, uh, is Robert Gsellman now a top 50 prospect?

Matthew Trueblood: Other people on staff could better answer questions of prospect value. But he looks like a back-fo-the-rotation starter to me. A little more, maybe, as he figures out what his optimal pitch mix really is. Certainly has the arm strength. Wish his secondaries missed more bats.

Fredo (Chicago): A frequently posed question about the Cubs and their playoff chances is "what team could give the Cubs the most problems in the playoffs?" or "which team should the cubs least like to face in the playoffs?" Generally, the answers are usually Nats, Dodgers or Bosox. Why does nobody ever bring up the team that swept them in the NLCS last year. I get it, not Harvey/degrom. But this is a team with power (cubs defense does not help them there) and a team that still gets 2 starts out of Syndergaard.

Matthew Trueblood: Well, there's almost no chance that Syndergaard starts twice in an NLDS matchup. Mayyybe if it goes five games. I don't know what to tell you, except that the Mets aren't really on the Cubs' level. But if the Dodgers' starting rotation remains intact from here on out, they might be.

Fredo (Chicago): A frequently posed question about the Cubs and their playoff chances is "what team could give the Cubs the most problems in the playoffs?" or "which team should the cubs least like to face in the playoffs?" Generally, the answers are usually Nats, Dodgers or Bosox. Why does nobody ever bring up the team that swept them in the NLCS last year. I get it, not Harvey/degrom. But this is a team with power (cubs defense does not help them there) and a team that still gets 2 starts out of Syndergaard.

Matthew Trueblood: Well, there's almost no chance that Syndergaard starts twice in an NLDS matchup. Mayyybe if it goes five games. I don't know what to tell you, except that the Mets aren't really on the Cubs' level. But if the Dodgers' starting rotation remains intact from here on out, they might be.

Eric (Washington, DC): Is Juan Soto the next Eloy Jimenez?

Matthew Trueblood: I got two questions in a row (!) about Juan Soto. I know he's hitting well at a very young age. I know the Stateside track record is short. I know he didn't have Jimenez's pedigree when he signed and isn't a match for Jimenez's, um, hugeness. But I do see the gaudy stats and I've seen a little video. I'm no expert, but my short answer is: no, he's not the next Eloy. But he could be really good.

Bryan G. (Michigan): Care to share your picks for Cy Young / MVP / RoY?

Matthew Trueblood: I wrote a piece earlier this month pushing Jose Fernandez for NL Cy Young. He had only pitched better since then. That's an easy pick. So is Trout for AL MVP. So is Seager for NL RoY. I'll take Sanchez for AL RoY, Bryant for NL MVP, and Kluber for AL CY, but I could maybe be talked out of those.

DTH (SF): Is Isaac Paredes the next great Cub MIF prospect in the system? he was raking as a teenager and reports have him as at least an average defender

Matthew Trueblood: Oh, man. I have literally never even heard of him. He sounds great!

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): What's the prognosis on Braden Shipley's career now that his K rate has cratered and he's gotten hammered again and again? Is there any hope? Same question for Cody Reed and Jake Thompson.

Matthew Trueblood: I think there's some cause for concern about them all, but I wouldn't give up on any. We've seen almost unprecedented early-career swings in performance from some top prospects over the last few years. In order from most to least concerned: Thompson, Shipley, Reed.

DTH (SF): Do DH-only players deserve Hall of Fame consideration despite not contributing defensive value? and if so, should Ortiz be considered despite putting up worse numbers than Edgar Martinez (who was not voted in)?

Matthew Trueblood: Yeah, of course DHs should be considered. And of course Big Papi is a Hall of Famer. And so, one day, should Edgar Martinez be.

oldbopper (New Britain, CT): The Cubs carry 3 catchers, as long as one of them can fake it at another position while carrying a big stick, Contreras this year and joined by Schwarber next, this strikes me as a much better roster structure than some worthless 13th pitcher with a 6.75 ERA. Teams are really playing with a 24 man roster, during the real season, before 9/1, when they can't use the backup catcher. What do you and others in the sabermetrician community think?

Matthew Trueblood: I won't speak for the "community" (I'm rarely close enough to the party line to do so credibly) but I loathe 13-man pitching staffs. Give me the extra position player every time. ESPECIALLY in the case of a team like the Cubs, who enjoy such positional flexibility on that side of their roster.

Matthew Trueblood: Alright, the queue is empty except for indecipherable computer gunk, so I'm out. Will be watching Cardinals-Reds, Giants-Rockies, and Astros-Mariners for a while. @ me on Twitter.


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