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Chat: Matthew Trueblood

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday March 16, 2017 1:00 PM ET chat session with Matthew Trueblood.

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Matthew Trueblood is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

Matthew Trueblood: I won't be filling out any brackets or watching any of March Madness this year. First time I can remember. There's just no time! So, let's talk baseball.

Lt. Kaffee (Court Room): If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?

Matthew Trueblood: Thing you probably didn't know about me: I have a son named Sorkin. You probably don't know a bigger Sorkin nerd than me. So, I love it. I don't understand why this is here, but welcome, friend.

sailenac (SD): How do you feel about Mitch Haniger setting the world on fire this year?

Matthew Trueblood: Love it. Hope it keeps up. Jerry Dipoto is my spirit animal. Love the Mariners, looking forward to watching them play. The whole hitting revolution continues to fascinate me. I particularly love the way it tends to be late bloomers or guys in dire straits who find their way to it.

Dan (DC): The hype real on Luis Robert?

Matthew Trueblood: I have no idea! I haven't heard anything bad about him. Haven't heard that much good about him, either, but only because I haven't checked in very much. Cardinals are my early favorite for him, though you didn't ask. They'll try to find a first-round pick somewhere other than the Draft.

Eric (Chicago): #1 prospect in 2018 and 2019?

Matthew Trueblood: Fun question. I'll say Victor Robles, then Eloy Jimenez.

Chris (Baltimore): Who do you prefer Adames or Barreto? Shed Long or Kevin Newman?

Matthew Trueblood: Adames and Long. The former by a narrow margin, the latter by a larger one. I love the Reds' system.

a.j. (las vegas): The Yankees seem to have two waves of pitching prospects coming. Who from the first wave (Mitchell, Severino, Green, Montgomery, Enns, Adams) will be able to stick as starters when the more talented second wave (Kaprelian, Sheffield, Abreu, Acevedo, Tate, Clarkin) arrive?

Matthew Trueblood: Oh geez. Montgomery. Maybe Adams. I'm not big on pitching prospects, as most of you know. But quantity is good. Some of these guys will work out. It's almost inevitable.

Ceej (Pittsburgh): 10 team OBP/QS dynasty. Trade my Benintendi for his Fulmer/Bellinger if I have Betts/Springer/Polanco already?

Matthew Trueblood: Assuming this is Michael Fulmer, yeah, I'd do it. If it's Carson, I would NOT do it.

bobemullen (Maine): Keeper league. 11 teams, AL only. Would you keep Fulmer, D. Duffy at $15.00 or throw them back. $260 budget. Usual roster. Thanks.

Matthew Trueblood: I should add a disclaimer: I don't play much fantasy, or do it especially well. But Hell yes I would keep those guys for those prices. HELL yes.

John (CT): Which of the following "can't miss" guys has the best season in 2017? Byron Buxton Andrew Benetendi Dylan Bundy

Matthew Trueblood: Benintendi, Buxton, Bundy is my order. Buxton is, increasingly, a high floor but less sexy ceiling guy for me. More Mike Cameron than Mike Trout.

Rick (Palm Beach Fla.): There was mention a few weeks ago that BP was putting out a 2017 edition of the Futures Guide with original due out mid-March. Since this is exactly "mid-March," any news about that?

Matthew Trueblood: I researched this! Very soon, is what Aaron told me. Very soon.

Edgar (MX): Where would Conforto have slotted on top 100s?

Matthew Trueblood: 50ish? Nick Williams is 51 on the BP 101. Tyler O'Neill 53. I'd rather have Conforto than either. BUT, that list isn't mine to begin with. Hard to say for sure.

The Quiet Man (NY via Philippines): There appears to be a good chance that German Marquez and Cody Reed may both make the starting rotations of the Rocks and Reds, respectively out of spring training. If that is the case, what kind of numbers do you think they will they put up and do you have a preference of one over the other?

Matthew Trueblood: I'd rather have Marquez. I don't think either gives you pretty numbers this year. I like both ok in the long run, but don't see more than a mid-rotation starter in either dude.

Craig (CT): Purely Fantasy wise - Torres or Rosario?

Matthew Trueblood: Again, bad at this... Rosario, I guess. More speed.

Mike (DC): Do you see Juan Soto jumping up the prospect rankings this year? Top 25 by the end of the year?

Matthew Trueblood: Yeah, it's hard NOT to see a guy with this profile and track record as a good bet to rise. Top 25? Yeah, sure, it's possible.

james (Windy City): Jeimer Candelario Question. We know he conquered AAA but fizzled in the bigs, is 100% blocked by Bryzzo, and might be a 1B. But I've seen multiple scouts this spring rave about how hes trimmed down and looks significantly better at 3B--even dismissing concerns over sample size, saying that the improvements they've seen are real. Have you heard any of these things? If he can be a 50 glove at 3B, how good does that make him overall? And finally--what do you see the cubs doing with him? I'm worried they'll wait til the deadline, just letting him toil away all year mashing AAA and building his stock until then...

Matthew Trueblood: Why are you worried about that? That's exactly what they'll do. To do anything else would be criminal. Dude is blocked until injuries happen. I've heard what you've heard; he looks great this spring. Really, though, he's been promising for a long time. He'll hang around at Iowa as long as he has options, Bryzzo are both healthy, and the Cubs have no need to trade him. This is what being the best franchise in baseball looks like. Candelario should give Brian Giles a call.

Tom (Washington DC): What kind of Potential Does Juan Soto have?

Matthew Trueblood: Nationals fans LOVE prospects! He has a bunch of potential, man. Could be a really fun outfield in a few years. Far away, though.

ROOKIE BALL PITCHERS FTW (Risk City): Hey Matt--I know you write for BP Wrigleyville so i figure you're relatively plugged in on the cubs--what is the word on Jose Albertos?!?! Moreso than any prospect I can think of, he seems to be this mysterious entity that is at the same time oozing potential and a complete and total unknown. He's like the Kaiser Soze of prospects. Whats the deal with that? And whats the deal with him? is there any news? has he thrown again after those 4 mythical innings last June?

Matthew Trueblood: I think he's back on mounds this spring? But who knows. Not THAT mysterious. Was one of the best amateur talents in Mexico, Cubs needed a way to bid for top talent despite their spending restrictions, Mexico is a kind of loophole for that. The official word is that he was shut down for non-injury reasons last fall. Assuming that's true (not an assumption I'm willing to make yet), he's going to get a lot of helium this summer.

Bob (Chi tizzle): How many songs is Schwarber gonna hit this year?

Matthew Trueblood: He's quite a choir boy! But I bet you meant dongs. Man, he's gonna lead off all year. If he's healthy and plays 150 games, he'll bat a ton and I would be willing to go to 40. Monster.

Dan (Headed to Mesa): Geez! What would a Kris Bryant contract extension even look like?! And which do you see more likely: The Cubs getting it done & giving him 10-ish years/+$300mm or be content with him putting in 5 more controlled years & parting ways.

Matthew Trueblood: Second question first: the latter is way more likely. Only they don't have to part ways just because he reaches free agency. I'd bet he plays with the Cubs for a very long time, but not without testing the market. What would it take right now? Yeah, it'd be 12 years and $300 million or something.

RDBL2014 (San Francisco): Who is going to ultimately be the starting catcher this season for the Red Sox?

Matthew Trueblood: I don't know. Seems like a huge question to be so markedly unanswerable at this stage, for a team that intends to contend. I guess my money falls on Christian Vazquez. Derek Norris is available...

Bob (Georgia): What do you think of this Kevin Garnett-esqu trade in a 30 team dynasty league: Andrew Benintendi for German Marquez, Jacob Nix, Brock Stewart, Chance Adams, Taylor Trammell, Luis Urias, TJ Friedl, and Ricardo Cespedes?

Matthew Trueblood: I have no idea whether this is a good trade or not. It depends too much on too many things I don't know. I don't play dynasty leagues. Best guess: if you're willing to trade present for future, I really like the idea and several of these names. Go for it.

Jay (Left): Aaron Judge or Michael Conforto and why?

Matthew Trueblood: Conforto. Judge's frame is scary good AND scary bad.

warpigs (Baghdad): What's more likely, Shoemaker overcomes his cranium setback, or Odorizzi figures out how to pitch to right-handed batters?

Matthew Trueblood: I mean, I don't like the way this is framed. I loved Matt Shoemaker's story before the liner and I hope he remains healthy and regains his full pitching prowess. So I'm rooting for that.

Carsom (Wentz): Any guys on the Mets you like more than others?

Matthew Trueblood: Yes. Yoenis Cespedes seems much better than Juan Lagares to me.

Dale (Secaucus): Is Dustin Fowler a lg avg. CF? Can he be more than that?

Matthew Trueblood: Is he right now? Nope!

Yeah, he can be that, even can be more. I like him as a prospect.

Beth (Bronx): Who is the best NY SS prospect? Who has the best career?

Matthew Trueblood: Getting out of fantasy land, I'll bet on Torres. But he might not be a shortstop as long as ROsario is.

Tim (Dover): Is Blake Rutherford the next Cody Bellinger? (bat wise)

Matthew Trueblood: I don't know. A little early to look for the next CB. But yeah, I like Rutherford's stick.

Terry (NJ): Thoughts of Estevan Florial? Next top NYY prospect?

Matthew Trueblood: We have reached the "I've never heard of this guy" portion of the-hey wait I DO remember hearing a bit about him! Someone whose opinion I respect really liked what they saw. That's all I know.

Drew (Bronx, NY): Who is the next top Yankee prospect once the current crop graduates? B Ruth? Florial?

Matthew Trueblood: This is so strange. Why are you guys already looking for a next guy? Your Next Guys are still the Actual Guys! Yankees fans, pull it together.

Bob (Camden ): Who will produce more WAR at peak, Clint Frazier or Aaron Judge?

Matthew Trueblood: Frazier. I'm shorting Judge stock all the way. (He could use it anyway.)

Ted (Jerusalem ): U/O Gary Sanchez 30 HR in 2017?

Matthew Trueblood: I'll take the over, given good health.

Kim (Dallas): Does Aaron Judge become a consistent 3-4 win player?

Matthew Trueblood: No. Wow. LOT of Aaron Judge interest. Not gonna be any kind of outfielder for long. Not gonna stay healthy enough to tap into his full power often enough.

Gary (Bronx, NY): Does Blake Rutherford turn out to be the best player in his draft class?

Matthew Trueblood: No. I'd rather have Moniak and I'd rather have Senzel.

Larry (Clifton ): Disregarding signability and slot issues, how many guys would you have taken before Blake Rutherford in his draft?

Matthew Trueblood: I... did like the official Yankees Twitter account promote this chat or something?

At least two. Maybe as many as four or five. Not as many as the number of guys picked in front of him!

Carrie (Edgemont, NJ): Can Jorge Mateo play CF? Do you think his bat plays there?

Matthew Trueblood: Guys with elite speed can almost all figure out CF. The second question is the million-dollar one. I think it can. Hell, Billy Hamilton's bat plays there.

Derek (Hartford): Blake Rutherford is starting in the Yankee outfield by _____ of 20____

Matthew Trueblood: I officially have prospect fatigue, on a 2016 draftee.

Gary (Nome ): Should the Yankees sign Bryce Harper for 400 million or Manny Machado for 400 million?

Matthew Trueblood: Machado.

Grady (Overlook): Its July, do the Nationals trade Robles to the Yankees for Betances?

Matthew Trueblood: That'd be about the going rate, eh? I don't think they'd do that. But they won't get Betances for less.

CKnecht88 (Ohio): Do you expect Lazaro Armenteros to be a top prospect in the future?

Matthew Trueblood: He's become a pretty unknown quantity. I don't have enough information to say with any certainty whether the tools will come together for him. It's certainly possible.

Michael (Toronto): If the Jays are not competitve by the Trade Deadline, are they major sellers? (i.e. Tulo, Pillar, Russ?)

Matthew Trueblood: Nah. They've worked hard NOT to land in a Tigers/Mariners/etc. spot. They're not playing for a window. They're trying to be consistently good for years to come.

Rob (DC): I don't get to see as many Twins games as I'd like anymore, so maybe my perspective is skewed. But Michael Tonkin -- should he get more high-leverage opportunities? That fastball really seems to move.

Matthew Trueblood: Er. Yes, he should have gotten more (and more consistent) opportunities all along his development path. But now? No. I think he's pretty much just a bust. Relief prospects usually are, and always are when their organization jerks them around.

Patrick (Seattle): How bad is Malamud's The Natural? Where would you rank it between a late-career Steve Traschel start and Will Clark's mustache?

Matthew Trueblood: Matt Christopher wrote better baseball fiction. Even adults should read Matt Christopher instead of Malamud.

Bryan G. (Rhode Island): Hey there, Matt. Who's the next Ben Zobrist?

Matthew Trueblood: Literally who would know this better than you?

(Javier Baez.)

meswan (TX): Hi Matthew, absolutely love the chats - thank hou for taking my question. I would like to hear your tboughts on Adrian Morejon of SD. I have read some pretty good things but it appears that not many have really seen him enough yet. Thanks, Mike

Matthew Trueblood: I just heard some stuff about him! Working in the mid-90s, advanced feel, breaking ball is in the arm... the Padres have gone nuts in the IFA market, and I think it's going to pay off hugely. They're doing it right, not just betting big but placing many bets. Morejon has a lot of people excited already. He'll be on top 100 lists next spring, barring TJ.

Dewey (NJ): What do you know about Hunter Greene?

Matthew Trueblood: I know he has a really, really good chance to go #1 overall. I know he can both hit and pitch. I don't have a good sense of whether he's a pitching or a positional prospect, which I would guess will make some people nervous. I don't know the Draft class all that well, but he seems like an unusual talent, and I'd probably take him over anyone else of whom I'm aware. Certainly over Alex Faedo. Small thing, but guys who still aren't even 18 on Draft day always get my attention. Rany's study of several years back showed that being even incrementally younger than your peers gives you a better chance of making good on your selection.

Matthew Trueblood: Alright, folks. That's all for me. Thanks; I actually got two article ideas out of this chat. Hey, if you don't subscribe, you can get 15 percent off a sub right now. Promo code: 15OFFBP. (We don't waste resources coming up with clever discount codes. That's how you know we're working for you.)


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