Paul Sporer’s Baseball Chat – January 31st, 2024

Thanks for coming out!

1:00

Paul Sporer: Welcome everyone, thanks for coming out! Tomorrow is February… we are so close to pitchers & catchers reporting, y’all!!!!

1:03

Too Many Mooks: How has Acuna not been on the cover of The Show?

1:03

Paul Sporer: Not sure, but a lotttt goes into that stuff, so maybe they’ve tried? Thankfully for someone like him, he’s got time. I imagine he’ll have many more great seasons that merit a cover

1:08

Matt W.: Does Sam Huff get a majority of the DH ab’s for at least the first half of the season?

1:10

Paul Sporer: I think he’ll have a chance. He’s C-eligible again and while I don’t think he’s a great catcher, I love a non-catching catcher for fantasy. Huff has some big time power that he can tap into, especially if he can improve his plate skills a little and cut down the whiffs. I’ve speculated on him in a couple 50-round leagues over the winter bc of that catcher eligibility and the departure of Garver

1:10

Pedro: Hi Paul.  Thoughts on Eflin?  I can keep at $15 in an AL only 5×5 league, but odds for a repeat seem long, Rays wont have Franco etc.  Thanks

1:12

Paul Sporer: I believe in the skills a good bit, even with a new SS in the lineup. Repeating the 178 IP will probably be a bigger hurdle for him to clear, IMO. That said, I like $15 in an AL Only and would lean toward keeping him

1:12

Ma na Manoah: Does Manoah ever regain his ace form?  And if so, will it be this year?

1:13

Paul Sporer: That is SO hard to say as an outsider. It’s not off the table as we’ve seen guys resurrect themselves from as bad a situation or worse, but it’s just impossible predict outside of a blind guess. I could see going for him in a deeeep league just in case bc the price is nothing, but I’m not super optimistic right now

1:13

Quoc: Paul, I always look forward to your SP lists! Thank you for crafting. I noticed Ricky Tiedemann was omitted in your latest while other prospects like Kyle Harrison and AJSS. Was this intentional and if not, where would you place him?

1:15

Paul Sporer: Thanks so much! Tiedemann could certainly be in the On the Radar tier. That could be a REALLYYY lengthy list tbh, I just had to cut it somewhere knowing I’d be adding over the offseason, so I’ll put Ricky on to-do list. Stay tuned

1:15

Salty: Hey Paul! Noticed the Tigers are like +300/+400 to win the division. First, it’s a positive sign that your team may be playing some meaningful Sept baseball, so that’s good news.
Do you think they will need a vintage season from Baez to get there? And is he potentially a nice deep sleeper considering he should play a ton in a potentially better lineup?

1:17

Paul Sporer: I don’t think he needs to get back to peak for them to be successful, but a solid 90-95 wRC+ w/premium defense at SS would be a major help. He can generate 3-4 WAR w/that kind of outlook, depending on how good the defense ends up being. I don’t mind taking a longshot spec on him bc he’s priced to buy, but I might prefer to do it in waiver leagues so I can cut him if he flops again as opposed to the 50 rd draft & hold where you’d be stuck w/him all year

1:17

TIB: Thoughts on Ketel Marte in a keeper/dynasty points format?  Great production the last couple years, and the projections like him, but age 30 may imply his best years are behind him?

1:20

Paul Sporer: Good player who can age gracefully but I agree that his best is likely in the rearview at this point. I don’t mind expecting another strong year in 2024, but I wouldn’t want to be committed to him for more than maybe 2 yrs

1:20

Keith: Royce Lewis for Cole Ragans a fair swap?

1:21

Paul Sporer: Yep, both carry risk of the unknown while having incredible upside… two of my faves, too!

1:21

Mike: Positions aside, Royce or CJ in a keeper?  Love the idea of Royce but those injuries…and love the idea of CJ but that offense…

1:22

Paul Sporer: Yeah I just love Royce’s skills so much that I’d rather take on his health risk than having to bet on Abrams learning to hit more. Abrams was awesome down the stretch, but he wasn’t exactly ripping the cover off the ball, it was more that he was just stealing alllll the time

1:22

Grover: What would your strategy be with SP if keeping Strider and Bobby Miller in an auction league (12 tm)? Should I get another SP in the back half of your top 10 that are higher volume and solid studs? I always draft too much pitching because I like to watch their starts

1:23

Paul Sporer: Yes, I’d love to rock someone like Webb or Framber w/those 2 to get some stability. Maybe 1 of the top 3 Mariners guys. Plenty of options, but definitely want someone seen as more of a workhorse

1:25

Fernando Tatis: 40-40 possible this year?

1:26

Paul Sporer: Definitely on the table for someone w/his talent

1:26

Luke: What trade package would you prefer? Gavin Williams and Matt McLain or Brayan Bello and Royce Lewis?

1:31

Paul Sporer: Oh maaaannnn, really got me torn here w/McLain & Lewis being 2 of my faves so it comes down to the pitchers and they’re ranked pretty close for me. Bello is higher ranked, so I’m gonna lean on my rankings and go w/Bello & Lewis, but that’s a really close call for the duos

1:31

Keith: Do you see Ben Brown entering your SP rankings this year?

1:32

Paul Sporer: Brown can absolutely get in the On The Radar tier. Putting him on the list for the following update

1:33

Insert Witty Name Here: How many leagues have you won in your life?  How would you grade your fantasy skills on the 20-80 scale?

1:33

Paul Sporer: I honestly don’t know and it’s not because it’s SOOOOO many that I can’t possibly count, but I’ve had a fair bit of success lo these many years. On the 20-80, I’d say like a 60? I think I’m above average but far from the absolute best

1:34

PingPongPang: I feel like Garver is getting no respect. Sure, he’s never gotten >400 PAs — but he finally got semi-full-time DH duty in Texas and seems destined for it in Seattle. If he gets 500 PAs, isn’t 30/90 a distinct possibility?

1:36

Paul Sporer: There’s just no reason to expect anywhere near 500 PA, though. It’s not impossible and it’d be a huge payoff given his draft price, but I think he’s being fairly judged as a 33-yr old DH who’s yet to reach 360 PA in a single season. Having C-eligibility is awesome this year and I love that he’s going around pick 180. It leaves plenty of room for upside without crushing you if things don’t pan out that well

1:36

Owen: Who wins this deal: Yordan Alvarez for Royce Lewis and Brayan Bello? 30 teamer…

1:37

Paul Sporer: I don’t think it’s a clear win on either side and frankly I prefer that in trades. Both teams should be happy getting what they got and feeling a little sting for having to give up something good. That definitely checks out w/this trade. I know this is inadvertently becoming the Royce Lewis Hour, but his mix of elite skills and terrifying health profile makes him tough to figure out

1:37

Mike: Thoughts on Lodolo this year? Do you think injuries played a role in his performance last year or the HR issue real?

1:40

Paul Sporer: Not trying to copout, but both. His park will fuel some extra HRs but injury and an insane 27% HR/FB rate last year drove the crazy 2.6 HR9. I want to love him and Hunter Greene, but that park just terrifies me and I’ve been leaning away from both.

1:42

Guest: How do you distinguish the following 3 young 3b–Paredes, Burger and Jung?

1:50

Paul Sporer: Parades is power, multi-elig guy | Burger is power masher | Jung brings power w/some AVG upside. Then I consider their team outlooks which pushes Parades and Jung over Burger (I know he raked in Miami, but I don’t think he does that ALL year). So now it’s Parades v. Jung and while I am a big Jung fan, he’s not 70 picks better than Paredes even if you don’t really care much about Paredes’s 1B elig.

1:51

Paul Sporer: Burger is in the middle of ’em ADP-wise, leaning toward Paredes — ADPs as of Jan 1st — JJ: 114, JB: 160, IP: 184

1:51

Tim: shortstop got really shallow again. Are Correa and Edman still starters in 12 team OPS leagues?

1:53

Paul Sporer: Eeek, I’m not so sure. I think there are 15+ better SS than both of them. Now some of those guys will be deployed elsewhere (3B, 2B for the multi-elig guys in that top 15), but not enough to really bring Correa & Edman up to starting SS in a 12. Edman’s speed and triple-elig. is intriguing, but I’d rather him as my 3rd-4th OF or ideally my MI if your league uses that spot

1:53

Big in Japan: Do you think MLB expansion will increase the chances of success for specialists like knuckleballers?

1:53

Paul Sporer: Perhaps bc pitching gets diluted when expansion happens. Question is, who is really on the way as a knuckler? Feels like a dying art right now, unfortunately!

1:54

Jim: No write up on Gavin Williams so I’m wondering what’s holding him out of the tier with Miller/Woo… Is it the command, injuries or something else? I feel like his upside is insane

1:57

Paul Sporer: A lot of Next Wavers have Uncut Gem potential so I can see what you’re saying there. Basically that cut off between those 2 tiers was my general confidence in them. I looove Cleveland’s pitching development so I’m certainly not out on Gavin Williams, but his control was a big factor that dropped him into the Next Wave tier instead of joining the Uncut Gems. His ADP is actually higher than the 2 young Mariners which hurts him bc I’d rather save the 2 rds of value and go the Seattle route. That said, Gav will get a write up in a future update (not sure it’ll be the one later this week or the one after, but it’s coming)

1:57

Tanner R: Buy, Sell, or Hold on Sonny Gray in dynasty roto leagues

1:58

Paul Sporer: While I do think he will succeed in StL, I’m inclined to sell if the market is hot. At least test it out if you’re open to moving an arm. Not a must sell or anything, though… so maybe Shop as opposed to outright Sell if I can split hairs

1:58

quadrangular: How are you regarding Langford in 2024? ZiPs is pretty aggressive with the playing time, whereas Steamer is more conservative. Where do you fall?

2:00

Paul Sporer: He’s a stud in the making, but I think the excitement is pumping a little too high right now. I just don’t see him and Dylan Crews THAT fair apart, but their respective post-draft runs have MASSIVELY separated them in the market. Frankly, I’d rather just take a gamble on Crews for what is a relative FREE ADP at 528. Langford will probably be up sooner if both start in the minors, but I’d be surprised if Washington doesn’t have Crews up by around Memorial Day unless he just falls on his face at Triple-A

2:00

Paul (not you): I’ve seen the SP ranks, but curious who among the crowd of recently-good-but-now-sorta-concerning guys (ie. the Bieber, Giolito, Flaherty, Buehler types) do you think is most likely to have a return-to-form year? Or maybe a better way to phrase it is, who in that sort of profile is most primed to outperform expectations?

2:06

Paul Sporer: I hope the market overreacts to the recent Buehler news that he likely won’t be ready to start the season as I was kinda expecting that anyway so I’ll gladly take a discount on his 110 ADP. He’s kinda on his own at that ADP relative to this group but we’ll have to see what he comes down to now that the news is out.

With the other 3, I lean toward Giolito a bit. I like the post-200 ADP and I’m willing to give him a pass for his 2nd half given that he was traded twice in a month (out west and then back again!) while also going through a divorce. I don’t know if the divorce played a role, but players are human, I wouldn’t hold it against him if it did espec. WHILE also being traded 2x. I don’t think he will be at 2.0 HR9 again and like the move for Boston. I think many are forgetting or not realizing that White Sox Giolito was just fine: 3.79 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 4.10 SIERA, 26% K rate in 121 IP.

Selfishly, I hope Flaherty regains his form for my Tigers and he’s priced to buy with a near-400 ADP.

2:06

MS: What is the best method to find a league to join? I’d love to find a fully dynasty league starting from scratch rather than taking on an abandoned existing team.

2:08

Paul Sporer: Podhorzer always runs a popular classified post here on the site. I’ll ping him to see if he’ll put that up soon. Pretty good chance that if you’re looking for a league of fellow baseball diehards, then meeting them here on FG would be the way to go. Outside of that, maybe perusing Twitter? I mean, it’s a bigger shithole than ever these days so maybe not, but that’s my 2nd-best guess rn. For now, I’d wait for the Podhorzer post or maybe get into a baseball Discord server like Rob DiPietro’s Pull Hitter one or something similar to find a league of diehards

2:08

MrMet: If you could draft and keep one of the top young pitchers for the next five years, who would it be?

2:08

Paul Sporer: Bobby Miller

2:08

Keith: No question. Thanks for the write ups and chat. Really enjoy reading them.

2:09

Paul Sporer: Thanks so much for the kind words! Plenty more SP write ups coming as we ramp up toward the season getting going!

2:09

Guest: Hi Paul, Who The Eff is playing with Tatis in SD’s OF?

2:09

Paul Sporer: Kurt Bevacqua and Nate Colbert!

2:10

Paul Sporer: Not even sure Kurt played much OF and I know Colbert was primarily 1B, but those were first two old school Padres I could think of lol

2:13

Paul Sporer: It’s a great Q, though, bc right now we’ve got Cal Mitchell and Jose Azocar penciled in which is…. dicey, to say the least. I know money is jacked up there w/the crazy contracts they’ve signed & the TV deal falling through, but they might need to hit the bargain bin and scoop the likes of Adam Duvall, Tommy Pham, and Whit Merrifield types. I can’t imagine they can get Belli given the aforementioned $ issues, but he’d be a really good fit. As much as I truly love Bogaerts as a player, I still don’t understand wtf they were thinking w/that deal. It’s not even so much the terms of the deal (although they are intense) but just that they had so many huge contracts already and now it just looks so much worse now that they can’t scratch 2 nickels together

2:13

Schilling & Pence: How concerned are you about Seager’s surgery for his FY stats?

2:14

Paul Sporer: Very little right now. He always brings some injury risk that keeps me from projecting 600+ PA in the first place so I’m still drafting him. This could yield a little discount, too. I’ll take even a 5-7 pick drop off his 20 ADP

2:14

Hoo: How about Merrill taking a shot at that SD outfield?

2:16

Paul Sporer: That’s a great call out. I think there have been talks of him moving off SS and given their OF need, maybe that accelerates the move for Jackson Merrill and he becomes an early summer answer for them in OF

2:16

Mr Baseball: If you turn the Athletics off and back on again, will they win 100 games?

2:16

Paul Sporer: looool, gotta blow in the cartridge, too

2:16

Ian: Who would you rather have for this year? Eury Perez, Bradish or Bobby Miller?

2:17

Paul Sporer: B Milly. Love the other 2 as well, but it’s a clear Miller pick for me given my rankings: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/starting-pitcher-2024-fantasy-rankings/

2:23

Jim: Out of curiosity, which is/are your go-to projection system(s) for pre-season prep?

2:23

Paul Sporer: I love looking at all the ones we have on the player pages. I tend to lean on The BAT most of all if I had to choose one

2:25

cj: maybe I missed it but have you spoken about NFBC scandal? shady AF!

2:26

Paul Sporer: Yes we discussed it at the beginning of this episode: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/the-sleeper-and-the-bust-episode-1250-ca…

2:26

Guest: Is Wyatt Langford this year’s Corbin Carroll (rookie who you can get for cheap in redraft and might be your most valuable player)?

2:28

Paul Sporer: I’d be careful w/that comparison as there are some key differences. Carroll’s speed was so game changing that it really helped his floor and Langford doesn’t bring anything like that. Carroll was also a lock to break camp w/the team and play the full year whereas we don’t know that Langford will (not that we expect him to spend a ton of time in Triple-A). Lang is cheaper than Carroll at this time last yr, but even w/the relative discount, I was much more confident in what Carroll brings than I am of Langford which again is to say more of Carroll than it is any diss on Langford

2:28

boobie miles: Will M. Vargas or O. Peraza be traded by opening day? Both look hopelessly blocked

2:29

Paul Sporer: Probably not. Both the Dodgers and the Yankees will likely see the value in having such a strong player among their reserves given the 162 slog will cut down some players and require bench and minor league guys to step up

2:30

Paul Sporer: Big fan of both, though, and will take them in deep leagues

2:30

Insert Witty Name Here: Any suggestions on how to convince my league mates to swap to an auction draft? It’s a more entertaining format but everyone hates the length.

2:31

Paul Sporer: I don’t have a great counter for the length, so I’d just try to focus on the fun of auctioning and how you have more control to get whoever you want (within budget, of course). I love drafts but auctions are SO much fun

2:34

Ted: Re: auction length draft, I’m in one league that is auction for starting roster spots then switches to snake draft rest of the way. Still takes long AF, but it’s shorter!

2:35

Paul Sporer: Ooh there ya got, Insert. That could help some shave time, especially since the latter end if when it can drag a bit (just like drafts)

2:35

Paul Sporer: OK y’all, I gotta head out. Thanks so much for coming. Tomorrow is February, we’ve almost made it through the baseball-less winter. I’ll see y’all next week!





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and Content Director for OOTP Perfect Team. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Saltymember
1 month ago

Hey Paul! Noticed the Tigers are like +300/+400 to win the division. First, it’s a positive sign that your team may be playing some meaningful Sept baseball, so that’s good news.
Do you think they will need a vintage season from Baez to get there? And is he potentially a nice deep sleeper considering he should play a ton in a potentially better lineup?