Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com MLB Insider Rob Neyer will drop by to chat some baseball.
Neyer's book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Send your questions now and join Neyer on Tuesday at noon ET!
Rob Neyer (12:04 PM)
Hello, fellow aficionados of roadside architecture. I've been studying up and I'm ready for your questions.
Bob (Syracuse, NY)
Hey Rob, love the blog, I constantly check for updates. What do you predict for Aaron Hill and Adam Lind this year? Could they be one of the better 3-4 hitters in the American League over the next five years?
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
Hello, Syracuse. Believe it or not, I'm a few minutes late because of some Syracuse research I was conducting (via the Web, naturally). Anyway, I think Lind will be real good but we've probably seen Mr. Hill's best.
any word if jason heyward starts in the majors, and if so what can we expect from him? thanks
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
I believe he will, unless he has an awful March. As a rookie, I would expect something along the lines of a .290/.345/.475 line.
Does soto turn it around this year
Rob Neyer (12:11 PM)
I don't know if the "extra" weight was really the problem last year, but if Soto is healthy I expect to see flashes, at least, of the talent we saw two (and three) years ago.
Matt (Houston, Tx)
Rob, wouldn't it make sense to start Heyward in the minors as he only has 11 abs in AAA and to avoid him being a Super Two? Doesn't not having Heyward for a month or two while he's being seasoned, make a lot morse sense than losing an entire year at league min?
Rob Neyer (12:14 PM)
We went through this whole thing with Longoria in 2008, right? And it worked out well for the Rays, leaving Longoria down there for a while. The difference is that nobody (except the figure filberts) really thought the Rays had a chance to win anything that season. It's harder to justify such a thing when you're supposed to compete.
The media consensus seems to be that Hughes will end up as a starter with Joba in the pen. Yet, even Hughes has said his innings will be limited this year, while Cashman has set Joba can now handle a typical workload of a starter. If they are trying to win right now, wouldn't it make more sense for Joba to start, at least until he proves he can't?
Rob Neyer (12:15 PM)
You've got a point there, Jason. Things sure are a lot more complicated these days!
Rays Fan (Tampa)
Where do you see the Rays placing in the AL East? Is it possible that one of the big market teams faulter and open the door for a "Must Win Now" Rays team?
Rob Neyer (12:17 PM)
Strong third, and in position to take advantage if the injury bug should bite one of the big boys (but it would have to be a big bite).
Do you think the demise of the Chicago Cubs is a little overstated?
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
I think they're probably better than last year's record, but this is an old team without a great deal of upside.
Did you like the NYTimes review of the Mays book or like me did you find it overtly nostalgic and sappy
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Let's just say that while I enjoyed the book a great deal, that's not the review I would have written. Of course, it's been some years now since they've let me write a review in the Times...
Why did the Indians sign Branyan? Isn't this the best time to grow your prospects, mainly Brantley and LaPorta? HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE!!! I come to you Mr. Neyer, for the reason this move was made.
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
I didn't really understand that one, either. Plus I thought the Rays should have outbid the Indians for Branyan.
Mike (San Diego)
What would you estimate Jayson Werth's beard's VORP is?
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
Wouldn't that be VORB? I have him with a 4.3 VORB.
Rob, not so many years ago you nominated Grady Sizemore as the best player in the major leagues. How do you feel about him now? Are you expecting him to return to form this season or have his injuries cost him his best baseball?
Rob Neyer (12:24 PM)
I believe he'll enjoy more big seasons, but even if healthy he's obviously been passed by the likes of Hanley Ramirez and Evan Longoria.
Any word on how Hamels is doing so far? The Fightins need him back to what he was the year before last.
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
Sean, if you want to know how talented Hamels really is, look at his numbers in 2007. I think he'll win 15 this year with an ERA around 3.50.
Steve (Fleming Island, FL)
Jed Lowrie seems caught in limbo now that the Sox have signed Scutaro. Do you see him as part of a future package for Adrian Gonzalez?
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
Anything's possible, but until he proves he can stay in the lineup and produce he doesn't have much trade value. If he stays healthy and isn't traded, he'd be an excellent utility man.
Who do you think gets the most ABs in left field for the Yankees this season (excluding a possible position shift by Granderson).
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
Brett Gardner. As a platoon guy, he'll get on base and give the Yankees the best LF defense this side of Carl Crawford.
Is this a breakout season for Colby Rasmus?
Rob Neyer (12:33 PM)
For the most part, I think "breakout" seasons are impossible to predict. Young players don't take performance leaps just because we think they should.
Rob,If you are the Reds approach Votto about 4-6yr extension. He says no you flip him for a boatload to any team looking for dominating 1b. You do it now while his value in terms of service time still makes him a bargin/asset to numerous teams (Bos, Col, TB, SF, etc) Am I crazy here?
Rob Neyer (12:35 PM)
I don't think you're crazy, but first I'd like to see Alonso dominate Triple-A pitchers for two or three months.
Rob, are you going to continue to underestimate and belittle the Phillies or have you finally gotten over the 1980 World Series?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
I actually got over the '80 pretty much in '85, and completely not long after. My apparent underestimation of the Phillies over the last few years has been numbers-driven. It's my blessing and my curse.
I heard someone espousing on the benefits of the bunt today by proclaiming that "a bunt looks exactly the same in the box score as a screaming line drive", but that just makes me wonder whether or not box scores are really reliable sources of information. How come little effort has been made to upgrade them?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
Well, the basic box score worked pretty well for a long time. But I can promise you that a lot of smart people are working on some cool stuff.
Michael (Cupertino, Ca)
Rob, What are the odds that the A's will still be in the Bay in 5 years?
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
Is there anything higher than 100 percent? It's possible that in five years the A's will be *preparing* to move away from the Bay, but even that's unlikely. It's just incredibly difficult to move a baseball team right now, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Doesnt the fact that you've underestimated the Phillies over the last few years being "numbers-driven" tell you that the numbers aren't always right?
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
I already knew that. And when you have a better way of projecting the unprojectable, please let me know.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Rob, do you think Ken Griffey Jr. will be the Mariners regular DH? If not, then Ryan Garkp or Milton Bradley maybe?
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
I'd love to see Ryan Garkp in the lineup every day, just so I could have the chance to say "GARKP" in my mind. But alas, Junior's got the job against right-handed pitchers. Garkp would be a solid platoon partner, but it's not clear that Wakamatsu likes platoons.
Rob, Doc should dominate in the NL, but how many complete games do you think he'll actually get given he'll likely get PH for in any close game after the 7th inning? Over/under 5?
Rob Neyer (12:42 PM)
Over. Remember CC Sabathia with the Brewers? Like that.
Joe (Jacksonville, FL)
Will Selig ever get any credit for helping keep MLB's revenue numbers steady during the recent recession? Compared to David Stern and the NBA, Selig doesn't look all that bad...
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
Oh gosh, Selig will forever receive a great deal of credit for making everyone huge piles of cash. Fortunately, there are still some people who think other things are important, too.
If Greinke can have a Cy Young season with the Royals behind him, what are the chances of Strasburg doing it in Washington in the next couple of years?
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
And Lincecum in 2008, too. With the voters willing to reward pitchers who don't necessarily win 20 games, anything's possible. That said, Strasburg won't pitch enough innings this season and he'll have to stay healthy and lucky regardless. I'll give him a 1-in-6 chance of winning a Cy Young Award in the next five years.
The Twins won the division without Hardy and Hudson. So why aren't they the favorites with them? Seems everyone is overestimating the Tigers this year.
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
Are you sure the Twins aren't the favorites? And that the Tigers are? I've got the Twins and White Sox battling it out, with the Tigers fighting for scraps.
Over/under 25 ML innings for Gagne this year.
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
Under. Way under.
Rob love your work! Do you think David Freese can hold off Lopez as the Cards 3rd baseman? All and all how do you view this signing?
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
I do. Freese is just a better player, and Lopez's defense is wasted at third base anyway. Lopez looks to me like a super-sub.
If Brandon Webb returns to form, with Haren and Jackson, can the Dbacks legitimately contend for the division?
Rob Neyer (12:48 PM)
Heck yes. I suppose I'll wind up picking the Dodgers, but the Diamondbacks are going to be good this season.
Vegas odds have the Twins at around 82 games. According to Mike and Mike, Accuscore has them down for around 91. Which is closer?
Rob Neyer (12:49 PM)
I'm dead in the middle of those, around 87.
What do you think of Texas's corner infield situation? Will Chris Davis build upon his second-half callup and hold off Smoak until next year, or will he struggle like early last year and be relegated to the bench?
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
I don't know ... Davis wasn't really *good* even in the second half, but Smoak struggled in Triple-A after *his* promotion. The Rangers have to give Davis -- who's still quite young, really -- one more real shot, considering what he did in the minors.
The decline of Jed Lowrie...I believe you said he was a top 5 AL SS just last year. Now he's moved to great utility guy. Can we see him play 100 games first before we make any more declarations on his ability?
Rob Neyer (12:53 PM)
I didn't say he's a great utility guy. I said if he can stay healthy, he could be that. Which I believe is true.
Randy (St. Paul)
Delmon Young hit the ball well the second half of last year, and has lost a lot of weight in the offseason. Breakout year for him this season?
Rob Neyer (12:56 PM)
I'll believe it when I see it, Randy. The history just isn't encouraging...
Barring injury, there's no way that Buchholz doesn't have a spot in the rotation, right?
Rob Neyer (1:00 PM)
Yeah, I think that's right. I'd had to be the one to tell Tim Wakefield, but Buchholz ... Well, he might be one of *those guys*, right? Even if not, he should be at least as good as Wakefield. So you have to find out.
Steve (Boston, MA)
Rob, was your ?the Yankees clearly don?t care about defense? comment from a few weeks back sarcasm?
Rob Neyer (1:01 PM)
I didn't put that well. I didn't mean that Brian Cashman doesn't know about defense, or doesn't think it matters. I just meant that considering his roster and his payroll, he could focus more on hitting and pitching than fielding.
Why do you believe the Rangers are trying to give CJ Wilson the opportunity to be a starter when he seems more suited as a set up or closer type guy?
Rob Neyer (1:02 PM)
He wants to start, and the Rangers probably figure he's too good to be installed as setup guy without seeing if he can start.
Mike Lowell plays in __ city by end of July?
Rob Neyer (1:06 PM)
I don't have a list of teams that need a third baseman before me, but he might look real good in a Twins uniform this summer. Mild June afternoon, under the sun ... Thanks for all the questions. We'll get to the roadside architecture next time. Until then, don't forget - In America a man is a failed boy.