2019 MLB Spring Training Chat

Image credit: Yusei Kikuchi (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, sorry for the delay. Looking forward for actual games to be played today (well, hopefully with the weather in AZ). Let’s get chatting

Old Timer (Raleigh NC): 

    With the signing of Robbie Grossman, Which A’s OFer is most likely to wind up at AAA?

Kyle Glaser: It’s safe to say Ramon Laureano and Stephen Piscotty’s spots are safe, along with Grossman’s. Say they carry five outfielders, I’d imagine Pinder is one of them, leaving one spot for Martini, Fowler and Canha. Seeing as all three have options left that won’t be a factor. In the end I think Fowler heads to Triple-A so he can play everyday, and I think Canha goes too, leaving Martini on the big league roster to give them a lefthanded-hitting outfielder….but that Canha/Martini battle could be fun to watch.

Old Timer (Raleigh NC): 

    Why did Tampas give up on Jake Bauers? Or is Nate Lowe that good?

Kyle Glaser: I don’t know if I’d characterize it as giving up on Bauers, but Lowe does have more power, and in the end that’s going to win out at first base. I see why they did it, even though I think Bauers has a chance to still be a solid player and Lowe has some question marks for me.

Norm (Cheers): 

    Is San Diego now a legitimate playoff contender with Machado? And if not, when will they be?

Kyle Glaser: Not yet. They don’t have the starting pitching. Lucchesi and Lamet (assuming his stuff comes back intact when he returns from TJ) are keepers. They’re going to get a wave of their top prospect arms coming up this year, another group after that, and they’re going to take some time to acclimate. It’s still probably 2021 before this is a playoff team with the time it takes young pitchers to click. The Machado signing didn’t accelerate their timetable…it just made it more likely that playoff window actually opens in the first place and remains open.

Scott T. (Durham, N.C.): 

    We know generally which front offices are good (A’s, Yankees, etc.) and not so good (Marlins, Orioles) at using data and staying ahead of the curve. Have their been teams who have made a significant amount of progress recently? Are there still teams that aren’t good at it?

Kyle Glaser: The Diamondbacks made some interesting changes to their baseball operations structure this year. They’ve been one of the largest (and most successful) scouting groups for a few years now, this year they created some new positions devoted to run production and run prevention and getting that data in the hands of the club in a cohesive way for it to be implemented. I’ll be curious to see how it shakes out, but Arizona at least opened my eyes a little in seeing how its changing some things. And also for doing it while making a number of scout hires too, not firing them and replacing them with analytics. Rather, working to build both and make them work in unison.

Joe (Charleston): 

    Thanks for the chat. What prospects are you most excited to see in person this year?

Kyle Glaser: I’ll be very curious to see all the Padres arms making their way from Ft Wayne to Lake Elsinore – MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, and maybe even Anderson Espinoza. I’m also going to be very interested to see Nick Madrigal now that he’ll be fresh and healthy, as opposed to last year when he was at the end of a very, very long year by the time he made his way out to Winston-Salem.

Billy Beane (Oakland): 

    Can we cobble together enough pitching this year to remain a playoff contender?

Kyle Glaser: The strength of the A’s offense and bullpen will keep them competitive. But they’ll be without a lot of the key SPs who helped them survive last year (Manaea, Cahill, Jackson). I think given that Luzardo will be up at some point and Cotton and Puk could be factors late after they return from TJ, they’ll be able to cobble enough together with Montas, Mengden, Bassitt, etc to be relevant to the playoff discussion. But it’ll be tight, tighter than it was last year.

Cranky (Internet): 

    Please tell me baseball isn’t head toward a strike Kyle

Kyle Glaser: If we continue down the path we’re on, there will be. But there are still two more years until the CBA comes up, and a lot can change in two years. I don’t hold much optimism enough will change, but I do have hope.

Carter (Atlanta): 

    What was your favorite move of the offseason? Least favorite?

Kyle Glaser: My favorite move of the offseason was the Phillies trade for Jean Segura. It gave them a real, actual shortstop (and one of MLB’s best at that) while also getting Santana out of there and moving Rhys Hoskins back to first base, which I think will help his offense tick back up too because he’ll be more comfortable all around. In one move, they vastly upgraded their infield defense, outfield defense, and their lineup. It was a masterstroke. As for least favorite, it would probably be the Royals signing Billy Hamilton and Chris Owings rather than going and getting some pitching.

Philly Fan (Philadelphia): 

    What do you think of the price paid for Realmuto?

Kyle Glaser: In my last chat, I said the price would be a 0-3 year big leaguer and an elite, top-level prospect to be the top of the deal. That’s exactly what it was. Acquiring a star like J.T. Realmuto was always going to cost a high price. He’s worth it. I like the move for the Phillies, and I like the move for the Marlins. Phillies paid a high but fair price, Marlins got some legit quality pieces to work with for their future.

Alan (NC): 

    How many games will Mejia play at catcher this season?

Kyle Glaser: I think when all is said and done we’ll probably see 110ish for Hedges and 50ish for Mejia at catcher, with Mejia drawing a couple starts at other places around the diamond as injuries hit. Keep in mind Hedges had a concussion two years ago and played only 91 games last year and missed time with elbow soreness, so it’s always possible Mejia ends up playing more if injuries keep hitting Hedges.

Don (Orland Park, IL.): 

    Can you name me one sleeper prospect in the White Sox farm system that could be a top 100 prospect when the next rankings come out ?

Kyle Glaser: When the next rankings come out? On May 1? No one. In the words of our White Sox guru Josh Norris “I’m not sure such a prospect in that system exists” The White Sox have a good top of the system, but the depth drops off dramatically pretty quickly. The guys who have Top 100 potential in that system pretty much already known.

Tyson (35): 

    When will the Mariner’s call up all the young talent they acquired this off-season? How far off is Julio Rodriquez and Jarred Klenic from the bigs?

Kyle Glaser: You’ll see J.P. Crawford, Erik Swanson and likely Justin Dunn in the majors this year, by mid-summer I’d imagine at the latest. You’re going to be waiting awhile on Rodriguez and Kelenic. Kelenic is 3-4 years away, Rodriguez 4-5, and that’s assuming nothing goes wrong. These are teenagers who have a long climb and many developmental steps ahead, as talented as they are.

Rick (Peoria AZ): 

    I know it early but, I heard that Anderson Espinoza looking good after coming back for TJ? I heard he hit 97.

Kyle Glaser: I have not heard that. Even if it’s accurate, hitting 97 in a February bullpen isn’t really relevant. What’s going to matter is him doing that in April through May, and through June, and through July. He’s gotta stay on the mound. If he throws 97 in February and in April his elbow is barking, it’s not going to matter. His durability is what he has to prove, not his stuff.

Sam (NYC): 

    What happened to the Top 100 chat?

Kyle Glaser: We did Q and As on Twitter (with me) and Instagram (with Ben Badler) instead this year. Changed it up. We’ll have more Top 100 chats through the year when we do our updates

Adam (Las Vegas): 

    Are we far enough away from the 2016 draft to say that the Padres executed their plethora of picks and pool space poorly?

Kyle Glaser: Uhh no. Not at all. Lucchesi and Lauer are starting in the majors. If Quantrill and Lawson join them as they are on track to, that will be four of their top seven picks pitching as starters in the major leagues. That would be a tremendous success. Potts and Reed meanwhile have their flaws, but they’re good players with major league futures. So A, it’s too early to make any kind of final determination like that. And B, if anything, it’s tracking at this point that they spent their picks and pool space well, not poorly.

John H. (LA): 

    Been hearing some buzz around Michael Grove. Can he shoot up the LAD list this year? What’s his ceiling?

Kyle Glaser: Grove absolutely can. Before he got hurt you saw a fastball that sat 93-96 with rise and a plus slider. That’s a really good place to start. If that stuff is back – and the Dodgers have a pretty good track record of getting their TJ guys back as they were before, if not better – he’s definitely a candidate to rise into their Top 10 prospects very, very fast. His ceiling was perceived to be a No. 3 SP, but if the stuff has ticked up post-surgery as Walker Buehler’s did, that ceiling becomes a lot higher.

Trevor (San Diego): 

    Harper to the Padres. Still possible or no way Manné?

Kyle Glaser: It’s not happening.

Fantasy Guru (Internet): 

    Hey Kyle, I’m in a league where more than 1,500 overall players are rostered. Here’s an impossible question. Can you name me an extremely off the radar guy who might be worth grabbing? Doesn’t matter if they’re a reliever or a util only guy. But someone with a glimmer hope if everything breaks right.

Kyle Glaser: Oooo I like this question. Reliever Kyle Keller with the Marlins really impressed me during the Arizona Fall League. I like him as a reliever candidate. Jack Kruger with the Angels is a catcher who can legitimately hit and someone I think highly of. If Sam Hilliard, Rockies OF, isn’t taken, grab him now and thank me later. At worst he should be a solid lefthanded part of a platoon.

Andrew (BILLINGS MT): 

    What day this week will Kikuchi pitch

Kyle Glaser: Don’t believe that’s been announced yet, and I sadly lack the ability to foresee the future.

Robert (Kentucky): 

    How would you compare the total offensive output capabilities (some combination of hit/power/approach) for Canario and Connor Scott?

Kyle Glaser: Canario is more power over hit, the swing gets a little long and there projects to always be some strikeouts there, even though he’s got a solid approach and knows how to take a walk. Scott there’s a little more natural feel to hit in the swing, even though he didn’t necessarily show it in his pro debut. At the end the projection as it stands now is Scott will hit for a higher average with a bit less power than Canario. At the same time, we’re talking about two teenagers in the lower levels, where a lot can and will change with their bodies and overall skillsets.

Jim (New Jersey): 

    If the Phils had signed Machado, would Alec Bohm have been athletic enough to play LF or would he have turned into a mid-season trade chip?

Kyle Glaser: In the leadup to the draft a lot of evaluators thought Bohm was destined for 1B as is. Not all, but a lot. He’s really a 3B or 1B only guy. To this point no one really saw enough athleticism for the outfield. He’ll continue to develop as a 3B and we’ll see how it goes.

Kyle Glaser: Alright, that looks like all the questions in the chat queue today. I’ll be down in Florida starting this weekend covering spring training, so make sure and follow along on Twitter and BaseballAmerica.com. Thanks for chatting with me everyone, have a great few days until the weekend.

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