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Chat: Brett Cowett

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday July 19, 2017 5:00 PM ET chat session with Brett Cowett.

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Brett is the Editor-in-Chief of BP Boston.

Brett Cowett: Hey everyone, I'm Brett Cowett, here to talk baseball. Let's chat.

Mark (Santa Fe): What's the buzz on how Michael Chavis' breakout season?

Brett Cowett: He's made himself the second-best 3B prospect in the system, but it's hard to find a better 3B prospect than Devers that's not named Yoan. He's probably become trade bait at best, since Devers' defensive improvements have made it less like that he's moved to 1B. I like Chavis, but he's probably traded soon.

Stan (Baltimore): Brett, Thanks for the chat. Rick Porcello or Eduardo Rodriguez, who will have the better over the ROS and next 2 years?

Brett Cowett: Eduardo Rodriguez, and it wasn't even close. He's far younger, strikes out a ton, and actually projects to improve.

Danny (Beaumont, TX): Was Bogaerts' 21 homers last season an outlier? Seems to be on pace for 12 to 15 again.

Brett Cowett: He might reach that number a couple more times, but barring a batted ball profile shift, I wouldn't count on 20-HR power in any given year. The Red Sox have gone very contact-happy, and Bogaerts is hitting grounders 50% of the time this year. So it'll probably be an outlier when all is said and done, but not as extreme as you'd think.

Ryan (St. Louis): Yoan Moncada debuts tonight. Is there a small part of you that thinks the Red Sox should have held onto him and Kopech?

Brett Cowett: A little bit, sure. Moncada is a marvel of a baseball player - seriously, have you seen his Instagram photos? - and it would've been cool to see him in a Sox uniform. Not as much with Kopech, since throwing 100 with no control is worse than throwing 95 with decent control, and the latter is what half the Red Sox's bullpen currently does. I'll miss Yoan, but every time Chris Sale strikes out 10 over 6 innings, I'll miss him a little bit less.

edwardarthur (Illinois): If Devers is Boston's 3B of the future, where does Chavis end up?

Brett Cowett: If this chat was held yesterday, I would've said Chicago in a package for Frazier/Robertson. Things are less clear now, obviously. If I had to guess, I'd choose either Pittsburgh (for Harrison) or Miami (for one of their relievers). The White Sox were such an obvious trade partner for them, but the Yankees swooping in complicates things, especially when it comes to predicting where Chavis might go.

Jason (Austin ): What's up with Michael Kopech? Is his control getting worse, or are the hitters getting better? His walk rates keep getting worse every year. He seems to be a great example of an overrated pitcher who everyone got enamoured with his fastball. To me he's maybe a closer at best.

Brett Cowett: It's probably a combination of both, but his previous high in innings pitched in a season was 65. He's over 84 innings this year already. You throw 100 with his arm action, and there's no way you don't tire after a while. He's getting a lot of strikeouts, avoiding line drives, and inducing a lot of pop-ups, so it's not all bad, but those ideas about him becoming a starter should probably be filed away for now.

Randy (Salem): Josh Ockimey. What's your take?

Brett Cowett: If we saw the bat in a vacuum, I'd love him a lot more. Hits for decent power, hits to all fields, and has a keen eye at the plate. Problem is, he's a first baseman, and the substantially high bars set for production at that position won't be kind to someone like Ockimey. I kind of like him, but if he reaches the majors, he's probably gonna be a TTO guy at best, and not last very long.

Justin (Iowa): Jameson Taillon is really, really good. I think he can be a #1 and ace. What do you think?

Brett Cowett: He gets a ton of grounders, strikes out a good amount, and has seen his opposing contact percentage drop from last year. He's going to be great. A #1 in a rotation? Probably, and that'll pretty much happen if Gerrit Cole is traded. An ace? I see an ace as the top 7-8 pitchers in the league, and while Taillon's got an outside shot, he might not reach that. But that is not a detraction on him at all. Taillon is an excellent pitcher and has a bright future.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Brett, Tommy Pham is having a great season- is this a SSS mirage or a true breakout performance?

Brett Cowett: It's more of a breakout than a mirage, I'd say, but I'd be wary on his power. Pham has done all of this with an incredible ROI on fly balls - ONE-THIRD of them have gone for homers. And Pham only hits a fly ball 22% of the time. 53% of the time, he hits it on the ground. He'll keep that BABIP number high if over 75% of his batted balls are grounders or liners, but you won't see much power unless he turns into a clone of Christian Yelich.

Geronimo (West Lafayette): How good can Starling Heredia be? Is he a top 50 prospect next season?

Brett Cowett: Dude puts in effort. The body doesn't look like an outfielder but the man busts his ass on the basepaths, and has fast enough hands to come around on high fastballs, and that's where he taps into his plus power. I wouldn't say Top 50 just yet - or at least until he destroys some pitching in the A-ball levels - but it wouldn't surprise me if the Dodgers ended up with yet another stud outfielder.

Julio Teheran (ATL): How distressed/distressing of an asset am I right now? Is it the adjustment to a new park? Should I have taken that left at Albuquerque? How does this get fixed?😭😭😭

Brett Cowett: Get back the control you had last year, my guy. Everyone's making contact off you now.

Johnny (Alberta): Will Raul Mondesi ever be an average (or better) hitter in the majors?

Brett Cowett: If the Royals give him copious amounts of playing time, he'll probably have a year where he does decently, everyone overrates him, and he falls back to earth like he's Icarus. But I don't see him being an average hitter unless he can bring something else with him. He can hit for power in Omaha, but none of that has translated. It's going to be hard to see someone like Mondesi as legit when his minor league resume looks so...uninspiring.

Jim (Mass): What's going on with Bobby Dalbec? See that he's back, but struggling still. Chalk this up to a lost year because of the injury? Or is it something deeper than that?

Brett Cowett: I'd say so, yeah. Wrist injuries are delicate and tricky, and can sap your power pretty quickly. Dalbec also changed his stance before the season, so getting used to that while dealing with a hurt wrist that's still ailing him can complicate things.

Jeb (Des Moines): What should the Pirates do with Cutch? Should they trade him at the deadline?

Brett Cowett: Probably, yeah. Austin Meadows - injuries willing - is waiting, and the Pirates are going to be buried under the Brewers, Cubs, and possibly the Cardinals for a while. But the issue is: who needs a guy like Cutch? None of the NL West contenders really need an OF, the Astros don't need one, and the Red Sox and Yankees have full, young OFs. Rays could make a surprise play, but man, the options are really limited.

Hector (Boston): Please tell me that there's no truth in the Asdrubal to the Sox rumors from earlier today. Please? Like, maybe to take on his contract while sending Addison Reed over? Because that's not the kind of player that the Sox need here.

Brett Cowett: He'd be a low-cost option, and I don't hate that at all. But I guess it wouldn't be the best guy they could get, since there's still a sizable amount of intriguing 3B the Red Sox could inquire on, like Nick Castellanos and Adrian Beltre. I'd like Reed, but I'm whatever on Asdrubal. If they've gotten to that point, I'd expect Devers to get a cup of coffee pretty soon.

Tom (WV): How does Ryan Mountcastle's hitting project to the majors?

Brett Cowett: Won't walk a lot, but he'll hit, and that swing is smooth as silk. He's got some power there too, and adding that to his contact skills would make him very intriguing. If he can get through the high minors without his discipline eroding, I think he'd be a solid regular.

Trixie (San Diego): Is Yangervis Solarte a good fit with the Red Sox?

Brett Cowett: I feel like I have to preface every 3B target question with the statement "Well, he'd be better than what they have", because literally anything would be better. A mannequin with a bat duct taped to one of the hands would be better.

Solarte would be a decent option and his contract is very affordable, but the length of that contract can get in the way of their roster building for next year, since Devers is expected to take over sometime next year. Solarte seems like a guy who would be put in a deal with Brad Hand, and the Red Sox aren't going to fork over any big time prospects for those two. Probably.

Ryan (NY): How valid is the Wilmer Flores to the BoSox rumor? Should be nice insurance on the corners & maybe 2b if Pedoria gets hurt. Any sense on what a Reed-Fores package fetch from Boston?

Brett Cowett: I'd say it's somewhat valid. Flores is a guy who can be a stopgap for you if Devers annihilates Triple-A pitching - which he's doing now - and doesn't push them over the luxury tax threshold. Reed would be a nice addition, since he's not the fly ball pitcher he used to be, so if it comes with Flores, I'd take it. I'll admit, I'm terrible at package-making for trades IRL, so my first thought here was Chavis and a lottery ticket prospect. Do what you will with that one.

tomhauck (NJ): White Sox closer? Clippard? Any chance that works?

Brett Cowett: Probably not. 52% fly ball rate in Guaranteed Rate Field? ABORT ABORT ABORT.

The sad thing is, they probably don't have a better option. Nate Jones and Zach Putnam are both done for the year, and Anthony Swarzak is probably going to get some save opportunities as well. It's a mess.

Jim (Mass): Any under the radar Sox pitching prospects out there? I haven't heard or seen much, and that scares me

Brett Cowett: Jalen Beeks was one of the two guys I was high on over the last few months(the other was Tzu-Wei Lin, but it seems very condescending to say that now). He's in Triple-A right now after a particularly impressive run in Portland. He's worth keeping an eye on, since decent pitchers in the Red Sox's high minors seems to be a rarity lately.

Brett Cowett: Alright everyone, that'll do it for me, thanks for chatting. If you somehow enjoyed me, go ahead follow me at @BACowett, and don't be afraid to throw a question my way every now and then. Thanks again!


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