Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 1st, 2012

Sunday April 1st, 2012


Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  My question this week in about a prospect in the Diamondbacks system. Was reading an article about Trevor Bauer and his 10 different pitches along with his unique training program. What I want to know is how MLB Reports see his future. Will he be a number one starter on their staff one day and where will he end up when he retires?  Larry

MLB reports:  First question this week goes to our #1 fan, Larry! Happy April Fool’s Day by the way! No tricks today from us. Just baseball talk! Watching this kid pitch, it is hard not to get excited about him. Trevor Bauer comes with a lot of hype as a top-3 pick from last year’s MLB draft. He will definitely see time in Arizona this year, with a full rotation spot in 2012 possibly happening. Will Bauer be a #1 starter? Will he retire as a Dback? Very difficult questions, because of the complexity of the circumstances. Injuries. Performance. Financial expectations. So much goes into the equation. But if you are asking me to check the crystal ball (which I think you are), here is what I see: Yes, Bauer will become a #1 starter one day. We love his mechanics too much for him not to develop. As long as he stays healthy, works hard and keeps his nose clean. Which we all hope he does! But I cannot see him retiring as a Dback. In this day and age, it is very rare for a player to stay on the same team for his whole career. The law of baseball probability says that if Bauer becomes a stud, he will go one day to a major contender, like the Yankees or Red Sox. Even if for some reason Bauer does play the majority of his career in Arizona, he will at some point make a team change. Maybe his skills will diminish. Or a conflict with the manager. The bottom line, he will be in Arizona for the next 5+ years likely at least. So let’s enjoy his time there for now. Thanks for writing!

Q: I think there should be a Major League Baseball team in North Carolina. I think two (2) compatible cities for this sport would be: Raleigh, NC or Charlotte, NC. I live in Greensboro,NC so the closest MLB team is Atlanta Braves. My parents wont let me go to a MLB game because it’s a long drive to Atlanta.  Cody

MLB reports: Until you get an expansion team, or an existing team relocated to NC- you will need to find other avenues. You have the Durham Bulls, one of the best minor league teams out there. A great level of ball and history. I would love to see the Durham Bulls become a MLB team one day. Now I did write an article on MLB Expansion last year that I recommend you read. North Carolina was an area that was left off my list…but should have been included. I have received hundreds of e-mails and messages since that article ran advocating the inclusion of North Carolina in possible contenders for a MLB team. I agree. The area has the fan base and the demand for baseball. I’m on board! But until then, bull a Bulls’ cap and get over to Durham! But if you need to make the trip to Atlanta or any other city for MLB baseball, you should definitely do it. Maybe not all the time, but nothing beats a MLB game! Have your parents e-mail the Reports, I will tell them it’s ok for you to go!

Q:  The new CBA just agreed to allow the 25 man roster to expand by 1 player in certain situations. Just doubleheaders?  Old Man Mack

MLB reports:  Helloooo Old Man Mack! Our most consistent question asker and lover of ATR! Heck…he even started calling it ATR, how cool is that? The topic of expanding MLB rosters was assigned to our own, Sam Evans. Sam debated the pros and cons of adding another full-time roster spot. Check it out.  Yes, you are correct though- rosters only increase to 26 for doubleheaders under the CBA.  Day/Night doubleheaders where two games are played on the same day. Personally, I would go to a 27-man roster. With the amount of injuries, poor pitching performances and roster flexibility- I would like to have 2 more players on every roster. Personal opinion. Some would say that it would slow down the game and blah, blah blah. I like the match-ups and the in-game managing opportunities that having more players on the roster would bring. But again, just my thoughts on the subject.

 

Q: Standard roto 5×5 w/ 4 OF, Duda or Soriano? Other OFs are Victorino, Crisp, Kendrick, Carlos Lee, Logan Morrison and Delmon Young.   Ritesh

MLB reports:  If you are asking me to choose between Lucas Duda and Alfonso Soriano, I take Duda any day of the week. I take the young kid with a world of potential over the aging outfielder, with no knees and an OBP under .300.  Duda- final answer.

Q:  When/if Theo puts Garza on the market, who takes him, and do you see Theo going after Greinke or Cain once the 2012 season is over?   Will

MLB reports: Howdy Will. Trade talk. Man, do I love trade talk. Here are my thoughts on the subject. Yes, Matt Garza will go on the market soon. I see the Jays grabbing him. They have the prospects to make it happen and need Garza as a solid #2 in their rotation. They have the dollars to pay him and he has AL East winning experience. Definitely, Garza is hot on the Jays’ radar. Aside from the Jays, I see maybe the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox (believe it or not), Reds, Braves and Marlins making a play. But Garza is a Jay by July. Book it. To answer part two, no I do not see either Zack Greinke or Matt Cain joining the Cubs for next year. Both are staying put and will sign extensions with their respective teams much before the free agency period. No way the Giants let Cain walk. He is too good and dependable of a starter. He is just as important, if not more so- than Tim Lincecum. There is a chance that Greinke will walk, but I still see him staying in Milwaukee. He likes it there and is already helping the front office with scouting. Even if he becomes available, for a rebuilding Cubs that are about 4-5 years away, it makes no sense to take on the salary. Better to spend the money on prospects and scouting right now. Theo and the boys don’t want the Cubs to fall into the middle-of-the-road trap they have been stuck in for years. They want to build the right way, with no short-term fixes. So no big money pitchers are coming…yet.

Q:  Outside of Matt Garza, who do you think will be the best pitcher (starting or relieving) for the Cubs?  Grant

MLB reports: Wow, lots of Cubs and Garza questions this week! I am looking at the crystal ball Grant…and I am not seeing good things. There will be a lot of bumps and bruises this year for the Cubs and their fans. I think Kerry Wood will have a good year, when healthy. Key word being “when”. I like Carlos Marmol, but I am not counting on him for big things. Still too wild, he needs to learn to control his power. I am not a Ryan Dempster fan. Nice guy, but to me he is a #4-5 on most MLB teams. Matt Garza is a stud and should have a big year, but the trade talks may be a bit of a distraction. He is somewhat of a crazy bird, so those talks may actually motivate him. He will not be a Cub by August. My wild card is Chris Volstad. Always been high on him. New change of scenery, I am expecting a big year out of him. But as a whole, the Cubs pitching will not be a bright spot this year. Sorry. Very sorry :(

Q:  How do you think Jason Heyward will do this year?  Jake

MLB reports: Stud. Best word to describe this kid. To say that he will have a big year is an understatement. This is the guy that will be taking over for Chipper Jones as “Da Man” in Atlanta. Heyward has all the tools and will be a superstar. He can do it all on the field and is a nice young man- which means that we are seeing a leader in the making. A long career ahead with big numbers. No doubt in my mind. For 2012, if you want me to predict some stats…good health willing, I am seeing the 22-year old Heyward (yes, he is only 22 still), hitting .280+, 25+ home runs, .380+ OBP and .480+ SLG. This is just the tip of the iceberg. This is a kid that will be getting .400+ OBPs and .600+ SLGs throughout his career. He is a keeper and winner. I am very high on Jason Heyward.

Q:  Sorry to bother you, but any news on Dustin Richardson?  Robert

MLB reports:  Not a bother Robert. That is what I am here for! Dustin’s sad story was summarized best in a NY Times article, which you may or may not enjoy reading. Basically, in a nutshell, the Braves dropped him and he was suspended after testing positive for FIVE banned substances. Yes, that’s right. Five. So right now, Dustin’s baseball career is on hold as he takes control of his life. Will will see him back in a major league uniform one day? Well, he is only 28. Stands 6’6″ and weighs 220 lbs. Yes he will be back. He will get a chance somewhere, but in the minors. He will need to prove that he is clean and ready to bounce back. Richardson has a long road ahead, but it could happen. I see at least one more opportunity in his future.

Q:  How early should a catcher be taken in a fantasy draft?   Joe

MLB reports: Depends on the catcher Joe. Depends on the catcher. MLB catchers come in all shapes, sizes and stats. If you can get a top MLB catcher, I say as early as round 3 in most cases (depending on your league’s format). I would take Avila in the top 5 rounds, maybe top 3 depending on format and who else is available. Brian McCann, I would say 5th-7th round. Carlos Santana rounds 5-7. Joe Mauer? That is a toughie. He will be gone by round 3. I would grab him in round 3 and say a prayer. Anything before round 3 is too early considering how much risk involved. But with his upside, don’t let Mauer last past round 4. Mike Napoli. The great Napoli. Round 3 baby. Round 3. 40+ home runs and an OPS over 1.000 don’t grow on trees. He is going around 5th round and later in drafts. That is a mistake. Also free agency year. Grab Napoli if you can. Wilson Ramos. Steady. I guess rounds 7-8. I like the kid, but don’t like to overpay for catchers at that level. Buster Posey? 2nd to 3rd round. He is that good. Matt Wieters? Rounds 3-4. If you would like a great catcher though and can use some smarts, keep an eye out for Devin Mesoraco on the Reds. He won’t go too early, would make a great 6th round pick. I am also very high on Yasmani Grandal of the Padres. He may not see the majors this year, but if you are in a keeper league- spend a 10th-12th round pick on him. He will reward you. So as you can see, there are good catchers out there. If you are in a league where you only have to carry one catcher, you have flexibility. But if you need to play two catchers, get at least one stud on your roster. On my team, I would like to see either Napoli and/or Avila, with Mesoraco. I would really sleep well at night with that tandem. Kurt Suzuki and Todd Hundley? Pass the tums please. They are valuable on real-life baseball teams, but won’t bring you much joy in fantasy ball. Shop smart for catchers, but don’t be afraid to grab the right ones early.

Q:  Do you see Livan Hernandez is an everyday starter in Atlanta or just a stop-gap till the young guns are ready?  Timothy

MLB reports: Thanks for the question Timothy. Livan is what he is. He is listed as 37-years of age, but likely 40+. It’s a Cuban thing. A Dominican thing. Don’t question it, just go with it. But even at his advanced age, Livan Hernandez has a rubber arm and the ability to get major league hitters out. He is a Cuban Derek Lowe for the Braves. Replacing one innings-eater with another in my book. I think with the amount of injuries and question marks facing the Braves, they would be wise to throw Livan out there every 5th day and see where he goes. He should be good for 12 wins on that squad (given their stellar pen). The ERA will be north of 4.00 and WHIP around 1.300.  Good, but not great numbers. But Livan brings experience, knowledge and leadership as well, intangibles you need on a contending squad. The man has extensive playoff and World Series experience. He will find a home somewhere this year. My gut tells me that he won’t be in Atlanta by August. Just a feeling that this signing won’t work out for some reason. But Livan will be somewhere this year come September. If the Braves are smart, they will hold onto this signing all year-long.

Q:  Who would you say will be this 2012 Season biggest bats? Ace pitchers?!  Heather

MLB reports: Big time question Heather. Too many players to list! But I do see many big seasons ahead. The Angels will do very well with Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. Albert Pujols will be solid in his first season in Anaheim. The Tigers will love a full season of Doug Fister and Justin Verlander together. Fister will open many eyes this year when he makes the All-Star team. Prince Fielder will mash with Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila will become the best catcher in baseball. Mike Napoli will have a big year, as will Nelson Cruz (if he stays healthy). Yonder Alonso is a name to watch in San Diego. That kid has a bright future. Mat Latos is a stud and will be a big part of the Reds’ success. Jose Bautista will be his usual awesome self. I see a big year for Nick Swisher, as he works towards that last big contract. Zack Greinke will be on fire in Milwaukee. Adam Dunn will have a bounce back year and be the Comeback Player of the Year in the AL. Yoenis Cespedes will be a ton of fun to watch in Oakland. Paul Goldschmidt will continue to develop in Arizona. I like what the Nats are doing in Washington and they will have a great rotation going this year, especially Gio Gonzalez. Wait until Bryce Harper makes his major league debut. That will be fun. I certainly hope that Kendrys Morales is healthy, as he will become a dangerous tandem with Pujols. The Phillies top three starters will be themselves. Brilliant. Another name to watch for: Andre Ethier. A big season is coming. Hope that helps :)

Last Q:  With new owners and a wide open NL West, do you see the Dodgers finishing first in the west this year?  Jordan

MLB reports: Howdy Jordan. Great question. I am sorry to report, but I do not see a NL West title coming to the Dodgers this year. The Diamondbacks are still the team to beat in the West, but I see the Padres lurking as the surprise team of 2012. I like the young team that they have put together and they may surprise some folks. The Dodgers will need time to get the ownership group into place with its management. A year of transition in my book. Until the Dodgers confirm their long-term GM and Manager and build the team in their vision, I just don’t see 2012 happening. This team is good, but still a few pieces away from contention. The Dbacks are just too strong and should repeat…but I am seeing visions of the Padres for some reason as well.


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Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on April 1, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great questions. Wanted to add something to what you said about the Dodgers. From what I am hearing, the new management group wants to build up their farm system again and make a big jump into the free agent pool before 2013. I think it will be a free years until you see them in the playoffs. Thanks for your insight on Bauer. He will be exciting.

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