Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 4/19/22

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, welcome to a special Tuesday chat

2:00
Ben Clemens: Special because I was driving home from LA yesterday. Back to regularly scheduled Monday ones next week

2:00
Ben Clemens: But for now, let’s talk about baseball, and potentially games and/or recipes?

2:00
ricky boebby: odds JBJ outwars Hunter Renfroe?

2:00
Ben Clemens: Starting with one that I find low-key delightful

2:01
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’s actually *that* likely, maybe one in four?

2:01
Ben Clemens: But yeah, it’s looking like a bad trade for the Brewers in the early going

2:01
Ben Clemens: I think it looks worse b/c of how little offensive firepower they hvae

2:02
Ben Clemens: Like, Renfroe is a nice hitter imo

2:02
Ben Clemens: He’s miscast when he’s hitting 3 or 4, particularly against righties

2:02
chilly: better positioned for a turn around, abe toro or ty taylor?  getting similar playing time and sadly similar results.  who u trust more?

2:02
Ben Clemens: Gimme Toro of the two. I’ve always been high on Toro, so maybe I’m just projecting that, but I feel like his skillset has a solid base to where he’s unlikely ot just be unplayable

2:03
Ben Clemens: I do worry that Taylor will fall into the no power, no walks hole

2:03
Ben Clemens: But yeah, I dunno, I think both are clearly better than what they’ve shown so far and wouldn’t be too panicked about either

2:03
14343: (Very) early reactions to the Astros rookies (Siri / Pena)?

2:04
Ben Clemens: Love Pena

2:04
Ben Clemens: Still think he’s gonna be great, early results haven’t changed my opinion

2:04
Ben Clemens: As for Siri, I think he’s going to end up with limited playing time when Meyers returns

2:05
Ben Clemens: But he’s definitely exciting

2:05
Ben Clemens: No one has seen Jose Siri play and thought ‘well that dude is boring’

2:05
Ben Clemens: Awesome against-the-wall catch last night too

2:05
Cito’s Mustache: Joe Maddon’s IBB with the based loaded was objectively bad, but isn’t it still kinda cool that it happened? It gave fans something to talk about, and writers like yourself a chance to analyze a manager’s strategy. I’d be upset as an Angels’ fan but as a neutral observer these are the oddities that make baseball so much fun.

2:05
Ben Clemens: I got two articles out of it, I’m definitely not complaining 🙂

2:05
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it’s fun to talk about things like this, but I wish he’d be a little more forthcoming about why he did it

2:06
Ben Clemens: I do like that managers get to make decisions and we get to talk about them, that’s one of my beats here

2:06
Loving Mariners Fan: How worried on a scale of 1-10 are you with J-Rod? I’m probably a 3 currently.

2:06
Ben Clemens: seems reasonable to me

2:06
Ben Clemens: Not every rookie crushes out of the gate

2:07
Inaccessible Rail: I know I’m a little late with this question, but did the Mets get ripped off, compared to the Padres, in their trade for an A’s pitcher?

2:07
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so?

2:07
Ben Clemens: I think Bassitt is better than Manaea, basically

2:08
Ben Clemens: And I don’t see a ton of difference in the returns. Ginn is more highly touted but I think that both Martinez and Angeles are kinda interesting

2:09
The Real Ben Clemens: Which happens first: the Reds win a game, or the Pirates call up Cruz?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Haha, Reds win a game

2:09
Ben Clemens: My ‘I can’t believe they haven’t called up Oneil Cruz’ article is in mothballs, but I might have to break it out soon

2:10
Sultan of Seitan: Andrew Heaney.  Are the Dodgers just that good at development that he’s going to fulfill his promise or was his last start going to be his best start of the year?

2:10
Ben Clemens: He had two starts better than his last start (at least by Game Score v2) last year

2:10
Ben Clemens: 6.1 innings against the Astros with 10 k’s, no walks, and two hits

2:11
Ben Clemens: And 6.2 against the Rays, 4 hits, 10 k’s, 1 walk, no runs

2:11
Ben Clemens: So he’s definitely capable of some impressive numbers

2:11
Ben Clemens: I like what the Dodgers have done to harness his breaking ball

2:11
Ben Clemens: But the frustrating thing about Heaney has never been that he isn’t capable of a great performance

2:11
Ben Clemens: It’s the consistency

2:11
Ben Clemens: Give it a little time

2:11
Teddy: Current favorite / most entertaining windups or deliveries?

2:11
Ben Clemens: I really enjoy Jesus Luzardo’s slide step quick pitch

2:12
Ben Clemens: It’s very aesthetically pleasing

2:12
Ben Clemens: Tyler Rogers is obviously great

2:12
Paulie: Are you buying a Luzardo breakout season….or was it just one start?

2:12
Ben Clemens: Cautiously optimistic

2:12
Ben Clemens: speaking of

2:12
Ben Clemens: I’m always going to be a little worried about his fastball, it’s one of those whole-is-less-than-the-parts things

2:13
Ben Clemens: And I really wish he’d either scrap his sinker or get back to throwing a true sinker instead of a wonky four-seamer

2:13
Ben Clemens: but I love the slider, I love the pitchability, and it’s a refreshing change to have a prospect who I think of as a guy who ‘knows how to pitch’ also throwing 99

2:13
RTJ: Is Bellinger Back? High Babip, but hard to completely fake 2 HRs and a couple doubles early on, right?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Kind of depends on what you m ean by back

2:14
Ben Clemens: If you’re asking whether he’s back to 2019, I don’ think so

2:14
Ben Clemens: the thing that made him so interesting when he was at peak was that his strikeout rate just vanished

2:15
Ben Clemens: That hasn’t been the case this year. But I’m encouraged that he’s making loud contact again and doing so without wildly expanding the zone

2:15
Inaccessible Rail: Once I heard about the injury Dom Smith played through last year, I thought he’d have a big 2022. So far, he has not looked good. Loads of Ks. Will he turn it around? Or is 2021 Dom what he is?

2:16
Ben Clemens: I do not think that he’s 2021 Dom

2:16
Ben Clemens: I also don’t think he’s going to keep striking out 40% of the time; he only has 23 plate appearances

2:16
Ben Clemens: he probably won’t ISO 0 either haha

2:17
Ben Clemens: Give it a little time, imo

2:17
The Real Ben Clemens: Played Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective for the first time last week. Had a great time, though one minor critique I have is that I wish it came with some way to visually mark which locations you had already visited so you didn’t have to keep cross-referencing your notes.

2:17
Ben Clemens: That would be really nice!

2:17
Ben Clemens: It’s definitely not the smoothest play-through, and they could make it less clunky

2:17
Ben Clemens: Glad you liked it

2:17
namiki: What kind of pitch is the Sweeper that we hear so much about these days? Also, do you think it is effective when viewed with Run Value?

2:18
Ben Clemens: I think the best descriptoin I’ve heard of it is that it’s what people used to call a slurve

2:18
Ben Clemens: It’s not a wholly new pitch or anything

2:19
Ben Clemens: I do think it’s effective; I think that it especially plays well with lateral-breaking fastballs

2:19
Ben Clemens: But really, whatever you want to call it, it shouldn’t be THAT surprising that a slider with big horizontal break is hard to hit

2:19
Ben Clemens: Particularly when thrown hard

2:19
Golan Norman: Will Dylan Carlson hit for enough power to fend off some of the other prospects the Cardinals have? (Nootbar, Burleson)

2:19
Ben Clemens: Yeah, not worried there

2:19
Ben Clemens: Rough first week of the season but yeah, it’s a week

2:20
Jeremy: Is a sweeper the same thing as peak Corey Kluber’s slider, which moved like a frisbee?

2:20
5 Run Homer: The rise of the sweeper makes me so happy, one of the nicest looking pitches in baseball

2:20
Ben Clemens: Do you guys know about FanGraphs pitch type splits?

2:20
Ben Clemens: They’re amazing

2:20
Ben Clemens: Here’s Kluber’s slider

2:20
Ben Clemens: at his peak, it had more than 10 inches of horizontal movement as we calculate it

2:20
Ben Clemens: and very little vertical movement aside from gravity

2:21
Ben Clemens: So yeah, excellent example

2:21
Ben Clemens: That was a classic ‘what the heck do we call this pitch?’ pitch too

2:21
5 Run Homer: So far, my under-the-radar favourite Blue Jay this season has been Santiago Espinal. Great 2B defence, hitting the ball way harder than last year, he’s always made lots of contact, feels like the perfect player to lengthen the lineup a bit. What do you see in him?

2:22
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure I buy into the power, but I liked him before the season, so his start is definitely not making me like him less

2:22
Ben Clemens: solid eye, solid contact skills, plus defender

2:23
Ben Clemens: I don’t completely buy into him being a giant power hitter now but he doesn’t have to be

2:23
Ben Clemens: That kind of profile is just already decent

2:24
Sultan of Seitan: Gavin Lux. Best Post Hype Sleeper this year?

2:24
Ben Clemens: I think so, but that’s a generous definition of sleeper

2:25
Ben Clemens: He’s a really good hitter, to the point where the Dodgers were willing to let him play centerfield with no experience to get his bat in the lineup

2:25
Ben Clemens: and that was last playoffs

2:25
Ben Clemens: I think that rumors of his post-hypeness have been greatly exaggerated

2:25
Nate: What do you think of CJ Abrams?  Has been rough so far but still early.   Do you think he finds his footing this year?

2:25
Ben Clemens: I’m a bit worried, but mainly on the plyaing time front

2:26
Ben Clemens: Haven’t really had enough observations to opine on anything else. He’s too swing-happy so far, and hasn’t had great ball/strike recognition, but I think you can attribute some of that to getting this unexpected callup and pressing

2:27
Ben Clemens: Just not enough data to say anything else. But they have a lot of capable shortstops and Tatis is coming back so it’s a tough spot

2:27
Inaccessible Rail: Is anyone going to sign Conforto?

2:27
Ben Clemens: Yeah, but at this point, probably after the June 15 cutoff (I think June 15?) for comp picks

2:27
DyNastyGirl: I’m similarly concerned with CJ Abrams playing time. Any idea what’s going on there? Shouldn’t he be getting full time ABs either in AAA or MLB?

2:28
Ben Clemens: Yeah I would be playing him full-time in AAA personally. That said, they’ve gotten better about it

2:29
Ben Clemens: He played six games in a row before their off day yesterday

2:29
5 Run Homer: Roki Sasaki’s last two outings are the greatest <20 inning stretch in baseball history, right? I know it’s not MLB but it’s so insane

2:29
Ben Clemens: Uh, yes

2:29
Guest: With many folks attributing the true impact of the third time through penalty to the familiarity effect, it seems to me like the next big player dev breakthrough could come in the form of AR/VR Modelling what it looks like to stand in the box against a particular pitcher and see each of their pitches.

2:29
Ben Clemens: I like the idea of this quite a bit

2:29
Ben Clemens: This is a HUGE step down from that but the O’s broadcast noted that the Rays take starter arm slot into account in BP

2:30
Ben Clemens: or in the machines they use?

2:30
Ben Clemens: I forget the exact way they said it, but htey’d just seen it on the field during warmups

2:30
Appa Yip Yip: How do you feel about those umpire scorecards? Useful or needlessly rage inducing for fans?

2:30
Ben Clemens: Closer to the second, though I must admit I look at them too

2:32
Benny and the Mets: Saw some hype for the Lourdes Gurriel Jr. breakout this spring. Let’s just say he DOES go 90th percentile… what’s that stat line look like? Need to decide  if I prefer him over Joey Gallo in a points league

2:33
Ben Clemens: Good Lourdes is probably something like good Jorge Polanco

2:34
Ben Clemens: sneaky power! strikes out less than average, walks a respectable amount, not necessarily a power hitter but someone who still racks up doubles and sneaks homers in

2:34
Derek: Any teams or players emerging as early MLB.tv go-tos so far this year?

2:34
Ben Clemens: I’ve found myself watching a lot of the Brewers to kind of gawk at how fun their pitchers are and how inept their lineup can be at times

2:35
Ben Clemens: Also the Mets, love both their broadcast crew and watching Canha and Marte

2:35
Ben Clemens: hm, who else? Jays

2:35
Ben Clemens: Jays are quite fun

2:35
Krusty: so this is pretty random but: if I were to try and focus on a context-driven war as opposed to the more neutralized ones, do you think RE24 is up to snuff to replace Batting? I’m thinking sort of like RA9-WAR vs fWAR?

2:35
Ben Clemens: Yeah. RE24 or WPA/LI makes sense to me

2:35
Morbo: Is Trout just made of glass at this point?

2:36
Ben Clemens: I’m getting a little worried about it

2:37
Ben Clemens: Byyyyyy the way, if you’re looking for times where it makes sense to intentionally walk someone, how about the hitters behind Ohtani yesterday being Taylor Ward, Jared Walsh, Max Stassi?

2:37
Ben Clemens: Woooooooof

2:37
brooklyn55: This Jo Adell playing time situation looking like it might only be a few starts per week with that OF glut. What you think?

2:38
Ben Clemens: If it is, they should do something about Maddon. Adell needs to be playing every day, and if 14 PA of Taylor Ward has changed his mind for good, we’ve got issues

2:38
Ben Clemens: I’d feel differently if they came into the year not expecting to play Adell

2:38
Ben Clemens: But clearly, the team thinks he is worth committing to

2:38
Gil: What’s something a pitcher does in the early going that you can hang your hat on as progress and not small samples? Is there really anything? I watch Tylor Megill and he’s looked awesome but it’s also against iffy competition in 10.1 IP

2:38
Ben Clemens: Velo, swinging strike rate

2:39
Ben Clemens: movement, I think, too

2:39
Max H: Re: Conforto. Isn’t the draft later this year? He may not sign until mid July. Still worth holding on?

2:39
Ben Clemens: Ohhhhhh right

2:39
Ben Clemens: Wow yeah that’s gonna be a problem

2:40
Morbo: Trout hasn’t played more that 140 games since 2016. Thats 6 seasons and counting. I’d have even counted a full 2020 season but he missed 7 games

2:40
Ben Clemens: I think 2020 counts; 7 games isn’t that bad there

2:40
Ben Clemens: But yes, it’s been quite a while since he’s put together a whole season

2:40
Guest: Can you pitch a perfect game and lose? Tied after nine innings then give up a sacrifice bunt and sac fly and lose in the 10th with the zombie runner scoring?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Sadly sure

2:41
Ben Clemens: I mean, it’d never happen

2:41
Ben Clemens: Nobody’s going more than 9 innings these days

2:41
Ben Clemens: but yes

2:41
Lou Perltzman: Jays are fun to watch but I can’t get into that broadcast team

2:41
Ben Clemens: I haven’t minded it so much

2:41
Benny and the Mets: Did you see that Yelich bomb yesterday? Yowza

2:41
Ben Clemens: O bliterated

2:42
Joe w: Keegan Thompson: solid relief pitcher or future back end starter?

2:42
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna go with solid reliever

2:42
Ben Clemens: But good reliever

2:42
Appa Yip Yip: Robbie Ray’s velo is down. At this point in the season are you raising an eyebrow or shrugging a shoulder?

2:43
Ben Clemens: Eyebrow

2:43
Ben Clemens: It’s only two starts, but 2 mph does not make me excited

2:43
5 Run Homer: The Blue Jays broadcast team is good when it’s Martinez and Shulman, when it’s Martinez and Tabler it just turns into two old guys who don’t really get the modern game

2:44
Ben Clemens: Unfortunately Martinez is on a leave of absence as well

2:44
Ben Clemens: For cancer treatment

2:44
Ben Clemens: Best wishes on a speedy return to him

2:44
Benny and the Mets: Ray was pretty cold in his first start… he spoke about it after the game. I’m waaaay in the camp of short spring sucks for pitchers

2:45
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I have a much higher ‘oh I’m skeptical’ threshold this year on kind of everyone

2:45
Ben Clemens: I don’t know how badly a short spring affects everyone, but I think that it has clearly affected some pitchers to start out

2:45
Morbo: Non Dodgers team most likely to win 100+ games. My money is on the Blue Jays (apparently I like to play projections on Dark Souls mode)

2:45
Ben Clemens: Chaos mode: the Giants

2:46
Ben Clemens: Actual pick mode: the White Sox

2:46
Ben Clemens: that division hasn’t looked bad, but it’s the most likely to collapse imo

2:46
Ben Clemens: and they have some good players

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’m not THAT high on the White Sox but I think opposition matters a lot when you’re tlaking about winning 100

2:46
Ben Clemens: and the ALE is stacked

2:47
Farhandrew Zaidman: How did the fiction that the Dodgers and Braves are rivals start? I listened to the Atlanta broadcast last night and they mentioned the “rivalry” at least 5 times….I don’t know any Dodger fans who consider the Braves rivals.

2:47
Ben Clemens: I think it’s just the Jansen/Freeman stuff

2:47
Ben Clemens: I would not consider them real rivals at all

2:48
cylan darlson: do you think gorman should be in the bigs or is extra seasoning needed/fine?

2:48
Ben Clemens: I think it’s fine

2:49
Ben Clemens: I’m high on his potential, but I don’t think he’s obviously the starter in the bigs right now over Edman

2:49
Ben Clemens: he’s striking out more than a third of the time so far in a tiny sample

2:49
Ben Clemens: And I definitely want him playing every dya

2:49
Ben Clemens: so unless Edman is on the shelf, I’d keep Gorman in the minors for a bit

2:49
Ben Clemens: If Edman goes down, though, or Arenado, I’d definitely be comfortable bringing him up

2:49
Derek: Braves-Dodgers also have had a couple playoff series recently with some pretty dramatic games… I think it’s fine (and fun) for them to be “rivals” at the moment! Not like anyone will confuse it for Yankees-Red Sox

2:50
Ben Clemens: Yeah if it’s a ‘rivalry’ fine

2:50
Ben Clemens: It’s not a real rivalry, but they’ve run into each other quite a bit lately

2:50
Ben Clemens: I doubt the players on either team (or either side’s fans) have deep-seated hate for the other side or anything

2:50
Max H: Julio or Kelenic for this season and long term?

2:50
Ben Clemens: Julio for both

2:51
Ben Clemens: I’ve never quite been in on Kelenic

2:51
Ben Clemens: I mean I don’t think he’s BAD

2:51
Ben Clemens: but I was just the low person on the hype I think?

2:51
RTJ: Should MLB make a rule that helps runners if they leave the base for a split second (e.g., after a steal and their foot pops up for a split second) that can really only be seen via Replay? Does that violate the spirit of replay?

2:51
Ben Clemens: I’d get rid of that rule for sure

2:52
Ben Clemens: Create a safe zone above the base — if you’ve already touched the base, and one of your body parts is still above it, you’re still ‘on the base’

2:52
Ben Clemens: It’s just a silly side effect of replay that no one actually wants

2:52
Boston Yellow Sox: The Red Sox are 8-2 when they wear the City Connect yellow jerseys. Time for a rebrand?

2:52
Ben Clemens: Hot take: I don’t actually hate them

2:52
Ben Clemens: I know a lot of people dislike them

2:52
Ben Clemens: I like them as a change of pace only, to be clear

2:53
Ben Clemens: The actual Red Sox jerseys are still good

2:53
namiki: Do you think the trend of replacing pitchers during ongoing no-hitters will continue, as it did with Kershaw and Darvish?
(I believe it will continue, in part because of the increased visibility of TTOP)

2:53
Ben Clemens: I do

2:53
Ben Clemens: TTOP, but also protecting pitcher arms

2:53
Bargain Basement: End of Year, who’s at the Bottom: Nats, Pirates, Dbacks?

2:54
Ben Clemens: I’ll take the Pirates. I’m just worried more than I am on the other teams that they’ll run out of players

2:54
Rob: I’m curious your thoughts on the Daulton Varsho C/OF thing. I mean, roster flexibility is always good. But how much flexibility does this give if they carry two actual catchers plus Varsho? Wouldn’t the real flexibility come with 1 catcher plus Varsho? Also, how many games does he have to catch in a year to actually keep his skills sharp? Is 20 enough? Is that a real concern or am I making that up?

2:54
Ben Clemens: It’s confusing to me too!

2:55
Ben Clemens: It does give you PH flexibility, because teams hate PH’ing with their second catcher

2:55
Ben Clemens: and if he’s around, they’ll do it more

2:55
Ben Clemens: But it’s kinda marginal

2:55
Ben Clemens: i think the real reason to keep the flexibility is that they might try to trade him or Kelly

2:56
E-rod: Would you support E-rod as a top 15 WAR pitcher per steamer?

2:56
Ben Clemens: Yeah!

2:56
Ben Clemens: but…. that looks bad so far this year, to put it charitably

2:57
Ben Clemens: I just don’t see any obvious cause for concern this early

2:57
Ben Clemens: I might say ‘oh his swinging strike rate terrifies me’

2:57
Ben Clemens: but opponents are making contact on 88% of their chases

2:57
Ben Clemens: Not worried that’s gonna keep up

2:57
Jacob: If drafting for the next 3 years, what is the order you would pick the giants starters in?

2:58
Ben Clemens: Webb, Rodon, (gap), Wood, Cobb, (gap) Disco

2:58
Ben Clemens: I’m totally bought in on Webb

2:58
Ben Clemens: top 10 starter in baseball imo

2:59
barney gumble: hey Ben. Gerrit Cole’s stuff is still there but he hasn’t had a good start in quite some time. it’s not the hammy anymore…what gives?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Star Spangled Banner goes a minute too long in each of his starts

2:59
Ben Clemens: What is he supposed to do???

2:59
Ben Clemens: No, I dunno, I’d give him more time, the stuff looks fine

2:59
Knizner? I barely know her: Is Seiya for real or will he taper off a bit?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Yes

2:59
Ben Clemens: and Yes

3:00
Golan Norman: Would you consider the Reds and Cardinals rivals? I never did until after the Jason LaRue-Johnny Cueto fight

3:00
Ben Clemens: I’d say that the Cardinals are the Reds’ rivals, but not vice versa

3:00
Ben Clemens: the Cardinals are the rival of a lot of teams in the central b/c they’ve been near the top for so long

3:01
Appa Yip Yip: By the end of the year will Manoah be the Jays best starter?

3:01
Ben Clemens: I picked Berrios to win the Cy Young

3:01
Ben Clemens: (oof)

3:01
Ben Clemens: so I have to say n o

3:01
Ben Clemens: I really like Berrios a lot, though

3:01
RTJ: Cole’s numbers since the sticky stuff have not been great though. I think he’s around a 4.5 ERA since that day, plenty of sample size now

3:01
Ben Clemens: counterpoint: not enough sample size

3:01
Jacob: Who has the better starters in the series this week: the Giants with Cobb, Webb, Rodón, DeSclafani, or the Mets with Megill, Scherzer, Bassitt, Carrasco?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I’ve been pondering this one for a while!

3:02
Ben Clemens: I’ll take the Mets but it’s really close

3:03
Ben Clemens: I trust Megill and Carrasco a bit more than Cobb/DeSclafani

3:03
Ben Clemens: (very debatable obviously)

3:03
Ben Clemens: I’d take the Giants’ top two over the Mets for now

3:03
Ben Clemens: it’s just realllly close

3:03
Morbo: “Dodgers and Braves are rivals” this reminds me how Royals fans have told me that the Cardinals and the Royals are rivals. They aren’t Cardinals fans don’t even think about the Royals unless it to laugh at the fact that Mike Matheny is their coach for some reason. Now the Cubs on the other hand. They live rent free in our heads

3:03
Ben Clemens: Rent free!

3:03
why? Oh why: Do we see the same 8-9 people with multiple questions and some with none?

3:03
Ben Clemens: Probably because they’re asking 8000000 questions, haha

3:03
Farhandrew Zaidman: Do you think we’re going to start seeing more starting pitchers throw 50%+ breaking balls a la Kershaw? Seems like the conventional wisdom these days is throw your best pitch the most, setup be damned.

3:04
Ben Clemens: Oh yes, for sure

3:04
Ben Clemens: I really like the idea, too

3:04
Ben Clemens: It doesn’t work for everyone, obviously

3:04
Ben Clemens: If your best pitch is a splitter you bounce, you can’t throw it 60% of the time

3:04
Ben Clemens: But I think that pitchers with secondaries they can locate for strikes at least some of the time should be more willing to do so

3:04
chilly: what should the panic level be on a guy like sano.  i was hoping to hear best shape of his life articles in spring but alas that wasnt the case.  but he did a base somehow

3:05
Ben Clemens: Panic level for me on Sano is like a 3 out of 10

3:05
Ben Clemens: he has a .053 BABIP which is just unbelievable

3:06
Ben Clemens: still hitting the ball hard; I’m worried by how often he’s been under the ball and popping up but encouraged that he’s showing improving selectiveness at the plate

3:06
Boston Yellow Sox: Relatedly: Favorite City Connect design so far? I’m a huge fan of the Astros design that just came out

3:06
Ben Clemens: The Astros one is good, I also like the Cherry Blossom Nats one

3:07
Ben Clemens: that said I’ve been to the cherry blossom festival countless times so I’m predisposed to like it

3:07
Buttcheex: Any worry about Votto or will he fix himself again like 2021 2nd half?

3:07
Ben Clemens: I’m worried, unfortunately

3:08
Ben Clemens: Not b/c of his line, per se

3:08
Ben Clemens: But b/c he’s old and that’s scary by itself

3:08
Ben Clemens: he had a super hot spring, which I didn’t put much stock into

3:08
Ben Clemens: and I’m not putting too much stock into this early slump

3:08
Ben Clemens: But I’m just always going to be worrie

3:08
Ben Clemens: d

3:08
Ben Clemens: at his age and with his skillset, if he started making less contact it could be tough

3:09
Owen H: Can the Cubs make Hoerner and Madrigal work in the middle infield long term?

3:09
Ben Clemens: Nah, I don’t thikn so. I don’t buy Hoerner as a real long-term shortstop

3:09
Ben Clemens: And I definitely don’t buy Madrigal there long-term

3:09
Ben Clemens: Hoerner as kind of a super-utility guy maybe? I’m also kinda down on Wisdom so he could get plenty of time at third

3:09
Morbo: Re Votto I feel like the most concerning sign is his sub 10% walk rate

3:10
Ben Clemens: Yeah; I think that contact rate has a lot to say about that

3:10
Ben Clemens: Votto’s two strike approach is very defensive; if he’s coming up empty on those swings it’s harder for him to walk

3:10
Let go mets baby!: Nester Cortes will clearly sustain his 16 K per 9

3:10
Ben Clemens: Another candidate for most fun delivery

3:10
Armadillofury: Counterpoint re: Suzuki : I remember how both Abreu and Eric Thames looked like world beaters in their first seasons before the scouting report was out. Even for domestic guys like Judge or Alonso, their first full season will probably go down as their best

3:11
Ben Clemens: I mean, he obviously own’t be this good?

3:11
Ben Clemens: he looks quite good so far, though, and I think a lot of the worry in his projection was that we just didn’t know whether his approach would translat

3:11
Ben Clemens: It seems like it is at least not going to be a complete washout; so I fall back to the projections then, and they think he’ll be pretty good

3:11
Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: Is there any reason to believe Huascar Ynoa will regain his first half 2021 form, or was that a fluke?

3:11
Ben Clemens: I’m leaning fluke

3:12
Ben Clemens: I was always a bit confused on how he was doing it as his good streak was going on

3:12
Ben Clemens: Which makes it much easier for me to believe it was a fluke

3:12
Ben Clemens: Priors affecting opinions, basically

3:12
Joey Fart: Is worrying about Gallo unreasonable?

3:13
Ben Clemens: Nah, he’s the kind of player who just stokes worry by the shape of his outcomes

3:13
Ben Clemens: I’d think you were an unfeeling robot if you weren’t worried about him

3:13
Ben Clemens: when he’s not going well, he’s REALLY not going well

3:14
Guest: Have you gotten any feedback / response on your take that the Pirates are one of the most profitable teams? I found that intensely interesting & not something I’d ever thought of

3:15
Ben Clemens: Not specifically, but I found this Post-Gazette report very interesting

3:15
Ben Clemens: title: “Records show the Pirates’ payroll is often covered by ticket and food sales”

3:15
Ben Clemens: Well, that is not most of their revenue!

3:15
Ben Clemens: sounds like a good deal for them

3:15
Wireless Joe Jackson: Sano is walking more and striking out less than ever before.  His BABIP is killing him.

3:16
Ben Clemens: Yeah… I do think some of the BABIP woes are real

3:16
Ben Clemens: but yes

3:16
Ben Clemens: Alright, I’m gonna go make some lunch. Thanks for chatting with me today everyone, and I’ll see you again next Monday for some slightly-better-reasoned takes





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

3 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
averagejoe15
9 months ago

Overall disappointed by most of the City Connects so far.
It’s either a bad thematic choice (Wrigleyville).
Or they don’t get the color scheme right (Nats cherry blossoms are cool but putting that on a grey jersey was just awful).