Daily Hit List and Out of Left Field author Matthew Kory stops by for an afternoon chat.
Matthew Kory: Hello BP readers! In case you don't know who I am, I'm Matt Kory, author of the Hit List and the Out of Left Field column that appears (usually) on Mondays. I'm here to take your questions on baseball, the deficit, organic gardening, and the other other white meat. Let's see where the winds of chat take us. GO!
Booker T (dancing): Machado, Machado, Machado... We know this probably will not keep up for the rest of the year. Were do you see his numbers ending up?
Matthew Kory: It's always good, I find, to start a chat off by saying, in effect, I can't answer that. But that's the big mystery, right? Let's start at the beginning. He's hitting .375/.375/1.125 with three homers in four games. We know that won't last. We also know he's 19 years old and that baseball at the major league level is 99.99999% of the time too hard for 19 year olds. The only other 19 year old in baseball this year is Bryce Harper. After starting off well he's hit .183/.273/.261 since the All Star break. So if I had to guess, and it sounds like I do, I'd peg Machado for something in that neighborhood. Major League Baseball is really really hard.
Alex (Anaheim): Eric Chavez has impressed in limited at-bats this year. Would he be in the Hall of Fame if it weren't for all the injuries?
Matthew Kory: Chavez has an .890 OPS this season, so yeah, he's been pretty impressive. But, as the excellent Sam Miller noted on the (also excellent) Effectively Wild Podcast, Chavez has faced almost exclusively right-handed pitchers this year (197 PAs vs RHP; 23 PAs vs LHP). In other words, he's not a true-talent .890 OPS guy at this point, he's a really good platoon player. There is nothing wrong with that, but it's doesn't point to maybe quite the Renaissance that some are claiming.
But none of that answers your question. Without the injuries? I probably depends on how you value his defense and how you value defense in general. Was Chavez so amazing with the glove that it vaulted a good-but-not-great hitter into HoF territory? I'll say no. There. I'm being definitive.
Matt (Ny, Ny): Could you guys please adhere to the chat schedule you lay out? I know its not you Matt, but BP has had this issue for quite awhile now. If guys cant commit to a chat, why do they agree to do them in the first place?
Matthew Kory: Hi Matt, I know this kinda used to be a problem but I haven't noticed it as such recently. But I'll just say this: I can't speak for other people, but I have a family and two small kids. While I was walking out the door one of them shoved the other one into the book shelf and which cut his arm. Sometimes things come up. I know that chatting is an important part of BP and it was always one of my favorite things about BP, the interaction between the authors and readers.
Junius worth (Dallas): What do you think the best Wilco album is?
Matthew Kory: I'm not one of those people who followed Wilco before Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But I LOVE that album. The dissonance that reveals these wonderfully written pop songs... it's just great. So that would be my favorite. But the truth is I haven't listened to any of their other albums nearly as much so it's probably not a fair comparison.
As far as music goes, I've been enjoying the Shins newest, the Chromatics, and Shearwater.
Mike (Cambridge): What do you think happens this offseason with the red sox?
Matthew Kory: I picked this question because I honestly have no idea how to answer it and I'm hoping you all will chime in and let me know what you think.
The team could go in so many different directions. They could look at the ridiculous number of injuries and decide that the 2012 team was the unluckiest team ever in the history of ever. They could decide that the clubhouse is toxic (I have no idea) and the manager and a bunch of players need to leave and then work to make that happen.
I think if it were me, I'd try to maintain an open mind. They need starting pitching, so if the people running the organization think they have the starters on hand then maybe there isn't much to do beyond wait till everyone is healthy.
Oh, and re-sign Ortiz. Have to do that.
yankeesbg13 (Indianapolis): The Cleveland Indians are last in attendance this year, as were they in 2010. They have been in the bottom 8 every year since 2003. They have a nice ballpark to play in as well. Would the Indians ever consider relocating after spending over a century in Cleveland?
Matthew Kory: Would they consider it? Absolutely. They are a business and if, somehow, a better opportunity came along then I'd imagine they'd look into it. That said, there are significant safeguards put into place to prevent that kind of thing from happening, whether intentional or not. First of all, where would the Indians go? Second, they have a lease that binds them to the Jake for some long period of time. Actually, reverse those two.
The A's are running into this problem too and they don't have a fancy newish stadium (yet), so I'm afraid at most the Indians will have to take a number.
Beyond that though, if they Indians put a winning team on the field, I think Cleveland has shown that they'll come out and support the team. Much like every other group of sports fans in world history though, they don't much care for losing teams.
cykoxkmf (1): 1
Matthew Kory: 1.3!
Reggie (Uptown): With the prospects of Votto returning before the end of the season, do you expect Todd Frazier be the everyday 3B in Cincy? Dusty likes his veterans, but Frazier has quietly had a very good rookie season.
Matthew Kory: Frazier has been hitting, but you know what is weird? Scott Rolen, since July 1st has hit .338/.442/.521 in 23 games, 86 plate appearances. My guess is Dusty will give his vets every chance to fail and Rolen isn't failing, at least not right now.
Klochner (MN): If you had to choose between Buster Posey and Joe Mauer based on their careers to date plus their futures, who would you take?
Matthew Kory: Both are amazing players, but I'll take Posey. Mauer has had two seasons where he has slugged over .500 and he's 29 now. Posey has the same number and he's 25. 25! I'm not sure people talk enough about how amazing Buster Posey is.
Looking at where your question is from though I'm assuming that's not the answer you were hoping for. I think Mauer is bound for a 1B/C/DH kind of hybrid guy after Morneau's contract ends in 2013. You just don't see catchers as big as Mauer catch into their mid to late 30s and with Mauer's bat the Twins are going to want to keep him as healthy as they can.
Jordan (Chicago): Thoughts on how the AL Central race will shake out?
Matthew Kory: Chicago has a two game lead on the Tigers. The thing is I don't think either of those teams is going to be a Wild Card. They could, but I don't think so. That means they're both playing for the division. The Tigers pitching just hasn't been there to the extent they need it. The White Sox are strange too, because they've got pitching from Peavey and Sale, two spots most people weren't too excite about, while getting next to nothing from Humber and Danks. Floyd has been OK, but has a below average ERA+. I think the White Sox are a bit better team. If Konerko comes back and hits they should take it.
captnamerca (Dunedin, FL): Someone is going to have to ask it: what do you think about The Rangers calling up Jurickson Profar?
Matthew Kory: I think my favorite part about this season has been seeing Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and now Manny Machado. In the Lineup Card that is coming out today or tomorrow I advocated (semi-seriously) for the Red Sox to bring up Xander Bogaerts. So I'd love to see Profar up. Why not? Is he worse than Michael Young?
As to how he'll do, I have no idea, but everything I've read on him says he's a shockingly good talent. I can't wait. So yeah, I'm all for it.
Nick K (Michigan): Jose Altuve, Adam Dunn, and Josh Beckett walk into a bar. What happens?
Matthew Kory: Dunn does shots. He gets every fourth one into his mouth. Beckett starts indiscriminately punching people though it hurts slightly less than it would have five years ago. Altuve drinks 12 orange juices in the corner and walks out. Later after all the hullabaloo is over you realize that actually he was drinking screw drivers.
Bet of Petey (Queen City): The other day, I look over Mike Trout's entire stat line. He literally does just about everything on a baseball diamond. How amazing is his season and is there another rookie season that you would compare it too?
Matthew Kory: It's up there with what Alex Rodriguez (.358/.414/.631) and Ted Williams (.327/.436/.609) did as 20 year olds. It's just incredible. He's the AL MVP right now. Now, he is 21 and young kids are known to slow down as the season drags on, so maybe he'll start to slip up, but he was up last September too, so maybe he won't. Honestly, I wouldn't say the guy can't do something at this point. He can do everything. He's a joy to watch.
Garcia (LBC): With the breaking news of Kelly Shoppach signing with the Mets, is the East now the Mets' to lose?
Matthew Kory: Well sure. They're just 16 1/2 out with 47 to go. It's anyone's division now.
Actually, this is a good deal for Boston. Shoppach wasn't the back up long term there. They have Ryan Lavarnway who needs playing time at catcher and this deal opens up a spot for him to get it. He could be the starter next season in Boston or split time equally with Jarrod Saltalamacchia (I spelled that all by myself!) which would make for pretty good production from the catcher's position.
As for what it does for the Mets? They're nine out of the Wild Card with a billion teams to jump over so I don't really get it.
sitdancer (DC): How do you see Sterling Marte's chances of staying in Pittsburgh's outfield as an everyday player next year? Will he get enough ABs in center (giving McCutchen a break by moving him to a corner for a few games) in order to keep his eligibility? From the scouting reports it sounds like Marte is a good CF, but obviously McCutchen is entrenched at that position. I have not heard any comments as to who is the better fielder between the two, and by how much.
Matthew Kory: I can't see the Pirates moving McCutchen anywhere for anyone. He's been incredible this year and with his extension he'll be in Pittsburgh long term. There is no reason to move him out of center unless he can't play the position. Which he can. If the Pirates want Marte's glove in center I would think the time for that change would be over the off-season. As for now, if Marte is that good a defender (and by all accounts he is) then he shouldn't have a problem in right field.
captnamerca (Dunedin): Any idea how to pronounce Yasiel Puig?
Matthew Kory: Yaz-ee-al Poo-ig?
SK (NYC): Is Holland and Perez a reasonalble return for Ellsbury and Beckett in the offseason?
Matthew Kory: Is it reasonable? I suppose it is, especially if the Rangers are taking Beckett's contract. Would the Red Sox do that? I doubt it. Trading Ellsbury and Beckett now (or in the off-season) is pretty close to trading them at the bottom of their value. If the clubhouse issues are real and not over blown I can see the Red Sox dealing Beckett, but why they'd trade Ellsbury as people are speculating is beyond me. Are the Sox not planning on contending in 2013? Because if they are (they are) then who is going to play center field? Yes, Ellsbury's contract is up after next season, but that doesn't mean you have get rid of the guy. Last year he, in my most humble of opinions, should have been the AL MVP. Isn't that the kind of guy you want when you're trying to win the World Series?
Bernie Fine (Syracuse NY): best shot to be a closer by this time next year. Doolittle, Villareal, Stroman?
Matthew Kory: I know this isn't a good answer but I have no idea. They all could be closers or none could. Then they could all reverse themselves. Look at the guys who were supposed to be closers this year. even the great Mariano Rivera got hurt and the Yankees have used a number of different closers this season. Heck, even Derek Lowe got a save for the Yankees last night. Predicting closers is pretty tough.
Codey (Wyoming): Bauer/Skaggs/Bradley/Miley/Corbin/Holmberg all entered the season as the DBacks top pitching prospects. Is that the best in bigs looking back?
Matthew Kory: Ha ha. I'm so not the prospect guy. It's an impressive list. As for best in the big leagues, that's probably a question best answered by Kevin Goldstein.
captnamerca (FL): Assuming they both live up to their potential (that's a big assumption, I know), who do you think is better: Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole?
Matthew Kory: I'm a sucker for pitcher strikeouts, so right now I'd go with Cole. They're both great talents though (no newsflash that). The new CBA really is a shame because I loved, just loved, what the Pirates were doing. Now they're hamstrung to a certain extent anyway by the new rules. I don't think it's going to destroy the game as some analysts seem to, but I do think that it evens the playing field. It is much more difficult for the really smart teams to exert their advantage under this system than under the previous one.
The Pirates have some good young players though for the first time in a while and that's a great thing for the Pirates and for baseball in general.
Matthew Kory: Well folks, I hate to cut this short, but those aforementioned children are yapping in the background. It's been a pleasure chatting with you today. I thank you for the questions, and for spending time with us here at Baseball Prospectus. Cheers!