Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 8/8/22

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, welcome to the chat

2:01
Ben Clemens: First time since before Trade Value ran that I’m chatting at a regularly scheduled time and not about a million things going on, so I’ll probably take it a little slow today

2:01
Joe: NYY 9-16 last 25, lost those 16 games by a combined 32 runs, what do you make of that?

2:02
Ben Clemens: Not a ton, aside from the fact that losing 16 games by 32 runs seems quite unlikely

2:02
Ben Clemens: It’s not a great stretch, and it makes sense that Cashman got two relievers to shore up the bullpen at the deadline, but I still think that they and the Astros are alone in the top tier of AL teams

2:03
davealden53: In a chat about a month ago, you made an enthusiastic comment about a produce place in the North Bay.  I suspect you were referring to Andy’s in Sebastopol but, as a Petaluman, I’m interested to know if you had a different place in mind.

2:04
Ben Clemens: It’s actually The Farm Stand at Forest Knolls, it looks like

2:04
Ben Clemens: the name didn’t really jump out at me

2:04
RTJ: give us your best overreaction-to-a-small-sample-size-post-trade-deadline headline: for example: “Joey Gallo Instrumental to Yankees Success”

2:04
Ben Clemens: Jordan Montgomery knows New York’s Every Weakness, Told Cardinals All

2:05
Sharps: I can’t remember if you like Spirit Island or not, but New Horizons is a lower cost, slightly lower complexity version Target is releasing in October.  For folks who like Co-op games it doesn’t get any better!

2:05
Ben Clemens: amazing

2:05
Ben Clemens: Loved Spirit Island the few times I’ve played, I’m really looking forward to trying this out

2:05
Guest: If Franmil Reyes makes it to the Rockies on waiver order, should Colorado go get him?  He’d be fun in Coors!

2:05
Ben Clemens: oh 100%

2:06
Ben Clemens: He’s a great guy to take a shot on, because there’s no question his top end is a great MLB hitter

2:06
Andrew: Going back to the trade deadline, it is reasonable to both understand that someone like Soto is worth a team’s top 4 or 5 prospects but also think giving up that much talent in one acquisition is a lot? Especially if your farm system isn’t so deep, like the Mets, is it prospect hugging to know Soto is worth it but also not want to make that kind of trade?

2:06
Ben Clemens: I think it kind of misconstrues how likely prospects are to work out, basically

2:06
Ben Clemens: If the Nats get two average players out of that group (not counting Voit obv), they did well

2:07
Ben Clemens: prospects fail a lot

2:07
Ben Clemens: er, sorry, two above-average players

2:07
Ben Clemens: If they get a single perennial All Star they did extremely well

2:07
charliewindow: Any reason why the Angels gave up on Brandon Marsh so quickly?  Max Stassi is, at least (at most?) reliable.  Is O’Hoppe worth the O’hyppe?

2:08
Ben Clemens: I have truly no idea. I know a decent number of public-side prospect analysts prefer O’Hoppe to Marsh, but I’m completely in the other camp. Marsh’s defense is just such a strong floor. I’m especially surprised the Angels didn’t wanna do it to lessen the strain on Trout, who has a degenerative back condition

2:08
charliewindow: Barring an Ohtani trade, how many years before the Angels are relevant again?

2:09
Ben Clemens: I don’t really see the Ohtani trade moving the needle much either way

2:09
Ben Clemens: They’re relevant right now. Trout and Ohtani play there

2:09
Ben Clemens: They’ll be relevant as long as Trout is on the team. But they really don’t have a lot of talent at the major league level aside from the few stars at the top

2:09
Marc: I seem to recall a Fangraphs headline from this past offseason, maybe written by Eric, I believe it was titled something along the lines of “How Transactions Actually Happen.” With the deadline having just passed, I would have liked to read an overview of how teams evaluate other teams’ prospects and submit offers for MLBers, and what goes into making counteroffers, but my google skills are failing me. Does such an article exist, either at Fangraphs or elsewhere?

2:09
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it was by Kevin Goldstein, let me look it up

2:10
Ben Clemens: maybe it was this?

2:10
Vin: Taking longevity out of the equation, is degrom the most dominant pitcher of all time?

2:10
Ben Clemens: Sandy Koufax might have a thing or two to say about that

2:10
Ben Clemens: this stretch is pretty impressive though

2:10
Jeff: Cubs SP is bottom of the league in velo for the second year in a row. What impact could bringing in velocity, particularly impact velocity like a Rodon or Verlander or both, have on the staff as a whole?

2:11
Ben Clemens: I’d guess not a ton, aside from saying that those pitchers you named are very good and so would make the staff good. I don’t think upgrading, let’s call it, a 4.00 ERA pitcher who throws 89 to Verlander

2:11
Ben Clemens: Is any different than upgrading a 4.00 ERA pitcher who throws 94 to Verlander

2:11
Mike M: The Dodgers sweeping the Padres:  small sample outcome or something greater?  If the latter, what did we learn?

2:11
Ben Clemens: With four-game series, I’m always gonna lean small sample. That said, if I learned anything, it’s that the Dodgers are good

2:12
The Great Giambino: I know defense is volatile year-over-year and varies drastically depending on which metric you use. At what point are you generally comfortable determining a player is above/below average?

2:12
Ben Clemens: This is probably going to be an unsatisfying answer, but I’m willing to believe pretty quickly if they look the part. The more I watch and go “really, him?”, the more I need a long track record to believe

2:12
Ben Clemens: So I was immediately willing to believe that Luis Robert is one of the best center fielders in baseball, because wow, have you seen him run?

2:13
Ben Clemens: Whereas I needed years to believe that Paul DeJong could play shortstop

2:13
Angelus Novus: Do we see Gunnar Henderson in the majors this year?

2:13
Ben Clemens: Given his injury, I don’t think so

2:13
davealden53: Thoughts on the Zaidi/Kapler regime in San Francisco?  I think that the Giants were remarkably lucky last year and almost equally unlucky this year, two blips that confuse the long-term picture, but I still trust the approach.

2:13
Ben Clemens: I agree with that

2:14
Ben Clemens: Trying to figure out if they’re equal is tough, but I think they ran extremely hot last year and have had a ton of bad breaks this year

2:14
Ben Clemens: I believe in the approach, Zaidi also has a track record long enough that I’d believe in the approach even if things were going a bit worse

2:14
Pittsburgh Pirates Rally Train: Design-wise, of the past or current MLB ballparks what is your least favorite ballpark?

2:15
Ben Clemens: This is going to be an extremely unpopular take, but new Yankee Stadium. I went to my fair share of games there when I lived in New York and it was always just so disappointingly boring and corridor-y

2:15
Ben Clemens: You could get lost in the outfield concourses, the food is kinda hard to find, and it just feels like the way a bank would build a stadium

2:15
Ben Clemens: Boring, boring, boring

2:16
Ben Clemens: I love Citi Field, though, so maybe I’m just biased

2:16
Drury’s Leaky Glove: Was surprised to see Drury get a start at 3B to let Machado DH Friday. Drury committed an error and failed to make a play on a double that the eye test says Machado would have snagged. Where do you think Drury plays most for the Padres from here on out?

2:17
Ben Clemens: I think he’s going to be a DH/fill-in all across the diamond

2:17
Ben Clemens: It’s a luxury piece to have a guy who can give your 3b, 2b, 1b, or even occasionally corner outfielder a DH day

2:17
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’ll really have a ‘primary’ position per se

2:18
Ben Clemens: And maybe he’ll move off of backing up second when Tatis returns and makes Kim more of a floating infielder

2:18
Ben Clemens: But for now, he’s their best backup in a lot of spots

2:18
ClassicO: A well known publication just ranked Tink Hance the Cards 3rd best prospect, #63 overall right behind Winn at #62. Have you seen him pitch and if so, what’s your take? (I have on MiLB and he’s lights out.)

2:19
Ben Clemens: I’ve watched a few of his starts. I’m holding off on judgment for now because he just doesn’t throw very deep into games

2:19
Ben Clemens: That’s by design, it’s nothing negative about him, but his longest start this year is four innings (14 BF). I don’t really have a feel for how he’ll do in starter innings. The curveball is super fun though.

2:20
Vin: did the nats get enough in the Soto trade? Seems like they got a couple guys that can be decent mlb players but nothing really exciting. Would they have been better off trading Soto to the Mets for alvarez and co?

2:20
Ben Clemens: I’m not really sure whether I’d prefer the Padres’ breadth or the Mets’ top end talent. A question I’ve been asking people recently is whether you’d prefer the White Sox return on the Chris Sale trade, knowing you’d get the exact career arcs that happened, or the current Padres return

2:22
Ben Clemens: That’d be Yoan Moncada, who has alternated between All Star and bad and is a 3 WAR/600 player making basically 15 mil a year, plus Michael Kopech (talented but inconsistent) and two guys who didn’t pan out

2:23
Ben Clemens: Big, highly-regarded prospect package, one of them was the best prospect in baseball and turned into an all star worth a contract extension

2:23
Ben Clemens: Let’s take a poll

2:23
Ben Clemens:

Which group would you prefer?

Moncada, Kopech, et al (actual careers) (33.5% | 55 votes)
 
Gore, Abrams, Hassell et al (66.4% | 109 votes)
 

Total Votes: 164
2:24
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’s obvious either way, is my point

2:24
Vin: What I should’ve said is Degrom the most dominant pitcher you have ever seen? I can’t think of anyone that comes close and I’m in my 40s. His stuff is second to none.

2:24
Ben Clemens: Oh yeah. I’ve never watched someone who blows me away more. I used to try to go to as many deGrom starts in person as I could when I lived in NY

2:24
Kvn: Does Fangraphs fielding for WAR incorporate OAA now? Or is it still just UZR?

2:24
Ben Clemens: OAA

2:24
Joe: Gunnar Henderson isn’t injured.

2:25
Ben Clemens: Ohhhh man sorry I thought it said Grayson, not Gunnar

2:25
Ben Clemens: I do think Henderson will get a September cup of coffee. I was mixing up great Orioles G prospects, a common mistake

2:25
Warrior Jar: Since you listed him as #13 in trade value, Adley has been scorching hot. Has his trade value increased (because he’s making it clearer how good he is) or decreased (more likely to lose the extra year of service time due to ROY voting)?

2:26
Ben Clemens: I’d say neither, tbh. Those are countervailing forces, but for me, I’d bump him up slightly just b/c his major league track record has increased substantially

2:26
Jacob: David Laurila suggested in the last Sunday notes that AJ Hinch could move from manager to GM for the Tigers (anything to get Avila out of there), is there any precedent for that particular move?

2:26
Ben Clemens: TLR

2:26
The Great Giambino: Appreciate the thoughts on defense, eye test definitely makes a lot of sense! As a follow-up, in cases where it isn’t so clear cut and the metrics disagree, do you default to the fielder being average? Case in point for me this year: Steven Kwan has a great OAA and DRS, but below average for UZR

2:26
Ben Clemens: Yup, I just assume average

2:27
Natsfan: I’m so depressed about the Soto trade. Which of the players in return has the best chance to be a star?  (These types of trades never work, so they?)

2:28
Ben Clemens: I think the player with the best chance to be a star is Robert Hassell III, but I’d give MacKenzie Gore decent marks too. Gore’s trajectory is really scary — I can’t think of any top pitching prospects that missed a season basically because their mechanics got out of whack, and he’s hurt again — but he really does have special stuff+athleticism. And Hassell just feels like one of those guys that could hit so much that it doesn’t really matter how much power he has

2:28
Ben Clemens: I don’t think either are LIKELY to become stars but those are my two favorites

2:29
RTJ: post-trade deadline, the best team in the AL Central is ______

2:29
Ben Clemens: It’s the Twins for me, I had it closer before the deadline but they did a lot more to shore up weaknesses than anyone else

2:29
Brian: I feel like Petco Park looks like the best/coolest stadium on TV and yet it never seems to be mentioned as such

2:30
Ben Clemens: Petco is great, and I feel like San Diego is rightly heralded as a wonderful place to watch baseball. I particularly like the outfield berm, it’s really cool to see kids running around out there. My one quibble is that the concourses get kind of tangly and confusing, so if you’re going to get food or beer (amazing beer there btw), you can’t really see the action and it might take a while to get back to your seat depending on how well you know the layout

2:31
Guest: Shot in the dark but do you happen to know what it takes for 2022 data to populate Baseball Savant pages for a given player? For example looking at Steven Brault, 5 appearances and 5.2 IP this year and yet about half the sections don’t have anything for 2022.

2:31
Ben Clemens: I’m not exactly sure, but it seems to me like it’s over 100 pa/bf for a lot of stats

2:31
Jesse: Pedro in ’99 and ’00, in the middle of the best hitters era in the game’s history, felt more dominant to me than deGrom right now. But it’s super close.

2:31
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: re. Most dominant pitcher of recent vintage

Pedro says hi…

2:32
Ben Clemens: I didn’t really watch a lot of Pedro in ’99 because you couldn’t, TV didn’t work the same way then

2:32
Ben Clemens: but his numbers are comparably silly

2:33
Sharps: Call me the contrary nats fan, but I’m fine with the trade.  It seemed like Rizzo was caught between a player who wanted more information than he could give about the future of ownership and a party interested in purchase who wanted a definitive answer on Soto’s future.  It isn’t great as a fan for the next 2.5 years to not get to watch him more than once a year, but to the powers that be, baseball as a business will always triumph.

2:33
Ben Clemens: Yeah, to be clear, I think that Rizzo did a good job given the hand he was dealt.

2:34
Ben Clemens: The ownership situation made an extension kind of a long shot; though Boras clients have signed extensions before, doing so with an unknown future and for 15 years but not a colossal AAV always seemed unlikely

2:34
Ben Clemens: And if you’re going to trade him, I think this deadline was the time to do it

2:34
Ben Clemens: We don’t know the other offers the Nats got, but this one was pretty good!

2:34
Ben Clemens: It’s just, you know, bad to trade a 23-year-old who’s one of the best hitters in the game and on a Hall of Fame trajectory

2:34
Guest: what do you think the cardinals will do if dejong/edman/gorman are all playing well. a great problem to have but one nonetheless. maybe Gorman would have a better time adjusting to mlb as a DH?

2:35
Ben Clemens: My guess is that Gorman/DeJong will end up in a semi-platoon. DeJong will start against some righties but not all, hitting the bench for a Gorman/Edman middle infield. Gorman will sit against lefties. And then Gorman will also DH some against righties. I think it’s a totally workable situation

2:35
Wireless Joe Jackson: Gotta go with the mystery box!  The box!  The box!

2:36
Ben Clemens: The mystery box got more votes, 2:1

2:36
Ben Clemens: That just goes to show you how hard it is to pick prospects. Moncada was the best prospect in baseball at the time and has done well with that pedigree… and like, yeah, still not very exciting

2:36
Ben Clemens: In a ‘return for Juan Soto’ context at least

2:37
Dan: Do players consider DHing much of a day off? If your pitcher is dealing most of your physical exertion is warming up right?

2:37
Ben Clemens: They do, I think largely to get off their feet and have less of an always-on mentality in the field of play

2:38
Melissa: Can Ashcraft continue to have this much success without the strikeouts?

2:39
Ben Clemens: It’s a wonderful question that I have no idea about. He’s a strange pitcher. Eno Sarris, Dan Aucoin, and Cameron Grove had a good thread on Twitter (that I haven’t found with quick googling) about how hard his stuff is to quantify. It’s amazing to me that he doesn’t strike more people out, but his fastball is really great, and I think that wiht some time to hone the secondaries around it he’ll be a force

2:39
Farhandrew Zaidman: Am I insane to be REALLY high on the AAA bats in the Dodgers’ system – Vargas especially, but also Outman, Cartaya, Amaya, Busch…

2:40
Ben Clemens: I’m not sold on Cartaya and Amaya yet, but to be honest i haven’t given their numbers a thorough comb-through so it’s more just inherent conservatism about prospects than anything

2:40
Ben Clemens: Vargas is one of my favorite hitting prospects. He made my data-driven mid-tier hitters list last year and has done nothing but hit since then. Definitely a believer

2:41
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: Maybe I’m overreacting to an underwhelming season…but has Rick Hahn (or Kenny Williams…whoever is pulling the strings) actually done a good job? You could argue that aside from the Fire Sale Trades (which were hard to mess up), he has pulled off exactly one significant trade that has actually worked out (Lance Lynn). I mean, he couldn’t find a reliever in THIS market?

2:42
Ben Clemens: I think that this year’s lack of moves is actually somewhat defensible. I don’t love the White Sox’s spot here, even if they got a few reinforcements; they’ve banked a lot of kind of blah play, and one of their biggest problems is stars underperforming

2:43
Ben Clemens: It’d be one thing if the whole problem were Leury Garcia and Josh Harrison playing too much, but the problem is more that Pollock, Moncada, and Grnadal have been really bad so far

2:43
Ben Clemens: Tim Anderson has been dinged up and also a step below his last few years

2:43
Ben Clemens: Giolito and Kopech are having down years

2:44
Ben Clemens: Don’t get me started on Lance Lynn

2:44
Ben Clemens: I don’t know if Hahn has done a good job, but I don’t think you can look at this year as much evidence to either side. We all thought they’d assembled a pretty good group, the group looked pretty good last year, and it just hasn’t been up to snuff

2:44
jackson: correct me if i’m wrong but the orioles are only 2 games out of a wild card spot and still only have a little over a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs. why do the numbers keep snubbing the o’s?

2:46
Ben Clemens: Basically it’s because they’ve played at a .500 clip all year with underlying metrics that are a little worse than that (by BaseRuns, they’re a .474 team). If you look at the past performance of all these players (except Adley and the rookies), they’ve been worse than they are this year for the most part, so projections are taking 2022 into account but also previous years

2:46
Ben Clemens: So you have a team that, when it’s exceeding reasonable expectations, plays around .500 ball

2:46
Ben Clemens: They have to play a bunch of good AL East teams down the stretch. It’s not impossible, but I see why our odds (and ZiPS’s odds when Dan ran them post deadline) are generally down on their chances of makin the playoffs this year

2:47
RTJ: I’ve seen analysts say everything from the Red Sox were drunk during the trade deadline, to they somewhat reasonably addressed some needs – and both analyses seem logical to me. Gazing into the crystal ball, and with assumptions about offseason moves: Are the 2023 Boston Red Sox better or worse than the 2022 Boston Red Sox?

2:47
Ben Clemens: I think worse just because of talent leaving

2:47
Ben Clemens: Really depends on how much they do to replace the players who leave, so I’m mainly just shrugging my shoulders

2:47
Ethan: Favorites to sign Trea Turner this off-season ?

2:48
Ben Clemens: Never say ‘once burned twice shy’ about me

2:48
Ben Clemens: I think he’s gonna stay in LA, just like I incorrectly predicted about Corey Seager

2:48
Yo-Yo: Is xwOBA broken? I’m looking at Goldschmidt and Arenado, who are crushing their expected numbers. I know there are others.

2:49
Ben Clemens: That’s the nature of the beast. It was indeed wrong earlier this year because it hadn’t been re-centered on 2022 data but it’s working as intended at the moment. It wouldn’t be much of a stat if everyone’s wOBA matched their xwOBA

2:49
Ben Clemens: Using it as a ‘how good is this hitter, true talent wise’ is the wrong way to look at it, but Arenado and Goldschmidt are indeed making really loud contact. Look at Dylan Carlson for an example of the other way

2:50
Ben Clemens: Oh ha I read this backwards

2:50
Ben Clemens: Fine, then look at Juan Soto as an example of the opposite, or Yordan Alvarez, who are doing great and also worse than their expected numbers

2:51
Wireless Joe Jackson: Do you know of any recommended reading on the predictive power of the xstats statistics?  I’m still not quite sure how much to trust them.

2:51
Ben Clemens: subscription presumably required, BP is great though

2:51
Vedder Cup: How fun would a SEA/SDP world series be and how much would Eno get to talk about beer on national television?

2:51
Ben Clemens: Wildly fun, I’d try to go to a game

2:51
Ben Clemens: Eddie Vedder would love it, obviously (isn’t he a Cubs fan in real life?)

2:52
Bob: What grades would you give on Cashman’s deadline deals:

Gallo for Beeter: A+ (scoop up a pitcher with raw talent, yanks are terrific at developing pitchers)

JP Sears, Waldichuk, etc for Montas: C (JP Sears is legit, Waldichuk nice upside, Montas probably still hurt)

Montgomery for Bader: F (Give up SP depth, terrific control pitcher, Bader still hurt and replacement lvl offense)

2:52
Ben Clemens: I’d give Gallo for Beeter something like a B+/A-, agreed on the direction. Montas trade, I’d give it a C as well. Big return, but it’s dev pop up types, I think the Yankees are smart to clear the decks that way

2:53
Ben Clemens: I’m in disagreement on the Montgomery/Bader trade. I think that it was a clever move and that it’s only a little risky because of the presence of Clarke Schmidt. Bader has a career 98 wRC+, decidedly not average, and he seems like hte kind of hitter the Yankees might do wonders with. Generally speaking, you can’t have too much pitching, but for the Yankees in particular, being stretched in CF was a real risk

2:53
Ben Clemens: I’d call it like a C? I honestly didn’t love it for either team

2:54
Ben Clemens: but I can see why both sides made the deal

2:54
AA: If Austin Riley’s extension had been announced before the trade value column came out, where would you ahve had him?

2:54
Ben Clemens: One of the luxuries of writing that column once a year is that I don’t have to think about this

2:54
Goop on ya Grinch: the Phillies have won season series against SD, STL, MIL, LAD, SEA.  Many of these were without harper (who comes back early sept).  They’re doing this in arguably the hardest division.  how come it they’re continually put behind these teams in power rankings?

2:55
Ben Clemens: It’s probably because they have a worse record and run differential than most of those teams

2:55
Ben Clemens: Other than the Brewers and Padres

2:55
Ben Clemens: i’d have the Brewers behind the Phillies if I were making power rankings, and I’d have had the Padres about even before they went nuclear

2:56
Ben Clemens: I guess the Mariners are a tricky one too

2:56
Ben Clemens: But good news: power rankings don’t matter even a little bit

2:56
Ben Clemens: The Phillies will make the playoffs or they won’t, but where they are in a power ranking list on August 8 is not gonna be the reason why

2:57
Yo-Yo: Arenado could lead the majors in WAR by the end of the season. Odds he opts out, and if he does, will STL push to sign him or pivot to Gorman/Walker at third base? Thanks for answering my xwOBA question! It totally makes sense.

2:57
Ben Clemens: I do not think he’ll opt out

2:57
Vedder Cup: He is a Cubs fan! The better question is how many times teams that share a Spring Training facility have faced each other in the WS. (Astros & Nats share one, so it’s happened at least once.)

2:57
Ben Clemens: I think that the San Diego/Seattle ‘natural rivalry’ was the peak of bad MLB decision making around interleague play, but since I really like both cities, I find the whole ‘Vedder Cup’ thing endearing anyway

2:58
GBS42: The NL Central crown will be worn by the Cardinals, right?

2:58
Ben Clemens: It’s looking pretty good for them at the moment. The Brewers side-grading (I kept wanting to call it a downgrade in my post-deadline wrapup but Meg disagreed) while the Cardinals added was big for them, as was sweeping a tough opponent while the Brewers got punked by the Reds

2:58
Tacoby Bellsbury: Is the MLB logo left-handed or right-handed?

2:58
Ben Clemens: Yes

2:59
Ryan: How do you feel about all the pitching development going on in the Cubs system?  Feels like they might be breaking out between Steele/Thompson and bringing in guys like Wicks and Horton into the system

2:59
Ben Clemens: I’m very interested in continuing to watch it percolate up to the majors

3:00
Ben Clemens: I want to see what Caleb Killian turns into, he really caught my eye on the Giants last year and I had fun watching him in Fall League

3:00
Does this make sense?: What do you think is the franchise with the greatest percentage of those within a 25-mile radius invested in the team’s success? The least?

3:01
Ben Clemens: Oh, great question. The least has to be one of the Florida teams, just based on viewership and attendance numbers. Probably Miami b/c it’s a bigger city without a commensurate bump in revenue

3:01
Ben Clemens: Most? I’d guess the Cardinals, Red Sox, or Brewers

3:01
Steezus: Is it time to drink the Cincinatti Reds punch? I think they had an outstanding deadline and have a pretty intriguing core coming up.

3:01
Ben Clemens: In my opinion, no

3:02
Ben Clemens: intriguing cores are a dime a dozen, and they’re kinda out of good major leaguers if India doesn’t work things out

3:02
Michael Scott: Over/under on the number of starts for deGrom the rest of the season?

3:02
Ben Clemens: I refuse to set this line, but I’m watching every start I can the rest of the season

3:02
Rob: This isn’t a question, just wanted to pop in and say for this “old timer” (50 yrs old) yeah it’s Pedro > Jake for me in terms of actually watching both (which I did see plenty of Pedro.) But close.

3:03
Ben Clemens: Pedro was truly a force of nature

3:03
GBS42: The Trade Value series was tremendous!! Thanks for all the hard work!

3:03
Ben Clemens: Thanks very much. It’s a fun FanGraphs tradition and I’m glad it runs exactly once a year

3:03
Old Timer: Why do the A’s seemingly mostly trade for mediocrity.  Kevin Smith, Logue, Oller, Medina (AKA Nuke LaLoosh), Sears, Bowman, the list goes on.  The model seems high floor, lower ceiling.  I do not get it.

3:04
Ben Clemens: It’s very clearly the way they prefer to structure trades. They seem to target bulk in service of having a ton of major-league-caliber players in the system at all times

3:04
Ben Clemens: I don’t quite understand it in the context of their budget constraints, I feel like they should YOLO a little bit more and try to hit big on toolsy guys, but they’re very comfortable working this way and it has paid off over the past decade in general. It’s just a really frustrating team b/c of ownership constraints on spending (and yeah, the stadium sucks, etc)

3:05
Appa Yip Yip: Ben, I think you’re underestimating how much canadians love beating Americans at things. When the Jays are good the fever sweeps the whole city.

3:05
Ben Clemens: That’s a fair one; the Blue Jays have a rabid fanbase that always shocks me when I write about them or do Toronto radio spots. That’s a city that really knows his baseball, which you might not guess from the coverage they get in the States

3:05
Phil: I think both the Sale and Kimbrel trades make Dombrowski look pretty good, particularly since in both cases prospects under consideration who weren’t traded (e.g. Devers) have been better than those who were. Does this logic make sense–is it evidence that Dombrowski was actually a better judge of prospects than people (including on this site) thought–or is it basically random?

3:06
Ben Clemens: I think that it’s a good sign for his skill. He’s actually been good at it for a long time, before those trades you mentioned even

3:07
Farhandrew Zaidman: What’s a commonly-held belief for talent evaluators in the industry that might surprise (or even shock) average joe fans?

3:07
Ben Clemens: I don’t know a ton of talent evaluators. I do know SOME. I’d say the thing that is, as best as I can tell, commonly held belief on the team side but still under-appreciated by average fans is how much more fastball shape matters than fastball velocity

3:08
Your Name: Which org is happiest 5 years from now in the TB/HOU/BAL 3 team trade?

3:08
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll all be equally nonplussed

3:08
Brian: Dave Cameron once said that the ceiling for every player in professional baseball is “best player in the sport”. Do you agree with that?

3:09
Ben Clemens: Maybe not quite, but I agree with the essence of the idea. Players change in unpredictable ways all the time, and take huge leaps forward or backward

3:10
Ben Clemens: I think that there are some players who aren’t going to be the best in baseball no matter what happens, so I guess I’d differ from Dave there. But in general, I think that ‘ceiling’ and ‘floor’ are really more probabilistic than certain

3:10
Ben Clemens: Jose Ramirez happens

3:10
Lou Perltzman: I don’t think you’re using nonplussed correctly.

3:10
Ben Clemens: Oh I sure am, wow that word does not mean what I thought it did

3:11
Ben Clemens: I think they will be equally unenthused

3:11
Mark: Rank the LF on the open market this off-season: Profar, Benintendi, Joc

3:11
Ben Clemens: Yeesh. Beni, Joc, Profar I guess

3:11
Ben Clemens: I would not be thrilled to have any of them as one of the best 5 hitters on my team, though

3:12
Ryan: Seems like San Diego thinks Adrian Morejon might make the jump back to starter next year to fill the back end of their rotation.  Thoughts?

3:13
Ben Clemens: I’d try it. His lack of a true platoon-busting pitch worries me somewhat, but I like the FB/SL/CU pairing the way he’s using it and hey, he’s thrown 10 splitters this year

3:13
Farhandrew Zaidman: How far away are we from average bat/swing speed listed for each batter in the majors somewhere on the site? Seems like something teams are tracking with great interest.

3:14
Ben Clemens: Pretty far. Even MLB doesn’t have the cameras in every stadium yet

3:14
Ben Clemens: And while we endeavor to be at the cutting edge of public data, “public” is the operative word there

3:14
Zac: Is there anything in Acuna’s statcast data suggest he may be protecting his knee a bit?  Like are his max sprint speeds back to normal but he’s not reaching them as often due to perhaps being cautious.

3:15
Ben Clemens: This seems like it would be a cool thing for the MLB.com crew to check out, the data doesn’t exist that granularly on Savant

3:15
Rampage: Manfred keeps trying to find ways to “fix” baseball. He should start by making it more accessible. If you don’t have cable its next to impossible to legally watch your hometown team. Is there any discussion about getting rid of the ridiculous blackout policy?

3:15
Ben Clemens: I haven’t heard any by the league, but I completely agree. Baseball is going the other way, though, splintering up their offerings more with Peacock and Apple TV and all that

3:16
Ben Clemens: I don’t have cable, but I have a cable substitute (YouTube TV) so that I can watch Giants and A’s games. And even then I had to get Peacock

3:16
Franimal Style: Late summer turnaround coming to Wrigley Field?

3:16
Ben Clemens: This is going to be really fun, summer Wrigley weather and Franmil, love it

3:17
Lou Perltzman: Fangraphs doesn’t pay for an MLB.TV subscription for you?

3:17
Ben Clemens: It’s blacked out!

3:17
Ben Clemens: I do have mlb.tv but I can’t get Bay Area games, Apple games, or Peacock games with it

3:17
HappyFunBall: t-Mobile = free MLB.TV if you’re a subscriber

3:17
Ben Clemens: A really cool perk

3:17
Rampage: I bought MLB.tv but can’t watch the Mariners in Oregon. Also can’t listen to them on the radio because there aren’t any affiliates in Portland. The mlb app plays 10 minute adds that you can’t skip during a radio broadcast missing important chunks of the game. Its absurd.

3:18
Ben Clemens: yeah, blackouts are the issue more than anything else, I just also dislike the fracturing of streaming rights

3:18
Blue-Color Tweeker: Harrison Bader was the best fielding outfielder I can remember the Cardinals having since Jim Edmonds.  He was on his way to his best offensive season and even as cocky an arrogant as he came off, I loved him, he was a fan favorite.  So I was shocked to see him traded.  I totally understand it and it makes sense to pick up Montgomery, but should the Cardinals really feel comfortable about going all in on Carlson in CF?  I hope he turns into a great player, but what I’ve seen so far, eh, I don’t know.  What do you think about giving up Bader tots and turning to Dylan Carlson while hoping someone sticks in right field?

3:19
Ben Clemens: It’s risky for both squads, and like I said I didn’t love it for either. I would have rather traded prospects for Mahle than Bader for Montgomery. That said, I’m cautiously optimistic on Carlson in center. Now, a backup plan? They certainly don’t have one of those

3:19
Phil: I hate blackouts so much. I guess this is more a comment than a question.

3:19
Rampage: Is 5 years for $125 million a fair extension for Luis Castillo?

3:19
Ben Clemens: It doesn’t strike me as crazy either way, which is a good sign. I haven’t done a ton of thinking about it specifically

3:20
jas: I feel like you were strangely harsh on the Cardinals deadline in your writeup. I thought it was an excellent deadline all things considered. Juan Soto is amazing, but I think they probably added similar value for this season alone

3:20
Ben Clemens: Uh, yeah, I definitely do not

3:20
Ben Clemens: They added, and I like both pitchers they got

3:20
Ben Clemens: but they even subtracted a little (from their September team) to do it

3:21
Ben Clemens: if the Brewers had done anything, it probably would have equaled the Cardinals’ deadline. If there’s one impressive thing about the Cardinals’ deadline, it’s that they surrendered basically nothing on the prospect front

3:21
Ben Clemens: In related news, I think that the Bader/Montgomery trade has set a new chat record for me: percentage of fans who think THEIR team lost the trade

3:22
Ben Clemens: Every Yankee fan hates it for the Yankees seemingly, and a ton of Cardinals fans hate it for the Cardinals. That’s how you know it was a reasonably fair trade

3:22
Phil: Will JDM be offered a QO? Will he take it?

3:23
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna go with yes and yes. Basically, I think he looks liek a good QO candidate, and not opting out was basically accepting the QO, so why not run it back?

3:23
Jared: Felix Bautista or houck ROS?

3:23
Ben Clemens: Bautista for me

3:23
Ben Clemens: Alright, on this note, I’m gonna call it a chat. Thanks everyone for hanging out with me, just a really strong queue of questions and I couldn’t hope to get to all of them, so sorry if I missed yours, and I’ll endeavor to do better next time, as always. Have a great week!





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

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Demiurge
1 month ago

I use ExpressVPN to watch my blacked out Braves games. It’s $99.99 a year, but I get mlb.tv for free thanks to T-Mobile. Also, I use it to watch snooker from over in the UK.