Paul Sporer’s Baseball Chat – January 19th, 2023 by Paul Sporer January 19, 2023 A day late, but hopefully not a dollar short! Check out the transcript: 1:34 Paul Sporer: I inexplicably forgot yesterday was Wednesday… no joke. I’m an old idiot. Anyway, didn’t want miss this week so let’s rock! 1:34 Guest: hey, paul! in an obp league with slg added. trying to choose between keeping nootbaar at $5 and jorge polanco at $5. thoughts? 1:38 Paul Sporer: I lean toward Noot as I have the pair pretty close, but Noot having more upside. My HR/SB/AVG for them are close while Noot gets a healthy OBP boost and then close again on SLG. We have Noot batting 6th rn, but if he moves back up, then his R/RBI can exceed Polanco for sure 1:38 Larry: What’s your confidence level in Acuna returning to the stud he was before the knee injury? 1:40 Paul Sporer: Pretty high. He’s my #1 overall by projection, barely over Judge and J-Ram (all of whom I can take at 1.1) and I think a year removed from the injury should help Acuña get back some pop while hopefully continuing to run. 40/40 is very much in play, though obviously that’s the upside, not the projection/expectation 1:40 Guest: Jordan Walker for Marcelo Mayer and Henry Davis. Who says no? 1:41 Paul Sporer: Probably the Walker manager with reports that he has a real shot to break camp 1:41 Farhandrew Zaidman: You see Gavin Lux show up to dodger stadium with biceps that look like tree trunks? We buying a breakout year? 1:44 Paul Sporer: I was already in! Here’s my bit on him from the 2B rankings: I know some are done with Gavin Lux, which I can understand as the 25-year-old has just a .712 OPS in 1003 MLB PA with 11 HR and 8 SB per 600 PA, but I still think there’s more growth for the one-time Top 5 prospect. Like Stott, he’s dual eligible (2B, OF) with 20/20 potential and an ADP outside the Top 200 (pick 225 in winter drafts)… I think there is major upside for him! 1:44 Greg: Hey Paul, in a points league that values R/RBI, would you trade Witt for Vlad Jr? My MIF is very deep – Bichette, Witt and Henderson – and I have nothing at 1B. Would you make that deal? 1:44 Paul Sporer: I have absolutely no problem with that deal, especially given your situation! 1:44 TriplesAlley: What’s your opinion on where Nico Hoerner’s power will settle in? Can he get to 15-20 HR? 1:47 Paul Sporer: I’m pretty dubious on that right now barring a change that unlocks an extra level. He has a strong chance to deliver single-digit HRs this yr and while I can see low double-digits, I’d be really surprised if he surpassed 15 now or in the future 1:47 Rich Carlson: How do hitters usually fair going from NL to AL? the conventional wisdom is that the AL was a breaking ball league while NL was hard stuff. What are your thoughts on Kopech this year. Breakthrough or no? 1:49 Paul Sporer: I haven’t seen or done an analysis on NL to AL hitters in quite some time and absolutely remember those same adages from when I was a kid. I think the entire league throws hard and has nasty breaking & off-speed stuff. It used to be more focused on NL SPs where you take them over AL counterparts strictly due to the lack of DH, but even that gap has closed. Specific teams & parks move the needle way more for me than AL/NL 1:49 Just Me: Need cut one OF in a 6X6 roto with OPS, Avasail Garcia, Cutch or Blackmon? 1:54 Paul Sporer: I think it’s gotta be Cutch there. I like that he’s going back to Pittsburgh for the nostalgia of it, but his AVG holds him back in this trio and PNC Park is unlikely to help that. Avi was BRUTAL in Y1 with Miami, but I do like him for a bounce back and Blackmon remains protected by Coors 1:57 Guest: 5×5 roto. I can keep Jeffrey Springs for 9, Luzardo for 4 or Joe Ryan for 7. These seem like similarly ranked pitchers. Not sure if you favor one over the rest. Thanks! 2:01 Paul Sporer: Yep, it’s really close so I’m just going to take the savings with Luzardo. 2:02 Greg: Hey Paul, long question here. I have a loaded dynasty roster, but I’m trying to figure out my next step and how to maximize my situation. I have Tatis, Bichette, Witt, Henderson, Riley, Bregman. We start a SS, 3B, MIF, CI and have a utility slot, which means one of those guys is on the bench. Tatis obviously can shift to CF or RF, but I have Trout and Harper there. I could hold pat and go into the regular season as is, but I’m trying to figure out how to maximize this opportunity and sell someone from that group of infielders. Some targets I’ve started trade conversations on are Vlad Jr., Acuna, Alonso, Nola, Fried, Cease, Woodruff. How would you proceed in this situation? I can talk myself into going into so many directions but struggling to come up with the best option. 2:03 Paul Sporer: I think I’d probably hold this year so you don’t leave yourself short given that Tatis is guaranteed to miss 20 gms finishing his suspension and Harper is out half the year. So I don’t think a move is necessary as you shouldn’t have to put a stud on the bench. I’m certainly not averse to trading for a stud, but I wouldn’t bend over backwards to do it 2:04 Chucky: Dynasty, keep 10 forever, no contracts. I’m actually toying with the idea, absent a trade, of keeping George Kirby over Nola. Thoughts? Which ONE gets the boot in the same league, Robert, Gunnar or Corbin Carrol? 2:07 Paul Sporer: I really like Kirby, but I’m not sure I can get him over Nola just yet, even in dynasty. You seem ripe for an upgrade trade, though, packaging Nola/Gunnar/someone for a top 3-5 overall kind of guy? Assuming a team with one of those uber-studs has the space, of course. I know saying “do a trade” can be annoying advice as it’s hard to make trades so absent a trade, I’d still prefer Nola over Kirby and then I’m cutting Gunnar from that trio 2:07 Kyle: I think both you and Justin said you were creating projections this year – would you be able to share $ amounts with us? Perhaps as a complement to your rankings. 2:07 Paul Sporer: Yes they will be coming once they’re all done! 2:07 TXFan: Does Jose Leclerc go wire to wire as Rangers closer? 2:10 Paul Sporer: He had a really sharp 2H so I can’t rule it out, but I’m also a Jonathan Hernandez stan so I’ve been getting some shares of him in 50-rounders. I do think Leclerc is clearly the guy right now, but there are very few closers I’m comfortable tabbing as wire-to-wire guys on January 19th and Leclerc is not one of them 2:10 Cedric Mullins: Is it hard to be podcast partners with someone so brilliant and funny? 2:10 Paul Sporer: I wouldn’t know, better question for my co-host Justin, tbh 2:10 Best Ball: Best ball drafting is getting harder lately IMO. Many fewer players with full playing time 2:10 Paul Sporer: Definitely opens it up a bit more for sure 2:11 Dave: In terms of RBI/run production, would you rather have a great player on a low-scoring team like the Pirates or Nationals or a merely good player on the Dodgers or Yankees? 2:11 Paul Sporer: Probablyyy the great player because we’ve seen dudes go 90/90 or even 100/100 on crap teams so gimme the pure talent 2:13 Brandon Marsh: Am I this year’s Cedric Mullins? 2:13 Paul Sporer: Imagine lucking into your best call ever and having it be set up as the perfect opportunity for an anticipated yearly article only to not take advantage of it….. just imagine that! 2:14 Josh Rojas: Let’s say you were flying to California this weekend and were going to have brunch with your friend and his wife and kids, how big of a pancake would you eat? 2:14 Paul Sporer: Relatively big though I prefer the FAR superior waffle 2:14 Jeff: Hi Paul, last season wins held me back from winning our 5×5 league. Any tips for this season? Just stick with established veterans? Seems so hard with starters throwing shorter outings and plenty of middle inning guys. Thanks! 2:15 Paul Sporer: They are a pain in the ass these days, more so than ever before, but yeah I wouldn’t make hard adjustments to my strategy bc of their volatility. Better teams present more chances, of course, but your exact same guys from last year could feasibly pop 8-10 more wins this year on variance alone 2:15 Guest: How do you do projections? Did you design some kind of system or is it more manual? 2:15 Paul Sporer: Fully manual, researching every player by hand like a newb ass newb 2:15 Guest: Do you start with their steamer/zips etc projections and then adjust, or go in blind? 2:16 Paul Sporer: There is a baseline in the Tanner Bell Smart Fantasy Baseball spreadsheet that I use, yes, but I still essentially start from scratch on my Excel and move the numbers over. It’s nice to have a guard rail of those (which I think are Steamer) just in case anything is completely off base 2:17 David (formerly Sonoma State University): Please help me convince my 10-team fantasy baseball league to go NL-only instead of total MLB. There were exactly 2 trades made all year….. 2:17 David (formerly Sonoma State University): I am also an old idiot – it’s an 8 team league, not 10, which makes it even more dire. Plz advise. 2:18 Paul Sporer: I guess if you can get what you need off the wire, trades just aren’t as plentiful, I hear that. If it’s a league that has thrived on trading in the past, I do think shifting to NL or AL (I’d imagine you said NL specifically for a reason) would certainly bring in some deficiencies that would need to be met via trade. Have you started the ball rolling on a discussion yet? 2:22 Max_Mantis: Does ATL really roll with Grissom as starting SS? Seems risky for a contender, especially on defense. 2:22 Paul Sporer: Seems like it! Justin and I aren’t a huge fan and I could definitely see Orlando Arcia getting a decent bit of playing time especially given Grissom’s glove. Elvis Andrus could be a fit for them, too 2:24 Guest: So I was listening to the negative comments on Gunnar on the pod, but after Bregman, if you need a 3b, who the hell you taking? Plus who goes after him that is a better bet? 2:27 Paul Sporer: Max Muncy for sure for me and then I’d probably just rather take the price difference on Ke’Bryan Hayes and Josh Jung over the premium for Henderson. Wrote up Muncy today, btw https://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/max-muncy-got-his-groove-back 2:27 Max Munchies: Keep two of Trea Turner, Kyle Tucker, Manny Machado. Standard 5×5 plus total bases. 3B looks like a top heavy position, but do I leave the goodness of Tucker or Turner to draft chance? 2:29 Paul Sporer: Agreed on not loving 3B, but I have to go Trea/Tuck! Depending on your draft spot, maybe you get Manny back? 2:29 Sean: Listened to the 2B pod yesterday, think it’s one of those spots where you guys could’ve drawn a distinction between the 15/12 team crowds. In 12s, it feels like the big-middle, makes it the perfect place to wait a grab a couple of players with good upside and floor (Estrada, Lowe, McNeil, Marte, India, McMahon (10Gs), Grissom, Stott, Gorman). What do you think? 2:33 Paul Sporer: That’s fair, though I concur with the big middle for both formats. I acknowledged a 24-player cluster in my intros ranking that isn’t too dissimilar ranging from one Urias to the next: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/paul-sporers-2023-second-base-rankings/ 2:33 RAH: How much risk do you assign Jesse Winker this year? 2:34 Paul Sporer: I think his standard annual injury risk is built into his price (pick 272 ADP) with no premium attached to the improved home park. You couldn’t pay me to take him leaving CIN for SEA last year, but now I’m back in at the discount. MIL isn’t quite CIN, but it’s a helluva lot better than SEA!! 2:34 Does Chewbacca use TP?: should I take a flyer on Alki Baddoo again this year? Should I seek counseling for asking this? 2:38 Paul Sporer: LOLOL you’re in a safe space for that question. There is ZERO price attached and I’m going back to the well in deep leagues! 2:38 Guest: Gavin lux had been obscenely highly touted as a prospect, is there room for power growth or was that just ye old juice ball 2:39 Paul Sporer: It’s power time, baby! Los Angeles Dodgers @Dodgers No. 9 putting in work. 18 Jan 2023 2:39 Guest: Gunnar walked 12% of the time and has SS eligibility, pedigree and no K issues, we will see 2:43 Paul Sporer: I don’t think he’s bad, just not a top 100 pick yet. What’s your projection for him? I don’t see a ton of speed, solid pop (upper-teens, low-20s) and a decent AVG. I kinda regret the Vaughn Grissom bit we did as it was only meant to highlight that we think he’s over-priced, but I do think he’s easily better than Grissom this year 2:43 Art: Why are people picking arozarena, mullins and adolis over Carroll? It seems like the only rookies who sucked are the covid developments guys, plus who other than Tatis and Carroll can be 1st rounders next year 2:47 Paul Sporer: Plenty of other guys could emerge into 1st rounders, but Carroll’s skills are loud! I’m definitely not taking Adolis over him. The other 2 have track record and we just haven’t see it from Carroll yet, plus he can’t hit lefties, which puts a heavy burden on his work vR to drive the major breakout his backers are predicting. The market loves him for someone with such a scant MLB track record as the 17th OF and top 75 overall. His min is pick 49 which puts him above that whole trio so maybe that was your pick? 2:47 Asker: You ever met Adrienne from Yoga with Adrienne in Austin? 2:47 Paul Sporer: Austin is pretty big, I don’t know everyone here lol 2:48 Sean: I know profile is a little boring, but Luis Garcia feels undervalued. He has a solid PT leash, multi-eligible, should hit for a good average in a good spot in the Nats lineup and could threaten 20/10. Am I right? 2:48 Paul Sporer: yes, I think he’s got some sneaky deep league value! 2:48 Sean: Maybe I misunderstood, I thought you were both saying that you preferred to hit the top of the market at the position and avoid the middle. 2:48 Paul Sporer: I think that was Justin. I like a lot of those 2B in the middle and think there’ll be some interesting potential breakouts 2:49 RAH: Do you think Carlson will be a fair shake to rebound in STL? Do you think he’ll even begin the season in STL? 2:51 Paul Sporer: Well the news of Jordan Walker having a good shot at breaking camp (https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/mining-the-news-1-17-23/) clouds DC’s outlook a bit, though I don’t Juan Yepez is guaranteed anything specifically. I’m still a Carlson fan and even in last year’s crap season, he was above avg (106 wRC+). I’d be surprised if they just quit him and I’m not going to either with his affordable 320 ADP 2:51 Matt: Hey thanks for saying hi at Fall League, cool seeing you and Jason in person after all the pods. I got two hats, rafters and scorpions, what is your fav logo now that they have new logos? 2:52 Paul Sporer: Of course! I love hanging out with folks at AFL every year. I hope you make it back again in ’23! Scorpions is my favorite and I also had to get a hat of theirs! 2:52 Paul: Hey same name, isn’t it annoying searching for Luis Garcia on Fangraphs? 2:53 Paul Sporer: LOL it’s been so tough! But I think there’s a new trick… Washington’s has the accent over his name of the 2 who’ve played 2020-2022 and the other is the Houston pitcher! 2:53 Kyle: ~~~~~~~~~BEWARE: AKIL BADDOO SAFE SPACE~~~~~~~ 2:53 Paul Sporer: Always!! 2:53 new to this: Last year Torkelson seemed to hit the ball hard, with a decent launch angle (15) and barrel rate (8.4). He walked a bit and and didn’t K off the charts. Yet his xBA and xSLG were both miserable. Why? 2:54 Paul Sporer: I really don’t know. I watched damn near every Tigers game and he absolutely looked the part of a major leaguer sans the uninspiring results. I’m not bailing on him, it might just have been a straight up bad year. New dimensions could help a tinge, too, though they are better for lefty hitters 2:54 Art: Highest I have taken carroll is 51, maybe I listen to too much Welsh lol 2:55 Paul Sporer: He’s a G — Carroll and The Welsh actually — so I’m not averse to going & getting your guy! 2:55 Dan: You buying Mondesi dirt cheap right now? 2:55 Paul Sporer: Yeah, I’m an idiot so why not? lol 2:55 Owen: You been to the new TEX stadium? I am going in May to see ATL, where is the best place to sit 2:55 Paul Sporer: Not yet, but I’m taking my gf this year!! So report back when you go! 2:57 Greg: So quick question on these DC drafts. First year doing them. How do I stomach taking catchers in the top 100 when they won’t finish barely in the top 200? 2:58 Paul Sporer: Don’t focus so much on their overall finish, but rather your C output compared to the rest of the universe (your league & the overall). If you wait too long, then you have 2 spots actively damaging your team and it’s just not worth it unless you get lucky & strike it rich. I’d at least take one strong backstop even if you have a group you like late for potential breakouts 2:58 Paul Sporer: OK, I gotta get goin’! Thanks so much for coming out! Follow me on Twitter (@sporer), Twitch (sporer), and Instagram (p_sporer). I’ll be streaming on Twitch later today (in about 15 mins, in fact) and you can definitely come by and ask questions about fantasy there. Have a good one, y’all!