Opening Day Chat (7/23)
Kyle Glaser: Hey everybody, Happy Opening Day. I know we're all excited to have baseball back. Let's get chatting.
Keegan (Nebraska): How much would an upset series win make a difference in the season of a middle of the pack team like the Blue Jays or Angels given the short season?
Kyle Glaser: The Blue Jays and Angels are two teams that absolutely benefit greatly from this shortened season. Mostly because they're relying on key pitchers with health/durability questions (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shohei Ohtani/Griffin Canning/Andrew Heaney) that get mitigated somewhat in a shortened campaign. With every game meaning significantly more, even one or two key series wins against a better team will be huge. Expect to see a lot of teams in the 32-28, 31-29 jumble when this is over. An extra win is going to be huge, even more so than normal.
Ryan (Delaware): The Dodgers clearly have a stacked outfield for the foreseeable future. Does DJ Peters still fit into their plans or is he now a decent trade candidate?
Kyle Glaser: Peters' outlook has long been that of a reserve/bench OF. That's still a role he could fill for the Dodgers in the coming years. Starting, at least for a first-division team like L.A., wasn't really in the cards even before the Mookie Betts trade/extension this year and the A.J. Pollock signing last year.
Colin (Atlanta, GA): Clint Frazier has tons of talent at the plate but it seems people in and around the org really don't think he can even play the corner spots (Yankees broadcasters said Andujar looked better in LF). What is the outlook for someone like Frazier where the Yankees could trade him for less than value or just keep him riding the bench?
Kyle Glaser: It's really not a bad idea to hang onto Frazier given Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge's injury histories, plus the fact Miguel Andujar is coming off of shoulder surgery and now will be diving around the outfield and running into walls, potentially. If they can get another starter type or mid-to-high leverage reliever for Frazier in a trade it could make sense, but he's valuable enough to the team as currently constructed that I wouldn't sell low on him.
Hank (Portland): For fantasy purposes, who are your top 5 players from the 2020 draft? Thanks!
Kyle Glaser: Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin are 1-2, for sure. I'd probably go Asa Lacy, Nick Gonzales and Max Meyer 3-5.
Reuben (Durham): Which of these prospects would you now put in the "likely" "toss-up" or "unlikely" categories for 2020 MLB debuts? I'm leaving out the most likely ones.
Kyle Glaser: Interesting question. Here's how I'd break it down. Likely: Spencer Howard, Forrest Whitley. Toss-Up: Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera, Luis Patino. Unlikely: Logan Gilbert.
Reuben (Durham): In light of the breaking news of Juan Soto getting COVID... do you think MLB and MLBPA officials have earnestly delved into "worst-case" scenarios, ie. laying out what would need to happen to consider canceling the season? For example, if there's an outbreak of 10 players from one team, or 15 players combined from two teams... or do you think they're just shutting their eyes, hoping for the best and planning to wing it? And, cynical as it may sound, would MLB make the same decision if the Orioles and Marlins had an outbreak, as opposed to the Yankees and Nationals...?
Kyle Glaser: As much as people like to rag on MLB and the MLBPA (often deservedly), MLB has been very, very thorough with their protocols and they've absolutely considered all possibilities, including what you've laid out. They're hoping for the best, as we all are, but they certainly are not winging it. The plans and protocols are crystal clear for these situations. Now, what that line is, of how many players would have to test positive for them to shut down, is not clear. And while certain players and teams are more prominent than others, if dozens of players, coaches and team personnel in any organization become endangered, MLB the MLBPA will act regardless of what city they call home.
Rob (Alaska): How does one write about prospects in an environment like this? I mean, without access to seeing prospects in games or hearing from scouting sources not affiliated with the team that has an interest in building up their guys' perceived value. It seems like your job will be a lot harder.
Kyle Glaser: This is where sourcing is key. Having good sources within an organization who don't B.S. you and also who are willing to send you video and data so you can make some assessments for yourself. You are correct that it is significantly more difficult when you can't see guys for yourself or have third-party perspectives from scouts in other organizations, but it just comes down to having seen guys for years and having good background on them and having honest, reliable sources within an organization, At BA, we're fortunate to have a lot of both, which we've used to put together our Midseason Updates (coming next week!) and will for future reports throughout the rest of the year, as well.
Ryan (Delaware): Would a 16 team postseason even be good for the game? If it happened last year, the 78-84 Rangers would’ve been in, that’s a problem with basketball in that it feels like the playoffs don’t really even start until they get to the Conference Finals.
Kyle Glaser: As I wrote in a column before the season started, a 14 or 16-team playoff is a superficial way for MLB to gloss over its inherent problems. It would reward mediocrity while doing nothing to actually fix the structural problems plaguing MLB, from the disturbing conduct it allows to take place on the international market to its awful territorial TV restrictions to its pricing out of middle class families from attending games. MLB has a lot of issues affecting its long-term future it needs to prioritize. This isn't one of them. https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/glaser-mlbs-playoff-proposal-wont-fix-its-problems/
Kyle Weatherly (Florence, South Carolina): Any chance Dylan Carlson makes the Card's opening day lineup?
Kyle Glaser: The Cardinals already announced their Opening Day roster and Carlson was not on it. As talented as he is, keep in mind he's only played 18 games above Double-A. There's still some development left.
Kyle Glaser: And how about that for timing. Right after I answer, word comes down MLB is expanding to 16 postseason teams for this year.
Ryan (Delaware): Gut feeling likeliest superstar: Bobby Witt, Austin Martin, or Zac Veen?
Kyle Glaser: Bobby Witt. Austin Martin has a chance to be a very good all-around player and Veen has a shot to hit for power in the middle of an order someday, but Witt is the one with the shot to be a superstar given his power, speed, defensive ability and how advanced he is for his age.
Rob (Alaska): How many J2 guys from last year are stateside? Is it higher than usual due to COVID? I am assuming it would be safer to be at a major league training facility than the alternative.
Kyle Glaser: It's unclear because a number of players are living at team facilities in Arizona and Florida but are not playing, or are very, very limited if they are. It really depends on each individual's situation whether it's safer or not. Keep in mind Arizona and Florida are two of the largest hot spots in the U.S. It's not necessarily safer depending on where exactly the player is from.