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Chat: Geoff Young

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday February 23, 2012 11:00 AM ET chat session with Geoff Young.

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Geoff wakes up bright and early to field your questions on the Padres, west coast baseball, and what it's like to work at two companies with Dave Pease.

Geoff Young: Got my coffee, got my oatmeal. Let's do this thing.

Paul (Vista): The Padres talk about how important the minor leagues are to them but its really hard to find information on the players in the local media especially when they play in places like Fort Wayne, Indiana. Where do you go to find your information?

Geoff Young: Lake Elsinore is just up the road from you so the best way to get information on the Storm is to go watch them. Fort Wayne is trickier, but LaMond Pope at the Journal Gazette does a good job of covering them (http://www.journalgazette.net/section/BLOGS07), and you can always listen to games over the Internet. For the entire organization, the guys at MadFriars.com do solid work.

Max L (Diego): How many things have to go right for the Padres to win NL West? Other than Diamondbacks, every team has big holes. Also, wouldn't the Angels now becomes the natural rivalry for the Padres by virtue of Pujols signing (he who took out 2 starters in the same game)? No disrespect to the Mariners, it's hard to root against them.

Geoff Young: More than I can count. Nick Hundley and the entire rotation have to stay healthy, Chase Headley has to prove that last year's gains were legit, Cameron Maybin has to build on his breakout 2011... a lot has to go right. But yeah, the one saving grace is that there are no dominant teams in the division. As the Diamondbacks proved last year (and as the Padres did in 2010), anything can happen in the NL West. As for the Mariners, how can you not root against them? The Vedder Cup will be ours!

tomadamsphoto (Twitter): Who do you think will be the 'breakout' Padre this season?

Geoff Young: That is a tough question. I think it'll be one of the guys who came over in the Mat Latos trade. Edinson Volquez hasn't made it through an entire season healthy since 2008 but he still misses bats and he's coming to a park where last year's gopheritis won't be as much of an issue. Even if Volquez doesn't return to his peak, he could be a pleasant surprise.

Hugo (walkonair@mindspring.com): rebuffed by Karsten Whitson. Is having Joe Ross heal that wound?

Geoff Young: I'm not sure that anything can heal the wound inflicted by the Whitson situation, but between Ross, Cory Spangenberg, and Austin Hedges, the Padres managed to make lemonade. At least one of those guys should turn into something. Hedges in particular intrigues me.

Didi (me@home.net): Best winter ale you've had this year?

Geoff Young: Somehow I made it through the entire winter without having a winter ale, so I'll just go with the best beer I had over the winter, which is the best beer I have every winter: Ballast Point Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter.

AvengingJM (San Diego): We know that Bud Black likes to tinker with the line-up (batting order) but what would you say is the optimal line-up for the Padres in 2012?

Geoff Young: The Padres have the same problem every year: too many no. 6 and 7 type hitters, not enough of anything else. Ideally I'd like to see Maybin at or near the top because of his speed, but a career OBP of .318 makes that a tough sell. Headley probably has the best on-base skills, but the way the Padres are built, his bat is needed in the middle of the order. If I had to pick right now, I'd go: 1. Maybin CF, 2. Hudson 2B, 3. Headley 3B, 4. Quentin LF, 5. Alonzo 1B, 6. Hundley C, 7. Venable RF, 8. Bartlett SS. And I'd hope for a lot of things to go better than I have a right to expect. I could see swapping Hudson and Venable. I'd probably stick Denorfia in Venable's spot against lefties. Not the most dynamic lineup you'll ever see, but there it is.

jadams84 (Diego Town): Rymer Liriano. ETA? Chances of living up to potential?

Geoff Young: This is really a question best asked of Kevin Goldstein, but not surprisingly, I have an opinion. With the caveat that I've not yet seen Liriano in person (I'm looking forward to doing so at Elsinore this year), my guess is that he'll move slowly and arrive in San Diego toward the latter half of 2014. There's a lot of ability, but he's still raw. I like Liriano a great deal, but worry about his thickness and his plate discipline, which is improving but still ain't great.

jake1m (Jenny Lind, Ca.): It looks like Gyorko and Spangenberg are possible 2B of the Future. What do you think of both and who wins out if either? Thanks

Geoff Young: I like both of them, although Gyorko won't play 2B. He could get a September callup and possibly be a part of the 2013 Padres depending on what they decide to do with Chase Headley and James Darnell (nice problem to have). Spangenberg is farther away, but on-base skills and speed should make him useful at the top of the order.

Sara (Tacoma): With the D'Backs Top 11 out today, what are your thoughts on #1 prospect Trevor Bauer?

Geoff Young: This is another question for Kevin, but all indications are that Bauer could be a stud sooner rather than later. There is some terrific pitching talent in that organization right now.

Mondo (El Sur): What, in your opinion, is keeping Venable from becoming the player his talent suggests that he can be and do you think it's time that the Padres took his Chris Denorfia-sized training wheels off?

Geoff Young: Venable is a fascinating player. The guy is dripping with tools, but his approach at the plate is incredibly unrefined for a 29-year-old entering his fifth season. He reminds me a lot of former big-leaguer Al Martin in that regard. Part of the problem is that Venable focused more on basketball than on baseball in college, which set his development back quite a bit (he didn't reach Double-A until age 24). My suspicion is that his broad base of skills will keep him in the game for a long time but that his career will be viewed as a disappointment due to the disconnect between what people see and what he produces.

Edu (CL): With Cashner, Erlin, Kelly, and Wieland all looking for spots in the Padres rotation as early as next season, how do you the Padres will handle their collective ascension and what do you think it means for Richard, Stauffer, and Luebke?

Geoff Young: Great question. First off, I see Wieland, and possibly Erlin or Kelly, up at some point this season. My guess is that, assuming no injuries or other setbacks, all three will get long looks for the 2013 rotation. If he can come close to repeating last year's performance, Luebke shouldn't be in any danger. Stauffer and Richard are workhorses when healthy, but I could see one or both being pushed out by the kids. As with the potential log jam at third base, this is a nice problem to have.

Venzor (North Park): Where do you fall on the fence debate concerning Petco Park and do you think the Padres have done an adequate job in utilizing the park's spaciousness as an advantage?

Geoff Young: You could say I'm [removes shades] on the fence. But seriously, I think the team should be extremely careful in modifying the dimensions. The law of unintended consequences can be a cruel mistress. As for utilizing the park to their advantage, the Padres have been hit or miss. Having athletic outfielders like Maybin and Venable is good. Right-handed power hitters are useful if they aren't Ryan Ludwick. And the team has done a good job bringing in pitchers (Kevin Correia, Jon Garland, Aaron Harang) who look better than they are thanks to the park. Volquez could be another one of those.

RK (Kansas): If Morales proves healthy, how do you handicap who is getting traded (Morales, Trumbo, Abreau, Cron)? Could it be more than one? What's the chance they don't move anyone?

Geoff Young: Trumbo can't get on base and Abreu is almost as old as I am, so I'm not sure how much trade value they have. Cron could be a nice chip later in the year if the Angels are making a push for the postseason. And of course, Morales has to stay healthy, which is far from given. I think the team's best bet is to hope Trumbo gets off to a hot start and someone is willing to overpay for him, but I don't know how likely that is.

jclaffs (Hoboken, NJ): Geoff, as a fan of the Pads since they entered the NL, I'm amazed and encouraged by people using adjectives like "exciting" and "great" to describe the SD farm system. Give me your timetable for Padre competitiveness and our first championship.

Geoff Young: You have no idea how much it brightens my day to see the Padres represented in New Jersey. Anyway, if you like prospects, this is a fun time to be a fan. The bad news is that by their nature, prospects fail more often than not. Converting that talent into a big-league contender will be no easy task. That being said, I expect things to get real interesting in the 2013-2015 range.

formersd (San Diego): What's your recipe for a Padres surprise in 2012?

Geoff Young: Okay, I kinda waffled on this earlier in my response to Max. Specifics? If Volquez and Quentin perform like they did in 2008, Maybin takes another step forward, and the pitching staff stays healthy, the Padres could win 85 games. Likelihood of that happening? Maybe 5-10 percent. Then again, I thought the 2010 club was going to be terrible, so what do I know?

Tim (Reno): Is it foolish to think the Dbacks are going to be good again. I know Justin Upton had an MVP caliber season. I also read KG's write up about the pitching prospects. Isn't the team just help up by duct tape?

Geoff Young: I don't think it's foolish at all. They're my pick to win the division. I like the management team they have in place, and Upton is a stud. Even if guys like Ian Kennedy and Miguel Montero regress a little, Arizona has a solid foundation. And as you say, the farm system looks pretty good. If the D'backs are held together by duct tape, I'd like to know what brand they're using because it's pretty effective.

LoyalRoyal (Kansas): Read recently that Chris Young was dinged all last season. Do you see him having a potential career year coming or is he a 'what you see is what you get' player?

Geoff Young: I think Young has established himself as a low batting average guy with good secondary skills. The fact that he has learned to draw a few walks helps. With his mix of offensive skills and defensive prowess in center field, he'll provide value but not necessarily be appreciated for it. Kind of like Mike Cameron, only not as good as Cammy.

Michael (Green Bay): What rookies do you see making an impact for the Padres this season? Spangenberg? Grandal? Gyorko?

Geoff Young: Spangenberg is pretty far away. I wouldn't expect to see him up before mid-2014 at the earliest. The other two could see action in San Diego this year, but probably as September callups. Impact this year? Yonder Alonso will start at first base. Maybe Brad Boxberger in the 'pen. Alonso is the best bet.

jake1m (Jenny Lind, Ca.): Is Brad Boxberger the Closer by the end of the year? Any chance he starts the year in the Bullpen? Thanks

Geoff Young: Boxberger will compete for a spot in the bullpen. Whether he makes the big club out of spring training or not, he'll see material time with the Padres in 2012. I'm not sure he'll be the closer. If Huston Street is traded at some point, I'm guessing that Andrew Cashner or maybe Ernesto Frieri would be next in line, although Cashner's health and Frieri's control raise questions.

oira (SF): What's the best thing to eat at Petco?

Geoff Young: I usually bring stuff in from outside. There's a great kebab shop just down the street and several good taco shops. Sorry I can't give a better answer, I'm just not much of a ballpark food kind of guy.

Matt (Madison, WI): What do you see for Tim Stauffer in 2012? I play in a deep mixed league and am on the fence on whether to keep him. Any reason to think his strikeout rate will improve?

Geoff Young: I expect more of the same from Stauffer. Petco Park will help his ERA. Hopefully now that he's gotten a full year of starting under his belt, he won't hit the wall again like he did at the end of 2011. Anything is possible, but I can't think of a reason why his strikeout rate might jump.

Matthew (Boston): If you had made one "realistic" move for the Padres this offseason that they didnt make what would it have been? Alternative, which of the Padres moves do you like the least?

Geoff Young: Aside from trying to find a taker for Jason Bartlett or Orlando Hudson (which I'm sure the Padres did, but it takes two to tango), I'm not sure there was a lot else to do. As for moves I like the least, I don't love Anthony Rizzo for Cashner. It seems to me that Rizzo should have fetched more, but that is easy for me to say when I'm not privy to all the details.

Nickles (San Francisco): Do you believe Justin Upton will win an MVP one of these seasons?

Geoff Young: Do I believe Upton has the ability? Absolutely. Do I believe he'll put up the numbers? Probably. That leaves voters as the only variable. I'll let you decide from there.

Mike (Chicago): Any idea what compensation the Padres are going to get from the Cubs for Mr. Hoyer? Much less than what the RedSox got?

Geoff Young: I don't, but I expect it to be much less (and covered in much less excruciating detail) than what the Red Sox got.

San Fran Dave (San Francisco): Dustin Moseley. Can he give the Pads a full year similar to that of his 2011 campaign?

Geoff Young: Moseley was surprisingly effective last year before getting hurt. If he stays healthy, he should be able to make 25-30 starts and not embarrass himself.

Ria (The floor): What kind of player do you see Maybin becoming? Does he start hitting for more pop and become Mike Cameron, keep the ball on the ground and become Devon White, or does he become a mystery comp?

Geoff Young: Maybin is a bit of a mystery. I'd expected more power, but he doesn't have a lot of loft in his swing. I still think his overall game compares well to that of Cameron, although as is the case with everyone about whom that is said, he isn't as good as Cammy. Still, I really like Maybin. He also, and take this for whatever it's worth, appears to love the game. It's easy to watch and root for him.

Jamie (Carlsbad): If Cashner becomes either a 3 win reliever or a 3 win starter, where would you rather see the Padres stick him?

Geoff Young: If Cashner's arm can take it, I'd love to see him in the rotation. Having a guy throw that hard deep into games is a luxury. I suspect his future lies in the bullpen, but assuming it doesn't put additional strain on his arm, why not see if he can start?

LoyalRoyal (Kansas): Jordan Walden, over/under 30 saves? Should I handcuff him with Downs?

Geoff Young: Goodness, predicting saves? I truly have no idea. If Shawn Chacon can notch 35 saves in a season, then I don't see why Walden can't.

Matt (Madison, WI): Beer recommendation: O'so Night Train Porter (Plover, WI). Not sure how wide their distribution is, but if you ever find yourself in Wisco, it's a must-try!

Geoff Young: Thank you. There is always room in my belly for a delicious porter!

Will Vernable (SD): How good do you think I am? I have not improve my game for three years and I blamed that to PETCO park. Any chance I get traded to a new team mid season 2012?

Geoff Young: I think you are pretty good, but not as good as you might have been had you committed yourself to baseball sooner. You are an exciting player to watch and also very frustrating at times. A trade is not out of the question.

El Hombre (Anaheim): What is your take on Kyle Blanks and do you agree with the Padres acquiring Quentin to push Blanks out of the starting lineup?

Geoff Young: When Kyle Blanks came up at the end of 2009 and went nuts, a lot of us had high hopes for him. Since then, he's battled injuries, an inability to make consistent contact, and the lack of a true defensive home. Blanks is 25 years old now and hasn't progressed one bit in three years. He isn't necessarily to blame for this, but right now he's looking more like a spare part than a regular. And I'm not sure he has a future in the Padres organization, although that probably was true with or without Carlos Quentin.

cubfan131 (Iowa): What kind of a season do you expect from Trevor Cahill? How much will the league switch and move to a more offensive park affect him?

Geoff Young: PECOTA has Cahill with a 4.29 ERA. That sounds reasonable to me.

Nickles (San Francisco): Are you a fan of the Adrian Gonzalez trade given how things have played out so far?

Geoff Young: Given that Gonzalez was going to be traded, I'm okay with the return. Rizzo didn't pan out here (although it's way too early to give up on him) and Kelly no longer appears to be an ace-in-waiting. I'm not a big fan of Reymond Fuentes, but he could turn into something. So the question is whether Cashner (acquired for Rizzo), Kelly, and Fuentes are better than the two draft picks the Padres would have received had they let Gonzalez walk. It's impossible to say, but my guess is that they probably are.

jclaffs (Hoboken (formerly SD)): How many PAs do you see for Guzman?

Geoff Young: Shifting to lightning round. I've got Guzman in the 300-400 PA range, spotting the regulars at all four corner spots.

Nick (connecticut): if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, is it because the tree was at a rays fan convention?

Geoff Young: Perhaps, although this raises more questions than it answers. Why would the Rays hold a convention in a forest? What is a tree doing there? The mind boggles.

Nigella (Esco): Of all the players in the Padres minor league system, who do you think ends up having the best major league career?

Geoff Young: I'll go with Jedd Gyorko. The guy can hit.

rick (connecticut): how screwed are the sox if bard fails as a starter and buckholtz gets hurt again?

Geoff Young: That would be a lot for them to overcome. How screwed? Enough.

LoyalRoyal (Kansas): List your top 5 rookie pitchers in the AL/NL West.. Thanks..

Geoff Young: Yikes. Off the top of my head, in alphabetical order: Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker, James Paxton, Brad Peacock, Drew Pomeranz. And I'll assume I've missed someone obvious.

Matt (Madison, WI): Over/under on HRs for Lucas Duda this year: 24.5

Geoff Young: Duda is 26 years old, his season high as a pro is 23, and he plays in a tough park. I'll take the under.

Max (Edmonton): Odds that Headley gets moved at the trade deadline?

Geoff Young: WAG? I'll say less than 25 percent chance.

Travis (San Diego): Does James Darnell have a future with this team? If so, what is it? Seems like the organization sees Gyorko as the future at 3B, and I'm not sure he will hit enough to play LF.

Geoff Young: Darnell's future probably lies in the outfield. He is already 25 years old, which suggests he'll end up as a role player a la Jesus Guzman. Whether that happens in San Diego or somewhere else, I cannot say.

Geoff Young: I'm outta here. Thanks, all, for the excellent questions. We'll do it again sometime.


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