2018 MLB Opening Day Chat
Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody. Excited for the season to get underway as well as this chat. Let's get to it
Thomas (Houston, Texas):
- With Kyle Tucker tearing it up in Spring Training does that accelerate his time to reach the Majors? May or June maybe depending on injuries? Or do you think he stays in the minors until September regardless?
Kyle Glaser: Hey Thomas. Tucker's ascension to Houston will really depend on how many injuries hit. Once Yuli Gurriel comes back from his injury and suspension, you’re going to have Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez and Derek Fisher as options in the corners, plus Jake Marisnick off the bench. The Astros have a lot of depth, which is great thing, but also means Tucker has a strong chance to spend most of the year in the minors…again though, if two of the aforementioned guys go down to injury in a short span, whether that’s in April, May, June or July, we certainly could see Tucker up.
Perceived Percival (Riverside, CA):
- What are your expectations for Shohei Ohtani and will he surpass 150 plate appearances before the hitting experiment is kiboshed?
Kyle Glaser: Ohtani will get to 150 PAs, but I think by July he’ll be pitching only.
Derek (Key Biscayne, Fla.):
- I thought one of the more underrated offseason signings was the Marlins picking up Cameron Maybin for cheap. Do you think he has a chance to win the NL Gold Glove this season? He's easily the best defensive centerfielder in the National League now, right? The Angels would have easily made the AL Wild Card game last year if they let Maybin play CF all year and slid Trout over to one of the corners, IMHO.
Kyle Glaser: Saying Maybin is “easily” the best defensive CF in the National League is a little rich, with Juan Lagares, Billy Hamilton, Manuel Margot and Ender Inciarte around, to name a few. But yes, Maybin is a very talented defender in the outfield who helps. At the same time, as gifted a defender as Maybin is, a .228/.318/.365 slash line won’t cut it in an everyday role. He’s gotta get that up to justify playing every day and, thus, be in Gold Glove contention. And defense wasn’t the Angels problem last year. They finished 11th in the American League in runs, 14th in batting average, and last in slugging and OPS. That had more to do with them falling short of a wild card than any outfield defense alignment.
Mike (Newport Beach, Calif.):
- Why do you think Ohtani is the biggest bust in MLB history?
Kyle Glaser: Labeling anyone a bust, or a superstar for that matter, after one spring training is beyond premature.
Mike K (Best Coast):
- The Angels have really underachieved in the last decade and now the Astros look like they could be set up to dominate the division for the next few years. Will the Halos ever break through with Trout? Starting to think it might be better if they just trade him and build for the future around Otani. Could they get Tatis for Trout?
Kyle Glaser: The Angels have put themselves to contend in 2018 and 2019 with their offseason moves, so yes, they can. And as far as a Trout trade goes….no one has done what Trout has done since guys named Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were playing. Not Bonds, not Griffey, not your favorite player of your youth (unless you’re in your 70s). No prospect, or three prospects, are worth Mike Trout. Unless a team is willing to trade multiple cost controlled, All-Star-caliber big leaguers PLUS multiple top prospects, Trout isn’t going anywhere.
J.P. (Springfield, IL):
- From 1 to 10, how concerned are you about Ohtani, and how confident are you that his command can improve?
Kyle Glaser: Maybe 3-4. You certainly wanted to see better him than failing to reach his pitch counts. But at the same time, expectations for Ohtani and his immediate impact have always been overly high. He’s 23, coming off offseason ankle surgery, following a season in which he pitched only 5 games. He’s young, rusty, and needs time. Like most prospects, he has some scintillating abilities, but needs to learn how to be consistent and make adjustments facing big leaguers. That takes time and reps. He’ll be fine, but patience is needed.
- Just read that McMahon made the opening day roster. Thoughts on his immediate impact? I’m assuming he’s won the starting 1B job (deservedly) and they’re not bringing him up just to sit. What kind of numbers do you think he’ll put up right out of the gate? Thanks for doing this.
Kyle Glaser: Hey Ben, my pleasure. McMahon made a big approach adjustment last year where he really honed in on hunting fastballs, in scouts eyes, and he isn’t missing when he gets them. His K-rate plummeted, and he just started hitting everything. As long as he keeps his approach, with the gap-to-gap power he has, he has a chance to put up some big numbers in Coors Field (and the big gaps at AT&T and Petco Park work for him too). I think it’s very possible we see something like .290, 30+ 2Bs, 15+ HR and NL ROY contention for McMahon.
Andrew (Los Angeles):
- Do you think the Padres should bring back the brown?
Kyle Glaser: I wouldn't go full 1984, but yes some brown in the color scheme would certainly make for better jerseys than the nondescript, vanilla unis the Padres are wearing now. I like these, for example https://twitter.com/johnbrubaker/status/553096689557327875
- Which prospect do you believe will rise the most by the end of the season? Also do the Angels actually extend Garrett Richards if he stays on the mound the whole season?
Kyle Glaser: Luis Robert could be Top 10 by the end of the year if he comes back healthy. Brandon Marsh is someone off the list I think could explode onto it as well if he stays healthy. As for Richards, it depends on the size of the extension. Even if he has a healthy 2018, you can't give a guy with his health record going into his 30s more than 3 years, and the money can't be enormous either. The risk of 20+ million in sunk costs annually is just too great.
Walker Buehler (OKC):
- Fill in the blank. By August 2018 I’m the Dodgers _____ best starter
Kyle Glaser: Fourth. Kershaw, Wood, Hill will be ahead, although injuries are certainly possible. If one of them is out, maybe the answer becomes third.
Mike K (Best Coast):
- Will Acuna surpass Trout as the best player in baseball in April or June?
Kyle Glaser: Ronald Acuna will not surpass Mike Trout as the best player in baseball until 2026, when Trout is 34 and Acuna is 28 and father time begins to hit Trout a little. Acuna, as talented as he is, is not Trout. Then again, no one in the past 50 years has been.
Todd (New York):
- Do you buy into Colin Moran's power surge last season? I do not believe he has hit a HR during Spring Training.
Kyle Glaser: I'm more skeptical than some of my colleagues. At the same time, I do think Moran has the ability to be a productive offensive player with a lot of doubles and decent averages from the left side, which is certainly valuable.
Travis (Omak wa):
- What do you expect from Marco Gonzales this season? Who is a mariner who could have a breakout season?
Kyle Glaser: We'll see. Gonzales gotten hit around pretty good every chance he's had in the majors and looked more like a 4A pitcher to a lot of evaluators who saw him last year (except the Mariners, apparently). Spring training looked good, but again, it's spring training. I think skepticism is warranted. As for a breakout, it's tough to pick one because the Mariners went with a lot of veteran guys this year with solid big league track records. I guess you could say Mitch Haniger in the sense that with a full season of health, I think he can put up some numbers beyond what a lot of projections give him. Wouldn't shock me if he takes a step towards being a full-on standout.
TA (Long Island):
- Is there any prospects who will likely be making their debut this season who might make a bigger impact than people expect?
Kyle Glaser: Keep an eye on Chris Shaw. He can deliver game-changing, lefthanded power in a hurry and it wouldn't shock me if he's hitting in the middle of the Giants lineup and mashing by summer.
Imperfections And All, Robo Umps Make Significant Impact
The Atlantic League is serving as MLB's laboratory. And the early results are striking, even if they're imperfect.
- Which Wander would you prefer? Javier or S. Franco?
Kyle Glaser: Right now you kind of have to take Javier just because he's come to the states and performed. Skipped the GCL and did it in the Appy League, at that.
Travis (Omak, Wa):
- Is this the season where Kyle Lewis finally gets healthy and looks like a potential star?
Kyle Glaser: I'm going to say yes. Finally got some time off without trying to rush his knee back post AFL. When Lewis hits the field and gets to stay on it this spring/summer, the talent will come out for all to see
Dan (Augusta, ME):
- Are the O's just holding Hays back because of service time? And could Anthony Santander seize the job and block him all year long?
Kyle Glaser: Not really a service time issue with Hays since he got called up in September. He's an aggressive hitter who struck out 16 times in 63 PAs in his ML debut without getting to his power, and then struck out 12 times in 40 PAs in the spring while, again, not getting to his power. He's not quite ready for big league pitching yet, no reason to throw him in there if he isn't. And Santander is a talented player, but Hays at his best is better. If Hays goes down to AA/AAA and does everything he needs to, the job is his.
- Your thoughts on Mike Soroka after this spring? Early call-up? Also do you think he has top of the rotation ability?
Kyle Glaser: More than 5 spring training innings, what's most impressive about Soroka is just how quickly he keeps getting better and better. For him to what he did at AA at age 19 was beyond impressive, and he's still growing and getting stronger. Most evaluators still throw more mid-rotation potential on him, but if his stuff keeps jumping, it wouldn't shock me if he makes a leap to that potential status
- Ok what kind of pre mlb contract would you offer nick senzel ?
Kyle Glaser: I'm not a huge fan of these deals, for either side truthfully. (That's a longer response). But, if they were to do one, I'd imagine it'd be similar to Kingery's but a little higher $$. Say, 6-year, 30-mill, with options higher than Kingerys. Kingery's deal maxes out at $66 million, maybe Senzel's goes to 80ish.
Andrew (Los Angeles):
- Which Padres prospect has the most impressive 2018 and why?
Kyle Glaser: Michel Baez, because he leaps from HiA to AA to Triple-A and dominates at each level.
- How high do you think Cristian Pache moves up in it rankings this year?
Kyle Glaser: That's really going to be up to Pache and the improvements he's made. Or didn't make. He's 19 years old going to High A. A lot of time and development ahead. I wouldn't dwell on his rankings. Just watch him to see if he grows and get better and make the strides he needs. If he does, the rankings will follow.
Andrew (Los Angeles):
- What kind of ceiling does Mason Thompson have if he's able to stay healthy?
Kyle Glaser: Evaluators see back of the rotation, but it doesn't really matter if he can't stay on the mound. That's first and foremost what needs to happen before any serious discussion of ceiling can be had
Whyteshooz (The Planet of Chicago):
- What should we expect to see out of Julio Pablo Martinez at 22 yrs of age and when do you estimate he makes the leap to the bigs?
Kyle Glaser: Expect Martinez to spend all of this year in the minors and a good chunk of next year as well, maybe getting a cup of coffee sometime in 2019. Martinez is young and everyone always underestimates how enormous the transition from Cuba to the U.S. is, culturally. He's not Cespedes or Puig or someone ready to help right away. He'll need some time.
- Watched a reds rangers exhibition game last night and was impress by nomad mazarra. Reminded me of Carlos Gonzales. What're your forecast for him ?
Kyle Glaser: Mazara is certainly an impressive, impressive young player the Rangers can and should build around. Once he hits age 24, 25, 26, he's going to be a beast. Cargo's pure numbers will always look better because he got to play in Coors Field, but if you look at Cargo's career road numbers (.252/308/.427, 23 HR per 162 games), I think Mazara has a chance to surpass those. A couple All-Star Games are in Mazara's future, provided he makes the adjustments and gains that come with time and doesn't get hurt/lose himself.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD):
- I've read pretty consistently that Esteury Ruiz has an impressive bat but questionable defense. Do you think he sticks at 2B? If not, where does he go?
Kyle Glaser: That is accurate. Most evaluators see Ruiz in the outfield in the future. At the same time, defense can improve probably more than any other attribute, especially for young players. Just reps and experience. So we'll see.
Kyle Glaser: Alright everyone, that will do it for today. Gotta pack for my west coast trip starting tomorrow. Have a great rest of your week, and enjoy Opening Day