Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 2/5/24

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, welcome to the chat

2:01
Ben Clemens: I’ve been pretty bad about these this year thanks to a combination of technical difficulties on my end and then just getting out of the habit of it, but let’s kick things back off with a good one

2:01
David: Hi Ben – could you share your thoughts on the current state of the Red Sox?

2:01
Ben Clemens: I’m confused about what their plans are, but I think in general they’re playing for the future and I think that’s reasonable

2:02
Ben Clemens: It’s not *fun* to do that as a team like the Red Sox, but I think the way theyr’e doing it is smart

2:02
Ben Clemens: They will be competitive this year for sure, but with that rotation, they need a good number of things to go right to make the playoffs

2:03
Ben Clemens: I think that’s okay, particularly since they’re trying out several interesting new lineup additions and have an impressive farm system that’s starting to trickle up to the major league level

2:03
Ben Clemens: I think that if they didn’t sign one of the few big ticket pitching options this year, punting their free agency moves until next year made sense

2:03
K DOT: Am I crazy to think the Cubs have a nonzero chance at signing both Belli and Chapman? One on a longer deal, one on a higher AAV short deal a la Correa’s first Twins contract?

2:04
Ben Clemens: Nonzero, for sure. I don’t think it’s THAT high, though, just because I don’t see them spending that much

2:05
Ben Clemens: I think it would make sense given that the Brewers are basically betting that the Central won’t be tough this year

2:05
Ben Clemens: they’ve already downgraded on purpose to improve future years, it’s not like they can un-trade Burnes now

2:05
Ben Clemens: seems like it’d be a good time to pivot as the Cubs but it’s one of those I’ll believe it when I see it kinda deals

2:05
the person who asks the lunch question: What’s for lunch?

2:05
Ben Clemens: oh man, it’s a good one this time. Homemade broccoli melt on focaccia

2:06
Rick Manning: Dynasty Keeper League Correa or Neto (looking primairly at the next couple seasons)

2:06
Ben Clemens: I’d keep Correa but not by a ton

2:06
Ben from DC: Can you give me any reason for hope for my Nationals? Every time I read news about the team it’s about the owners not selling, MASN dispute, Strasburg/owner conflict, or even prospects like Hassell and Green flaming out. If you squint is there any hope with Abrams/Gore/Gray/Wood/Crews?

2:07
Ben Clemens: Yeah I think the hope is basically: Abrams has been better than expected. Crews seems awesome. Wood looked pretty good in AA as a 20 year old

2:07
Ben Clemens: maybe this big group of prospects will pan out spectacularly

2:07
Ben Clemens: I do think that the team needs to get sold, seems like the Lerners have moved on mentally

2:08
Ben Clemens: And maybe all the Alexandria arena stuff is creating the kind of distraction that keeps other DC area business types away from bidding on the Nats which slows things down? Not really sure if that’s the case or not

2:08
Ben Clemens: But the upside case here is that just as all the talent from their farm system hits the majors, there’s new ownership in place that can’t wait to spend

2:08
RH: Since they already have Brent Rooker, I think the A’s should just get as many Mississippi State guys as they can and play in Starkville until Vegas is ready. At least it would be fun.

2:08
Ben Clemens: Seems about as palatable as most of their options.

2:09
Ben Clemens: I wonder if they’d consider playing at the rec league softball field where I play

2:09
Ben Clemens: it’s not THAT much worse of a playing surface than the Coliseum

2:09
Ben Clemens: oh, except for if you forget to get the city to turn off the nighttime sprinkler schedule, then the third baseman might get soaked

2:09
Tex Fan: IN 2 years Max Scherzer is ?

2:09
Ben Clemens: announcing

2:09
K DOT: If Kyle Hendricks has a decent (~150 innings, slightly above average era) season, would you give him the QO?

2:09
Ben Clemens: I would not

2:09
Ben Clemens: But I could see it either way

2:10
v2micca: Am I crazy in thinking that if a few things break right for the Reds this year, Cincinnati could legit take the division?  They have a solid core in place, and there isn’t a dominant team in the NL Central.

2:10
Ben Clemens: 100% agreed

2:10
Ben Clemens: I mean, are they favorites? No

2:10
Ben Clemens: But theyr’e in the mix for sure

2:11
The Other David: How do you feel about Ben Lindbergh and your editor Meg Rowley referring to you as “The Other Ben” on my favorite podcast, Effectively Wild?

2:11
Ben Clemens: Haha I think it’s very reasonable

2:11
Ben Clemens: I listened to EW for a long time before I started writing about baseball so it’s still kinda surreal hearing my name come up at all

2:12
Jeremy: Follow-up to the Red Sox and Brewers/Cubs questions earlier: to what extent are teams’ decisions to rebuild or go all-in dependent on the decisions of other teams in their division? Are the Red Sox retooling in part because, sometime in the last year or two, they looked at rest of the AL East and thought: “The O’s are about to get good, the Jays, Rays, and Yanks are already good. Good time to retool.” Did the Brewers look at the rest of the NL Central and think “Good time to trade Burnes; the Cardinals are retooling and the Cubs don’t look they want to spend money yet”?

2:12
Ben Clemens: If teams aren’t doing that, they’re doing it wrong, but I definitely believe that it enters their minds

2:13
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure if it’s a main driver of  decisions or anything, but teams absolutely  take divisional difficulty and the shape of future teams into account

2:13
Ben Clemens: I think it’s kinda tough in Boston’s case b/c let’s be real, the ALE is going to be a buzzsaw of a division in five years just like it is now

2:14
Ben Clemens: but Milwaukee has done a pretty good job of being opportunistic and pivoting around what’s going on in the central. I think the Twins do a good job of this as well. The Diamondbacks getting more aggressive this offseason is another good example

2:14
diadem: Do projections take into account the OBP of the hitters in front of them?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Definitely not

2:14
Insert Witty Name Here: We missed you Ben. Looking forward to a great 2024 season. That being said, curious to know what about baseball gets you jazzed up the most?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Defense

2:14
Ben Clemens: I looooooove defensive highlights

2:15
Ben Clemens: I’m really excited for a year of Masyn Winn

2:15
Keith: Surprised at the Witt extension?

2:15
Mike: Chances the Witt contract is backloaded, given the opt outs included?

2:15
Ben Clemens: I’m a little surprised I guess, but I’ve been the low man on Witt for a long time and I’m pretty sure I still underrate him even as I keep trying to update my priors

2:15
Ben Clemens: I need a little more time for it to sink in

2:15
Chaco: Any rumors or insights on Blake Snell’s potential landing spot?

2:15
Chicken Strip: Does the Giants’ trade of Ross (“Chicken Strip”) Stripling portend some action on the free agent market? Seems like they pretty much have to go out and sign one or more SPs, right? And they would look a lot more competitive for a wild card spot if they also were able to sign Chapman.

2:16
Ben Clemens: I think that Snell to SF looks more likely with trading Stripling

2:16
Ben Clemens: it’d just be a weird move to make if you weren’t planning on backfilling, even if:

2:16
Nate: All of his stats and peripherals suggest Keaton Winn is the next Logan Webb. Am I out of my mind for thinking he’s a huge underdog in that rotation?

2:16
Ben Clemens: I definitely do not agree with this take!

2:16
Ben Clemens: But if Winn is great

2:17
Ben Clemens: That would help

2:17
Ben Clemens: Seriously, though: Logan Webb absolutely demolished the minors at every stop

2:18
Ben Clemens: Then he reached the majors at 22. Winn scuffled in AA and AAA over the last two years at 24 and 25

2:18
Ben Clemens: I think that he’s intriguing for sure, but I do not see him as much of a comp for Webb

2:18
Charlie Murphy: I was offered Francisco Alvarez and Eury Perez for Jordan Walker. No brainer right? I have to take it.

2:19
Ben Clemens: uh, yeah

2:19
Ben Clemens: i don’t know your league settings or anything

2:19
Ben Clemens: but yeah

2:19
Brooks Robin some: Who has a better season this year among these 30 somethings, E. Suarez, M. Chapman, or Rendon?

2:19
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna take Rendon actdually

2:19
Ben Clemens: I think that might be silly

2:19
Ben Clemens: but I’m kinda down on Chapman and I think I know what I’m getting with Suarez, which is an above average regular but nothing more

2:19
The Other Ben in DC: On a scale of Nutting to Guggenheim, what sort of owner do you expect Rubenstein to be?

2:19
Ben Clemens: I think above average but not Cohen/Guggenheim tier by any means

2:20
Ben Clemens: I get the lol private equity argument, but people were making that about Peter Seidler too

2:20
Ben Clemens: growing up in the area matters a lot

2:21
Ben Clemens: and when you take over a team at 74, and you’re just wildly wealthy, why would you not want to make it good?

2:21
K DOT: @Feinsand

Bobby Witt Jr.’s extension:

2024: $2M
2025: $7M
2026: $13M
2027:  $19M
2028: $30M
2029: $35M
2030: $35M
2031: $35M – player option
2032: $35M – player option
2033: $35M – player option
2034: $35M – player option

Club option 3 years/$89M:
2035: $33M
2036: $28M
2037: $28M

2:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah, this is a good structure for Witt

2:22
Ben Clemens: I like these kinds of extensions a LOT, I feel like we’ve gotten to a place where teams and players can negotiate early-career extensions without them being excessively one-sided (in either direction)

2:22
norm: Who you got challenging the Twins this year for the central Tigers or CLE? I think both of them are kind of sneaky interesting and Twins pitching depth does not convince me

2:22
Ben Clemens: Tigers

2:22
Ben Clemens: I like what they’ve been doing

2:23
Ben Clemens: Imagine them with Isaac Paredes (not really but it’s just fun to keep pointing that one out)

2:23
Cody Bellinger: Does it really make sense for the cubs to sign me to any sort of long term deal, even if it comes in with a lower AAV than boras wants?

2:23
Ben Clemens: In my opinion? Absolutely

2:25
Guest: Twins fans everywhere super excited to see the promise to reinvest the Polanco savings has netted them….a 37 year old DH

2:25
Ben Clemens: Given the size of the savings, I’m not sure what you expected

2:26
Ben Clemens: That said, I think it’s a pretty smart move

2:26
Ben Clemens: The Twins do not spend as much as I’d like them to

2:26
Ben Clemens: but I feel like few teams do a better job of winning trades without donig the whole ‘we’ll trade you a quarter today for four dime-level prospects’ deal where you can’t help but win

2:27
Ben Clemens: and I think that they also do a good job of then integrating those trades into their team

2:27
Ben Clemens: I like where they’re headed basically

2:27
Doug: Padres really going to fill their OF/DH spots with NRI types and prospects that have barely played above A ball and will be out of position?

2:27
Ben Clemens: It definitely looks that way!

2:27
Ben Clemens: Doesn’t really feel like a recipe to success for me

2:27
Father Padre: Witt or Tatis on their current contracts, who would you rather have?

2:27
Ben Clemens: I’d take Tatis but I bet you most people would take Witt

2:27
Eric: Could you elaborate on why you’re the low man on Witt?

2:27
Ben Clemens: Yeah, sure

2:28
Ben Clemens: A lot of it comes down to not really trusting his approach at the plate

2:28
Ben Clemens: He’s a phenomenal hitter and athlete but I think his pitch recognition is probably a 40 or so

2:28
Ben Clemens: maybe a 35

2:29
Ben Clemens: and that just puts a TON of pressure on his bat speed/bat control

2:29
Ben Clemens: it’s really hard to have a swing profile like his and hit for power without striking out a lot

2:30
Ben Clemens: maybe he can do it, again he’s a premium talent, but to really be a star without a complete offensive overhaul he has to keep putting up those excellent numbers on contact and also add value with his defense and legs

2:30
Ben Clemens: legs are a given, I’m definitely less sold on defense

2:31
Ben Clemens: Statcast had him as one of the best shortstops in baseball a year after being one of the worst, DRS thinks he went from abysmal to bad, Prospectus agrees with DRS

2:32
Guest: Have  you guys considered spending less time on the cutesy-poo headlines and more time writing better articles?

2:32
Ben Clemens: Thought about it, decided not to

2:33
Ben Clemens: My normal workflow is 10 hours a day on headlines and then I bang out the article in 15 minutes

2:33
Mark: What to expect of Eury Perez in 2024?

2:33
Ben Clemens: I expect him to be a top pitcher whose innings are limited

2:33
JJ Hardy’s Ghost: If you were the Orioles, Who would you try to lock up to an extension first: Adley, Gunnar or Burnes?

2:33
Ben Clemens: you know, I always thought JJ Hardy’s ghost would be a Brewers fan

2:33
Ben Clemens: but Gunnar for me

2:33
Ben Clemens: by the narrowest of margins ahead of Adley

2:34
Ben Clemens: I think that probably what will happen is that one or both of them say no and they move on to Burnes

2:34
Ben Clemens: who might also say no

2:34
K DOT: All of what you said about the Twins makes it even more infuriating that they don’t spend

2:34
Ben Clemens: Oh totally

2:34
DisgruntledClevelander: It’s kind of hard to pick anything but the Tigers for that given how little the Guardians have done this offseason. Dead even by their standards.

2:34
Ben Clemens: Truly amazing how little the Guardians have done

2:34
wheelhouse: what do you think of volpe going into year 2? think people aren’t really engaging with how bad he was in year 1 even by rookie standards, but not sure how much improvement to expect. feels like anyone projecting him for a leap is setting themselves up to be underwhelmed

2:36
Ben Clemens: I don’t really agree with this; I think that the streakiness of his season made it feel worse than it was. I also feel good about his defense, which makes it a lot easier to tolerate some weakness offensively

2:37
Ben Clemens: Projection systems have him as roughly an average hitter this year largely thanks to some improvements in strikeout rate, which makes sense to me

2:37
Ben Clemens: and as a 3 win player give or take

2:37
Ben Clemens: a lot of that will come down to non-hitting parts of his game for sure

2:37
Caleigh: Do the Yankees circle back to Snell or are they done for now?

2:37
Ben Clemens: I think they’re done

2:38
rm: Do you trust the year to year walk of defensive metrics for infielders more than outfielders given the higher number of chances?

2:38
Ben Clemens: not really

2:38
Ben Clemens: I think that outfield chances are a lot easier to measure

2:38
Ben Clemens: I also think that defensive metrics are just going to be unavoidably noisy

2:38
Ben Clemens: even if you could measure what happened on the field with perfect precision, the variation in skill and type of chance is meaningful

2:38
Willy Adames: Am I on the block? Who’s gettin’ me and for what?

2:38
Ben Clemens: I’m kinda uncertain on this one

2:39
Ben Clemens: sure, trading Burnes signals that the Brewers are looking to the future

2:39
Ben Clemens: but they’ve always operated with one foot in the now and one in tomorrow

2:39
Ben Clemens: and the return for Adames would likely not be much higher than the comp pick they’re presumably getting for a QO

2:39
Ben Clemens: hard for me to imagine that their long-term interests are served by trading him for not much, they still do need to make the playoffs this year

2:40
Constanza’s Licked Bat: It’s the year 2050. The icecaps have melted, and dozens of former cities are now underwater.

Which members of the 2024 Atlanta Braves are in the Hall of Fame?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Ooh good question

2:41
Ben Clemens: I’ve got: Acuna, Harris II, Strider, Riley

2:41
Ben Clemens: Obviously Acuna is a good bet, the rest are kinda crapshoots imo

2:41
Tacoby Bellsbury: Which team’s lack of spending is most infuriating?

2:42
Ben Clemens: It WAS the Orioles

2:42
Ben Clemens: gonna give them a pass for now of course

2:42
Ben Clemens: For me it’s the Pirates

2:42
Ben Clemens: they’ve said in the past that they like to keep payroll at the level of gate receipts

2:42
Ben Clemens: like, what

2:42
Ben Clemens: Nutting must be raking in the cash over there

2:42
K DOT: Strider for the HOF is incredibly bold, right? His odds have to be under 20% right now

2:42
Ghinga: Why do you think Riley in particular?  I can see the other ones, but not really Riley.

2:43
Ben Clemens: Do you think a lot of the other players there are above 20%? I don’t really

2:43
Ben Clemens: it’s tough to make the hall of fame

2:43
Ben Clemens: and I just see Riley as the kind of guy who will end up with some gaudy career numbers in a way that is both old school and new school friendly

2:45
Ben Clemens: tons of homers at a non-1b defensive position, surely plenty of longevity given that he’s 2500 PA’s in at age 26, his peak could be really solid

2:45
Ghinga: Do you think his defense will hurt those chances?

2:45
Ben Clemens: no, because I think it has improved a lot

2:45
Guest: Age 26 David Wright crushes Riley. Riley’s got a long, long, long way to go.

2:45
Ben Clemens: well sure

2:45
Ben Clemens: i’m not saying he’s 50% to make the hall of fame even

2:45
Ben Clemens: but David Wright had a phenomenally unlucky run-out on his career

2:45
Cautiously-optimistic M’s Fan: Everyone can agree that the Mariners budgetary restrictions are hogswallop and the team’s ownership is embarrassing… with that being said, am I wrong for thinking Jerry Dipoto has put the Mariners in a pretty solid position to succeed in 2024 with his offseason maneuvering? The Polanco and Soto additions have me excited

2:46
Ben Clemens: Yeah I agree with this sentiment

2:46
Ben Clemens: I think given the silly restrictions, he did pretty well

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’m not sold on the Santos trade in particular, but I’m willing to be convinced

2:48
Jason: Hi Ben, I hope you’ve had a nice off-season so far. I was wondering what your current expectations are for the Diamondbacks this season?

2:48
Ben Clemens: Compete for the division and make the playoffs

2:49
Marcos: Pick one player from the 2015 Royals or 2016 Cubs for the Hall of Fame.

2:50
Ben Clemens: Aroldis Chapman

2:50
Ben Clemens: man, that’s a boring pick

2:50
Ben Clemens: but I don’t see any other obvious ones and I could see Chapman ending up with one of those ‘yeah okay fine he was just such a key reliever for so long’ kind of things

2:50
Ben Clemens: depends on how reliever cases for HoF evolve over time obviously

2:50
Ben Clemens: but I don’t see any other great options

2:50
K DOT: I know the numbers aren’t quite there, but Anthony Rizzo has Veteran’s committee written all over him

2:50
Ben Clemens: He was my second choice

2:50
Cody: Do you think Theo coming back to Boston will have a significant impact on the franchise moving forward? I’m excited about his return, but not sure how much control he will have.

2:50
Ben Clemens: Not relaly, to be honest

2:51
Ben Clemens: Sounds like he’s going to bop around between all the teams in the fenway orbit and offer general advice on best practices

2:51
Ben Clemens: which is neat but probably not the knid of thing that makes you better instantly

2:51
wheelhouse: on volpe: my skepticism of his offense is on not having any hitting skill to hang his hat on. his exit velo is okay not great, his contact rates are okay not great, his swing decisions, pitch recognition, batted ball profile all okay not great. pulls the ball, good, but 59% grounders when he pulls, GB/FB 2.59. it’s not a profile that has one glaring flaw that if he addresses it, everything else comes together.

2:51
Ben Clemens: Yeah totally fair

2:52
Ben Clemens: it does mean that he doesn’t have a single point of failure, but I think his carrying tool is just generally swing decisions and bat control given those decisions

2:52
Ben Clemens: which is admittedly kind of a nebulous profile

2:52
Ghinga: A lot of focus on the o’s this year, and rightfully so.  Who in the Al east do you think has the best chance of winning the division other than them?

2:52
Ben Clemens: I think the Yankees

2:52
Ben Clemens: But it’s going to be a really competitive division

2:54
Ben Clemens: Our odds are coming out this week and I expect the Yankees to be the favorite given what the projections are sayihng right now

2:55
Ben Clemens: Just by projected WAR, which is not the same as playoff odds, 4 of the 5 teams in the ALE are in the top 11 in baseball

2:55
Duece: I would guess Jon Lester before Chapman, but I agree we need to watch where the pitching electorate goes.

2:55
Ben Clemens: I’d have had him third after Rizzo

2:55
Ben Clemens: just not a high enough peak for me, but I could definitely be wrong

2:55
Ben Clemens: and we’re dealing in long shots no matter what

2:55
CFH: Do you think it’s easier to improve a team with a stars-and-scrubs construction? Seems like Verdugo and Grisham (even before you account for Soto) are huge upgrades over the Yankees negative-WAR outfielders besides Judge from last year whereas it’s much harder for a team like the Giants to make an upgrade like that because they are about average everywhere and would need to bring in stars

2:55
Ben Clemens: I absolutely do

2:56
Ben Clemens: the Giants and Cardinals are my go-to examples of teams that have trouble improving with individual moves b/c they’ve already done so well at the easy holes to patch

2:56
Ben Clemens: It’s like if you’re trying to increase the value of a home by renovating it

2:56
Ben Clemens: if everything already looks good, it’s harder to make an easy fix. If one of your bathrooms is 30 years old, well there you go, just getting that thing looking reasonable will do it

2:56
Guest: Riley is going into his age 27 season and he’s only got 15-18 WAR. Only 3 good seasons- very good seasons, but not great seasons. If he puts up 5 WAR every year for 6 more years, through his age 32 season, he’s still below Wright’s career numbers. So, he’s got to be healthy and consistent for that long and then be able to continue accumulating beyond that. It’s a lot to expect from a guy who got a late start, is not a great defender, and has meh plate discipline.

2:57
Ben Clemens: The question wasn’t which players on the Braves are likely to make the hall of fame

2:57
Ben Clemens: that’s Acuna and no one else imo

2:57
Ben Clemens: I don’t think Riley is likely to make the hall of fame

2:57
Ben Clemens: I don’t think Matt Olson is mORE likely, though

2:57
Ben Clemens: and to be clear, I don’t think ‘David Wright was better’ is a good argument

2:57
Ben Clemens: if he didn’t have his career cut short by injury he’d probably be a hall of famer

2:58
Tom: Is there anything for Giants fans to look forward to? I am dooming about the Dodgers signing world beaters and SF getting a slap hitting outfielder

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think it’s really fun to watch Logan Webb

2:59
Ben Clemens: Luis Matos is fun, the team almost always has immaculate vibes

2:59
Ben Clemens: But yeah, bummer of an offseason

2:59
Phil: Which members of the 2024 Atlanta Braves are in the Hall of Fame?  That was the question…it kinda was which members of the Braves are likely to make the hall grinning

2:59
Ben Clemens: Ha well, fair enough

2:59
Ben Clemens: Okay how about this

2:59
Ben Clemens: Only Acuna

3:00
Ben Clemens: not a very interesting answer, oh well

3:00
Yo-Yo: If the Cardinals win the NLC, it will be because this young player surpassed expectations and made a big impact:

3:00
Ben Clemens: Masyn Winn

3:00
Ben Clemens: But runner up: no one and they just win b/c their innings eaters are better than expected

3:00
Reds Enjoyer: Do you hate the Reds rotation as much as projections do? Personally feels like there’s no way these guys can all be as bad as they are collectively being projecte to be…

3:01
Ben Clemens: We have them as the 7th-best rotation in baseball

3:01
Guest: do you think the bluejays are still looking to add this offseason?

3:01
Ben Clemens: I thought they were

3:01
Ben Clemens: but…. at this point, I do not

3:01
Ben Clemens: I think they SHOULD

3:01
Red Sux: Since no one in their right mind on Yawkey Way can talk themselves into competing for a WC spot…shouldn’t the Sox give fulltime ABs to guys like Duran, Abreu, Valdez, & Rafaela so they know what they have for when they decide to spend $1 at some point?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Oh I definitely would

3:02
Ben Clemens: maybe not all four, but I’d focus on giving the young guys ABs

3:02
Zombie One-Legged Bill Veeck: Now that we’ve seen it in action for a year, what is your opinion on the LF wall in Camden? Too much? Just right? (full disclosure: I think it’s an awful eyesore with no bearing on the team’s good fortune)

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think it’s an eyesore but that it probably made sense to do just to keep the offensive environment in a reasonable place

3:03
Cody: Is the Javy Baez contract the worst in baseball right now?

3:03
Ben Clemens: Yeah I think so

3:03
Ben Clemens: man that one went south quickly

3:03
Hunter: Am I crazy to think Skubal could win the AL Cy Young this year? He was really good once he came back in July.

3:03
Ben Clemens: You are definiteliy not

3:03
Ben Clemens: A quick look at some odds suggests that he’s the 7th-best bet

3:04
Ben Clemens: so the market agrees with you for the most part

3:04
K DOT: Strasburg contract?

3:04
Ben Clemens: that’s a contender, but it’s mitigated by how it seems clear that the Nats are getting an insurance payout

3:04
Ben Clemens: the whole retiring unretiring thing suggests a prince fielder situatin

3:04
Guest: Do you think the Pirates could look like a fringe wild card contender if they go out and sign/trade for a 2-3 type starting pitcher?

3:04
Ben Clemens: I mean, no

3:04
Ben Clemens: I wish I did

3:05
Ben Clemens: I think that this team is just too bad for one mid-level pitcher to fix things

3:05
Ben Clemens: Hopefully brighter times ahead and all

3:05
Ben Clemens: But the rotation is DIRE

3:05
Ben Clemens: and it’s not like their offense is lights out

3:06
Himbo: How big of a believer are you in Chris Sale? Braves seem to be big believers

3:06
Ben Clemens: I would say I’m a medium believer, but I think he’s a really smart bet for them given the construction of the team

3:06
Ben Clemens: it just makes sense to play for upside regardless of availability given how loaded they are

3:08
Sirras: Having my board game group over tonight. Any opinion between Monarch, Isle of Skye, and Bloody Inn?

3:09
Ben Clemens: I’ve never played any of these, sadly

3:09
Ben Clemens: I’ve heard really good things about Bloody Inn though

3:09
Ben Clemens: so I guess that?

3:09
Ben Clemens: I just spent 6 hours playing Frosthaven yday so I’m wildly board gamed out at the moment

3:09
Austin Riley’s HoF plaque: Same question Himbo had about Sale, but for Kelenic

3:09
Ben Clemens: Now this one is a toughie

3:10
Ben Clemens: I am not as big of a believer in Kelenic as Atlanta, but I do think that the price was reasonable and that it’s smart to try things like that if you’re given the opportunity

3:10
Ben Clemens: he clearly has a carrying tool

3:10
Sirras: Bloody Inn is frustrating in the best way – perfectly designed that you always wish you had one more action per turn. Recommend giving it a shot!

3:10
Ben Clemens: What a great pitch for a game

3:10
Red Sux: So am I right to be angry every time I see Rob Refsnyder, Pablo Reyes, or Bobby Dalbec touch a bat?

3:10
Ben Clemens: mmmmm…. maybe not Dalbec?

3:10
Ben Clemens: I feel like the clay hasn’t quite dried there

3:10
Ben Clemens: Refsnyder and Reyes, yeah

3:10
Thomas: Do you think maybe Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman and Blake Snell were just figments of our imagination, and the reason they haven’t signed is that they don’t actually exist?

3:10
Ben Clemens: A reasonable theory

3:11
Cubs Fan: Are the cubs getting themselves into the giants/cardinals range where they have a bunch of good, not elite players where it will be hard for them to really add wins to the roster after this season?

3:12
Ben Clemens: They are, but maybe I’m too low on their farm system

3:13
Ben Clemens: I suppose PCA or Alcantara could be that guy

3:13
Morbo: Good afternoon puny humans.

3:13
Ben Clemens: Hi Morbo

3:13
Derek: what percentage of FG writers do you think will pick a team other than the Dodgers to win the WS this year? (and how about other than the Dodgers or Braves?)

3:13
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna answer the second, Dodgers or Braves

3:13
Ben Clemens: I think it’s pretty likely that I will

3:14
Ben Clemens: I’m with you in thinking that those two teams will be a very strong consensus

3:14
Ben Clemens: and i think that a higher percentage of writers will pick them than their true odds will be

3:14
Ben Clemens: but let’s say… 20%

3:14
Morbo: It’s been awhile since I’ve made a chat: what have I missed the last several months?

3:14
Ben Clemens: From me, not much! Overall, you’ve missed some awesome chats and then also some weird discussions of food from Dan

3:14
greenfrog: Do you think Ohtani will break down physically in a years from an accumulation of injuries, making his 10-year contract an albatross for the Dodgers?

3:15
Ben Clemens: I definitely do not

3:15
Ben Clemens: It’s hard for his contract to be an albatross given the marketing half of things

3:15
Ben Clemens: and the fact that he could just be a really good hitter

3:16
Dan: Your a GM of a 500 team trying to win a world series in the next two years. Your boss says I’ll double your payroll budget and and approve all trades but you have to give my grandson 400 at bats a year. Are you in?

3:16
Ben Clemens: Oh man, good question

3:16
Ben Clemens: I think I’d probably be out unless the owner’s grandson was already a major leaguer

3:16
Ben Clemens: or like, Robert Hassell the First

3:17
Tyguy: Related to above: would FG ever consider having writers make their picks more probabilistically? In other words, which team (in each league, or division, etc) is most underrated by the prevailing odds of making playoffs or winning World Series? That would be more interesting to me vs a regurgitation of mostly favorites (we all know the Dodgers are stacked!).

3:17
Ben Clemens: Probably not, but don’t worry, I just do it anyway

3:17
Baseball Guy: Have you ever noticed a trend that teams with elite bullpens overperform in the regular season compared to projections/expectations? the common sentiment was always been pitching and defense, but I’m starting to think that locking in the final 3 innings is actually more of an indicator. Think last years orioles — not incredible pitching, but that backend of the bullpen was lights out.

3:17
Ben Clemens: I did think this but I’ve never been able to find much evidence, and Dan hasn’t either

3:17
Eric: Re: PCA. Are Cubs fans who say he can fill a Bellinger-sized whole on the roster just coping or are they close enough to right that not getting Bellinger back isn’t that bad for them?

3:17
Ben Clemens: I’m not really the guy to ask about that, but prospect week is coming soon

3:19
greenfrog: The Blue Jays haven’t won a single postseason game during their current window of contention. Bichette and VGJ are controllable for two more seasons. Is the front office completely blowing this opportunity to win a WS?

3:19
Ben Clemens: Mmmmm…. I don’t really know how to disentangle bad outcome from bad process

3:20
Ben Clemens: I did like trading for Berrios at the time

3:20
Ben Clemens: and honestly they’d do that deal again even though he’s underwhelmed on the whole

3:20
Ben Clemens: certainly the team has not met expectations though

3:20
Ben Clemens: Alright on that note, I have to head out and make my lunch, but thanks everyone for a delightful chat today

3:20
Ben Clemens: Let’s do it again sometime soon

3:20
Ben Clemens: Have a wonderful week





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

17 Comments
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jb1205member
2 months ago

You say, “I don’t think ‘David Wright was better’ is a good argument, because if he didn’t have his career cut short by injuries he would probably be a Hall of Famer”. You’ve clearly never tried to have a civilized debate in the comments section with someone who insists that Wright was never elite! The reason Wright is a good argument, to me, is that Riley has not yet approached Wright’s best single seasons, and it will take at least half a decade of health and consistent hitting before he equals Wright’s career numbers- the career numbers that are still not good enough. Even if he eventually surpasses Wright’s career numbers in 2033, there will likely be guys like Jay who won’t ultimately vote for him because he’s behind Buddy Bell (not on the ballot) on his personal 3B wish list.

Smiling Politelymember
2 months ago
Reply to  jb1205

First Munson, then Santana; then I’m ready to hear the arguments for Wright, et al.

fjtorres
2 months ago

Bobby Grich.
Kenny Lofton.
A dozen others who had full careers and got shafted by the media voters.
There’s a long line ahead of the “would’ve been if only…”

jb1205member
2 months ago

This was never an argument for Wright, this was about whether Wright is a useful point of comparison to demonstrate how far Austin Riley is from the HOF.

Philmember
2 months ago
Reply to  jb1205

Hang on, are you talking about Jay Jaffe here?

I’m pretty sure he’s happy voting for worthy players, even if better players were unfairly unelected when they were on the ballot.

jb1205member
2 months ago
Reply to  Phil

Here’s a quote from Jaffe: “At an under-represented position, he’s behind a handful of unenshrined third basemen I feel more strongly deserve elections, such as Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Buddy Bell, Graig Nettles, and Sal Bando.”

So: it’s an underrepresented position, but he’s choosing not to vote for someone at least partly because he thinks some other guys – who are not on the ballot- should be inducted ahead of him.

This is not an argument for Wright’s election, FWIW, just a comment about the process.

Philmember
2 months ago
Reply to  jb1205

I really don’t get that vibe at all – I think if Jay though Wright was worthy, he’d vote for him, ballot space permitting. (Though I understand why you got a different impression from that quote)

jb1205member
2 months ago
Reply to  Phil

He doubles down on this in his election postmortem, mentioning how Wright is inferior to his 3B “wish list” of guys from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. He presented a perfectly valid quantitative case against Wright in his writeup, and could easily have left it at that. I’m honestly not sure what added value he sees in comparing a current candidate to previously-snubbed candidates.

Chip Lockemember
2 months ago
Reply to  jb1205

Ben was clearly answering “here are some guys that have a significant chance based on their trajectory and BBWAA voting history”. He even stated multiple times that he didn’t think Riley was likely, nor did he argue that Riley today is better or has better HoF chances than Wright did.

Also, we all argue who deserves to be in the hall of fame as a binary but clearly operate in a HoF-spectrum universe. It is very very plausible that Austin Riley makes the hall of fame with a worse statistical profile than David Wright. I would posit that is the second most likely outcome in the “Will Riley make the HoF and be better than Wright” debate.

Everyone needs to relax.

fjtorres
2 months ago
Reply to  Chip Locke

Correct.
Counting stats and longevity matters to voters, even for “very good” accumulators.

jb1205member
2 months ago
Reply to  Chip Locke

My comment was entirely about whether it’s fair to dismiss the Wright comparison. Ben didn’t seem to think it was a useful comparison because Wright was on a HOF trajectory himself before he was injured. My response was that there are plenty of people who don’t think so. Wright is a guy who is borderline, at best, for a lot of people– and that’s completely fair.

So, if you throw out Riley’s name as a potential HOFer, why doesn’t it make sense to look at him next to someone who is borderline, and who is a recent candidate for induction? Why doesn’t it make sense to consider whether Riley’s best season’s stack up, or to highlight how much further he has to go in terms of accumulation?

Chip Lockemember
2 months ago
Reply to  jb1205

If Wright is healthy and plays another 5 years and accumulates 12.5 WAR, 800 hits, another AS or two, maybe down ballot MVP votes, I bet 80% of people who currently say he was borderline at best would be on the other side of that coin.

People do not actually debate the objective “his peak was/wasn’t HoF worthy”. They might phrase it that way, but people actually take into account the entirety of the career and the context when judging even just a peak.

If Wright’s career shape was the same years and stats but different order, the same people would also have different opinions. If he spent 5+ years injured and then whipped out 8 seasons of peak Wright and then abruptly retired, some people who say his peak wasn’t HoF worthy would definitely have a different opinion, even if it’s exactly the same otherwise.

The point is Wright is not a good comparison because their careers are very likely going to be entirely different in shape. It’s a little bit like comparing Kenny Lofton to Andruw Jones. Besides position played, it’s just not the same.