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Chat: George Bissell

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday December 05, 2016 8:00 PM ET chat session with George Bissell.

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George is a staff fantasy writer at Baseball Prospectus, host of Flags Fly Forever and Kyle Barraclough enthusiast.

George Bissell: Hey everyone, thanks for chatting tonight! It snowed this morning, so you bet I'm eager to talk some baseball. I'll get to as many fantasy, prospect or Barraclough related questions as possible over the next few hours, so send them in right now! I'll get started in about 10 minutes.

Jim G. (Naples): No question, just letting you know I landed Bear Claw as part of a larger trade in a SV+HLD dynasty league a few days ago. Both for the good and bad, I'm holding you accountable.

George Bissell: Welcome to #TeamBearclaw. So far, I've been right about Kyle Barraclough through two years. The command is still in Carlos Marmol territory, but if he harnesses it, we're looking at something special. He posted 14.0 K/9 with lackluster control, so keep that in mind. I'm a huge fan.

David (NY): Is it apparently clear that the Yankees wont commit to any long term big contracts to get ready for Harper and Machado?

George Bissell: There's zero guarantee that Harper, Machado or any of the other potential names in that free agent class actually reach the open market, but I think the signing of Matt Holliday to a short-term deal revealed a lot about what Cashman is planning to do. The big question is how their prospect haul pans out. We have a pretty good idea that Gary Sanchez is a core performer. Are Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier too? What about guys like Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, etc...Tons of variables to consider, but you have to love the position the Yankees have put themselves in long-term.

Mrgrutgers (NJ): What are your feelings about Tyler Skaggs? If healthy can he be a top 30 pitcher next year in fantasy? What about long term outlook?

George Bissell: I was extremely encouraged by his comeback, especially the strikeout spike that carried over from his minor-league rehab. The health concerns are never going to disappear. I don't think he has a realistic shot at being a top-30 fantasy starter next season for a few reasons. He's not going to have the volume of innings necessary to build up that type of value, his control is still less than ideal and the Angels are in a rough place overall. Long-term, I think he's interesting if the strikeout gains hold.

Charles (El Paso): Thanks for the chat, George! What do you make of Lance McCullers in a dynasty league? Love the Ks, but I'm worried about injury history? Could the floor really be a reliever? And what's his realistic ceiling?

George Bissell: You're welcome! Oh man...Lance McCullers is one of my favorite pitching targets and has been since his electric debut in 2015. The arsenal is just incredible and he posted nearly 12.0 K/9 last year. I don't think the Astros would consider moving him to the bullpen, but the health concerns are real and his control really backslid last year. If he stays healthy, the sky is the limit, but there is a huge range of potential outcomes...

Edward (Atlanta): In dynasty leagues, should people be selling Buxton or buying him?

George Bissell: I'm buying based off his stellar September. Prospects don't develop in a linear fashion and it wasn't crazy that he struggled against major-league spin at 21-years-old. He also missed a bunch of development time due to injury. Given the current landscape of steals, he's a guy who could swipe 30-plus in the near future and become incredibly valuable. Now is the time to buy.

Danny (Boston): Keith Law still believes Eduardo Rodriguez has #1 upside. Is he crazy? I know ERod finished the year strong and is a nice hidden buy, but a #1?

George Bissell: Keith isn't crazy. I've always liked Eduardo a little more than everyone thought I did, but I'm not sure if his secondary offerings ever get to the point that we're comparing him to the elite southpaws in the game.

Robert (Arlington, TX): Okay. Drive the stake through my heart and crush my dreams. What type of player does Joey Gallo end up as?

George Bissell: Fantasy-wise, he could be a middle of the order monster that produces across three categories and you ignore the batting average. It's 80-grade power. I worry that he stagnated at Triple-A last year after such a great start, and is still striking out so much. It may take him awhile to learn to hit major-league pitching, but if he does, look out. You don't give up on a guy like this. He's still only 23.

Yadier Alvarez (Los Angeles): Am I in the conversation for one of the few *legit* ace potential SP in the minors?

George Bissell: You are. I had a lengthy conversation about you with Mauricio Rubio on Flags Fly Forever. You should check it out. Also, you gave up one home run in like 60 innings this year and had a 81:21 K:BB ratio...Very nice...

Since89 (Texas): Have Evan Gattis in my keeper league. How many at bats should we expect with the recent signings of Beltran and McCann?

George Bissell: I have some bad news for you. It's too early to determine whether or not they actually keep all of these pieces or if someone significant is moving out. I think McCann's struggles against lefties will keep Gattis in the lineup a fair amount and the 30-homer power is as legit as it gets. The problem is that 30 home runs and zero speed are worth a lot less in todays game. Still, the catcher eligibility is huge. HUGE.

Jeremy (Detroit): What's Christin Stewart's outcome? Carlos Santana?

George Bissell: I've got some bad news for you...Also Santana was a catcher coming up...

Jon D (Arlington): What are your expectations for Nomar Mazara in 2017?

George Bissell: I'd be doing everyone a disservice if I glossed over his struggles against left-handed pitching. Those are real. The swing is majestic, he has this almost supernatural calmness at the plate and hit 20 home runs in the major-leagues at 21-years-old. This is the type of franchise cornerstone you want in a dynasty league. He's going to be great for a long, long time.

Greg (Philly): Buying or selling James Paxton?

George Bissell: I'm buying. I wrote about him a ton for BP during the summer when he came back with a truly insane velocity spike. The problem I have is that he's going to be the trendy industry sleeper that every fantasy owner is going to target in 2017. If I owned him, there might not be a better time to sell because there will be someone intrigued and willing to deal.

David (NY): Better long term? The Mets or Yankees?

George Bissell: New York. Just kidding. I'll take the Yankees. Amed Rosario vs. Gleyber Torres is going to be a fun debate in two or three years...

Jason (Florida): AJ Puk does not get a lot of attention but does he have Ace type upside?

George Bissell: He gave New York-Penn League hitters nightmares pitching for Vermont this summer. If you've never been to a Lake Monsters game, trust me it's worth it. He won't be an ace, but Oakland is an ideal landing spot and southpaws live forever.

Bryan G. (Michigan): Can you give me the name of a really great place to eat in the Providence area?

George Bissell: I feel like this is a trick question, but I really like Siena or anyplace on Fed Hill if you're into Italian.

Fred (CA): Best first base prospect in the minors? Highest ceiling? Highest floor? Whos your favorite? Ok, thats enough questions wrapped in one.

George Bissell: First base? I mean off the top of my head...Gallo or Reed would have the highest ceilings...Cody Bellinger might have the safest floor. He can rake. My favorite is Rowdy Tellez or Dan Vogelbach (I mean technically he's a first baseman, right?)

Sam (LA): Are you still excited about Danny Valencia?

George Bissell: YES. If you have the ability to make daily lineup changes, he should be on the top of your target list as someone you can platoon and just let him eat against southpaws...

Lorenzo (Florida): Favorite dynasty prospect buy this offseason? Favorite sell?

George Bissell: My favorite buy would have to be Manny Margot if I can't pick Dansby Swanson...It's been pointed out how terrible the Padres depth chart is, but they literally have nobody else that can play centerfield (or compare to Margot), and when you combine 600 PA with what he can give you in terms of speed, you're looking at someone who is incredibly valuable in fantasy. Let someone else overpay for Turner or Dahl, I'll take Margot. Favorite sell: Michael Kopech

Tammy (Cali): Help me settle an argument I have with my husband, who makes a bigger impact to the Dodgers over the next three seasons, Jose De Leon or Julio Urias? Do both have have 200k a year stuff?

George Bissell: This will be in my column tomorrow, but only 15 starters struck out 200 or more batters last year. That number has never been higher than 18 in a single-season over the last decade. Nobody does it anymore. To settle the argument, it's Urias. I have serious reservations about De Leon. He's older, the command isn't great, he doesn't have premium fastball velocity (92 mph last year), and he's right-handed. Look, I'm biased. Urias is probably my favorite pitcher in the game. I'm fascinated by him. The velocity is effortless, his curve is nasty and he has the best (possibly illegal) pickoff move we've seen in awhile. He's just special.

Hank (Hoosiers): Brad Miller is my only SS going into 2017. How worried should I be?

George Bissell: I'm not sure anyone anticipated Miller hitting 30 home runs, but 600 plate appearances are still worth something and if he gets them again, I think the power is there. Shortstop is so deep right now, you won't be in trouble if you need to look elsewhere.

HIlly (LA): Can Jeimer Candelario be a Pablo Sandoval type hitter if he ever gets the at bats?

George Bissell: I don't think so. Sandoval is kind of an outlier. In case you couldn't tell. My girlfriend loves Sandoval. One time a few years back, I had to work so she drafted for me in a keeper league. She took Sandoval over Donaldson as my third baseman. We're still together even if Sandoval isn't...

James (VA): Am I crazy thinking the Nats should trade for Braun instead of McCutchen? Also, I also don't see how the Nats will meet the asking price for Sale - I don't think he's enough of a lock to stay amazing to be worth two top 10 prospects in all of baseball.

George Bissell: It would cost the Nationals more to deal for Braun. I don't understand giving up a package headlined by Victor Robles, a legitimate centerfielder down the line, unless they feel that they can't win before Harper hits free agency.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Why is Victor Robles considered a worthy centerpiece for a franchise player? Shouldn't the Bucs and Sox be focused on more certain ceiling, closer proximity players or balk at trading just to trade?

George Bissell: 19-year-old's who flash all five tools and play a premium defensive position (CF) and hold their own against much older competition in Single & High-A don't just grow on trees. They're exceptionally rare. The only question is how much power he grows into. It's there, but long-term projections vary based on the evaluation.

Buddy (Peoria, IL): Think the Cubs will move Soler this offseason? If so, who do you see coming back?

George Bissell: Yes. I'm not sure, but if I were a last-place team like San Diego or the Angels, I would try to give Soler 600 plate appearances and see what happens. You never know.

Jake (Kalamazoo): I have a competitive squad in a 14-team H2H mixed dynasty. I'm always trying to balance win now against future competitiveness and have done it pretty well (two titles in four years). Right now I'm trying to evaluate whether it might be worth trying to package Ian Desmond and a prospect (Amed Rosario?) for Giancarlo Stanton. The other owner has a competitive major league roster but an empty farm while I have a deep bench of prospects. Make the offer? Sweeten the offer? Lighten the offer? Stand pat?

George Bissell: Hey Jake, sounds like you're doing pretty well on your own. I was panning Desmond on every platform possible last offseason because his contact rate had plummeted and he was moving off shortstop. I was wrong. I would make that offer. I'm not sure Stanton ever plays a full season consistently, but I would rather have him than Desmond moving forward and it's not that close.

Truganini (CO): What site do you use to run your league(s), and what's your favorite format? I feel like weekly H2H with categories rather than points encourages the most manager participation, but am interested what excites others.

George Bissell: H2H weekly categories with OBP/SLG. If you can play in a league like TDGX (20-teams with 40-man rosters) you should.

Snowborne (Pittsburgh ): Does Blake swihart ever return to playing catcher? Does he have any value going forward as an outfielder ?

George Bissell: I never understood the reason he was moved off catcher. Benintendi was always going to be the answer in left for Boston and moving him off the spot just craters his trade value. They gave him half a season in 2015 and it was fine. They should put him back behind the plate, rebuild his value and trade him if they're not going to start him.

Kyle (MN): Would Byron Buxton still be the number one prospect in baseball if eligible?

George Bissell: No, but he would be right there. I still think Swanson and Benintendi would be higher.

davinhbrown (Pgh): Will Toles get 400 ABs for LA? I worry they will sign someone, or acquire mid way in season

George Bissell: I wish they would. He's a fantastic story. Realistically, he's a platoon guy (.326/.382/.511 vs. LHP last year). That will always have value.

Peter peter pumpkin eater (Wyomissing ): Dan vogelbach. Funny looking or good hitter?

George Bissell: Come on Peter...You know...#TeamVogelbach

David (NY): Any chance Luis Severino still becomes a top starter? Thoughts on Steven Matz and his ability to pitch a full season?

George Bissell: It's easy to forget how young Severino was/still is (22) when he was starting for New York. I saw one of his outings in Pawtucket and it wasn't great. I still think he's a reliever. On Matz, the single biggest predictor of future injury for pitchers is past injury history. It's not great. He was (mostly) healthy in 2015. Aside from that, he really hasn't been his entire professional career.

Brett (Calgary): Do you think Realmuto is a top ten option at catcher?

George Bissell: If he keeps stealing bases, yes. Thank God we don't use framing as a category in fantasy because he's downright atrocious.

Terry (KC): Can Raul Mondesi still have any significant value or has he just constantly been rushed up a level every year way too soon?

George Bissell: He doesn't have any power and he doesn't steal bases. I'm not sure.

Jake (cali): If Giolito is traded in either the Cutch or Sale deal, does that impact his value?

George Bissell: Yea. The big concerns in his profile have more to do with his mechanics, fastball velocity, and control. No matter where he is in 2017, he needs to address those issues.

Bob (Chanute, Kansas): Who are some of your favorite prospect targets in a dynasty/keeper format?

George Bissell: Brent Honeywell and Robert Gsellman

James (OKC): Anything you can do for my fantasy baseball itch right now? Still too far away!!!!!!! who are your top 5 must stash prospects for keeper leagues? Thanks for your time tonight!

George Bissell: I'll give you five names off the top of my head that aren't like consensus at the top of any prospect lists: Eloy Jimenez, Brent Honeywell, Josh Hader, Mitch Keller, Isan Diaz

Snowborne (Pittsburgh): Has Jorge soler value hit rock bottom in dynasty format? What are the chances he gets traded and recoups his status as a once top prospect

George Bissell: Yes.

Jared (Texas): Hi George- hope your offseason has been good. I am in a 3 player keeper league and needing help on who to keep. My options are...Mazara, Arrieta, deGrom, Polanco, Franco, Schwarber. I am without a first round pick in the draft due to awful roster management on my end. You can keep the players forever and at no cost. Leaning Maz, Arriete, and deGrom...thoughts?

George Bissell: I keep Mazara, Polanco and Schwarber. No pitchers. Ever.

Mike (Tampa): Adrian Rondon, anything there? What is his skill set?

George Bissell: We are so far away from knowing the answer to that question...

Ben (Texas): Any deep pitching sleepers for 2017?

George Bissell: Robert Gsellman and Jharel Cotton.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Fearless prediction: Jharel Cotton is a top ___ SP in 2017. (hint the right answer is higher than 40, less than 30).

George Bissell: 70

Matt ('Merica): Bregman or Benintendi, who do you prefer in 2017? And who'd you rather have in a dynasty format?

George Bissell: I think both carry quite a bit of risk for 2017 because they're playing for contenders who won't hesitate to send them down and go with a veteran option if they scuffle. I think Benintendi is a bit safer for 2017, but I would rather have Bregman in a dynasty. It's really close.

Jed (New Hampshire): Thoughts on Yu Darvish?

George Bissell: Invest.

Casey (Fargo): Who are some of your favorite late-round targets heading into 2017?

George Bissell: I think someone like Jose Peraza or Roman Quinn bc of their ability to steal bases are intriguing. Playing time is the big variable.

davinhbrown (Pgh): George, It's early Dec, prime draft prep begins early Feb. how many FlagsFlyForever, and TINOs will we see before spring training begins?

George Bissell: Flags Fly Forever is every other week and I'm 99 percent sure TINO is on a hiatus until 2017...Stay tuned.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Drafting Julio U.R. Hill (still working on the Kimye naming convention) will net me a cheap top 15 pitcher with 190 IP combined. True or false?

George Bissell: False. There's zero chance he gets anywhere close to 200 innings next season. I've said it before, but I think I would rather have Urias at a cheaper price than shell out big bucks for Rich Hill in a re-draft.

brad14 (NJ): I just added Kyle Barraclough in my dynasty league. I dont see any reason why the marlins would sign chapman or Jansen and lose a top 14 pick as well as put their resources in a closer when they have little shot to compete without JF. Is he a decent bet for saves in 2017?

George Bissell: Had to end with a #Bearclaw question. I don't see him getting into the closer role in 2017. Ramos is still around and it wouldn't shock me if they invested in someone like Jansen.

George Bissell: Alright, that's going to do it for tonight. Thank you to everyone who sent in questions. Be sure to check out all of our offseason fantasy content and podcasts here at BP. Happy Holidays!


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