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Chat: Jeffrey Paternostro

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday October 06, 2016 2:00 PM ET chat session with Jeffrey Paternostro.

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Jeffrey is our senior prospect writer and will be tackling the top-10 lists this year.

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's playoff season for everyone else. Prospect list season for me. Figured I should chat before I hibernate until February, or my stocks of whiskey run out, whichever comes first.

TrickDaddy14 (YT): Do you see Isan Diaz or Eloy Jimenez cracking the preseason top 20? I am very bullish on both of their bats.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think Jimenez has a shot. I'm not completely sold on Diaz given he's likely a second baseman in the majors, but I also haven't had my ear talked off by Mauricio about him yet.

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): Can Dylan Cozens or Rhys Hoskins make enough contact at the major league level for their power to show?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Hoskins has less power, but more feel. He's also older and a first baseman. Internally, I am getting better reports on Cozens than I have in the past (or that I've seen from him in person), but I just wouldn't be surprised if he is a slugging-heavy .750 OPS guy in LHV next year. The back end of the Phillies Top Ten is going to be very fluid, depending on how you want to weight floor versus upside. The copout answer is both end up somewhere in the fringy/second-division starter range,

ItsAGleich (Boston): Does the Warthen slider, break pitchers?

Jeffrey Paternostro: A lot of things break pitchers. Mostly, it is pitching.

That said, the Warthen slider is more a grip pitch than a spin pitch, but it isn't just the slider to talk about with Warthen. Everyone has taken big velocity jumps as well. Warthen has his guys throw some of the heaviest side sessions in the majors. That is partly how he gets these jumps, but it also adds to general wear and tear. The Mets are hardly the only team to see young pitchers get hurt en masse, but there may be just more than correlation here.

Earl (NY): Tell me why Gsellman isn't a top 40 prospect based on what we've seen from him in the majors

Jeffrey Paternostro: So it seems like there are a lot of guys just on this side of list-eligible this year. Swanson making it by an at-bat is the most notable one, but Benintendi and Reyes also will make team lists and you have to weight major league performance. Those guys were all very very very good prospects coming into the season though, while Gsvllman was a backend top ten arm in a mid-pack system. But it sure looks right. The stuff is potential #2, the results have been better than that, and if you think he isn't *quite* this good (likely), he's still possibly a safe #3. That is incredibly valuable, and we have routinely ranked guys in the top 50 in the upper minors with mid-rotation projections. Gsellman might already be a mid-rotation starter.

Spongebob (Ocean): Seems like people are pretty split between Gsellman v Lugo - who is better. Personally, just from the eye test, I think Gsellman has legit #3 stuff? What do ya think

Jeffrey Paternostro: I like Seth Lugo, but here the stuff and underlying performance doesn't really back up the numbers. He's much much older, and had issues working deep into games as a starter. Some of that may be due to being bounced back and forth between the pen and rotation in Vegas and Flushing this season. He's punched his ticket for the 2017 staff, but he isn't as good as Gsellman.

Jay (NY): Should we be excited about the season HOU OF Ramon Laureano just put up between high A and AA?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Wilson liked him when he saw him for Lancaster this year, but more in the good fourth outfielder kind of way. Is turning a 16th round JuCo pick into a potential major league contributor exciting? I think so, but YMMV.

DB (Pgh): Can you lay out who all contributes to the prospect team at BP? Would love to see more chats to hear them speak in-depth too. I know the warm glow of the regular season has just ended, but any big plans/changes/additions to the coverage this offseason?

Jeffrey Paternostro: We will continue to have contributors from all over the country. Their live reports will continue to be the backbone of our coverage. Just in our early conversations on the top tens we have seven or eight people bouncing ideas around for each list, and any of them are welcome to weigh in during chats.

The actual format of the lists won't change all that much. A few tweaks here and there. There will be a bit of prospect "philosophy" for each team, because that is the kind of stuff I like to write. And the actual writing of the lists will be more of a group effort than they have been in the past. I want staff with good, recent looks at guys to be conveying what they saw and what it means.

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): Jeffrey, when can we expect the first top 10 list and which team leads off the whole shabang?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So we are starting with the NL East this year. Atlanta is up first, the week after the World Series ends. 2-3 teams a week from there, division-by-division, worst-to-first. It won't be strictly east to west, because I know that gets annoying for the left coasters.

John (MN): How down are you on Jose Berrios after a few horrific stints in the majors this year? On one hand, he's young and it's still a relatively small sample. On the other hand, he was embarrassingly awful in the time he did see.

Jeffrey Paternostro: So this is the converse of the Gsellman argument. How much do you dock a guy for being really bad in the majors, especially when it *looks* really bad? I never loved Berrios as a prospect, and the fastball velocity isn't special anymore. So I might dock him more than others.

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): German Marquez just sneaked on to MLB's top 100 prospects, can you tell us more about him? Future FV?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I wrote about Marquez earlier this year (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=29420). I don't think all that much has changed, and I still think he's better suited for the pen. Probably not Top 101 for me, because I like that type of guy to have a better chance of starting or a better chance of being an impact reliever, but solid major league arm.

Lougle (New York): For dynasty draft which do you take, Maitan or Acuna?

Jeffrey Paternostro: You can maybe say Maitan has more upside, but David Lee has me fully on board with Acuna, and he's already done it in full season ball. I don't think the ceiling is high(er) enough to mitigate the added risk.

Bip (LA): Please rank MLB future for Naquin, Toles, Nimmo and Roman Quinn. Who has the best bat of these four?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Despite being the guy with the most major league experience, Naquin is still weirdly risky to me. It feels like pitchers started to exploit him more as the season went on, and that is a lot of swing-and-miss, even in this era. That said, you'd probably sign on for Nimmo to turn into Naquin now, no? Toles is the better hitter, but tough to be a corner guy with below-average power. I love Quinn, but I would be cautious until he plays a full season healthy. I guess Toles, Naquin, Quinn, Nimmo. Not particularly confident in the order of the first three though.

Greg Luzinski (Philadelphia, PA): A.J. Reed or Josh Bell?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Bell. Give me the guy with the major-league hit tool.

Greg (ATL): Rank in order of who youd rather build a team around and why- D Swanson, J Crawford, A Rosario.....please

Jeffrey Paternostro: All three will be top ten prospects I'd reckon. Crawford gives you the best glove, Rosario the most upside in the offensive profile, and Swanson the balanced base of skills. I have long been a big booster of JP Crawford, but it he THAT much better a defender than the other two that he can hit .260/.350/.350 and be better? I mean he might be. And I am a sucker for shortstop defense. Really not a bad choice here though, depends on where you want to take risk.

DB (Pgh): Long-time BP reader. Definitely seen more of a demand for, and emphasis on prospects and fantasy past few years. Are their any goals to balance delivering of info to both the 'real' fans and fantasy players?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So as much as I don't care about fantasy baseball and get generally annoyed by "rank these guys" questions (as it eliminates a lot of the nuance that goes into how I make decisions on prospects and invites a lot of false precision), I have a job because of fantasy baseball players. While interest in prospects is generally up among baseball fans, and MLB is driving a lot of that themselves, it's the fantasy players that click on my work and subscribe to the site. I will say for list stuff at least, I want to move more towards "What is this guy in the majors" type language, and less "here are some tools projections." I think that is just acknowledging that most of the audience isn't major league crosscheckers. We have been looking to expand "prospect coverage" within the fantasy end as well with more dedicated writing in that sphere.

DB (Pgh): Any thoughts on balancing the line between being patient and moving on, in regards to younger prospects struggling their first few years? Seen guys like Eloy and Aquino emerge this year, while some like Gilbert Lara seem stuck in mud. Avg reader obviously doesn't see these guys in person. Not scouting stat lines is a mantra, but culture, makeup, language, desire are things not easily determined by sitting in stands either.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think it gets even harder with IFAs, because those bonuses (that often become proxy for OFP), might be agreed upon a full year out from signing. Think about how different your average high school freshman ballplayer changes by senior year. You'd think the IFAs have the advantage here, given access to pro coaching and more baseball focus, but it doesn't always work out that way. Good production always beats bad production, but if someone I trust and has seen him tells me Lara still has it, I'm going to take a second look.

For a real-world example, the Mets Ali Sanchez hit .212/.260/.275 in Brooklyn this year, and he didn't exactly light up the GCL the year before. I still like him a lot as a prospect, because of what I have seen. Now he is a different profile than Lara, and didn't get nearly as enough money (although he was a mid-six figures bonus guy), but would you be shocked if it clicks for either in 2017? This stuff is more art than science, especially with the teenagers.

Gary (MA): Are you on board with Kopech as a long-term starter or more of a pen guy?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I can think of exactly one starter that sits where Kopeck does as a major league, every fifth day starter. He is a lot bigger than Kopeck and is also a workout freak. Is Kopeck a top 100 guy if he dials it back and measures out his stuff for 100 pitches and 180 innings? We don't really know. Referencing my Marquez answer above, I will say he fits as the guy with a better chance to start and more impact in the pen though.

Ryan (Atlanta): Do you see the Mets making a push to trade for Freddie Freeman?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I guess they probably have the pieces, but I don't think either side wants to make that deal.

John (PA): Is Tyler Glasnow's stock down right now? Mainly referring to continued problems issuing free passes and the late season shoulder discomfort.

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think so. At a certain point your command/control is what it is. I think Glasnow will be better than what he has shown, but he might always be frustrating. Of course, I am also the last believer in Sean Newcomb, so...

Questioner (?): Who are you? Explain yourself!

Jeffrey Paternostro: I guess I probably should have done this at the outset? Anyway, my name is Jeffrey Paternostro and I am now heading up prospect coverage for BP. I've been writing at BP for a year in a prospect writing capacity and before that I spent five years covering the Mets minor league system for Amazin' Avenue (which is why this queue is mostly full of Dom Smith questions). I also enjoy bowling, second-division English soccer, and bourbon-based cocktails.

Brad (Bronx): Can you guys change the BP database so that Seth Lugo comes up when you search him? In the database it is Jacob Lugo and it is frustrating when trying to look stuff up by him

Jeffrey Paternostro: He is from Louisiana so goes by his middle name. But yes, I always forget this when I am looking up stuff on Brooks.

Hank (Nebraska): Is Dillon Thomas' season in AA for the Rockies something to get excited about? Any other notable breakouts within the Rockies system this season?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I saw fair amount of Thomas and didn't think he was much more than an extra OF guy. I do wonder if that team will end up particularly difficult to evaluate because of the circumstances. Marquez probably counts as a break out. Wilson liked Dom Nunez and he might sneak into the 101. It's still a really deep system even with the graduations.

Mike (NY): I can keep 6 of these prospect-eligible players in my league next year with no strings attached. Which 6 do you keep: Meadows, I.Diaz, Robles, K.Tucker, M.Manning, Groome, Kopech, Berrios, B.Snell, Glasnow, Gsellman, I.Anderson and Y.Gurriel?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Meadows, Robles, Snell, Gsellman, Gurriel, then Diaz if you want more of a sure thing, Groome is you want ceiling

Tim (NYC): What team name are you rooting for the new Binghamton squad?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I like the alliteration of Bullheads, and think a catfish mascot has potential. It's probably going to be Stud Muffins unless they rigged the internet poll.

David (Dallas): If you're Texas, what can you realistically get for Joey Gallo? Isn't it best to hold onto him now?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think they are more likely to deal Profar, and Gallo probably has an easier path to playing time next year anyway. I've been lower on him than some of my colleagues, but I get the appeal, and the lineup is good enough elsewhere to really find out what you have now.

John Darnielle (Denton ): Hi Jeff, Just took a break from writing my latest novel, "The Cat in the Hat Dies in San Juan," to ask you one question. What are the odds Wuilmer Beccera becomes a top 20 OF. Also should we get rid of the hit tool and instead substitute in 3 tools, mechanics, bat to ball, and approach. I'll hang up and listen John Darnielle

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think "grading" mechanics for hitters is a fool's errand, it either works or it doesn't. Your best hitters all look remarkably similar at point of contact, it's all about how often they can get there. Evaluating "approach" in the minors is tough as well, the quality of the stuff and sequencing doesn't approach major league, and the amount of advanced scouting that might necessitate secondary adjustments just isn't there either Multiple grades like that is a way to hedge at worst, and it needlessly complicates the subject at best. You are going to be wrong on guys all the time, but make a call.

Becerra is a weird prospect. He had a serious, lingering shoulder injury, hasn't hit for power in a year and a half, and isn't as young as you think for a Florida State League guy. I've always liked him, but I don't think the huge ceiling is there a more.

Kyle (Kansas City): What happened to the once promising Kansas City Royals farm system?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Injuries, trades, attrition. The usual.

Eric (NJ): Do you think the mets keep Terry? Should they?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I think he did well enough, given the "injuries" narrative, that the front office won't have ownership cover to make a move. I do think it is possible that Collins retires on his own given his age. Not likely, but possible. Alderson has been interested in Bud Black for a while, and he is going to get hired this offseason, so they'd have to make a move now. And if you get Black, do you lose Warthen? Can Viola or Romanick approximate his value now? There's a lot of moving pieces here once you make that call. It may be a devil you know kind of situation, whether by choice or not.

VC (Tenafly): If Amed Rosario were draft eligibile (hypothetical) where would he go in 2017 mlb draft?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Rosario will be 21 and a halfish on draft day, so an older college junior. He's a better prospect now than Swanson and Bregman were when drafted so I think 1.1 is a safe bet. Tools, plus some polish at shortstop in a "college" guy isn't that common. I think generally your top 10-15 prospects in any given year would go 1.1, barring an Upton/Harper/Strasburg level talent in the draft.

Frank (NY): Could Seth Lugo net a top 150 prospect?

Jeffrey Paternostro: So I stared at this for a while, wanting to just say no. But the market for pitching is weird, and he was already being pursued by the kind of teams you'd think would buy into the "spin rate" stuff even before he gave the Mets 50 innings of 2.50 ERA as a starter. I don't think so, but it only takes one I guess.

Ben (CT): Juan Soto Potential?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Very high.

Calvin (Bronx): How legit are Nick Senzel's fantasy prospects in the next two or three years? Thinking of drafting him in my dynasty league.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Adam just filed on him this morning (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30517). He should move fast and there is some safety in the bat. You can probably find higher upside offensive profiles, but Senzel would be one of the higher floor ones I'd imagine. Third base feels really deep right now, but that could obviously look different in 2019 or whenever.

Dave (NY): Wow. Was not expecting to hear that Rosario has a better offensive upside than Crawford or Swanson - what exactly is it that you think his upside is and what do you think the more realistic version is?

Jeffrey Paternostro: It's mostly power projection, which is very much projection right now. He has really quick wrists for a skinny kid, and he doesn't really lose his feel when he is whipping his bat through the zone. The swing path is still unorthodox, though less so nowadays, and soft stuff away gives him problems. He was also a 20-year-old in Double-A. He may take longer to get there than Crawford or Swanson, but .290, 15 is a good, but not crazy outcome, .270, 10 more likely.

Gary (NY): so where do you currently stand on Dom Smith

Jeffrey Paternostro: More or less where I always have. He's going to play in the majors. He's probably a regular for a few years. To be a *good* regular, he has to hit for power for more than six weeks, and be less susceptible to getting himself off against outer half off-speed. The body is still a concern. Others like him a lot more than me, some like him less.

Craig (Lowell): Which is a better pitch- Lugo Curve or Gsellman Slider

Jeffrey Paternostro: Present day, Lugo's curve is a bit more consistent, but I think in the medium term, Gsellman's slider passes him. He's only been throwing it in games for about six months remember.

Henry (Michigan): Kevin Maitan or Andres Gimenez

Jeffrey Paternostro: This is one of those questions I just don't have enough info to really answer. It isn't the only one, mind you. I will say the people who like Gimenez, really, really like Gimenez. I'm a little surprised the Mets didn't bring him stateside like they did with Rosario and Carpio.

Craig (DC): Juan Soto the next Eloy Jimenez?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Because of the system and the circumstances of his break out, Robles' name comes up, but they are very different types of prospect. I don't hate the Jimenez comp, but it doesn't work as a comp because of handedness. Jimenez is also tooslier, while the thing you hear on Soto is he is just so advanced as a hitter for a 17-year-old. He could have a similar jump up our list after his first year in full season ball though.

bwe206 (Brooklyn): If Trea Turner played for another team and that other team called the Nats in December and offered Turner for Harper straight up, what would the Nats say?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Harper is one of those guys that, for a variety of reasons, has to be pretty much off the table in trade discussions. A great half season from Turner can't move the needle for them.

Generally, there is also a reasons teams don't do straight up deals like that when trading a superstar, want to spread the risk.

Adolph Coors (Golden, CO): Tyler Anderson had a pretty nice season, can you tell us more about him and can we expect him to continue to pitch this well?

Jeffrey Paternostro: He was healthy. And maybe the Rockies finally have their fastball/cutter/change guy that can survive in Coors Field altitude? It's always tough to bet on that profile working long term without more Ks, but it is always tough to bet on any profile in that organization.

Towilee (SP): Where will the Mets' top 10 list rank amongst the other top 10 lists in the MLB?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I would guess middle of the pack. 1-6 is very strong, if risky, but after that it is a lot of role 40-45 types. A little better at the top and a little deeper overall than last year, but really lacks arms for the next couple seasons past Gsellman.

Joe (Utica): Hi Jeff. Who do you think is more likely to be moved off shortstop (or the infield entirely), Mateo or Torres? I know one of them, or Didi, is likely trade bait, but if they somehow hold on to all three, what's the breakdown?

Jeffrey Paternostro: I wonder if they would try Mateo in CF, but there are already doing that with Wade, who also fits better there, even if he is more a 65 runner than an 80 one. I don't think you can hold onto all three is the problem, and while ownership has committed to a "rebuild" for now, Torres and Mateo are far enough away that I wonder if they aren't the pieces come July 2017 if the Yanks are close again.

Greg (Queens): Hey Jeffrey, congrats on the promotion. Nothing better than some prospect talk to cure our Mets hangover, huh. So.......what can you tell me about Tomas Nido?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Thanks.

Man, I will eventually write my "we aren't great at scouting catchers bit" this offseason. There's stuff you can't really scout for starters, but their development paths are so weird generally. I saw Nido a fair bit in Brooklyn and Savannah and he was just sort of there, but I can't be shocked he finally put it together at the plate. Another part of the problem is teams tend to rotate catchers a lot more in the minors so you see fewer reps in the field and at the plate over a long weekend look. There were series I sat on Nido and h started one out of three days. He'll have to do it again, and the Mets will have to make a 40-man decision on him, but our Florida guys liked him as a two-way catcher that could start. If you can catch and throw, you can hang around forever and maybe figure it out. Sometimes you don't even have to be able to throw.

Tom (MN): Can you elaborate on your comment that Berrios' fastball isn't special anymore? What about it has declined?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Declined might not be entirely fair. The arm action isn't great for the command profile and while 93-95 can get it done in the minors in the zone, major league hitters will square it if it doesn't move enough. They've squared it. What "looks" like a special fastball in the minors isn't always one in the majors without good command, and some off speed to keep guys from sitting. Giolito has had similar issues for example.

Steve (Long Island): Szapucki getting top 50?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Too risky for my blood. And the back injury that cost him the last month of the season scares me a bit. Backs and pitchers are bad, not shoulder or elbow bad, but bad.

Tim (somehwere): Stop being so nice to Gsellman. It's his fault that the Mets won't resign Bartolo.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Every single starter from opening day other than Bartolo is hurt. They're re-signing Bartolo.

Peter (Pittsburgh): Given that he hit .333 in the regular season, does T.J. Rivera make the Mets top 10?

Jeffrey Paternostro: Jarrett and I talked about this on the pod, and it ties back in with the Gsellman question, and really any guy who is just on this side prospect eligible. I think it is easier to see Gsellman or Berrios pitch in the majors and say it "looks right" or "looks wrong." Not that guys can't improve or regress after, but the stuff is the stuff. With hitters the first 100 at bats doesn't necessarily tell you as much. I think Rivera is overmatched by better velo and better sliders, and the spray chart will get out, and the power is overstated because he clustered some wall scrapers. He'll also be 28 next year and is not a good defender, even at second. I was probably low on him throughout his minor league career for a variety of reasons, and he may be more a 4 than a 3, but that guy also isn't top 10 guy in this system. I wouldn't go crazy if someone ranked him there though.

Jeffrey Paternostro: Queue is still fuller than I like to end things at, but two hours will have to be it for today. I'll be back in November once the lists start going up and we will do this again.


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