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Chat: Ben Diamond

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday August 24, 2017 7:00 PM ET chat session with Ben Diamond.

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Ben is a staff writer at Baseball Prospectus and a very knowledgeable fantasy player to boot.

Ben Diamond: Hey ya'll, thanks for joining me! It's been a heck of a 24 hours in the baseball world... Rich Hill's eye bags reached another dimension last night and we got a pretty solid McGregor/Mayweather undercard today. So, well, let's talk about that!

dan22ke9 (Windy City): So has the multiple injuries (spleen, ribs, back) all to a 24 yr. old Dahl soured his projections should he ever get healthy? So sense in even having him steal bases going forward. He breaks like china. Gonzo wearing out.. Is McMahon the new rising star in org? Seems to me Roc's are heading for a world of hurt. Thoughts?

Ben Diamond: Dahl's a really interesting case, a 24-year-old who's probably a year or two younger in his Baseball Age given all the injuries he's suffered. I've long tried to avoid handing the 'fragile' tag to young, oft-injured players who may or may not just have terrible luck, but Dahl's testing my patience... the DL stints are piling up and you can't discuss his stock without bringing up the health concerns. That said, Dahl's physical tools remain intact and he's certainly young enough to make up for lost time. He flashed tantalizing 20/20 potential last season, and while he may never play enough to get there, I still have high hopes for the guy. In fantasy, I'm buying low.

The Rockies...well, the Rockies are another Story (see what I did there?). The good news is they finally have a young and successful pitching staff, one that should remain good for a while, and although the offense is lagging, finding bats for Coors isn't too hard. The bad news is they have Ian Desmond for another four years at $15M per, along with a couple less-than-idealcontracts. I still have high hopes for the club, and, hell, they're holding onto a Wild Card spot, but some past moves may be coming back to bite them.

LucasDad (MN): Byron Buxton has quietly been a beast since July. Has he arrived? Has he been doing anything different since then that we know of?

Ben Diamond: Hell yes, Byron Buxton is hitting .324/.369/.532 since July 1st and it's hard not to be excited. He's a heck of a player even at a .250 batting average...if he can hit .280+, you're looking at a star. The key to Buxton's success is that, to put it simply, he's playing like Byron Buxton. We all knew this guy had otherworldly talent, and the Twins stuck with him until the results started to translate. On a mechanical level, an aggressive leg kick has been drastically toned down and you can't argue with the results. Common sense tells us he won't keep hitting like *this*, but Buxton's finally found his groove and there's no telling if/when he'll slow down. Sure, there will be slumps, but Buxton's arrived and it's fun to watch.

Nate (Iowa): You're commissioner for the day. How many games do you suspend Betances for? More or less than 20?

Ben Diamond: Ah, here we go, time for my annual hot take *cracks knuckles*.

Zero games... Betances shouldn't be suspended. Kahnle throwing behind Miguel Cabrera is deserving of a handful of games (though under ten, I'd say), and Sanchez will probably get sidelined for a bit for his sneak attack (read: cheap shots) on Cabrera as well. But Betances?

Well, perhaps I'm biased as a Yankees fan, but knowing Dellin's temperament (gentle giant is the best way to put it) and the situation, I really can't imagine he was throwing at McCann intentionally. His team's in the playoff race and the offense had just scored three runs to tie the game up in the top of the seventh. Betances isn't putting the leadoff man on base intentionally. In addition, given Betances' velocity and wildness, he'd be the last guy a team would pick to throw at a batter. He and the team both know it's dangerous and irresponsible.

That said, it wouldn't surprise me nor upset me if he's suspended for a few games. There's no way to know for sure if the HBP was intentional, and the league has a job to do. If I had to ballpark, five seems like a solid number to arrive at.

Nate (Iowa): You're commissioner for the day. How many games do you suspend Betances for? More or less than 20?

Ben Diamond: Ah, here we go, time for my annual hot take *cracks knuckles*.

Zero games... Betances shouldn't be suspended. Kahnle throwing behind Miguel Cabrera is deserving of a handful of games (though under ten, I'd say), and Sanchez will probably get sidelined for a bit for his sneak attack (read: cheap shots) on Cabrera as well. But Betances?

Well, perhaps I'm biased as a Yankees fan, but knowing Dellin's temperament (gentle giant is the best way to put it) and the situation, I really can't imagine he was throwing at McCann intentionally. His team's in the playoff race and the offense had just scored three runs to tie the game up in the top of the seventh. Betances isn't putting the leadoff man on base intentionally. In addition, given Betances' velocity and wildness, he'd be the last guy a team would pick to throw at a batter. He and the team both know it's dangerous and irresponsible.

That said, it wouldn't surprise me nor upset me if he's suspended for a few games. There's no way to know for sure if the HBP was intentional, and the league has a job to do. If I had to ballpark, four games seems like a solid number to arrive at.

Bob (Bobathonia): In a 30 team dynasty league (rules mimic MLB, every minor leaguer is owned) is it worth it to try and move victor robles and another decent spec (probably 125-200 overall) for ronald acuna? part of the allure is I am more in need of a RF than a CF, but not sure the value is worth it

Ben Diamond: This is tough... If you asked me today who I want in a dynasty draft, I'm taking Acuna over Robles, but I'm not sure that's the consensus opinion and I don't think the difference between the two players is big enough to warrant another solid prospect. Acuna's hype is probably at an all time high, and rightly so, but I'd stick with Robles unless you really aren't afraid to let go of that second name.

Joe (Albany): Who wins the inevitable fistfight between you and Stellini

Ben Diamond: There's a couple ways to break down this question, because, boy, it's a doozy. On one hand, I peaked as a green stripe in karate as a twelve-year-old and once won a sparring tournament. On the other hand, Nick fenced for nine years. If we're in a room lacking sharp objects, I like my chances, but in a real-life setting I get the feeling Stellini would go full Jason Bourne on me.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Ben, what is the ETA for Tatis Jr and for Rodgers, are they both going to stick at SS, and how would you project their offensive stats?

Ben Diamond: Woof, quite a few Tatis Jr. questions in this queue, so I'm going to knock a couple of them out right now. His performance this season as an 18-year-old in A-Ball was absolutely absurd, and the fact that the Padres trusted him enough to be promoted to Double-A early this week says quite a bit. I do want to pump the breaks *just* a bit on Tatis, as the 29 bases he stole are probably misrepresenting his real, MLB-level speed, and he's still a teen with some swing-and-miss in his game. I also don't think he's going to stick at shortstop. That said, he could be a hell of a player, a middle-of-the-order (possible 25+ home run) third baseman who could be in the big leagues by 2019. Probably not a star, but there's a lot to be excited about here.

Rodgers is one of the best prospects (fantasy or otherwise) in the game, more likely to stick at shortstop and contribute some serious Coors thump with a great batting average. He could be up next year, and I'm awfully excited for his arrival.

Gleyber (Rehab): Greetings, Ben. If you had to hang your hat on one guy becoming a superduperstar, who would it be out of Fernando Tatis, Jr, Forest Whitley, Juan Soto, or Bo Bichette?

Ben Diamond: Hey Gleyber, hope your elbow's feeling better.

To answer your question, gimme the Dominican Bryce Harper in Juan Soto. That nickname *might* be a bit of an exaggeration, but Little Miggy is doing okay now, I guess. I love Whitley, but pitchers gonna pitcher, and I'm not quite sold on Bichette's real upside just yet. Tatis is right under Soto, but I can't stop thinking about the impact Soto's bat could have in the big leagues.

Sleepless (Seattle): What happened to Arismendy Alcántara???

Ben Diamond: Jesus, dude, I was having a good time until you had to spring this on me. I could give you a real answer, but honestly I'm probably just going to type his name into BP's search bar and oh my god he's hitting .171/.187/.248. I'm sad now.

Bryan G. (Rhode Island): Hey Ben! What's your favorite thing about writing Transaction Analysis pieces here at BP?

Ben Diamond: Hey Bryan G. (hmmm, name rings a bell for some reason)!
I've only gotten to write a couple TAs so far, but, man, it's been fun so far. As a serial overthinker, I'll savor any opportunity to write down my instant reactions to a noteworthy move, and the results can be pretty damn fun (or mean, if you're Jeremy Hellickson...sorry bud). I'm also a firm believer in every player having a story worth telling, so the challenge of making a colorful analysis for a seemingly boring player is pretty cool.

jccruz173 (Baltimore ): How's the Yankee farm system looking after all their trades? Still top 10? Andujar moving up?

Ben Diamond: I loved the Yankees' deadline, in part because they managed to land impact players without giving up any of their top-4 prospects (in my opinion). Torres and Frazier both look like possible studs, while Adams has a very good chance of being a solid pitching in the rotation and Florial's upside is rather absurd. There are systems with better headliners, but the Yankees aren't exactly lacking in high-end talent and back it up with really impressive depth. Long story short, I'd say they're still top-10, yes.

Regarding Andujar...it's hard not to be buying a guy with a career 381 wRC+ in the big leagues. If you want to ignore the small sample size, though, I'm still a big believer now. Andujar's always needed to repeat each level to actually hit well, but he's been raking in Triple-A since the promotion and that's promising.

Ceej (Pittsburgh): Think Vlad Jr will bash his way to the majors in Sep. 2018, or will he get the Bryant and assumed Acuna treatment and it be May 2019?

Ben Diamond: While my money probably isn't on Vladito jumping from Double-A to the big leagues next season (he's going to be 19 for all of 2018), it certainly wouldn't shock me if he gets there in September. Official answer is 2019, because banking an a teen to make it to the big leagues isn't the smartest move, but don't yell at me if I'm wrong.

Ceej (Pittsburgh): Think Vlad Jr will bash his way to the majors in Sep. 2018, or will he get the Bryant and assumed Acuna treatment and it be May 2019?

Ben Diamond: While my money probably isn't on Vladito jumping from Double-A to the big leagues next season (he's going to be 19 for all of 2018), it certainly wouldn't shock me if he gets there in September. Official answer is 2019, because banking an a teen to make it to the big leagues isn't the smartest move, but don't yell at me if I'm wrong.

Dee (NYC): What are your thoughts on Eric Fedde? Will the Nats call him back up this season?

Ben Diamond: The Nationals have kept Fedde's innings low enough that I could see him throwing some innings (likely in relief) at the end of the season, but that's about it for the season. Long-term, he doesn't have the upside to separate him from the pack of possible mid-rotation arms, but he could be a fantasy contributor as soon as next season and isn't a high-risk buy.

Eddie (CT): What are your thoughts on an innings limit for Luis Severino?

Ben Diamond: Sevy's already passed his career high on innings in a season and still has a handful of starts left in 2017, and it's fair to discuss giving him a start or two off down the stretch to keep him fresh (especially considering the injury concerns coming from a small flamethrower). That said, he's holding his velocity well deep into games and has been the Yankees' best pitcher this season, and they'll need him for the stretch run. So full speed ahead, is what I would do and what I expect to happen.

Ben Diamond: Alrighty guys, I have to run but it's been a really fun 90 minutes! Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions in the queue, feel free to write me on Twitter if I didn't get to you. Hope to be back soon for a deeper dive on Stellini vs. Diamond!


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