Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 4/5/21

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, happy baseball!

2:00
Ben Clemens: I’ll try to make some well-reasoned points in responding to your questions about your favorite player who has five or zero hits so far

2:00
Ben Clemens: Or your least-favorite player, hate-chatters.

2:00
Justin: Can we start panicking about the cardinals pitching yet or is it too early?

2:00
Ben Clemens: We can, but that’s because it was panic-worthy before the season even started

2:01
Ben Clemens: One start isn’t enough to change my opinion about any of the guys who have gone so far, but my opinion of Wainwright and Martinez was not particularly rosy in the first place

2:01
Ben Clemens: Those guys are weak as the 2-3 starters on a real baseball team

2:02
Matt: How excited should I be for the Phillies to have swept the Braves?

2:02
Ben Clemens: Extremely!

2:02
Ben Clemens: Worst case, they’ll go 3-16 against them this year

2:02
Ben Clemens: Best case, 19-0

2:02
Ben Clemens: That sounds a lot better than worst case 0-19

2:02
Ben Clemens: But seriously, three games against a division rival is nothing to scoff at, even early in the season

2:02
Ben Clemens: If you thought the Phillies were 5 games worse than the Braves, well, they’re only 3.5 worse than them now

2:03
Sad, Confused Marlins Fan: Michael A. Taylor AL MVP right?

2:03
Ben Clemens: Well yeah

2:04
Ben Clemens: Many things are too early to care about

2:04
Ben Clemens: But Michael A Taylor, golden god of baseball

2:04
Ben Clemens: That’s confirmed

2:04
feddy: Gonzaga or Baylor?

2:04
Ben Clemens: Houston (not that I’m bitter about my bracket)

2:04
Ben Clemens: But Zaga, they’re so good, and that UCLA game seemed like the one shot to get them

2:05
Ben Clemens: It’s funny that in this year where everyone talks about how parity and chaos are in college bball, the clear best two teams made the final

2:05
Cueto’s Shimmy: With some pitchers moving to the Giolito/corkscrew/short arm action, what are the tradeoffs? I associate long levers with velocity, so I assume its velocity for repeatable mechanics.

2:06
Ben Clemens: This is probably a better question for Eric or KG, but my understanding is that it’s not really a velo tradeoff, because you’re still getting the leg drive and rotation that you need to create velo. It’s more of a comfort and repetition thing; Robbie Ray tried it last year and couldn’t locate

2:06
Chris: Should the white sox offer up kopech for a real left fielder (think haniger) or should they go smaller (think Jake fraley) or should they stay in house and try to survive?

2:07
Ben Clemens: I think either the second or third. I like the idea of the Vaughn experiment but they should be ready to hit eject if he’s not doing well there, even if he’s hitting well. He can DH and they can get a real major league defensive outfielder

2:07
Rick: Has SF turned Gausman into a solid pitcher or is it just a mirage?

2:07
Ben Clemens: They have

2:07
Ben Clemens: or, perhaps he’s turned himself into one?

2:08
Ben Clemens: But he was already really good last year

2:08
Ben Clemens: I don’t think this is a ‘hey look at this one game’ kinda thing, he was awesome in 2020

2:08
OriolesTragic: Cedric Mullins going to bat near .700 the rest of the way?

2:08
Ben Clemens: Yes

2:08
Sodo Mojo: Zips was very high on Ty France at 2.5 WAR in 2021 do you think he can eclipse that mark?

2:08
Ben Clemens: I do!

2:08
Ben Clemens: I was very high on him, and then in talking to KG for a season preview he was very high on him

2:08
Ben Clemens: And then ZiPS likes him, and it’s just more and more things stacking together

2:09
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure how I feel about the opportunity and the fielding, but the guy can hit

2:09
Kretin: Is Jared Walsh for real?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Yes

2:09
Ben Clemens: Or, well, no

2:09
Ben Clemens: Just depends on what you mean by real

2:10
Ben Clemens: He’s really a better first base option than Pujols

2:10
Ben Clemens: He’s really a competent major league hitter

2:10
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s going to post a 408 wRC+ the rest of the way

2:10
Ben Clemens: But I do think that he should get the vast majority of the PT

2:10
Pwn Shop: The Asterisks have dramatically increased their odds of a 162-win season from 1/6.6×10^57 to 1/1.61×10^55. Bang trash cans in celebration!

2:11
Ben Clemens: Another 25 in a row and those exponents will REALLY start to decline

2:11
Gil: How about that Shohei Ohtani guy? Pretty good.

2:11
GenericDodgerFan: Do you think the Angels should continue having Ohtani pitch and hit in the same games?

2:11
BringBackDeSpanielHair: Ohtani sure sounds fun to watch. Too bad the game wasn’t on MLB.tv last night. I didn’t get to see any of it

2:12
Ben Clemens: Every time I see Ohtani, his general bulk shocks me

2:12
Ben Clemens: He looks like a wide receiver or small forward playing baseball

2:12
Ben Clemens: And then he is just a complete freak athlete, which further confirms the way I feel upon first seeing him

2:12
Ben Clemens: What a joy to watch

2:13
BringBackDeSpanielHair: I basically ignored 2020 baseball. Now I keep seeing guys get like Santander, and Grisham, and I’m confused that those are now Good Players and to be watched.

2:13
Ben Clemens: I think that Grisham isn’t THAT much of a surprise

2:14
Ben Clemens: He looked good before 2020, it’s just that the gaffe against the Nationals was foremost in people’s minds

2:14
Ben Clemens: He popped last year, but his minor league stats and new mechanics were already suggestive of a good player

2:15
Ben Clemens: Kind of same deal with Santander? He was an average hitter in 2019 without the benefit of BABIP, though he REALLY turned it on in a short 2020

2:15
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s a perennial star, but a guy who could play left field for a team that was previously playing literally Andrew Vaughn there? Sure

2:15
Despondent Cubs Fan: Brahms or Bach?

2:16
Ben Clemens: I like playing Ruby (my dog) Glenn Gould’s performances of Bach when we leave her alone, so I’ll say Bach

2:16
Ben Clemens: But I’m not a big classical music person so very uninformed take

2:16
Jacques Pederson: I used to be a person that only cared about velocity and movement for relievers. The Cardinals’ bull pen is changing my mind.

2:16
Ben Clemens: Presented without further comment

2:16
Fenix: How good can Julian Merryweather be? Looked absolutely filthy is both appearances Vs NYY

2:16
Appa Yip Yip: Based on a ~2 inning sample~ what do you think the future holds of Julian Merryweather? I did several spit takes and from the looks of it so did Hicks and Stanton.

2:17
Ben Clemens: I don’t know if he’s going to hold his 56% (what the actual hell) chase rate all year

2:17
Ben Clemens: But wow he looks ludicrous

2:17
Ben Clemens: The extra velo really pops

2:18
Ben Clemens: I was already generally in — I think ZiPS’s projection is all goofed up b/c it thought he’d be a starter, and if you look at the split of projections, ZiPS had him with a 5 ERA and Steamer with a 3.84

2:18
Ben Clemens: But I didn’t expect him to throw so dang hard

2:18
Ben Clemens: Keep an eye on his zone rate and walks, b/c sometimes people who find velo like that struggle to consistently command it, but wow!

2:19
Gil: Is there anything you take from a single series of data this early in the season other than enjoyment? Putting injuries to the side for a bit, it just seems like everything means nothing and nothing means everything.

2:19
Ben Clemens: I like seeing pitchers with new pitches, huge velocity bumps, and guys in new roles (Merryweather is a good example)

2:20
Ben Clemens: But mostly enjoyment

2:20
Ben Clemens: I’m just so happy to have real stakes MLB games back in my life

2:20
Cueto’s Shimmy: I appreciate the announcer rankings since I jump around a lot. Have you done the TV ones yet and I missed it?

2:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that was earlier this offseason. Link: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/broadcaster-crowdsourcing-results-part-3-1…

2:21
Cueto’s Shimmy: PS. The 1-10 Radio rankings is missing the link to the middle portion of the rankings, at least one comment was empty (Giants I think)

2:22
Ben Clemens: Hm, that happens occasionally when I’m particularly lazy in my pre-editing, but I think I changed them back to look okay

2:22
Appa Yip Yip: Apparently Merryweather has been hitting 100 since 2018, so it’s not new velo. (David Phelps mentioned seeing it back then while rehabbing a minor injury)

2:22
Ben Clemens: Well in that case, new in-game velo?

2:22
Ben Clemens: It’s pretty frightening though

2:23
Todd Bonzalez: Reds win a series against the Cardinals 2-1 and their playoff odds go up 12%? What’s with the volatility? Is the central *THAT* close?

2:23
Ben Clemens: A lot of that is that we changed the Cards’ IP projections to account for injuries and it made them a lot weaker

2:23
Ben Clemens: They’ve lost 2.6 games of projected wins on a 1-2 start, that’s hard to do

2:24
feddy: the tigers first 3 hitters are switch hitters that’s kinda badass

2:24
Ben Clemens: Cleveland has run out some really fun switch-hitting lineups in the past

2:24
Ben Clemens: Switch hitters are just really cool

2:24
feddy: Can Clase or Wittgren reasonably catch Karinchak?

2:24
Ben Clemens: I think either can, and that Clase is a better bet

2:25
Ben Clemens: Karinchak feels like he’s balanced on a knife’s edge to me

2:25
Ben Clemens: Great when on, the distance between unhittable and can’t find the zone is razor-thin

2:25
Guest: Any Carlson worries?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Always! But nothing has changed due to the first three games

2:26
Ben Clemens: That 0.000 BABIP is probably going to regress somewhat

2:26
John: It’ll never not frustrate me that a team in the market that the Red Sox are in are so obviously built for the deadline (ie reclamation projects who have a few outstanding stats like spin) than they are for the playoffs. But this is also a team that traded Mookie Betts, so I guess it can’t be that surprising. How many seasons can they be resoundingly mediocre before they decide to act like winners again? That market isn’t patient, I imagine

2:26
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’m curious to see what the long-term plan is here

2:27
Ben Clemens: I like most of the moves that they  made this offseason, but it seems like a case of winning the battle and losing the war

2:27
Ben Clemens: Shouldn’t they be doing different things? They have some exciting hitters to try to maximize

2:27
BaseballIsBack: Another rope for Arraez in his first AB today. How many ABs this season and what are his biggest hurdles toward a FT role?

2:27
Ben Clemens: I already think he has a full-time role

2:27
Ben Clemens: LF/3B/2B/DH is a weird position to play, but my sense is that that’s what the Twins have in mind for him

2:28
Ben Clemens: Obviously with Donaldson out that collapses to just 3B, but heck, they were plyaing him in left on opening day

2:28
BringBackDeSpanielHair: Player you’re most excited to watch this season?

2:28
Matt Damon: MATT. DAMON.

2:28
Ben Clemens: If Matt Damon plays, him

2:28
Ben Clemens: Tie between Soto and Alex Reyes for me, though

2:29
Ben Clemens: I’ve been saying Reyes for about five years, but he’s just sooooo fun to watch

2:29
Ben Clemens: And I love watching Soto hit. I like watching Tatis, but I just have fun thinking along with Soto at the plate

2:29
Tacoby Bellsbury: marry/schtup/kill: baseball, booze, board games

2:29
Ben Clemens: Jeez: I guess kill booze, and marry baseball

2:29
Ben Clemens: But why would you make me choose?!??

2:30
GenericDodgerFan: If you had to pick one team from each league to underperform expectations who would it be

2:30
Ben Clemens: I’ll go Cleveland and the Nats

2:30
Ben Clemens: Cleveland is just giving me bad vibes, and the Nats are a few injuries away from looking REALLLLLY bad

2:30
Sad, Confused Marlins Fan: did you see that dirty changeup from Gio against Trout? (gasp emoji)

2:30
Ben Clemens: Simply spectacular

2:31
Ben Clemens: Giolito’s changeup is a really fun pitch

2:31
Ben Clemens: High changeups in general are fun, and underrated

2:31
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: You buying what Yermin is doing?

2:31
Ben Clemens: I mean, no, but it sure is fun

2:32
Ben Clemens: That’s a lame answer, but I think it’s probably the best one

2:32
The Opener: Thoughts on Glasnow’s new slider?

2:34
Ben Clemens: I haven’t done a deep dive on it, but he looked great and the Marlins were completely not ready for him dropping it in for a strike

2:35
Ben Clemens: He desperately needed a third pitch, I’m hyped to see how it goes for him. He’s a guy where it FEELS like he should be brekaing out but he never quite gets there

2:36
feddy: biggest pet peeve that players do when ur watching baseball?

2:36
Ben Clemens: First, the woo people

2:36
Ben Clemens: They aren’t players

2:36
Ben Clemens: But I swear

2:36
Ben Clemens: Why are you going to a baseball game, one of the most combo chill/exciting things to do with your time

2:37
Ben Clemens: And spend the chill part just yelling woooooooooooo loudly

2:37
Ben Clemens: What decisions led you to this point?

2:37
Ben Clemens: Do you enjoy just yelling woo to fill empty air?

2:37
Ben Clemens: I simply don’t get it

2:37
Dee Arby: What decisions? Well they probably spent $50 on three beers.  You start with that.

2:38
Ben Clemens: After spending 50 bucks on three beers, I prefer to muse quietly on the pleasant pace of the game

2:38
Ben Clemens: Or boo Bryce Harper or whatnot, that might be fun

2:38
Ben Clemens: I guess Castellanos is the modern-day heel

2:38
Ben Clemens: or Bregman

2:38
Ben Clemens: But you get the idea

2:38
Ben Clemens: As to players — it’s the tobacco chewing

2:39
Ben Clemens: Hate seeing it, grosses me out a little

2:39
Matt: Do you believe the big drop (33%-14%) the A’s took in playoff odds?

2:40
Ben Clemens: I mean, kind of?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Going 0-4 instead of 2-2 against your main competition isn’t good

2:40
Ben Clemens: The other team in your division going 3-1 isn’t good

2:41
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure why it costs them 3 wins rather than 2 (against my naive expectation), likely that has to do with some depth chart changes we’ve made, but I was down on the A’s chances to start the season, and this is absolutely not a great way to get going

2:42
Cueto’s Shimmy: I’m all in on the “more balls in play” bandwagon, but my interest in baseball was re-ignited by Baseball Ninja and crazy movement on pitches. Do you think there’s a way to cut walks and homers while keeping crazy movement (aka strikeouts)? Would MLB even want that specific formulation?

2:42
Ben Clemens: It’s an interesting push/pull

2:43
Ben Clemens: I don’t think there’s much way to arrest the crazy movement; pitchers are just going to keep getting better over time

2:43
Ben Clemens: I don’t think you want fewer walks and homers with the same number of strikeouts, though

2:43
Ben Clemens: moving the mound back seems like a possible compromise

2:43
CWess: How bad do you think TLR’s decision was last night to keep Hendriks in the bullpen for the 9th? I hated it and thought it was awful, but I have some friends who vehemently disagree with me or think TLR was well-reasoned

2:43
Ben Clemens: Oh, I have an article coming out about his intentionally walking Pujols to get to Hendriks on Saturday

2:44
Ben Clemens: because that one I thought was semi-interesting

2:44
Ben Clemens: Saving Hendriks? Terrible, stupid if he did it for the reason he said, I’m hoping it was just that he reallllly didn’t want to use him or something

2:44
Ben Clemens: If he actually did it b/c he wanted the high-strikeout stuff if the game went to extras and there was a runner on second

2:44
Ben Clemens: Then eh, sure, okay

2:44
Ben Clemens: But if he’s literally saying he’s saving his closer for the lead? Get out of here

2:45
2:45
Ben Clemens: Oh yeah, that was rhetorical

2:45
Ben Clemens: His explanation: very bad!

2:45
Ben Clemens: I have to hope he was lying

2:46
Sad, Confused Marlins Fan: I know experts are a bit more hyped about Elieser Hernandez but any chance Trevor Rogers can be that guy? limiting the walks in ST was huge

2:47
Ben Clemens: Gonna be honest and say that I haven’t watched enough of him to know. If he can actually limit his walks, that’s great, but ST is kind of a tough time to get a look at that

2:47
Ben Clemens: The stuff certainly plays

2:48
Derek: Nelson Cruz is a hero

2:48
Derek: (even though you are a well-documented Nelson Cruz naysayer)

2:48
Ben Clemens: I would consider myself a well-documented Nelson Cruz brake-pumper

2:48
Ben Clemens: Steamer projects him for a 116 wRC+ this year! That’s way lower than my ‘guys he’s probably not a 180 wRC+ hitter’ article that got so much backlash

2:48
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: The correct answer was taking lots of time between pitches. **** those pitchers.

2:49
Ben Clemens: Oooooooooh okay yeah

2:49
Re: Player Peeves: If we can keep track of and limit mound visits, can we please do the same with the amount of times players un-velcro and re-velcro their batting gloves?  Batter OCD drives me nuts.

2:49
Ben Clemens: Yes fine

2:49
Ben Clemens: Pitch clocks when

2:50
Ben Clemens: I like how they said they were going to limit batters stepping out and then just…. didn’t

2:50
BringBackDeSpanielHair: Glasnow’s slider WAS filthy. I was cracking up because the broadcast booth was clearly unaware it was a new pitch. They kept calling it his curveball

2:50
Ben Clemens: Look at this thing

2:50
Ben Clemens: I understand why they were confused, it has a bit of curveball bend

2:51
Ben Clemens: But it’s 90 mph!

2:51
Derek: The thing about take-a-long-time pitchers is that like, yes it is extremely annoying to watch, but also taking longer between pitches correlates to pitching better so can we really blame them?

2:51
Ben Clemens: No, it’s totally logical FOR THEM

2:51
Ben Clemens: But because it’s suboptimal for fan experience, baseball should legislate against it

2:52
Ben Clemens: Like, it’s optimal for the basketball team with the lead to dribble out the entire game in the backcourt

2:52
Ben Clemens: So the backcourt count and shot clock were invented

2:52
Ben Clemens: This isn’t tough. I don’t understand why it’s so controversial

2:53
Manfred’s man: MLB won’t do anything to needlessly antagonize players (i.e. pitch clocks, stepping out of the box) until AFTER the new CBA is signed.

2:53
Ben Clemens: Yeah, very likely

2:53
Cueto’s Shimmy: how do you get baseball savant to show you a specific pitch like that? Is there a way I can use baseball savant to quickly go through all of Ohtani’s pitches yesterday?

2:53
Ben Clemens: Quick tutorial time

2:54
Ben Clemens: Go to baseballsavant.mlb.com

2:54
Ben Clemens: Click on search

2:54
Ben Clemens: You’ll end up here: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/statcast_search

2:54
Ben Clemens: So you can get whatever you want, very specifically, here

2:54
Ben Clemens: It has video of every pitch since 2018

2:55
Ben Clemens: Every pitch for Ohtani yday? Put Ohtani down under pitcher, 2021 down under season, and have it group by player name and game date (this will matter more when he’s made multiple starts)

2:55
Ben Clemens: You can get granular, too: here’s every fastball he threw in the strike zone:

2:56
Estevão: you could follow baseball for another lifetime and never see some of the stuff that went down in the LAD X COL opening series

2:56
Ben Clemens: That was a nuts series

2:56
Ben Clemens: The Bellinger homer/single/whatever thing is the strangest, but it was full of nonsense

2:56
johndarc: So the reputation I gather for the Yankees is that they are considered very good at developing pitching (as per Kevin Goldstein, who might know a thing or two about how the Yankees are perceived by other teams), but if you ask any Yankee fan, the team has a reputation for not being able to develop starting pitching over the years. Why is there such a disconnect between what other teams think and what the fans think? Like, the Dodgers don’t seem to have this disconnect.

2:56
Ben Clemens: I really don’t know the answer to this

2:57
Ben Clemens: I thikn some of it is that the Yankees don’t have Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler on their team?

2:57
Dee Arby: Any idea why ROY Devin Williams hasn’t pitched at all yet?

2:57
Ben Clemens: I think it’s game situation, honestly

2:58
Ben Clemens: Thursday, the Brewers didn’t want to use him b/c they were down

2:58
Ben Clemens: And then they scored 3 in the bottom of the 9th and brought Hader in

2:59
Ben Clemens: Saturday they were down 2 runs when he would have come in, but maybe then yeah

2:59
Ben Clemens: and then Sundey they lost by a trillion

3:00
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they’re going to start using him in the 5th or 6th, and the games just haven’t been conducive to it otherwise

3:01
Derek: Robbie Grossman had 8 walks in his first 3 games, which is wild for someone who is Robbie Grossman.

3:01
Ben Clemens: I mean, he’s good at drawing walks, but yeah

3:01
Ben Clemens: That’s a lot of walks

3:01
Ben Clemens: 13 PA, 8 walks lol

3:01
johndarc: Right, but I guess that sort of leads to the other part of the question: why don’t the Yankees have a Kershaw or Buehler type in their system? They seem to have a rep for developing ace relievers and mid/low level starters, but they never have “that guy”. Maybe it’s a recent change and they will soon? I know people are high on Luis Medina if he ever figures out where the plate is.

3:02
Ben Clemens: Well they have Sevy

3:02
Ben Clemens: I dunno what to say about that other than try to not get injured so much?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think there’s a lot of luck involved in drafting Kershaw, you know?

3:03
Ben Clemens: And no one doubted Buehler’s stuff, they were worried about the fact that he had TJ and no one knew how he’d return

3:03
Ben Clemens: It’s hard to hit on very top end starters

3:03
Look Dude: I happened to notice recently that Albert Pujols’ career batting average has dropped below .300

3:03
Ben Clemens: Phenomenally sad imo

3:03
Ben Clemens: Poeple who started following baseball after 2010 are going to have the complete wrong impression of Pujols

3:04
Estevão: Tell me something. Was the Gallen trade made because Miami though it was getting more in return or simply a swap of assets with simiilar value but different age. The first option I understand the second one I really don’t

3:04
Ben Clemens: I’ve thought about this trade a lot, and here’s my general take on it

3:04
Ben Clemens: The Marlins thought that Gallen had a little more helium than was justified

3:04
Ben Clemens: Understandable: he was considered a good-not-great prospect with STL, and he really tapped into something in Miami. Like, he always was considered interesting, but not a top 100 guy

3:05
Ben Clemens: They wanted prospects of the Chisholm type; tooled-up with speed

3:05
Ben Clemens: The different age thing helps, b/c Gallen was ML ready and the Fish weren’t, but I think they mainly thought they were upgrading

3:06
Ben Clemens: If you trade for a prospect as the second guy in a deal (Alcantara being the first) and can upgrade him to a guy roughly equivalent to the first guy, shoot your shot

3:06
Ben Clemens: I was lower on Chisholm than them, but I hope I’m wrong, he’s very fun when he’s good

3:07
Estevão: that I understand. It didn’t turn out so well but the thought process remains valid

3:07
Ben Clemens: That’s my guess, though I haven’t talked to anyone from the team to confirm it and I doubt they’d tell me either way

3:08
Shohei Hey Whadda Ya Say?: Thoughts on David Dahl/TEX outfielders in dynasty atm?

3:08
Ben Clemens: Love Dahl

3:08
Ben Clemens: They have a messy outfield situation in general, lots of positionless players that need to do something

3:09
Ben Clemens: But giving Dahl 600 PA to find out if he’s for real is a no brainer

3:10
Estevão: for about five + years Pujols is mostly collecting money from the Angels that he earned with St Louis. Baseball is funny that way

3:10
Ben Clemens: Strange situation for sure, but yeah, baseball compensation is weird

3:11
Cueto’s Shimmy: What % of the season is generally considered to have left small sample territory? As a rule of thumb, obviously different for different stats. Maybe one cutoff for hitters and one for pitchers?

3:11
Ben Clemens: FIrst, I’d recommend data beast Sean Dolinar’s article on this, it’s old but I still use it a lot

3:12
Ben Clemens: Well, that’s the Jonah Pemstein update of his and Sean’s original article

3:12
Ben Clemens: But yeah, this one

3:13
Ben Clemens: That said, basically focus on smaller htings — whiff rate, quality of contact, strikeouts and walks

3:13
Ben Clemens: until the season gets deeeeeeep

3:13
johndarc: What type of “personal services” do we think Pujols will provide to the Angels after he is finished with this contract? Would such a contract preclude him signing a 1 day contract with St Louis just to retire as a Cardinal?

3:13
Ben Clemens: I think that’s the exact kind of services the contract is in place for

3:14
Ben Clemens: They want him to retire as an Angel, and keeping him locked up after his career ends is a good way to do that

3:14
Ben Clemens: I imagine he’ll also be kind of a team ambassador, that kind of thing

3:15
Ben from EU: Hello Ben! What do you think about JT Brubaker? If he performs well like last season will the Pirates trade him at halftime?

3:16
Ben Clemens: I think he’s interesting, and I have been making an effort to pay more attention to sinker/slider pitchers who have a four-seamer they can at least show

3:17
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll probably hold onto him, though, even if he does well, because he’s still young and controllable. Not that he’s a stud, but you can see him being on the next contending team there

3:17
Ben Clemens: at 30, or whatever

3:17
Ben Clemens: I guess the reason they’d trade him is that they think they’re far away from contending… .fair enough if so

3:17
Christian:

Thoughts on Akil Baddoo? Just stole a base...
3:18
Ben Clemens: Great story, hope he rakes, just a phenomenally talented guy

3:18
Ben Clemens: That said, I wonder about the hit tool

3:20
Ben Clemens: Realllly smart idea to pick him up, though, the error bars are huge and he  could be a power/speed combo guy

3:20
Also Ben: R.e. Brubaker it could be worth noting I think the Cubs saw something in Trevor Williams where throwing his 2-seamer (which was getting crushed) actually helps the rest of his pitches play up. He had gone away from it after looking at the pitch data the last couple years

3:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’ve struggled to find these effects, because they’re really hard to isolate. I do think they’re real, though, and I’m constantly trying to figure out how to prove that they exist

3:21
jaysfan9293: any thoughts about how the jays’ bullpen is shaping up and whether it could rank league-wide?  merryweather is obviously the talk of the town but on a macro-scale outside of dolis’ 3 walks on saturday their performance has been almost spotless so far (against a dangerous lineup in the yankees no less)

3:23
Ben Clemens: They’ve looked quite good, and Merryweather looking great might make me bump them up some in our power rankings,b ut we had them in the 8-15 range already, and that seems rasonable to me

3:23
Ben Clemens: They’re not the Yankees, White Sox,  Mets, Brewers, or Padres, at least to my eyes

3:23
Ben Clemens: (those are the 5 we have the highest and the 5 I like the most)

3:23
Guest: Do you think any Angels players look at Pujols and resent the lack of production from the roster spot?

3:24
Ben Clemens: I mean, any? Maybe

3:24
Ben Clemens: The Angels in general LOVE him, though

3:24
Ben Clemens: You have to remember; for a lot of them, he was the best player in baseball when they were kids

3:24
Zach: Gavin Lux had a 30+ ft/sec sprint speed this weekend and currently is number 1 in baseball (SSS obviously). Where did that come from?

3:25
Ben Clemens: he was fast already (28.8 ft/sec sprint speed in 2019), but yeah, I dunno, he got faster?

3:26
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure why his speed wasn’t considered more of an asset, but he’s definitely been fast when measured

3:26
Steve: Any plans for picking up OOTP simulation articles again?

3:26
Ben Clemens: Yes indeed!

3:27
Ben Clemens: There will be one coming out soon; I just wanted to focus on the start of the actual season.

3:27
Ben Clemens: We traded for Nick Allen and made him our everyday shortstop, so I’m hyped for a good defensive team for once

3:27
Derek: Have you been playing any OOTP 22? The draft mode is fantastic imo

3:27
Ben Clemens: Gonna stream some Perfect Draft either this week or next. I am bad at it but I’m having fun

3:27
Cueto’s Shimmy: 430 PA with a babip of .400 since ’19, does Donnie “Barrels” Solano have a real skill there?

3:27
Ben Clemens: Eh, maybe a little real skill, but 430 PA of babip is not much

3:28
Ben Clemens: On that note, I’m going to call it a day. Thanks for chatting everyone, and while I’m a little disappointed that we kept to baseball so much (I blame Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes for not providing me ANOTHER great recipe), I’m going to chalk that up to small sample size and hope we can get back to our true talent level of nonsense soon

3:29
Ben Clemens: Have a great day!





Ben is a contributor to FanGraphs. A lifelong Cardinals fan, he got his start writing for Viva El Birdos. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

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bosoxforlife
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bosoxforlife

Your comment that it is hard to hit on top end starters is only half the story. Teams aren’t even able to recognize one when they have him. The Dodgers traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields. The Diamondbacks got Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson for Max Scherzer. How many WS championships have the Tigers won since they sent John Smoltz to Atlanta for Doyle Alexander? Nolan Ryan for a washed-up Jim Fregosi is still remembered by Mets fans. Steve Carlton for Rick Wise? These are all Hall of Famers, Scherzer is a lock, and many other top of the rotation pitchers were moved for very little in return.