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Chat: Shawn Hoffman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday March 30, 2010 1:00 PM ET chat session with Shawn Hoffman.

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When Shawn Hoffman isn't squawking baseball, he's clacking away at a keyboard, answering your questions in today's chat.

Shawn Hoffman: Time to get this thing started?

Your fans (everywhere): Is this the most anticipated BP chat ever?

Shawn Hoffman: Is it?

Brian H (Arlington, TX): Did you have a chance to check out the Rangers' camp in Surprise? Any thoughts on the young arms like Feliz, Perez, Scheppers, Ogando, Font, et al?

Shawn Hoffman: Wouldn't be surprised if Scheppers and/or even Perez make cameos, but things would have to go really right for them, or really wrong for the big league guys.

My only concern with Feliz is that he gets pigeonholed as a reliever, like we've seen with some others recently. It's great that a bunch of teams are using the Earl Weaver method -- start them as relievers, then move them into the rotation. But it's a very fine line between developing a guy and potentially changing him.

Brian (Tinley): Hey Shawn - I have a Blackberry Tour and was interested in getting the MLB At Bat app for it. I know all of the bells and whistles don't transfer over to the Blackberry. In your opinion, is the Blackberry version of At Bat worth a purchase? Thanks, Brian

Shawn Hoffman: I've never used the BlackBerry version, so I can't comment directly, but David Pinto has a BlackBerry Storm, and he says the new version is a big improvement over last year's. Honestly, I can't imagine using it on a small screen like the Tour's, so I don't have the best perspective on this, but I'd say any way you can get Gameday Audio on your phone is worth it.

One other thing, eyeballing the features list (http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/6743), it doesn't look like there's an option for MLB.tv…. not that you would ever think of using that on the Tour anyway, but just in case.

Brian (Tinley): Hey Shawn - I have a Blackberry Tour and was interested in getting the MLB At Bat app for it. I know all of the bells and whistles don't transfer over to the Blackberry. In your opinion, is the Blackberry version of At Bat worth a purchase? Thanks, Brian

Shawn Hoffman: I've never used the BlackBerry version, so I can't comment directly, but David Pinto has a BlackBerry Storm, and he says the new version is a big improvement over last year's. Honestly, I can't imagine using it on a small screen like the Tour's, so I don't have the best perspective on this, but I'd say any way you can get Gameday Audio on your phone is worth it.

One other thing, eyeballing the features list (http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/6743), it doesn't look like there's an option for MLB.tv…. not that you would ever think of using that on the Tour anyway, but just in case.

Jayson Werth's Razor (Clearwater, FL): How much irreparable financial damage did I cause this morning?

Shawn Hoffman: And thus, Tommy Bennett remains king. At least of that species…

Pat (NJ): Please rank these speed options: Rajai Davis, Julio Borbon, Michael Brantley, Brett Gardner. Thanks!

Shawn Hoffman: Fantasy: Borbon, Davis, Brantley, Gardner -- based purely on playing time. Real life 2010 (if I was picking guys for my team): Borbon, Gardner, Davis, Brantley.

Ragnhild (Bounce ): Who of the following has NOT yet had their career year? Sizemore, Soto, Hamels, Liriano, McLouth

Shawn Hoffman: Grady.

Adam Lind (Toronto): Since we will probably be out of contention pretty early this year, which of my teammates will be sold off? I already told my boy Aaron Hill that if he starts out well he's as good as gone... How about me? Should I look into buying or a short term rental?

Shawn Hoffman: Hate to break it to you, but neither of you are going anywhere. You haven't even hit arbitration yet, and Hill is signed through 2014 at a pretty reasonable price. The guys most likely to be shipped out are Downs, Frasor, and Overbay, not necessarily in that order.

Frank (Vegas): Shawn, would like to hear your thoughts on the Bucs moves yesterday re: 1. the Bucs dump of Moss - just a reality check wrt Moss not panning out as a ML'er? 2. and the pick-up of Penn - a quick look-see until someone better hits the waiver wire later this week? thanks!

Shawn Hoffman: Moss is what he is -- I wasn't a fan at the time of the trade, and I'm not now. He's a decent enough fourth or fifth outfielder, and really was a pretty easy choice, compared to the other guys on the 40-man.

I'm not holding my breath on Penn. There are worse guys to take a chance on I guess, but anything he produces should be considered bonus points.

EJS (Filmtopia): Do you have an IMDB page?

Shawn Hoffman: I don't. However, former Baseball Prospectus contributor and occasional destroyer Kiley McDaniel is writing a live-action Doug screenplay, with him starring as Skeeter. From what I understand, the role of Doug is still up for grabs…

Pat (NJ): Any word on how long Lance Berkman is likely to be out? I assume he'll start the year on the 15 day DL... Also, what is the earliest we can reasonable expect the Nats to call up Drew Storen this year? Chances on him being installed as the closer some time this year?

Shawn Hoffman: Berkman shouldn't be out for more than a week or two to start the season. All things considered, that's not so bad.

If Storen pitches well, expect him up in June or July. They drafted him partly because they thought he could be a fast mover, and it wouldn't shock me if he's only being sent down for service time reasons.

Guillermo (Montevideo): Hi Shawn!! So, the Giants just locked up two relievers for 2 or 3 more years... dumb move? (specially with Jeremy Affeldt)

Shawn Hoffman: The Affeldt deal was pretty unnecessary. He's a decent enough guy to have around, but you can find guys just as good for a hell of a lot less. I have less of a problem with the idea of extending Wilson, but at the price they ended up giving him, I don't really see the benefit of doing it now -- they basically gave him the max he could get through arbitration the next two years.

Let's put this another way: with Cain's extension, the Giants are looking at spending $60m just on their top three starters in 2012. Such is life, with the Zito deal. But given that, spending an extra $10m+ on relievers (who are very unpredictable year-to-year) is too risky for my tastes.

Andy (Baltimore): After winning the fifth-starter job in the Oriole's rotation, any chance David Hernandez puts his decent stuff to work to become a successful starter (in the mold of a league-average innings-eater type)?

Shawn Hoffman: Sure, there's always a chance. I'm not a huge fan, but I guess it's worth a shot -- more important to give Tillman all the time he needs (and manipulate his service time optimally).

Guillermo (Montevideo): Reading Steven Goldman´s "super-utility all star lineup" I couldn´t help but notice Albert Pujols´ 2001 season should have been listed. The guy hit 329/403/610 (not even to mention he was a rookie) while splitting time between third base (52g), left field (37g), right field (32g) and first base (32g). Any other super subs to add to the team?

Shawn Hoffman: Good call on Albert. I feel uncomfortable with any super-utility list that doesn't include Brooks Kieschnick -- everyday player or not, that experiment was a hell of a lot of fun.

mjk415 (elmhurst,ill): what is your outlook on Tejada in the balt line-up? With his obp and possible #4 batting hole do you think 90 rbi and 80 runs are realistic or am i smoking' the wrong kind of cigarettes?

Shawn Hoffman: It's purely a playing time/lineup spot thing -- if he doesn't get hurt, and he hits in a good spot, he'll put up decent enough counting numbers. That lineup is getting kinda good, aside from a couple spots...

Rodney (Fantasyland): Forget Storen, when will Strasburg hit the show?

Shawn Hoffman: Mark Prior debuted May 22....

Hunter Pence (Houston, TX): With my buddy Lance dinged up, where will I hit in the order? Will it change when Berk returns?

Shawn Hoffman: Maybe you'll hit third instead of fifth for a while? I don't think it really matters -- you might get an extra couple plate appearances out of it.

Egghead (Midwest): I have this great idea for a new snack food. It's called Bacon Bloggers! Take bloggers, fry on lower levels, then cover with bacon. Bacon!

Shawn Hoffman: Is this similar to the RJ Anderson concept? You do know he's actually an AIMbot...

Jquinton82 (NY): Which GM's and Managers are on the hot seat? And do you see Minaya and Mauel caching the axe? (Though if it were me, I'd fire the Wilpons)

Shawn Hoffman: If the Mets really struggle, I can't imagine Jerry and Omar surviving another year. I'd say Dayton Moore could be in trouble, but he's now signed through Jeb Bush's second term.

dangor (New York): Any thoughts on these hot Dodger pitching prospects? Josh Lindblom, Scott Elbert, Aaron Miller? Will they or somebody else help this year or will they just stick with a Charlie Haeger in the rotation?

Shawn Hoffman: It's gonna be really interesting to see what they do with the bottom of their rotation. Hell, it's already pretty strange what they're doing with the top of their rotation. (Do you think they'd start Padilla Game 1 if this was the playoffs? I really hope not.)

Elbert was a lot better than he gets credit for in the bigs last year. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets back up and pitches very well this year, presumably out of the pen, but who knows.

Dom Brown (Philly, PA): Chances that I get called up before September? Even if Raul is hitting .200 I assume I don't get a chance to play...I'd need a Werth trade (unlikely) and Ibanez injury, right?

Shawn Hoffman: If you get any serious playing time with the Phils this year, something either went really really well, or really really poorly. Or both. Don't count it.

woodruff11 (nyc): Thoughts on the Steelers issues? Seeing how quickly fortunes can change give this Bills fan hope. Not really.

Shawn Hoffman: As you know, there is currently an ongoing investigation. Until we see the results, it's best for me not to comment.

Pat (Jersey): Rays best starter in 2011 is named...

Shawn Hoffman: James Shields, until further notice.

scramer (Tampa): What's your take on Jaime Garcia. Ready to contribute for a playoff team now or send him down to AAA and slowly work his way to Cardinals rotation.

Shawn Hoffman: He's a tough one to evaluate objectively, since he hasn't pitched many innings. They obviously see something in him subjectively, and given the team's position, I don't think they'd be giving him this shot if they weren't very confident that he could succeed.

IMDB (interwebs): Who would win in a screenplay writing contest between Eric Seidman and Kiley McDaniel?

Shawn Hoffman: Does Eric write screenplays also?

sawred14 (NJ): what do you expect from heyward this year?

Shawn Hoffman: Put me down for .350/.470. Which is insane for someone that age.

Pete (FL): Write a baseball haiku.

Shawn Hoffman: As the man once said,
Never surrender opportunity for security,
Now go back to work.

Pat (NJ): Let's pretend each division gave out a Cy Young. Who gets it in the NL East if Roy Halladay is excluded... If you feel like it, who wins every division? (CC, Grienke, Felix, Halladay, Lincecum excluded... Too tight in NL Central)

Shawn Hoffman: Wow, so other than those guys...

Lester, Verlander, Lee, Santana, Carpenter, Haren. I'm positive I'm forgetting people.

sawred14 (NJ): from a fantasy keeper league perspective, how do you see Heyward's development curve going the next few years?

Shawn Hoffman: I've been telling people to take him in the ~15th round of a 12 team draft. Could've gotten him in the 20th last week.

Computer (Nerd): SQL: Best or bestest?

Shawn Hoffman: Both?

Speaking of which, iPad Saturday...

BP readers (BP): What one (or two) suggestion(s) do you have to make BP even better?

Shawn Hoffman: Mobile optimization, and more of Tommy's beard.

Stu (NJ): Are you bullish on Wade Davis' prospects for 2010?

Shawn Hoffman: Yup. Just picked him to win Rookie of the Year.

Matt (Fantasy Island): So which two outfielders do you start on opening day in a head-to-head league between: Bruce, Snider, McLouth, Abreu and Heyward?

Shawn Hoffman: Abreu and Heyward. Of all those guys, Bruce could have the biggest year, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Ben (PA): Why do the Steelers suck so much?

Shawn Hoffman: This is just factually incorrect.

Pat (New Jersey): No more questions. Just wanted to thank you for the fun chat and for answering all 7 of my questions, even if some of them were a bit ridiculous (cy youngs, etc). Much appreciated! And oh... You have the right division and position for AL RoY but his name is Brian Matusz.

Shawn Hoffman: I just feel bad for people from Jersey.

Matusz isn't a terrible choice -- it could just come down to who has more inter-division starts.

Stu (NJ): So you like Davis over Matusz? Interesting. How 'bout in the NL? And I know he's no longer ROY elibible, but what do you think of Kyle Blanks?

Shawn Hoffman: It's a tough year to be a rookie in the NL, with Heyward and Strasburg as your competition. Blanks can obviously hit, but that stadium will cut into his counting numbers a bit. Watching him play the outfield should be fascinating.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): So it appears DET will be paying Dontrell and Nate Robinson about $20m to fill the #5 spots in two rotations. Which one will perform better?

Shawn Hoffman: You kinda have to pick Robertson, don't you? (I'm assuming you did mean Nate Robertson, and not former Knickerbocker Nate Robinson.) If we're thinking purely in terms of probability, there's very little shot of Robertson putting up a 0.6 K/BB rate. With Dontrelle, that would be an improvement over the last two years.

Stu (NJ): You should feel bad for us...4 inches of rain over the past two days. In what direction does Clay Buchholz's career go this year?

Shawn Hoffman: It was El Nino in the city today, so I'm feeling that too.

I think he's got a decent shot at a break out year. With a gun to my head, I'll say he beats most of his projections.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Mauer's been locked up, there's a decent hitting backup mostly ready to go (Morales) and a generic glove guy or two on the shelf for emergencies. What should the Twins do with excellent catching prospect Wilson Ramos?

Shawn Hoffman: What else is there to say? He becomes trade bait. Just gotta hope they don't trade him in a panic if the bullpen falls apart for a second-rate reliever. (Paging Neal Huntington...)

t-5 days ((real baseball)): Ok, my friends and I would bet on anything. We are drafting managers and the only categories that count are ejections and suspensions. Who would be your top pick? I'm thinking Guillen, but Bobby Cox might want to put his record out of reach.

Shawn Hoffman: Bobby Cox has to be the lock-down number one pick. How can there even be another option?

tommybones (brooklyn): From a purely roto-league fantasy standpoint, which player is a better long term keeper, Desmond Jennings or Jesus Montero?

Shawn Hoffman: Being risk-averse, I'll go with Jennings, simply because he's closer.

Shelly Long (The Money Pit): Long week...... ......How much do you trust Liriano/Carmona/Young/Duch?

Shawn Hoffman: What's up Diane from Cheers. Liriano is the best bet of that group. Just look at what he did at his best, if he were to get even halfway back he'd be a well above average starter.

Chuck (Chicago): What is the next batch of Yankees prospects to get traded?

Shawn Hoffman: I don't know if you should really expect this anymore. They've been doing it a lot less since Cashman took full control, and even before then, most of the guys they did trade didn't turn into much.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Sure, throw Robinson in there too... Has anyone ever looked at the history of money spent on other teams' players (ie the Mike Hampton shuffle)? It'd be kind of cool to see which teams are willing to buy their way out of bad decisions and if it works out well for them.

Shawn Hoffman: Jeff has this at Cot's Contracts. Look in the team sections. Not sure if he has the full leaderboard though.

tommybones (brooklyn): What about Ramos for a first rate reliever? And why wouldn't the Phils deal for a real closer? I can't imagine they aren't completely sick of the 9th inning craptacular being front page news all season again.

Shawn Hoffman: If he has another good year, he becomes a major trading chip. Using that up on a reliever of any kind seems like a waste to me.

Just keep in mind, Brad Lidge has been down before and gotten back up. I don't think they've given up on him, and given that they didn't want to spend $9 for Cliff Lee, I'm not surprised they're not willing to spend it on a reliever.

kcboomer (kc): Odd sort of chat. Must be great to be from NJ.

Shawn Hoffman: As someone who only steps foot there when the Penguins are in town, I can tell you it's not.

tommybones (brooklyn): Are you a believer in Zobrist?

Shawn Hoffman: Should I not be?

Pat (New Jersey): Don't feel too bad. I'm in Tampa now for some ST games. Speaking of which, is there anywhere on the web I can go to check probable starters for ST games? I googled it and didn't see it in the first few results so I gave up. That's determination.

Shawn Hoffman: I couldn't find them anywhere when I was in AZ, so I feel your pain. If anybody else knows of somewhere that has them....

Mike (Boston): What is with Tommy's beard? Isn't this some sort of inside-joke that most of us don't find funny because (a) his beard is hideous and (b) who cares?

Shawn Hoffman: And now you've helped perpetuate it. I'll pass along your complaints to Tommy and RJ.

KRS (Loop): Do you think the Cubs are making the right decision by keeping Colvin with the big club rather than getting him more at bats as a starter at AAA? I guess time will tell if he gets enough playing time in Chicago, but your initial reaction? Thanks.

Shawn Hoffman: Yeah, I didn't totally get that one. My first inclination is that this isn't the best approach, but who knows, if he starts getting some PAs and it turns out he can hit big league pitching...

Grant (Chicago): OK, without looking up the #'s, you'd have to think Cito Gaston's the disney world pick in that draft right? He makes Art Shell or dare I say it Bernie from the hamptons positively lively in comparison.

Shawn Hoffman: Wow, we are covering a lot of ground here. I don't even know where I'd get those numbers (are they on B-Ref?). In other news, my friend's uncle looks a lot like Bernie.

Tommy Hanson (ATL): What do my #s look like at the end of the season? What are the chances I can be a top 10 SP in the next few years?

Shawn Hoffman: Let's go with 8.3 K/9 and a 3.75 ERA. Very high.

tommybones (brooklyn): Re: Zobrist Seems there are two schools. The first believes his 2009 is for real and that he found himself. The second screams fluke.

Shawn Hoffman: The third is that he'll be somewhere in between, but more toward the high end. That's about where I'm at.

Stu (NJ): You need to travel south of the Meadowlands. It gets better. I swear!

Shawn Hoffman: The Devils are in Newark now. That's about as far as I'm willing to go. The farther you get away from the city, the more you smell when you get back.

Will (Mactaquac): Holy carp! Robertson to the Marlins.....setting up Willis to start? Any chance for redemption here? I guess this is fantasy based, but mostly I'm not a complete lump of coal.

Shawn Hoffman: Unless you have 10 starters already and still have room for one more solely as a bench lottery ticket, I wouldn't touch him.

Tim (DC): Pedro Alvarez...how much does he contribute this year (if any)?

Shawn Hoffman: He really needs to cut the Ks. I'm tentatively expecting him to be up in June or July, but if he can't get his contact issues under control, that might be a very optimistic estimate.

Word Patrol (Word Town): Watching Kyle Blanks play the outfield will be "fascinating"? As in, so bad it's good? I guess I don't see the wide range of potential outcomes that would inspire fascination. I'm anticipating predictably bad OF defense.

Shawn Hoffman: Did you see his inside the park home run last year? I honestly can't think of another word to describe it.

P Bu (St. Louis): Is there any kind of hazing for the new BP writers? On a related note, is it wrong that after a year or so I still think of you as one of the new writers?

Shawn Hoffman: Will Carroll locks us in his dungeon for a week while he canes us and makes us shave his head.

Shawn Hoffman: And on that note, time for me to take off. Thanks guys, and go Pens. And seriously, feel free to e-mail Kiley about his screenplay.


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