Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 7/13/20

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, I got a late start to posting this chat today, so I’ll give the queue five minutes or so to fill up while I work on my power rankings for later this week.

2:01
Ben Clemens: But in the meantime, welcome, and I hope you’re having a great start to your week.

2:06
Ben Clemens: Alright, let’s get started. Things will be a little slower on my end today because we are right in the teeth of the biggest writing chunk for the year, but eh, maybe that will just give me more time to consider my answers.

2:06
Jon: Old school guys criticize analytic’s value of first base defense. Is there anything to that?

2:06
Jon: And do most metrics take into account scooping bad throws from teammates?

2:07
Ben Clemens: Yeah, this is a long-running criticism of advanced defensive metrics, and the reason that it’s held up even as others fall away is because there’s a lot of measuring things that don’t happen.

2:07
Ben Clemens: Like, good luck disagreeing with the fact that, say, Derek Jeter doesn’t get to enough grounders

2:07
Ben Clemens: Old school guys loved Jeter’s defense enough that he has multiple Gold Gloves, but they’ve lost that battle.

2:07
Ben Clemens: But first basemen, you can claim evidence of absence

2:08
Ben Clemens: ‘that guy is so good at scooping that his infielders can make more throws’

2:08
Ben Clemens: ‘and have the confidence that they’re throwing to the indomitable eric hosmer’

2:08
Ben Clemens: That’s naturally a hard thing to measure, because it’s not just the change in throwing errors from your teammates

2:09
Ben Clemens: and fielding errors from your first baseman

2:09
Ben Clemens: Those two effects are easily captured and don’t matter much

2:09
Ben Clemens: One of DRS and UZR handles scoops, and I’m not actually sure if Statcast’s OAA does

2:10
Ben Clemens: Looks like UZR doesn’t, so maybe it’s DRS that covers it?

2:11
Ben Clemens: In any case I’m willing to believe that metrics don’t handle scoops correctly, but the amount of value people attribute to them is wild

2:12
Ben Clemens: The Padres made 60 throwing errors in 2017, 50 in 2018, and 61 in 2019

2:12
Ben Clemens: That’s across all positions

2:12
Ben Clemens: So half a win at the outside, and they actually made more in 2019 with a better defensive third baseman than they did in 2017. Where were the scoops for my boy Fernando Tatis?

2:12
Biggie: Where’d you like to see the next expansion mlb team(s)?

2:13
Ben Clemens: Portland and Montreal, I think

2:13
Ben Clemens: But I’d also love to see one in North Carolina

2:13
Ben Clemens: My real answer is New York

2:13
Ben Clemens: But that won’t happen

2:13
Ben Clemens: For obvious reasons around tv markets

2:14
Ben Clemens: Montreal would be a cool story, Portland has been angling for it for quite some time and can support an NBA franchise, and North Carolina has a TON of good baseball and good baseball fans.

2:14
Biggie: Does Puig sign if doesn’t play in spring training 2.0?

2:15
Ben Clemens: I have no idea! I think it’s really weird that no team wants this amount of upgrade in such a wide-open season

2:15
Ben Clemens: I’m also reallllly hoping he doesn’t sign somewhere to play left field in the three days before my left field power rankings come out

2:16
Ben Clemens: I think that if the season starts with no Puig, we will probably get a whole year of no Puig, because a pro-rated salary on this short season at the discount he’d need to take is silly

2:16
Ben Clemens: Just stay healthy and come back for 2021

2:16
Music City: Nashville would be so cool for an MLB team. It would scrape away the Brave’s and Cardinal’s markets, but the city is growing incredibly fast and should be more than able to support a team.

2:16
Ben Clemens: Another good call, and as a Tennessee native I’m embarrased I didn’t name them

2:16
Ben Clemens: In fairness I grew up in East TN so NC would probably be closer depending on where

2:16
Ben Clemens: But yeah

2:17
Ben Clemens: Nashville would be great, and honestly, concerns about eating into the Cards’ market are overblown. I grew up in TN and am a Cards fan, and I knew roughly 0 other ones in the area

2:17
Ben Clemens: Braves market sure, but NC would do the same

2:17
2-D: “the amount of value people attribute to them is wild”. They get overrated? Underrated?

2:17
Ben Clemens: Oh, overrated

2:18
Ben Clemens: I can’t find any of the quotes at the moment but you’ll still find guys saying scoops save you three, four wins a year

2:18
Music City: I was in Nashville last month and was heckled many times for my Braves hat

2:18
Ben Clemens: What market is it, then?

2:18
Ben Clemens: Cards?

2:18
Ben Clemens: Just non-baseball?

2:18
Ben Clemens: I will say that the last time I was there I saw way more Predators jerseys and hats than I was expecting

2:18
Music City: It’s a good mix of both

2:19
Ben Clemens: This is just an excuse to talk about how sweet Nashville is, and I’m in for that

2:19
Ben Clemens: Go to Nashville, people. Once COVID vaccines exist. And maybe don’t stay in an AirBnB due to serious gentrification issues with them.

2:19
Ben Clemens: We stayed at a cool old hotel that used to be a railroad station, A+

2:19
Jordan: If many MiLB teams fail because of COVID, where do the prospects on those teams play next year?

2:19
Biggie: Does contraction of minor leagues make it more or less likely for mlb expansion?

2:21
Ben Clemens: There won’t be an issue of not enough minor league teams left for the prospects

2:21
Ben Clemens: Teams have been wishing desperately for fewer minor league affiliates, and COVID just played right into their hands

2:21
Ben Clemens: There will be fewer minor league franchises next year, they’ll hack off 40 franchises or whatever, and the best prospects will carry on

2:22
Ben Clemens: It does sound like many of these teams will change hands or enter bankruptcy proceedings or whatnot, though

2:22
Beane: Dodgers and Astros will be streaming sim games, but A’s will not (don’t want other teams scouting their pitching); What’s your opinion, good move?

2:22
Ben Clemens: My opinion is please god stream your games

2:22
Ben Clemens: Do you actually think that people are picking stuff up on your pitchers with the atrocious camera angles that exist?

2:22
Ben Clemens: And how long would that disadvantage last? A week?

2:23
Ben Clemens: In exchange for that you get a bunch of fan interest and even maybe a #dontrunonchico moment

2:24
2:24
Ben Clemens: More moments where a clubhouse attendant throws out noted fast boy Chris Taylor, please

2:24
Music City: It seems like the Rays should be in Nashville asap. I can’t think of another team that needs to relocate now that the A’s seem to have progress on a stadium. Unless MLB is ready to expand, which it doesn’t seem to be.

2:24
Ben Clemens: I would have agreed with you before 2020

2:25
Ben Clemens: I think that expansion is now very likely because it’s a way to get revenue back to teams

2:26
Ben Clemens: I’ve been vocal about my view that the owners are crying poor without true justification, but if there are no fans in 2021 either, then you have to start worrying about a sustained downturn

2:26
Jon: Financially, more MiLB teams make sense for pro teams, right? If one out of 25 guys making the bare minimum pans out and becomes an average MLB player it pays off

2:26
Ben Clemens: You’d think

2:26
Ben Clemens: The problem is that it’s zero-sum

2:26
Ben Clemens: If 30 teams each spend an extra 10 million dollars panning for prospects, the league spent 300 million dollars to add a net zero WAR

2:27
Ben Clemens: And the owners have, if not outright colluded, let’s just say done a great job aligning when net financial incentives are in their favor

2:27
Ben Clemens: It’s totally true that any individual team has an incentive to have more farm systems

2:27
Ben Clemens: In a world where everyone has 6 farm teams, having 7 is sweet

2:28
Ben Clemens: But everyone having 7 just puts you back at square one

2:28
Ben Clemens: This is the cartel collaboration problem, basically

2:28
James: Would you really watch streamed intrasquad summer camp games?  Even as a big baseball fan I can imagine few things more boring.

2:28
Ben Clemens: Would I? Yeah. I’m a baseball writer, though.

2:28
Ben Clemens: Would people? I’m not really sure

2:29
Ben Clemens: But a lot more than 0, I think

2:29
Ben Clemens: My dad was asking me if he could watch Yadi

2:29
Ben Clemens: (he’s a big cards fan)

2:29
Ben Clemens: But then again, he listens to spring training games on the radio, so he’s probably not the person you’re worried about attracting

2:30
Ben Clemens: Maybe that makes it less valuable? But I certainly don’t think it hurts

2:30
Chris: I’ve been watching Yankee summer games on YES, for the record

2:30
Ben Clemens: That’s cool that YES is streaming them. Love it

2:30
Trent: How about a poll re: streamed games?

2:30
Ben Clemens: Great idea

2:30
Ben Clemens:

Would you watch your favorite team’s streamed sim games?

Yes (64.8% | 35 votes)
 
No (20.3% | 11 votes)
 
Just snooping, no opinion (14.8% | 8 votes)
 

Total Votes: 54
2:30
Jimmy: “Crying poor” is a negative way of saying “more profitable”, which is not a bad thing. Of course they should act in their best interest

2:30
Ben Clemens: I mean, sure?

2:31
Ben Clemens: This is obviously untrue at the limit

2:31
Ben Clemens: So we can just debate at what point it’s true and at what point it’s not

2:31
Ben Clemens: But that seems like it will head a little further into politics than I like to here

2:31
Ben Clemens: So, let’s just say owners are great at making money

2:31
Ben Clemens: And expansion seems like a wise way to make some more at this point.

2:32
Guest: Brewers are hosting a best of seven intrasquad World Series this week. Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez are drafting the teams today for the Blue and the Gold squads. Games are in each night in prime time (6:40pm CT) and streamed on Brewers.com. Actual announcers. I’m actually pumped.

2:32
Ben Clemens: What?

2:32
Ben Clemens: I’m going to watch tihs

2:32
Ben Clemens: What a great idea

2:32
Ben Clemens: I mean, I’m curious why those two were the captains

2:32
Jimmy: The wording is a glass half full vs. half empty

2:32
Ben Clemens: Look the owners said they were going to take a financial bath and lose 4 billion dollars by playin this year

2:33
Ben Clemens: So like, chill

2:33
Charlotte: Carolina seems like an obvious choice for expansion.  They have teams in all of the other major sports and the population there is booming.

2:33
Ben Clemens: Used to have a bunch of work colleagues/counterparts who lived in Charlotte

2:34
Ben Clemens: They would head to Knights games after work because the stadium is so easy to get to

2:34
Ben Clemens: I wonder if having a major league team would ruin that experience, but on the other hand the area is booming, like you said

2:34
Marko from Tropoja: Buy or sell: Kershaw’s FB velocity is back? If sell, when (if?) do we see a serviceable CH from him?

2:34
Ben Clemens: I do not think we’re going to see a changeup from him, to be honest

2:35
Ben Clemens: It’s been an obvious thing for him to add for FOREVER

2:35
Ben Clemens: But he hasn’t b/c his curveball does enough against righties

2:35
Ben Clemens: I buy a tick up, though

2:36
Ben Clemens: Kershaw more than perhaps any other pitcher in baseball has been in a cycle of overwork, nagging injury, pitch through it, overwork

2:36
Ben Clemens: Some rest might have done him good

2:36
Curious: Jay Jaffe used Pete Alonso as an example of “service time shenanigans” today, alongside Vlad Jr.  I feel like Alonso is a really weak example, especially next to Vlad Jr. or someone like Bryant, or a guy who was strongarmed into signing an extension before being promoted. I feel like it was a really unnecessary politicization of his look at the Mets 1B options. I don’t actually have a question, I’m just slightly het up about it

2:36
Ben Clemens: Well, I wrote about Alonso’s start last year and very specifically mentioned their Super Two shenanigans with Alonso

2:36
Ben Clemens: Hm, double Alonso’ed there, that’s my bad

2:37
Ben Clemens: But I think you’re right that it’s a far weaker example than Vladdy

2:38
Ben Clemens: B/c when he made it obvious that he belonged, they caved

2:38
Ben Clemens: and brought him up

2:38
Ben Clemens: But they were saying he just didn’t have the defensive chops to play while he was winning defensive player of hte month awards in the minors and hitting a trillion bombs

2:38
Curious: Alonso wasn’t actually really impacted by the decision to promote him, and the team had a legit competitor that they gave time to in September- Dom Smith, who is actually even younger

2:39
Ben Clemens: Like I said, it’s not as egregious of an example

2:39
Ben Clemens: But if you could ask them privately, of course they were conserving options by keeping him down in 2018

2:39
Roger: Who wins the NL Central this year?

2:39
Ben Clemens: Gimme the Reds, but if I’m being honest, it’s just a 4 way tossup

2:39
Ben Clemens: 60 games, whatever

2:39
Ufh: “Don’t blame the player, blame the game.” The rules of service time sucks and needs to change. But do we need to blame the FO for doing what’s best for the organization?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Sure, this is a really good question to think about

2:41
Ben Clemens: I think it’s reasonable to blame the FO for their callousness while understanding that their incentives are aligned with doing this thing

2:41
Ben Clemens: But if you say it’s just the front offices and that baseball is blameless, c’mon buddy

2:41
Ben Clemens: That’s clearly untrue

2:41
Ben Clemens: The front offices are doing ownership’s bidding

2:42
Ben Clemens: And their job is to do that bidding most effectively, etc.

2:42
Curious: Is it worth mentioning prominently in your first sentence about Alonso? That’s my beef. Feels really unnecessary and somehow personal.

2:42
Ben Clemens: Eh, read it, think it’s fine, and look, we’re all writing like 15-20 thousand words and need a blurb for each team, if that’s a thing you are going to get worked up about, look forward to my lobbing bombs at random teams b/c I didn’t have an interesting hook for their section

2:42
asnbrv: A little late, but Tango Tiger has said 1B scoops are part of future iterations of OAA

2:42
Ben Clemens: Nice, thanks man

2:43
Ben Clemens: Ugh, I overuse ‘man’ on the end of sentences

2:43
Ben Clemens: Pretend that wasn’t there

2:43
Jon: What’s the most fun team to follow this year?

2:43
Ben Clemens: The Reds!

2:43
Ben Clemens: I think they’re going to be a blast

2:43
Ben Clemens: They play in a bandbox, they have all kinds of fun hitters, Shogo Akiyama is a wild card, and the NL Central is going to be super competitive

2:44
Ben Clemens: Failing that, I always have fun watching the endlessly interlocking offense of the Rays, and they have the best camera angle in baseball

2:45
Ben Clemens: Anthony Rendon is my single favorite player to watch, and he’s on the Angels, so if you’re on the West Coast that’s a good option

2:45
Ben Clemens: But their games are going to be on late every single night this year due to the way the schedule works

2:45
Ben Clemens: So that’s a big commitment if you’re in eastern time

2:45
Highway61: Sorry if I’ve missed this, but when are the actual 30-man rosters for Opening Day to be finalized? Have they already? I see the projected on RosterResource. Thanks

2:46
Ben Clemens: I am, quite frankly, not sure. Would imagine it’s just the same as opening day, teams have up until that day to announce it but generally do so before

2:46
Fromage: Do you have any sense if Voit is going to timeshare with Andujar/Ford, at least one start per week?

2:46
Ben Clemens: This seems like a great time to mention that Jason Martinez obsessively curates our depth chart projections

2:46
Ben Clemens: Right now, we have Voit projected for 155 PA at first and the Ford/Andujar double at 96

2:46
Ben Clemens: So that seems like a time share to me

2:47
Ben Clemens: Jason is reading every beat writer, talking to team people where he can, combing news wires, everything

2:47
Ben Clemens: It is honestly mildly unsettling how much effort he puts into it. I was eating dinner with him in San Diego for winter meetings when someone signed

2:47
Ben Clemens: And he went to his car, turned on a hot spot, and made the requisite roster changes

2:48
Ben Clemens: On his laptop

2:48
Jon: The Ray’s are my team, but I’ve never noticed the camera angle. What do you mean?

2:48
Ben Clemens: So, I like the dead center angles the most

2:48
Ben Clemens: Because it’s the truest look at a pitcher’s movement

2:48
Ben Clemens: And theirs has just the perfect amount of height where it doesn’t feel like you’re peering down from above, but hte pitcher’s upper body also doesn’t block the strike zone

2:49
Roger: Do you have a preference among the contending ownership groups for the Mets?

2:49
Ben Clemens: I think the JLo/ARod group would be funniest

2:50
Ben Clemens: If you want the Mets to win, I’d assume you want the SAC group

2:50
Ben Clemens: That said, I haven’t done a ton of digging into the particulars

2:50
Ben Clemens: And I’m probably biased on how well I think a hedge fund type would do running a team due to previous work experience in finance

2:50
DC: What is Robert’s trade value in a dynasty league? Currently own him and have had a couple owners aggressively offering over the past week. Who would you take in a one-for-one swap or what kind of package would you be looking to get in return? I’m generally a swap prospects for established stars kind of player as my team is currently top 3 in the league, but I’m hesitant to do anything in this strange season.

2:51
Ben Clemens: I’ll warn you upfront that I don’t currently play in any dynasty leagues, though I’m planning on starting — probably next year rather than this year given the stupid season

2:52
Ben Clemens: That said I’m down on Robert’s long-term value as a fantasy player. If I could get a star outfielder in their late prime, I think I’d do it? I don’t have a great handle on dynasty valuations to know exactly who that would be, but I’d just be looking to make a deal I guess

2:52
Ben Clemens: Sorry that that’s annoyingly vague, such is life when I don’t really known what I’m talking about

2:52
Guest: do you think the blue jays let pearson pitch from the get go?

2:52
Ben Clemens: I do not

2:53
Ben Clemens: I think they are going to wait 10-15 days and see where they are

2:53
Ben Clemens: If they hvae a winning record, go nuts

2:53
Ben Clemens: If they’re like 3-12, nah

2:54
Guest: what do you think McCullers does for the astros this yr? If he can re gain form lessens the blow of losing Cole for sure right?

2:54
Ben Clemens: I mean, it helps. More pitching always helps

2:54
Ben Clemens: Peak McCullers is not as good as Cole, but if he’s back to his 2017 form, that’s basically a free top end starter for them

2:54
Ben Clemens: Which is huge

2:55
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll shove, I’m a big McCullers fan, but I don’t think he’ll ever be the kind of 6-7 inning guy that Cole was. I think they’re right to treat him as an elite performance short outings kinda guy

2:55
Marko from Tropoja: Re: Kershaw, I agree with most of what you said, but he didn’t *need* a CH when his FB was 93-95 and he was putting up sub-2 ERAs and FIPs from 2013-16. I’m a Dodgers fan and have admittedly been spoiled by him, and I think he can consistently be a top-5 pitcher again. I’m just hoping to see a willingness to adapt. He’s only 32 …

2:55
Ben Clemens: Yeah I’m reallllly hoping to see a Kershaw resurgence

2:55
Ben Clemens: I feel like he was taken from us before his time

2:55
Ben Clemens: People lump him in with Scherzer and Verlander but he’s significantly younger

2:55
Ben Clemens: I’m just skeptical that a changeup is what unlocks that resurgence

2:55
Ben Clemens: I think a velo spike is more likely

2:56
Ben Clemens: What worries me about a changeup is that low-velo guys who get by with good changeups are mostly changeup-first guys

2:56
Ben Clemens: And it’s just so unlikely that Kershaw is going to suddenly have a changeup better than his curveball

2:56
Ben Clemens: If he has a 50 changeup in him, that would be amazing

2:57
Ben Clemens: But if it’s a 40, I’d rather have him stick to being 4seam/curve to righties

2:57
BASEBALL SZN: Vlad Jr. is moving to 1B at the ripe old age of 21.  It was expected that he would eventually, but already?  Cause for concern?

2:57
Ben Clemens: Oh for SURE!

2:57
Ben Clemens: Definitely worries me a little

2:58
Ben Clemens: I’m not worried about the bat, and honestly I’m not that worried about his inability to play third foreshadowing something bad about his development

2:58
Ben Clemens: But I think that part of Vlad’s value was that there were maybe 5-10% of scenarios where he’d be an acceptable third baseman with that bat

2:58
Ben Clemens: Or be able to Dom Smith-style fake it in a corner outfield spot or something

2:58
Ben Clemens: 1b-only is just a tough value cap

2:59
Ben Clemens: Regardless of what it says about your other skills

3:00
Curious: Jay’s blurb about Alonso is maybe OK in the abstract; but I could curate a list of many dozen completely unnecessary asides about the Mets from Jay and a lot of other FG authors. Snark for the sake of snark, with minimal or no added value. Every time I get accosted by a request to become a member, I think about how those make me feel. Though you all have the right to your biases, absolutely!

3:00
Ben Clemens: Hm, I’ll try to be very careful in saying this, but I do think that at times the FanGraphs general editorial line has been more lolMets than is maybe merited

3:00
Ben Clemens: We’re all individuals and there’s no group editorial position on the Mets

3:01
Ben Clemens: But it’s tempting, as an Online Baseball Person, to tap into the lolMets zeitgeist

3:01
Ben Clemens: As a former Mets season ticket holder, I find them to be too-often maligned by writers overall

3:01
Ben Clemens: I’ve quite liked some of Brodie’s moves

3:02
Ben Clemens: But at the end of the dya, I don’t think that our positions are crazy or anything. The Mets are buffoons a decent portion of the time

3:02
Ben Clemens: And we’re trying to be entertaining, and the world seems to, overall, love a good pile on

3:02
DC: Follow up re: Robert…why are you down on him long term? What do you expect from him in say 3 years, either in stat line or player comparison?

3:03
Ben Clemens: Eh, I think I would say that for someone where I’m not quite sure what their carrying tool will be, I’d want better minor league numbers to get the kind of hype Robert has amassed

3:03
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s goin to be BAD or anything

3:04
Ben Clemens: but if he’s what ZiPS says he is this year (and leave out defense, ZiPS loooooves his defense), that’s a league average hitter who strikes out too much. He’ll develop from there, but a league average hitter in center is a nice player but not a stud

3:04
Ben Clemens: If people were projecting him to put up a string of 3 WAR years I’d be like

3:04
Ben Clemens: Yeah cool that makes sense to me

3:04
Ben Clemens: And maybe I have the wrong read on people’s overall view of Robert

3:05
Ben Clemens: But I think he’s a high floor type who will make some All Star teams, not an MVP candidate type

3:05
Ben Clemens: Not with high certainty, of course

3:05
Ben Clemens: Saying things like that with certainty is basically impossible

3:05
tmh: Do any ofcCasey Mize, Forrest Whitley or Alex Kirilloff make their debut this year?

3:05
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say Mize yes, Whitley no, Kiriloff, gosh, I guess no but I’m not sure there

3:06
Ben Clemens: I think that Mize is the kind of player where that back end year of control isn’t that valuable due to his age and position

3:06
Ben Clemens: And he’s clearly ready

3:06
Ben Clemens: Less clear if Whitley is ready, and the Twins aren’t short for outfielders or anythin this year

3:07
Ed: Does Bieber, Clevinger, and Carrasco make the Indians a force to be reckoned with, or will it be a tough road to the playoffs?

3:07
Ben Clemens: Yes to both

3:07
Ben Clemens: They’ll be a force to be reckoned with, and they don’t have to play the AL East at all which is a big boon in the Wild Card race

3:08
Ben Clemens: But the AL Central is a 2.5-team race this year and the Twins are stacked

3:08
Ben Clemens: I think I like the Indians as my second Wild Card team

3:08
Ben Clemens: All things considered

3:08
James: which is more egregious: Scott Boras or Jaye Z getting a PPP loan?

3:08
Ben Clemens: Late to this one but boy, I would love to see the full list of people who got loans

3:08
Ben Clemens: It’s all comical

3:09
Ben Clemens: I’d say Boras is the more egregious of the two, but I’m not confident in that assessment

3:09
Roger: Who are your 2020 ROY winners?

3:09
Ben Clemens: Not to spoil our staff predictions, but for the NL I’m gonna be a homer and say Dylan Carlson, for the AL I’m going to say Robert because he’s the rookie I’m most sure will get a full year

3:10
Ben Clemens: Lux, of course, is the chalk pick for NL RoY

3:10
Ben Clemens: But I just want to believe when it comes to Carlson

3:10
Ben Clemens: Call me Fox Mulder

3:11
3:12
Ben Clemens: Nice thanks

3:12
Ben Clemens: You think I’m joking, but I’m looking forward to poking around in this when I finish my PPR

3:12
Dan: I wish MLB would take this season as an opportunity to get more stars in the playoffs. Let’s teams make trades where the MLB players involved revert back automatically at the end of the year

3:12
Ben Clemens: I mean, the CBA would have something to say about that

3:13
Ben Clemens: And I’m 100% sure that Mike Trout isn’t interested in packing up and moving to, let’s say, Tampa, in the middle of a pandemic, to play for a team he’s never cared about with players he won’t play with again

3:13
Ben Clemens: Seems like a player safety nightmare

3:13
Guest: last note i saw said brenday mckay wasnt in camp, any idea if its covid or something else? What do you think the rays do w him this yr?

3:13
Ben Clemens: I do not know, and I’m not gonna speculate about COVID, but I think he’s basically a pitcher only for them this year

3:13
Ben Clemens: Don’t think the bat plays

3:13
Ben Clemens: Though it could in the future

3:13
Ben Clemens: But he’s a valauble piece as a pitcher only

3:14
Nick: If MLB expands to Charlotte, where would you send the AAA Knights?  Or does it not matter because COVID is going to kill MiLB anyway?

3:15
Ben Clemens: That’s a good question. I’ll be greedy and send them to Chattanooga, which is itself an up-and-coming city, though presumably not great on the baseball revenue front given the Lookouts were going to be contracted

3:15
Ben Clemens: I had a birthday party at a Lookouts game, so don’t think I’m even close to partial

3:16
Acuña Moncada: Do the zips projections in the power rankings count for expected handedness breakdown? The Rays & Nationals ranking feels light considering their platoon situation should boost their hitters‘ wRC+ 10-20 points

3:16
Ben Clemens: This sounds like a question for Dan, but basically I’d assume no?

3:16
Ben Clemens: I’m very comfortable with the idea that platooning is too difficult to capture in our projections

3:17
dave in slc: I drafted carlson for my nl only team and really hope you are right. and hope he is up from the start or by week 2 or i lose him and will be sad

3:17
Ben Clemens: I mean I don’t actually know if he’s ready

3:17
Ben Clemens: But I really hope he is, and I think the Cards are generally pretty aggressive around prospect promotion

3:18
Ben Clemens: So if they think he’s ready I think there’s a good chance he plays almost the entire year

3:19
Ben Clemens: Looks like the polling was pretty conclusive, by the way, 65% of people would watch streamed sim games and 15% were just snooping

3:19
Ben Clemens: Only 20% said no

3:19
Ben Clemens: We’re a biased sample of course, but yeah, sounds like people are into it on the whole

3:20
Roy: Over under 17 home runs for league leader this year

3:20
Ben Clemens: Oh snap over

3:20
Ben Clemens: Is that where the prop bet line actually is?

3:20
Ben Clemens: That’s our highest projection, and realized highs should beat projections every time

3:20
Roy: nah, I pulled that out of thin air

3:21
Ben Clemens: Ah gotcha

3:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah I’d guess it should be around 22 or so

3:21
tom: Does Jo Adell break camp in the starting lineup for the Angels?

3:21
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so

3:22
Ben Clemens: I don’t hate Brian Goodwin

3:22
Ben Clemens: and I don’t think they’re benching Upton just yet

3:23
Curious: I appreciate your honesty and introspection, though I’m not sure that “everybody loves a pile-on” is a great rationalization… anyway, I really do appreciate your willingness to engage!

3:23
Ben Clemens: Hey, I aim to be open and honest

3:23
Ben Clemens: And as a heads up

3:23
Ben Clemens: Boy are my writeups about the Mets gonna annoy you for left field and DH lol

3:23
Ben Clemens: I do not love the way they added about 75 DH-only bats

3:23
Ben Clemens: And then have no idea how to get them playing time

3:23
Ben Clemens: 🙂

3:23
Not Curious: Can you tell BVW-Curious to chill out? Shenanigans is by its nature a light-hearted term, geez.

3:23
Ben Clemens: Huge waste to not make your user name incurious here

3:24
Ben Clemens: But I must say

3:24
Ben Clemens: What about evil shenanigans?

3:24
oz: Dylan Cease? Does he have a higher upside than a #3 starter?

3:24
Ben Clemens: I think so!

3:25
Ben Clemens: I don’t have a percentage chance he reaches it handy for you

3:27
Ben Clemens: But I could see him being Luis Severino or Tyler Glasnow or something

3:27
Biggie: How often do you expect to see the Yankees 5 man infield? Which pitches / team could also pull this off?

3:28
Ben Clemens: Ugh

3:28
Ben Clemens: I wrote something about the dodgers doin this to eric hosmer last year

3:28
Ben Clemens: And now I’m struggling to find it

3:28
Music City: Doesn’t Chattanooga have a team already?

3:28
Ben Clemens: They do but they were on the cut list

3:29
Ben Clemens: aha!

3:29
Ben Clemens: re: 5 man infields

3:29
Logan: Would you rather attend the Futures Game or a regular season MLB game featuring your favorite team?

3:29
Ben Clemens: regular season game

3:30
Ben Clemens: I love the atmosphere of a baseball game and I’m not sure the futures game would really have that

3:30
Ben Clemens: It’s just such a weird thing

3:30
Jon: Doubling down on earlier comments about concerns before becoming a member, the fact that Fangraphs has taken such a frequent political stance makes me lose interest. I need an escape from politics, which this place used to be

3:30
Ben Clemens: Gosh, I struggled with whetehr to post this question, because I’m pretty sure that you’re not going to like what i have to say

3:30
Ben Clemens: But screw it, we’re here

3:30
Ben Clemens: If you think that we are getting too political, I think that you have far too broad of a view of what is political

3:31
Ben Clemens: If you think wanting people to be safe and healthy is political, I don’t thikn you’re using the word correctly

3:31
Ben Clemens: If you think that having a position on the state of labor in baseball is too political

3:31
Ben Clemens: I mean, it’s baseball

3:31
Ben Clemens: what are we supposed to do

3:31
Ben Clemens: Just completely ignore it?

3:31
Ben Clemens: If you see politics everywhere you look

3:32
Ben Clemens: Maybe you are guilty of over-politicizing everything

3:32
Ben Clemens: It’s not a political opinion that I’m worried that poor governing has led to thousands of deaths

3:32
Ben Clemens: It’s not a political position to say hey, people should think carefully about these labor issues, and here are my views

3:33
Ben Clemens: If that bothers you so much you can’t read our analysis, that’s one thing

3:33
Ben Clemens: But it clearly doesn’t, you’re participating in my chat!

3:33
Ben Clemens: So like, get off your high horse of ‘don’t talk politics but I still want all your dang free content’

3:33
Ben Clemens: You’re probably not defining politics right and it doesn’t seem to stop you from liking the site enough anyway

3:33
2-D: What’s with the lack of running on Yadier Molina last season? Reputation? Do the Cardinals have quick pitchers? He wasn’t great at catching stealers when they tried.

3:33
Ben Clemens: Rep, I’d guess

3:34
Ben Clemens: Figuring out stealing stuff is tough

3:34
Ben Clemens: (quick change of direction in the chat!)

3:34
Ben Clemens: there are really big sampling issues, and there’s a great Rob Arthur article out there somewhere about how the opposite of a stolen base isn’t a CS but rather not running

3:35
Ben Clemens: SB attempts are probably a better refleciton of a catcher’s arm than CS’s

3:35
Biggie: #nopolitics what would you like to see the Cleveland Baseball club be named?

3:35
Ben Clemens: I’d like them to be the Cleveland Naps

3:35
Ben Clemens: Nap Lajoie is awesome

3:35
Ben Clemens: and underheralded relative to how great he was

3:36
Biggie: How many teams will go with a 6 man starting rotation?

3:37
Ben Clemens: Hm

3:37
Ben Clemens: Six

3:37
Ben Clemens: For the symmetry

3:37
Ben Clemens: Realistically, if I’m being honest with you, I’ve been really diving into the stupid parts of depth charts

3:37
Ben Clemens: I.e. the two positions where teams just dump whoever, DH and LF

3:38
Ben Clemens: and haven’t been paying as much attention to what teams are saying around their rotations

3:38
Ben Clemens: So I’m probably the worng person to ask

3:38
asnbrv: Which do you think will happen next; a major tweak in catcher WAR, or a major tweak in (or an emergence of another major variation of) pitcher WAR

3:38
Ben Clemens: So, for us, I’d say a major change to pitcher war

3:38
Ben Clemens: Framing was the big change in catcher war

3:38
Ben Clemens: and we did that

3:39
Ben Clemens: And now that Steamer is projecting framing, I don’t see us goin back

3:39
Ben Clemens: BBref doesn’t have framing, so for them, catcher war

3:39
Ben Clemens: Ez

3:39
Ben Clemens: But here, I think the next evolution is some kind of pitching WAR that does more with batted ball data than we currently do

3:39
Ben Clemens: In that vein, I highly recommend Alex Chamberlain’s recent articles about his talks at PitchCon

3:39
Ben Clemens: The RotoGraphs lead article right now

3:40
Yonder: Following up on the comment about the atmosphere of a baseball game, which stadium (MLB, MiLB, or otherwise) is your favorite?

3:40
2-D: Which stadiums have your favorite and least favorite dimensions?

3:41
Ben Clemens: Favorite stadium to wtach a game in is Citi

3:42
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that’s a popular opinion

3:42
Ben Clemens: But the design of that stadium, just A+

3:42
Ben Clemens: The way it’s laid out so that you can see the action across the entire lower deck is amazing

3:42
Ben Clemens: I love walking around to try new beer and food places and always being able to see the game

3:42
Ben Clemens: PNC and Oracle (nee AT&T) are tied for second for me

3:43
Ben Clemens: Both of those are for the atmosphere

3:44
Ben Clemens: As to the dimensions, my favorite dimensions are Coors

3:44
Ben Clemens: Just outfield everywhere

3:44
Ben Clemens: Least favorite is Yankee Stadium

3:44
Ben Clemens: I hate the short porch

3:44
Jon: What about Citi Field stands out?

3:44
Jon: Do you mean the seat positioning?

3:44
Ben Clemens: It’s the way they handle the upper deck support, I think

3:45
Ben Clemens: There are no walls keeping the concourse separate from the seating areas

3:45
Ben Clemens: Other than the spot directly behind home plate where there’s a club

3:45
Ben Clemens: so you can just walk a complete circle on the concourse and still be catching the action

3:45
Ben Clemens: When I go to games in person I’m a serial walker

3:45
Ben Clemens: I spend maybe 35% of hte game in my seat

3:46
Ben Clemens: Like I enjoy Petco, just like everyone else

3:46
Ben Clemens: But at Petco I went to go get a beer and I had to walk up some stairs, while still being on the lower level, go through several sections of concessions that didn’ give me a view of the game, and then get my beer at another concession stand that was in essentially a hallway

3:46
Ben Clemens: It’s maybe just b/c of how I watch

3:47
Ben Clemens: And I bet some of the other newer stadiums are set up like Citi too and I just haven’t been

3:47
Adley: Which stadium (including corporate sponsor, if applicable) has the best name?

3:47
Ben Clemens: Guaranteed Rate FIeld

3:47
Ben Clemens: best b/c it’s the worst

3:47
Ben Clemens: I actually like the ones that are corporate sponsored but with good connections to the city

3:48
Ben Clemens: Busch, Coors, Miller, Wrigley, for example

3:48
Ben Clemens: Miller changing to American Family Park is a travesty

3:48
Jimmy: What about the Ranger’s new park is an upgrade from the old one?

3:48
Ben Clemens: Well you see

3:49
Ben Clemens: The old one was merely a Globe Life Park

3:49
Ben Clemens: But the new one? It’s a Globe Life Stadium!

3:49
Ben Clemens: (the roof is what’s better presumably)

3:49
Ben Clemens: Actually dangit the new one is globe life field

3:49
Ben Clemens: lol

3:49
Ben Clemens: Even worse

3:49
Adley: Setting aside TB and Oakland, which team most needs a new stadium?

3:50
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna be honest, I don’t care for Fenway. I don’t think they need a new stadium but I just think there are a lot of bad seats

3:50
Ben Clemens: What team needs a new stadium aside from them? Eh, I’m gonna say no one springs to mind, and honestly the Red Sox don’t actually need a new stadium, I just like to poke fun

3:51
Ben Clemens: A’s and Rays are the only two big offenders left at this point I think

3:51
Adley: What are the best tickets you’ve ever had for a game?

3:51
Ben Clemens: When I worked at an investment bank we had a client event and sat directly behind home plate second row at Yankee Stadium

3:51
Ben Clemens: so, that

3:52
Ben Clemens: That I’ve paid for on my own dime? For my wife’s birthday three years ago we got front row right field seats at Citi

3:52
Ben Clemens: So that she could make a Curtis Granderson sign and hold it up when he ran past

3:52
Ben Clemens: It was awesome, would gladly do again

3:52
Guest: Gotta say as a Yankees fan I like Citi better than YS3. I Liked YS2 but I think that’s mostly rose colored memories

3:53
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I quite enjoyed YS2 though I only went to like three games there

3:53
Ben Clemens: Did see Roger Clemens’s 300th though!

3:53
G4: If you like decent views from concourse, Target Field is pretty solid.

3:53
Ben Clemens: Haven’t been

3:53
Ben Clemens: I went to the Final Four last year in Minny, though, and the area around hte stadium is incredible

3:53
Ben Clemens: So many good breweries there

3:54
Ben Clemens: That plus the summer weather and I see why people like it so much.

3:54
Jimmy: TOR needs a new stadium

3:54
Ben Clemens: That’s a fair one, I skipped it for some reason

3:54
Jimmy: Brewers could probably use an upgrade as well

3:54
Ben Clemens: Eh, less convinced

3:54
Ben Clemens: I like Miller

3:54
Ben Clemens: And I think the fan experience there is pretty solid, even though it doesn’t quite feel like an open-air stadium even with the roof open

3:55
Ben Clemens: Which is just another way of saying that if you have brandy old fashioneds on tap I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt out of respect

3:55
Jimmy: Miller is so bleak and boring. Maybe not enough of a reason for the millions towards a new field though

3:55
Ben Clemens: Yeah exactly. It’s not a top 5 stadium experience or anything

3:55
Ben Clemens: But it gets the job done

3:55
Ben Clemens: I’d want more reason to change than that

3:56
Ben Clemens: It’s maybe in the bottom half of current stadiums I’ve been to, but I think current stadiums as a whole are quite good

3:56
Ben Clemens: Alright, with that, I’m going to call it a day. It’s almost 1:00 and I need to eat some lunch and get back to work.

3:56
Ben Clemens: Thanks so much for hanging out with me today, and sorry for my various extended rants.

3:57
Ben Clemens: Be safe everyone, and wear a mask, if you’re not into endangering others for little to no personal gain.

We hoped you liked reading Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 7/13/20 by Ben Clemens!

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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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Connor Grey
Member
Member
Connor Grey

Regarding fangraphs writers digs at the Mets, as a Mets fan, it was pretty infuriating at the trade deadline last year. But I remember me and a lot of other Mets fans complained in chats and comment sections. Then some of the writers acknowledged that they might have taken it farther than what was warranted and it hasn’t seemed like as much of a problem since.

gvanlue
Member
gvanlue

I appreciate Ben’s frankness, but I think a couple of comments are telling. First, “The Mets are buffoons a good portion of the time”- really, a good portion of the time? That’s total and utter BS. There are absolutely moments of buffoonery, but that statement suggests a baseline mindset that is going to flavor your interpretation of everything in a negative way. Also, “Everyone loves a pile-on”? That suggests the writers are bandwagoners- that they know that LolMets is a narrative that some people enjoy, and rather than exploring whether it’s true, they choose to tailor their commentary to please those readers. Which, I guess, if you’re trying to entertain a readership that is mostly not Mets fans, is fine. But it’s frustrating to read coverage that feels like it needs to incorporate a joke or a criticism any time the team comes up. And it certainly makes me feel unwelcome as a potential customer.

gvanlue
Member
gvanlue

Downvotes are fine, but if you think I’m misinterpreting Ben’s comments, I’d love to hear why.