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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday June 07, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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Have a question about baseball? Ask R.J., and ye shall receive an answer.

R.J. Anderson: Howdy folks, let's get going.

lnodolf (Fillmore,ca): Will Tanner Scheppers make the majors this year?

R.J. Anderson: Jon Daniels promoted Scheppers to the majors before the chat started. So, Iím doubling down on yes.

sitdancer (DC): What position do you see Jedd Gyorko play at the MLB level? I selfishly hope for 2B eligibility.

R.J. Anderson: He'll get a shot at second base because Chase Headley is at third. Will Gyorko stick there? Hard to say, although if he hits I could see it. His bottom half is ... let's say thick.

mhapka (Dallas, TX): Keeper League question. In a vacuum, would you trade Middlebrooks for Arenado and Cespedes? Thanks.

R.J. Anderson: In a standard 5x5 league? I think Arenado and Middlebrooks wind up about even in value, meaning Cespedes is the tiebreaker. He'll give you some steals on top of his home runs, so I'd do it.

Pink Floyd Youmans (Dark Side of the Mound): Any sure fire ways to compare stats over careers in completely different eras due to inconsistencies in hitting difficulty?

R.J. Anderson: It depends on what you mean by surefire. I don't know how much growth the era-to-era comparison tools have left.

Tony (OKC): Rest of the year and beyond (in a Scoresheet league): Holland or Scherzer?

R.J. Anderson: I'm unfamiliar with Scoresheet league scoring. Flip a coin, maybe?

bradleyankrom (TPAFLA): What kind of spider does Lewis Brinson remind you of?

R.J. Anderson: This came up during the draft. Brinson, who the Rangers popped, has long levers. He gets compared to Dexter Fowler, Cameron Maybin, and so on. But look at this guy. He looks like a spider. I mean that in a good way, too.

Plus, he has an inspiring backstory. I hope he has a good, long career.

lyndon (columbus): K. Morales or Heyward ROS?

R.J. Anderson: I'd love to say Heyward, but Morales is the safer pick. Heyward's contact rate dipping for the second straight season doesn't help.

mhapka (Dallas, TX): Re: Middlebrooks for Arenado/Cespedes. It's a H2H league. A little concerned about Arenado's power. Thanks for the response!

R.J. Anderson: I'd give Arenado's pop a little more time. He's only 21 in Double-A, after all.

Ruben Tejada (Cooperstown): Admit it I'm the new Gerardo Parra, I get no respect, but all I do is produce.

R.J. Anderson: You have a .361 on-base percentage since the start of last season. For now, you haven't played enough for people to notice and buy in. Keep it up.

Tony (OKC): Sorry - Scoresheet uses a player's weekly stats to simulate a week's worth of games - standard simulation league. Thanks for answering!

R.J. Anderson: I'd probably still flip a coin, but if I had to choose, I'd say Holland.

Alex (Anaheim): Is Salty going to keep this going? I picked him up when McCann was hurting, but now I play them both every day.

R.J. Anderson: To this degree? Probably not. But is he worth having on a roster? Probably. The interesting thing about Saltalamacchia is that he's cut into his strikeout rate without hurting his walk rate or power production. Hard to say if that's a genuine improvement at this point, but I love his power.

Glow (Memphis): Favorite Rays hitting prospect? Pitching?

R.J. Anderson: Ryan Brett and Chris Archer.

Brett is a little second baseman and a line-drive hitting machine, per Kevin Goldstein. Heís going to have to hit to get to the majors and so far heís doing just that.

Archer is a typical case of a pitcher with better stuff than results (although his results are trending upward lately). Heís a power arm with one more option year after this season and Iím hopeful that he figures enough things out to stick in the rotation.

Flotsam (Grimwood ): Player most likely to be traded at the deadline?

R.J. Anderson: Jason Vargas. He isnít glamorous, but he can give a team 30-plus starts a season with close to 20 of those being deemed quality. Add in the Mís pitching depth and that Vargas qualifies for free agency after next season, and I cannot envision him being on Seattleís roster on August 1.

Marc (The Internet): What would you like the Rays to do with Jeff Niemann when he returns from his injury/in 2013? Are you in Alex Cobb's camp at this point, or not convinced he's a viable replacement?

R.J. Anderson: Trade him, provided a team is offering fair value. Niemannís shoulder health has concerned me for years, and I donít think you can rely upon him for more than 20-25 starts. That has value, of course, but he seems to get overrated in circles by people who say, ďIf he ever stays healthy.Ē The problem being that he might never stay healthy.

Cobb is a fine replacement for Niemann.

jr (mass): Hi rj What is your opinion of the sox situation once guys start getting healthy ( ellsbury bailey crawford) what would u do? Off the top my head I see byrd posednik dfa'd...ross sweeney traded?? Then u got bunch of bullpen guys. Plus youkilis for saunders yuck! Couldn't they get better haul or am I dreaming? Thanks again

R.J. Anderson: Byrd and Podsednik arenít long for that team, no. I think theyíll keep Sweeney and Ross because banking on Nava to keep this up is asking a lot. As for the Youkilis-Saunders swap, I canít imagine that happens unless the market for Youkilis is non-existent.

Mr. Bungle (Your Dreams): Derek Lowe has given up a boatload of infield ground ball singles today. Are the wheels falling off?

R.J. Anderson: Because of the infield singles? Nah. I donít think heís likely to keep this up, however. Last winter, I made the joke that Lowe might suffer the indignation of having a higher ERA than SO/9. Little did I know that heíd actually do it, and (probably) make the All-Star team in the process.

Alex (Anaheim): Would you keep Soriano as closer or reinstall Robertson?

R.J. Anderson: Soriano.

He has the reputation of being a weird bird. It wouldnít surprise me if he needs the closer label in order to really focus in and be his best self. That sounds silly, I know, but Iím more likely to buy it from him than the average reliever.

Matt (Chicago): Which of the Cubs' vets do you see being moved? Personally, I think Dempster & Garza are goners, with Sori being unmoveable. In the case of Dempster, what type of return would you expect, given the impending free agency?

R.J. Anderson: Those are the two most likely.

Pegging returns in rental situations is tough. I would say itís not likely to be as good as Cubs fans hope. Maybe an interesting arm or bat, but nothing jaw-dropping.

don (NC): Stanton or J. Upton long term?

R.J. Anderson: I want to go with Stanton because his home runs are fun and it means I get to see that beautiful thing in center field go off a lot. But I think Upton is the better upside play. His all-around game should be better, though heís also been more erratic. My heart says Stanton, my mind says Upton, my gut says I canít go wrong either way.

Tony (OKC): Could you see the Rangers packaging Olt with some of their lower level pitching and middle infield depth to upgrade their playoff rotation? Yu looks good, but Lewis, Harrison, Holland, Feliz, and Oswalt are mostly 3/4 guys for a playoff rotation, right?

R.J. Anderson: I donít see it as likely, in part because Iím more optimistic about Feliz and Oswalt, but also because I donít know that an upgrade worth that haul will become available. Hamels maybe, but would Texas make that deal for a rental?

mdthomp (ILSTU): Assuming Jaime Garcia goes on the DL, what can we expect from his potential replacements, likely Joe Kelly or Brandon Dickson. Thanks.

R.J. Anderson: Dickson is a nice story, but I wouldnít be too excited about him; he gets groundballs and avoids walks, but his profile doesnít sound like much more than a back-end starter at best.

Kelly has the better stuff and the brighter future. The problem with him is that he might wind up in the bullpen.

Dreamn=y (Seattle): How would you evaluate Roy Oswalt's trade value now? Can you see him last in the Major as #3 for a couple years?

R.J. Anderson: I think Oswalt can be a better than average starting pitcher this season, but the further you get away from the present with him, the tougher it is to feel comfortable about his chances of staying healthy and productive.

Matt (Chicago): How close is the Phillies' run to being over? Would you advocate the bold move of rebuilding a bit too early rather than a little too late?

R.J. Anderson: The injuries are forcing the window down sooner than I expected. I don't see them making the postseason at this point, so if there's a slam-dunk offer out there, go for it.

Jake (St. Louis, MO): Are the Nats for real?

R.J. Anderson: Yes. They'll be in the race throughout.

Tim (DC): Harper's slash line at the end of the year? Better or worse than his current .285/.369/.515?

R.J. Anderson: Probably worse (because look at that line and look at his age), but he's really, really good.

Duda Dude (New York): Granted his recent hot streak, Duda has started to live up the pre-season hype, what do you see him in 2-3 year frame?

R.J. Anderson: Potentially a second-division starter in the corner outfield (or at first base), but his bat has to do the work. You and I both know he isnít out there because of his athleticism.

tbwhite (San Diego): Is Michael Saunders for real, or is he really the .600ish OPS guy from his first couple of go arounds in the majors ?

R.J. Anderson: Saunders is another guy who cut into his strikeout rate. Heís walking more and hitting for more power. My guess is that heíll wind up somewhere in between the two extremes.

Dave (Chicago): Are the Orioles desperate enough for corner outfielders that they might listen to Theo/Jed about Alfonso Soriano?

R.J. Anderson: The Orioles could definitely use some help out there, but heís not a special bat anymore an thereís $36 million remaining on that deal after this season. If the Oís are open to taking on a bad contract, it would make more sense to call up Houston about Carlos Lee, since his deal expires after the year.

Swingingbunts (Cheap seats): Keeper league question I've been offered Hosmer for Adam Jones. I only control Jones till the end of this year, Hosmer I would control for 2 more years. I'm in 1st place so I don't know if I want to lose Jones's production.

R.J. Anderson: Depends on the rest of your team. Is your back-up center fielder closer to Jones' projections than your current first baseman is to Hosmer's? I think you'd be justified either way.

Glow (Memphis): Any impressions of Hideki Matsui so far?

R.J. Anderson: Heís been hitting the ball hard in the air, but only two have cleared the fence, leading to some debate as to whether he has warning-track power. Still an upgrade over Stephen Vogt.

Stan (The Docks): Please share with us your thoughts on wrestlemen.

R.J. Anderson: I don't like them.

Stella (Home): Favorite awesome name from the draft?

R.J. Anderson: Stryker Trahan.

My favorite prospect from the draft is Damion Carroll, a raw, live-armed pitcher taken by the Rays. During the game he screams things like, "Hit the leopard."

Hit the leopard.

Baseball (not a contact sport): Any chance that either the AL or NL East has all 5 teams over .500, but cannot secure a wildcard spot? Let's add another divisional game to help balance it out!

R.J. Anderson: There's always a chance. Not a good chance, but a chance nonetheless.

Let the record show that I continue to support the added Wild Card spot.

Alex (Anaheim): Is Detroit going to bounce back, or will lineup depth continue to be an issue?

R.J. Anderson: Can't both be true?

I don't think they're going to finish below .500, though they have played like a sub-.500 team so far.

Blanche (Laurel): Do you think scouting directors are fairly evaluated by the public at large? How about by their teams? Are the samples of players they work with so small and subject to such crazy fluctuation due to situations entirely outside of their control or knowledge that all anyone can do is make broad approximations of their skill by examining their process?

R.J. Anderson: I donít know how scouting directors are evaluated by their teams, but I think the public is too rash in their assessments, for many of the reasons you mention. We give players hundreds of plate appearances and innings, but scouting directors get about 10 real picks a draft to prove their worth. Without knowing all the intricacies involved, I just donít think the public can evaluate a scouting director.

bradleyankrom (TPAFLA): Does Wade Davis make 5 starts this year?

R.J. Anderson: No.

kddean (Loop): NL only, 12 team league. I've been sitting on Arenado with the thought of a June call up or even as a potential keeper. But both of those seem unlikely now, right? He might be a Sept call up as he hasn't slugged enough?

R.J. Anderson: I wouldn't bet on a June promotion, but I could see Colorado giving him a cup of coffee in September.

kddean (Loop): Crap, meant to add this to my question, rather have Arenado or Matt Adams as a keeper?

R.J. Anderson: For positional purposes, I'd probably go with Arenado.

R.J. Anderson: That'll do it, folks. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday, and remember to hit the leopard.


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