Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 4/22/24

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

2:00
Ben Clemens: Today’s gonna be a nice leisurely day chat-wise, so let’s get right into it and then proceed at a gentle pace for a while

2:01
RTJ: Nick Castellanos has had 1 barrel this year and his statcast xBA is basically the same as his real batting average (.177). After we get through the jokes about deep drives to left field, is there anything we can take away from his slow start as we approach one month into the season? Is there any other hitter who is off to a slower start this season?

2:02
Ben Clemens: You can take away from his slow start that Castellanos hasn’t been a difference maker in years

2:02
Ben Clemens: Like, actual years

2:02
Ben Clemens: He was good in 2021

2:02
Ben Clemens: He’s been worth a cumulative 0.0 WAR in his Phillies career

2:03
Ben Clemens: Is anyone off to a slower start? My article today has some suggestions. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have been putrid

2:03
Darren: Do you think Arenado is playing hurt? His average seems propped up by a high BABIP and his avg and max exit velocities are down a lot. Or is it still too early to tell?

2:04
Ben Clemens: I do, I think. He is so far out of his approach, it looks really bad

2:05
Ben Clemens: I honestly don’t think it’s too early to tell. This is not what a good Nolan Arenado looks like. Maybe he’s hurt, maybe he’s just declined a ton, but he’s not playing at a level that fits with who he has been in recent years

2:05
Matt: Is Goldschmidt cooked?

2:05
Ben Clemens: meanwhile!

2:06
Ben Clemens: A week ago, I wasn’t super worried about Goldschmidt

2:06
Ben Clemens: Now, I’m worried

2:07
Ben Clemens: The power numbers are a big problem

2:07
Ben Clemens: It’s no longer ‘oh he’s swinging and missing too much’

2:07
Ben Clemens: In his last 8 games he has a 22.9% strikeout rate

2:07
Ben Clemens: fine!

2:07
Ben Clemens: he’s hitting .167/.265/.167

2:07
Ben Clemens: in those games

2:07
Ben Clemens: that will not cut it

2:08
Kut me: Did Kutter Crawford sell his soul to the devil?

2:08
Ben Clemens: I mean, I don’t think he’s this good, but I do think he’s good

2:08
the person who asks the lunch quesion: What’s for lunch?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Meal kit today. My wife had dinner out with friends last night and I stayed home and cooked for myself, so no leftovers

2:09
Ben Clemens: I think this one is a pasta of some type

2:09
Mets: Am I crazy to think the Mets to think the Mets can win 86-87 games and win a wild card? The rotation is shaky but once Senga returns and Scott is called up it could be solid. The bullpen is getting led by relief ace(!) Reed Garrett and has been great and they have a good offensive core due positive regression

2:09
Ben Clemens: I mean, no?

2:10
Ben Clemens: We projected them for 81 wins preseason, 83 wins now

2:10
Ben Clemens: 86-87 is extremely close to that

2:10
Lance Lynn HR Machine: The Cardinals older players are showing their age and their younger players like Walker and Gorman are struggling and not developing. Former Cardinals like O’Neill and Hicks have been playing great and the team’s offense should in theory be great but is really struggling. Is there some coaching and game plan problems in Stl?

2:10
Ben Clemens: Um, yes

2:10
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure about game plan

2:10
Ben Clemens: Who in the world can figure that out from the outside

2:11
Ben Clemens: But I refuse to believe that the management that gave us things like ‘victor scott plays every day until the front office demotes him defensively’ and ‘jordan walker is not allowed to play defense or pinch hit for alec burleson’ is sneakily great at everything else

2:12
Nate: I mean Baltimore is just unstoppable right now? Arguably not a single below-average lineup regular, Adley Rutschman has somehow become underrated on his own team, RYAN O’HEARN is a dangerous middle of the order bat, it feels like any of one of them is capable of hitting the crap out of the ball at any moment. God help us all if Holliday wakes up

2:12
Ben Clemens: They look pretty great

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’m not sold on Holliday even sticking in the majors this year, let alone being spectacular right away, but I’m very excited for them

2:14
Ben Clemens: My ranking of fun teams to watch in baseball right now:

2:14
Ben Clemens:

  1. O’s
  2. Brewers
  3. Yankees
  4. Dodgers
  5. Royals
2:14
emh1969: How concerned should the Guardians be about Jose Ramirez? Only one non-intentional walk in 95 PAs which is way below his career average. Seems like something has changed.

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’d be worried here

2:15
Ben Clemens: His swing has gone up SO MUCH

2:15
Ben Clemens: swing rate, rather

2:15
Ben Clemens: like, a scary amount

2:16
Ben Clemens: I’m definitely getting a ‘swing away to generate power’ vibe here

2:16
Tacoby Bellsbury: Who of the White Sox, Marlins or Rockies ends with the worst record this season?

2:16
bosoxforlife: Should I make a parlay bet on both the Rockies and the White Sox not reaching 50 wins?

2:16
Ben Clemens: Popular topic!

2:16
Ben Clemens: Um…. I think parlays are generally pretty bad bets

2:16
Ben Clemens: so no

2:17
Ben Clemens: I think that the Sox will end up with the worst record

2:17
Ben Clemens: and hey, shout out to the A’s who look downright acceptable

2:17
Guest: They’re just this year’s examples, but between Langford and Holliday, do people realize yet how HARD it is for young rooks in MLB? No matter how good they look before their debuts, most of them aren’t gonna be a Soto or (lol) Michael Harris, but they get treated like it. I guess because of the ceiling… but, it takes years for most of these guys…

2:17
Ben Clemens: No, no one ever remembers this

2:17
Ben Clemens: It shocks people every time

2:18
Ben Clemens: Baseball is super hard, and figuring out how good someone will be in the big leagues before they’ve ever played in the big leagues is an inexacts science

2:18
Cubs pen: Would you say the chat has a patient approach? A real professional chatter?

2:18
Ben Clemens: This chat is going to see a few pitches, no doubrt

2:18
Ben Clemens: it’s going to make the other team (I guess that’s you all) work

2:18
Ben Clemens: It won’t get itself out

2:19
Insert Witty Name Here: Gentle Ben, curious to know if you had that bagel conversation with your friend?  About to make some tonight.

2:19
Ben Clemens: I did, and I’ll let you know the next time he makes bagels

2:19
Ben Clemens: I guess he’s not that frequent of a bageler?

2:19
bosoxforlife: Soto’s at the plate, Ben is on the chat! All is right with the world.

2:19
Ben Clemens: Heck yeah, love me watching some Soto

2:19
RTJ: Orelvis Martinez starting 2b for Blue Jays soon?

2:19
KC Pain: Nats Parker….what gives?  Everywhere has him as a 35-40 grade prospect. Minors numbers dont impress.  One win I get but he lookes better and 2nd outing.  Something change in off season?  He add a new pitch or change delivery?

2:19
boggspuckett: Mitchell Parker, more likely:  “Hey, remember Mitchell Parker from a couple of years ago?  What ever happened to him?”, or “Mitchell Parker: Solid Rotation Piece Outta Nowhere”?

2:20
Ben Clemens: I’m on the ‘hey mitchell parker remember him?’ side of this for now

2:21
Ben Clemens: To be fair, I didn’t watch yesterday’s game

2:21
Ben Clemens: I did watch his first start, and I came away thinking that he could probably stay afloat as a fifth starter if he kept pitching like that

2:22
Ben Clemens: Even in yday’s start his pitches didn’t blow me away from the highlights I saw. Let’s give it a few more stsarters

2:22
Too Many Mooks: Has Turang taken a real step forward or is this just April noise?

2:23
Ben Clemens: More April noise than anything

2:23
Ben Clemens: The power doesn’t look real to me at all, neither does the BABIP

2:23
Ben Clemens: I do think he’s better than his batting line last year (because it was REALLY bad) but I think he’s still a below average hitter

2:23
Appa Yip Yip: Have you watched either of Yariel Rodriguez’s starts? Any thoughts if you have?

2:23
Ben Clemens: I haven’t

2:24
Jason N: You’re hearing it here first:  Jackson Merrill > Yamamoto and anyone else named Jackson for RoY.

2:24
Ben Clemens: Gimme Jared Jones

2:24
Bob: Judge has looked atrocious this year.  It’s early and SSS, but are you worried.  He’s a big guy and the decline could be fast like it was for Stanton.

2:24
Ben Clemens: I mean, definitely not worried

2:25
Ben Clemens: When you look so atrocious that Yankees fans are calling you atrocious and yet you’re an above average hitter by wRC+ while underperforming your batted ball quality, I say give it a few months

2:25
Karth: Whomps. Per. Whiff. Between that and SEAGER, we are living in a golden age of new fun stats. Thank you!

2:25
Ben Clemens: I mean, I’m not gonna argue with that, SEAGER is obviously a lot fancier and has more bells and whistles

2:25
Ben Clemens: mine is just dividing two numbers

2:25
Nate: are you worried about Ragans after his clunker on Saturday

2:25
Ben Clemens: nope!

2:26
Colton: Do you know if/when we’re going to get any public bat speed data on Savant?

2:26
Ben Clemens: I believe they said sometime this year

2:26
Ben Clemens: I’m very excited

2:26
Baltimoron: The Marlins projection went up after their start?

2:27
Ben Clemens: Huh? No, not at all

2:27
Ben Clemens: we had them at 80.7 wins projected preseason, 72.7 now

2:27
BEEBDS: Oli doesn’t have long for STL, does he?

2:27
Ben Clemens: Either they’re gonna get hot, or they’re gonna fire him I think

2:28
Ben Clemens: It’s so ugly there

2:28
Adam: Lets say the Twins continue to really underperform .. With Jhoan Duran set to come back this week, is he a under the radar trade candidate ?? Would love the O’s to get a guy like that who is controllable. Mayo for Duran ?

2:28
Ben Clemens: I think the Twins would jump all over themselves to make that deal

2:28
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’d necessarily be an awful deal for the O’s, they have the whole issue of too many players for the major league roster

2:29
Ben Clemens: but that’s a great prospect to get for a reliever

2:29
Ben Clemens: even a really good reliever

2:29
Greg: Am I nuts for thinking that the Padres should just give Eguy Rosario some run at 3B and stop trying to recycle Tyler Wade and/or force Graham Pauley too soon?

2:29
Ben Clemens: I’m with you

2:29
Ben Clemens: Eguy has been one of my guys for a while

2:29
Ben Clemens: I think he was on one of my fringe five knockoff ‘hitters I like’ lists

2:29
Elly Go Boom: Odds that Elly De La Crus is just on a hot streak? or is this sustainable, demonstrated growth in his plate approach

2:30
Ben Clemens: No I’ve been told that it’s bad to like Elly

2:30
Ben Clemens: Every time I write about him doing something fun the scold police show up

2:30
Ben Clemens: ‘you can’t like Elly, he is not hte best player in baseball’

2:30
Ben Clemens: I mean…. he’s the best. He’s so fun to watch play

2:30
Ben Clemens: As to your question: I think that his current clip is not sustainable

2:31
Ben Clemens: that said, I think that he’s made real strides at the plate, and that his strikeout rate is due to decline meaningfully

2:31
Ben Clemens: He’s just doing MUCH better at letting bad breaking stuff go

2:31
Ben Clemens: he’s still an absolute monster when he makes contact, of course. And I think his defense is coming along nicely

2:31
Guest: Any concerns about Glyber Torres and Christian Walker slow starts? Thanks

2:33
Ben Clemens: Yes to both. Not like ‘oh this can’t be fixed’, but Gleyber’s power outage makes me think last year was a bit more of a mirage

2:33
Ben Clemens: wait I got mixed up

2:33
Ben Clemens: on Walker

2:33
Ben Clemens: am I missing something? he seems to be starting acceptably

2:34
Ben Clemens: I was thinking Corbin Carroll b/c I went to two Giants games this weekend and he looked really lost at the plate

2:34
bosoxforlife: Willie Mays went 1 for his first 26. nuff said.

2:34
Mary Kate Olsen: MARY. KATE. OLSEN.

2:34
laughingstock: Do catcher framing numbers stabilize a lot quicker than other defensive metrics, because there are a lot more pitch framing events per game than other defensive events? Or is there still too much noise to start reading into those numbers yet?

2:34
Ben Clemens: They don’t, despite there being more data

2:34
Ben Clemens: That’s because a lot of what’s going on in catcher framing is kinda random

2:35
Ben Clemens: umpires miss calls not just b/c catchers fool them but b/c of random variation

2:35
Ben Clemens: and catcher framing gives the total value of that to the catcher

2:35
Ben Clemens: so sure, there are more obvservations, but there’s a ton of noise

2:35
War2D2: Lotta people worried about you being worried. Are you worried about people worrying about you being worried?

2:35
Ben Clemens: ‘are you worried about’ is just such a classic baseball trope

2:35
Ben Clemens: it’s kinda fun to lean into it

2:36
John: 12 team ottoneu points league. I have a $9 Isaac Paredes but have never been a fan of his profile and am looking to sell high. Is this the right move and if so, who are some SP to target in a fair trade?

2:36
Ben Clemens: Did you know that Isaac Paredes has hit .235/.335/.467 on the Rays, a 130 wRC+?

2:36
Ben Clemens: That’s over more than 1,000 PA’s

2:36
Ben Clemens: 23rd best hitter in baseball by wRC+ over that span

2:36
Ben Clemens: that’s kinda crazy, really

2:37
BEEBDS: Michael Busch and his 1 dot would like some ROY competition buzz

2:37
Ben Clemens: I see him as the second favorite just perusing some odds sites right now

2:37
Ben Clemens: Yamamoto still first, of course

2:38
Refugee: Whoops, totally misread your statement about the Mets vs. Marlins

2:38
Ben Clemens: Ah yeah. They started with similar projections!

2:38
Justin: Hey Ben! What do you think of Jackson Merrill so far? Is he the best rookie named Jackson?

2:38
Ben Clemens: I mean, clearly he has been so far

2:38
Ben Clemens: I’d take him rest of season, too

2:39
Tom: are the Twins done? Cleveland looks like they’ll win 90+, hard to see the Twins fixing the lineup + the 4 & 5 starters in time to keep up with that pace

2:39
Ben Clemens: I’m a little lower on them than our playoff odds (23% of winning the ALC)

2:39
Ben Clemens: Their best path is the Guardians struggling b/c of an accumulation of pitching injuries

2:40
Ben Clemens: I haven’t really downgraded my view of the Twins on a go-forward basis, but 8 games is a TON, which is what our odds say

2:40
The Other Cruz: Time for Oneil Cruz to get optioned? Or should the Pirates just let him work through it at the MLB level? It’s rough right now both at the plate and in the field.

2:41
Ben Clemens: I’m sorry to say that I think so, yes

2:42
Ben Clemens: Things are just getting ugly

2:42
Ben Clemens: I’m pretty worried at how many strikes he’s letting go by

2:42
Ben Clemens: like it’s realllllly important for a guy like him to swing at strikes, even if it means swinging at balls

2:43
Ben Clemens: he makes very little contact, but he’s quite good when he does, so swinging is important

2:43
Jake: You’re Mike Elias. It’s late July. You’ve decided to trade Kjerstad for your postseason run. Which team is your first call to? (For the purposes of this, you can’t opt to just keep Kjerstad.)

2:43
Ben Clemens: I

2:44
Ben Clemens: I’m calling the Royals first. I don’t think they’ll really be dealing, so then I’m calling the Angels to ask about Reid Detmers. Finally, I might call Seattle and see if they want to link up on a really big deal

2:44
Guest: Gleyber had 24 and 25 the last two years (117/123 wRC+), mirage in 2023 specifically?

2:44
Ben Clemens: last two years fine

2:44
Ben Clemens: more what I mean is, if you look at our projectdions, they thought he’d run 2023 back with better batted ball luck

2:44
Ben Clemens: but maybe he was having bad batted ball luck but good contact quality luck and he’ll end up somewhere in the middle

2:45
BEEBDS: July 31, 2017: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Jeimer Candelario and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson.
April 5, 2022: Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Tampa Bay Rays for Austin Meadows.

Double Oof.

2:45
Ben Clemens: Look that first trade is one of the best trades of all time

2:45
Ben Clemens: The second one…. is not

2:45
Morlock Jimenez: Is Ben Clemens worried?/Would you like us to assign someone to worry Ben Clemens?

2:45
Ben Clemens: Please no one worry me

2:46
Ben Clemens: btw, ‘Ben Clemens Worries’ might be a fitting follow up to Ben Clemens Investigates, my very short lived (two?) segment on Sleeper and the Bust

2:46
April but…: Marcell Ozuna has 27RBI in 20 games.  Could we see a historic RBI total from him in that lineup, or relax it’s still April?

2:46
Ben Clemens: Relax it’s still April, but he is absolutely mashing at the moment

2:46
Ben Clemens: Braves are so good!

2:47
Depressed M’s fan: Is Bryce Miller for real?

2:47
Ben Clemens: I’m ready to believe in the splitter, to be honest

2:47
Ben Clemens: Daniel Epstein wrote about splitter adders today over at BP:
https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/89832/in-the-dirt-the-…

2:47
soddingjunkmail: Re: The Twins/Guardians, A whopping 45% of the Guardians’ games have been against the A’s or White Sox. Let’s not anoint them for 90 wins quite yet. Plus, ya know, April.

2:48
Ben Clemens: Yeah, totally agree

2:48
Ben Clemens: But eight games!

2:48
Ben Clemens: really does a lot of work

2:48
M: Do you think the Mariners lineup is just experiencing a hot streak right now or are they actually starting to figure things out?

2:49
Ben Clemens: there’s a real ‘when julio goes we go’ thing going on here I think, their offense is still really blah but one guy going crazy can do a lot because they don’t have many true holes

2:49
Ben Clemens: I’m excited for Clase but I mean, slow start?

2:49
Guest: Blaze Alexander thoughts? Can he be above average regular?

2:49
Ben Clemens: Actually I have two Blaze Alexander takes

2:50
Ben Clemens: one is my wife’s. As I mentioned, we went to two DBacks/Giants games this weekend. When he batted she was like ‘is this guy in witness protection and that’s why he’s named blaze?’

2:50
Ben Clemens: as for can he be an above average regular: I mean, obviously he can be

2:50
Ben Clemens: Will he be? I do not think so

2:50
Ben Clemens: He’d need to be a really good defender and nothing points to that

2:51
Ben Clemens: or get better at hitting. I’m not saying he isn’t a good hitter, but he’s not remotely this good, a .390 BABIP and sneaky high ISO for how hard he’s hitting it probably won’t last

2:52
bosoxforlife: Bregman, Julio Rodriguez, Torkelson, Rendon, Buxton are just some of the power hitters who are approaching 100 AB’s without a home run. The average of HR’s/game is down quite abit.

2:52
Ben Clemens: Combo of less travel by baseballs so far and the fact that it’s cold

2:52
Ben Clemens: MLB’s inability (or lack of desire) to control baseball production is getting kind of shocking

2:52
Ben Clemens: I think at this point we have to lean towards inability though

2:52
Ben Clemens: you think they wanted LESS offense this year?

2:52
Ray Shoesmith: 20 team dynasty H2H –  do i replace bo naylor with patrick bailey at C going forward or would you roster both and give Bo a little more time to figure it out?

2:52
Ben Clemens: I think I’d keep both

2:53
Jake Rogers Appreciator: Moral of the story for Isaac Paredes trades is that Al Avila can only properly evaluate a trade return if his son is involved

2:53
larkinhof: building on the Mayo/Duran trade …. I would one up that with a Noelvi Marte for Duran trade.. that actually makes a good amount of sense for us

2:53
Ben Clemens: Maybe this is a hot take, but I easily prefer Mayo to Marte

2:53
Ben Clemens: I think that is one that both sides could be happy with, assuming McLain is back and healthy-ish

2:54
Uncle Buck: I dunno, Corbin Carroll looks pretty terrible as well.

2:54
Ben Clemens: I said that!

2:54
Ben Clemens: I agree

2:54
Ben Clemens: He’s looking quite lost to me

2:54
Ben Clemens: up and in fastballs are just befuddling him

2:54
KC Pain: Would you rather have Cal Raleigh or Yainer Diaz?

2:54
Ben Clemens: ooh, this is a good one

2:55
Ben Clemens: I’d take Raleigh

2:56
Ben Clemens: I understand that you get more years of control with Diaz, and he’s two years younger, but I feel a lot better about Raleigh’s defense and that just gives him such a big edge in overall value

2:56
Trader Jerry’s: Is there any data to suggest certain players are naturally slow or fast starters? For example, Luis Castillo always seems to look kind of shaky to start out and heats up as the season goes on.

2:56
Ben Clemens: I think it’s a really hard thing to parse, but I completely believe that it’s a thing for some players

2:56
Ben Clemens: to be clear, I think it’s NOT the case for most players

2:56
Ben Clemens: which makes it tough to study

2:56
BEEBDS: I have been delighted by Imanaga’s splitters. Between him and Mark Leiter Jr, i feel like we see hitters confused by it 4x a week

2:56
Ben Clemens: Imanaga is so delightful

2:57
Ben Clemens: He just absolutely baffles people

2:57
Ben Clemens: He’s gonna give up some homers in the long run, particularly when Chicago heats up, but he’s very fun to watch

2:57
wheelhouse: yes or no: the yankees’ lineup is genuinely horrible

2:57
Ben Clemens: No?

2:57
Ben Clemens: Yankees fans are amazing

2:57
Ben Clemens: They’re seventh in baseball in wRC+ so far

2:58
Ben Clemens: pretty sure they will struggle by

2:58
Guest: Who gets the saves in Tampa? Fairbanks just moved to 15 day IL.

2:59
Ben Clemens: our closer depth chart has Adam and Poche as the next men up

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think some mixture of those two makes sense

2:59
Farhandrew Zaidman: O/U 25% chance the White Sox team offense ends below the Mendoza line on the year?

2:59
Ben Clemens: I cannot believe I’m saying this, but over

3:00
Nate: Will Smith looks cooked. Fastball velo down, Ks down, BBs up, allowing a good amount of hard contact. Thoughts?

3:00
Ben Clemens: Um…. yes

3:00
Ben Clemens: I concur

3:02
CET: Vlad and Bo, look so lost at the plate now! Is Vlad a DFA candidate going forward? He has maintained a decent OBP despite down power, but when your one of the worst base runners in the game kills a lot of that value! Also Bring up Orelvis small sample size be damned!

3:02
Ben Clemens: Man, uh, I don’t think Vlad is a DFA candidate

3:02
Ben Clemens: but at this point, he has to be one of the most overrated players in baseball

3:03
Ben Clemens: i think he’s better than he’s looked so far

3:03
Ben Clemens: but I am just pretty out on him as a difference making star

3:03
Ben Clemens: I pushed him way down the trade value list last year and got much less pushback than I expected

3:03
Ben Clemens: and uh, I don’t think he’ll be on it this year

3:03
Ben Clemens: pretty shocking for someone who had his 2021 season

3:03
Tommy: Are there any (non-rookie) surprisingly strong performances that you’re a buyer of so far?

3:04
Ben Clemens: Mookie Betts, mine!

3:04
Ben Clemens: jordan westburg, mine! I mean, he’s not gonna put up a 200 wRC+ but I like him

3:04
Ben Clemens: salvy perez yours, c’mon this can’t keep going

3:04
Ben Clemens: “Mine or Yours? Ben Clemens Rates” would be a fun segment

3:05
sliptoad: there aren’t many great teams who have gotten off to starts as rough as these astros but there are great teams who have had bad finishes (2017 dodgers and their terrible sept). is there a reason for this? is a bad start that much worse than a bad finish?

3:05
Ben Clemens: So, I htink it’s a little worse

3:05
Ben Clemens: and the reason is basically this

3:05
Ben Clemens: the time of most uncertainty about a team is the start of the year

3:05
Ben Clemens: players change more over the offseason than they do from, say, August 1 to August 2

3:06
Ben Clemens: it’s not a LOT worse…. but it’s worse for sure

3:06
Colton: Kotsay really took Ruiz out against Hamilton, I cannot believe it…

3:06
Ben Clemens: Truly shocking

3:06
Ben Clemens: Esty is killing it

3:06
Ben Clemens: if you lower my whomps per whiff leaderboard minimums to 0

3:06
Ben Clemens: he’s second in baseball

3:06
Ben Clemens: the A’s suck. Let your young guys who you traded literally Sean Murphy for play

3:07
Ben Clemens: Oh, bonus A’s talk and extremely rare and unscheduled gambling talk: I make the occasional pre-season over/under win total friendly wager and I thought A’s over 57.5 wins was wild this year

3:07
Ben Clemens: like, quite good

3:07
Ben Clemens: That and Brewers over 75.5 wins (????)

3:07
Ben Clemens: feeling good about the early returns on those two

3:08
Ben Clemens: I do think that Vegas and their offshore equivalents do a good job setting lines in general but those stood out to me

3:08
Farhandrew Zaidman: His trade value has never been lower, but….Lux as a starting 2B on a playoff team seems…..not ideal.

3:08
Ben Clemens: Oh yeah it looks bad

3:08
Ben Clemens: They need Amed back!

3:08
Vlad Non-tender: Maybe not an in-season DFA, but arguably should have been non-tendered given his arb salary.  The cartoonish effects from Buffalo are the outlier at this point, he’s mostly been a 1 WAR type player outside of 2021

3:08
Idiotic Failson: Putting Vlad on the cover of The Show is so silly. It’s basically like putting Rizzo on the cover, which is like…fine? But not awesome?

3:08
KC Pain: Well I was originally gonna ask if you would rather have Naylor or Vlad but I think you just answered it.   Naylor comp = prime Abreu?

3:09
Ben Clemens: I mean, I’m not ready to put Naylor that high yet, but I think I’d take him over Vlad yeah. Wow, that’s crazy to say

3:09
Jake Rogers Appreciator: Of all days to remove Esteury Ruiz, we should have as much time contemplating our beautiful brackish water bodies today!

3:09
Ben Clemens: I’m shocked by how frequently the A’s own announcers can’t pronounce his name

3:09
SomeGuy: Brayan Rocchio, Juan Brito, Jose Tena, and Daniel Espino to the Marlins for Luzardo. Y/N?

3:09
Ben Clemens: I don’t think the Guardians would do this. I think the Marlins would be cdrazy to say no, they need volume

3:10
BTTJ: Heading to San Francisco and Oakland this week for the Pirates series…any must hit recommendations in the area?

3:10
Ben Clemens: For what? Food, activities?

3:10
Ben Clemens: But I’ve got some recommendations for sure

3:10
B: How are you liking the meal kits?

3:11
Ben Clemens: The number one thing about meal kits is convenience for sure. I like to cook leftovers when I can, but I’m generally busy at lunchtime. My usual mornings involve hours of deadline writing and a 1.5-ish hour dog walk, so I don’t always have time to cook lunch

3:11
Justin: What do you mean by meal kits? TV dinners?

3:11
Ben Clemens: So I’m talking about things that get shipped to you and that you either microwave or warm in a skillet

3:11
Ben Clemens: so far I’d say that you should just bop around for the good signup deals

3:11
Ben Clemens: We’ve done Factor and Thistle so far and they’re fine, but I’m not sure I’d love them at full price

3:12
Ben Clemens: at like 8 bucks for a 500 calorie meal that tastes good with little prep time involved, that’s great

3:12
Ben Clemens: at 13 bucks or whatever? ehhhhhh

3:12
Ben Clemens: probably a better deal in big cities

3:12
BTTJ: Food/activities: One or two of each too much to ask?

3:13
Ben Clemens: Oh, absolutely not too much to ask. Activities: I think you should walk around Golden Gate Park. It’s just so magical. Walking down JFK drive (no cars allowed for most of it) past the museums is really fun. There are some great art installations up there, and the hippie hill drum circle is always good for a laugh

3:13
Ben Clemens: If you’re feeling like a long bike ride, you could bike as far as the weird windmills and bison paddock area, but really just going and chilling in the eastern part of the park is amazing, I do it probably four times a week

3:14
Ben Clemens: the Marin headlands or Sausalito are also really cool. Or Land’s End if you don’t feel like going over the bridge, but even driving over the bridge is cool

3:14
Ben Clemens: so activity-wise, I just think the nature here is amazing and that you should take advantage of it if you can

3:14
Ben Clemens: For food, my absolute favorite place in the city is State Bird Provisions

3:15
Ben Clemens: It’s dim sum style, but with more of a new american vibe to the cuisine

3:15
Ben Clemens: they’ve brought back the carts that come around with delicious apps, and they’re consistently excellent

3:15
Ben Clemens: Try whatever mochi they have. Carrot mochi is the one I remember most but they’re all good

3:16
Ben Clemens: One other food place: if you want a big over the top steak dinner, House of Prime Rib. If you want a classic SF dinner, Zuni Cafe. If you want a burrito, La Taqueria

3:16
War2D2: Re: SF, a hack is to park at the ferry terminal in Alameda and take that to the game. Used to do it all the time when my brother lived there.

3:16
Ben Clemens: Honestly the muni is really good for getting to Oracle

3:16
Ben Clemens: I’ve been impressed with public transit access to sports here

3:16
Nate: hasn’t been any boardgame discussion yet today, have you ever played any of Forbidden Island/Desert/Jungle/Sky

3:16
Ben Clemens: yeah, one of the first co-op games my wife and I played together actually

3:16
Ben Clemens: I think they’re great

3:16
BEEBDS: I’m stuck on Imanaga. If Jed had to make the option decision today, you have to pick up the 2 years and give him 5/80, right?

3:17
Ben Clemens: oh for sure

3:17
Ben Clemens: I don’t even think it’s close

3:17
Lou Purltzman: As a Jared Jones guy are you attributing his success to him personally or improvements in Pirates pitching dev? If it’s somewhere in between, are you leaning one way or the other?

3:17
Ben Clemens: No idea!

3:17
Ben Clemens: too early to say

3:17
Tom: I will miss being able to get off BART and walk for a minute to the Coliseum 🙁

3:17
Ben Clemens: yeah sad

3:17
Ben Clemens: but hey the muni-to-Oracle walk is even shorter

3:17
JHL stan account: Thoughts on Jung Hoo Lee? Seems like he’s quickly becoming a fan-favorite, how was the vibe at the games? Think he’s legit?

3:17
Ben Clemens: omg the vibe is so good

3:17
Ben Clemens: His walkup music is just three rhythmic bangs

3:18
Ben Clemens: and the crowd goes nuts with Jung! Hoo! Lee! to them

3:19
Ben Clemens: he’s the most popular giants player right now, I think? pretty surprising

3:19
Ben Clemens: but man, he’s really fun

3:19
Ben Clemens: his jumbotron picture is smirky, too, which I think people appreciate

3:19
Gary Gaetti Fan Account: Good luck getting a Zuni reso for the week of

3:19
Ben Clemens: yeah you’d have to go off hours

3:19
jj: Interesting that Carroll is somehow looking lost but at the same time walking as much as he is striking out…

3:19
Ben Clemens: look, he’s a great talent

3:20
Ben Clemens: that said he’d been striking out a lot in the last two weeks before yday

3:20
Ben Clemens: I think he’s gonna be totally fine, to be clear

3:20
Ben Clemens: just scuffling now

3:20
Okra: Thoughts on Pirates babying Jared Jones?  Don’t you have to let SPs in the majors go 6-7 IP (assuming reasonable pitch counts)?  On current path if he misses 2mths with a random muscle pull then you have the same inning limit conversations next year.  I’d rather a few starts get skipped late in the year than the silliness of pulling a guy after 5 IP, 1H, 0BB, 59 pitches.

3:21
Ben Clemens: I think that the innings specific limit was weird for sure

3:21
Ben Clemens: but I get the idea of not letting him get run too hot, I would give him as much rest as he needs this year

3:22
Ben Clemens: asking the player seems smart in this situation, I’d say

3:22
laughingstock: All of the projection systems listed on the player pages project Vlad for around 1+ win more than Josh Naylor this year. Is there something we know that the projections don’t that suggest they are too optimistic?

3:22
Ben Clemens: So, projections have Naylor down for a 129 wRC+ and Vlad for a 135

3:22
Ben Clemens: I think I feel comfortable saying that Vlad’s 2021 in a fake stadium (Buffalo) is putting a little bit too much juice in his projections

3:23
Ben Clemens: i mean that’s too harsh, of course

3:23
Ben Clemens: he played a good amount of that year in Toronto too

3:23
Ben Clemens: and in away parks

3:23
Ben Clemens: but like, that’s within margin of error, 6 points of wRC+

3:23
Ben Clemens: most of the difference in projections comes down to playing time, and I mean, sure

3:24
jj: you are eating premade meals.  meal kits are uncooked food you need to cook – all the stuff you need is in the kit, except oil/butter/salt/pepper.

3:24
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I guess I’ll just say I don’t care too much about the nomenclature

3:25
Ben Clemens: We tried those other ones too, but I am pretty handy at cooking meals from stuff I pick up at the grocery store, i didn’t feel like I was getting enough bang for my buck on those

3:25
Ben Clemens: like if I have to cook anyway, I’m good at cooking

3:25
Ben Clemens: I don’t need them to tell me what I’m eating

3:25
Ben Clemens: I cna make a rice bowl on command

3:25
Being: Given Holliday’s issues so far, could Baltimore have had a point in deciding not to send him up?

3:25
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so? I think that if he stays like this, they’ll send him back down

3:26
Ben Clemens: which was always an option

3:26
Ben Clemens: but I am not too upset with how they handled his callup given that they still got it in before the full season service time deadline

3:26
Ben Clemens: I am obviously biased, but i feel vindicated in my assessment that holding him down for S2 was a bad mathematical decision

3:26
Different Greg: Regarding your pre-season Vegas totals, there are usually a few totals or division odds that are pretty far off of PECOTA/Fangraphs projections. Select full season MLB bets are the only kind of bets I actually think I can consistently beat the house

3:26
Ben Clemens: Yeah, concur

3:27
Ben Clemens: I’m also really leery of betting on individual player awards

3:27
Ben Clemens: I know voters, you know?

3:27
Ben Clemens: I want no part, unwitting even, of shading people’s opinions

3:27
Ben Clemens: I could imagine some of those being good too though

3:27
The guru: Just curious, Does catcher def value in a Catcher war calculation use CERA?  Please tell me no ha

3:28
Ben Clemens: Nah

3:28
Ben Clemens: it uses Steamer framing and Statcast blocking/throwing

3:28
bosoxforlife: A’s take the lead!  Mason Miller, and his 103 mph heat, is going to enter the game which is must-see baseball.

3:28
Ben Clemens: against Juan Soto, no less

3:29
Ben Clemens: Volpe/Soto/Judge against the most exciting closer in the game

3:29
Ben Clemens: Let’s go

3:29
MackeyEvenSassier: Can we give Jed and Cubs front office some award? They hit in Busch and Shota this past off season. The rest of the roster is competitive and well built and the farm system is loaded. Oh yeah they  smartly avoided backing up the truck for Bryant and Baez

3:29
Ben Clemens: Yeah good work guys

3:29
Ben Clemens: Shota was the signing of the offseason

3:29
Ben Clemens: unless it was Sonny Gray

3:29
Ben Clemens: but one of the best, either way

3:29
Justin: Re: Jared Jones. Is it fair to say that the Pirates know what’s best for their own pitcher more then we do? I don’t view them as a particularly poorly run franchise from a player development perspective (cheap owner aside)

3:29
Ben Clemens: I think it’s kinda weak to appeal to authority when the authority is the Pittsburgh Pirates

3:29
Ben Clemens: I think it’s kind of a weak thing anyway

3:30
Ben Clemens: I write a lot of articles where I question the decisions of major league teams, even good ones!

3:30
Ben Clemens: and uh, I kind of do view the Pirates as a bad pitching dev team, at least until recently

3:30
Ben Clemens: Quinn Priester and Mitch Keller do not scream ‘this team knows what it’s doing’ to me

3:31
Ben Clemens: Alright everyone, this was a wonderful chat and I think I worked the count pretty deep, but I’m going to leave and go heat up some lunch

3:31
Ben Clemens: I hope everyone has a great day, and that if you so choose yhou get to experience Soto/Miller

3:31
Ben Clemens: Have a wonderful week

3:31
Ben Clemens: and let’s do this again at the same time next Monday





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

2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robertmember
1 month ago

Too late, but re San Francisco MUST do’s.

  1. Drop a friend off on the south end of Golden Gate Bridge. Drive and park on North end (much easier parking.). Walk back and meet in the middle.
  2. Alcatraz.