2020 MLB Spring Training Pitchers & Catcher Report Chat (2/10/20)

Image credit: (Photo by Billie Weiss/Red Sox via Getty Images)

Mike (Tempe):

     Are the Mets going to disappoint me again this year?

Kyle Glaser: I don’t think so, actually. For all the drama last year, this team actually won 86 games with a lot of players not performing anywhere near their best (Diaz, Syndergaard, etc.) I actually like the Mets a lot, pending bouncebacks from those guys, and they made some sneaky solid additions in Wacha, Betances and Marisnick. We’re doing our preseason predictions right now. I have the Mets winning a wild card spot in the NL.

Matthew (Toronto):

     Has the situation surrounding Graterol’s medical records change how you guys at BA feel about him? Obviously it’s hard to form a strong opinion without access to those records, but if you could go back and rework the top 100 retroactively, would he fall down the rankings a bit (given the added concern surrounding his ability to profile as a starter)?

Kyle Glaser: Not at all. The fact Graterol missed so much time with a shoulder issue last year and the questions about whether he starts or relieves were the reasons why he was down at No. 60. With a clean bill of health and more conviction he could start, he would’ve have been somewhere in the 30s.

Matthew (Toronto):

     Relative to expactations, it’s safe to say that Vlad Jr.’s rookie campaign was a bit of a disappointment. Beyond the results themselves, he struggled to elevate the ball and he got away from the discipline that helped him dominate the minors. Can we chalk up the offensive issues as growing pains/adjustments, or is there legitimate concern that his offensive upside isn’t what it once was?

Kyle Glaser: People seem to have missed that Guerrero hit .280/.354/.463 with a fine BB-K ratio through Aug. 31. That would be one of best slash lines for any player in his age-20 season in major league history. Then, he wore down in September and it depressed his overall numbers (.232 with zero HR in Sept.). There’s zero concern about Vlad’s offensive upside after his debut, just his fitness and ability to hold up over a full season – the same questions that existed before. Charlie Montoyo talked a lot at the Winter Meetings about how much Vlad Jr. was working out this offseason and getting in better shape to hold up over the course of the season. We’ll see if it was just talk or if he actually made a change when he shows up to Dunedin in a few weeks.

KB (NY):

     All about third base. Does Bryant get traded? Will Austin Riley be opening day starter? Can Nick Solak put Todd Frazier on the bench?

Kyle Glaser: No. Yes. Yes.

Henry (Santa Clara):

     Thoughts on Rico Garcia, NRI from the Giants? Looking at his numbers, it seems like he’s fared well in minor leagues, while settling into MLB and AAA. I personally feel like he could crack opening day roster from spring training.

Kyle Glaser: There’s something there. Even when he was in the Cal League, people liked what they saw. He’s probably more of a swingman/spot starter in the end, but teams need that and he’s in a good spot to win a job on a rebuilding club. It would not shock me if he ends up spending a decent chunk of the season on the Giants staff, whether that begins on Opening Day or a little later in the season.

Patton (Berwyn, IL):

     Which of the following pitchers (if any) will be in the starting rotation of a major league club on Opening Day — Michael Kopech, Deivi Garcia, Michael King, or Nate Pearson?

Kyle Glaser: Kopech has the best chance if he shows he’s fully back from TJ. Garcia and King would need a lot of injuries ahead of them to crack the Yankees opening day rotation (even after Paxton going down). Kopech just needs to show he’s a better option right now than Dylan Cease or Reynaldo Lopez, which is very much in the cards.

Paul (Arizona):

     How does Mookie Betts’ arrival affect Mike Trout? When will the Dodgers go get Trout to pair him with Betts and Bellinger and really make this a super team?

Kyle Glaser: It has zero effect. The Angels aren’t trading Trout. That was true before and it’s true now.

Joey (The Block):

     Kyle, love following you on Twitter. I know you talk about playing sometimes. Spring Training’s here are you ready to go this spring? Will the move back to California affect your game at all?

Kyle Glaser: Haha I am ready. I’ve been upping my workouts at the gym in preparation and feel good for the most part. My elbow has been barking a bit when I’ve been throwing so I need to get that checked out, but pending that I will be back playing this spring. Still need to find a new team, that’s the next step.

Billy (Best Coast):

     So Mookie Betts arrives in LA and Phillip Rivers leaves, hmmm…Is Mookie a good enough athlete to be the answer for the Chargers AND the Dodgers?

Kyle Glaser: Nothing can help the Chargers as long as they are owned by the Spanos family. Dysfunction and cowardice flow from the top and infect the entire organization.

Jerry (SD):

     Do you think the Padres could (or should) be second-guessing themselves after the prospect package that landed Mookie Betts? I feel like San Diego could’ve matched that

Kyle Glaser: The one they really should be second-guessing themselves over is the Starling Marte deal. They could have matched that without altering their long-term outlook in any meaningful way while significantly improving for 2020 and 2021. That’s the one, more than the Betts deal, that they really have no good reason not to have swung.

Steve (Jacksonville):

     What team are you most excited to watch this season and what team disappointed you the most this offseason?

Kyle Glaser: The White Sox for most excited. They have a ton of young talent (Moncada, Jimenez, Anderson, Giolito, Kopech), more making their debuts this year (Robert, Madrigal) and added a ton of talent in the offseason. I think they could be a very exciting surprise contender, a la the 2018 Braves. As for disappointed, I think any time you willingly take yourself out of playoff contention as the Red Sox did, that’s pretty disappointing

Kyle (San Antonio):

     Do you think the Dodgers gave up too much by including Downs?

Kyle Glaser: Not at all. Jeter Downs and Connor Wong are both fine prospects, but neither had a direct path to ever playing for the Dodgers (Lux and Seager in the MIF, and the Dodgers have Hoese coming up at 3B to replace where Downs likely would have ended up). For Betts and Price, AND Graterol (who they needed as a firebreathing reliever) AND a draft pick on top of it…I actually like the re-jiggered deal for the Dodgers even more than I liked the original one. Downs is a good player (as is Verdugo and Wong is solid too), but for what Dodgers got, it’s a no-brainer to make the deal they did.

jonathan (new york):

     Do you think Happ could be traded at some point during the season?

Kyle Glaser: I assume you mean J.A. Happ and not Ian Happ given you’re from NY. Given Paxton’s injury and we still don’t know what Severino will be able to give the Yankees from a workload perspective, I would bet on Happ sticking around.

Dan (sd):

     Are you a fan of swapping Margot/Driscoll for Pagan? Have you heard the padres connected with any other names besides the one you mocked to them in the draft?

Kyle Glaser: The deal made sense. There’s a chance Margot blossoms at 25-26 away from Petco Park (as has happened with others before him) but on the whole it makes sense for the Padres given what we know now. As for the mocks, no player is connected to any individual team at this point – it’s way, way, way too early for that. True connections don’t really start happening until April at the earliest. Think of the mock drafts now simply as more about the player and where their talent lines up – not in terms of what team is connected to them.

Bob from Texas (NC):

     I’m hearing that Tucker Davidson is throwing 100 mph this off-season. As far as the Braves young LH starting pitchers go who is tops Muller or Davidson?

Kyle Glaser: Muller is the higher ranked Braves prospect on our Top 10. That’s your answer.

Dave (Baseball USA):

     What prospects come to mind for you as far as helping their stock the most over the last year or so?

Kyle Glaser: Brandon Marsh probably first and foremost. Hitting .300/.383/.428 as a 21-year-old in Double-A in the Southern League (which is pitcher-friendly) convinced a lot of people he wasn’t just a great athlete but a fine hitter as well. Then what he did in the Fall League, a lot of people seem a lot more comfortable with him now compared to a year ago, when people loved the body and athleticism but were concerned about the swing.

Kyle (San Antonio):

     With the acquisition of Betts, what other needs do you see the Dodgers filling between now and July 31? Which prospects do you think they would be most willing to part with if need be?

Kyle Glaser: They’re still going to need bullpen help, and they should be freely willing to part with Keibert Ruiz to do it for a top-tier closer. As far as good middle/setup guys, anyone starting around the DJ Peters group is prospects should be in the mix. The Dodgers need better relievers if they want to win a World Series, and it’s time they start being more aggressive with their mid-tier prospects to get those guys.

Archi Cianfrocco (San Diego):

     Who gets the majority of starts in CF for the Padres this year?

Kyle Glaser: Franchy Cordero if he stays healthy.

BrwnDawg (California):

     I’m trying to learn about some of the Non-Roster Invitees who are still young enough to be prospects but can not find them on the top 100 or teams top 30 lists. Do the teams see something that raters are missing? Does being a NRI now improve their future ranking on these lists?

Kyle Glaser: A lot of times NRI’s are flyers or a result of positional shortages (i.e., you see a LOT of lower level catchers get NRI’s simply because they need catchers in camp). Where you start seeing guys improve their ranking is if they stick around in camp for a while – that’s where it gets telling. Simply being an NRI doesn’t really move the needle much.

Dinger Derby (Lubbock, Tx):

     How much do you wish you were talking about college baseball opening weekend right now instead of this?

Kyle Glaser: Not at all. Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are the college guys. I’m our MLB guy. This is the stuff I love.

Kevin (San Diego):

     Does Trent Grisham profile more as a solid regular or possible bench/4th outfielder type? Can he handle CF or better suited to the corners?

Kyle Glaser: More of a guy in your OF rotation than you want playing everyday for 150+ games. He has shown the ability to play CF as needed, but there are other, better options for your everyday CF. He made huge 180 and got waaayyy better in the last year though, so you can’t rule out him taking another jump and exceeding those current assessments.

Leo (San Diego):

     What do the Padres do now? Do they make a big move? Do they trade Yates? Myers? Hedges? Bullpen arms?

Kyle Glaser: If there still was a true everyday CF they could get, that would be hugely beneficial. They should have zero qualms trading from a pool of Hedges and their bullpen depth (not Yates, but others) if that’s what it takes, but it would take more than that to get a CF of the caliber they need.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Just how good of a 1B can Evan White be for Seattle? Giving him a 6 year contract probably means he starts on their roster this season. He is said to be very athletic. Can he use that to turn his bat into a potent MLB hitter? In your opinion, of course. Love your chats. Thank you. If you’re ever in SoCal let me know. I’d love to meet up for dinner and talk baseball. I’m buying!

Kyle Glaser: Hey Ken, White can be an above-average everyday 1B in Seattle. People love the defense (as they should) but they’re missing how good of a hitter this guy is, too. He’s got a good swing that produces a lot of hard contact, he’s tapping into more and more power every year, he controls the strike zone – this a very good player, not just defender. Now, I do expect there to be some growing pains in his first year (especially jumping from Double-A straight to the majors) but in the long run he has a chance to be very, very good. As for the rest, I’m back in SoCal full-time now and am happy to meet up and talk baseball anytime.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     What does Verdugo do now that he gets the opportunity to play everyday?

Kyle Glaser: He becomes Nick Markakis 2.0 playing right field everyday for the Red Sox, although with the Pesky Pole at his disposal there might be some 20+ HR seasons in store that were less of a sure thing before.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Is Anthony Santander a quality OF in your eyes? Or is he just starting for the Orioles because they don’t have anybody else?

Kyle Glaser: Yes, actually. I remember being in San Diego last year when the Orioles were in town and Brandon Hyde just raving about the quality of Santander’s ABs. He slipped at the end a good bit and health/durability have long been questions with him, but I think he actually has a chance to a long-term starting OF for the O’s and not just a guy who starts when they’re terrible.

Brian (Denver):

     What do you expect from Forrest Whitley this year and how much does makeup effect his overall ceiling?

Kyle Glaser: I think he makes his major league debut and has ups and downs like every young pitcher in their first taste of the majors. As far as makeup, you can’t be an ace without the ability to bounce back from misplays from the defense behind you, bad calls, etc. Some guys internalize their frustrations, others are more vocal about them, but they all bounce back and don’t let it snowball on them. Whitley has to learn to do that if he wants to reach his No. 1 ceiling.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     I saw a couple of young OFers do well last year – Willie Calhoun and Austin Meadows. Are they the real deal for you? Calhoun 30+ HR in 2020?

Kyle Glaser: Meadows is the real deal, absolutely. Calhoun has a chance, but we need to see how this new Rangers park plays. He’s more hit over power, although he’s got enough of both to be an effective everyday presence in the lineup.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out. I’ll be in Arizona for spring training here at the end of the month, looking forward to getting back out to the field. Have a great week everyone.

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