Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 7/20/20

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

2:00
Ben Clemens: We have published a whole host of positional power rankings in the last week, with division picks and all that nonsense soon to follow.

2:01
Ben Clemens: There’s also a ton of summer camp to talk about, plenty of interesting rotations to consider, and just generally all kinds of fun stuff. Let’s jump right in.

2:01
5 Run Homer: What do you predict the Blue Jays end up doing for home games? Do you think being in such an uncertain situation will have negative affects on the team’s performance? Feels to me like the distraction and uncertainty would put a lot of these young guys off their game

2:01
Ben Clemens: I kind of think they’re going to play in Buffalo

2:01
Ben Clemens: But absolutely I think it will affect the players.

2:02
Ben Clemens: It’s a pretty unprecedented situation, and I don’t exactly know how they’ll handle accommodations, facilities, all that kind of stuff.

2:02
Ben Clemens: From a sleeping at home, being used to everything standpoint, it’s basically like 60 road games

2:02
Ben Clemens: If the Jays were legit contenders to start the year I feel like this would be a wayyyy bigger story

2:03
Lorenzo: Who is your pick to win it all this season?

2:03
Ben Clemens: I think I’ll take the Dodgers. I think it’s always reasonable to pick the Dodgers, but particularly this year with Mookie, I like their chances more than normal

2:03
NotGraphs Revivalist: Dietrich just exercised the out in his contract – which team would benefit the most from adding him? Thinking an NL team with a need for a DH vs. RHP – Braves? Cardinals?

2:04
Ben Clemens: Hm, I definitely don’t think it’s the Cards, Matt Carpenter makes a lot of sense there.

2:04
Ben Clemens: And if you want to play him in the field for whatever reason, you could put Fowler at DH to beef up your outfield defense

2:04
Ben Clemens: Braves kind of, though

2:05
Ben Clemens: When I was looking at that depth chart I liked Yonder Alonso for that role

2:05
Ben Clemens: So Alonso vs. Dietrich? I dunno

2:05
Ben Clemens: That kind of feels like 6 of 1/half dozen of the other

2:06
Ben Clemens: Someone will give him a look, and the Braves aren’t a terrible guess if they aren’t into what Alonso is doing, but there’s not a lot of demand for a bat-only lefty without really bonkers numbers

2:07
Ben Clemens: I’d take Matt Adams over him, for example, and Adams is out there too.

2:07
RMR: Can Joe Musgrove finally put it together this year and make the jump?  Like what we’re seeing in exhibitions, but I’m waiting for a report on him cutting down the sinker and cutter usage, but not seeing anything substantive yet.

2:07
Ben Clemens: I certainly think so — I’m perpetually too high on Musgrove, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

2:08
Ben Clemens: You have to think the sinkers are coming down in the post-Searage era, and I don’t hate the cutter

2:08
Ben Clemens: The thing I care most about is really just his velo

2:08
Isolated Thinker: Even with the crazy extra inning rule, it’s still possible that there could be a long 13+ inning game if each team “matches” one another in extras.  If the goal is to make the best effort to avoid these long games, why didn’t the agreement just call it a tie after 10 or 11 innings instead of that ridiculous rule?  There probably wouldn’t be too many anyway.  Just like the NFL.

2:08
Ben Clemens: I tihnk there’s still strong aversion to ties in baseball.

2:09
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure it really makes sense

2:09
Ben Clemens: Like, who cares? I don’t

2:09
Ben Clemens: But a lot of the baseball watching public seemingly does.

2:10
Ben Clemens: Those same people probably won’t like the new extra innings rule either, to be clear, and something had to be done.

2:10
Ben Clemens: But I think this was a lesser of two evils kinda thing.

2:10
Trinian: Dakota Hudson has a ERA/FIP split of 3.25/4.78 for his career.  Is this due to his being a Ground Ball pitcher (57.4%) in front of superb infield defense? Or has he just benefited from random variation and we should expect an ERA near 6.00 this year?

2:10
Ben Clemens: Wow, there’s a lot here!

2:10
Ben Clemens: First, the groundball pitching thing matters for sure

2:10
Ben Clemens: There’s every reason to think he’s a true-talent slight FIP beater

2:11
Ben Clemens: That said, “slight” FIP beaters are on the order of a quarter to a half point of ERA

2:11
Ben Clemens: So yeah, there’s basically no logical way you can say ‘he deserves his ERA so far’

2:11
Ben Clemens: On the other hand, regression toward the mean doesn’t work the way you’re describing

2:11
Ben Clemens: Let’s say that his true-talent ERA is 4.5, compared to a 4.78 FIP

2:11
Ben Clemens: Then our best estimate for his future ERA is, well, 4.5

2:12
Ben Clemens: Getting lucky for two years doesn’t increase your odds of unluckiness in the future

2:12
Detroit City: Hey Ben, Thanks for the Chat, Do you have a thought process on Wainwright this year? You believe in the home/road stuff?

2:13
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll be what he was last year, generally speaking; a guy who can give you volume innings with so-so quality

2:13
Ben Clemens: That’s a perfectly nice player

2:13
Ben Clemens: And something the Cards will be happy to have

2:13
Ben Clemens: I do not at all buy the home/road splits though

2:14
Ben Clemens: In his career, he has about a 1 point of ERA gap between home and away

2:15
Ben Clemens: Slightly bigger than league average, so sure, maybe he’s marginally more affected

2:15
Ben Clemens: He had a 3 run gap in 2019

2:15
Ben Clemens: No reason to think that’s anything other than variance

2:15
Trinian: The Cardinals won 91 games last year by preventing runs. They were 2nd in the National League in Runs Allowed.  This year, Depth Charts rates their starting pitching and their relief pitching as decidedly mediocre.

2:15
Trinian: To ask my question, what changed in the off season?  Or were they just lucky last year?

2:16
Ben Clemens: It’s a combination of a few things. First, Depth Charts is based on FIP-based WAR, and in that sense, the Cards were middle of the pack last year

2:16
Ben Clemens: 14th in FIP-

2:17
Ben Clemens: They were second in defensive runs above average (Def in our leaderboards)

2:17
Ben Clemens: Which made their pitching punch above its weight

2:17
Ben Clemens: And then also they probably got a little lucky in sequencing

2:17
Ben Clemens: The defense will still be there this year, and that’s not reflected in our power rankings; we’re only considering pitching

2:18
Ben Clemens: And then you can’t expect Flaherty to pitch to a sub-1 ERA for half of the season again, even if you expect him to be a top 5 starter in all of baseball

2:18
Ben Clemens: And you probably shouldn’t expect Hudson to keep beating his FIP by 1.5 runs or whatever

2:18
Ben Clemens: So we’re forecasting a smidge of regression, but also just looking at PPR will undersell the Cards because of their sterling defense

2:19
Nick: Which team’s ranking in a particular Depth Chart Position Ranking most surprised you?

2:19
Ben Clemens: Honestly, Mets at DH

2:19
Ben Clemens: The Mets have other weaknesses, but I don’t consider DH to be one of them

2:19
Ben Clemens: If anything, they have too many DH candidates

2:19
Ben Clemens: I think a large part of the reason is that we just have the DH at-bats too spread out across people I don’t think deserve them

2:19
Ben Clemens: I think that if Cespedes actually looks fine, he’ll take more of them then we project and make them look better

2:19
Guest: do you believe castellanos as a potential mvp candidate this year?

2:19
Guest: seems like the lightbulb went off once he left Detroit

2:20
Ben Clemens: I do not

2:20
Ben Clemens: I think he’ll be a great hitter this year, just like always

2:20
Ben Clemens: Or at least, an above-average hitter this year

2:20
Ben Clemens: But even if he sustains his Cubs pace

2:20
Ben Clemens: I don’ think that’s an MVP season with his defense

2:21
Ben Clemens: You’d have to think he can unlock another level at the plate, or at least double his walk rate (4.4% on the Cubs!) or something

2:21
Ben Clemens: And also get better on defense

2:22
Ben Clemens: I guess in the end, it depends on your definition of potential

2:22
Ben Clemens: 1%? Maybe

2:22
Ben Clemens: 10%? No way

2:22
Mike Hawk: Should Votto ride off into the sunset or do you think he can be at least league average this year?

2:22
Ben Clemens: I think he can be at least league average

2:22
Ben Clemens: The floor is really high with him

2:22
Guest: Who are some Dark horse rookies this year that could win ROY?

2:23
Ben Clemens: Oh, love this question

2:23
Ben Clemens: I like Paul Sporer’s ROY pick in the NL, Shogo Akiyama

2:23
Ben Clemens: He’s not as fun as Lux or Carlson but he’s probably an above average major league starter rightnow

2:23
Ben Clemens: If Lux struggles the Dodgers won’t hesitate to tap into depth, and he’ll be in a rotation anyway

2:23
Ben Clemens: Carlson might get called up late

2:24
Ben Clemens: Akiyama is the only real CF on a contender

2:24
Ben Clemens: In the AL, it’s tempting to go for an NPB double dip and say Tsutsugo, but I think he’ll be platooned too much

2:25
Ben Clemens: So, uh, how about

2:25
Ben Clemens: Jeez, AL is tougher

2:25
Guest: How about Kyle Lewis for ROY? I know his projections are a bit eh, but he’s been hitting well in summer camp.

2:25
Ben Clemens: Sure why not

2:25
Ben Clemens: We’re going longshot

2:25
Brian: Nola going to be a solid #2 SP this year, Y or N?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Tempted to say N, he’ll be a decent #1

2:25
Ben Clemens: But uh, yes

2:26
Chris: Which minor league park is the best ballpark for the blue jays to play in?

2:26
Ben Clemens: Hm

2:26
Ben Clemens: Best for them?

2:27
Ben Clemens: I have a hard time believing it’s Buffalo

2:27
Ben Clemens: Something warm weather and with reasonable dimensions

2:27
Ben Clemens: Also travel matters a lot

2:27
Ben Clemens: Potentially more than warm weather

2:28
Ben Clemens: Maybe Marlins Park? Maybe the Charlotte stadium whose name I forget

2:28
Warm weather: Isn’t it all warm weather between now and September?

2:28
Ben Clemens: Sure but you have to at least kiiiiiind of consider October

2:28
Eel Ffilc: You said something complementary about the Mets? I MEAN, What have you done with the actual Ben Clemens?

2:29
Ben Clemens: Haha yeah I think I drew the ire of the anti-lolmets crowd last week a bit

2:29
Ben Clemens: But I think I’ve overall been very pro-Mets in my tenure here, and hey, the Mets are the only team I’ve ever bought season tickets for

2:30
Ben Clemens: I truly do think that the dysfunction at the top leads to some very disjointed team construction, which is bad

2:30
Ben Clemens: but they do a lot of stuff well too

2:30
Mike Hawk: So, if the Toronto players play all their games in the US, they won’t be exposed to the higher taxes in Canada.  That’s like a 15% raise for them.  Right?

2:30
Ben Clemens: As someone who has been in tax hell in the last week, I can tell you that it’s probably not that simple

2:31
Ben Clemens: I do not exactly know how residency and tax rules work in Canada, because I’ve never lived or worked there

2:31
Ben Clemens: But it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see Canada tax them anyway if they reside there

2:31
Ben Clemens: And residence will likely be realllllly confusing this year

2:31
clemlibby: You had season tickets to the Is when you were really young!

2:32
Ben Clemens: Hi mom! A fair counterpoint — I guess I have two season tickets in my history. I was also considering getting partial-season Giants tickets th is year, so

2:32
Ben Clemens: (presumably this is the O’s, to be clear)

2:32
Joey: Does Seth Brown have any impact this year? What’s your take on McBroom with O’Hearn out and struggling last year?

2:33
Ben Clemens: I think that Seth Brown is going to take Khris Davis’s spot either this year or next year

2:33
Ben Clemens: Agnostic on McBroom; I dunno, it’s very hard to project playing time when the team isn’t trying to win

2:33
GSon: You don’t have to live or work someplace to find out how “it works”.. there’s this thing called the internet.. you can find out all kinds of information..

2:33
Ben Clemens: Sure but why would I have researched Canadian tax policy?

2:34
Ben Clemens: Like yes, I could definitely go do that now

2:34
Ben Clemens: But if I’d ever had reason for it to come up, I’d already know

2:34
Ben Clemens: For example, my wife worked in Australia on assignment last year

2:34
Ben Clemens: So I can tell you that Australia tries to claim income and such for QUITE a while after you leave

2:35
Ben Clemens: Whereas Singapore (another place she’s worked) makes you pay an exit tax and then you’re good

2:35
Mayor Joe Riley: Blue Jays should play in the Charleston Riverdogs stadium. It’s downtown in a city with a ton of hotels/accommodations and travel would be pretty easy up and down the east coast.

2:35
Ben Clemens: I don’t know the dimensions of the stadium but yeah, the travel seems okay from there

2:35
Chris: But if they pick a park with crazy dimensions Vlad will hit fingers!!

2:35
Ben Clemens: I am picturing Vlad taking aim at outfielders’ fingers

2:36
Ben Clemens: There’s this old Steve Spurrier saying (or maybe he didn’t make it up, I’m not sure) about throwing a football: aim small, miss small

2:36
Ben Clemens: He made QB’s aim for individual spots on receivers, thought it made them more accurage

2:36
Ben Clemens: But sadly I assume you  meant dingers

2:36
Rings: So, we’re lucky, we play all the way through, someone wins. What do the rings say? If they’re asterisked (but the Astros aren’t), some will be mad. But if they’re not…. But maybe we’d just be grateful it happened.

2:36
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they should be asterisked

2:36
Ben Clemens: I think that WW2 and 1981 are good reasons why not

2:37
Ben Clemens: WW2 was pretty clearly not real baseball, half of the best players in the MLB were in the war

2:37
Ben Clemens: In 1981 with the strike and the split seasons, the teams with the best overall record in the NL didn’t go to the playoffs

2:37
Ben Clemens: Imagine if the Dodgers arbitrarily didn’t make the playoffs last year

2:37
Ben Clemens: Nats still win

2:37
Ben Clemens: Is there an asterisk?

2:38
Ben Clemens: I say no, so I say no to asterisks overall

2:38
Also pre-1947 period: If we’re talking about not having the best players included.

2:38
Ben Clemens: Yeah, an even better point

2:38
Ben Clemens: That I should have made in the first place, so thank you

2:38
Ben Clemens: You think a 60-game season is “fake”-er than excluding Josh Gibson?

2:39
Ben Clemens: Baseball isn’t an asterisk sport

2:39
Ben Clemens: If it happens, it happens

2:39
Mike Hawk: With Chacin leaving, has Dobnak secured the #5 in MN?

2:39
Ben Clemens: I’d say yes

2:39
Adam Dawson: Was offered Alvarez, Semien, and the Giants closer for Seager, Adell, and Lowe. What do you think

2:39
Ben Clemens: Haha uh, which Seager and which Lowe?

2:39
Guest: I asked Craig last week, but as another cardinals-adjacent writer, wondering your take on the BFIB account? I think it’s kinda harmless fun if you take it with a grain of salt but 99% of the pushback I’ve seen on it has come from… well, cardinal fans.

2:39
Ben Clemens: I actually don’t know it.

2:39
Ben Clemens: Let me take a quick look

2:40
Ben Clemens: While I ponder this fantasy trade

2:40
Adam Dawson: Corey and Brandon

2:40
Ben Clemens: Oh also haha who do you think the Giants closer is? I’m not sure who will get the saves

2:41
Ben Clemens: I think I like your side of the trade, but I’m realllllly high on Alvarez

2:41
Ben Clemens: And honestly not so much on Adell

2:42
Ben Clemens: I just struggle to see what Adell’s true carrying tool is

2:42
Ben Clemens: Not that I don’t think he’ll be a good major leaguer

2:42
Ben Clemens: Just, he was a pretty good hitter overall last year

2:42
Ben Clemens: Pretty good in 2018

2:43
Ben Clemens: Didn’t jump off the page, and miraculously hit zero dingers in 132 PA’s of triple-A with the moon ball

2:43
Adam Dawson: You think Semien is better than Seager? Or about equal

2:43
Ben Clemens: I have Semien a little higher, but quite close

2:43
Ben Clemens: If you could guarantee me Seager is healthy long-term I’d take him though

2:43
Adam Dawson: Ya, I’d be getting Alvarez

2:44
Ben Clemens: Yeah so I’d do it. but it’s entirely b/c I’m up on Alvarez and down on Adell. I do think that on paper it’s reasonable for both sides

2:44
Chris: Should the Cardinals trade knitzer while he has tons of value?

2:44
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so, but I’m catcher-greedy

2:44
Ben Clemens: I would be hoarding catchers if I ran a team

2:44
Ben Clemens: I will say that his skillset stacks up poorly with what I want in my catcher

2:45
Ben Clemens: But still, stack up catchers and see who works out

2:45
Ben Clemens: A great catcher is so good

2:45
My Name: As part of the “anti-lolmets” crowd, I think you were totally reasonable in the chats, FWIW, and I appreciated it. Then I read the last paragraph of your DH writeup… Do you really think the Mets are likely to DH McNeil at the expense of inferior defenders, or DH Ramos (unless he’s hitting well and needs a break from the field)? Or were you just playing to the lolmets readership? It is an entertainment business, I guess- but also a site that seems to cater to intelligent fans.

2:45
Ben Clemens: So Ramos is in our DH depth charts

2:45
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it makes sense, but Jason compiles those by scouring press reports, so presumably they’ve talked about it some

2:45
Ben Clemens: It does seem that hte team has consistently overvalued his bat

2:46
Ben Clemens: Because of his batting average

2:46
Ben Clemens: There’s basically no amount of performance that could happen *this year* that would make me think Ramos makes sense as a DH

2:47
Ben Clemens: The McNeil thing was borderline a joke, but I would be willing to bet on at least one game this year with McNeil DH’ing and two of Dom Smith/Cespedes/JD Davis/Cano in the field

2:47
Ben Clemens: Heck, even cut Cano out of that and I think it’ll happen

2:47
phillin in: Win now team: would you rather have Bummer or Austin Adams

2:47
Ben Clemens: Bummer by far

2:48
Ben Clemens: I think he gets a little overlooked because lol his name is Aaron Bummer, what an awful name for a reliever

2:48
Ben Clemens: But he’s the real deal

2:48
Twin: What do you think peak Berrios looks like? Are we passed it

2:49
Ben Clemens: Haha well, not to scoop our awards/division winners article from later this week

2:49
Ben Clemens: But I picked Berrios to win AL Cy Young

2:50
Ben Clemens: I think peak Berrios looks something like Jack Flaherty

2:51
Ben Clemens: And I also think that after Cole there’s more of a gap at the top of the AL pitching ranks

2:51
TJ: Am I crazy to like Lindor more than Betts at the top of the draft?  Central pitching and parks along with at least a possibility of some adjustment to a new team/park with Betts.

2:51
Ben Clemens: Nah, that’s totally reasonable

2:51
phillin in: I think Bummer is legit too, but I was looking over the projects and Adams consistently edges him out. I guess they could be underestimating the super turbo sinker

2:51
Ben Clemens: Yeah I guess I should add I think that Adams is a bit of a projections darling who might be overrated

2:51
Ben Clemens: Still think he’s good but I am just reallllly in on Bummer

2:52
H: What’s ppr?

2:52
Ben Clemens: Ah whoops, my insider jargon betrayed me. It’s Positional Power Rankings, which isn’t something that needs an acronym

2:52
Ben Clemens: But we talk about htem so much internally that they just naturally get shortened

2:52
Guest: hahaha I love that your mom is here! a running joke in Dan’s chats is that people pretend to be his mom, but it’s great you have the real deal. Hi Mrs. Clemens!

2:52
2-D: What did you think of that Padres/Royals trade? And are you still using Donkhouse?

2:52
Ben Clemens: As much as I want to be team Franchy

2:53
Ben Clemens: He’s fun, he’s FanGraphs-brand-approved fun, he hits dingers

2:53
Ben Clemens: I just don’t quite get it?

2:53
Ben Clemens: I think the trade is just fine for the Padres. Tim Hill is the real deal

2:53
Ben Clemens: Franchy is the kind of plyaer you want if you’re the Royals

2:53
Ben Clemens: There’s like an 85% chance he’s a bust

2:53
Ben Clemens: But that 15% is scintillating

2:53
Ben Clemens: If you’re trying to make the playoffs this year, that’s the wrong profile

2:54
Human Rain Delay: What would your ideal number of games per team in a season be?

2:54
Ben Clemens: I dunno, like 150?

2:54
Ben Clemens: 162 is a smidge too long

2:54
GSon: Former FG writer has the Indians scoring more runs than the juggernaut Twins this year.. He’s basing his argument on the number of Twins having had “career” years..  You buying what Eno’s selling? or ?

2:54
Ben Clemens: I’ll give it a solid ehhhhhhhh

2:54
Ben Clemens: Betting on the Twins to regress is reasonable

2:54
Ben Clemens: Betting on them to not have Josh Donaldson is not

2:55
Ben Clemens: Eno, like me, knows that if you think something is 35% likely and the world thinks it’s 15% likely

2:55
Ben Clemens: It’s a great thing to write an article about

2:55
Ben Clemens: But if you could grab a kettle sour with him at a local brewery and get the real scoop

2:55
Ben Clemens: I think he’d be at best 50/50

2:55
Guest: fwiw I think those were in Eno’s “bold” predictions, so he’s not necessarily “predicting” it

2:56
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that makes sense to me

2:56
Ben Clemens: As a side note Eno is awesome

2:56
Ben Clemens: I have never overlapped with him at any workplace

2:56
Ben Clemens: And I’m at least nominally a competitor

2:56
Ben Clemens: And every time I’ve met him he’s just the nicest guy ever and a real joy to talk to

2:56
Ben Clemens: (we both live in the Bay so our paths have crossed a few times)

2:57
clemlibby: Hi from Ben’s Mom!

2:57
Guest: Question for Mrs. Clemens- was there anything in young Ben’s childhood that foretold his future career as a fangraphs writer?

2:57
Ben Clemens: Those lined up nicely

2:57
Ben Clemens: I can tell you from my perspective I read an insane amount and loved baseball

2:57
Mike Hawk: Thoughts on Jasson Dominguez?  Is he just another overhyped Yankee prospect, or worth the stash.  When do we see him in Williamsport East?

2:57
Ben Clemens: I love listening to Eric talk about him

2:57
Ben Clemens: He just has no idea

2:57
Ben Clemens: No one has seen the guy play!

2:57
Ben Clemens: It reminds me of hte early 2000s hype when Daisuke was coming over

2:58
Ben Clemens: Talent evaluators had seen Daisuke play, of course

2:58
Ben Clemens: But fans hadn’t at all and we all had no idea what to expect

2:58
Ben Clemens: That fan ‘hey who knows but he’s probably great’ mood is what talent evaluators are feeling about Dominguez

2:58
DH: Best multi-position infield depth option: Straw, Berti, Camargo, Fletcher, Daniel Robertson?

2:58
Ben Clemens: FLETCHER

2:58
Ben Clemens: Fletcher is good enough to start

2:59
Ben Clemens: Largely due to his defense, but still

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think the rest of them are a little stretched

2:59
clemlibby: Ben attended his first baseball game at the age of 3 weeks!

2:59
Ben Clemens: And there you have it, guest

2:59
Ben Clemens: I never stood a chance

2:59
Father Padre: How does the padres bullpen preform without Munoz, Castillo and Wingenter? I thought they were all ticketed for significant roles

2:59
Ben Clemens: I tihnk it’ll work out. They have a lot of depth and things will inevitably go wrong

2:59
Ben Clemens: I like the Padres team construction this year

2:59
Guest: I’ve often wondered if a team could just hype the hell out of someone nobody’s ever heard of and then trade them for a haul. Or bring him in to pitch a really important situation and he throws, like, 50 when the batter is expecting 100. (Michael Scott voice) It’s probably a better screenplay idea than a serious suggestion.

3:00
Ben Clemens: Well the classic form of this is that a team’s number one prospect tends to be overvalued if the team has a bad farm system

3:00
Ben Clemens: Because he’s a TEAM’S TOP PROSPECT

3:00
Ben Clemens: but he’d be #13 on the Rays list or whatever

3:00
Guest: Eno’s chats were weird in a good way, even for fangraphs, it was like its own little community within fangraphs

3:00
Guest: man back in the day I used to waste MULTIPLE hours of work on Eno’s chats in here, like he’d do 2-3 hour marathons of complete nonsense

3:00
Ben Clemens: Yeah I dunno how the Athletic does chats but the Eno (and Jeff, really) chats here were wild

3:00
Wandering About something: Who is the best major leaguer you would trade for Wander Franco straight up?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Depends what team I am

3:01
Ben Clemens: Guide me

3:01
Eddie Waitkus: Am I thinking about WAR correctly when I say that last Mike Trout was worth the same as Acuna pitching like Fried every 5th game? Or would Acuna with Fried’s arm be worth so much more than just adding up the individual WAR’s?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Well…. you’re kind of right. We don’t have a great way of handling the value you get from conserving roster spots

3:02
Ben Clemens: And also if Acuna got to hit as a pitcher that would be good

3:02
Ben Clemens: (not that that matters this year)

3:02
Ben Clemens: But kind of?

3:02
Wandering: I suppose I meant in a vacuum, the promise/risk of Wander Franco is worth no worse than player X. Team context, salaries ignored.

3:03
Ben Clemens: Ah I see. If salaries are ignored, I thikn it’s something like Anthony Rizzo

3:03
Ben Clemens: Or hm, if you want a younger player

3:04
Ben Clemens: Paul DeJong?

3:04
Ben Clemens: I think you assume I’m too low

3:04
Ben Clemens: But lots of the value of Wander is that he’ll be so cheap

3:04
Big Bird: Eno is the people’s sabermatrician

3:04
Ben Clemens: Now I could be completely wrong on the Wander front

3:05
Big Bird: the athletic chats aren’t as good because it’s not anonymous so you can’t “play” different characters

3:05
Guest: Is Mrs. Clemens a member of Fangraphs? Come on now, don’t be a freeloader!

3:05
Ben Clemens: Not only is she, but she’s always wearing her FanGraphs t-shirt when we have our family zoom calls

3:05
Ben Clemens: Step up, people who aren’t blood related to me!

3:06
Adam: With the shortened season and likely lower gap between starter and reliever innings, is this year our best chance to see a reliever lead the league in pitching WAR?

3:06
Ben Clemens: Yes

3:06
Ben Clemens: 100% yes

3:06
Ben Clemens: Also to win Cy Young, win MVP, etc

3:06
Ben Clemens: I wanted to pick Kirby Yates for NL Cy Young actually

3:06
Ben Clemens: Before reality struck and I picked deGrom

3:06
My Name: The more you talk about it, the more it seems like you have issues with the Mets DH depth chart as it was provided to you– but you proceeded to use it to talk crap about the team anyway. You seem like a good dude, just doing your jorb, but yeah.

3:06
Ben Clemens: I mean that’s not quite right either

3:06
Ben Clemens: It’s like, if that is the Mets depth chart

3:06
Ben Clemens: I think they’re doing it wrong

3:07
Ben Clemens: Jason does a pretty good job of gathering information from team sources

3:07
Ben Clemens: As well as beat reporters

3:07
Ben Clemens: And that’s his best estimate

3:07
Ben Clemens: We can’t really know if the team will follow what it told the beat guys or what anonymous people in front offices told people in other front offices and so on

3:07
Ben Clemens: But yeah

3:07
Ben Clemens: If that’s the Mets’ situation

3:07
Ben Clemens: thumbs down

3:08
Ben Clemens: If it’s all Cespedes and Davis, I’m into it

3:08
viceroy: Whats going to happen with Kwang-hyun Kim

3:08
Ben Clemens: I think he’s going to get 5 or so starts and a bundle of relief appearances and be awesome

3:09
Ben Clemens: I think he’s the…. fourth-best pitcher on the Cardinals?

3:09
Ben Clemens: Maybe third

3:09
Ben Clemens: Unclear where I’d rank him relative to Mikolas

3:09
Ben Clemens: (and then I have Flare 1 CMart 2)

3:09
Guest: lolmets (fans) are SOOOO mad at you and jay

3:09
Ben Clemens: 🙂

3:10
GSon: Do you take at least a half day of vacation celebrate the Bobby Bonilla Check day?

3:10
Ben Clemens: I do not. However, tomorrow is forced-divestment-from-old-job’s-comp-pool day for me

3:10
Ben Clemens: So I’m absolutely going to celebrate that

3:10
Nittanychris: Can Jose Martinez hit well enough to force Tampa to not platoon him?

3:10
Ben Clemens: Hm

3:10
Ben Clemens: Yes

3:10
Ben Clemens: Will he? Nah

3:11
Ben Clemens: I was not a big believer in Jose in St. Louis

3:11
Ben Clemens: Even when he was Mister Statcast

3:11
Ben Clemens: His best shot for the Rays to give him PT against righties is a lefty getting hurt

3:12
Ben Clemens: like if Tsutsugo isn’t around, things are a lot cleaner for him

3:12
Guest: CMart going to end up closing, at least to start the year?

3:12
Ben Clemens: Unless things have changed in the last day, they’re starting him in the rotation

3:12
Ben Clemens: I think that’s a really good idea

3:12
Ben Clemens: Want an obnoxious article about it?

3:13
Ben Clemens: You’re in luck!

3:13
Adam: Kershaw better/worse/about the same as last year?  Kenley?

3:13
Ben Clemens: Better, better

3:13
Ben Clemens: Much less confident on Kenley though

3:13
Ben Clemens: I have a frequently-goofed with, never-finished article about reliever half lives

3:13
Ben Clemens: How long you can expect a reliever to be good

3:13
Ben Clemens: That I’ve never quite figured out

3:14
Human Rain Delay: RE: ootp what’s the incentive of building a multi year team? I understand that’s more realistic ,but what’s the payoff?

3:14
Ben Clemens: Oh, we’re likely going to continue the league after this year

3:14
Ben Clemens: So basically that

3:14
Martinez DBax: Someone is going to GO OFF like JD did in Arizona. But not someone who’s already that good. Who would you pick who’s pretty good (like a 3 WAR full seasoner) who goes off?

3:15
Ben Clemens: So I’ve thought about htis. If you want that kind of person, you need to look at players who have a realllly tiny number of non-true outcomes

3:15
Ben Clemens: So basically sluggers who are a step below primetime

3:16
Ben Clemens: Seth Brown? Dom Smith? Mike Ford?

3:16
#1 trade candidate: Surely the Mets would be foolish not to try hard to trade Cespedes if he proves to be healthy early on.

3:16
Ben Clemens: Yeah no one will take him, though

3:16
Ben Clemens: Teams never want to take on contracts like that but given the money uncertainty around this year, I can pretty much guarantee you no one is looking to add salary in-season, particularly for a DH

3:17
Ben Clemens: I guess he’s not huge, but it’s like…. 11 million this year?

3:17
Ben Clemens: and he’s a free agent after this year I believe

3:17
Ben Clemens: 11 (non-prorated) this year I suppose

3:17
Adam: More likely, Marlins finish first or Astros finish last?

3:17
Ben Clemens: Ooh, this is a great one

3:17
Ben Clemens: I’m going to say Astros finish last

3:18
Ben Clemens: But honestly I have no idea

3:18
Yaboy: Been enjoying Drawful over zoom with friends lately. Do you play?

3:18
Ben Clemens: From time to time, and it’s really fun

3:18
Ben Clemens: I’m a terrible artist

3:18
Ben Clemens: But Drawful doesn’t care!

3:19
Doctor Parrot: You think maybe all the distractions could get to Houston and they’d just sort of fall apart?

3:19
Ben Clemens: If they’re 10-18 through 28 games, sure?

3:19
Ben Clemens: That’s why I’ll take that over Marlins, like maybe the Marlins just get crazy hot and Sandy Alcantara is a fire emoji and so on

3:19
2-D: Do you think visiting stadiums are going to pump in boos for the Stros?

3:20
Ben Clemens: Ooh good one

3:20
Ben Clemens: But no

3:20
Ben Clemens: I would like to think they will, but I just don’t think that’s ognna be done

3:20
Ben Clemens: I think the opposing players will be chirpy though

3:20
Adam: Which happens first this year, a position player pitches or a pitcher bats?

3:20
Ben Clemens: Position player pitches

3:20
Ben Clemens: For sure

3:20
Ben Clemens: Teams are gonna be very interested in conserving pitching

3:20
Isolated Thinker: Could we see SP come in to close games on their throw days, especially for day games, and especially for teams with shaky closer situations?  Each win is almost as important as a playoff win.

3:20
Ben Clemens: Maybe toward the end of the year

3:21
Ben Clemens: Early on, I think teams are terrified of hurting their starters

3:21
Adam: Even with 30 man rosters for the first two weeks?

3:21
Ben Clemens: Hm…. I think even then

3:21
Ben Clemens: for a pitcher to bat you need to exhaust all your pinch hitters with no pinch hitting for a pitcher

3:21
Ben Clemens: Which is really hard

3:21
Rodrigo: Since Stearns arrived Brewers rotations have been projected by FG at 26th, 25th, 19th & 24th from 2016-19 with them actually finishing 23rd, 10th, 15th & 15th by runs allowed WAR in those seasons. HOW THEY DO THAT?

3:21
Ben Clemens: I dunno, they appear to be partially magical

3:22
Ben Clemens: It’s really cool to see though

3:22
Ben Clemens: To be clear it’s totally in range to just be noise

3:22
Ben Clemens: But I hope it isn’t

3:22
Ben Clemens: And I do love their emphasis on getting relievers with unique release points

3:22
tj: I am reaching to take Degrom at 1.5?  If Cole is such a no-brainer this high, why not Degrom (other than the back scare which he should have put to rest yesterday)?  He is scheduled for the Marlins with 2 out of his first 6 starts.

3:22
Ben Clemens: So, I have not drafted any fantasy teams for the short season

3:22
Ben Clemens: After all my old ones got canceled and I was going to be busy with season preview stuff I just said nah

3:23
Ben Clemens: But it makes sense to me!

3:23
Mike Hawk: What’s your most and least favorite part of these chats?

3:24
Ben Clemens: My favorite part of it is that I often think you know what? I’d like to answer more questions but with less though

3:24
Ben Clemens: Legitimately, no foolies

3:24
Ben Clemens: thought*

3:24
Ben Clemens: I think that I’m at my best when I’m free associating (on a relative basis)

3:24
Ben Clemens: Like I’m not as confident in my ability to go deep as some other baseball researchers

3:25
Ben Clemens: But I feel pretty good about my ability to go fast

3:25
Ben Clemens: Worst part is that there are usually a lot of good questions I don’t answer and some good questions I do answer but poorly

3:25
My Name: Serious question: if Wilson Ramos has a 5 game hitting streak going, batting .500+ with 5+ HR in those games, but needs a day off behind the plate, and the DH options are struggling, there is no excuse to DH Ramos? Alternate scenario: Alonso needs a day off, and Cespedes is moving well- DH McNeil to give him a break, play Smith at 1B, Ces in LF, Davis at 3B- completely undefensible?

3:26
Ben Clemens: As to the first one, I can see them doing it

3:26
Ben Clemens: But I do not think it makes sense

3:26
Ben Clemens: Actually I’m not even sure I could see that happening

3:26
Ben Clemens: 5 HR in 5 games for Wilson Ramos? Unlikely!

3:27
Ben Clemens: But 5 games doesn’t make Wilson Ramos a better hitter than J.D. Davis

3:27
Ben Clemens: As to the second, I can see that one more

3:28
Ben Clemens: TO be clear I’m not counting playing Smith at 1B as a bad defensive choice if Alonso needs a break

3:28
Ben Clemens: Only in LF

3:28
Mike Hawk: Did you ever answer my Mountecastle question?  His bat has to be ready, right?

3:28
Ben Clemens: I did not but yeah, he should play

3:28
Johnny: Is it ok to ask DFS questions in the chat ?

3:28
Ben Clemens: Sure why not? Can’t guarantee my answers won’t be gibberish though

3:28
Adam: Free associate: which MLBer most resembles a character from Mario Kart?

3:28
Ben Clemens: Oh boy

3:29
Ben Clemens: I don’t know why I think this but I’m gonna go Trout and Koopa Troopa

3:29
Ben Clemens: You wanted free association, you got it

3:29
Ben Clemens: I guess they are both neckless?

3:29
Chris: How can the blue jays and pirates share a stadium? Schedule wise they’d have to change some things right?

3:29
Ben Clemens: Yeah I have legitimately no idea!

3:29
Ben Clemens: It seems crazy

3:29
Ben Clemens: I don’t even know why they’re suggesting it

3:30
Ben Clemens: Pittsburgh is kiiiiiind of near the AL East

3:30
Ben Clemens: But you know what else is? The entire Eastern seabord

3:30
Ben Clemens: seaboard* ew

3:30
Adam: We would also have accepted Joe Musgrove as Waluigi.

3:30
Ben Clemens: Well  Dustin May as Waluigi is a gimme

3:31
Ben Clemens: SOmeone asked a Benintendi-becoming Yelich question earlier on

3:31
Ben Clemens: That I wanted to go back to but don’t feel like scrolling up to

3:31
Ben Clemens: But the question was basically, does Benintendi have another gear in him?

3:31
Ben Clemens: And I’m going to say no

3:31
Ben Clemens: Miami-era Yelich and Benintendi look superficially similar

3:31
Ben Clemens: Fast, lot of contact, lot of grounders

3:31
Ben Clemens: But Yelich just hit the ball SO HARD

3:31
Ben Clemens: even then

3:32
Ben Clemens: Benintendi needs to start hitting the ball harder AND elevate

3:32
Ben Clemens: That’s too hard to do, in my opinion

3:32
Doctor Parrot: With no fans, couldn’t they just play at different times?

3:32
Ben Clemens: I am not sure TV networks would be into that

3:32
Ben Clemens: And I’m pretty sure that would massively increase the risk of COVID spread

3:32
Dave: Hey Ben, rank in # of PAs this season:  Sam Hilliard, Garret Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, Ramiel Tapia and Yonathan Daza.

3:33
Ben Clemens: Uh…. Tapia/Hampson/Hilliard/Rodgers/Daza

3:33
Ben Clemens: Low confidence on everyone except Tapia since they apparently named him starting LF

3:33
Matt: The Jays should play at the (old) bridgeport bluefish stadium. CT is doing great on cases and its in the east.

3:33
Ben Clemens: Works for me!

3:33
Ben Clemens: I’d prefer somewhere slightly further south and I don’t know the dimensions there but it makes more sense than Pittsburgh

3:33
2-D: Do the Rangers still have an extra stadium sitting around? Not geographically convenient though.

3:33
Ben Clemens: Geographically inconvenient and apparently they’ve modified its dimensions heavily for some other sports

3:34
Ben Clemens: To where it’d have sub-300 foot fences

3:34
Ben Clemens: In places

3:34
Ben Clemens: So that would be realllllly fun with Vlad

3:34
Guest: JJ Cooper

@jjcoop36
·
32m

We at Baseball America have verified with MiLB that no MiLB park meets the current MLB standards for stadium lighting.

3:34
Ben Clemens: Oopsie

3:34
soxfan: Is Alex Kirlloff  in the Twins  opening day lineup in 2021?

3:34
Ben Clemens: No, but after 16 days yes

3:34
Mike Hawk: At this point, you have to be at least 60% confident they’ll play all 60 games.  Or higher loewer %?

3:34
Ben Clemens: Yeah that sounds about right to me

3:34
Doctor Parrot: # of wins for second wild card team in AL/NL: 32.5?

3:35
Ben Clemens: Yeah I guess I’d take over? Good line though

3:35
Guest: ETA of Andrew Vaughn, Alec Bohm, Adley Rutchman and Jared Kelenic? Do any of the 3 get MLB AB’s this season?

3:35
Ben Clemens: I will say 2020, 2020, 2021, 2021

3:35
Ben Clemens: I think Vaughn squeaks his way into some AB’s when someone has a nagging injury

3:35
Ben Clemens: And Bohm the same

3:35
Ben Clemens: Those two teams are most interested in competing this year so they have more incentive to let the bats play

3:36
tmh: better career, Luzardo or Pearson?

3:36
Ben Clemens: Luzardo but with little confidence

3:36
Kevin Yost: Are we more likely to see players with multiple years of control traded then rentals? given how much time they would likely miss moving to a new team seems like 4 weeks of Giles might not be worth it compared to Givens or a Boyd type where its not just tied to this short sprint.

3:36
Ben Clemens: This is a really interesting question

3:36
Ben Clemens: I’m having trouble thinking about it

3:37
Ben Clemens: It’s only 4 weeks of Giles, but it’s 4 weeks in a short season

3:37
Ben Clemens: I am really unsure whether teams will value flags flying forever this year

3:37
Ben Clemens: I would

3:37
Scotty: Steamer sees Flaherty/Fried as being approximately the same (with a slight edge to Flaherty) in 2020. It doesn’t feel right but makes me wonder if Flaherty is being underrated or is Fried being overrated?

3:37
Ben Clemens: Fried overrated imo

3:38
Ben Clemens: But also, Fried is good!

3:38
Ben Clemens: I find Flaherty’s ranking about right. It bakes in some chance of regression

3:38
Ben Clemens: But still considers him one of the best starters in baseball

3:38
Ben Clemens: Whereas Fried is in that conversation despite never really doing it

3:38
My Name: OK, so maybe 5 HR for Ramos was aggressive. But he’s a guy who had an OPS over 1.000 for a full month last year, and was well over .800 two other months. He’s a guy who can get hot. Not trying to overrate him, but hey, the projections show the other options to be mediocre, right? If so, it feels reasonable to me that he might be the best option on a given day.

3:39
Ben Clemens: Yeah, eh, maybe. But I can’t imagine thinking he’s a *better* hitter than those guys, and he’s also more valuable when he does catch

3:39
Ben Clemens: So why not give him the full rest day?

3:39
Big Joey: Are you buying into Alex Wood this year?

3:39
Ben Clemens: Yes but I buy into Alex Wood every year

3:39
Ben Clemens: So don’t read too much into it

3:40
Ben Clemens: I think the Dodgers just know how to get the most out of him

3:40
Big Joey: Alex Wood or Mike Minor? League counts W and L

3:40
Ben Clemens: Like, I’m taking Wood here

3:40
Ben Clemens: Maybe the new Texas stadium is gonna mess with park effects more than I think

3:40
Ben Clemens: But eh, losses plus Texas is tough for Minor

3:40
Adam: Which FanGraphs staffer could throw the hardest fastball?

3:40
Ben Clemens: Sincerely no idea

3:41
Ben Clemens: I would not say we’re the most athletic bunch

3:41
Ben Clemens: I think Dan pitched in high school

3:41
Ben Clemens: So him?

3:41
Ben Clemens: It’s deffffinitely not me

3:41
Ben Clemens: though I would take me in an FG-wide game of 21 or 3-on-3 hoops or whatever

3:42
Mike Hawk: How much of an effect will the new bullpen in CF be on HRs in Oracle Park?

3:42
Ben Clemens: I’m really sad I don’t get to see it in person this year

3:42
Ben Clemens: But I’m going to have to say I’m not sure, which I know is an unsatisfying answer

3:42
Ben Clemens: Doesn’t stop the bay effect or the comical RF wall though

3:43
Ben Clemens: Alright on that note everyone, I’m going to go eat lunch.

3:43
Ben Clemens: Thanks for taking the time to chat today, and sorry if I didn’t get to your question.

3:44
Ben Clemens: We are going to be doing a blowout all-day chat both Thursday and Friday for Opening Day(s)

3:44
Ben Clemens: So fire htem in then! Have a great day and be safe

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