Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 6/13/22

2:01
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, welcome to the chat

2:01
Ben Clemens: I’m going to give the queue a few minutes to fill up before we get started.

2:05
Ben Clemens: Alright, let’s get started. Might be a quiet-ish chat session, I think the link to this isn’t showing up on the homepage, so you are very likely to get your quetion answered if you’ve found your way here

2:05
Benny Baseball: Where did my power go?

2:06
Ben Clemens: I think it was extremely contextual power – Fenway mattered some, as did the juiced ball, but an un-juiced ball in Kauffman is just a tough sell from a power standpoint

2:06
RTJ: No question here but just want to say that I love watching Frank Schwindel throw a 35 mph pitch that gets hit for a home run in a blow out game. If the game is already over, we might as well have something entertaining to look at!

2:07
Ben Clemens: I did find that pretty funny. I don’t exactly get why Schwindel throws 35 — he can obviously throw harder than that — but as long as he’s not doing it frequently, it’s kinda funny

2:07
Derek: RSS feeds are still useful, apparently!

2:07
Ben Clemens: You worthy few

2:07
JC: What does the rest of the season look like for Christian Bethancourt?

2:08
Ben Clemens: He’s been surprisingly good!

2:09
Ben Clemens: I think that the rest of the season looks like a 90-100 wRC+, more starts at first base because the A’s have to play SOMEONE there, and maybe being the starting catcher if they trade Murphy?

2:09
Ben Clemens: heck of a comeback for a guy who felt out of baseball before this year

2:09
Ben Clemens: Someone should have drafted him in the minor league free agent draft on Effectively Wild

2:10
Ozzie Smallbies: Have you caught Jackson Chourio fever?

2:10
Ben Clemens: I mean, he seems good! I’m not really the all in on a low-minors prospect type, though

2:10
Ben Clemens: I bet you he will get plenty of hype next year, and that it’ll be warranted. Let’s see him play some more baseball before we go crowning him the next hall of famer

2:11
Derek: Have you seen Corbin Caroll’s AA line this year?? He essentially hasn’t played competitive baseball since 2019 and he is absolutely shredding the league

2:11
Ben Clemens: This just in: Corbin Carroll is great

2:12
Ben Clemens: I don’t really know what he has left to prove at AA, or probably at AAA, but I sympathize with the DBacks wanting to give him at least a few more reps; like you said, he hasn’t played much since 2019

2:12
Ben Clemens: If he’s not in the majors this year, though, i’m gonna be sad

2:12
RTJ: Does Buehler’s injury reveal temper some of the disappointment in his season so far? Maybe there was this underlying problem all along?

2:13
Ben Clemens: I think so, but on the other hand, pitcher injuries are not what you’re rooting for

2:14
Ben Clemens: If I had a choice between spraining and not spraining my flexor tendon, I’d vote not

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’ll be curious to see what Buehler looks like upon his return, but yeah, cautiously optimistic that htis was leading to some of the bad results

2:14
Ben Clemens: his fastball simply didn’t look like its old self

2:14
RTJ: I am so confused what to take away from Torkelson so far – it really feels like he needs an AAA reset, regardless of how Detroit is doing in the standings.

2:15
Ben Clemens: I think I’d let him work it out in the majors, myself. He’s not striking out some unsustainable amount, or looking overwhelmed at all. And they don’t exactly have someone languishing on the bench to give him playing time

2:16
Ben Clemens: Basically, if he was looking completely lost, or chasing some ridiculous amount trying to get hot, or something like that, I’d say having him go cool down and reset would be a good idea. But he isn’t, so why not let him figure it out int he big leagues? That’s the kind of pitching he needs to conquer eventually anyway

2:17
John Hammond: Where do you think Bryan Reynolds finishes the season? What about Josh Bell?

2:17
Ben Clemens: Pittsburgh, and Boston

2:18
Ben Clemens: I think the Sox are in addition mode at this point, and first base/sometimeOF/backup DH is a place they could add

2:18
Ben Clemens: Bell is likely to be fairly inexpensive prospect-wise, too

2:19
Ben Clemens: I’d say Houston, but they seem committed to Yuli, regardless of line

2:19
James: Is Yordan’s diminished strikeout rate here to stay? Its a pretty significant drop for one year.

2:19
Ben Clemens: In my opinion, yes. He’s been improving under the hood in terms of discipline, contact rate, etc. since hitting the majors

2:20
Ben Clemens: It’s easy to forget that he didn’t exactly have a long minor league career to learn how to be disciplined. Now that he’s seeing more and more pitches from big league competition, and still young, I find him improving in terms of pitch selection to be very believable

2:21
Ben Clemens: I dunno if it’s gonna stay at 16%, but I thought him striking out more than league average was probably not gonna last, just based on his decent eye, decent contact, and prodigious power that makes pitchers give up when they get behind

2:21
Ben Clemens: sub-20% strikeout rate is here to stay, imo

2:21
Jon G: How robust is the market for Willson Contreras, a rental catcher, actually going to be at the deadline? Seems tough to get his full value behind the plate since he’d be abruptly switching to a new pitching staff (and his work as an actual framer is…eh). Does this lend itself to a situation where he’s valued more like a big bat with limited defensive utility than we’d assume?

2:21
Ben Clemens: I think that people will be totally willing to play him at catcher, but that they’ll also want to have a rotating DH type spot

2:21
Ben Clemens: so that his bat can be in the lineup even on days where he’s not catching

2:22
Ben Clemens: So Houston is out, for example, even if they want a catcher upgrade

2:22
Ben Clemens: the Giants would be an intriguing fit, actually

2:22
Mike M: Hey Ben, The Dodgers are clearly in a slump.  What do you think are the main causes?

2:23
Ben Clemens: Seems like they’ve just had a few of their good hitters hit a rough patch at once. I wouldn’t read too much into it; baseball is up-and-down that way

2:23
James: How long does Bregman slug under .400 before Dusty moves him out of the 3 spot? He still walks plenty, why not lead him off?

2:24
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I like Bregman as a leadoff hitter quite a bit. I don’ think the slugging is the end of the world, but his standout skill has always been getting on base. Seems like a 1 or 2 hitter to me

2:24
Ben Clemens: to be clear, it doesn’t matter much at all which spot he’s in if he’s in the top 5. But I wouldn’t be against shaking things up, and if you wanted to be perfectly optimal, you’d probably lead him off

2:24
Ozzie Smallbies: If the Cardinals did a D&D campaign, who would join and what would their role be?

2:25
Ben Clemens: I’m not a D&D player, so I only konw the stereotypes

2:25
Ben Clemens: but let’s see: Adam Wainwright would be the most into character

2:25
Ben Clemens: Molina would be the DM and really chastise people for not playing the game the right way (read: role playing)

2:26
Ben Clemens: Yeah…. okay fine, I don’t know enough about D&D to answer

2:26
Jay: Tommy Edman fascinates me. I had been thinking of him as a classic Cardinals “devil magic” guy who might be a tad underrated but is ultimately mostly average. However, he currently has the 7th most WAR in baseball and ZiPS ROS projections are placing him alongside guys like Harper, Acuña and Arenado in value. Is he… a star?

2:26
Ben Clemens: I think that Edman is more All Star than Harper/Acuna/Arenado territory, but I’ve been low on him since his debut

2:26
Ben Clemens: He’s a standout defender, that much is obious

2:28
Ben Clemens: But I thought he was more 90-100 wRC+ with the bat. him being not embarrassing as a lefty hitter is a HUGE boost. I still think he’s not a standout bat, but he’s filled the Kolten Wong role really nicely, and perhaps with better offense

2:28
Spared No Expense: Re: Yordan – if the K% is here to stay then is he the best hitter in the league? Top 3?

2:28
Ben Clemens: Top 3 for sure; I think I’d probably take Trout and Soto over him by a hair still, but it’s definitely getting close

2:28
Joshua: Can you mock what a fair and realistic trade return for Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz (individual separate deals) would actually look like? Thanks.

2:29
Ben Clemens: Cruz would be for a flyer. He seems to have righted the ship after just an abysmal start, but a DH-only bat who still isn’t hitting for power and is owed a decent amount of money is just not a big trade chip these days

2:30
Ben Clemens: the team I foresee being most active at the trade deadline on the hitter side is the Giants (and maybe the Brewers?), so maybe he’s a fit there, but I just don’t buy them giving up a ton for a 41-year-old with okay numbers

2:31
Ben Clemens: For Bell, I dunno, something in the 40+ range? Would the Nats take, say, Blaze Jordan, to pick a random Boston name? Probably, and I think the Sox might be willing to surrender him

2:32
RTJ: Any thoughts on Kyle Martin’s potential impact with SD later this year? Small sample size but already 2 HRs at AAA following a breakout in Mexico

2:32
Ben Clemens: It is 19 PA stateside; let’s let him get to 50 before passing judgment

2:33
Ben Clemens: I don’t know a ton about him, to be honest, but the Padres could use some 1b help, so I think that an above-average two months in AAA will earn him some major league time

2:33
Ben Clemens: Hurts him a bit that he’s a lefty, since Hosmer is monopolizing that PT, but Hosmer is fading quickly

2:33
Derek: Related to the Bregman question: when will Jeremy Pena be allowed to hit higher in the order than 7th!?

2:34
Ben Clemens: it was big of Dusty to switch Kyle Tucker from 6th to 5th

2:34
Ben Clemens: I think that Pena to 6th will come next

2:34
Ben Clemens: The Astros are just not a switch-up-batting-order team. It’s not a huge EV problem, fractions of runs at best, and so I am mostly okay with it. But yeah, Pena should hit higher. It’s like when Tucker kept hitting 6th last year while being the best hitter on the team

2:35
Derek: Is there an appropriate way to handle a situation like in KC, where Carlos Santana is effectively blocking two top prospects (Pratto and Pasquantino), or does it just end up awkward no matter what? Is abruptly cutting him loose like the Angels (eventually) did with Pujols the cleanest way out?

2:35
Ben Clemens: There really isn’t. You have to just pull the plug at some point

2:35
Dr. Grant: A month or so ago you predicted Jose Miranda to be “really, really good.” He’s shown since returning. Has your mind changed any on him since then?

2:37
Ben Clemens: I’m a bit worried by his approach; he’s just swinging so early and often that it’s hard for him to draw walks. But his carrying tool is that he sprays hard line drives, and I feel pretty good about that part so far

2:38
Ben Clemens: I think he’s gonna be a high-babip guy long term. even off to a lackluster start, I think the tools look to be there. But yeah – more walks please

2:38
Joe Don: If you’re the Rangers front office, what do you do at the trade deadline?

2:39
Ben Clemens: I think it matters where they are in a month. Right now, they’re right on the periphery of the WC race, but can’t win the division more or less

2:40
Ben Clemens: If they’re still here in a month, I think they’ll try to get some rental pitching, and maybe one more outfielder. Eli White has been lackluster and is also hurt

2:40
Ben Clemens: If they’ve fallen off the pace much, I tihnk they’ll stand pat

2:41
Joe Don: Ha! A red letter day – my first Fangraphs Chat reply! Ever!

2:41
Ben Clemens: It’s a celebration

2:41
LanhamAct: Brayan Bello — MLB starter this year?

2:41
Ben Clemens: Yeah

2:41
Ben Clemens: Betting on a Red Sox starter to get into a major league game at least once is a very good bet

2:42
NH: Lots of red on Donaldson’s savant page…is a breakout coming, or is this pretty much who he is at this point? Production has been fine so far—just not much better than that. Have a roster crunch coming and, even in a points league (SB = 2 pts), I think I would drop Donaldson over Jeremy Pena or C. Walker…

2:43
Ben Clemens: I think this is just Donaldson. He’s gonna swing and miss a lot, he’s gonna walk, he’s gonna hit the ball hard.

2:43
Ben Clemens: I can see his production on balls in play ticking up, but in large part, this is who he is

2:43
Clever Girl: Hop into your time machine and take it ALLLL the way to November, 2022. Will Tanner Houck’s season be more valuable than Whitlock’s 2021? How many saves did he get?

2:45
Ben Clemens: I think it will be more valuable; I’m worried that Whitlock’s injury will linger. I thin he will end up with…. 25 saves

2:45
Ben Clemens: Really don’t have any strong view here, but now that he’s installed as the closer, maybe he’ll stick around? Just a guess

2:45
James: There’s no obvious immediate need, but the Astros have to call Hunter Brown up sometime soon just to see what he’s got right?

2:46
Ben Clemens: Yeah, at least for an extra arm for a double-header or something

2:46
Ben Clemens: You can nitpick the walks, but he’s missing a TON of bats in the high minors

2:46
RTJ: Are you buying Tanner Houck being the Red Sox answer for their bullpen struggles? Seems like an overall complicated time for Sox pitching management with Eovaldi and Whitlock both getting hurt last week.

2:47
Ben Clemens: I guess to add to the answer above, Houck looks like a legit great reliever to me. I’m not sure Boston’s pitching will survive the season — injuries to two of their top starters seems really bad — but I think Houck will look the part wherever he pitches

2:47
Gil: How many team games before you think FIP is a better pitching talent predictor than xFIP

2:48
Ben Clemens: I truly have no idea. I’m wondering some version of this myself at the moment — at one point you need to start listening to pitcher home run rates

2:48
Ben Clemens: It’s further into the season than you’d think offhand, but only in an aggregate sense. I eel like there are plenty of pitchers where xFIP is just wrong, and you kinda know it from watching them

2:48
Kevin: What am I missing on Roansy? His K-BB%, SwStr% look borderline elite – seems like there should be more hype. Numbers inflated by his spell as a reliever?

2:49
Ben Clemens: He suffers from a bad case of Pittsburgh-itis

2:49
Ben Clemens: and a secondary case of it’s-only-four-starts disease

2:50
Ben Clemens: If he keeps doing it – particularly if he keeps doing it and goes a little deeper into the game — he’s going to start rising up ‘good young pitching’ lists quickyly

2:50
Jim: Is Detroit the only team using the no-juice baseballs? 71 wRC+! How is that historically?

2:50
Ben Clemens: I don’t have a great answer for how bad it is historically at this point in the season, but it’s atrocious, particularly given the hitters they brought in this offseason

2:50
Ben Clemens: thank goodness for Skubal, this would be a rough team otherwise

2:50
Derek: O/U 3.5 AL East teams in the postseason?

2:50
Ben Clemens: I can’t believe I’m saying this but over

2:51
james randlap: Do you think that, time machine, before the season & before Buxton resigned, the Twins would’ve taken Triston Casas straight up?

2:51
Ben Clemens: No, but I don’t tihnk it would have been an awful offer or anything

2:51
Ben Clemens: But I don’t think you go out and get Carlos Correa for now, only to follow it up by trading Byron Buxton

2:52
RTJ: RE: Your Top 3 Hitters from above: Is Devers 4th?

2:52
Ben Clemens: J Ram for me

2:52
Trev: FIP for hitters, pick 3 stats, what do you think? Line drives, home runs, k:bb ratio?

2:52
Ben Clemens: I don’t think you get to pick a ratio, and I’m not a big ratio fan anyway

2:52
Ben Clemens: If I have to take outcome stats, I’ll just take XBH, K, BB

2:53
Ben Clemens: If I can include fancier stuff, I want whiff/swing and barrel/bb

2:53
Jimmy Jack: What’s going on with German Marquez?

2:54
Ben Clemens: His fastball has just lost its way

2:54
Ben Clemens: He throws it a decent amount, and it really isn’t missing any bats

2:55
Ben Clemens: It’s so hard to be good when your primary pitch has a 94% contact rate against it

2:55
Ben Clemens: I think he’s better than his stats, but basically he’s just throwing a pitch up there and saying hit it

2:55
Ben Clemens: and batters are

2:55
Guest: The Blue Jays have an upcoming problem.  There are three great catchers, and only one catcher on the team.  What do they do?

2:56
Ben Clemens: These problems work themselves out. Kirk will get some DH time, Moreno can play in AAA intermittently if he needs to, and hey, Jansen’s hurt right now

2:58
Ben Clemens: If Moreno pans out at the major league level, they may end up trading Jansen. But for now, using Kirk as a sometime DH, sometime catcher, and maybe sometime 1b (he hasn’t done it yet this year but I could see it)

2:58
Ben Clemens: Seems like a fine enough plan to me. Having too much catching is a situation that never lasts long

2:58
Kevin: Is MJ Melendez’s bat good enough to play in the outfield?

2:58
Ben Clemens: imo, not longterm

2:58
Ben Clemens: It’s just a waste to play him there rather than letting him catch

2:58
Ben Clemens: Salvy is kinda heading towards DH anyway

2:59
Ben Clemens: Alright, the queue is completely empty, so I’m gonna call it a chat. Thanks for hanging out with me today, and hey, for once, I don’t have to say that I left a ton of questions unanswered and can get to it next week

2:59
Ben Clemens: I answered them all!

2:59
Ben Clemens: Except for this last one:

2:59
Derek: How is/are your Ottoneu season/s going?

2:59
Ben Clemens: badly! 4-14 in the FG staff league. But I’m getting sharper, I really punted the first few weeks with bad management

2:59
Ben Clemens: Have a great week everyone





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

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Broken Batmember
16 days ago

Always look forward to your chats. As you mention, this chat time was not posted. Why? There are others on a weekly basis where members come to visit etc. and it is no shows by FG staff. Why can’t FG post daily in AM what the daily chat schedule is going to be?