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Chat: R.J. Anderson

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Thursday August 09, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with R.J. Anderson.

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BP's resident Transaction Analysis and Painting the Black author stops by to answer your burning baseball questions.

R.J. Anderson: Hey everybody, let's get this chat started.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Where did this Jose Cisnero kid come from all of the sudden, and is he the real deal?

R.J. Anderson: Cisnero is a power arm in the Astros system. He’s had good strikeout rates throughout his minor-league career, but he just reached the upper levels this season. From everything I’ve read and heard about Cisnero, he’s probably a future reliever.

George (California): Thanks for the chat. How would you handle Arodys Vizcaino if you were the Cubs? Rotation or bullpen? With 3 plus pitches, don't you have to try him in the rotation? Cubs don't have much in the system there...

R.J. Anderson: I would throw Vizcaino in the bullpen and let him do his thing. As much as I hate limiting an arm like his to 50-to-70 innings, you have to look at it this way: getting those innings—and they would be high-leverage innings—is better than getting nothing. Maybe if I had the Cubs’ info on Vizcaino I’d try letting him start one more time. But given what I know, I’d let him go dominate in the pen.

sitdancer (DC): Do you expect Starlin Castro to switch positions any time soon? If so, when and to where?

R.J. Anderson: The Cubs are popular today.

I do believe Castro will change positions within the next three years. Ideally, you would slide Castro to center field and be done with it. The problem is he doesn’t seem to profile well out there. That leaves third base or second base as the most likely locations. You’d like to think at least one of Josh Vitters and Christian Villanueva will develop, so I would guess Castro winds up at second base.

19braves77 (Pensacola, FL): Thoughts on the Rockies Project 5,183 and how does this effect the interest level of incoming free agents that could help on the mound ?

R.J. Anderson: I believe this is shorthand for the Rockies four-man rotation, although Colorado seems to have a bunch of analytical stuff covered under that code name.

I liked Colorado’s willingness to act boldly. At the same time, the personnel there is the problem. I doubt it affects their free-agent capabilities too much, because I think they’ll move back to a five-man rotation next season. Even if they stick with four, there’s only so many big-league rotation slots available, so those middle of the package starters can’t be too picky—unless they’re willing to ride buses in Triple-A rather than throw 75 pitches every fourth day.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Can you give us an ETA for Marc Krauss to the Majors, a reasonable ceiling and a best-case ceiling?

R.J. Anderson: Let’s say 2014 for the ETA. I suppose Houston could push him up in September to get an up-close look, but I don’t know if they’ll do that. I’m no good with comparisons, but Adam Dunn (without elite power) is the one that gets thrown around a lot with Krauss. Of course, Adam Dunn without elite power isn’t Adam Dunn, but that’s the danger with comparisons.

Bet on Petey (Plead the 5th): With the unexpected promotion off Machado, do we see any more promotions in the near future?

R.J. Anderson: I think we’ll see a few more. For instance, Danny Knobler of CBS tweeted earlier about Dylan Bundy possibly coming up in September.

Dan R (New York): Is there a way to Improve the Phillies hitting without dumping their star pitching

R.J. Anderson: Yup. Buster Olney had an executive link the Phillies to Michael Bourn yesterday (or the day before). Ruben Amaro Jr. always seems to pull off something creative. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it again this winter and gets a hitter. Although only the Phillies know what their financial limits are, so perhaps they'll be forced to trade a starter.

Eric (Va): As an Oriole fan, I'm excited for Machado's arrival, but feel he may have been rushed. Could this actual hurt his progression?

R.J. Anderson: It could, but Baltimore knows Machado best. Their coaches have been around him, they know how he prepares, how he responds to failure, and so on. Presumably, they don’t think he’ll rattle or whither if he comes up and hits .200 from here on out. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Marcos (Miami, Fl): What player you like the most from the all the Marlins trades this July? Pls, give me something to root for!

R.J. Anderson: I think you'll end up being happy with Jacob Turner.

DF (Wilmington, NC): The Reds mostly held pat at the deadline. Should they regret that? If so, what practical options do they now have?

R.J. Anderson: I don’t think so. The Reds are a good team going through a rough patch without their best player. It happens. They’ll make the postseason, and they might make it to the World Series. That’s a fun team to watch when they’re healthy.

Hammer (FC): Do you see Eovaldi turning the corner, getting better control and becoming a good pitcher?

R.J. Anderson: That depends on your definition of “turning the corner.” He’s not as bad as he’s pitched with the Marlins, but he might never be more than a No. 4 starter. Given his cost control, that’s a useful pitcher to have around.

Bill (OH): What are you're thoughts on Cubs' Javier Baez? Do we have a Machado, Profar talented bat?

R.J. Anderson: I’ve heard good things about Baez—particularly his power potential. It’s unclear where he winds up on the diamond just yet. He’s a really good prospect. Maybe not quite on the Profar/Machado level, but still really good.

KRS (Loop): Why does Castro have to move off of SS? He seems to have made real strides defensively, he moves well and has an above average arm. If Vitters works out, Baez moves to second and you have a pretty kick-ass infield (offensively)...

R.J. Anderson: I suppose it depends on how he ages. You're right--he doesn't have to move off shortstop, it's just expected. If the Cubs think all of the extra work trying to stick at shortstop is affecting Castro's bat, they might move him off the position anyhow.

bradleyankrom (NYC): But Darwin Barney!

R.J. Anderson: Barney would make a fine utility player.

Marcos (Miami, fl): How bad is Marlins former #1 pick, catch K. Skipworth? Can we consider him a major bust now?

R.J. Anderson: It’s fair to say Skipworth hasn’t lived up to the draft pick just yet. He’s still got power potential, but he strikes out too much and reportedly his defense hasn’t made strides. The Marlins have handled his assignments oddly, too. It’s a weird situation.

Mike (Ashland, OH): Do you see Machado maintaining his rookie status into 2013? And if not, do you see a place for him in that roster or start the year in the minors?

R.J. Anderson: Rookie status goes away with 130 at-bats. I think Machado could get there, but they might play it slow with him, especially if he slumps out of the gate. As for him starting next season in the majors, I could see that.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): How good do you think Jarred Cosart's chances of sticking in the rotation are?

R.J. Anderson: I think he’ll make it to the majors as a starter. Kevin Goldstein recently wrote about Cosart and his lack of feel. There’s probably a decent chance he winds up in the bullpen long-term, but the Astros will give him plenty of opportunities to stick in the rotation first.

JMB (Philadelphia): Nice summary today for Cozens -- does he have bigger upside than Zach Green and Andrew Pullin (who they plan to convert to 2B), or really too early to tell?

R.J. Anderson: Kevin Goldstein or Jason Parks are better equipped to answer this question than I am.

Bet on Petey (Plead the 5th): Which Homer Bailey do you expect the rest of the way? Inconsistent, dominate, or hammered?

R.J. Anderson: Bailey has had some rough starts lately, but overall, he’s been more consistently good this season than before; at least if you use quality start rate. He’s at 68 percent this season, as opposed to 44 percent entering this season.

Hammer (FC): Is there trouble brewing with Shelby Miller? What is ETA now?

R.J. Anderson: There were reports earlier in the year about Miller’s stuff declining, and in the past there have been some makeup concerns. I can’t speak much to either, though if the rumors about the Cardinals’ willingness to trade Miller are true—and let’s be fair here: they didn’t—then it does make me wonder what they know that we don’t. My guess would be that, regardless of team, Miller will make his big-league debut in 2013.

jimcal (Seattle): To this day, are we convince A.J. is back pre-Yankee form (and even better)? I am happy to trade for him at the end of last season, but in a competitive keeper league, his age/salary/risk all increase when next season begins. Bonus Q: how much do you expect Pirates to improve next season?

R.J. Anderson: Never discount the boost that comes from fleeing that division and ballpark. As for the Pirates, I think their talent level will improve, but their record might worsen, if that makes sense.

Bill (New Mexico): Oscar Taveras continues to hit his way toward the majors, and that creates an interesting roster problem for St. Louis, since they have above-average starters at all three outfield positions (check out the WARPs). If you're John Mozeliak, how do you prepare for OT's arrival? Just hold him in the minors until Beltran's contract expires, or make a deal? If the latter, who and how?

R.J. Anderson: I’d keep him in the minors until the last day of August, then bring him up for playoff roster purposes. You probably can’t get enough value for Jay to justify trading him right now. So let Taveras come up, get accustomed to big-league life, and spell the other outfielders for the season’s final few weeks. Then you can head into the offseason with an eye on him taking over for Jay next season.

Bill (New Mexico): Does Matt Adams ever make it as a big-league first baseman?

R.J. Anderson: I think so.

captnamerca (Dunedin, FL): Have you heard of any progress from Casey Kelly on his rehab? Assuming no major setbacks, does he make the starting rotation out of ST next year?

R.J. Anderson: I haven't heard anything about Casey Kelly. I wouldn't anticipate him making the opening day rotation, either. Though a lot can happen between now and then.

R.J. Anderson: Okay folks, that'll do it for this time. We'll have to do it again soon.


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