Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 2/20/24

12:04
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, welcome to the chat

12:04
Ben Clemens: Let’s get going

12:04
Too Many Mooks: Francisco Alvarez reportedly nearing an extension with the Mets. Guess the terms! Go!

12:04
Ben Clemens: Ooh, this is a fun one

12:05
Ben Clemens: Man catcher extensions are so hard

12:06
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say he gets 7/90 plus a bunch of club option years

12:06
liam: i am against using public money for privately owned stadiums, but on the other hand i live in chicago and the new white sox stadium renderings look sick and i would like to see it built so i can attend. how do i reconcile these two stances

12:06
Ben Clemens: I think that it’s okay to say that you’d be willing to pay for a public stadium

12:06
Ben Clemens: I totally get that it’s a bad investment

12:06
Ben Clemens: but eh, I’ve made bad investments in my life

12:06
Ben Clemens: I just think people need to be more honest about it

12:07
Ben Clemens: “We’re going to charge everyone in Chicagoland 1000 dollars so the Sox can play in a pretty stadium” might pass

12:07
SASR: Everyone knows the question with Mo Baller is “Can he stick at catcher?” Do you think he would have a tougher time than most adjusting to 1B? Is he definitely a DH if he doesn’t stay behind the dish?

12:07
Ben Clemens: I do, just because of his height

12:07
Ben Clemens: I’m thinking of how Luis Arraez looked at first

12:07
Ben Clemens: which is to say, not great

12:08
ProspectWeek: Sadtrombone had a good point re Barrosa’s milb park factors, was that part of your analysis on your 5 hitters article? And do you think Moises can stick behind the dish? He looks like mid 30s Bartolo already…

12:08
Ben Clemens: I do account for park factors, but I’ll admit that I’m not super confident in how they work

12:09
Ben Clemens: that said, given the batted ball data for Barrosa and Hernaiz, I’m not particularly worried

12:09
Ben Clemens: it’s not like they’re Nick Allen up there

12:10
Ben Clemens: Honestly wow I’m looking at Nick Allen’s power numbers in AAA and maybe Hernaiz is a little closer to that than I’m willing to admit

12:10
Ben Clemens: he was actually squaring the ball up pretty frequently in the minors

12:10
Ben Clemens: while still being abysmal in the majors

12:11
Ben Clemens: and I’m not really the kind of talent evaluator who can tell you if Ballesteros can stick

12:11
Ben Clemens: but if he does, oh baby

12:11
Tim: Liam Hendriks to Boston…thoughts?

12:11
Ben Clemens: Love it

12:11
ProspectWeek: Anyone you’re particularly high on in the top 100? Did Xavier Edwards pop for you at all in your under the radar hitters?

12:11
Ben Clemens: He really did not

12:12
Ben Clemens: the model liked him just okay

12:12
Ben Clemens: it really wants some power by Triple-A

12:12
Ben Clemens: and he has true bottom-shelf power

12:12
dallas: Of the following (after down years) who do you think is most likely to be at least a league average SP- Quinn Priester, Luis Ortiz, or Roansy Contreras?

12:12
Ben Clemens: this is very much a guess but Ortiz

12:12
dave: Am I crazy to think in the current MLB playoff structure I’d rather be a 2 seed than a 1 seed? Just looking at the DS round, a large majority of the time isn’t the winner between the top two WC teams going to be a tougher matchup than the winner between the worst division winner and worst WC team?

12:13
Ben Clemens: So, yes. But you’d far rather be a 1 seed than a 3 seed

12:13
ProspectWeek: I like both Barrosa and Hernaiz to be clear, just think the offense might be quite a bit worse than you’d hope for, at least initially. Interesting on Edwards, Roboscout at BA LOVES Edwards and I think has some similar eval methods to yours!

12:13
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I agree that their offense might be lower than you expect

12:14
Ben Clemens: I am taking a risk in picking guys like that who are semi-real prospecdts

12:14
Ben Clemens: normally in this article I’ve gone way down the ladder to people no one has heard of

12:14
Ben Clemens: so it’s less egg in my face if I’m wrong

12:14
Ben Clemens: Definitely a worry of mine

12:14
Ben Clemens: And hm, that’s interesting. I wonder if it has to do with the way I model every level separately

12:15
Ben Clemens: I think that a line like Edwards’s would have played better if my model thought he was doing it at a younger age in a lower level

12:15
Guest: What would your comments on Mark Vientos have been, if he’d been included in your list today? A lot of Mets fans are convinced that he’ll never be able to hit. I know his contact rates are low, but they’re also fairly similar to the contact rates for a lot of successful RH power hitters. His average EV and Hard-Hit rates are really good, and his AVG and plate discipline were good at AA/AAA.

12:17
Ben Clemens: yeah basically I’d say that it’s hard to fake power numbers like his at Triple-A

12:17
Ben Clemens: generally speaking guys who hit THAT hard are at least up-and-down corner contributors

12:18
Ben Clemens: so thath’s a really good fail case

12:19
Ed: Was hoping to see Ben Rice in your article today, any notes on him from your research for todays article?

12:19
Ben Clemens: I didn’t get down to Ben Rice and while I think he’s interesting, he’s absolutely not the kind of guy that this methodology captures

12:20
Ben Clemens: he’s old for his level and strikes out a lot. guys like that can pan out but it’s usually because of phenomenal physical tools

12:20
Ben Clemens: since I’m aggregating across a lot of players, that kind of skillset does not stand out in my framework

12:20
Ben Clemens: that’s not to say he won’t make it, just that this method does not screen for guys like Rice

12:20
Greg: Who would you prefer between Bryan Woo and Hunter Brown in a Scoresheet League

12:20
Ben Clemens: I’d take Brown but I’d be fairly happy with either I think

12:20
Ben Clemens: I think they are both underrated

12:21
Guest: Is Matthew Liberatore a bust or can he still reach Just A Guy status?
Seems like him being a top 3 starter in a rotation is basically out of the question at this point

12:21
Ben Clemens: I think he’s definitely in ragen for just a guy status

12:21
Ben Clemens: but yeah, the top level arm outcome looks unlikely at this point

12:22
Ben Clemens: pitchers reinvent themselves, Charlie Morton was extremely just a guy for a long time before he became great

12:22
Ben Clemens: but that’s not predictable

12:22
Talfred: Are fans wishcasting when they say their team should “sell high” on a player? It seems to me that when a player has a flukey good year, other teams’ front offices are aware that it’s likely unsubstainable.

12:22
Ben Clemens: Basically yes

12:22
Doug: Any chance Bellinger’s AAV drops low enough on a long term deal that the Padres become an option?

12:22
Ben Clemens: I’d say no, to be honest

12:24
Farhandrew Zaidman: Hey Ben! I’m not sure how to readily calculate this, but which team’s playoff chances would be most disproportionately improved by signing BOTH JorMont and Snell? Meaning, which team’s net increase in playoff odds would be the largest, you think?

12:26
Kristen: Given their abject lack of depth, why did TEX sign Mahle who’ll only be readynafter the AS-break vs,

12:26
Ben Clemens: Okay, two playoff odds questions at once

12:27
Ben Clemens: I think the second is because they thought they had enough above replacement level pitching that they could make the whole thing work early in the year

12:27
Ben Clemens: and that they really wanted the upside

12:28
Ben Clemens: As for the team that would most want two great pitchers

12:29
Ben Clemens: I think it’s either the O’s or a team in the NL Central

12:29
Ben Clemens: it’s just teams in really cuspy situations basically

12:29
Pete: Speaking of Bellinger, with the Nationals’ ownership situation finally resolved, is there a better “We’re back” splash they could make short of making a run at Soto in a year?

12:29
Ben Clemens: Completely agreed, only, it’s unclear what the Lerners taking the sale of the team off the market will do

12:29
Random Fact Generator: In the game that he hit the 1st of his 4 MLB HR, Charlie Manuel hit 5th in the Twins lineup. He was preceeded by Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, and Harmon Killebrew. The leadoff hitter that day was Ted Uhlaender.

12:30
Ben Clemens: that is certainly a fact

12:30
RTJ: Insert Snell Question that is super interesting and you answer however you like

12:30
Ben Clemens: What does a one-year Blake Snell deal look like

12:30
Ben Clemens: I think 1/40

12:30
Nate: Do the O’s try to trade for/sign another pitcher with Bradish’s health in question?

12:30
Ben Clemens: I think they probably will not

12:30
Ben Clemens: because they have the ability to do so closer to the deadline if it ends up being TJ

12:32
BlueCollarTweeker: Any idea where or when Jordan Montgomery signs?  Any chance he goes back to St. Louis?

12:32
Ben Clemens: I wish I had an answer for you here but I think St. Louis is unlikely and I dunno where he goes

12:32
Ralph: There’s no shot Boras has overplayed his hand on his top guys right? He’s too good at this

12:32
Ben Clemens: I mean, you can make a good bet and have it work poorly

12:32
Ben Clemens: I think that Boras’s tactics are overall solid

12:32
Ben Clemens: but I don’t get this one

12:32
Ben Clemens: or rather, i think this one may not pan out in the end

12:32
Ben Clemens: even if it was well conceived

12:33
Jake Heisenripbauer: Im not as keyed in on contracts as i once was…but since Ohtani sweepstakes were this offseason, is there some big name that will hit free agency after this coming season that the Yankees will go hard after since they didnt go that hard after Ohtani it seems like?

12:33
Ben Clemens: It’s like…. Soto, Alonso, Wheeler, Burnes

12:33
Ben Clemens: in some order

12:33
Joseph: Do you think Mike Trout will wake back up this year?

12:33
Ben Clemens: ugh….. no

12:35
Ben Clemens: I don’t have any obvious read on why I’m just feeling down

12:35
Definitely an MLB Agent: I’d be happy to give Boras some tips. I don’t have any free agents still waiting to sign.

12:36
gbs42: Thank you for not taking yourself too seriously, talking about board games, cooking, and other non-baseball topics from time to time in your chats. And thanks also to other chatters for being okay with this. This is supposed to be fun, right?  Another site I frequent gets pushback on 20-second divergences from pure baseball discussion, which is silly.

12:37
Ben Clemens: Yeah I mean, these chats are supposed to be fun for all of us

12:38
Ben Clemens: hopefully they are

12:38
Ben Clemens: but they’re definitely fun for me

12:38
Billy: Jordan Walker, Elly De La Cruz, or Oneil Cruz for your favorite future power hitters of the NL Central.

12:38
Ben Clemens: I have to take Elly even though I’m a Cards fan

12:38
Ben Clemens: the potential is just too great

12:38
Thomas: Have you ever played any of the 18xx series of board games? I played my first one this weekend (1889) and they seem like your kind of game

12:38
Ben Clemens: no but I’ve heard they rock

12:38
Nate: if we’re talking board games, what is your opinion on The Captain is Dead?

12:38
Ben Clemens: Well I just read about it and it seems amazing

12:42
Ben Clemens: I just played Cascadia for the first time last night btw, and it’s great

12:42
Ben Clemens: okay, and back to baseball

12:42
Mo: Do you see the Angels overperforming or underperforming projections this year considering they have Ron Washington now.

12:42
Ben Clemens: I mean, no

12:42
Oaktown Blues: Would the MLBPA sign off on the A’s playing in a AAA stadium for 3+ years if they don’t work out an extension in Oakland? Trying to gauge how much leverage Oakland has in these talks

12:42
Ben Clemens: I’m very skeptical, but I dunno how else this will work out

12:42
Ben Clemens: honestly the Sacramento park is really nice, too

12:43
Ben Clemens: I’m hoping they end up plyaing there if this all falls apart b/c I’d love to see, say, Juan Soto playing in Sacramento

12:43
Ben Clemens: it’d just be funny

12:43
Em: Think there’s any fire behind the Matt Chapman to the Mariners smoke?

12:43
Ben Clemens: I do not

12:43
Danny: Is Heston Kjerstad gonna be as good as I think he is? I’m expecting All-Star level output in a year or two.

12:43
Ben Clemens: That’s a really bold take

12:43
Ben Clemens: obviously the odds are against that

12:43
Ben Clemens: just b/c, eh, baseball is tough

12:43
CleGuy: what is more likely: Cleveland winning the AL Central, or the Tigers finishing ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central?

12:43
Ben Clemens: I think it’s the tigers finishing ahead of the Guardians

12:43
Ben Clemens: just more ways for them to hit that

12:43
Colton: Have you looked into passivity in the zone much? I ask because a guy like Suwinski seems like a perfect candidate to have a huge jump if he just increases his zone swing %. His contact rates within the zone are roughly league average so I think majority of his strike out issues come from simply being too passive. I’m sure there’s other guys in the league that have similar issues, but he really sticks out to me as someone who could really make an impact if he starts being more aggressive.

12:43
Ben Clemens: I have a few times but without any great takeaways

12:43
Ben Clemens: I think the Robert Orr Seager framework seems reasonable

12:43
Ben Clemens: nice and simple, which I always like

12:44
bosoxforlife: Elly De La Cruz just sends me into apoplexy. I want him to be what he can be so much that I get depressed when I doubt if he ever will. Where do stand on his future?

12:44
Ben Clemens: I’m still very high on him, irresponsibly so I’d say

12:44
Ben Clemens: I am just a sucker for tooled up guys who have also produced

12:44
Pete: Suppose Trout wanted a trade and the Angels made this offer: any team can have him for just its 50th-best prospect, but it has to take on every cent of the remaining contract. Any takers with Trout’s injury history and physical decline?

12:44
Ben Clemens: it’s a great question

12:44
Ben Clemens: I think that several teams would do it

12:44
Ben Clemens: but I do think that the contract is starting to weigh on his value now, which is a crazy thing to say

12:45
Ben Clemens: paying money is not a disaster

12:45
Ben Clemens: paying that much money for someone who might not play much could be

12:45
Ben Clemens: it’s really the availability that makes this a question

12:45
Alex: Give me a reason to be optimistic about the Padres please

12:45
Ben Clemens: Tatis bounceback season is very much in play

12:45
Ben Clemens: HSK is a phenomenal defender who will shine playing shortstop

12:45
Ben Clemens: and maybe the bounces will go their way a year after they extsremely didn’t

12:45
Rotation Cerebrus: Who do you think will put up the most WAR this season out of Luis Castillo, George Kirby, and Logan Gilbert?

12:45
Ben Clemens: I’ll take Castillo

12:46
Ben Clemens: but I do think it’ll be close

12:46
Listerine: Thanks for the list of less-heralded prospects. I’m curious about the names who’ve had a taste of the pros (like V. Grissom, whom you mention) that your system is particularly high on.

12:46
Ben Clemens: it’s VERY high on Grissom

12:46
Ben Clemens: I’d include him if it weren’t breaking my self imposed rules

12:46
Ben Clemens: it thinks he’s one of the most likely successes in the entire minors

12:46
Ben Clemens: and that’s despite not knowing that he’s already played in the bigs

12:46
sliptoad: re the 2025 yankee free agents q — you don’t think they’ll pursue bregman? they’ll have a hole at 2b they could move DJ to in order to free up 3b, and I would think bregman is at least a better buy than alonso would be

12:47
Ben Clemens: i could see Bregman, sure, but I think I’d prefer Alonso to Bregman at the likely costs, personally

12:47
guest: do you have any hope that giolito will be able to regain All-star form again?

12:47
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’s likely, but I do think that a bounceback is

12:47
Ben Clemens: he is talented enough that just going somewhere new and hearing something from a different pitching coach is likely to help at least a little bit

12:47
Dylan Stein: Can the Marlins beat out the Phills this year with some sort of pitching aqustion

12:47
Ben Clemens: i hate saying no but no

12:47
Ben Clemens: i just do not see it

12:48
Dylan Stein: Okay, Back to Baseball, Which Jackson do you think will have a better future: Chourio, Holiday, or even Merrill if you want to

12:48
Ben Clemens: Gimme Chourio but this is a really tough question and obviously the smart money is on Holliday

12:48
Rag Doll: What do you make of the Cole Ragans hype? Most projections have him lower than the aforementioned Woo/Hunter Brown. (He’s 125th on Zips.) But most fantasy-style forecasters are high on him. (For example, he’s 38 on Paul Sporer’s list.)

12:48
Ben Clemens: I am with the projections

12:48
Ben Clemens: could just see him “bouncing back” as in regressing a little here and there

12:48
Ben Clemens: and it weighing his production down

12:49
Austin Riley’s HoF Plaque: Thoughts on Spencer Strider allegedly adding a curveball?

12:49
Ben Clemens: i saw the pitching ninja video of it and it looks nasty

12:49
Ben Clemens: i like the idea of adding something vertical to his arsenal

12:49
Ben Clemens: i don’t think he really has the degrom ability to dominate oppo hitters with location

12:49
Ben Clemens: so doing it with a new pitch seems like the way to go

12:50
Kenny: Does Paul Skenes become the pitching prospect that everyone was calling him or do the pirates pitching staff botch him.

12:50
Ben Clemens: I think it’ll work

12:51
Ben Clemens: Eli Ben-Porat has done some interesting writing on how much or little your fastball shape matters

12:51
Ben Clemens: definitely matters less when you throw as hard as Skenes

12:51
SDS: Can we all collective take a few seconds to wish Bradish’s UCL to stitch back up? If we all will it together…

12:51
Ben Clemens: gotta agree with that

12:51
gach zreinke: is the river ryan hype legit (sorry forgot name last time i submitted)

12:51
Ben Clemens: I’m not really sure, if I’m being honest

12:52
Dodgers Blue: If you were forced to predict today what the O’s infield layout looked like in three years, who is playing which positions?

12:53
Ben Clemens: Hmmm….. Holliday third, Henderson short, Westburg second, Mayo first, without high confidence

12:53
Ben Clemens: I’m not a great defensive scout but I think Henderson looked legit and I’m a bit skeptical of Holliday’s defense (definitely not skeptical about the bat though)

12:53
K: Thoughts on George Kirby working on his knuckleball and wanting to throw it more in game? Could we potentially see other pitchers try to incorporate the occasional knuckleball if Kirby is successful with it?

12:54
Ben Clemens: I could see it working for Kirby, but I would caution against extrapolating from there

12:54
Ben Clemens: things that work for the pitcher with perhaps the best command in baseball might not work for Joe Average

12:54
Hal: If you had a magic wand, what’s an impossible/impractical to collect but still quantifiable datapoint you’d like to learn about every prospect?

12:54
Ben Clemens: I’d like to know their mindset the day after a poor performance

12:54
Ben Clemens: oh, still quantifiable

12:54
Ben Clemens: hmmmmm

12:55
Ben Clemens: I’d like to know the differential in their effort level the day after a poor performance vs. on average

12:55
wheelhouse: nestor struck soto out 3 times in practice today. nestor back, or soto washed? i’ll hang up and let you answer

12:55
Ben Clemens: haha, porque no los dos

12:55
Ben Clemens: no, I’d say Nestor back

12:55
Danny: So if the A’s do wind up in a Triple A park, what happens to the AAA team that typically plays there? I can’t imagine that they could work out a schedule that would allow them to share.

12:55
Ben Clemens: Legitimately no idea!

12:55
Ben Clemens: Sounds like a really good question to ask the A’s

12:55
Blank Space: What does Brendan Donovan do this year? I know the Cardinals announced he’d be playing primarily 2B, but I’m still not sure how much time he gets on the field this year.

12:56
Ben Clemens: I think he’s gonna end up in some kind of floating 2b/dh/backups elsewhere role

12:56
Ben Clemens: it’s a really hard depth chart to get a handle on

12:56
Ben Clemens: I definitely do not buy our listed depth charts with Nootbaar platooning and Ivan Herrera part time DH

12:56
Ben Clemens: i think more likely you’d see Jordan Walker shift to DH and Carlson take over in the outfield against lefties

12:57
Austin Riley’s HoF Plaque: Has any player name ever sounded more like an 80s teen movie villain than “Hurston Waldrep”?

12:57
Ben Clemens: Robert Hassell III is way up there

12:57
Farhandrew Zaidman: Will this be the year of the Splitter? If so, how much of a straight line to Japanese pitching influence?

12:57
Ben Clemens: I’ve been calling for the year of the splitter for a bit now

12:57
Ben Clemens: I think that there’s a very strong correlation to japanese pitching influence, totally agreed

12:57
bosoxforlife: Early Wynn, Hall of Famer and winner of 300 games used to throw an occasional knuckleball in addition to his regular stuff. That is what you remember when you are 82 and watched him pitch. LOL.

12:58
Ben Clemens: yeah, everyone who is as good as Early Wynn could probably pull that off

12:58
justin: With Xander in mind, at what point is a good fielding 2b as valuable as a average to bad fielding shortstop if the offense is the same?

12:58
Ben Clemens: our positional adjustment factors would say five runs, so a scratch shortstop and a +5 2b are the same

12:59
Ben Clemens: I think it’s a bit more than that

12:59
Ben Clemens: maybe 6-7

12:59
Farhandrew Zaidman: re: Giolito. He was also going through a divorce at the same time as all the trade deadline/waiver shenanigans. I’m sure that didn’t help his season.

12:59
Ben Clemens: Yeah that does not sound GREAT

12:59
Ben Clemens: life is tough

12:59
Dodgers Blue: Lawlar vs Neto – who you got?

12:59
Ben Clemens: Neto for me

12:59
Ben Clemens: big fan of his ability across so many levels in a year

12:59
Riggs: “Javy Baez revealed Friday that he’s dealt with nagging back and core issues over the last two seasons” and that he’s been addressing them this offseason. Any chance he returns to league average at the plate? His K rate is way down since joining DET.

12:59
lemons are a fungible citrus: Which guy who was really good in the past will have a bounce back this year?

12:59
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’m into this one

1:00
Ben Clemens: it’s been shocking to see Baez not hitting for power

1:00
Ben Clemens: I think if that’s injury related you could see a huge bounce back

1:00
MB: To add to the last Q: What’s your read on a healthy Trevor Story? Some of his preseason projections (88 wRC+ from Steamer, for ex) are wild.

1:00
Ben Clemens: similar idea but I never liked Story’s offense as much

1:01
Ben Clemens: could see a bounceback but I do think he was a Coors creation more so than a lot of Rockies hitters

1:01
Ben: Breakout season for Michael Harris II? He was REALLY good in the second half last year

1:01
Ben Clemens: oh yes

1:01
Ben Clemens: I’m a biiiiiiiig MH2 guy

1:01
Ben Clemens: what’s not to like

1:01
CleGuy: How many AAA clubs could beat the A’s in your estimation?

1:01
Ben Clemens: 0-ish

1:01
Ben Clemens: yes, funny to dunk on the A’s, etc

1:01
Ben Clemens: but they’re not THAT bad

1:01
Ben Clemens: while we’re here, I think betting markets are wildly low on the A’s

1:02
Ben Clemens: they’re hovering around 57 wins over under

1:02
Ben Clemens: which shows you what the public perception is

1:02
Ben Clemens: the lowest model on them is probably Pecota at 64

1:02
Ben Clemens: like, what a wild gap

1:02
Chazzyfizz: What do you think about Chas McCormick going forward?

1:02
Ben Clemens: buyer

1:02
Ben Clemens: I think that he’s an above average bat

1:02
Ben Clemens: who can fake it in center

1:02
Ben Clemens: great player

1:03
Dakota Mckee: How come nobody has offered the Max Scherzer contract model for Snell, ie half the money for 6 years with team, half the money over the course of six years after? Does this not work w/ the luxury tax/AAV rules?

1:03
Ben Clemens: no it does, and we don’t know that no one has offered that

1:03
Ben Clemens: it’d be like the Ohtani deal, kinda

1:03
the Boras 4: How many of us are signed by opening day?

1:03
Ben Clemens: all 4

1:03
Ben Clemens: but at least one on a pillow

1:03
bosoxforlife: I have more hope for the Red Sox in 2024 than most do. Casas and Devers should mash and Grissom and Abreu excite me. The staff might be better than anticipated. Duran might be good but a lot depends on Story. I see him as washed up. Do you concur?

1:04
Ben Clemens: Oh hey look, more Story discussion

1:04
Ben Clemens: I’m very into the Grissom acquisition, as I’ve mentioned a few times

1:04
Ben Clemens: I think that this Red Sox team will surprise, but that ultimately the ALE will just be too tough

1:04
Chooch: If you are the Phillies and can grab JMont or Snell on a 1 year pillow deal, who would you prefer?

1:04
Ben Clemens: Snell

1:04
Hal: If anyone on the A’s really pops and gets them a couple extra wins, they’ll just be traded at the deadline, right? Projections can’t really account for that

1:04
Ben Clemens: I mean, maybe

1:04
Ben Clemens: anyone who pops is likely very young

1:05
Ben Clemens: b/c they don’t exactly have a lot of tradeable assets

1:05
Ben Clemens: maybe some of the pitchers, sure

1:05
Ben Clemens: but I don’t quite see it this wya

1:05
lemons are a fungible citrus: These comments on Boras…    I mean, if you think something is going to work out 90% of the time, there is 10% of the time it doesn’t work out.  We may be living in the reality where the 10% is happening for Boras.   He has a long track record of success for his clients.

1:05
Ben Clemens: Yeah I completely agree with this

1:05
wheelhouse: related to the ben rice question: do you think usual analysis of “old for the level” is in a weird spot post-pandemic season? i’ve seen others saying it’s worth looking more at PA as a pro than just age for a lot of guys whose schedule was messed with

1:06
Ben Clemens: that sounds reasonable, but I have seen no data backing up either side and I just don’t know how to handle that

1:06
Ben Clemens: like it’s a fair point but also physical development still matters

1:06
GA Blood: Which team that’s projected to finish over .500 would you most be willing to wager will experience a Cardinals style collapse this year?

1:06
Ben Clemens: I’ll use our odds as a barometer here

1:07
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say the Twins

1:07
Ben Clemens: there are not a lot of options I love

1:07
Ben Clemens: and it’s between the Twins and Rangers for me

1:07
Ben Clemens: just b/c they seem like teams where injuries could really set them back

1:07
Farhandrew Zaidman: A’s tradeable assets – I will respectfully submit that we will see Noda, Rooker, and Gelof traded in the next 3 seasons.

1:07
Ben Clemens: sure, but this summer?

1:07
Dylan Stein: Do the Marlins sign someone else, or do they just keep having terrible starting pitching

1:07
Ben Clemens: i think they’ll just have terrible starting pitching

1:07
Insert Witty Name Here: How many years would you be comfortable extending Wheeler? He’s getting older but health has been good.

1:07
Ben Clemens: a lot of years

1:07
Ben Clemens: like, 6?

1:08
Ben Clemens: i mean he won’t be great for all of them

1:08
Ben Clemens: but if you’re not going to pay Zack Wheeler, who are you going to pay?

1:08
birds birds birds: Shouldn’t the O’s just throw $8-10 million at Lorenzen or Clevinger to make sure they’ve got another ~100-120 major league quality innings on the roster?  I feel like avoiding having their #8 starter or #12 bullpen guy pitch is more important than getting another front of rotation guy

1:08
Reliever Relief: I know the Bradish injury is all the news, but can’t the O’s also sign some bullpen arms? I was hoping they’d shop a little at the Maton-level.

1:08
Ben Clemens: O’s questions, love em

1:08
Ben Clemens: yeah Maton would have been a great fit there imo

1:09
Ben Clemens: i agree with this take in general

1:09
Ben Clemens: the front of the rotation is good!

1:09
Ben Clemens: well, depending on Bradish

1:09
Ben Clemens: but depth seems like a good thing to aim for

1:09
lemons are a fungible citrus: I have no actual evidence of this, but it feels like teams are being a little more hesitant on long-term pitching and that this hasn’t been baked into the FA contracts yet (now and in the future).  In other words, I suspect we will see more shorter-term (relatively speaking) deals for pitching, but higher AAV.

1:09
Ben Clemens: could see it

1:09
Ben Clemens: i’ve been predicting this in my last few free agent contract prediction years

1:09
Ben Clemens: hasn’t really hit yet but I do agree it’s heading that way

1:09
GA Blood: Wheeler spending 11 seasons with one MLB team and it not being the Mets after the way his team control seasons went would be WILD

1:09
Ben Clemens: right????

1:10
JW: How likely do you see Jose Abreu returning to some semblance of pre-astros form?

1:10
Ben Clemens: over 60%

1:10
Ben Clemens: depending on what you mean by semblance

1:10
Ben Clemens: let’s say he hits .260/.335/.450

1:10
Ben Clemens: that’s like a 115-120 wRC+

1:10
Ben Clemens: clearly below peak but way above 2023

1:11
Ben Clemens: I’d call that some semblance

1:11
guest: Anywhere they have ballpark data by month? Wondering if the coastal pitchers’ parks play relatively better for scoring in April when the northern parks are in a deep freeze. Or perhaps some parks due to typical spring wind patterns.

1:11
Ben Clemens: I have not seen it anywhere

1:11
Bryan: I’m worried the potential for the Mariners defense to be bad is being ignored, am I just a typical glass half full Mariner fan or is there some merit to this fear?

1:11
Ben Clemens: there’s definitely some merit

1:11
Ben Clemens: that said, I like JP Crawford’s defense more than Statcast does

1:12
Ben Clemens: and having him + Julio + Raleigh up the middle is great

1:12
Ben Clemens: Polanco, yeah I suppose I’m scared

1:12
Ben Clemens: but I do like Urias defensively

1:12
Dylan Stein: Are the Brewers Rebuilding or not?

1:12
Ben Clemens: no, they’re doing their brewers thing of rebuilding while contending

1:12
Ben Clemens: and I think fairly successfully tbh

1:12
Adam: Xavier Isaac looked a lot more athletic last year and certainly slimmed down from when he was drafted. BUt still projects to be 20 speed and 30 field?

1:13
Ben Clemens: I don’t know a ton about him

1:13
Ben Clemens: but my model looooooooooved him

1:13
Ben Clemens: that said, the error bars are really big in A ball

1:13
Ben Clemens: so it knocked him for that

1:13
Love Is A Battenfield: Can Juan Soto feast in Yankee Stadium even if he’s not pulling the ball a ton?

1:13
Ben Clemens: Absolutely

1:13
Ben Clemens: he just has so much raw power and turning his occasional pulled balls into homers will still be big

1:14
Ben Clemens: he can leave the yard to every part of the park, of course

1:14
Ben Clemens: alright, gonna do a quick lightning round and call it a day

1:14
Farhandrew Zaidman: Bill James flip flopping on the presence of clutch is the equivalent of….? Ronald Reagan saying “ope my bad guys, turns out government welfare is actually awesome!”

1:14
Ben Clemens: oh yeah it’s wild

1:14
bran: how far do the royals make it in 2024 before they are sellers, if at all

1:14
Ben Clemens: I think they’re gonna try to go for it until June and have it not work

1:14
Insert Witty Name Here: Who’s a good fit for Kyle Tucker next offseason? I’m thinking the Phils are set for yet another 300 mil contract.

1:14
Ben Clemens: Astros

1:14
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll keep Tucker and let Bregman go

1:14
Replacements Level: Re: Westburg, he’s obviously overshadowed in the O’s system, but do you see him working out as a solid regular?

1:14
Ben Clemens: I do

1:14
Ben Clemens: I like him

1:14
Sonny: Did Boras underrate the RSN uncertainty’s impact on spending or is it too soon to say definitively

1:14
Ben Clemens: yeah, too soon to say definitively

1:15
guest: do you have any take on the minnesota rotation? are you excited about guys like Paddack or Varland to be quality rotation guys again?

1:15
Ben Clemens: I’m excited about one of the two working out well enough

1:15
Ben Clemens: there’s value in numbers

1:15
Lyle: Dynasty baseball- Would you trade Kyle Tucker for George kirby and Austin Riley?

1:15
Ben Clemens: I would b/c I’m very high on Riley

1:15
Bighen: Mets o/u 81 wins.

1:15
Ben Clemens: O by a hair

1:15
barold bondsworth: I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about the Giants this year, but can you remember another team nominally aiming for the playoffs that had such an inexperienced rotation? Having a first year converted reliever and three rookies behind Webb seems ludicrous

1:15
Ben Clemens: I really do not

1:15
Ben Clemens: this is an ugly roster for the way they’re handling things

1:15
Ben Clemens: thgey’re acting like they need less improvement than they do

1:16
Colton: Piggybacking on the Morton line, the big change for him was a sustained velo spike though, if I’m remembering correctly so that’s not exactly out of the question for Liberatore. But also shouldn’t be leaned into either in my opinion

1:16
Ben Clemens: oh completely

1:16
Ben Clemens: I’m saying you shouldn’t rule it out, ‘out of the question’ is strong

1:16
Ben Clemens: but yeah, short of some kind of reinvention I am not buying what Libby is selling

1:16
Tim: Out of the SD pitching prospects, who looks like the best big leaguer? Iriarte, Thorpe, Lesko all appear to have their selling points

1:16
Ben Clemens: Iriarte for me without much confidence

1:16
Benny: What are the chances this year’s NL Rookie of the Year is either Yamamoto, Imanaga, or Lee vs. the field of more traditional rookies, like Winn, Marte, Crow-Armstrong, Chourio, Harrison, etc.?

1:16
Ben Clemens: I think Yamamoto is the easy answer

1:16
Farhandrew Zaidman: This time last year, Yamamoto was a 50 FV rank on the BOARD, whereas I see nowadays he’s listed at 65 FV. Was he initially misevaluated, or did he really have that much projected improvement in the last 12 months?

1:17
Ben Clemens: I think it’s more that we got a lot more tape on him

1:17
Ben Clemens: and it became more important to have a sharp evaluation on him when he was going to get posted

1:17
Guest: How do you feel about the innings projections for Sale? I know its really hard to predict but they feel high to me.

1:17
Ben Clemens: they feel very high to me as well

1:18
birds birds birds: Early extensions for superstars is obviously great business.  But what about extensions for “solid regular, but not future MVP contender”?  I’m thinking about guys like Westburg, Frelick, Wallner, etc.  The Rays do these, which makes me think it’s probably smart, but I don’t see many of them

1:18
Ben Clemens: It’s smart but you have to thread a needle for sure

1:18
Ben: How do you guys deal with when you, if you don’t mind my blunt language, completely whiff on a prospect?

I seem to remember you not thinking much of Strider before his rookie year, for example, because you thought he had real reliever risk.

Is there a process you go through to figure out, like: “Ok, what did we miss here?”

1:18
Ben Clemens: Well I can’t speak for the prospect team, but I’m happy to speak for myself

1:18
Ben Clemens: I miss a lot

1:18
Ben Clemens: I would feel liek I was doing a poor job if I didn’t miss a lot, b/c my job is to have a lot of opinions about baseball

1:19
Ben Clemens: and a lot of these are like 55/45 leans

1:19
Ben Clemens: I definitely try to learn from my mistakes too, of course

1:19
Ben Clemens: Long answer in a lightning round but I have a work story from my finance days

1:19
Ben Clemens: I’m a big process over results guy

1:19
Ben Clemens: so I am hedging a trade, we get absolutely wrecked

1:19
Ben Clemens: my boss is like ‘well do you think you did that right?’

1:19
Ben Clemens: I just say yeah, of course

1:19
Ben Clemens: he’s like, well we got absolutely wrecked

1:19
Ben Clemens: ‘yeah but I think my process was good’

1:20
Ben Clemens: ‘do you have any evidence?’

1:20
Ben Clemens: well no

1:20
Ben Clemens: and this was just a fundamental disagreement we had forever

1:20
Ben Clemens: i update my priors VERY slowly

1:20
Ben Clemens: that guy was one of my closest friends in finance, worked with him at multiple places, we both did very well for ourselves via our partnership

1:20
Ben Clemens: and just fundamentally disagreed forever

1:21
Ben Clemens: on how quickly to adjust priors based on incoming information

1:21
Ben Clemens: both methods can succeed

1:21
Dylan Stein: So if the Padres do pull a rabbit out of a hat, and sign Snell, will Shildt  give him more innings?

1:21
Ben Clemens: yeah I believe so

1:21
Dylan Stein: How long do you think it will take for yamamoto to get used to the MLB

1:21
Ben Clemens: not long. he looked good right away in the WBC

1:21
Ben Clemens: okay, on this note, I’m gonna head out

1:21
Ben Clemens: sorry to hijack a lightning round to reminisce about rates trading but hey, that’s what you sign up for with my chats

1:21
Ben Clemens: more lunch talk next time hopefully

1:21
Ben Clemens: have a great week, everyone, and I’ll see you in two weeks (gonna be in Oaxaca next Monday)





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

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Greg Simonsmember
3 months ago

If you or I make a bad investment, that’s on us. Asking a few million Chicago taxpayers to make the same bad investment is something totally different.