Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 2/12/24

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, let’s start chatting. I’m gonna make this a brisk one hour chat hopefully, because I have an article to get finished and some home renovation supplies to buy.

2:00
J: It seems like the players are winning a lot more in arbitration this year-is there anything to take from this or just a 1 year thing?

2:00
Ben Clemens: Sounds interesting to look into, but I have not looked into it at all and so my first guess is that it’s a one-time thing.

2:00
Axe: Are the Yankees underrated? Projections have them top tier in AL but public sentiment is down

2:00
Ben Clemens: Eh, I have no idea if they’re underrated or even what underrated means

2:01
Ben Clemens: I do think that Yankees fans are more down on the team than models and betting markets though

2:01
Frank: When is prospect week?

2:01
Ben Clemens: Content starts tomorrow

2:02
The person who asks the lunch question: What’s for lunch?

2:02
Ben Clemens: I had a bagel sandwich (bacon, egg, cheddar) at 11

2:02
Ben Clemens: so I guess that

2:02
Ben Clemens: (I’m in central time at the moment)

2:02
Jimmy Smokes: Am I crazy? Seems like Matt Chapman is the perfect fit to push the tigers into the top tier of contenders in the division, but they seem to be publicly signaling that they are not pursuing him. For a team on the precipice, with no payroll obligations long term and fans that have sat through a 10 year rebuild, it’s very frustrating

2:03
Ben Clemens: I’m surprised. I do think he’s a good fit for them and 3b feels like a weakness still

2:03
Tacoby Bellsbury: Who’s your all-time favorite French Canadian MLB player?

2:03
Ben Clemens: After looking through a list, isn’t Edouard Julien the only real choice?

2:04
Ben Clemens: oh no that was active players

2:04
Ben Clemens: I mean my favorite is still Julien but I would take Gagne and Morneau over him still so far

2:04
Space Needle: What do you think is the next fashionable innovation in contracts now that options/opt-outs, deferred money, and pre-arb extensions have become pervasive?

2:05
Ben Clemens: I think it’s the expanding option style contracts that a lot of pre-arb stars have signed of late

2:05
Ben Clemens: where both team and player have differing options that semi depend on performance levels

2:05
Ben Clemens: I also like the risk reversal style contracts that the Padres signed with Nick Martinez and Michael Wacha last year

2:06
Ben Clemens: where there’s an out of the money team option on one side and an out of the money player option on the other

2:06
Nat: Do FG projections take into account whether a player is expecting a baby? I can’t imagine the lack of sleep etc. helps with play, but I also don’t know of a study. Then again, every now and then a player has a kid and does great for the rest of the year.

2:06
Ben Clemens: haha we definitely do not

2:07
Brunansky runs it down: It’s been reported that the suddenly cheapo Red Sox would be interested in Montgomery “if his market collapses.” But what does that mean? I assume he wants more than he’s been offered so far, but surely we’re talking about relatively minor differences, right?

2:07
Ben Clemens: I think that’s just talking to take up space tbh

2:07
Ben Clemens: “I’d buy a 10 dollar lunch for six dollars”

2:07
Ben Clemens: okay, cool, more at 1

2:07
John Fisher: Am I paying Mick Akers at the LVRJ enough for all his fawning and watercarrying? He’s been very reliable about putting out puff pieces for me anytime there’s negative press.

2:08
Ben Clemens: I’m not a Vegas local so I get a lot more national coverage of the A’s, but if John Fisher is somehow buying favorable coverage, he’s doing a very poor job of it on the whole

2:08
Wrights_Back: In finance, we typically assess returns with regard to volatility.   An investment with the same expected return but greater volatility is typically considered inferior.
My question is – how do major league teams consider this?  
ZIPS is a framework, but how is this practically used?  
Eg, if I have two players with the same WAR but one has a greater volatility of outcomes, is his WAR more heavily discounted?

2:08
Ben Clemens: I think teams do to some extent, but the difference in volatility from one player to the next is not particularly extreme

2:08
Ben Clemens: like, in finance you can have t-bills and junior tranche CMBS or something

2:08
Ben Clemens: there’s no baseball equivalent

2:09
mersilis: Thanks for the tag line for this chat.  Was hopeful that if table games and lunch were in bounds here, then NFL overtime strategy would be too.  Has FG crunched the numbers to assess just how bad Shanahan’s decision to receive in OT was — as well as his focus on getting the ball “third” when the receiving team has control over whether that “third” possession ever happens (through a 2-pt conversion or otherwise)?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Yes let’s talk Super Bowl briefly

2:09
Ben Clemens: me and Sean Dolinar have been talking about this today

2:09
Ben Clemens: when the 49ers took the ball first I was like “that’s really dumb”

2:09
Ben Clemens: then 10 seconds later I thought “oh wait it doesn’t matter”

2:09
Ben Clemens: then another 10 seconds later I thought “is it good?”

2:09
Ben Clemens: then 10 more seconds I thought “wait no it’s bad”

2:10
Ben Clemens: I definitely do not think this is an obvious one

2:10
Ben Clemens: I would have preferred to get the ball second in the end

2:10
Ben Clemens: for the informational asymmetry

2:10
Ben Clemens: bottom of the ninth style thing

2:11
Ben Clemens: Curious a)what our readers think and b)if there’s some good FanGraphs but football style analysis of this out there

2:11
Nate: The disrespect to Abraham Toro in regards to French-Canadian players will not stand. He’s French-Canadian AND Venezuelan.

2:11
Ben Clemens: Look I’m one of the biggest Abraham Toro fans on the planet

2:11
Ben Clemens: and, no

2:11
Guest: why does wOBA weigh walks and hbps differently?

2:12
Ben Clemens: So, that’s a feature and not a bug. Since pitchers exert more control over when they walk a batter than when they hit a batter, walks disproportionately happen in base/out states where the baserunner is less valuable

2:12
Ben Clemens: so if you know Player A took 10 walks and Player B got hit 10 times, on average Player B probably increased his team’s chances of scoring by more

2:12
dust: Morneau isn’t French Canadian, the last name is a red herring

2:12
Ben Clemens: What

2:13
Ben Clemens: outrageous

2:13
Lost in Denver: Any chance the Rockies can sign Montgomery, Snell, or even Clevinger?  Feels like they haven’t added a top notch pitcher since Mike Hampton.

2:13
Ben Clemens: No, no, sure

2:13
Pat: The problem is the Tigers have a Top 30 prospect (Keith) & a top 75 (Jung) , one of whom is slated to play 3B. If they could get Chapman on a 1 year deal maybe, but, can’t see blocking one of those 2 for multiple years.

2:13
Ben Clemens: I mean Keith is gonna be in the majors this year and we have him penciled in at second

2:13
Ben Clemens: but yeah, there are some prospect issues

2:13
Ben Clemens: “we might have a player who can play acceptably in the future so let’s not get a good player now” is a defeatist mentality though

2:14
Ben Clemens: like I’m not saying everyone needs to go full Reds and sign Jeimer Candelario as their 17th third baseman

2:14
Ben Clemens: but the odds of both Keith and Jung panning out AND Chapman not getting hurt are not particularly high

2:14
Sonny: Happy Lundi Gras Ben. Like 5 playoff contenders have a Blake Snell shaped hole at the top of their rotation. Who blinks?

2:15
Ben Clemens: Happy Lundi Gras indeed. I’m in New Orleans this week, in fact (my sister in law lives here and we’re visiting), so taking tomorrow off to take in the big day and then home upkeep starts in earnest

2:15
Derek: My take is the 49ers made the right call with taking the ball 1st (despite maybe not knowing the rules?) – I think they just should have been more aggressive and gone for it on 4th & 4. Definitely would be interesting to somehow quantify just how much the extra information is worth in comparison to getting the 3rd possession, though!

2:15
Ben Clemens: I’ve read that the Chiefs wanted the ball first too, not that that proves anything

2:15
Ben Clemens: I really think it’s a nuanced question

2:16
Ben Clemens: I don’t think the answer is obviously yes or obviously no. Like plenty of times the order doesn’t matter at all

2:16
Random Fact Generator: Tim Wakefield is one of five pitchers in MLB history to record 15+ starts and 15+ saves in the same season

2:16
Ben Clemens: Ooh fun

2:16
New UK Fan: Re volatility, surely the equivalent is hitters and pitchers? Pitchers there’s always more chance of a breakdown. (Do you know if teams factor that into their option valuation?)

2:16
Ben Clemens: They do a little, but that chance of breakdown also just feeds into the projection

2:16
Ben Clemens: fewer innings in future years, that kinda thing

2:17
Mike: I think the extra information is really important. Also, I never once thought SF was going to win that game.

2:17
Ben Clemens: As a casual niners fan, I was not feeling good about the game at any point

2:17
Ben Clemens: they just were not capitalizing and you know that Mahomes is gonna get it going by game’s end

2:17
Munson Burner: John Means was the ace on some bad O’s teams. What are your thoughts on him returning to form and surpassing Bradish into the #2 role on their staff?

2:17
Ben Clemens: I’m skeptical, and I do like Means

2:17
Ben Clemens: I just think that he was always one of those guys whose results are better than the raw material going in

2:17
Ben Clemens: even if you count location and everything

2:18
Ben Clemens: and I feel like when those types of pitchers get injured, they often don’t reclaim the magic

2:18
Yeah Well Hiura Towel: I didn’t come here for football content.

2:18
Ben Clemens: Oh don’t worry, you’re going to be getting plenty of baseball content too

2:18
Ben Clemens: In fact, far more

2:18
Ben Clemens: the last thing I will say about football at least for a little while is that I wanted to subtitle part of our playoff odds takeaways post “Peace Up, A-Town Also Up”

2:19
Ben Clemens: and then Usher said Peace Up A-Town Down in the freaking super bowl

2:19
Ben Clemens: i love it

2:19
Moonlight Graham: Does Yariel Rodriguez get significant starts or is he too two pitch heavy and not proven to be degrom to do it?

2:19
Ben Clemens: So, I would not use him as a starter. Didn’t love how he looked as one in the WBC, Eric and I talked about this a bit when I was doing the free agent rankings

2:20
Another Mike: My opinion as a Bay Area sports fan is that today’s sports-related chat is a good opportunity to talk about cooking. You mentioned getting Kenji Lopez-Alt’s wok book awhile back, how’s that been going for you?

2:20
Ben Clemens: Omg it’s been great

2:20
Ben Clemens: i’m hardly going through it recipe by recipe

2:20
Ben Clemens: but it has improved my technique meaningfully, and now I have some easy-ish go to meals I make with my wok

2:21
Ben Clemens: mapo tofu, some various adaptations of peanut sauce or spicy velveted chicken, a few others I’m blanking on right now

2:21
Ben Clemens: and all the weird wok tools he recommended (weird to me, a white dude from Tennessee) work incredibly well

2:21
171: The Orioles should absolutely sign Jordan Montgomery

2:21
Kevin: Aside from ownership and front office quality, do you think it’s systemically harder for the Rockies to ever win a championship?

2:21
Ben Clemens: I do

2:21
Yeah Well Hiura Towel: Tell me all this Vegas crap falls through for the A’s and Fisher sells the team.

2:22
Ben Clemens: I’m really rooting for that

2:22
Sonny: FG MG! I don’t know how to incorporate my Fangraphs shorts into my costume (those are great by the way. anyone chatting who hasn’t bought a pair do that now) but now I feel compelled to try

2:22
Ben Clemens: Haha the shorts truly are incredible

2:22
Dallas: Who do you think wins the pirates 2B job, and is nick gonzales officially a bust?

2:22
Ben Clemens: he’s not but he’s trending heavily in that direction

2:22
Ben Clemens: which makes me sad, he was one of my inaugural ‘i’m gonna try to scout using data’ guys when i dug into college hitting things

2:22
Another Mike: Tips for keeping the wok stick-free? Mine struggles with egg, and noodles.

2:23
Ben Clemens: I have this wild wicker brush I use to scrape it between uses

2:23
Ben Clemens: then i heat it to dry off all the moisture, then lightly oil it with a paper towel

2:23
Ben Clemens: that said I don’t make eggs in it

2:23
Okra: Seems like Boris waiting as long as possible is going to backfire for Bellinger and Chapman, right?  Doubt it matter much for Snell/Montgomery since everyone needs pitching.  I’m just not sure how allowing teams to spend most of their offseason budget and fill needs earlier is a sound strategy.

2:23
Ben Clemens: I think that it’s a contingent thing

2:24
Ben Clemens: if you know Boras will hold out if you don’t hit his number, as a team, maybe you just hit his number

2:24
Ben Clemens: but in the cases where you don’t, things hvae gone wrong for him

2:24
Sean: If Julio wins the MVP, does that mean the M’s win the AL West?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Yeah very likely

2:25
404: Is there a good place to report website issues? On chrome mobile the player pages resize incorrectly frequently, but not always. Essentially, it zooms way out and makes it so I can’t scroll horizontally through stats

2:25
Ben Clemens: Hey sorry I didn’t get to this earlier, I just scrolled through it

2:26
Ben Clemens: I’ll post it to our internal slack, but you can also tweet at the official account or email us at support@fangraphs.com

2:26
Ben Clemens: That said: try the app!

2:26
Ben Clemens: I use the app way more than the webpage on my phone now and it’s great

2:26
JC: Why are pulled barrels better than sprayed barrels? Isn’t the point of a barrel that it’s the same EV and angle regardless?

2:27
Ben Clemens: same ev and angle but the fences are in different places

2:29
Ben Clemens: like if you rope one 106 and on a line, maybe it goes over the left field wall but one hops the center field fence

2:29
Ben Clemens: also at least in 2023 pulled barrels were, on average, hit harder than straightaway barrels

2:29
Ben Clemens: I think that has something to do with change in swing speed over the path of the swing

2:29
Jon: On Statcast’s new set up, it lists “Batting run value”. Do you know what this is referring to specifically? I would have guessed xwOBA but that’s listed separately.

2:30
Ben Clemens: it is basically wOBA, plus value gained/lost from balls and strikes

2:30
Ben Clemens: so it goes pitch by pitch, going from 0-0 to 1-0 gains you batting run value but doesn’t affecdt wOBA

2:30
Jon: Only six (or so) teams in baseball have a positive defensive runs. Am I misunderstanding this stat?

2:30
Ben Clemens: We give DH’s negative defensive value

2:30
Jesse: Is Lindor more likely than not to be HOFer when he’s done as things currently stand?

2:30
Ben Clemens: I think yes

2:31
ALBYIE: Are the Yankees the most rated team?

2:31
Ben Clemens: Indubitably

2:31
Mr. Taylor Swift: Ben, I’m coming off of a title in my NL-only dynasty league and will be in the thick of it again this year. Would you trade Aaron Nola for Jackson Chourio if a title in ’24 was your ultimate goal? Pitching will be at a premium, but outfield seems really shallow as well. My other keepers are Bobby Miller, Sonny Gray, Evan Phillips, Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, CJ Abrams, and Matt McLain. (I have some other assets I could probably spin into another SP.)

2:31
Ben Clemens: I think I would

2:31
David: Were there any Team win projections that were a lot higher or lower than you were expecting?

2:31
Ben Clemens: No, but I spend a lot of my time looking at baseball teams and trying to write articles about what they should do so I’m really plugged in in general

2:31
Gregg: Who is more likely to return positive value in 2024: Dustin May or Robbie Ray?

2:31
Ben Clemens: May, I think

2:31
Space Needle: Biggest on-field behavior pet peeves? I get irrationally upset when a player watches his flyball/is slow out of the box and it costs him an extra base.

2:32
Ben Clemens: I cannot stand pitchers who land in bad fielding positions

2:32
Ben Clemens: It’s irrational for sure

2:32
Ben Clemens: but every time one comes back to them I’m like “well obviously!”

2:32
My names not Rick: you’re back into a corner and have to make a decision. Where do the big four sign?

2:34
Ben Clemens: Hmmmmmm…. I guess Chapman SF Snell SF Bellinger Cubs Montgomery uhhhh

2:34
Ben Clemens: Phillies?

2:34
Ben Clemens: no idea on Montgomery haha

2:34
Uncle Spike: I just made Pad See Ew for the first time the other day.  Came out pretty good but would have been better if I had a wok.

2:34
Ben Clemens: oooh nice I’ve never tried this one

2:34
Mike: “then i heat it to dry off all the moisture, then lightly oil it with a paper towel” As you should with every pan you own.

2:35
Ben Clemens: I don’t do it with EVERY pan I own b/c I own some real beaters, and non stick pans and such

2:35
Ben Clemens: but yeah

2:35
Ben Clemens: good practice

2:35
Ben Clemens: I definitely do that with my cast iron

2:35
Mike: Also, if you cook eggs, the lower the temp, the less they stick.

2:35
Pistachio Ice Cream: Belli Bombs at the Bank. Castellanos can’t hit RH pitching anymore and the two rookies are a mirage in LF and CF. Marsh might be a career year in 2023. Big fluffy Mike Lindell pillow for Bellinger in Philly?

2:35
Ben Clemens: I don’t hate that as an idea but I don’t think it’s happening

2:35
Guest: RE: Boras waiting too long, I feel like people forget about Bryant, Harper, and Correa* all waiting until March to sign, and I don’t think anyone would say “they could’ve gotten a better deal in December” (assuming everyone understood the deal with Correa’s leg)

2:35
Pat: RE- Super Bowl- If SF is so scared of Mahomes scoring a TD that they took the ball first in OT, so they could get the 3rd crack at it shouldn’t they have then went for it on 4th & 4 from the 5 yard line instead of kicking a FG?

2:35
Ben Clemens: probably

2:36
Ben Clemens: I think that Shanahan is just not very good at in-game decision making for how good he is at turning defenses into pretzels

2:36
Russell: How reliable is a pitcher’s pull%? Do pitchers realistically have any control over the spray angle of their pitches?

2:36
Ben Clemens: Great question that I don’t know the answer to!

2:36
Ben Clemens: But probably will in a few weeks b/c pulled fly balls are in the zeitgeist right now

2:36
Tom: Is there a non-rocks fall Dodgers die scenario where LA doesn’t win the NLW?

2:37
Ben Clemens: Yeah I think so, in the same way that they have had a few weird blips in recent years

2:37
Ben Clemens: Giants going ham, the game 163 from 2018 or w/e

2:37
Ben Clemens: not likely but certainly possible

2:37
Tyguy: Can you say more about your home renovations? What are you working on and how are you feeling about it?

2:38
Ben Clemens: we own a place that we rent out, tenants just left, so we’re replacing a lot of things, fixing some holes in the wood floors, repairing a cabinet, touching up some paint, just a lot of little jobs that you have to do all of from time to time

2:38
Uncle Spike: Thank you for not saying, ‘It’s gonna be May’

2:38
Ben Clemens: oh man now I’m sad that I didn’t

2:38
Matt VW: Now that the Chiefs have repeated, MLB has the longest back to back drought of the four major sports by far. Is this just a luxury tax thing, or is there more to it than that?

2:39
Ben Clemens: I think that it’s a length of postseason series relative to regular season thing

2:39
Ben Clemens: the best teams in football get byes fairly often which gives them a HUGE edge in winning the SB

2:39
Ben Clemens: the best teams in basketball win at a crazy clip

2:39
Ben Clemens: baseball has neither

2:39
Ben Clemens: so I think it’s randomness plus disadvantageous setup (disadvantageous for repeats)

2:40
Ben Clemens: that said the Giants happening to go out of order doesn’t mean THAT much

2:40
Yeah Well Hiura Towel: Boras doesn’t win EVERY time, but overall he wins more money and more often than anyone

2:40
Ben Clemens: Totally agree with this

2:40
Ben Clemens: His tactics don’t always work

2:40
Ben Clemens: but they work quite well on average

2:40
hebrew: i know you said no more football but someone crunched the numbers on Twitter and kicking/receiving are basically identical choices in the newfangled overtime

2:40
Ben Clemens: hit me with a link please

2:40
Mr. Burrito: Double OT question: Will the Dodgers swap Lux and a prospect for Adames? As a Dodgers fan I like Lux but I’d love Adames. His D and power would be perfect for the Dodgers…

2:40
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they will

2:40
Ben Clemens: I definitely would not

2:41
Ben Clemens: I mean, I don’t like what they actually did either

2:41
Ben Clemens: shortstop is not a great place to punt defense

2:41
Ben Clemens: but I’m down on Adames overall

2:41
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s bad

2:41
Ben Clemens: I just think that he’s more plus than elite

2:41
Ben Clemens: and I dunno, I’m a sucker for Lux

2:42
hebrew: OT win probabilities,  courtesy of Brian Burke of ESPN:

https://twitter.com/bburkeESPN/status/1509266427089506304?s=20

2:43
J: Rubbing oil on every pan would be insane and bad care advice. Stainless steel pans absolutely should not be treated like that – no oil till they’re preheated. Bad rule of thumb that only applies to cast iron or carbon steel, and even those two should be treated differently.

2:43
Ben Clemens: Okay! very useful

2:44
Ben Clemens: and hey, in line with my real behavior

2:44
gbs42: Bees?

2:44
Ben Clemens: we’ll see who gets more honey

2:44
ct: re: boras tactics, why’d altuve switch to boras if this seems like what he always wanted to do?

2:44
Ben Clemens: Eh, maybe he wanted to rattle the Astros into making a deal?

2:44
Ben Clemens: I dunno

2:44
Nate: Do the Brewers trade Williams at the deadline if they’re out of it

2:44
Ben Clemens: I do not think they will

2:45
Ben Clemens: I think that there are limits to their ability to run their preferred strategy and keep fans interested

2:45
Ben Clemens: and that unless the return for Williams is huge

2:45
Ben Clemens: they will breach those limits by trading him, Adames (definitely gonna get moved if Williams does), and Burnes in a year

2:45
Justin: You just reminded me of Bartolo Colon, who had the best pitcher fielding position I can remember seeing and put up positive defensive numbers despite being 40 and fat.

2:45
Ben Clemens: heart

2:45
Mike: Ya, sorry, don’t do it for stainless…..but I only own one stainless at this point.

2:45
War2D2: Late to the chat, sorry if this has been asked and I missed it. I feel like the Cubs’ best move would be Chapman and/or Montgomery, but most everyone seems to think Bellinger is the foregone conclusion. Where do you fall on this?
(Ignoring for a moment that I think their actual move will be to swim in their money vault like Scrooge McDuck and sign nobody at all)

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’d sign Montgomery if I were them

2:46
Ben Clemens: it just doesn’t sound like that linkup is in the cards

2:47
Jules: If I’m the Pirates and see the projections putting them last, but only back by like 7 games. Isn’t this the time to push for those marginal wins, or nah? I feel like for a NL Central that’s winnable, the Bucs have done a whole lotta nothing

2:47
Ben Clemens: It absolutely is

2:47
Ben Clemens: they absolutely will not do it

2:47
Ben Clemens: I just don’t see any evidence that it’s how they operate

2:48
wheelhouse: most projection systems seem to think stanton, rizzo, lemahieu bounce back to some extent. do you buy that? is there any trend in whether older players’ projected bouncebacks actually happen or not?

2:48
Ben Clemens: Dan can probably get into a little more detail on this, but there’s not much/any systematic bias in projections by age

2:48
Ben Clemens: For me personally, I’m VERY skeptical of a Stanton bounceback

2:48
Ben Clemens: I feel like that’s a place where I have information on his health that the model simply can’t know

2:49
Ben Clemens: that he’s a comically large mountain of a man without historical precedent

2:49
bosoxforlife: Since it is obvious that Gary Sheffield was penalized for actually playing defense?, how do you accept the fact that David Ortiz was better off not going on the field with a glove. Simply terrible!

2:49
Ben Clemens: I completely agree

2:49
171: re: boras, i think people assuming he uses the same approach for negotiations with all of his clients is incorrect. he wouldn’t be the best in the business if he wasn’t aiming to meet the needs of the player over maximizing money. this also relates to young player extensions, if a player wants to extend, boras is going to work to get that done but also, players who hire boras probably are looking to maximize their earnings in fa and therefore not want to extend.

2:49
Ben Clemens: Yeah, very good point in my opinion

2:49
Ben Clemens: Boras would not be great if he had exactly one playbook

2:50
Ben Clemens: he might have some types of playbooks that he’s better at that draw clients who want to do that kind of thing to him

2:50
Ben Clemens: but if Altuve called him and said ‘hey man, I wanna re-sign with the Astros, would you negotiate that for me?’

2:50
Ben Clemens: what’s he gonna say

2:50
Definitely an MLB Agent: Player reps offer a lot of services in addition to negotiating contracts. Obviously the contracts are the big draw, but some players want their money nice and neat in a briefcase and some want wisely invested in Egyptian obelisk acquisitions. Not every agency is good at both.

2:50
Ben Clemens: Let’s talk about these obelisk acquisitions

2:50
Ben Clemens: i feel like that’s a place where you could really stand out as an agent

2:51
Ben Clemens: also are you Amon-Ra St. Brown’s agent?

2:51
Matt (Oceanside): Between the Dodgers and the Braves, the projections seem to favor the Braves by about five wins, but when considering the depth, the Dodgers would seem to be in a better place to weather a major injury. Love what Atlanta is doing, but I am fearful that an injury to Acuna or Olson would be more costly than Betts or Freeman going down? Thoughts?

2:51
Ben Clemens: I do agree with this sentiment

2:51
Ben Clemens: and agree that it’s not well captured by our projections

2:51
Ben Clemens: That said, Pecota has the Dodgers a hair ahead of the Braves, and they do a bit more with injury volatility

2:52
Ben Clemens: Dan’s ZiPS standings have the two teams within two wins

2:52
Ben Clemens: so yeah, I think you’re right

2:52
Guest: Is there a really good team right now who you think might be headed for a big, near-term fall?

2:52
Ben Clemens: I don’t think this is likely, but I’ll put the Astros first on this list

2:53
Ben Clemens: here’s my thinking: I think that a lot of the really good teams right now are a)really good and b)built in a way that makes them pretty fail-resistant

2:54
Ben Clemens: whether it’s the Dodgers and Rays with their huge record of churning out good players from within, the Dodgers and Yankees with their spending, the Dodgers and Braves with a bunch of stars to where you’d need to see a lot of injuries to have a big problem

2:54
Ben Clemens: I mean, you get the idea

2:54
Ben Clemens: the Astros don’t quite fit on any of these axes, I don’t think

2:55
Ben Clemens: because they don’t have as many megastars, or young players on discounted contracts, or a recent farm system bonanza, or a great farm system right now

2:55
Ben Clemens: and they haven’t spent at quite the top levels as everyone else

2:55
Guest: what topic do you spend the most time thinking about besides baseball?

2:55
Ben Clemens: games

2:55
Ben Clemens: I’m just a hopeless puzzle solver

2:55
Ben Clemens: I play marvel snap, magic the gathering, lots of board games, do learned league, crosswords, etc.

2:56
Ben Clemens: I just love strategy

2:56
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’s an accident that all of my jobs have been daily output based rather than long term project based

2:56
Ben Clemens: played chess as a kid, loved drawing up football plays when I played in high school, etc.

2:56
Ben Clemens: baseball analysis is just a great expression of it

2:56
bosoxforlife: Is the Lucas Giolito contract the worst one of this off-season, or do you agree with me that it belongs in the pantheon of awful contracts along with Pujols, Rendon and Bonilla?

2:56
Ben Clemens: I would not remotely put it up there with the worst contracts of all time

2:56
Ben Clemens: it’s just not enough money

2:57
Ben Clemens: I do agree that it was an overpay, and that’s with me being a Giolito fan overall

2:57
Thomas: Russell Martin has to be pretty high on the list of French Canadian baseball players

2:57
Ben Clemens: yeah he’s probably second behind Gagne since Morneau isn’t french canadian

2:57
Dave: Rooting for Ben Rice to be a dude because there has never been a more apt nickname than “Uncle Ben”

2:57
Guest: Wouldn’t any team, even the low budgeteers be happy to get Snell with what the NYY offered a while ago – 6 yrs, 150mm?

2:58
Ben Clemens: I mean the low budgeteers just wouldn’t because they don’t have 150 million in spending power allocated to them

2:58
Ben Clemens: but…. yeah

2:58
Ben Clemens: ignoring that, yes

2:58
Ben: About football OT strategy, my only thought is that by taking the ball first if you both score the same, then you scoring on third possession means you win. But second mover can always try to outscore you (go for TD over FG, 2 over extra point, etc)

2:58
Ben Clemens: That thread posted up above was pretty definitive

2:58
Ben Clemens: it’s just 50% either way b/c the effects offset

2:58
Ben Clemens: i believe that

2:59
Ben Clemens: that said it’s gonna be a topic in the bay for quite a while

2:59
Guest: Thoughts on the Cardinals hiring Chaim Bloom? I’ve been pretty tired of their solution to every open job seemingly be “Hire Former Cardinal” and think it has had a poor long term effect on the institutional knowledge of the team and much of the reason they seemingly struggle analytically. So I’m happy about it just for that reason

2:59
Ben Clemens: I acually like it!

2:59
Ben Clemens: yeah exactly

2:59
Ben Clemens: I’m not entirely sure I agree with you on the institutional knowledge part

2:59
Ben Clemens: but I agree that it was a good way to get some new blood in

2:59
dwight k schrute: Who is MLB’s surprise team in 2024 a la the DBacks?

2:59
Ben Clemens: hmmmmmmm

3:00
Ben Clemens: I don’t think I’d get much credit for saying the Mariners because they’re projected to be really good already

3:00
Ben Clemens: so I’ll say the Reds

3:00
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’s super likely but I do think it’s a possibility

3:00
mmm bacon: Bacon well done? Or just go with however they make it?

3:00
Ben Clemens: however they make it. when I cook it i burn it though, yeah

3:00
Tom: I like calling teams “low budget” instead of “small market”.

3:00
Ben Clemens: I also like that

3:00
Ben Clemens: okay speed round time

3:00
Guest: BEADS

3:00
Definitely an MLB Agent: No, only Equanimeous, who is definitely the most underrated NFL wide receiver named St. Brown who’s parents are named Brown without the St.

3:00
Munson Burner: A highlight for me last year was attending the draft and booing the commish and the Astros. Since it’s in Arlington this year, will we get to do it again, or will a clearly agitated Manfred ruin the fun?

3:00
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll ruin the fun

3:00
Ben Clemens: that’s his thing

3:00
Guest: More likely to replicate their 2023 – TJ Friedl or Chas McCormick …  (or neither) ?

3:00
Ben Clemens: Chas

3:01
Brett: Liked your piece on the Brewers and Gary Sanchez. Am I crazy to think the Brewers are significantly better than ZiPS does? I know the SP looks patchwork, but it seems better to me than the 2018 team that won 96 games, and the roster depth and bullpen look pretty darn good…

3:01
Ben Clemens: I am just really down on the pitching

3:01
Ben Clemens: bullpen does look good

3:01
Ben Clemens: I think that if you want to have that pitching staff, you should have more offense

3:01
Rich Guys: Why doesn’t Lacob just buy the A’s?

3:01
Ben Clemens: seems like they’re not for sale to him

3:01
Mike: Will the Twins trade for or sign a good SP this off season? Will they find a RH hitting OF? Both? Neither?

3:01
Ben Clemens: I’m guessing neither at htis point

3:01
James: Are the Rays and Rangers home parks better for HR’s for LH or RH batters?

3:02
Ben Clemens: our park factors by handedness say LHH for Texas and RHH for Tampa Bay

3:02
Ben Clemens: here are Statcast’s as well

3:03
Ben Clemens: they say RHH for Tampa, and equal for Texas

3:03
bosoxforlife: Where are you on the Grissom/Sale trade? I am very excited to see if Grissom is going to rake in Fenway.

3:04
Ben Clemens: I thought it was extremely win win

3:04
Ben Clemens: I think Grissom is a great fit for Boston and that he was gonna be wasted in Atlanta

3:04
Ben Clemens: alright, on that note, I’m calling it a day

3:04
Ben Clemens: let’s go improve some homes (read: procrastinate a little, write my article, and maybe eventually head to home depot)

3:04
Ben Clemens: Thanks for this lovely and excessively wide-ranging chat, as always, everyone





Ben is a writer at FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

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David Frederickmember
2 months ago

Wouldn’t any team, including the low budgeteers, be more than happy to get Snell for what the NYY offered a month ago — 6 yr 150mm?

johndarc
2 months ago

His argument is no, because they wouldn’t be happy they spent 150 million dollars at all.