Eric is a member of the Baseball Prospectus fantasy team.
Eric Roseberry: Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for today's chat. Like always, feel free to send in any questions related to fantasy baseball, On Baseball Writing, pro wrestling, etc.
Jim (Colorado): What the hell has happened to McCutchen? How do you go from perennial top 3-5 MVP player to this bad in a little over a year?
Eric Roseberry: I bought a lot of McCutchen stock this season expecting a bounce back, and I'm not entirely ready to dump it all just yet. His .220 BABIP gives me some hope that he won't stay this bad all season, but it's disappointing for fantasy owners who took a chance oh him. There are several things in his profile not to like to be fair. His hard hit rate has fallen for four straight years, and his ground ball rate has jumped this season. There was a significant amount of his fantasy value tied up in his speed which has tailed off considerably. I think 20ish HR is probably now the upside. In an OBP league he retains a little more value.
Jack (Seattle): Josh Bell. What is his ceiling/upside?
Eric Roseberry: There's a lot to like about Bell from a fantasy perspective. Coming in to the season most were probably drafting him based on average and a few other factors but not his power. It seems like a lock he'll eclipse 20 HR this season, and he's giving owners some nice value. I think the average will come up over the course of the season. Long terms I'd expect him to be a .270-.280 hitter with 20-25 HR potential. He's only 24 so there's definitely the chance he can grow into that consistent power.
Jason (Cincy): Is Billy Hamilton a top 25 player now?
Eric Roseberry: He's a top 25 fantasy player and #1 in my heart. Admittedly, I'm higher on Hamilton than just about anyone at BP (with the exception of George Bissell). It looked like he was making some quality changes at the end of last season, and he's started to show more of that in May. For the month he's hitting over .300 with a .356 OBP. I doubt it will stay that high, but if he's getting on base at a league average clip he becomes incredibly valuable. He's going to score a lot of runs with Votto hitting behind him.
The production will likely regress some, and you always have to be worried about injuries with Hamilton. However, there might not be a more exciting player in baseball to watch (for my money).
Aimee (Ankeny): How good would the Cubs be if they somehow traded Grimm, Montero and Candelario for Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve?
Eric Roseberry: Hmm. 3-5 wins better? Admittedly, on paper, this lineup would strike fear into the heart of every other fanbase in baseball. Could you imagine Altuve, Correa, Bryant, Rizzo, etc. Eventually though you hit a point where I don't know how much better a team can get. I think I'd be a lot more nervous if we were talking about a hypothetical that inserted a couple of front line starters into their rotation.
alcrisafulli (San Diego): Joey Votto has been absolutely worthless for me in my clutch-hitting only fantasy league. Who does this guy think he is and what sort of return can I expect if I attempt to trade this dead weight?
Eric Roseberry: How dare you.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Does Bradley Zimmer stick in Cleveland this year? If so, what do you project for him?
Eric Roseberry: Mike, George, and I discussed this some on the latest episode of Flags Fly Forever. I do think Zimmer will likely stick in Cleveland this season if for no other reason there aren't many other good options. My biggest concern with Zimmer is the strikeouts. He did recently get his whiff rate under 40 percent which was a positive development (although to be fair, Reds pitching). I think he'll end up hitting higher than his PECOTA projected .238 (somewhere between .260-.270). He's got the chance to help you in steals, but I wouldn't look for him to supply much else in terms of fantasy production.
Buddy (Peoria, IL): Favorite episode of WKRP in Cincinnati?
Eric Roseberry: Sadly, I was a little young to get in to this show. Sounds like a question for Mike Gianella.
gary (the bottom): Any hope for Buxton. He oozes talent, but is he approaching that line where we need to stop dreaming?
Eric Roseberry: Has Buxton been a disappointment this season? Obviously. His six steals are nice if you need speed in your lineup, but he's been a pretty big drain everywhere else. I'm not entirely ready to give up on Buxton though. His walk rate has crept above 10 percent this season, which is a positive sign. Also, he's been a lot better in May than he was to start the season. He's still just 23 years old, and if the Twins are willing to be patient it's possible he could grow quite a bit over the next 2-3 seasons. His defense in center is going to be a valuable asset, and if he can get on base more his speed will be a weapon. Sounds like a player we discussed above. Although, the fact I just compared Byron Buxton to Billy Hamilton might not be what Twins fans are looking for.
Ryan (Chicago): Top SS prospect in 3 years is?
Eric Roseberry: As a reminder, if you ask a question I don't the answer to I'll go find an answer:
Jeff Paternostro: "Someone not signed/drafted yet."
Craig Goldstein: "Maybe Brendan Rodgers." "Kevin Maitan if he's still at the position."
Dave (GA): How much faster is Billy Hamilton compared to Byron Buxton? They look similar to me.
Eric Roseberry: According to Mike Petriello of MLB.com there isn't that big of a difference. Hamilton looks to be a touch faster, but it's really close: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/224864164/statcast-introduces-new-sprint-speed-metric/
Hank (NY): How good can Starlin Castro be? Top 50 guy again?
Eric Roseberry: In terms of fantasy production? So far, he's in ESPN's top 50 this season by their "Player Rater." There are some things I like about Castro's approach this season. He's swinging at fewer pitches outside of the zone while swinging more in the zone. That sounds like a recipe for better success at the plate. His BABIP is unsustainable, and his rate stats are likely to drop off throughout the season. However, I think it's easy to forget he's only 27 years old. I think he'll remain a viable fantasy option for another handful of years.
Jerry (NY): What is the deal with Castellanos? How can he hit the ball so hard so much yet be so ineffective?
Eric Roseberry: Castellanos has definitely been a head scratcher this year. His GB% has jumped a little which isn't doing him any favors. There's not a lot in his profile that jumps out to me so I'm assuming he'll eventually right the ship. Chalk this one up to "I have no idea."
Brandon (Chicago): What is fantasy baseball?
Eric Roseberry: I thought this would be a good question for BP's resident philosopher Patrick Dubuque.
"Fantasy baseball is a watercolor painting of a seaside village. It's that thing you do when you're bored and throw cards into a hat, except instead of throwing the cards yourself you watch someone else do it and you bet on which time he'll make it. Fantasy baseball is picking a cantaloupe at the grocery store, except you tap on the rind for six months."
Todd Frazier (Depths of hell): I know I'm streaky, but my owners everywhere know this too. This year, it's different though. Is it time for my owners to move on?
Eric Roseberry: Todd, first of all...I miss you.
Second, why can't you just hit for a higher average? I think Frazier still has fantasy value he could add, but that average just drains so much of his value. I don't know if it's time to completely move on, but you have to build in some ways to bolster your team in that category.
(I can hear George Bissell screaming from his computer, "NO...HOME RUNS DON'T MATTER THAT MUCH!)
Punchoutpappy (First in Flight): Will Vince and co. totally botch Shinsuke's run? Also, who baseball's king of strong style? Miguel Sano? Giancarlo Stanton? Aaron Judge? Kyle Schwarber?
Eric Roseberry: How Vince will handle Shinsuke's run is one of the great concerns of my life right now. His match against Dolph at Backlash didn't do anything to ease my concerns. Ultimately, I have to believe his star power will keep him from being completely wasted, but...I understand why you're worried.
Who's baseball's king of strong style? Sano. Why is that my answer to that question? Sometimes your heart just knows.
Jason (ny): Any thoughts on Matt Harvey? Does he ever become a all star again?
Eric Roseberry: It's getting harder and harder to think he ever returns to his 2015 form. The strikeouts down, walks are up, velocity is down, and the ball is flying out of the park on him. He won't be this bad forever, but if I had to put money on it...I don't think he ever becomes an All Star again.
Jim (Miami): With the spike in home run balls is Giancarlo Stanton just another pretty good outfielder now? What would he have to do to retain his lofty status among fantasy owners?
Eric Roseberry: Yeah, Stanton has definitely been hurt by the decreasing value of home runs for fantasy purposes. However, he's doing a decent job of providing positive value for owners in just about every category this season. He'll remain a top-30 outfielder for the foreseeable future, but the days of him being one of the first few taken are likely gone.
James (Springfield): Keon Broxton has been great this past month after a terrible start to the season. What do you expect the rest of the way?
Eric Roseberry: Let me see. I'm going to say the rest of the season Broxton hits .260/.330/.415. He ends the season with 30-35 steals and 15ish HR.
This Or That (Closerville): Who do you think get's more Saves and K's ROS, Edwin Diaz or Matt Bush?
Eric Roseberry: As of now, I think I'd got with Bush in both categories. I invested heavily in DIaz this season so it pains me to say that. The control problems are just such a major issue right now.
Ryan (Montreal): Is Alex Avila a better option than Rupp and Vogt ROS?
Eric Roseberry: I think he is. Is Avila going to keep these numbers up? No. But he's as good of a bet as any to provide you some worthwhile production at catcher (for his tier). I know the playing time isn't what you'd want, but he really is putting up some solid production.
Rob (Alaska): After a crazy start to the season, it looks like Jason Vargas is coming back to Earth. It should tell you something about the league I'm in that I would actually consider dealing for him. Are you projecting him to revert completely to career standards ROS or is there a little something different about him now that is worth pursuing?
Eric Roseberry: If you can get Vargas on the cheap I would absolutely do it. George and I talked a little about this on FFF. His last two starts have been against the Yankees so I'm willing to give him a bit of a pass in those games. Will he be as good as he was to start the season? Probably now. However, if you're in need of a pitcher I think he's a great bet to provide positive value over the rest of the season. Now is the time to go get him after these past two starts!
Buff (Colorado): Thoughts on Tyler Glasnow? Will he improve his control enough to become a successful starter?
Eric Roseberry: Will he improve his control enough to become a top end starter? I have my doubts about that. However, I do still think he can figure things out enough to be a successful starter in Pittsburgh's rotation. His most recent start was a positive step (especially the number of ground balls he racked up). I'll never put it past the Pirates coaching staff to round a pitcher into form.
Paddy (Ireland): Will Gleybar Torres be playing at Yankee Stadium before Septmber? Also What kind of power does he possess in his prime? 15? 20?
Eric Roseberry: Yes, I do think you'll see Torres in a Yankees uniform prior to September. 15 home runs is a pretty good guess for his power in his prime. Anything 20+ feels like it would be the occasional outlier.
Jeremy (OHio): What are your thoughts on Ryan Braun ROS?
Eric Roseberry: So far Braun has probably been a bit of a disappointment for where most owners drafted him. I do expect the batting average to come up over the course of the season. As long as his calf injury doesn't cause any further setbacks, I think you can expect something like his PECOTA projection: .276 BA with 19 HR, 60 R, 62 RBI. It'll be interesting to see if he stops running due to the injury.
Dave (RI): Any outfielders other than the obvious you prefer in keeper leagues to Giancarlo Stanton? Would you rather have Yoan Moncada since power/speed guys are so rare?
Eric Roseberry: Not really any other than the obvious ones. I think owners have a pretty good idea of what they're going to get from Stanton now. I tend to be a conservative player so I'll take the known over the unknown in most instances. However, in the scenario you just raised I think I would take Moncada. The combination of his age plus stolen base potential is pretty tough to pass off. You can probably find someone who's going to give you something like Stanton's numbers each season.
Eric Roseberry: Hey everyone, thank you so much for participating in today's chat. I had a blast. It's almost 3:00 and that means it's time to pick some kids up from school. Thanks for reading, and I hope to talk to you all again soon.