It's a late change of plans, but today we'll have Jeremy Greenhouse making his chat debut instead of Rob McQuown, but he's more than happy to talk fantasy or real-world baseball. Dive in and enjoy--it's baseball!
Jeremy Greenhouse: With apologies to Rob’s rabid fanbase, “The McQuown McHounds,” I have been tapped to pinch-hit on this, The Day Jeremy Greenhouse Hosted His First Baseball Prospectus Chat. Remember when Omir Santos came in from the bullpen to pinch-hit for Ramon Castro? This will be just like that, except with 30% less Jerry Manuel.
rawagman (Toronto): Welcome to BP! What sort of baseball information, not currently available to the public, do you most wish you had?
And same question, non-baseball.
Jeremy Greenhouse: Thanks. I think Sportvision is recording some awesome data between PITCHf/x, HITf/x, FIELDf/x, and now I hear Greg Moore just announced this weekend that "commandf/x" will track the catcher's glove. PITCHf/x is already public, but choosing between the other three, I'd have to say FIELDf/x, which tracks player movement throughout the game. I got to toy around with a FIELDf/x dataset earlier in the year. You can really break down fielding and baserunning into components like reaction, range, speed.
As for non-baseball, I guess my answer is still related to baseball. I wish sports teams' financial documents were made public. I really believe in financial transparency, especially when these guys are asking taxpayers to build their stadiums and such. It kills me that fans side with the owners so often and buy their lines about needing a larger share of the revenue.
Barbecue Believer (Memphis): There's been some speculation this spring about the Yankees' batting order -- whether Gardner will hit leadoff and what that does to Jeter. What do you think New York's optimal lineup would look like, and how much of a difference could it make?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I think I have a good idea as to how Derek Jeter would react to being asked to move from the leadoff spot. I would probably bat Jeter lead off anyway, and I think any difference would be negligible.
bigrick0016 (Cleveland): so I am in a keeper league with normal settings. Since Wainwright shred his elbow I am changing my keepers.
I have two spots open for G. Beckham, Cain, Carpenter, Strasburg (my other guys are JUpton, Texeira, Matt Kemp)
Jeremy Greenhouse: Well what are your keeper league rules? I think that for next year, Carpenter is probably the best guy but he's the least likely to give you a high return if you're thinking long-term. Beckham, as the position player, has the best chance of giving you value in a dynasty league. And Cain falls somewhere in between I think. As for Strasburg, well I have to make a decision on him in a keeper league as well. So if anyone would humor me, how valuable do you all think Strasburg will be in 2012?
kcroyalsguy (KC): Fantasy question. I am in a deep 20 team league with 5 keepers per season. Looking at 2nd baseman strictly for this season, who would be more valuable, Dustin Ackley or Sean Rodriguez. And looking at it from a more long term perspective, Ackley, Christian Colon, Grant Green (assuming he moves to 2nd) or Rodriguez,
Jeremy Greenhouse: I'd go with Sean Rodriguez. Better team. Ackley won't get called up until June, and I think Ackley's value lies more in his secondary skills than standard 5x5 stats. Long-term, out of those guys it absolutely has to be Ackley, no? He just projects to be a different caliber of player.
martin (Hartford): How do you see NYY's rotation filling out?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I like Nova to claim a spot. I think the Yankees are lucky to still have him. I never understood why the Padres didn't hold onto Nova as a Rule 5 pick a couple of years ago. He should be above replacement level. After that, I don't think Garcia, Colon or Banuelos get more than 15 starts separately in the Bigs this year. They'll probably trade for somebody, and Liriano would make sense.
Bryan (Illinois): Do you see Brandon Belt staying at 1B or going to the outfield?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Belt's position might ultimately be determined this year by where there's an immediate opening. So I guess it depends on whether you feel Aubrey Huff or Pat Burrell has a better chance of collapsing.
southsidepride (Chicago): Your thoughts on Justin Morneau's season?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Concussions are scary. Jeff Zimmerman found a significant decline in performance for players returning from concussions. I'd be surprised if he played in more than 130 games. But fortunately, it seems like he and the Twins have been cautious, so when he does play, it probably means that he's feeling well enough to perform.
kcroyalsguy (KC): I see Utley's injury as evidence the baseball Gods are frowning on the Phillies for altering the space time continuum in acquiring Cliff Lee. Would Mike Aviles make sense for them? I haven't seen him in any of the speculation currently being tossed around.
Jeremy Greenhouse: The Phillies are not going to have a good offense this year. Like their offense will be such that if there was a betting establishment offering you a line of 97 wins, you would be well-served taking the under. As for Aviles, he isn't going to be part of the Royals' future, so sure. Polanco could also probably fill in at 2nd and they could trade for Mark Teahen to play third. I don't know. I'm just not sure the Phillies need to look for stop-gaps. They lost Werth, Howard and Ibanez are platoon players, Dom Brown is hurt and probably wasn't ready anyway. I guess they do have a good starting rotation, from what I hear.
Honey Mustard Hound (France): Pujols is the obvious No. 1 pick in most fantasy drafts. Who do you think the contenders are for No. 2?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Hanley is the obvious guy. I think Adrian Gonzalez is the best opposite-field hitter in the game, and his ability to generate loft on inside pitches and sky them the other way should work out great in that ballpark. When I heard about that trade, I thought he would be a top-five pick and MVP front-runner, which I figured was aggressive. But now I work for Bloomberg Sports (www.bloombergsports.com), and we have him ranked 2nd overall! He’s going to pile up runs and RBI in that lineup. Even so, I think the dropoff between Pujols and the No. 2 pick is probably the same as the dropoff between 2 and 10 or so. I hope to study the value of fantasy draft picks sometime soon.
TOny (Alb): Better Fantasy Year: Michael Bourn or Denard Span?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I'd rather have Span. He's a better hitter in a much better lineup, so he should outperform Bourn in four categories. 30 steals is big, but so are 30 batting average points and 30 Runs+RBI.
The Bunk (MD): Hey Jeremy, great chat! What did you think of Robin van Persie getting sent off yesterday?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I know for a fact that I submitted that question myself, so I’m not even going to dignify it with a response.
To everyone who’s sending in the same question repeatedl, I’m not going to answer you and you're slowing down the chat. Bunch of jerks.
No, but I'm really not getting many questions at all. That's why this is funny.
Eli (Tucson): Can Dexter Fowler turn into Kenny Lofton-esque player?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Kenny Lofton was a Hall of Fame quality player. Fowler is still fighting to not get platooned. He strikes out so much that I don't see him hitting hitting above .280, while Lofton was a .300 career hitter. But Fowler's supposedly going to lead off this year and play center, so I think that he'll definitely have some fantasy and real-world value.
ackley (pencey): what's up with the miami heat?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I wish I knew. Chris Webber had a fun rant on it last night. I think that a lot of the close-game stuff has been bad luck, and that's what guys like Le Batard, Haberstroh, and Hollinger who really follow this stuff closely have been saying. I still would say they have the best chance of making the finals of any team in the East, though.
Tony (Alb): Ryan Zimmerman; 2011 MVP candidate?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Yes. Probably should have been a candidate last year. I hear more about Strasburg, Harper, Werth, and even the other Zimmerman than I do about him, though for some reason.
kcroyalsguy (KC): Do you have a favorite prospect outside of the Royals top 10? Who will improve his stock the most in the coming year and who's stock could plummet?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Is Tim Collins considered top 10? I'm always drawn towards prospects like that. He'll find a role in the Majors.
Jonathan (LA): Austin Jackson: have we seen his best season or is he going to improve?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Austin Jackson is undoubtedly going to improve. He still may never have a better season than he did last year. It's not just luck in the sense that balls were finding holes, but it's luck in the sense that he outperformed his true talent level. I don't think he's as good a hitter or as good a defender as he showed.
MemphisRedSox (Memphis): Do you discount Miguel Cabrera at all as a result of the DUI? Not on principle or anything, but on the potential for him missing time for rehab/jail.
Jeremy Greenhouse: I don't think the Tigers are going to discipline him in any serious way. And I assume that if the DUI results in his getting clean, then he'll probably play baseball better. On principle, however, yes, I do discount him.
Tony (Albuquerque): Over/under on the amount of time Utley misses to start the season: 6. And is he going to be a guy who is constantly nursing an injury and it's side effects all year?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I don't know. Sorry.
I'm realizing that I should have given that answer several times by now, by the way. Oh well.
Robert (LA): Who of these three have a chance of making the transistion from the pen to the rotation: Chapman, Sale and Neftali?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Chapman will get batters out no matter where he pitches. I have no grounds to say in what role his arm would hold up best. Neftali is the surest thing of those three. Don't see that Sale belongs in that class. I'm interested in testing out the hypothesis that pitchers with good stuff play up in the bullpen or that pitchers without a quality third offering fail as starters. Applies to all three of those guys.
BrewCrew4Life (CB4): Yuniesky Betancourt, great shortstop or greatest shortstop in the game? Can't believe we got him from the Royals! They even gave us whats his name too!
Jeremy Greenhouse: I disagree about Betancourt. The other player in that trade was Zack Greinke.
section 34 (the cheap seats): Who are you?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Trying to figure that one out myself.
John (DC): Have any unnecessarily early predictions for ROY?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Hellickson in the AL and Freeman in the NL will and should be the consensus. If Pineda or Belt came up before June, I think they'd be good picks.
ackley (pencey): Who is the best player out of the group - Kenny Lofton, Brian “The Beard” Wilson, Todd Zeile, Eddie Murray, and fellow professional escort fan, Lenny Dykstra - Charlie Sheen flew in to his Major League viewing party?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I don't know what this question means, but I like it.
Mike Fast (Austin, TX): Hi, Jeremy. Speaking of transitions from the pen to the rotation, what are your thoughts on the state of knowledge about transitions between the two roles, interesting avenues for research using PITCHf/x or other data, etc.? This is something that has fascinated me for a long time, but I haven't really found the research angle to crack it open yet.
Jeremy Greenhouse: Mike, I had actually planned to write about it last week but, well, didn't. My starting point would be fastball percentage and fastball velocity in one role, see how it changes when they switch roles, and then see how their effectiveness changes.
Matt (St. Paul): What do you do with an owner in a keeper league that is obviously just over matched and his interest just isn't there?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Over matched and without interest? You let him leave the league, right? Find a replacement.
Dan (NY): Charlie Sheen recently avowed he was 'married to baseball.' Does this fall under Joe Torre's jurisdiction as the newly appointed VP of Baseball Operations? Is he ultimately going to have to discipline Sheen when he wields a knife to baseball's throat and locks it in the hotel bathroom?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Interesting point you make.
Tony (Albuquerque): Rank these guys 2011 fantasy season's: Marcum, Jonathan Sanchez, Gio Gonzalez, Ricky Romero?
Jeremy Greenhouse: How did Marcum get in that list? I think he's the best of them, but he's the soft-throwing righty and the other three are wild southpaws. Gonzalez, Sanchez, Romero afterwards.
Chris (WI): At least Betancourt will be playing for the Crew on Opening Day...unlike that other guy!
Jeremy Greenhouse: Jeff Sullivan tweet: "The weirdest thing about Zack Greinke hurting himself playing basketball is that Zack Greinke has friends." Greinke is one of my favorite players.
Vinnie (Miami): Who's the biggest trade target come July?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Prince Fielder in name and girth.
Ivan (Dallas): Who's closing for the Rays? Any chance Joel Peralta wins that job?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Cory Schwartz in this relative space said so yesterday. Farnsworth seems like the favorite. Jason Gray thinks Jake McGee will get saves.
Alright gentlemen, time for the thunder round. This is just like the lightning round, in that you guys ask quick-hit questions, only the time it takes me to respond will determine how far away from you I am. Also, I will type in all caps to give that authentic thundery effect.
singledigit (San Diego, Ca): RE: Austin Jackson. I understand saying he might have played "beyond his talent level" at the plate.......ya know, hr got some luck. But defensively? How does one play above their talent level defensively? Did the other team hit some lucky gappers that happened to be JUST in his reach?
Jeremy Greenhouse: There is performance variation in all aspects of life. Good days, bad days, good years, bad years. We're trained to understand that with baseball hitters, batting averages will fluctuate. It works the same in every facet of the game.
garethbluejays2 (Newcastle, UK): Following the other sports lead, can you see MLB taking teams overseas for a regular season series or is it just seen as too big a distraction with the travel and the tight schedule?
Jeremy Greenhouse: 4 years ago, the Red Sox and Rays started the season in Japan. Neither team was happy. That series was in late March, about a week before any other game, and I think that's the only way you'd be able to do it if you're talking about six-plus hour flights. The NFL can play anywhere given its schedule.
Christina Kahrl (HoHoKam Stadium): Jeremy, welcome aboard, and thanks a ton for stepping up and doing your first BP chat on such short notice. Here in Mesa, it's Matt Garza vs. Bruce Chen, an interesting pair of decisions as far as acquisition vs. retention. What are you thoughts on this odd couple?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I watched Bruce Chen at a Yankee game last year, and I did not understand why he was pitching in the Major Leagues.
Cynic (Wrigleyville): Can the cubs move up to 4th place this year? Outside shot at third and a .500 record?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Sure they can, PECOTA has them at 80 wins, a game back of the Reds. Pena and Garza should add a few wins. Starlin Castro will continue to progress. More playing time for Soto. Plus Carlos Silva!
rsavits (NY): What are the chances Brett Myers gets traded to the Yanks? I'm in an NL only keeper league and he was offered in a trade at a $2 salary, but if he goes to the AL, he dies.
Jeremy Greenhouse: I don't know. How would Joe Torre handle that one?
TOny (Albuquerque): Royals win more than 65 games this year?
Jeremy Greenhouse: If you ever set the line as low as 65 or as high as 97, I will not bet on the extremes. The Royals Over/Under isn't quite that low this year, but the Phillies are at 97, which I think is way too high.
Spirou (Montreal): Your choice for a cheap catcher . Jesus Flores,Adam Moore or Tyler Flowers ?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Tyler Flowers seems like the only one with legitimate upside out of those guys. And please don't tell me Adam Moore is still going to see playing time.
singledigit (San Diego, Ca): I ain't letting go........lol.
.384 BABIP at AAA in 2009, a .396 BABIP last year, and has a .412 BABIP so far in spring training.
I see a trend. At what point for Austin Jackson does it stop being "luck"?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I think Jackson's BABIP talent level may well be above .360. My opinions of him were partially formed before he reached the Majors, and that's the main reason that I think he's playing above his head and has overperformed. It doesn't have as much to do with his high BABIP. He's a fast line-drive hitter who should have a high BABIP.
Cynic (Wrigleyville): Ah yes, Carlos Silva....went into spring hoping they'd see him as a sunk cost and DFA him. Now the guy talks about having anxiety about making the rotation and I go and start thinking of him as a human being with feelings and everything instead of a suckhole of ineptitude. Why do players have to be people instead of robots?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Don't you say that. That's like telling me there's no Santa Clause. Just don't.
Shane (Miami): Jeremy - While early Pablo Sandoval seems to be back to the old Panda. Thoughts on his numbers for this year in a standard 5x?
Jeremy Greenhouse: I'll probably target Sandoval. He should get back over .300 and be a top-10 third baseman. Deinitely would take him over Casey McGehee, who's being drafted first on average.
Vic (San Diego): Mitch Moreland, Over/Under 19.5hr's and .265 avg.?
Jeremy Greenhouse: Over on both. The rare undervalued Texas Rangers starter.
Alright, that's it from me. Thanks for the questions and sorry about the answers.
Jeremy Greenhouse: Fin.