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Chat: Daniel Rathman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday April 19, 2012 2:00 PM ET chat session with Daniel Rathman.

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The man who tells you what you need to know every morning drops by to tell you what you want to know this afternoon.

Daniel Rathman: Good afternoon, everyone! The more questions you ask, the longer you'll keep me from having to write a paper critiquing a tax proposal. So, please, fire away -- I beg you.

sitdancer (DC): Can you name a few CF prospects other than Trout that I should keep an eye on?

Daniel Rathman: As a Giants fan, I'm certainly excited about what Gary Brown can bring. Hoping to see him at the top of the lineup by the middle of the 2013 season.

The Yankees' Mason Williams is another one of my favorites. Kevin Goldstein had him fourth in the system coming into the year, and all he's done is bat .315 and steal six bases in 12 games in Low-A since then.

HalfStreet (Fairfax VA): Jordan Zimmermann has pitched like an ace the last two seasons, but has a losing record over that time, because the Nationals simply don't hit when he pitches. It seems that some pitchers are doomed to poor run support. Do you know of any cases in which particular pitchers suffered eerily poor run support over significant stretches of their careers? I don't mean pitchers who labored for terrible teams, but ones that got poor support even if their colleagues did not.

Daniel Rathman: The first name that comes to mind is Matt Cain, who -- after being denied the win in last night's duel -- remains just 70-73 for his career.

Ted Lilly, in recent years, hasn't had a whole lot of support. He had the fourth-fewest runs scored behind him in 2009 and the third-fewest in 2010.

And, if we're talking about a single season, Ben Sheets in 2004 is in a league of his own.

Michael (St. Louis, MO): Is there any chance that Jose Campos could eclipse the 'Killer B's' in the Yankees farm system as their top prospect?

Daniel Rathman: I said at the time of the trade that I thought there was a very real chance Campos would end up the best player of the three. With the quality of his fastball -- both in terms of velo and command -- I think he has a very real chance to be a frontline starter. He's farther away from the majors than the Killer B's, but I think he has the most overall potential.

Art Vandelay (NY, NY): How much does Giancarlo Stanton hate the dimensions of his new ballpark? How much have your projections of his power numbers this season dropped due to his new setting? On a lighter note...what does he think of the monstrosity in left-center?

Daniel Rathman: Askinq questions in the middle of the workday? And you want to be my latex salesman?!

I went out on a limb and predicted a 50-homer season for Stanton, but between the new ballpark and his nagging knee injuries, I'd cut that down to 25-30 at this point. I'm still looking forward to a bomb that threatens the flamingos at the base of the monstrosity. He might be the only player in the league with the potential to actually damage it.

LonelyInCurtis (MA): Through two weeks of games, it seems like no one in the AL East is interested in success. Obviously it's a small sample size, but what are some of the realistic long-term issues for the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays that have been exposed.

Daniel Rathman: The Red Sox and Rays bullpens seem like abject disasters at this point, though I think Tampa's may round into form when returns. It seems that Boston is going to need to score in droves in the late innings to put together any long winning streaks.

At this point, the Yankees' problems seem most correctable. It won't be long before Teixeira hits his first home run, and you've got to believe that CC Sabathia will pare down that 5.59 ERA in short order.

I'll put the Yankees at 95 wins, the Rays at 92, and the Red Sox at 88 at this point.

Hudsonbelinsky (Albany, NY): You can choose three young outfielders to start a franchise. Any player with less than three years of service time is eligible. Who do you take and why?

Daniel Rathman: Sheesh, this one's going to be tough on the fly...

I'll take Cameron Maybin in center field, for the defense and the potential that he develops more power. Giancarlo Stanton in right field for the glove, arm and the potential to go "arrivederci" on any pitch. And Logan Morrison in left field, because being an epic tweeter is a must for the Rathmans.

Drew Lewis (Medford, MA): My Phils just lost to your Giants 1-0 last night, and now have the league's third fewest runs scored. Are there any quick fixes available?

Daniel Rathman: I doubt there's much available via trade this early in the season, so the Phillies might as well look inside the organization first. Playing Domonic Brown over Juan Pierre in left field would seem to be an obvious place to start.

Alex Arthur (Tufts University): What are the chances the Mets trade David Wright after his exceptional start to the season, coupled with the fact the Mets look better than expected

Daniel Rathman: Multiple questions about David Wright, so I'll chime in on this one. I do think the Mets should cash him in, because -- despite the solid start -- this is not a contending team this season, and it probably won't be until Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey are anchoring the rotation.

One tricky issue, though, might be finding a landing spot. Most of the contending teams are set at third base, and while there's sure to be a market for a player like Wright -- especially considering that his 2013 club option makes him more than a rental -- the market might not have quite as much demand as Sandy Alderson would want to be working with.

Britt (New York, NY): What kind of ceiling do you predict for Brett Jackson (CF) of the Cubs' system? I've heard predictions ranging from Drew Stubbs to Ray Lankford. Does he have All-Star potential in center, or should I be concerned about his woefully high strikeout rate?

Daniel Rathman: The strikeout rate is definitely a concern, but he has enough secondary skills to be valuable even as a .250 hitter. Drew Stubbs seems an inapt comparison because so much of Stubbs' value is tied to his outstanding defense. The big question for me is whether he can stick in center. If Jackson has to move to right, that would obviously put more pressure on his bat, and might only make him a second-division type.

Michael (St. Louis, MO): I live in 'Cardinal Nation' and I cannot stand them. Is there any hope they are going to come back to earth and be the average team I think they are? Or should I get used to the fact that they will probably run rough-shot through the NL and return to the World Series

Daniel Rathman: I don't think the Cardinals are the best team in the NL, but you've got to hand it to John Mozeliak for the damage control he pulled off this offseason after Pujols left. If he stays healthy, Carlos Beltran for two years and $16 million may be the steal of the winter.

Pablo (NJ): do you expect Bauer to get called up by June 1st or sooner?

Daniel Rathman: The walks are a concern with Trevor Bauer, because they spike his pitch count early and prevent him from going deep into games. He has the stuff to miss bats in the majors right now, and I would not be surprised if he could already outpitch Josh Collmenter, but it's worth giving him some time in Double-A to work on the control. I do think we'll either see Bauer or his teammate Tyler Skaggs by June 1.

Daniel Rathman: Tax critique time! Thanks for dropping by, everyone. Looking forward to doing this again soon! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpUyb37CFT4


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