Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 1/14/2020

We chatted. Past tense. Behold, a transcript.

3:59
Brad Johnson: Let’s get things rolling.

4:01
Cito’s Mustache: What’s your prediction on Alex Cora’s punishment – has to be harsher than Hinch’s, right?

4:02
Brad Johnson: More than one year seems pretty extreme though. Perhaps 2 “sentences” and thus 2 years?

4:02
Brad Johnson: I’m of the opinion that the Astros penalty was light, but it’s not the suspensions to Hinch and Luhnow that were soft.

4:03
Brad Johnson: And they did basically issue the maximum allowed penalties.

4:03
Vic: How many times out of 10 do you take deGrom over Cole?

4:03
Brad Johnson: Zero.

4:04
Brad Johnson: I really like deGrom. But when we’re talking first round pitchers, I think Cole is clearly better.

4:05
Brad Johnson: And unless you’re in like 25 leagues, I don’t think you’ll have enough Cole exposures to justify a diversification.

4:05
Brad Johnson: You’re going to have some deGrom exposures anyway.

4:05
Vic: Does Teoscar deserve a weekly start in a 5 OF 15 team mixed?

4:05
Brad Johnson: I think that’s a cautious yes as of today

4:05
Brad Johnson: With the caveat it could flip to a no with little warning

4:06
Vic: How many times out of 10 do you pick Bregman over Arenado?

4:06
Brad Johnson: That’s a little trickier as the statistical distribution is actually subtly different

4:06
Brad Johnson: In OBP 10 out of 10.

4:06
Brad Johnson: In AVG, I could see finding space for a few Arenados.

4:06
Alec: 17 tm 5×5 i inherited Morton, who is my young position player target??

4:07
Brad Johnson: Morton+ for Albies?

4:08
Brad Johnson: There’s really no limit to your choices. Find the owners who legit like Morton as an off-brand ace. Figure out which of those have young studs who are also expendable. Then proceed.

4:08
Cito’s Mustache: Is there any analysis we can engage in to try and identify hitters who might suffer the most if the bouncy ball goes away this year? IE. looking at 2019 increases in ISO or HR/FB% without a change in launch angle or avg. fly ball distance?

4:09
Brad Johnson: That’s a good question for Alex Chamberlain @dolphhauldhagen

4:10
Brad Johnson: He’ll be able to answer it better than me. You’re on the right track though. You want to find the guys with improved outputs whose inputs didn’t change.

4:10
Johnnt5Alive: Aaron Nola – bounce back? got him at $27 in NL only, and while he might go for a little more or a little less, there’s not really value there at that price unless he goes back to 2017-2018

4:10
Brad Johnson: I think he’s one of the guys who really struggled with the smoother ball

4:10
Brad Johnson: Had his worst command year by miles.

4:11
Brad Johnson: I’d like to say he adjusted as the year went on, but there isn’t much evidence that’s the case.

4:11
Arnold: Hey Brad! I just joined a dynasty startup league, 16 teams with 30 mlb 20 milb rosters. I’ve decided I want to draft to win this year — so am focusing on major leaguers, young if possible but willing to take vets who come at a value. In these conditions, is there really any reason to take a single prospect before my MLB roster is completely filled out?

4:12
Brad Johnson: I always recommend focusing on best overall value. That said, to win in year one usually does require a single-minded focus. It can help to have a few vaunted prospects on hand to load up at the trade deadline.

4:12
Brad Johnson: So yes, there’s a reason – facilitating future trades. But you’ve got to spike those picks.

4:12
which sox tho: odds Cora gets sacked? gotta be pretty much a slam dunk, no?

4:13
Brad Johnson: Pretty high, yes.

4:13
Beltran: …this is not going to help my HOF case. But will I get fired?

4:13
Brad Johnson: The indignation about Beltran’s role seems firewalled to a small portion of baseball twitter right now.

4:13
Brad Johnson: Seems like it’ll disappear under the rug

4:14
Bucks for Buxton: Hey Brad. Since you’re asking for Keeper Questions, what about Byron Buxton in my AL Only (OBP) for $18?

4:14
Brad Johnson: Ah that’s difficult. My impression is he has brain damage and is thus a bad investment. But I might still throw the dice for $18 depending on the league depth and opportunity costs.

4:15
Brad Johnson: If you have an embarrassment of riches, I’d let him go. Or try to trade him.

4:15
Dr. Baller: Thoughts on Sonny Gray for 2020? Regression is obviously to be expected, but will he likely be good enough to be a solid SP2 in deep leagues if your ace is a top five guy?

4:15
Brad Johnson: Yes, I think he’ll be solid. Home runs are always a threat at GABP.

4:16
tony armas: people have been stealing signs forever. wouldn’t it just be easier to put the responsibility on the team to figure out better signs?

4:16
Brad Johnson: Eh, there’s stealing signs and there’s using a multi-stage surveillance operation with advance scouts, television camera, in-dugout monitors, and a wearable signalling system

4:17
Brad Johnson: If you’re talking about the runner on second tapping his helmet to signal curve ball, yes, that’s on the battery.

4:18
Yordan Alvarez’s Mom: How high would/should Yordan Alvarez go in a fresh dynasty startup that includes OBP/SLG categories?  Is top 10 too high?

4:18
Brad Johnson: Yordan is one of the hardest players to rate. I do think top 10 is too aggressive, but I also worry I’m flat out wrong.

4:19
Brad Johnson: I still regret taking Adames over him last year. Thought he’d last one more round. Also thought more of Adames.

4:19
Jon: What do you see as a reasonable expectation for Amed Rosario, stat-wise, this year? Do you think he will be more or less valuable than Adalberto Mondesi?

4:19
Brad Johnson: Substantially less valuable.

4:19
Brad Johnson: With the caveat that Mondesi does have more injury risk as the shoulder issue is the sort that can recur. However, his injury risk is often overstated relative to average.

4:20
Brad Johnson: Rosario is one of the most embarrassing leadoff hitters in the league so I expect to see him switched to 7th or 8th.

4:20
Brad Johnson: I’ll say mid-teens HR, 15-25 SB, a .275 AVG and somewhere around 145 R+RBI

4:21
Brad Johnson: Solid player for fantasy even if the real world utility plays down a bit.

4:21
Brad Johnson: Usually these guys are discounted but Rosario is not.

4:21
shaner: You think David Fletcher has any value in a FGPts ottoneu league?

4:21
Brad Johnson: Yes, he’s a great $1 guy

4:21
Brad Johnson: I love these 4+ pts/g, play anywhere types

4:22
Brad Johnson: You grab ’em for a dollar and use them 35 or 40 times. Helps you hit your GP limits. Can net out to 100 or 200 points you otherwise would have lost.

4:23
Logan: How far in ADP would Arenado drop if traded to a less favorable hitting environment like St. Louis?

4:23
Brad Johnson: Do you want me to gauge public reaction or what should happen?

4:23
Brad Johnson: I’d maybe drop him a spot or two.

4:24
Brad Johnson: I think the public will panic and drop him a handful or two.

4:25
Brad Johnson: It really doesn’t strike me as an especially large change

4:25
Karl: From a team owner’s perspective, Luhnow went from one of the most coveted baseball ops guy in the league to suddenly back on the job market (give or take 12 months). Would you expect that demand for his services will remain very high when the time comes?

4:25
Brad Johnson: So that’s going to be up to whatever specific owners need a GM at the time.

4:25
Brad Johnson: He has a… reputation among those he’s worked with

4:26
Brad Johnson: Usually, somebody in this situation is “rehabilitated” by joining as an adviser then kinda backdooring their way into a real role.

4:27
Brad Johnson: Based on the stories I’ve heard, I’m not sure that’ll work with Luhnow. We may need an owner willing to hand him the keys.

4:27
chet: any closer flyers to take in an upcoming draft?

4:27
Brad Johnson: Lots. So many. I’ll be writing them up before long.

4:28
Quadrangular: Hoskins definitely struggled last season. I’ve watched him pull out of slumps a few times, but I feel like the overall trend is heading in the wrong direction. Have we already seen peak Rhys?

4:28
Brad Johnson: Well, I don’t think he can top his debut. So in that sense yes. I do think he has a better full season in his bag of tricks.

4:28
Huffin Gas: What kind of Luhnow stories have you heard?  The unpublished but still very bad kind?

4:29
Brad Johnson: Yes, shouldn’t speak to them specifically. And they are hearsay even if I trust the sources.

4:29
SparkyMcGuffey: If Cole, Degrom, Scherzer, Verl are off the board, who you got?

4:29
Brad Johnson: 2020 only league? Sale or Kershaw probably. Flaherty maybe.

4:30
Brad Johnson: When I wade into the ace pool, I tend to go very boring i.e. whoever the market is ascribing some nebulous negative to.

4:30
Brad Johnson: That was Strasburg last year fwiw.

4:30
Brad Johnson: Sometimes it really works. Sometimes it does not.

4:31
Dylan: Debating on acquiring and then keeping Dylan Cease. He could break out but there’s also concern. Is he worth the gamble? He’s part of the return that’s sending off a top SP.

4:31
Brad Johnson: Cease probably has one of the widest spreads of plausible outcomes.

4:32
Brad Johnson: I haven’t seen a specific reason to say a breakout is coming. There are tools in place to support a breakout. In general, it’s an asset class that’s good to have if the cost is cheap.

4:32
Brad Johnson: You don’t want to be in a position where you’re relying upon him

4:32
Adrian Houser: I’m becoming a popular sleeper, am I fool’s gold or a solid flyer?

4:34
Brad Johnson: A little of both. The acquisition price I’m seeing is still sane, but I’m projecting a mid-4s ERA and a full strikeout off his 2019 rate.

4:34
Brad Johnson: That said, any pitcher with a 50% GB rate and a K per inning is interesting.

4:34
Quadrangular: how would you rank these options for final keeper selection in an OBP league: $20 Yates, $20 Hoskins, $20 Nola, $5 Montas, $5 Kepler, $5 Hendriks ?

4:35
Brad Johnson: Gimme Nola, Montas, Kepler, pending your roster construction.

4:35
Brad Johnson: And I could see a scenario or two where Hendriks would look attractive.

4:35
Dude w/a surfboard: Who do you expect to be the first closer to be pulled from the role this year?

4:35
Brad Johnson: That’s a fun question.

4:36
Brad Johnson: Let’s dismiss all the nonsense closers.

4:36
Brad Johnson: Like Matt Magill.

4:36
Brad Johnson: Emilio Pagan seems like a good starting point

4:36
Brad Johnson: But it’s arguable if he has the role.

4:37
Dan: What do expect for Vlad JR. this year? 290/370 25 HR 90 RBI a reasinable expectation with the chance for more?

4:37
Brad Johnson: Yea, that’s around the 55th or 60th percentile

4:38
Anders: i play in a shallow 16 team dynasty league with only 3 OF and 3 bench spots. Considering dropping Verdugo, but do you have faith in him improving in 2020?

4:38
Brad Johnson: Improving seems like it’s asking a lot after a very strong season. Despite the league playing a little shallow in the OF, I can’t imagine cutting him is the right play.

4:39
Alex: Are you playing in any of the Vegas or NYC NFBC leagues this year? Any suggestions if this is your first time doing one of those drafts?

4:40
Brad Johnson: Jeff Z is probably a better person to ask. I steer clear of the actual NFBC leagues. It’s not my cup tea. I don’t have patience for these weekly, no-trade leagues.

4:40
Cheesehead: Which platoon is the most painful to watch b/c you think player A would shine given the job full time

4:41
Brad Johnson: Not sure about platoons just yet, but I’m cringing that Josh Rojas might be blocked. And Kevin Kron isn’t their starting 1B over the Walker and Lamb crapsicle.

4:42
Brad Johnson: The very worst though is Myles Straw. I’m a sucker for high OBP speedsters who can play everywhere.

4:42
Johnnt5Alive: Will we see franchy this year? Been hanging onto him for $1 but he seems always hurt, and the outfield remains crowded.

4:42
Brad Johnson: Getting to be a little do or die – at least for his tenure in San Diego.

4:43
Brad Johnson: There’s still some serious upside, but I’m reminded of a dozen other power/speed double threats who never arrived.

4:43
RaymondZinkButTurquoise: If you absolutely HAD to pick a more valuable keeper in a vacuum for 2020 only in a league with a $300 budget and std 6×6 (add OPS and QS) roto rosters:

4:43
Brad Johnson: Mike Trout

4:43
roxindabrain: so rather than keep arenado and let the youngsters play, rox would rather block the budding young stars and keep playing murphy and desmond?

4:44
Brad Johnson: Sounds about right. There’s always one org.

4:44
Brad Johnson: Plus the Mets

4:44
Brad Johnson: LOLMets will always be a thing, even when they’re good.

4:44
Prison Mike: Any optimism for Gregory Polanco this year?  Is it reasonable to see 25/15 in there with 160 R+RBI?

4:44
Brad Johnson: The 25 HR smells not outlandish

4:45
Brad Johnson: But that’s an optimistic hope

4:45
Brad Johnson: I like him as a late flier in deep formats, but I don’t want to be counting on him to play even one game until I see him get through a few spring games.

4:45
Brad Johnson fan: Who would you pick at 1 in a FYPD?

4:45
Brad Johnson: I’m narrowing in on Dominguez.

4:46
Brad Johnson: Despite what I said last week, Vaughn is a very close second choice for me right now.

4:47
Brad Johnson: I’m pretty indifferent about the top 5, and I like Erick Pena about as much who can go as late as 10 or so. If you have the option to trade down a few spots for a nice haul, I’d probably take it.

4:48
LocoPadres: Do the Houston Asterisks trade Correa this year?  Toro then is there full time 3b?

4:48
Brad Johnson: Hot take: Straw is better than Toro.

4:49
Brad Johnson: Also no, they don’t trade Correa

4:49
Brad Johnson: New front office is going to afraid to make a bold play having inherited a perennial contender.

4:50
Brad Johnson: Actually, this seems like a Dave Dombrowski special

4:50
Brad Johnson: Sell the prospects and ride the wave until it crashes. Then start picking early first rounders again.

4:51
Chuck: While we’re on the COL topic, any concern for Blackmon in for 2020 or 2021? He’s a keeper for me right now, but if Arenado goes you have to imagine he could be on his way at some point. The splits are eh

4:51
Brad Johnson: I don’t think Blackmon is tradeable with that contract.

4:51
Brad Johnson: So you’re probably safe in that regard. I’m not too concerned other than replacing Arenado with like Hampson in the lineup.

4:52
Brad Johnson: But if he bats cleanup, it might yet be a net gain.

4:52
Brad Johnson: Story’s still around and Murphy might have a dead cat waiting to dribble

4:52
Brad Johnson: I just traded a 6th round pick (equivalent of the 34th round) in a 20-team dynasty for Murphy.

4:53
Thanks for the chat Brad: I hope Bellinger wins another MVP this year!

4:53
Brad Johnson: Good stuff

4:53
chet: why am i so intrigued by Christian walker? is there anything there?

4:53
Brad Johnson: I don’t know. There is a subset of people who are continuously intrigued.

4:53
Brad Johnson: I mean, I was there when he was a Quad-A guy who couldn’t get an opportunity. He got his chance. It was really bland.

4:54
Brad Johnson: And Kevin Kron is so much more fascinating. They only have maybe a year to eval him before it’s Beer Time.

4:54
Quadrangular: are you higher on Bichette or Tatis for 2020?

4:54
Brad Johnson: Tatis for sure. But it’s not like Bichette couldn’t easily outperform him

4:54
Greg: Where do you see Eloy consistently in the overall ranks in the coming years? Is he top 10? 25? 50?

4:54
Brad Johnson: He’s a fringe Top 50 guy

4:55
Brad Johnson: He’s a young guy with a lot of weirdness lurking in his plate discipline and batted ball profiles so there’s serious room for growth

4:56
Brad Johnson: But I think he’ll just be sort of a Javy Baez type without the SBs

4:56
Brad Johnson: And like Baez, there’s always that risk of crushing slumps.

4:56
Machadres: Do you think Cora gets the axe? Most of it happened before he arrived in Boston, and Houston had all the culture issues on top of the sign stealing

4:57
Brad Johnson: It’s speculated that he might survive, but I do think he’ll be fired.

4:57
Brad Johnson: Perhaps they’re re-hire him later. Who can say?

4:57
Kegan: Would you trade 2 years of Berrios for 1 of Lindor?

4:57
Brad Johnson: Yup

4:57
Dr. Baller: Let’s hear one very bold prediction

4:57
Brad Johnson: I need a moment

4:59
Brad Johnson: Cubs win the NL Central, Kimbrel leads MLB in saves. Bold enough?

4:59
Brad Johnson: Oh here’s a good one – Jared Walsh is the best two-way player on the Angels.

5:00
Cron isnt any better than Walker: .

5:00
Brad Johnson: Maybe. But we know Walker is just a guy. Kron might be Pete Alonso.

5:01
AD: I still don’t think it ends up happening, but if Arenado gets traded away from Coors just how drastically does that affect his fantasy value?

5:01
Brad Johnson: Less than everybody thinks. Especially if he’s going to a good team, which… why wouldn’t he?

5:01
David: My keeper league is going to use your Auction Calculator for the first time this year to determine pricing on kept players from the previous year. Does the calculator undergo an overhaul at some point before reg season start, or is it already up to date other than small changes?

5:02
Brad Johnson: Bug fixes occur as needed. Otherwise what changes are the inputs (i.e. projections)

5:02
swansby danson: can you expand on your comment on buxton: “My impression is he has brain damage”

Are you actually concerned about lingering effects of a concussion?

5:03
Brad Johnson: Unless I’m mistaken, he’s repeatedly hit the IL for migraines. Given his history of concussions, that’s very likely to be post-concussion syndrome intentionally diagnosed under another name.

5:04
bob villar: did you get rid of that stupid backout trade rule yet in your league?  If you’re not shopping other owners offers to other teams that are interested, you’re doing it wrong.

5:04
Brad Johnson: An update will be published tomorrow. I have proposed language which should fix the problem while retaining the rule.

5:05
Brad Johnson: I also decided to cave to pressure in the interest of Peace and Prosperity for all.

5:05
shaner: In an OPS league, would you take Julio Rodriguez or Jarred Kelenic right now? Small premium to Kelenic for likely being up 1-2 years earlier.

5:06
Brad Johnson: Gonna depend on league depth. If it’s very shallow, it’ll be hard to justify grabbing JRod for the ages required to cash in

5:06
hebrew: OMG why would you use the auction calculator for the purposes of keepers? That eliminates any value from getting a cheap keeper! (am I crazy?)

5:06
Brad Johnson: Seems like an interesting twist to me.

5:06
Quadrangular: any advice on how to find a dynasty league?

5:06
Brad Johnson: There are many places offering “find-a-league” services.

5:09
Brad Johnson: Whoa, got completely distracted in the middle of thinking about the last answer

5:09
Brad Johnson: Went to look up some find-a-leagues and end up rambling on FG Slack about our player caps.

5:10
Reynolds: Very quick auction calculator question! What does PTS stand for and how does it work? Is it playing-time related? I can’t find an abbreviation key on page.

5:10
Brad Johnson: Lemme refresh myself just to make sure I’m right

5:11
Tylere: Is a $76 Mike Trout in Ottoneu Fgpts too expensive for your tastes?

5:11
Brad Johnson: Not in the slightest. I’m keeping him over $80 in two leagues

5:11
Brad Johnson: For the calc, PTS is just a player’s value without position adjustment included.

5:12
Brad Johnson: I think there’s currently a bug with the calc fwiw, some of the values aren’t quite adding up. Some fudgery is going on in the background.

5:12
Brad Johnson: Time to wrap it up

5:13
Brad Johnson: I’ll brb then we can blitz a few and have done with it

5:15
David: We have a unique rule that players traded mid season may be kept on the previous owners contract, or taken for the “auction calculator price”. We were previously using another site but it did not customization.

5:15
Dr. Baller: That Jared Walsh prediction is a scorcher. Props for making a real bold prediction

5:15
Kaptain w/a C: Are there any sophmore slumps that you’re preparing for?

5:16
Brad Johnson: In general, these are most common with late-in-the-year debuts

5:16
Brad Johnson: Players who the league never had a chance to adjust to during the season

5:16
Abe: for a deep 6×6 keeper, Franchy Cordero or Jake Bauers?

5:16
Brad Johnson: For 2020, Bauers is safer, but I so want Cordero

5:17
Brad Johnson: The wild card with Bauers is you might get 15 SB with 1B eligibility which is rare

5:17
Brad Johnson: But unless he also hits for power, it’s not worth it.

5:17
CrystalBall: Comeback Player of the year will be……..

5:17
Brad Johnson: I mean Giancarlo, right?

5:17
Brad Johnson: Seems like such a layup

5:18
Powder Blue: What relievers do you see most likely ascending to a closer role

5:18
Brad Johnson: I’ll pen this up in a column soon enough.

5:18
Powder Blue: Give me some of those deep deep catcher sleepers. Looking Post 500 adp

5:18
Brad Johnson: I’m not going to pen this one. Andrew Knizner jumps to mind

5:19
Brad Johnson: I’d have to reference ADP, and I don’t feel like it just now.

5:19
Ponder This: You expecting big things from The Franimal this year?  As in O/U his Steamer projection of 37 HR and .846 OPS?

5:19
Brad Johnson: I’ll take the under even though I like him

5:19
Brad Johnson: Cleveland wasn’t a great landing place for him.

5:20
Brad Johnson: Even though the AL Central is crap, his home park is tough on RH power

5:20
Dan: Is Woodruff and Puk to light of a return for Bryant in a dynasty?

5:20
Brad Johnson: It is for me

5:20
Brad Johnson: I want a good hitting prospect too

5:20
Brad Johnson: Can’t trade a player of Bryant’s quality for only pitchers.

5:21
Brad Johnson: alright, I’m calling it. Good game out there.

5:21
Powder Blue: Any chance scooter gennett returns to relevance? I haven’t heard an off season peep about him. How about Domingo Santana?

5:21
Brad Johnson: Chance? Sure!

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For Quadrangular (or anyone else for that matter): I found a Dynasty league last year at Rotoworld.com. Go to Forums and then select ‘Baseball League Finder Service’. Expect some volatility if joining a first year/brand new league. We had two owners quit in season but our commissioners were good at finding replacements. We are looking for, I believe, 3 new owners for this year to take over some existing teams. It was overall a positive experience. DEEP league, btw: 30 MLB players, 50 MiLB players on each roster, and 16 teams. Also, make sure any league you join has a well thought out constitution that lays out draft rules (initial and continuing), MLB vs. MiLB eligibility, etc. Good luck!