Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 8/3/20

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

2:00
Ben Clemens: Here’s the deal: I’m gonna talk about COVID stuff for the first ten minutes or so, before branching out into all topics (still including COVID).

2:00
Ben Clemens: Seems like it’s on everyone’s mind, so we’ll start off with a solid block of that.

2:01
Ben Clemens: And then after that, the normal ‘here’s a fantasy question/do you like x player?/’tell me about boardgames’ smorgasbord

2:01
Ben Clemens: If you want some reading for today, I shamelessly recommend my own piece on Shane Bieber:

2:01
Jason: If you had to bet, do we finish the regular season or does it get cut short?

2:01
Angels: Is there any hope? I know its only been 1/6th of the season, but also, it’s been 1/6th of the season…

2:01
brad: Marlins have missed a week, brewers missed the weekend, likely cardinals not playing this week, how long until the schedule is so far gone a season isn’t possible anymore?

2:02
Ben Clemens: Yeah, uh, this is sure a questoin!

2:02
Ben Clemens: Question

2:04
Ben Clemens: I think I’m at somewhere like 1 in 3 that the season finishes

2:04
Ben Clemens: But honestly, the error bars are huge.

2:04
Ben Clemens: The Marlins stuff is pretty worrisome

2:05
Ben Clemens: But if every future worry scenario goes like the Cardinals, I can see the season finishing

2:05
Ben Clemens: 3 players tested positive, they were isolated, two of them are already home

2:05
Ben Clemens: That seems…. fine?

2:05
Ben Clemens: Not good

2:05
Ben Clemens: Not good!

2:05
Ben Clemens: But not 20 players testing positive and both teams missing a week

2:05
Ben Clemens: If more teams are going Marlins, yeah, the season’s over

2:05
Guest: You think they’re going to get this season in? I’m doubtful. If a teams management, who’s team isnt going to be in it, shared these feelings, should they not promote any prospects in order to retain an extra year, or would this be bad for them in negotiations down the road? Basically, I think the Jays should have not promoted Pearson.

2:05
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Have your opinions on the “legitimacy” of this season changed since a month ago? Everything feels more exhibition-y than I had hoped, especially with the 16-team playoffs.

2:06
Ben Clemens: Two questions here, but both are around the same thing

2:06
Ben Clemens: I feel about the same

2:06
Ben Clemens: It’s a bit goofy, and it was always going to be a bit goofy, but it counts.

2:07
Ben Clemens: If you honestly think that an extra year of Nate Pearson in 2027 beats having him this year, I mean, I can recommend a lot of games where you move numbers around in a spreadsheet.

2:07
Ben Clemens: Teams don’t game pitching prospects’ service time as much anyway, and the extra time in the majors is probably good for him, and the season might easily go on

2:08
Ben Clemens: The Cardinals might not promote Dylan Carlson now, which would be a bummer, but if they  miss eight games and then have an insane schedule with little shot at making the playoffs, they could do it.

2:08
Ben Clemens: I don’t think they should

2:08
Ben Clemens: I think this is a good season for prospects to come up and wow us

2:08
Ben Clemens: But eh

2:08
Ben Clemens: To each their own.

2:09
Chris: Are rosters going to drop to 28 this week or is there still talk they will stay at 30? Think it’ll be lots of relievers with options sent down or do you think lots of teams will try to hide their dfa candidates by cutting them when roster limits drop?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Jhaven’t heard anything official yet but I think they’ll keep it at 30

2:09
Ben Clemens: Given the prospects for increased doubleheaders

2:09
Ben Clemens: Alright, feel free to keep shooting COVID questions in but I’d prefer to talk some on-field baseball so let’s do it

2:09
vic: Ryu is off to a poor start. Why is he the only player in MLB that happens to be on all 3 of my fantasy teams?

2:10
Ben Clemens: This is the ‘what seriously are you kidding me?’ corollary

2:10
Ben Clemens: That’s just how it goes

2:10
Ben Clemens: If all three of your teams had Shane Bieber he’d be awful instead of great

2:10
Ben Clemens: Sorry, pal

2:10
Your Name: I’m probably one of the more irrational Mets defenders lurking around here, but man, that Ces announcement yesterday was kind of mess. I wish they could handle some of these things a skosh better- even if Ces definitely seems to share plenty of blame. All that said, Smith and Davis are hitting better than projected, so Mets are maybe better off without Ces baggage?

2:10
Ben Clemens: They reallllllly did not handle that well

2:10
Ben Clemens: The actual on-field value of Cespedes was kinda medium either way all along

2:10
Ben Clemens: But holy crap the team did a poor job of that

2:11
Ben Clemens: Not doing a lot to rise above the narrative

2:11
Ben Clemens: In fact it’s kind of a continuation of form

2:11
Ben Clemens: The Mets aren’t a poorly constructed team overall

2:11
Ben Clemens: They’re weird and they don’t put enough value on defense I don’t think, but they have good players

2:11
Ben Clemens: But they just handle everything around the team poorly and do stuff like this

2:11
Ben Clemens: Cespedes wasn’t exactly in the right, but the team just torching him for no reason?

2:12
Ben Clemens: Who other than the Mets and maybe the Marlins would release a statement like htat?

2:12
Ben Clemens: They did it to embarrass him but embarrassed themselves

2:12
Your Name: Saw lots of people on Twitter yesterday suggesting that the Mets Billy Hamilton trade proves they knew about Ces opting out ahead of time. Am I wrong in thinking the two are not really connected at all?

2:12
Ben Clemens: Oh totally agree, unrelated.

2:12
Sam: Setting aside the Cespedes stuff (peak #lolmets right there) how disappointing has this season been for the Mets?

2:12
Why Am I A Mets Fan?: Reason for optimism re: Mets pitching? deGrom excluded

2:12
Ben Clemens: I think it’s been fine so far.

2:12
Ben Clemens: Wacha was good once bad once

2:12
Ben Clemens: DG is aweosme

2:13
Ben Clemens: Porcello…. okay not great

2:13
Ben Clemens: Six walks is too many walks

2:14
Ben Clemens: The bottom line is that they’re 3-7 and that is tough in a short year

2:14
Ben Clemens: But if they can finish the season .500 I think I like their chances pretty well in a three-game series

2:14
Ben Clemens: DG as one of your starters is just huge

2:14
guy incognito: i… don’t hate the runner on 2nd in extras rule? i hope they don’t keep it, but i’m way less of a cranky old man about it than when they announced it

2:14
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: The extra innings rule is awful and ties would be hugely preferable. The small ball is horrendously ugly and the one-lucky-hit walkoffs are so unsatisfying. There’s no building an inning, so I don’t get the “it’s exciting!” argument. Ties would have been better.

2:14
Ben Clemens: Fun!

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’m more on guy incognito’s side

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’ve been disappointed by how bad teams are at small ball

2:14
Ben Clemens: To the point where they often won’t try it even if it makes sense

2:15
Ben Clemens: But eitehr way I don’t think it’s much of a change at all

2:15
Ben Clemens: I hope they don’t keep it

2:15
Ben Clemens: But it hasn’t felt disruptive to me at all

2:15
Marko from Tropoja: How great did Kershaw look? Average FB velo over 92 touching over 93, CU and SL were excellent and even a few 84 CHs. All seems right in the world.

2:15
Ben Clemens: Yes what a fun thing

2:15
Ben Clemens: Good Kershaw is one of my guilty pleasures

2:15
Ben Clemens: When I was not a writer but just an average Cards fan I hated when we played Kershaw

2:15
Ben Clemens: But secretly I liked watching him pitch

2:16
Ben Clemens: And then I mean he made it fun both ways in the playoffs, etc.

2:16
Annoyed fan: I thought the taxi squad was created specifically to help clubs field a team in case of a breakout.  Then all of a sudden the “competitiveness level” of taxi squads became an issue as if it came out of nowhere.  Was the idea of a taxi squad an unrealistic mistake to begin with?  I would think the taxi squads would be nowhere near the regular roster so they can come in and play at any given moment, so what happened?

2:16
Annoyed fan: not just the Marlins but all teams affected

2:16
Ben Clemens: I think people thought the taxi squads made sense for, say, three players being out

2:16
Ben Clemens: Like the Cards situation if nothin changes

2:16
Ben Clemens: The Marlins have 11 of their initial 30 left

2:16
Ben Clemens: That is an entirely different ball of wax

2:17
Ben Clemens: I guess I’d just say, I get it

2:17
Ben Clemens: If people were worried when a team was down four players, I’d say the concerns were overblown

2:18
Ben Clemens: The thing is, the Marlins barely had a major league roster in the first place

2:18
Ben Clemens: And now they’re down 2/3 of that

2:18
Vic: What’s your take on Hanser Alberto? I’m an Orioles fan and he was a pleasure to watch yesterday.

2:18
Chris: As someone who doesn’t follow the Orioles, are they ahead of schedule and there young guys are performing or is this a 2019esk Mariners start with older vets over performing?

2:18
Ben Clemens: Little of both

2:18
Ben Clemens: Alberto has been raking (though with a .433 BABIP)

2:18
Ben Clemens: He’s a really fun player and could be a part of the next good Orioles team

2:19
Ben Clemens: Same with Renato Nunez I think? Only 26 and can hit

2:19
Ben Clemens: But then, thet’yre getting value from Jose Iglesias and Pedro Severino and Pat Valaika, and nah

2:19
Chris: I recently read your piece (I think it was yours) on bunting in extra innings when tied. And wondered two things 1) is it statistically better to try to steal third and then hit vs bunt? 2) is a squeeze more likely statistically to produce the run if there is 1 out and the runner is on third than swinging away?

2:19
Ben Clemens: So as to 1) eh, it’s very hard to know because we don’t know how likely a successful steal of third is if you force a go

2:20
Ben Clemens: And 2)there just isn’ enough data on squeezes

2:20
Ben Clemens: Both are things I considered

2:20
Ben Clemens: And I do like the idea of being aggressive on stealing third

2:20
Ben Clemens: But it’s just hard ot know

2:20
Marko from Tropoja: Haven’t seen this in any game I’ve watched yet, but if you’re the visiting team and tied in extra innings, don’t you IBB the leadoff man to create a potential DP?

2:20
Ben Clemens: Depends who it is

2:20
Ben Clemens: I think you often do it if they sacrifice bun

2:20
Ben Clemens: bunt*

2:20
Ben Clemens: but it’s definitely contextual, like all the extra inning stuff

2:20
Joshua: Nate Lowe to the Nats for Wil Crowe and James Bourque……who says no? Thanks.

2:21
Ben Clemens: I think the Rays do b/c that’s just too much 40-man pressure

2:21
Ben Clemens: Without any real gain

2:21
Ben Clemens: It’d be fair if there were no roster limitations

2:21
Ben Clemens: But the Rays need to consolidate, not diversity

2:21
Ben Clemens: diversify*

2:21
Big Joey: Drop Villar at this point?

2:21
Guest: Any idea when the Marlins will show their roster? I have Villar on my bench doing nothing and I could pick up Kemp for the week. If Villar has COVID, I could just IL him, but there’s no news on anything!

2:22
Ben Clemens: No idea! I chose not to play fantasy this year b/c I didn’t want to deal with stuff like that, tbh

2:22
Ben Clemens: The Marlins are under no obligation to do anything, though

2:23
Ben Clemens: They’ll release lineups before tomorrow’s game, but I wouldn’t bet on it being more than a few hours before

2:23
LenFuego: I kind of like the extra innings rule because I have never thought exhausting two teams’ pitching staffs in an effort to decide a single game was fair, but it seems to me the runner should start on 1st, not 2nd.  That helps with the “build an inning” thing, and brings into play stolen bases as a huge factor (exciting!), as well as the runner-erasing double play (exciting!).

2:23
Ben Clemens: Yeah I don’t mind that at all

2:23
Guest: So basically Oliver Drake and Nick Anderson will split Saves this year?

2:24
Ben Clemens: Maybe Chaz Roe too? Those three have the highest average entry leverage, though Roe has been bad

2:24
Ben Clemens: But great in FIP!

2:24
Ben Clemens: just bad for, you konw, winning

2:24
Ben Clemens: Three meltdowns already oof

2:24
Big Joey: I’m looking to get a SP/RP (like Pomeranz) who can get holds or saves regularly. I was going to pick up Clippard but he’s being used in strange ways. Are you a fan of Felix Pena (LAA) or Blake Taylor (HOU)?

2:25
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna be honest with you — I’m looking them both up right this minute.

2:25
Ben Clemens: Pena was a totally decent fill-in last year, I remember, but I don’t think he’s much more than that

2:25
Ben Clemens: Though yeah, good start to the year

2:26
Ben Clemens: Taylor is more interesting to me, fastball/breaking ball only, decent velo, and the Astros are good at these pop up types

2:26
MozeKnows: The best idea in regards to the extra innings rule I have heard came from Mark DeRosa on TV:  Starting the runner on 2nd in the 10th is too much, too odd compared to what we know baseball to be.  Push the extra runner starting at 2nd base back to the 12th inning or so.  Personally, I will be glad to see the rule go after 2020.  There’s something enticing and rewarding as a fan about having to work for the runs your team scores

2:26
Ben Clemens: Oh I just totally disagree with this specific version of the take

2:27
Ben Clemens: Like, the 10th and 11th are fine but the 12th is no good and we should change it?

2:27
Ben Clemens: I wouldn’t hate just having ties, wouldn’t hate sticking with the new rule, most would like no chnage at all

2:27
Ben Clemens: I just think if we moved it to the 12th it would make games longer

2:27
Ben Clemens: Without getting rid of it completely

2:27
Ben Clemens: Why go halfway?

2:27
Sodo Mojo: We now have a full year of JP Crawford data over 650 ABs he is running a 93 WRC with about 2.8 war.  Is this enough data to say this is basically what he is an average SS over the course of a full year?

2:28
Ben Clemens: It is not!

2:28
Ben Clemens: Because he has a lot of minor league data too

2:28
Ben Clemens: That said, the projections think yo’ure not far off

2:28
Ben Clemens: Using that minor league data

2:28
Ben Clemens: So, in the end, yes!

2:28
Farhandrew Zaidman: Is Seager the dark horse for NL MVP this year? Number 1 in  the whole league in total hard hit balls, Number 5 in the NL by %.

2:28
Ben Clemens: Deffffffinitely

2:28
Ben Clemens: Hot starts are huge

2:29
James: Only 1 start, but Kershaw’s velo actually is higher than last year and got over 50% whiffs from his slider.

92 avg, compared to 90.3 last year and 90.8 in 2018, and he hit 93 a few times, whereas he hasn’t  hit it ALL SEASON last year

I think there’s some case for optimism there that he’d be back to at least his 2017 level, although I don’t think we’ll see 2012-16 Kershaw ever again

2:29
Ben Clemens: Yeah the velo is really nice

2:29
Ben Clemens: That was the biggest worry about Kershaw, right?

2:29
Ben Clemens: I mean, he’s still fragile, his back is still balky

2:29
Ben Clemens: That’s been the biggest issue in recent years

2:29
Ben Clemens: But hopefully that’s relatively fixed

2:30
guest: Do you think Turnbull has what it takes to be a solid number 3?

2:30
Ben Clemens: Yes

2:30
Ben Clemens: For more of an answer, yes but I’d like to see him develop more fastball command to feel confident in my view

2:30
Chris: Kyle Lewis is still awesome!!

2:30
Ben Clemens: Heck yeah

2:30
Ben Clemens: Fun story in a year light on them

2:30
John: Thoughts on the Padres being super aggressive on the bases this season?  Small sample size, or a new approach?

2:30
Ben Clemens: Small sample

2:31
Farhandrew Zaidman: Who is the Dodgers best high leverage relief pitcher this year? Still Jansen? Graterol? (Lord help us) Baez?

2:31
Ben Clemens: Graterol and Jansen for me

2:31
Ben Clemens: I don’t know how to differentiate between them

2:31
Ben Clemens: Long-term obviously Brusdar but short term? Kenley doesn’t look broken to me

2:31
Moorema1: I have a modeling question. If you breakdown a model into three things – team batting, opposing SP, opposing bullpen – how would you weight those? I personally think the SP should get most of the weight.

2:31
Ben Clemens: Might be instructive to look at WAR weights

2:32
Ben Clemens: Which is 57% positoin players 43% pitchers

2:32
Ben Clemens: Ohhhhhhh

2:32
Ben Clemens: N/m re-read your thing

2:32
Ben Clemens: I would weight team batting the most

2:32
Ben Clemens: Then opposing SP

2:32
Ben Clemens: then opposing bullpen

2:32
Ben Clemens: But obviously you need to do weighted distance from average

2:33
Ben Clemens: so like, facing deGrom is a huge headwind, even if you weight your team more than the pitcher, b/c he’s SO much better than average

2:33
Ben Clemens: Think something similar to odds ratio, only not on a binomial

2:33
Steve: What is your long-term outlook on Brendan Rodgers?

2:33
Aaron: In a keep forever league, would you rather have AJ Puk or Brendan Rodgers?

2:33
Ben Clemens: Rodgers on the brian!

2:33
Ben Clemens: brain*

2:33
Ben Clemens: My long-term outlook is that the ROckies will under-use him but that he’ll be fine

2:33
Ben Clemens: I’d take Puk, though

2:34
Ben Clemens: I’m a little skeptical of Rodgers’ approach ever floating a true plus bat

2:34
Ben Clemens: I would like to see him walk more, basically

2:34
Ben Clemens: But I don’t think he will

2:34
John: Have you seen/do you have thoughts on Savant’s new Swing/Take metric?

2:34
Ben Clemens: Yeah I think it’s cool

2:34
Ben Clemens: Use with caution, so on and so forth

2:34
Ben Clemens: But it does a lot of stuff that I used to explore piecemeal

2:35
Ben Clemens: And it does a good job, in my mind at least, of being intuitive enough that you odn’t need to explain it forever, like xwOBA

2:35
Ohtani: Please be ok. Please be ok. Please be ok.

2:35
Ben Clemens: Look

2:35
Ben Clemens: Let’s level with each other

2:35
Ben Clemens: His arm isn’t okay

2:35
Ben Clemens: I want it to be okay

2:35
Ben Clemens: I reallllllly badly do

2:36
Ben Clemens: But it’s not happening

2:36
Ben Clemens: His arm is hurt

2:36
Ben Clemens: Did you see his velo?

2:36
Ben Clemens: I just hope it’s not a long-term thing

2:36
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’ll pitch again this year

2:36
JJ: How fun is Trent Grisham? And why the answer very fun?

2:36
Ben Clemens: VERY fun

2:36
Ben Clemens: VERY fun

2:36
Ben Clemens: I was quite happy to see him get free of the arbitrary dislike Milwaukee fans had for him

2:36
Ben Clemens: I say arbitrary not b/c that play wasn’t painful

2:36
Ben Clemens: but b/c they should be angry at Hader, not him

2:37
Ben Clemens: But he was always really fun to watch, fun on the basepaths and fun at the plate

2:37
Ben Clemens: It’s nice that he gets more PT now

2:37
Big Joey: Keep forever, no cost. Judge or Meadows?

2:38
Ben Clemens: Snap Judge, right? I like Meadows fine but he’s only 3 years younger than Judge and there’s a lot less data to say that Meadows can keep doing it

2:38
Chris: Angels have already blown 5 saves with their bullpen and it’s looking like ohtani shouldn’t pitch again this year. Got any advice for them?

2:38
Ben Clemens: Score a LOT of runs

2:38
Ben Clemens: The good news is, they’re really set up for it

2:38
joe maddon, super genius: i let ohtani throw 42 pitches in one inning in his second start back from tj surgery, how irresponsible was this?

2:38
Maddoning: 10 games in, should we stick a fork in the Angels already?  And will Mike Trout ever play on a decent team?

2:38
Lorenzo: How much of the Angels’ lack of success over the last several seasons be attributed to Pujols being a regular in the lineup?  Contract, history, and especially upcoming milestones aside, are they better off with him on the bench?

2:39
Ben Clemens: Oh goodness, it’s time for “WHAT THE HECK ARE THE ANGELS DOING?” featuring angts

2:39
Ben Clemens: angst* sorry typing too fast over here

2:39
Ben Clemens: Yes, Maddon was irresponsible to let Ohtani go that many pitches, but less b/c of TJ and more b/c th at’s a lot of pitches

2:39
Ben Clemens: Trout will play on a decent team; he’s already played on several

2:40
Ben Clemens: This Angels team is decent, too

2:40
Ben Clemens: I think they have some shot at the playoffs still, we have them at 45%

2:40
Ben Clemens: That’s not so bad!

2:41
viceroy: Has anyone else been shocked by how little the firemen relievers have been used? Specifically guys like Hader and Nick Anderson only have like 4 innings total between them

2:41
Ben Clemens: Hader a little; I don’t think Anderson is really a fireman though

2:41
Ben Clemens: He went more than one inning exactly once with the Rays, and faced more than 5 batters never

2:42
Big Joey: Why did the Dbacks make a big stink about promoting Varsho just to have him not play, and keep losing?

2:42
Ben Clemens: It’s an excellent question and I have nothing approaching an answer

2:42
Ben Clemens: Sorry!

2:42
Ben Clemens: It does seem really weird

2:43
Ben Clemens: They really need to beat the Rockies head to head

2:43
Ben Clemens: Because it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, they’re playing the Astros while the Rockies play the Giants

2:43
the487: The local Giants broadcast mentioned how closing the gates outside of Oracle Park has lead to the wind no longer blowing in from the Bay in right field. In addition to this, I know the team moved the fences in over the offseason. In their (small) sample of home games, runs and home runs to right have been a plenty. Is it possible that the Giants no longer play in a pitcher’s park?

2:43
Ben Clemens: Is it possible? Definitely

2:44
Ben Clemens: Is it likely? I don’t think so

2:44
Ben Clemens: That wall is still silly

2:44
Ben Clemens: It is likely a lot less of a pitcher’s park though

2:44
Derek: Have you played D&D before? Just started playing for the frist time with a few friends and… It’s not hard to see why it’s been so popular for so long!

2:44
Ben Clemens: I haven’t for a while but I played a decent amount when I was a kid

2:45
Russ: The Dodgers still are playing Kike at 2B when his only good game was on opening day? When do you think that they will bring up Lux and what do you see as his ceiling?

2:45
Ben Clemens: Yeah, doesn’t make that much sense to me

2:46
Ben Clemens: At least in the platoon sense

2:46
Ben Clemens: I thought they’d be doing more Muncy at second nonsense

2:46
Ben Clemens: That said, he’s plyaed in nine games, it’s not the end of the world

2:47
Ben Clemens: But I’d prefer to see Hernandez largely against lefties

2:47
Your Name: Obligatory request not to use Enrique Hernandez’ nickname if you can’t use accents…

2:47
Ben Clemens: Yeah

2:47
Ben Clemens: I usually just don’t pick the questions that have it

2:47
Ben Clemens: And find similar ones instead

2:47
Ben Clemens: But yeah

2:47
Ben Clemens: Don’t do it!

2:47
Joshua: A trade you would love to see happen that would help both teams would be…….?

2:48
Ben Clemens: Ooh this is a fun question

2:48
Ben Clemens: Um

2:49
Ben Clemens: How about Manny Margot to the Brewers in exchange for Josh Lindblom. I think the Rays wouldn’t hate an extra starter given that their staff has been hit around a bit and the Brewers need a CF

2:50
Ben Clemens: Assuming Lindblom is fine and it really was just back spasms of course

2:50
PKay: If after collecting data for a few years (30 games isn’t much), the Rangers new park is determined to be more of a pitchers park or hitters park than the park effects say this year, will players’ stats like wRC+ and WAR be retroactively adjusted?

2:50
Ben Clemens: Yes they will

2:50
Ben Clemens: We use, I believe, 5-year park factors

2:50
Ben Clemens: So park adjustments continue changing

2:50
Ben Clemens: After the fact

2:50
Derek: Do we know what exactly is behind the kind of weird “Cardinals/MLB are expecting bad news with Monday’s test results” reports? Are a bunch of Cardinals players showing symptoms? Or is it just the inconclusive tests from before that will presumably be clarified? I guess I just don’t understand the preemptive “this will be bad” without the actual test results… Why aren’t we just waiting for the test results?

2:50
Ben Clemens: I don’t get it either

2:50
Ben Clemens: It’s super frustrating! I was writing an update about it last night

2:50
Ben Clemens: And I just had literally no idea what to say

2:50
Ben Clemens: You can see the results of it, it was basically “Cardinals have some posities and I have no idea why”

2:50
Ben Clemens: Verrrrry weird reporting

2:51
Farhandrew Zaidman: On how many teams is Edwin Rios an everyday starter at 1B/3B/DH/LF? 25%? 50%? 75%? Dude has just insane raw pop.

2:51
Ben Clemens: Yeah more than 50%

2:51
Ben Clemens: Not a good starter

2:51
Ben Clemens: Not an all star

2:51
Ben Clemens: But a guy who you plug in most days and hide against lefties? definitely

2:51
Joshua: What type of prospect could Anibal Sanchez bring back to the  Nats? He still has next year left on his contract (team option) and the Nats should be able to fill his remaining 10 or so starts with Fedde. Could he be a good veteran fit for a team like the Angels, Padres, or Twins? Thanks.

2:51
Ben Clemens: Eh, I don’ see it

2:52
Ben Clemens: I think the Nats are rightly a little worried about having enough pitching depth, and I think that Sanchez isn’t good enough that a team is going to bowl them over with an offer

2:52
Ben Clemens: Btw I forgot this earlier but Lux’s ceiling is a first ballot Hall of Famer

2:52
Ben Clemens: So

2:52
Ben Clemens: yeah it’s good!

2:52
PKay: If the Rangers decide to blow it up, what sort of return could they get for Lynn and Gallo? Would it be better to try and package them together to get the best possible prospect? Or in seperate deals to aquire a larger group of prospects?

2:53
Ben Clemens: Separately I assume. I also think Lynn’s value is lower than the saber-savvy FanGraphs readership thinks

2:53
Ben Clemens: We’re super into the FIP and the new pitches and the using four-seamers more and alll, but I think there’s still a sense of skepticism there

2:53
Ben Clemens: Combine that with his age and eh

2:53
RD: Joey Gallo is looking like his adjustments from last year were real. He’s being more selective at the plate and mitigating his swing and miss weaknesses. Do you buy into him and does he have a chance to be Judge-lite with .250, 45 HR (full season pace)?

2:53
Ben Clemens: Gallo, on the other hand, I think is totally real.

2:54
Ben Clemens: I think he can easily be Judge-lite

2:54
Ben Clemens: He still has this year and two more years of team control, he’d fetch a pretty penny

2:55
Ben Clemens: I do not think they’ll trade him, but if you’re a team with a window over the next two years, you can tell yourself you’re getting 6-8 WAR over those years combined with room to grow from there

2:55
Ben Clemens: That’s like a 55-60 FV prospect minimum, maybe a smidge more

2:55
Any Team: LOL yeah I’m gonna trade a prospect for pitching help in a season that Ben Clemens just gauged has a 2-in-3 chance of being canceled.

2:55
Ben Clemens: Haha yes I reallllly hope teams use me as a barometer

2:55
Ben Clemens: But yeah, deadline deals are gonna be

2:55
Ben Clemens: well

2:55
Ben Clemens: Bad

2:55
the guy all the way in the back: seth brown was 0/3 yesterday but with a barrel. with khris davis playing as poorly as he has, would you be starting brown at dh most days if you’re oakland?

2:55
Ben Clemens: Yes I would

2:56
Ben Clemens: I think I’ve talked about this before, maybe in the opening day A’s game chat

2:56
Ben Clemens: I would be playing Brown over Davis as much as possible at this poin

2:56
Ben Clemens: I think Davis is pretty close to cooked

2:56
Guest: I don’t think it will happen, but it’s not totally unreasonable that a guy like Hanser Alberto could finish above .400 in 60 games especially if the O’s face a lot of lefties. Would that be good? Bad?

2:56
Ben Clemens: Totally could, and I’d argue it’s good

2:56
Ben Clemens: We’re not going to say he’s now Ted Williams

2:57
Ben Clemens: You know? We’re more evolved than that

2:57
Ben Clemens: And given that, I think it’d be an awesome story for someone to hit .400

2:57
Ben Clemens: It’s still unlikely even in a short season

2:57
Isolated Thinker: Do you expect to see a correlation between teams falling out of the race and players on said teams opting out?  If I’m a player performing way above my talent level, why not call it a day and not risk those stats leveling out, better padding my resume.

2:58
Ben Clemens: Maybe? On the other hand, if you’re that guy, you probably believe that your changes are real, right?

2:58
Ben Clemens: No one plays a sport and thinks ‘gosh variance sure worked out my way but I’m still the same old me’

2:58
Ben Clemens: So you might want to keep playing to prove your new level is real

2:58
Ben Clemens: Now if you’re babip’ing 500, maybe not

2:58
Ben Clemens: But teams already regress that out anyway

2:59
Ben Clemens: I think what you might see is veterans on bad teams, a la Buster Posey, take a pas

2:59
Ben Clemens: pass*

2:59
Ben Clemens: They don’ care about the resume, but getting sick is lame and they’re already rich

2:59
Guest: I would literally sign any Hall of Famer’s grandchild after seeing what Mike Yastrzemski can do in a week.

2:59
Ben Clemens: Right? Gotta test it out at least

2:59
Jorge Posadism: Has anyone looked into whether umpires are dealing with some “rust” after the long layoff?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Excellent question and I have not seen it addressed anywhere yet

2:59
jerry seinfeld: there are now two pretty good pitchers named bummer and scrubbs, what’s the deal with that?

2:59
Ben Clemens: It took me so long to accept Aaron Bummer as being good

2:59
Ben Clemens: I am a little worried that I’ve now overcorrected

3:00
Ben Clemens: But it’s truly ridiculous that his name is Bummer

3:00
DeepLeft: What is Houston going to do with Cristian Javier, since he’s much too good to sit. Will he take Josh Jame’s slot in the starting rotation, or will he be used if Pressly can’t fill for Ozuna?

3:00
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll find a way to get him enough innings

3:00
Ben Clemens: Long relief stints, spot starts, w/e

3:00
Ben Clemens: Probably some of column A, and alllllll of column B

3:00
Ben Clemens: To quote the genie in Aladdin

3:00
kumar rocker: i can’t wait to begin my mlb career with the pittsburgh pirates!

3:01
Ben Clemens: FUBAR for Kumar got obscured by this weird year

3:01
Ben Clemens: But yeah!

3:01
RMR: Senzel breakout in progress?  K rate drastically improved (which the data backs up) and he’s hitting the ball a lot harder.

3:01
Ben Clemens: Honestly I haven’t even looked?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Let’s see, live!

3:01
Ben Clemens: Chase rate is way down, that’s great

3:02
Ben Clemens: Z-contact is way up, that’s great

3:02
Ben Clemens: First strike rate of 77.3% lol super small sample

3:03
Ben Clemens: I mean, maybe a breakout in progress? He has a lot of doubles without exactly crushing the ball

3:03
Ben Clemens: But also he’s seen 64 pitches

3:03
Ben Clemens: In 22 PA

3:03
Ben Clemens: So the best answer is that it’s way too soon for anything to stabilize

3:03
Ben Clemens: Be hopeful, but be wary

3:03
Sirras: Are the Marlins as close as we’re going to come to a Ship of Theseus team?

3:03
Ben Clemens: This refers to what I’ve always heard of as the Car Talk problem

3:03
Ben Clemens: If you replace every single part of your 1994 Honda Civis

3:04
Ben Clemens: Is it still the same Civic?

3:04
Ben Clemens: And yes

3:04
Ben Clemens: Not happening any other way

3:05
Your Name Here: Do you buy Senzatela’s breakout? He seems to have finally found consistent breaking pitches, and dominated an excellent Padres lineup at Coors yesterday.

3:05
Ben Clemens: A little bit

3:05
Ben Clemens: Caught a decent amount of this game yday, he was throwing harder and also his slider looked slide-y

3:06
Ben Clemens: I don’t know if I’d say he completely dominated them or anything, he only struck out six, but he looked quite good

3:06
Isolated Thinker: It’s the same Civic if the replaced parts come from within the Honda organization.

3:06
Ben Clemens: What if they acquire some parts off of waivers from Toyota?

3:06
Matt: best way to get prospect coverage this year from alternate sites?

3:07
Ben Clemens: Literally no idea, sorry

3:07
Ben Clemens: I was wondering this myself over the weekend

3:07
Ben Clemens: I’d say read Eric

3:07
Ben Clemens: Becaues he’s pretty hooked up

3:07
Ben Clemens: He hears things

3:07
Ben Clemens: But you’re just not going to get the same quality of coverage

3:07
Nall23: Thoughts on Amed Rosario’s going forward? Low BABIP (.242)  and high contact on in-zone pitches (z-contact 94.9%), but hard hit rate is significantly below last year (39.5% vs. 26.5% per BaseballSavant). Small sample size aside, anything to read from this? Perhaps making more contact by giving up more quality contact?

3:07
Ben Clemens: I totally missed this earlier, trying to go back and get some other questions in

3:08
Ben Clemens: Ignore it for now

3:08
Ben Clemens: BABIP in this sample is suuuuuuper meaningless

3:08
Ben Clemens: He has an 11% line drive rate

3:08
Ben Clemens: If that keeps up, panic!

3:09
Ben Clemens: But eh, no one really does that long-term

3:09
Ben Clemens: I would not read too much into it

3:10
Ben Clemens: Higher zone contact is generally going to be good for someone like Rosario, because he can’t afford to whiff a lot and make up for it with dingers, he’s just not strong enough for that

3:10
the487: Without looking, I’d imagine the Rockies are consistently near the top of most pitches/pitchers cuz Coors. Is this a significant disadvantage over the course of 162 games? And could they  be in better shape this year with shorter season + expanded roster?

3:10
Ben Clemens: I like that theory

3:10
Ben Clemens: Hard to test

3:10
Ben Clemens: But I like it

3:10
Bill: What would a Wander for Acuna trade look like?  What else would have to be added?

3:10
Ben Clemens: Whoa

3:10
Ben Clemens: Uh

3:10
Ben Clemens: I think you’d have to add a good amount on the Rays side

3:11
Ben Clemens: Maybe Blake Snell? I do’nt even know if they make that trade then

3:11
Ben Clemens: Eh Snell’s contract is too good

3:11
Ben Clemens: maybe Glasnow

3:11
pointless lukewarm takes: if wilco is classified as “dad rock”, bands like fleetwood mac and haim should absolutely be considered as “mom rock”

3:11
Ben Clemens: I think Dad Rock is a dumb classification

3:11
Ben Clemens: I’d say that Wilco and Haim should be the same genre, and Fleetwood Mac is just rock

3:12
Ben Clemens: I will also add that Los Angeles is quite a jam

3:12
Derek: Fleetwood Mac and Haim are not in the same category, no matter what the categories are!

3:12
Ben Clemens: Agreed

3:12
Your Name: What about Bad Rock? That’s a legit thing, right?

3:12
Ben Clemens: I’m in for bad rock

3:12
Joshua: Just to see what it would look like, could you create a trade where the Giants deal Joey Bart to the Nats?

3:13
Ben Clemens: Hm, why not? Joey Bart for Carter Kieboom

3:13
Ben Clemens: Oh I can’t do that?

3:13
Ben Clemens: Bart, Samardzija, and Brandon Belt, with the Giants retaining half of Belt’s salary this year and next, in exchange for Luis Garcia and Wil Crowe

3:13
the487: James Taylor is mom rock

3:14
Hugh: Are we going to determine next year’s draft order by the standings in this <60 game season? How are they going to deal w/all the ties?

3:14
Ben Clemens: They have tiebreakers set up for just this reason

3:14
Ben Clemens: The end of them is hilarious

3:14
Ben Clemens: if the teams have the same record over their lats 20

3:14
Ben Clemens: last*

3:14
Ben Clemens: the next tiebreaker is “record over the last 21”

3:14
Ben Clemens: and so on

3:15
Daro: is this the real Pete Alonso? He is looking really bad.

3:15
Ben Clemens: Nah, he’s better than this

3:15
Ben Clemens: 11.1% hr/fb so far

3:15
Ben Clemens: crank two more dingers and we’relike, oh, he back

3:16
A cat: Could Cora’s presence have salvaged something from this season for BOS? The loss of starting pitching is the biggest factor in the team’s poor performance, but it doesn’t seem Roenicke has a feel for this roster, even though he was bench coach for Alex.

3:16
Ben Clemens: Uh

3:16
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so

3:16
Ben Clemens: Their problem is not that Cora isn’t convincing Devers to rake or getting the most out of the bullpen

3:16
Ben Clemens: It’s that I’m actually warming up right now for my start later today

3:16
Ben Clemens: For the Red Sox

3:16
Ben Clemens: And I haven’t played baseball since little league

3:17
Ben Clemens: That said I have a mean slow pitch

3:17
Ben Clemens: If they’re into that

3:17
Joshua: Michael Taylor a good trade target for the Brewers?

3:17
Ben Clemens: Yeah, but I don’ see the Nats letting him go

3:17
Ben Clemens: Depth is just really valuable this year if you’re a contender

3:18
Derek: Do we know if the season is indeed cut short(er than 60 games) whether those standings will be used for determining draft order? I guess they’d have to, right? But if that happens, poor Marlins…

3:18
Ben Clemens: I think they’d have to

3:18
Ben Clemens: So, yup! Bad beat for them

3:18
Ben Clemens: Unlike going out partying and getting COVID

3:18
Ben Clemens: Which is, well, not a bad beat

3:18
Ben Clemens: just, playing badly and not getting rewarded

3:19
Hugh: is it too soon to call out the Red Sox for explicitly tanking this season?

3:19
Ben Clemens: Give it a week or two

3:19
Ben Clemens: But let’s just say I’m not super glad I picked them to make the playoffs this year…

3:19
Ben Clemens: There’s contrarian, and then there’s TOO contrarian

3:19
Ben Clemens: And uh, I was the second one

3:19
Hugh: Stupid Idea: Create a “3-point line” equivalent for MLB. All home runs hit over 430+ feet count for an extra run. Thoughts?

3:19
Ben Clemens: For me, no

3:19
Ben Clemens: But for the home run derby, yes

3:20
joe kelly: *pouty face*

3:20
Ben Clemens: Loved Flaherty, who never was on the same team as Kelly, taking a gratuitous Twitter shot at him this weekend

3:20
Ben Clemens: In jest, to be fair

3:20
Ben Clemens: This is the kind of content that I want more of from baseball

3:20
Ben Clemens: Light-hearted shenanigans

3:21
Derek: If no one makes the playoffs, then are any predictions actually wrong?

3:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah but I’m not rooting for that, so

3:21
Daro: Btw, Boston should try to trade JDM. Universal DH is a thing and will probably stay.

3:22
Ben Clemens: Sure, but I don’t think teams would offer all that much in return

3:22
Ben Clemens: The decline years are not necessarily a great deal, though they could be

3:22
Ben Clemens: I do think that teams, in general, aren’t willing enough to commit to Martinez types

3:22
Ben Clemens: If I were an AL team I’d be willing to talk trade

3:22
Ben Clemens: But baseball teams seem to disagree with me on that

3:22
Lorenzo: Saturday Soto played in an intrasquad game, but afterwards said he wasn’t sure if he’d be ready to go on Tuesday?  What’s that about?

3:22
Ben Clemens: I don’t know

3:22
Ben Clemens: I wonder if he’s just still not convinced he’s in game shape

3:23
Ben Clemens: But I hope he’s just being whimsical, somehow

3:23
Daniel: I remember an issue of Baseball Digest circa maybe 1997 where Ted Williams suggested that there were too many strikeouts in modern baseball and that the league should consider taking a half a percentage point off a batter’s batting average for every strikeout. Thoughts on this wonderful mathematical idea?

3:23
Ben Clemens: You could do that right now and I don’t think anyone would care

3:23
Ben Clemens: Teams have done a wonderful job of driving home the fact that batting average doesn’t matter to players

3:23
Ben Clemens: They care, and they especially care about RBI still

3:23
Ben Clemens: But much less than they used to

3:23
Ben Clemens: And teams don’t care at all

3:24
Ben Clemens: Fun look at this from me and old (and also current) master Tom Tango last year:

3:24
Ben Clemens: Tango’s the man, great way of phrasing this too

3:24
Derek: It would have been cool to see Mark Reynolds try to get a negative batting average

3:24
the487: Ooh I could see players caring about this in 1997

3:24
Ben Clemens: Both true!

3:24
Jhaven’t: Do you think you would have to clarify more to strangers that your last name has no ‘t’ at the end if Roger Clemens didn’t become famous?

3:24
Ben Clemens: Surprisingly, people REALLY struggle to spell my name

3:25
Ben Clemens: He and Mark Twain are just not famous enough, I suppose

3:25
Ben Clemens: I kid you not, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve told someone my name and they’ve spelled it correctly without me spelling it out

3:25
Ben Clemens: Clemmons and Clemons are the most common ones

3:25
Ben Clemens: But Clements too

3:26
Mike Hawk: Time to worry about Altuve?

3:26
Ben Clemens: April!

3:26
Ben Clemens: Huh, it’s August

3:26
Ben Clemens: But

3:26
Ben Clemens: April1

3:26
Ben Clemens: Give him a minute, he’s not gonna BABIP .185

3:26
Joshua: What type of contract do you see Realmuto signing this offseason? 5/100 make sense?

3:27
Ben Clemens: I’m taking a pass on predicting offseason contracts for now

3:27
Ben Clemens: Too much depends on revenue this year

3:27
Ben Clemens: and expectation of revenue next year

3:27
Aaron judge: When I pull fly balls good things happen

3:27
Ben Clemens: People forgot how much Judge smashes

3:27
Ben Clemens: Reminder:

3:27
Ben Clemens: a lot

3:27
Beef Jerky: Is Monte the real deal, or just a warm body for the Marlins?

3:28
Ben Clemens: Probbbbably just a warm body

3:28
Ben Clemens: But with upside!

3:28
Ben Clemens: He’s kinda like Jake Marisnick, I think

3:28
Ben Clemens: In that if he has a career, it’s power + defense

3:29
Ben Clemens: I don’t think the hit tool is there

3:29
Ben Clemens: But Jake Marisnick is a nice major league player

3:29
Ben Clemens: Or at least, was

3:29
Ben Clemens: And Harrison has a chance to have a little more pop than that I think

3:29
Joshua: Who’s your favorite all time player?

3:29
Ben Clemens: Ozzie Smith

3:29
Ben Clemens: It is not particularly close

3:30
Ben Clemens: I’m a lefty, but I still spent about two hours a day as a kid watching a copy of “Ozzie, That’s a Winner,” which was a highlight reel of his defensive plays spliced in with him doing some ad pitches

3:30
Ben Clemens: And I’d run around our basement practicing his moves

3:30
Ben Clemens: Incredibly poorly because I am left-handed and was a small child then

3:30
Ben Clemens: But yeah, Ozzie

3:30
Derek: Didn’t someone at FanGraphs pick Monte Harrison to win RoY?

3:31
Ben Clemens: Oooooooh really?

3:31
Ben Clemens: Let me go look this up

3:31
Ben Clemens: Not this year, at least

3:31
Ben Clemens: Maybe last year?

3:32
Ben Clemens: I will say that I came close to picking Kodi Whitley for ROY

3:32
Ben Clemens: Looked through just now and saw that someone took Forrest Whitley

3:32
Ben Clemens: And had real fomo for a minute there

3:32
Ben Clemens: No, not even last year, although 2x Garrett Hampson whoops

3:32
thebearproofsuit: better hitter…..peak Khris Davis or peak Kyle Lewis?

3:33
Ben Clemens: Sadly Khris Davis is the smart money bet here

3:33
the487: About the new extra innings rule, I have been trying to come around to it. I enjoy the added element of strategy it presents, but I really can’t get over artificially creating run-scoring situations. Do you think it lasts beyond this season? I am okay with it in this guinea-pig season, but do not want this permanently

3:33
Ben Clemens: I think I’m with you

3:33
Ben Clemens: Fine with it this season, want it gone after this season

3:33
Ben Clemens: I think that is by far the most likely outcome

3:33
Ben Clemens: DH stays, extra innings and playoffs gone

3:33
Ben Clemens: But I think the playoffs are at least somewhat likely to come back in some form within three years

3:34
Guest: How much should ARod be dragged for his “best defensive 3B in the AL” take on Urshela?

3:34
Ben Clemens: Well, some

3:34
Ben Clemens: Okay, no, a lot

3:34
Ben Clemens: If he had said second best

3:34
Ben Clemens: I’d have some sympathy for the argument, though I still think it’s wrong

3:34
Ben Clemens: Best? C’mon

3:35
Ben Clemens: Now that my dog is a big A’s fan, even she nkows that Matt Chapman is miles ahead

3:35
BASEBALL SZN: Freezing cold take – ARod is not good in a booth/desk role

3:35
Ben Clemens: I found him okay on the desk

3:35
Ben Clemens: I think I mentioned this before

3:36
Ben Clemens: But I liked that he seemed like a good-natured oaf who was trying to make everyone like him

3:36
Ben Clemens: and honestly I don’t care at all what they say at the post-game desk, I’m not there for the baseball takes

3:36
Ben Clemens: In the booth he is actively terrible

3:36
Ben Clemens: He doesn’t know the players and it shows

3:36
Safety Stegosaurus: What are the chances Arenado gets a gold glove for his left field defense this season?

3:36
Ben Clemens: That play was really something else

3:36
Derek: At least A-Rod gave us all the Even Runs Theorem.

3:37
Ben Clemens: Very true

3:37
Ben Clemens: And the ‘you’re my favorite tool, Pete’ gloriousness

3:37
BASEBALL SZN: Is there a connection stronger than Kyle Wright and baserunners?  9 hits and 7 walks through 6 IP is not great.

3:37
alex rodriguez: michael jordan, tiger woods, aaron judge

3:37
Ben Clemens: Boy, feels like we’re getting to the end of the string here

3:37
A cat: Does the universal DH increase Realmuto’s salary demands? He would maintain his PAs as he ages.

3:37
Ben Clemens: Yeah I think so

3:37
Jimmy2Times: Oscar Mercado. Droppable. Si or No?

3:37
Ben Clemens: Si

3:38
Ben Clemens: But not like, just to do it

3:38
Ben Clemens: He’s been a bit overrated though I think

3:38
Ben Clemens: Underlying stuff didn’t match the performance

3:39
Ben Clemens: On that note, I’m gonna head out. Somebody needs to cover the Cardinals skipping their Detroit trip and there’s a decent chance that’s me

3:39
Ben Clemens: Thanks so much for talking baseball with me today, guys

3:39
Ben Clemens: Tomorrow I’ll have an OOTP Brewers update and stream

3:39
Ben Clemens: And next week hopefully we’ll be able to talk board game

3:39
Ben Clemens: s

3:39
Ben Clemens: I played Wingspan for the first time this weekend, loved it

3:39
Ben Clemens: Played CIA Collect Em All, found it meh

3:39
Ben Clemens: Have a great day everyone, and be safe

3:39
Ben Clemens: Wear a mask

We hoped you liked reading Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 8/3/20 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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