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Chat: Wilson Karaman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday December 08, 2016 11:00 PM ET chat session with Wilson Karaman.

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Wilson is a senior member of both our prospect and fantasy teams and curator of the #LateNightChat, so let's be honest, you can ask him just about anything.

Wilson Karaman: Oh baby, baby...the reason I breathe is you. What up y'all? Time once again for a little late night lovin'. Let us mourn together, the loss of Luis Alexander Basabe from the ranks of my beloved Red Sox. RIP. Moment of Silence...........................aaaaaaaaaAAAANNND let's do this.

Punchoutpapoy (First in Flight): Ryan Yarbrough had a very solid year of growth in Double-A. Some reports say his sinker/changeup combo has excelled, his slider has continued to improve with every year, and his DRA is nothing to sneeze at. All the signs point to an under-the-radar performer aided by a friendly home ball park, friendly divisional ball parks, and bad divisional opponents.What's your take on him? Could he break camp as a starter or is it going to take the eventual Paxton/Iwakuma/Hernandez/Miranda breakdown?

Wilson Karaman: It's not *entirely* fair to ask me about lanky lefties with quality cambios, because they are my Achilles heal as an evaluator and I will always sing you their praises. But yeah, he had a solid year. I dunno how under-the-radar he really is, to be honest - he's very much in the mix for the back end of our Mariners top-ten (coming next week!). The breaker is the big hang-up for him, and he's succeed thus far as a level-a-year guy. I wouldn't be shocked to see him log some spot innings next year, but I wouldn't expect him to be a primary option in Seattle yet.

seddrah (Seattle): Last prospect keeper slot should go to which young arm: Luis Ortiz, Yohander Mendez, Riley Pint, or Thomas Szapucki?

Wilson Karaman: Gimme Yohander, best mix of proximity and potential.

Mmm, and I almost forgot to kick off a proper soundtrack. Basabe's flight got me feelin' militant. Let's let the Weavers take the mic, yeah? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh86h92PrH0

Justin (Arizona): With the trade of Segura, does Brandon Drury now have an open position to everyday playing, or is he more of a Super Utility Zobrist type who will play everyday?

Wilson Karaman: I assume the Snakes plan on entrenching Marte as their everyday guy at short and Drury can't play there anyway, so not sure there's much direct impact. I assume they'll find him another >400 AB's in a regular utility role.

Francis (MO): In a dynasty league, and I need good pitching, saves particularly, would you trade Giolito for Chapman? Thanks

Wilson Karaman: Yeah I'd do that deal. Realized, elite assets are generally always preferable to potential, maybe future assets.

Kobe (Oakland): Do you see a breakout coming for Sean Manea this year?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah I kinda like him a lot this year (and beyond). Gimme a lefty who throws 93 and generates above-average whiff and GB rates with both of his secondaries. He was awesome in the second half last year, and this may be your last chance to grab him on the relative cheap. Presuming health he's got good'n written all over him.

Also good: Beatnuts beats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA2O4ERoBiU

Steve (Boston): Does Anderson Espinoza still have ace potential? Is he still a Future Stud?

Wilson Karaman: Our prospect team members certainly seem to think that's the ceiling, yep. Grant put a 6 on him, Will a 7 off multiple looks apiece. The hype was a bit out of hand this time last year, but then again wee little children who throw the way Espinoza does tend to catch the eye. He's a very good pitching prospect - probably not a true frontline one, but not far below that designation.

Alex (B-More): How close attention should dynasty owners be paying to the guys picked in the Rule 5 draft? Both this year specifically and more generally, year-to-year.

Wilson Karaman: Generally not *too* closely, as most of those guys don't stick/evolve into much of anything. But there are exceptions to every rule (see Santana, Johan, and Hamilton, Josh), and it's generally a good idea to read up on a general tip about the guys that get copped. We're working up a review as we speak that'll be up in the next couple days with reports on all the selections. Recommended reading!

Earl (NY): Surprised Phil Evans wasnt picked today?

Wilson Karaman: Yeah, honestly I thought he was a no-doubter, along with Yimmi Brasoban from the Pads. But I don't think I've ever correctly called anyone for the Rule V, so I guess the silver lining is that my DiMaggian streak of futility is intact? Kid's pretty good though, and he's raking in Puerto Rico right now as a curtain call to his AA breakout. I'd still keep an eye on him as a very real potential big leaguer in the future.

bankeravp5 (Cincy): Dynasty league...18 keepers so roster crunch...keep Lamb or Beltre? I have Posey, would you deal Contreras for Moncada straight up? (can stash Moncada in minors so clears as keeper spot). Thanks!

Wilson Karaman: I keep Beltre and shop Lamb, and I make that Contreras trade, yes.

Jackie Mittoo time. This is one of my favorite arrangements he put together at Studio One, and #6352646 on the list of Studio One cuts I wish existed with a cleaner recording. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQfVhWBldEI

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight ): Do you believe there is a possibility that Tom Murphy will be a better catcher for fantasy purposes than Gary Sanchez in 2017? If not, is it solely that he could be platooned with Wolters? Because, it's not irrational to believe the HR total could surpass Sanchez, right?

Wilson Karaman: I've always liked Murphy, especially in that park (#hottake), but I dunno if I'd go quite that far, in no small part due to the playing time factor you cite. Sanchez is the dude in the Bronx now with McCann shipped out. The Rockies are ostensibly going for it next year? Right? With the Desmond signing and the young pitching and the...ah, who knows with them. Irregardless, his approach his hella pull-happy and aggro, and that's just the kinda thing that big-league pitchers tend to exploit in young(ish) hitters after they seem 'em a few times. It's not a bet with long odds or anything, and I think Murphy'll (continue to) be an undervalued asset, but I'd still expect Sanchez to provide more power/general value.

JON (CHICAGO): Higher ceiling Eloy Jimenez or Gleyber Torres?

Wilson Karaman: Eloy. It takes a lot for me to say that about a corner outfielder over a competent defender in e middle of the infield dirt, but, well, it's appropriate that we're talking about Eloy right now because he should only ever be discussed #afterdark

AJ "ICE" Pellet (Garden State): Surprised Beras wasn't selected by anyone today?

Wilson Karaman: Not at all, no. I think he has a few-year stretch of solid value when all's said and done, but he's not a Major Leaguer right this minute, no siree Bob. Here's my report on him from the end of the season: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=400

Jmax (Niagara, Ont): Connor Greene, Michael Kopech, and Noah Syndergaard (sp?). You gotta shave ones head, hit against another, and trade the other for RA Dickey, GO!!!

Wilson Karaman: I would never, and I mean NEVER, dare to touch Conner Greene's locks. Jeez, there's probably an insurance company strongman rustling around in my bushes right now just for giving platform to the idea. I'll take my licks against him (figuratively! I mean that figuratively!), trade Kopech, and shear Thor if only to see what he looks like when he pitches pissed off.

smelmoth (Falmouth): Thoughts on Hahn's haul from Boston? Obviously Moncada and Kopech were the names, but it looks like the pale hose got some good depth in that trade, no? I hate to impose, but you think this crowd would dig some Alton Ellis?

Wilson Karaman: I knew this moment in the chat would come. Gimme a sec while I collect myself...here's some Alton Ellis to tide you over in the mean time...12" style, because that's where I'm at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmXK0iOknGA

So yeah, man, look, let's get one thing straight: I'm *stoked* about this deal as a Red Sox fan. Chris Sale is awesome, and I'll advocate for trading just about anything that's not on a 25-man roster for a bona fide capital-A Ace. On the flip, A+ job, Mr. Hahn. We have lengthy reports on the headliners in our Transaction Analysis linked below, and then yeah, Basabe's a personal favorite. Dude can go GET it in center, good speed that'll age well with his frame and play on the bases, and tantalizing pop. Evaluators are split pretty evenly on the hit tool, but he's shown both an approach and the ability to make adjustments against older competition, so it's a so-far-so-good scenario. And then Diaz is a nice piece of fastball to scratch your lotto ticket with. Here's our whole shebang on the matter: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30797

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): With the Bucs seemingly itching to move McCutcheon, who benefits the most: Josh Bell or Austin Meadows?

Wilson Karaman: Well as things stand Bell's pretty much got an inside track to the first base gig anyway, no? I mean Jaso and Freese are kicking around and all, but he's probably the guy. Shipping Cutch obviously frees up more PAs in the corners, assuming non-conflicting return and Marte sliding over to center, so I guess he could marginally benefit as a result? Meadows figures to be the guy long term, but he's not ready quite yet.

jp (foul territory): With the caveat that TINSTAAPP, especially when it comes to rookie ball arms, I was wondering what BP's take is on Chris Rodriguez. I know "AngeLOLs" etc, but there's some talk about him already being one of the best arms in their system

Wilson Karaman: He was...I'll call it moderately in the mix for a slot in the 8-10 range, but we left him off due to significant concerns about the violence in his delivery. He's an arm that can make that decision look silly - especially so given the state of the system broadly - a year from now. Very good two-way fastball, some flashes into average range with the secondaries...a name in that system to watch, which should be easy since there aren't very many of those at all.

JON (CHICAGO): Which team was hosed worse? D-Backs in the Swanson trade or the Nats in the Eaton trade?

Wilson Karaman: I'm not sure people fully grasp how awesome Adam Eaton is, but it's time to get with the program. He was a 6-win player by WARP, fWAR, and bWAR last year, and per our chief defensive metric FRAA he saved more defensive runs than any outfielder in baseball last year (and by a comfortable margin). And he did that while putting up the fourth-best offensive season of any right fielder by VORP. He's cheap as hell and under control for the rest of his prime. He's a really, really good player, and the Nats acquired him without taking anything off their 25-man roster. Bully for them, I say!

Jeff (MN): Who has the best chance to pitch 200 IP this season? Gerritt Cole, Stephen Strasburg, or Yu Darvish?

Wilson Karaman: Fish-shootin' in a dark barrel, this one. I'll go with Darvish, just because he's on the other side of his TJ. He logged over 125 last year between rehab and the bigs, and the Rangers aren't exactly fond of pitch counts/limits. Cole and especially Stras are terrifying.

I watched Rhiannon Giddens tear UP the Kennedy Center feting Bill Murray a little while ago, and I've been enamored with her voice ever since. Don't love some of the too-clean production value on some of her recorded stuff, but some of these live nuggets floating around the interwebs? Woo child... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfqIYN4KBc8&feature=youtu.be&t=2m2s

JR (NJ): What are your expectations going forward for Nomar Mazara? He sorta disappeared during the 2H. I believe the hype, do you?

Wilson Karaman: Here's the thing about big-league pitchers: they're really, really, reeeeeeaaaally good, and they make adjustments that make fire emojis turn to smoke. Mazara is going to be a great hitter for a very long time, but he's also 21 and got *pitched-to* after his talent carried a couple months' worth of days. He'll be just fine, though. One of the most beautiful young left-handed swings in the game of baseball, and by every account a very good head on his shoulders. If you're ever feeling blue about him, or anything else really, just loop this a couple dozen times: https://vine.co/v/OV15q5v9gDu

cracker73 (Florida): Is Rafael Devers a top 10 prospect now?

Wilson Karaman: Not by the early iterations of our 101 discussions, no. We had him 19th in the mid-season update last July though, and my guess is he winds up somewhere around there again? A few slots higher? Whatever, that's all arbitrary anyway. The punchline that matters is that he's one among a dozen or so of the best young hitters in the minor leagues right now. Side note: good lord, the carnage to our Red Sox Top 10 list! http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30775

Sam (DC): What kind of potential does Juan Soto have? Future star?

Wilson Karaman: Soto's gonna be among the first Low-A players snagged in a lot of dynasty prospect drafts this winter, and for good reason. Jeff wrote him up pretty thorough at the end of the season as a real prospect, and I'm down with Ben's capsule re: his fantasy value from our Nats top ten, and side note #2, holy hell the carnage to our Nats Top Ten list!

Real Life: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30324
Fantasy: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30713

NatiRedlegs1990 (Ohio): What's the word on Norge Ruiz.

Wilson Karaman: Have heard zero of late, sorry, and that's kind of an eerie silence. I know he threw in the Dominican, but he shut it down after just three starts and I've yet to hear a reason.

Apologies for the slow progress tonight, having some trouble with the software/my internet connection.

lipitorkid (So Cal): Who do you have more faith in to return top 30 SP value next year? McCullers, Snell, or Gausman? And if you have time, what does Snell need to work on the most right now?

Wilson Karaman: I'd love to be able to say McCullers right here, because I absolutely love watching him pitch and hope he can hold up physically. I'm just not so sure he can, however, and I guess by default here I'll go with Gausman.

Snell I wrote about in some depth recently in my look at ERA over/underachievers, so I'll say "finding something that moves horizontally" and point you in the direction of that piece: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30740

Kingpin (Grinnell, IA): The Cards gave up a 1st round pick to sign Fowler. If MLB takes away a 1st rounder the following year due to the hacking scandal and with the new international spending limits, how will the Cards compensate?

Wilson Karaman: Stronger devil magic.

That actually kinda fits with this cut from Junior Delahaye. Wackie's is not for the amateur ear, but this tune especially...man, this tune is fine aural wine. It'll be aight when you listen to it right now, but by your 46th spin it's one of the best the label ever produced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjJf7UESyS4

terps993 (Maryland): In a keep forever dynasty league, you holding onto Dillon Tate or Touki Toussaint?

Wilson Karaman: Touki, not close. Tate's a reliever, I've been fairly certain of that since my first glimpse of him at UCSB, and I dunno what to make of his season in 2016. Maybe the Yanks can fix him. Touki's present command sucks, but he's an elite athlete and I will always bet on elite athletes. Especially when they've got filthy three-pitch mixes.

Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Frankie Montas, Thyago Vieria, Mauricio Rubio. First to a sustained closer role, highest upside?

Wilson Karaman: Uh...well I'm sure Mau'd be flattered that you mentioned him in the same breath as those dudes, but I've heard he barely scrapes 70 on a good day and the command sucks, so...I assume you mean Mauricio Cabrera? I'll take Montas comfortably out of that crew, though it's still entirely possible Oakland continues working him as a starter for a while.

Riley (NYC): Gleyber Torres or Amed Rosario and why?

Wilson Karaman: I'll take Rosario. He's an above-average defensive shortstop, and that just locks it down for me over a guy like Torres, who's more likely to move off the position or play it marginally. Also I have a soft spot for guys who just up and figure out how to tack a grade and a half onto their raw speed over the course of a single calendar year.

lipitorkid (So Cal): Even though "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl" by Nina Simone is a cover, I think it deserves a higher spot in her top song list, I'm also a sucker for "Do I Move You" I love her social songs, but these two sound so intimate, like she's just singing in the kitchen or the front porch.

Wilson Karaman: I am 100% with you on "Sugar," and it's a pretty ideal example of a difficult song she just carves up like it's no big deal. Sets the tone right off the bat with the suggestive little extra curvature on the end of her opening words, then just WORKS timing and pace of it.

I've always mentally had "Move" stuck right to the hip of her version of "I Shall Be Released," and I love the sound of both of them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyCn8IC5RpE

terps993 (Maryland): Rank these prospects for 5x5 keep forever dynasty?: Ian Happ, Ronald Guzman, Willie Calhoun, Ramiel Tapia, and Yusniel Diaz

Wilson Karaman: Tapia, Happ, Calhoun, Diaz, Guzman. Note that I think I might like Diaz better'n Willie at their peaks, but Diaz's path is longer enough than it costs him the rankings edge.

Deke (O-Town): 10 team H2H, 9x9 cats (SB only one of 9 off. cats; QS, net W, net K, ERA/WHIP for pitchers). Who do you prefer for 2017 - Villar or Maeda? Thanks!

Wilson Karaman: Villars more than a pretty face with some slick wheels, though. I dunno if he ever repeats the 19 homers - depends on that Jersey river juice on the balls, I guess? - but he gets his extra base hits, and he gets on base, and he scores runs...he's by now means a one-trick pony. I'll take him comfortably over Maeda.

JohnnyT (New jersey): hey Wilson good evening...how would you rate the following pitchers in 2017 as #3,#4 or #5's Bundy, Musgrove Clevinger I like Musgrove's upside Also your thoughts on Phils catcher Cameron Rupp can he improve anymore than 2016?

Wilson Karaman: I like Joe Musgrove, like, a lot. I dunno why everyone's always looking for reasons he won't be awesome, but I remain convinced they won't find 'em. He's not gonna top anyone's rotation, but he doesn't beat himself and he's mad efficient. Bundy looked like the beast he was always supposed to be when I saw him in LA this summer, but man...I just dunno about ever comfortably betting on innings outta that guy. Clevinger's a lower-fi option far as I'm concerned. Command's not there for him to get away with a whole lot. Solid-average hair tho.

Wilson Karaman: Alright everyone, gotta call it a night (or an early mornin' for you east-coast types). So we meet...so we greet...so we part. Thanks for doin' it tonight, and apologies to the askers of the trove of unanswered questions. Find me on Twitter @vocaljavelins if'n you want to ask again, seen? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxiSltMrXFE


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