Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 7/26/21

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

2:00
Ben Clemens: Let’s talk as much baseball as we can for as long as we can, etc.

2:00
Appa Yip Yip: Ben, the lads …. the lads are coming home.

2:00
Appa Yip Yip: A non-exhaustive list of core Blue Jays who have never played in a home opener: Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Hyun-Jin Ryu, George Springer, Jordan Romano, Alejandro Kirk, Marcus Semien. Half of the roster has never even suited up in Toronto as the home team.

2:00
Ben Clemens: Really cool

2:01
Ben Clemens: The Jays have been playin really well considering their nomadic existence, gonna be great to have a real home crowd (no offense to Buffalo and Dunedin) and stadium

2:01
Jon G: As one of the leads on FanGraphs’ Trade Value Series effort, I come to you with a topic of hot debate on Cubs twitter: what is Kyle Hendricks’ trade value?

2:03
Ben Clemens: We considered him briefly for the list, but I think this year’s declining peripherals kept him off in the end

2:03
Ben Clemens: If you want the raw numbers, my spreadsheet thinks he’s worth $10 million in surplus value, I peg it higher than that b/c I don’t quite buy the forecasts

2:03
Ben Clemens: forecasts*

2:03
Crim “Wicho”: Big debate in Padres land about Cronenworth vs Grisham’s trade value. There was a gap in Cro’s favor in the official series but it sounds like you might carry them more equivalently, or at least be higher on Grisham than the consensus?

2:04
Ben Clemens: I was higher on Grisham than the consensus, but also higher on Cronenworth

2:04
Ben Clemens: I buy Cronenworth’s bat more, and I think that’s just quite improtant in the end. But they were both in my top 20 the first time I made a list

2:04
Who’s Fabio?: Ben – loved the trade value series, thank you and Kevin and everyone.  Do you think Bo Bichette could play a good CF if the Jays move him off SS?

2:05
Ben Clemens: I don’t really see it. He’s not a true burner, which is what you’d want for a late conversion to outfield

2:06
Ben Clemens: But I’m not really the person to ask, probably more of a question for Eric or Kevin

2:06
Ben Clemens: Hard for me to think of how outfield conversions will go

2:06
Chris: Why are the As playoff odds so high? They’ve been slumping bad and if you ignore their history of randomly overachieving, the players they are relying on and the holes they have on their roster seem large

2:06
Ben Clemens: Let me tell you, we DEFINITELY ignore their history of randomly overachieving

2:07
Ben Clemens: That is not how it works at all. We make projections based on ZiPS and Steamer estimated talent level

2:07
Ben Clemens: It basically comes down to the fact that they’re in the Wild Card spot right now, and the AL East teams will beat up on one another

2:08
Ben Clemens: We have them with a lower ROS W% than the Yankees or Jays, but they just have enough games in hand

2:08
Ben Clemens: And honestly, we have them at 40% to make the playoffs, that’s not too crazy

2:08
Zach: If you had it your way where would you have had Corbin Burnes ranked in the trade value series?

2:08
Ben Clemens: 9th or so?

2:09
Ben Clemens: I feel like he was pretty pushed as it is, but no one really disagreed with us too much

2:09
Ben Clemens: The baseball-wide view is that he’s just really good

2:09
Finnegan’s Seam-Shifted Wake: Do any of the Cubs’ pieces on their own net a top-100 prospect?

2:09
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so, but there’s some chance I’m way low on what teams think of Kimbrel

2:10
Ben Clemens: I don’ think the rest of them are quite top 100 piece level

2:10
Ben Clemens: Though obviously everyone is good

2:10
Chris: Why are the mariners playoff odds worse than the angels? I’m not saying they will finish ahead of the angels, just that the likelyhood of the angels making the playoffs seems like it should be less than the mariners

2:10
Ben Clemens: We just think that the Mariners are really bad, basically

2:10
Ben Clemens: .450 ROS W% is our median result

2:11
Ben Clemens: While we continue to think the Angels are good, what with their team full of good players

2:11
Jack: how was tucupita marcano ranked so highly on the Padres list, but so low on the pirates? Do you believe this was the best offer on the market

2:12
Ben Clemens: I haven’t asked Eric on this specifically, but I’m assuming he’d be lower on the updated Padres list. Also, the Padres have thinned out their system pretty heavily recently, and the Pirates have a top 3 system

2:12
Ben Clemens: Per our extremely useful Farm Ranking page

2:13
Ben Clemens: So one way to look at it is that Pittsburgh has a glut of 50’s and 45’s

2:13
Ben Clemens: Whereas the Padres have 4 prospects 50 or higher, including some very shiny ones, but really nothing in that middle tier

2:13
Bobby: With Cruz, Hill, and Frazier already traded, do you see this trading deadline to be busier than usual?  Seems like a lot of teams are going for it or trying to improve for the postseason and a lot of teams are willing to sell.

2:14
Ben Clemens: I don’t actually

2:14
Ben Clemens: There might be a lot of moves, but I think many of them will be of the Rich Hill variety

2:14
Ben Clemens: Not too many teams are right on the cusp of shove/fold, as it were

2:15
Appa Yip Yip: Acquiring pitching seems particularly dicey this year given the sticky stuff crackdown, how should teams evaluate arms they’re looking to trade for this year? Do you put the weight on the longer track record, or the relatively short span since the ban has been enforced?

2:15
Ben Clemens: Mostly longer track record, and keep an eye on disturbing underlying stuff changes

2:15
Ben Clemens: If a guy lost 3″ of movement or something, be wary

2:15
Ben Clemens: But Corbin Burnes and Gerrit Cole are two of the bigger rpm losers, and they’re both still excellent

2:15
Ben Clemens: And heck, their underlying numbers are still excellent

2:16
Ben Clemens: So it’s not like you can’t acquire a pitcher who is now spinning it less. Everyone is spinning it less, and good pitchers are still good

2:16
Matt Damon: MATT. DAMON.

2:16
Adam: If I set the qualitative over/under on the Dodgers’ trade deadline acquisitions at “Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy,” which side you taking?

2:17
Ben Clemens: Over, I think. I haven’t heard any specific rumors, but the Dodgers have always done a good job (in my eyes) of understanding the leverage of adding pieces

2:17
Ben Clemens: And they’re in a very high-leverage spot right now

2:17
Thomas: Do you think pitching-needy teams see Kyle Gibson as a playoff starter (#2 / #3)? Or will we see him priced more as a back-end innings eater?

2:17
Ben Clemens: Something like a #3/#4 imo

2:17
Ben Clemens: I think you only trade for him if he’d slot into your playoff rotation, the price won’t be right otherwise

2:18
Adam: Should the Dodgers trade Ruiz, or just move Smith to 1B/3B?

2:18
Ben Clemens: Trade Ruiz imo

2:19
Mitch: What would you speculate the chances are that somebody in MLB is a different age than the age actually recorded in the record books? The incentive to lie about your age would definitely seem to be there for international guys and draft kids for signing bonus purposes

2:19
Ben Clemens: Somebody, like at least one player?

2:19
Ben Clemens: 100%

2:19
Ben Clemens: Er, fine, 99.999999% or whatever number isn’t 100%

2:19
Who Me: The Frazier return looked light to me. Am I wrong? Will I be similarly disappointed in the return for Starling?

2:20
Ben Clemens: I did indeed think the return was light, but I also don’t think Adam Frazier is *that* good

2:20
Ben Clemens: Empty average is fine, but it’s not a jaw-dropping offensive line overall, and it’s not like he’s an elite multi-position defender

2:21
Theo’s Legacies: Verdugo for Bryant — who says no?

2:21
Ben Clemens: Uh, the Red Sox

2:21
Ben Clemens: Like, instantly

2:22
Ben Clemens: They’re not going to trade a major league contributor for a rental

2:22
Ben Clemens: Just works too much at cross purposes

2:22
Tom Emanski: With the current state of the Cubs system, it seems overly optimistic for them to be contenders again before 2024ish.  In addition to trading expiring assets, should they consider taking on bad money if they can get prospects attached?  They have very little money on the books moving forward (even JHey has only 2 more seasons after this one), so it seems like they should consider using their financial might to continue to bolster their farm system.

2:22
Ben Clemens: So, that’s a good idea in theory

2:22
Ben Clemens: There are two problems with it

2:23
Ben Clemens: 1: the Cubs just made a salary dump in the offseason

2:23
Ben Clemens: They don’t act like they’re interested in bulking up future payrolls, to say the least

2:23
Ben Clemens: 2: With the exception of the Cubs (lol), it’s not like there have been many teams willing to trade value in exchange for financial relief

2:24
Ben Clemens: Like, make me a hypothetical trade where someone is going to send a prospect of value along with a bad prospect in exchange for nothing

2:24
Ben Clemens: They don’t really happen that much anymore, because teams, for all their whining, aren’t really willing to give up prospect capital to fix their budgets

2:25
pakkap: ruiz should get the dodgers scherzer plus – crazy or non?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Not crazy, I’d say

2:25
Alby: The trade value series always features mostly guys who won’t be traded. Has FG ever considered doing a similar exercise for only the names rumored to be on the block?

2:25
Ben Clemens: Yes, in fact Kevin fought for us to do that list instead this year

2:26
Ben Clemens: There’s a lot of institutional inertia keeping the current list going. People like reading it and then lording their globe-spanning baseball intelligence over us dummy writers in the comments

2:26
Ben Clemens: Joking, but only partially

2:26
Ben Clemens: It’s just a thing people expect, and it’s a fun exercise. Not to say we wouldn’t do both in the future, but the trade value series as currently constituted is definitely an institution

2:26
Derek: If the Hosmer rumors are at all true, isn’t sending a/some prospect/s of value along with him literally the only way that gets done?

2:27
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that would prove me wrong, but I just don’t thikn the Padres would attach much of value, so I don’ see it getting done

2:29
Ben Clemens: Like, from a surplus value standpoint, he’s earning roughly 80 million dollars over the balance of his contract… so that’s 80 million dollars underwater

2:29
Ben Clemens: The projections are not great!

2:30
Ben Clemens: Per a slightly old but still useful Craig Edwards article (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/an-update-to-prospect-valuation/), that’s like MacKenzie Gore +

2:30
Ben Clemens: That isn’t happening

2:30
Appa Yip Yip: The Padres should really have listened to their most recent hire on that one.

2:31
Ben Clemens: There are a ton of old FG Audios where Carson was haranguing Dave about how good Adam Frazier would be

2:31
Ben Clemens: Asking him the odds of Frazier winning a batting title, etc

2:31
Ben Clemens: I like to think that there’s a string of smug text messages heading southwest nonstop today

2:31
Co: Re: Cubs financial question. I actually think the Rays would be willing to attach a prospect or two to Kiermaier if a team was willing to eat some of his salary because of the position player glut they currently have with Cruz on the roster now. Maybe in return for a reliever? How does Kiermaier + Kevin Padlo + an intriguing A ball pitcher for Ryan Tepera sound?

2:32
Ben Clemens: Yeah, the Rays are the rare team that might do this, but I think they’d only do it if they’re bringing in a contract the other way and need to equalize things. That’s a fair point

2:32
Ben Clemens: If they somehow land Scherzer, they probably need to get rid of someone to make things work

2:33
Ben Clemens: They obviously *could* anyway, and Kiermaier’s contract isn’t terrible

2:33
Ben Clemens: In fact, I think it’s roughly neutral

2:34
Ben Clemens: 12 million next year, for a premium center fielder? I’m not sure I’d sign him to that, but it’s not off by that much

2:34
BenB: Have you ever met a Ben who wasn’t a nice guy ? I sure haven’t …

2:34
Ben Clemens: Extreme brag (not even a humble brag), but I met Ben Bernanke once and he was quite nice

2:34
Ben Clemens: So I’m going to say that all Ben’s are nice

2:34
Ben Clemens: Sweet beard, too

2:34
Nate: Ben, did Yoan Moncada get consideration for trade value piece?

2:34
Ben Clemens: He did

2:35
Ben Clemens: He was in the soup of people from 40-60

2:35
Ben Clemens: And spent time in the 50, out of the 50, dancing around

2:35
Ben Clemens: I think he probably should have been higher up on our list

2:36
Ben Clemens: Team types agreed with him being in that soup range, and he was a casualty of us bumping some people up who teams thought were very underrated

2:36
Derek: Is Ben Affleck a nice guy?

2:36
Ben Clemens: Oof

2:37
Ben Clemens: Ruined

2:37
The Pain and the Smell: If the Royals trade for Eric Hosmer (which terrifyingly, would be a very GMDM move) us Royals fans are going to have to picket outside of Sherman’s house.  We are so over Dayton Moore at this point.  This is the time of year where he fails to get value out of our trade assets, we rattle off a bunch of meaningless wins to knock our draft pick down a handful of spots, and then get to listen to Dayton blow smoke about how much we’ve improved and how we’re going to be competitive next year.  Ugh…..

2:37
Ben Clemens: Good news, my friend

2:37
Ben Clemens: If the Royals acquire Hosmer, he probably won’t knock down the draft pick

2:38
Ben Cherington: Never met Netanyahu, I guess?

2:38
Ben Clemens: Most certainly not

2:38
Ben Clemens: I don’t get out to the Middle East very often (though I did live in Saudi Arabia for a year when I was in kindergarten)

2:38
Jake: Apologies if this has been asked… but when do you think Jose Miranda gets the callup for the Twins? He’s absolutely mashing

2:39
Ben Clemens: No idea why he hasn’t yet, tbh

2:39
Ben Clemens: just give him a shot!

2:39
Ben Clemens: No service time implications this late in the year, and he’s been destroying every level

2:39
Joshua: Trea Turner to the Mariners for Kelenic and JP Crawford……who says no?

2:39
Ben Clemens: I think the Mariners would say no. Turner doesn’t make them a playoff team and he’s gone after next year, they’ve also been pretty prospect huggy

2:40
Jeremy.Renner: Jeremy.Renner> matt.damon. How you like them apples?

2:40
Steve: Do you think Patrick Wisdom’s performance this year is sustainable?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Well, no

2:40
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s a perennial all star, so no

2:41
Ben Clemens: I’m ready to buy into him being a totally cromulent regular though

2:41
Ben Clemens: But I don’t htink he’s gonna keep slugging .568 with a 40% strikeout rate

2:41
Steve: Do you think hes a solid starting 3B?

2:42
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I think that he’s totally fine as a starting 3B if you’re patching a hole there

2:42
Ben Clemens: Like if your team’s strength is elsewhere and you plug in Wisdom at 3rd, I’ll be skeptical but understanding

2:42
Ben Clemens: If he’s supposed to be part of the solution rather than wallpaper, then no, not buying it

2:42
Guest: Do you think Albert Pujols will continue playing after this year?  Seems like he might be enticed by the prospect of reaching 700 homeruns.

2:42
Ben Clemens: I think he will

2:43
Ben Clemens: He’s been good enough with the Dodgers that it’s not like he’s completely valueless. he hasn’t been *good*, but he doesn’t look completely cooked

2:43
Ben Clemens: Semi cooked, but not completely

2:43
Ben Clemens: Like an al dente pasta

2:43
Cambodian Creamsicle: Jeremy Renner plays a “superhero” with no super powers.  Just unlimited arrows and a stupid haircut.  Wack!

2:44
Ben Clemens: Unlimited arrows isn’t a superpower?

2:44
LFC Mike: Hi Ben.. on the same night at Fenway last week, Rafael Devers hit his 100th MLB HR. Jarren Duran made his Fenway debut. Jarren Duran is a month older than Devers.  Does Raffy  get enough credit as to what a special player he is?

2:44
Ben Clemens: Yes, Devers is perpetually underrated

2:44
Ben Clemens: partially it’s b/c everytime the Sox have been good they’ve been jam-packed with superstars

2:45
Ben Clemens: Partially it’s b/c he was bad the year they won the WS, good in

2:45
Ben Clemens: ’19 when they weren’t really, and then bad in 2020

2:45
Derek: Is Varsho turning a corner? Walk rate up, strikeouts down relative to last year – and obviously 3 games in a row with a home run is good!

2:46
Ben Clemens: I want to believe. The approach at the plate makes me willing to

2:46
Ben Clemens: So, yes!

2:47
Greg: Metrics like wOBA (and to a lesser extent, OPS) are great because they take into account the frequency of all positive batting outcomes and properly assigns weights to them based on their value as it pertains to creating runs in a context agnostic fashion.

2:47
Greg: My Question is – we know that negative outcomes aren’t created equal, as a fly out or ground out is often more valuable than a strikeout. Why don’t wOBA and other metrics take into account the frequency and value of negative outcomes as well?

2:47
Ben Clemens: Let me pull up a recent Tom Tango thread on this

2:48
Ben Clemens: Gosh, Tango tweets a lot

2:48
Ben Clemens:

Run Values by the 24 base-out states for each event.

This averages over 2016-present. If someone can remind me after the World Series to get this updated, I will do so.

You can download the file here if you want a better resolution:

tangotiger.net/files/re24_eve…

14 Jul 2021
2:48
Ben Clemens: His conclusion:

2:48
Ben Clemens: Notice the run values are more impactful for ground-outs with a runner on 1B and less than 2 outs.

And strikeouts with a runner on 3B and less than 2 outs.

And with 2 outs, all the run values on outs are the same.

Despite it all, overall, then end up all being very similar.

2:48
Ben Clemens: Yikes, that is faint text

2:49
Ben Clemens: K’s are a lot worse in some situations

2:49
Ben Clemens: Grounders are REALLY bad with less than two outs (b/c of double plays) when there are runners on

2:49
Lunchmeat sculptor: If the reports regarding the pirates’ past efforts to acquire Marcano (and Preller’s reluctance to discuss him) are true, it seems to suggest a bit of an evaluation shift in favor of elite bat-to-ball skills (perhaps after seeing Frazier, McNeil, Cronenworth, tapia, etc all settle into productive regular roles) might be taking place in FOs? No?

2:49
Ben Clemens: I mean… maybe

2:51
Ben Clemens: On the other hand, could just be them talking about how they like Marcano b/c that’s what they got

2:51
Guest: But we account for GIDP (the bad part of groundouts) separately, with gidp runs

2:53
Ben Clemens: Yeah, so this is a valid point. I’m willing to believe that our GIDP runs are over-penalizing grounders relative to strikeouts (though they’re relative to average, obviously)

2:53
Ben Clemens: but then, the biggest wGDP on the whole year is 2.4 runs, so it’s a really marginal difference

2:53
DMGM: Who dares criticize the great Dayton. Am I dumb enough to trade Merrifield?

2:53
Ben Clemens: I don’t think Merrifield gets traded, but I kind of think he should?

2:54
Guest: Maybe elite bat-to-ball skills are valued as a more consistent commodity due to the properties of the ball changing a bit from year to year?

2:54
Ben Clemens: That seems kinda backwards though. A lot of the elite bat-to-ball guys derive a lot of value from their bat-to-ball turning from doubles into homers

2:55
Ben Clemens: The true zero-power guys don’t, but one reason we bumped up gap power bat control types in our rankings in general is b/c it seemed more likely they’d be hitting homers

2:55
Guest: What’s one thing that is generally still undervalued by most front offices but properly valued by the top tier front offices?

2:55
Ben Clemens: Ooh, this is an excellent question

2:55
Ben Clemens: To be clear, I don’t claim to have a perfect view into any front offices

2:56
Ben Clemens: I think that everyone understands the concept of projecting value, using some type of unitary scale that converts everything into one unit (wins, runs, whatever), and thinking about costs

2:57
Ben Clemens: I think that some teams are a lot better at understanding the failures of that model, intricacies of maximizing a roster rather than stacking up WAR, etc

2:57
Ben Clemens: The Dodgers are one of my favorite exmaples

2:58
Ben Clemens: They’ve been really good at manufacturing good fill-in players, and then if you look at their acquisitions, they try to grab stars these days

2:58
Ben Clemens: I like it!

2:58
Ben Clemens: The Rays are thinking about their 40-man crunch all the time and trying to figure out how to fit pieces together

2:58
Ben Clemens: The Yankees seem to have a really good grasp of how to play the luxury tax; they do a lot of this 2 over 1 under type thing

2:59
Appa Yip Yip: Th answer should be, making sure your minor leaguers don’t have to sleep in their cars

2:59
Ben Clemens: Do you think that’s properly valued by the top front offices?

2:59
Ben Clemens: I wish it were

2:59
Ben Clemens: But I don’t thikn it is

2:59
Dan: Was Altuve considered at all in the trade value series? Was he just punished heavily for 2020? Or is 31 years old with 3 years of team control at $23M for 10-15 wins more just fairly priced value than surplus value?

3:00
Ben Clemens: Not seriously considered

3:00
Ben Clemens: In our initial surplus value estimation cut, he came in slightly below 0 surplus value

3:00
Ben Clemens: For a guy who isn’t a perennial 5+ WAR lock, that’s tough

3:00
Appa Yip Yip: The amount of money teams piss away by not paying their minor league players enough to only focus on baseball is absurd

3:00
Appa Yip Yip: It’s also just, you know, the right thing to do

3:00
Ben Clemens: Completely agree

3:01
Christian: I think the Royals are the most likely team to trade for Eric Hosmer. Mostly because I think they’ll do something stupid like Offer Nick Pratto for Hosmer straight up and then trumpet their success with glee because the Padres accepted instantly while the royals were secretly willing to give up Witt Jr if that’s what it took.

3:01
Ben Clemens: I think it’s fun to bag on Dayton Moore but this one doesn’t seem like something even he would do

3:02
Johnny5Alive: Your article re: the Hill trade made it seem like not a good deal from the mets at all – but its gotta be better than TBA 2/5 games like they have the past month.

3:02
Ben Clemens: Oh I hope that isn’t how it came off. They had to make a trade

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think he’s cooked

3:02
Ben Clemens: But he’s less cooked than the sentient ball of string I was talking about

3:03
Guest: What’s your view of Cavan Biggio going forward?  Seems to be a solid super utility guy who isn’t great at any one position but decent enough to be part timer at each corner IF and OF

3:03
Ben Clemens: I kept trying to push Biggio up the list and Kevin (and a lot of other people to be fair) kept saying no

3:04
Vacationing in Iceland: Many names are being tossed about in trade rumors. Which names have the best chance of staying put? Thanks.

3:04
Ben Clemens: Scherzer is my guess

3:04
Ben Clemens: I will change my mind if they can get a top 100 prospect for him

3:05
Ben Clemens: I just think he’s a great Nat, if they’re getting whatever rando rental return, why do it?

3:05
grover: You asked for CRAZY trade ideas… Oakland Sells. Bassitt to Toronto for a Groshan’s centered package. Manaea to the Mets for a Baty centered deal. Canha to the Brewers for Ethan Small. Would the non-Oakland teams say “Yes”?

3:05
Ben Clemens: Missed this one earlier but now THIS sounds crazy

3:06
Ben Clemens: I don’t think the Brewers would say yes, even though Canha is great. They just seem to love Small-type pitchers

3:06
Steve: If the cubs theoretically trade all 4 (baez, bryant, rizzo, kimbrel), how many top 100 prospects do they get? 0?

3:06
Ben Clemens: I could see 2 if it’s in two deals, and they’re eating all the money in both

3:06
Padres458: Campusano + Hosmer and 20 million for Scherzer  and Hand?

3:06
Ben Clemens: The Nats would not do this deal

3:07
Ben Clemens: Their future payroll situation is BRUTAL with all the deferrals

3:07
Ben Clemens: And I think that Campusano + Hosmer + 20 million would be a neutral-value package overall

3:07
Ben Clemens: If the Padres could do this, I think they would

3:07
Ben Clemens: I just don’t think they can

3:08
Chaim Bloom: I’ll just leave this here:

Total WAR (hitting + fielding), as of 7/26
Hernandez/Verdugo/Renfroe      6.8
Betts/JBJ/Benintendi                   3.8

3:08
Ben Clemens: So, yes, but this is kind of misleading

3:08
Ben Clemens: In that Benintendi and JBJ have combined to be awful

3:08
Ben Clemens: And Mookie has been his normal wonderful self, give or take being baned up (.374 OBP with a .500 slug is pretty nice)

3:08
Ben Clemens: banged up*

3:09
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that anyone thought giving up on JBJ and Benintendi was the badm ove

3:09
Guest: With Gabriel Moreno being the Jays de-facto top prospect, who would they hypothetically trade him for?

3:10
Ben Clemens: Interesting. Jose Berrios, maybe?

3:10
Ben Clemens: I’m really high on Moreno but I’m also really high on Berrios

3:10
Ibrahim: How accurate do you think run differential is when predicting a team’s future success? Seems like  a few blowout games can really skew the number in either direction.

3:11
Ben Clemens: Yeha, not particularly

3:11
Ben Clemens: Probably better than record

3:11
Ben Clemens: But not as good as looking at their underlying statistics or projecting those underlying statistics

3:11
LFC Mike: Ben, As we get  set to enter August.. which underperforming players YTD do you think  have the best chance to turn it around the last 2 months?

3:11
Ben Clemens: I feel good about Conforto

3:12
Ben Clemens: Who else? Hm, what about Nelson Cruz

3:12
Ben Clemens: Oh, he’s not underperforming?

3:12
Ben Clemens: He’s great as always?

3:12
Ben Clemens: This is awkward

3:13
Ben Clemens: Since I predicted Nelson Cruz’s decline last year, he’s been worse…. but still great

3:13
Ben Clemens: What a legend

3:13
John: What’s fair value for Merrfield? He’s cheap but seems like he doesn’t have more than a couple more average to above average years left before he drops off given his offensive trends this season

3:13
Ben Clemens: Oh, I think he still has reasonable trade value

3:14
Ben Clemens: Borderline top 100 prospect type value, maybe?

3:14
Ben Clemens: Definitely lower than it was, but you can talk yourself into him being an average bat who can play various positions for cheap

3:14
Dev: Mariners have been mentioned in this light, but are there any other teams buying at the deadline that are also buying with 2022+ in mind?

3:14
Ben Clemens: Jays

3:15
Chamaco: In Dayton Moore’s defense (eh kinda), that 2015 flag will fly forever, KC tries to be competitive, and they treat their minor leaguers a bit better than the average team.

3:15
Ben Clemens: Yeah I like Moore’s macro objectives

3:15
Ben Clemens: Compete, treat minor leaguers well

3:15
Ben Clemens: His tactics? Not always so pristine

3:15
Guest: Do you take gambling questions Mr. Clemens?

3:15
Ben Clemens: I can’t guarantee I’ll answer them well or non-snarkily, but sure

3:16
Laffy Tuffy: Would you consider signing David Buchanan at 1 year $2.5 million for 2022 with a $3 million team option for 2023 if you were running the Cardinals?

3:16
Ben Clemens: Definitely

3:16
Ben Clemens: Will he pan out back in the states? No idea

3:16
Ben Clemens: But the price is right to find out

3:16
Brian Snitker’s Lips: Do the Braves ever get over .500 this year?

3:17
Ben Clemens: So, they’re 48-50 and they’re probably roughly a .500 team

3:17
Ben Clemens: I think the odds they end a day above .500 are….. 65%

3:17
Ben Clemens: (to pick a number out of thin air)

3:17
Guest: Do you think all professional leagues should pause during the Olympics to allow the leagues’ players to participate in the Games?

3:17
Ben Clemens: Nah

3:17
Ben Clemens: I don’t thikn I’d get much out of Olympic baseball with major leaguers, for example

3:18
Ben Clemens: the WBC is a great solution to wanting that kind of competition

3:18
Guest: How can the service time manipulation problem be altered in the new CBA?

3:18
Ben Clemens: How could it? With my favorite solution, age-based free agency with a higher minimum salary

3:18
Ben Clemens: How will it be? It won’t be, I don’t think

3:19
Guest: Speaking of the WBC–when is it happening next?  Wasn’t it supposed to be every 3 years?

3:19
Ben Clemens: I think the decision to cancel it was wise given COVID

3:19
Ben Clemens: Based on how the olympics are going, I don’t think it’ll be back next year

3:20
Ben Clemens: So 2023 would be a natural one. Just call the 2020 one a loss and continue the every 3 year schedule

3:20
Guest: The Mariners have played 101 games this year, and their hitters have the 7th best clutch score ever.  Is there any reason to expect their success to continue?

3:20
Guest: The playoff odds page has the Yankees at about 35%, the Mariners at about 5%.  But which team do *you* like to make the playoffs?  Heart (Mariners) or head (Yankees)?

3:20
Ben Clemens: Not sure if these are the same guests

3:20
Ben Clemens: I’ll take the Yankees. I’m a heart over head picker in general

3:20
Ben Clemens: Whoops, head over heart

3:21
Ben Clemens: Those are opposites!

3:21
Ben Clemens: I’m skeptical of the Mariners, but if you’re looking for a reason their success can continue, it’s that they have some exciting young players who can improve

3:21
Mick: One of your random chats a while ago inspired me to purchase Tesla vs. Edison Duel, which has since sparked a growing interest/obsession with board games of ever increasing scope and complexity. What are your current favorites that work at 2 but can play with more? I’m currently big on Parks as well as Everdell

3:22
Ben Clemens: Oh, I recently played Everdell for the first time and loved it!

3:22
Ben Clemens: The tree is pointless but very fun to build

3:22
Ben Clemens: And I thought the mechanics made the game hum, it felt very balanced but not overwhelming

3:22
Ben Clemens: I hate when games feel balanced if you know the right strategies but impenetrable to amateurs

3:23
Ben Clemens: Let me recommend two: One is Vindication, an area control game that also plays like Everdell in that you build a team of effects

3:23
Ben Clemens: Also, Seasons, a deckbuilder/drafting hybrid

3:23
Ben Clemens: I’ve mainly played both as a 2-player game with my wife, but both work at higher levels too

3:23
Band-aid collector: Over/under on number of 50 FV prospects dealt during this deadline? Feels likely to be lower this year than many of the recent non-2020 seasons.

3:23
Ben Clemens: 2.5

3:24
David Forst: What do I do with my crappy but apparently contending team? Please keep in mind that my idiot billionaire boss refuses to spend money until our broke city builds him a stadium with tax dollars

3:24
Ben Clemens: The Oakland stadium situation is a mess

3:24
Ben Clemens: I think the A’s are out on Story at this point

3:25
Ben Clemens: Based on rumors, no real conviction

3:25
Ben Clemens: And I think that despite their best efforts to make the city hate them, the city will still embrace them if they make a run

3:25
Chip: How would age based free-agency work when some guys get to the big leagues at 19, and other do at 27?

3:25
Ben Clemens: Well…. that 19-year-old player would be under team control for a while (making first a higher minimum, then arbitration)

3:26
Ben Clemens: Like, that’s how it would work!

3:26
Ben Clemens: It’s an incentive to bring the 19-year-old up

3:26
Tal: Who do you believe could be surprisingly dealt at the deadline?

3:26
Ben Clemens: Ooh, love this question

3:26
Ben Clemens: Hmmm…

3:28
Ben Clemens: Trying to decide between heart and head here

3:28
Ben Clemens: I’ll go with heart

3:28
Ben Clemens: Freddie Freeman!

3:28
Ben Clemens: Super unlikely

3:28
Ben Clemens: But if he and the Braves have a handshake deal to come back, that would be a fun and surprising one

3:28
Charlie Morton: What about me getting traded?

3:28
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that would be surprising, but sure yeah

3:29
Appa Yip Yip: Kirk, Groshans, Woods-Richardson, and two or three guys from the 10-20 range for Jose Ramìrez. Oui ou non?

3:29
Ben Clemens: Swap Moreno for Kirk, and I think this works

3:29
Ben Clemens: It’s a big pay, but Ramirez is a big get

3:30
Ben Clemens: He’s not the cleanest fit on the Jays, but heh’s also great

3:30
Ben Clemens: So, that seems good enough for me!

3:30
David Forst: Also, re gambling question earlier—if someone bet in consistent increments based on the gap in expected value between sports books and FG’s game odds, do they make money?

3:30
Ben Clemens: No, the vig is too high

3:31
Ben Clemens: I did some testing of various ways to look at HFA when calculating our game odds before last year

3:31
Ben Clemens: And so was looking into various versions of that question, both vs lines and vs different iterations I was trying

3:31
Ben Clemens: And eh

3:31
Ben Clemens: You’re not gonna beat the vig

3:32
Ben Clemens: With some mechanical strategy

3:32
Ben Clemens: Maybe it gives you an edge that you can combine with other useful signals?

3:32
Ben Clemens: But not by itself

3:32
IMissAcuna: Did you consider Austin Riley for the trade value series?

3:32
Ben Clemens: Not really, not a consistent enough bat given the defensive value

3:32
Ben Clemens: I like Riley quite a bit

3:33
Ben Clemens: But not for a guy entering arb next year, to be on the top 50

3:33
Chip: Do you think Yelich gets his power back, or is this high-OBP, no power guy just who he is now?

3:34
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’s THIS low power

3:34
Ben Clemens: but I think 2020 is a more reaonable power estimate than 2019

3:34
Lando Lakes: Ben have you public addressed ‘Eloy Jimenez not on the trade value series-gate’?

3:34
Ben Clemens: Boy, if that’s a gate, we have low standards for gates

3:35
Ben Clemens: he should have been an HM, we cut the list based on people with AB’s this year and no one we talked to thought it was shocking that he wasn’t in the 50

3:35
Guest: Any first half strugglers youd bet on a big 2nd half?  Belly?  Yelich?  Lux?  someone else i didnt name?

3:35
Ben Clemens: Ugh, I’m out on Bellinger sadly

3:35
Ben Clemens: Yelich, like i said, I think he gets some power back but not all the way

3:36
Ben Clemens: Lux, sure thing

3:36
Ben Clemens: I just think Bellinger is so lost I’m not willing to bet on it getting better before the offseason

3:36
Whit Merrifield: Do you think I’m on a different team by the end of the week?

3:36
Ben Clemens: I do. I feel like this Mariners smoke is real

3:36
Jozy: If you were the GM of one of the teams in the middle, like the Mariners, Phillies, Reds, etc. Would you lean towards buying or selling?

3:37
Ben Clemens: I’d lean towards buying in general, particularly for the Reds

3:37
Trade Turner: What can Trea Turner fetch in a trade this week?

3:37
Ben Clemens: A top 50 prospect probably, maybe top 100?

3:37
Ben Clemens: Actually, top 50 for sure

3:37
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure where a great fit for him is, maybe NYY?

3:38
David Forst: You’re buying as the Reds for this year? Or next year? Who’s the acquisition that’s going to bump those 12% odds up to something non negligible?

3:39
Ben Clemens: For both. I’m a bit higher on their odds, and I also think they just kind of have to when Winker and Castellanos are mashing so much

3:39
Ben Clemens: I think buying is going to be cheap this year, too

3:39
Ben Clemens: Lots of teams are locked in or out of the playoffs

3:39
Ben Clemens: Now, if the NLW goes on a buying spree, then I think the Reds should sell into it

3:40
Ben Clemens: But I haven’t seen evidence of that happening yet

3:40
Ben Clemens: If they go on a semi-buying spree

3:40
Ben Clemens: Let’s say the 3 NLW teams trade for allt he marquee people, but at rates we all consider roughly fair

3:40
Ben Clemens: then the Reds could just sit out

3:40
Reds Fan: Can you give me any hope for Eugenio Suarez?  He’s been a poor defender even when deployed at 3B this year (to say nothing of SS), and the bat has been ugly.

3:41
Ben Clemens: Sure. When he connects, he’s still smashing the ball

3:41
Ben Clemens: And his plate discipline numbers aren’t THAT much worse than normal

3:41
Ben Clemens: he’s never been a high contact dude

3:42
Ben Clemens: Still barreling plenty of balls, it’s definitely worrying that when he doesn’t catch it flush he’s hitting it worse

3:42
Ben Clemens: But clearly the bat speed is still there, which is important

3:43
Trade Turner: Houston, where he can upgrade CF this season and replace Correa at SS next year.

3:43
Ben Clemens: Eh…. I don’t think Turner is likely to go somewhere where he can’t play SS this year

3:43
Ben Clemens: That’s a big switch mid-season

3:43
Jacob: As the person who wrote about Nicky Lopez’s baserunning last year, I’d like you to take a look at the baserunning leaderboards.

3:43
Ben Clemens: I love that he’s perfect on steals this year

3:43
Ben Clemens: I’m actually writing about steals as we speak

3:44
Ben Clemens: Or well, that’s not true

3:44
Ben Clemens: I’m writing about steals for tomorrow

3:44
Ben Clemens: As we speak, I’m procrastinating via chat

3:44
David Forst: Of the 10 guys you and Kevin had listed as “team-controlled but value is down”—Alonso, Castillo, Chapman, DeJong, Lux, Luzardo, Moncada, Paddack, Snell, Torres—who do you see as most and least likely to recover at least a good bit of their former value?

3:44
Ben Clemens: Lux/Castillo (he might already be on the way)/Moncada most likely

3:44
Ben Clemens: With Pete close behind

3:45
Ben Clemens: Least likely? Paddack and DeJong. Not that DeJong is worthless or anything, but I think he’s a finished product, and I think Craig was too high on him on last year’s list

3:45
Ben Clemens: Sorry Craig!

3:45
Ben Clemens: Go Cards, etc

3:46
Ben Clemens: And then Paddack, I mean, he needs another pitch

3:46
Erik: The Dodgers seem like a sure bet to make the playoffs, but the division title is in serious jeopardy.  How much pressure do you think they feel to make a move to win the division and avoid a WC playoff?

3:46
Ben Clemens: A lot, and I think that’s a reasonable feeling

3:46
Ben Clemens: Alright, on this note, I’m out of here. Gotta get back to writing so that I have a clear queue before the inevitable wave of trades

3:46
Ben Clemens: Also, probably eat some lunch

3:47
Ben Clemens: Thanks for hanging out and chatting today, and sorry if I didn’t get to your questions; there were a ton of them today, and I went as fast as I could. Have a great day, everyone!





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

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Albymember
1 year ago

D’oh! Meant to post a question. So I’ll just say thanks for the chat.