Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 9/19/22

2:01
Ben Clemens: Hey everybody, welcome to the chat. Gonna aim for about an hour 15 today, and then have a dentist’s appointment to run to, so wish me luck

2:01
bighen: Mets take a shot on Vientos for postseason roster or Ruf or use Guillomre/Escobar or option Z I’m not thinking of.  They need to have RH production out of DH/PH spot

2:02
Ben Clemens: I mean, presumably Escobar will be on the roster. He starts

2:03
Ben Clemens: In terms of the righty bat, I think they can afford to carry one of Ruf or Vientos, and it’s tricky to determine which one

2:03
Ben Clemens: I think I’d lean Vientos just for the upside

2:03
Ben Clemens: Ruf has looked so disastrous that I don’t see how you can run him out there

2:04
Ben Clemens: I guess the one thing to consider is against the Dodgers and Padres, who both have a ton of lefty starters, you could use both and drop Gore or Naquin

2:04
Ben Clemens: Because otherwise you’re giving Guillorme or Vogelbach time against a lefty. I don’t have giving Guillorme time there but Vogey, not into it

2:04
P: Anyone planning on doing an article on the unprecedented season Strider’s having? He’s been the best pitcher in baseball not named Degrom and people are still questioning if he should even be ROTY over Harris.

2:04
Ben Clemens: I don’t know of anyone in particular but surely yes

2:04
Three Finger Brown: Thoughts on steroid era taking away from current accomplishments of Judge and Pujols?

2:04
Ben Clemens: I don’t think of it that way at all

2:05
Ben Clemens: The steroid era was fun for me as a young fan

2:05
Ben Clemens: The Judge chase is fun to me right now

2:05
Ben Clemens: It’s especially fun b/c it’s so out of context of the rest of the league

2:05
Ben Clemens: There’s a power outage in the neighborhood, but one house is gleaming

2:05
Judge: What’s his final number?

2:05
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say 63. I think he’ll cool off after he hits 62, and that the Yankees will rest him a bit for the playoffs

2:05
guest: If Ohtani did not have the season he had last year, do you think Judge would still win the MVP this year?

2:06
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I do. It’s not that Ohtani isn’t deserving, but this Judge season is just singular

2:06
Ben Clemens: He’s slugging .700!

2:06
Ben Clemens: He’s put up 10 WAR by our formulation, and given that it’s all offense, that’s pretty close to everyone’s formulation

2:07
Ben Clemens: Ohtani have the best second-best season of all time. But he’s second-best

2:07
Stats: Of all the stats, I think the 20 hr lead is the biggest. Even if Schwarber hits more than he does before the end of the season, if he gets to 60 before anyone else gets 40, that’s just… barely conceivable

2:07
Ben Clemens: Right? It’s old-timey Babe Ruth nonsense

2:07
Appa Yip Yip: Ben, your thoughts on the monarchy  in general and the Royal House of Windsor in particular.

2:08
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna steal a thought from a British coworker/friend of mine (Hi Ben F, though you’re certainly not reading this)

2:08
Ben Clemens: There are a lot of bad trappings of monarchy and imperialism

2:08
Ben Clemens: That’s all crappy

2:08
Ben Clemens: The part that keeps it going, in his mind, is that it’s basically a shared reality TV show that all of England agrees to participate in

2:09
Ben Clemens: The ‘here’s the lives of the royals’ news beat is basically the longest-running reality TV show in existence and plenty of Brits love it

2:09
Thomas: Aaron Judge has a higher likelihood of hitting 60 homers than the Yankees have of winning the division. Not a question, just incredible

2:09
Ben Clemens: Yeah, imagine hearing that in June

2:09
Ben Clemens: Even with him on a crazy pace

2:09
Ben Clemens: You’d think wait what no

2:09
Noah: Any chance we get an article on Framber’s record? I assume so, just curious if I missed one already?

2:10
Ben Clemens: It’ll be a fight between Justin Choi and me to decide who gets to write it

2:10
Ben Clemens: We’re both big Framber heads

2:10
b: How do you expect the change in pickoff rules to affect the value of players who are already among the leaders in SB? Will the best base stealers all of a sudden be more valueable because they will be able to use their talent even more. Or is the fact that stealing bases will be ‘easier’ make that profile less valuable if more and more players are able to steal a significant amount of bases?

2:10
Ben Clemens: I think it’ll affect a particular class of guy most, which is a high-OBP medium takeoff rate guy with good success rates

2:10
Ben Clemens: think Chase Utley or early-career Trout

2:11
LF: Bader back tomorrow. If you’re the Yankees, do you see if young Oswaldo can handle LF given how exceptional his defense is? And then your OF defense is Cabrera/Bader/Judge

2:12
Ben Clemens: I mean, I don’t think there’s much question he can handle left. The bigger question is whether they try to go with some max-offense lineup with Stanton in the outfield or something wild like that

2:12
jas: Not asking who you would vote for, but how do you think the NL MVP vote will shake out? Top 5?

2:13
Ben Clemens: I think Goldschmidt will comfortably win, with Freeman second and Arenado third. I guess I’d say Mookie 4th Manny 5th?

2:13
Average: Judge is also half a point behind Arraez and Bogaerts, hitting .460 in September. I would say that has to stop but… why?

2:13
Self-hating Sox fan: Gut instinct: does Judge get the triple crown?

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say yes. I don’t know how to quantify this but the form he’s in right now is just awe-inspiring. I think Dan had him up to 25% likely to do it after last night’s game

2:14
WB: Ben, thank you for being Ben! When do you think MLB clubs will clue in that they will make more money for their organization if they invest in the club and put a better product on the field? What is the worst thing that can happen?  Clubs are still worth hundreds of millions of dollars at the end of the day…

2:14
Ben Clemens: Always happy to be Ben, it’s one of the things I’m best at

2:15
Ben Clemens: I think that teams are increasingly figuring this out

2:16
Ben Clemens: Not that every team is, but I’m encouraged that the free agent market doesn’t seem to have taken a lasting post-covid hit. There are also more teams bringing rookies up early than there had been of late, another good sign

2:17
Ben Clemens: I’m not ready to plant a victory flag, I think that the general mindset of the league is still cost minimization rather than talent maximization, but I’m encouraged by the fact that, at least in my eyes, there are more teams going for it or at least not blowing it up this year

2:17
baseballenjoyer: What to make of Yordan’s extended power outage prior to this past week? I think the assumption was that his hands were bothering him, but they certainly seem fine after last weekend

2:17
Ben Clemens: I would make very little of it. Baseball has a long season and people go on ups and downs

2:18
Ben Clemens: I know that’s not a very satisfying answer but dude is hitting .304/.407/.630 and has a 273 wRC+ in September. He had a down August but hitters are allowed to have bad months

2:18
GrandyisaSadist: Price or Vesia?

2:18
Ben Clemens: I really like David Price, so I’d find it hard to be objective here. I’m picking Price

2:18
Guest: What do you think about comparison across eras? To me it’s the most pointless thing since baseball has changed so much, and only serves to diminish current players, who can’t put up those monstrous numbers anymore. I don’t see other sports fans argue so vehemently for dudes that don’t have a single game on video.

2:19
Ben Clemens: I think it’s fun so long as you don’t try to say whether this guy is better or worse than Ted WIlliams

2:19
Ben Clemens: he’s probably better. He’s probably worse relative to the other people playing in the major leagues at the time

2:19
Ben Clemens: I’m generally in agreement with you, though. I don’t really care whether a given quarterback is better than Bart Starr or whatnot

2:20
Ben Clemens: and it’s nice that football generally seems to think the same way. Basketball gets caught up in those GOAT discussions but I try to steer clera of them

2:20
Jenna: Is aaron judge having the greatest clean season of all time

2:20
Ben Clemens: Who knows who was clean when, and who knows how to contextualize things relative to the past, etc.

2:20
Ben Clemens: I’m partial to Mookie’s 2017 for just the all-encompassing greatness, and of course Bob Gibson and Pedro have claims on the pitching side

2:21
GrandyisaSadist: Coney Island or Sedona?

2:21
Ben Clemens: Okay, so I lived in NYC for ten years and have never been to Coney Island. Is that weird?

2:21
MikeD: I can’t construct an Ohtani-is-MVP argument beyond: he’s pitching and hitting.  He still isn’t out-WARing Judge despite pitching and hitting. Ohtani is an historic player; Judge is having an historic season. Can you construct a legitimate argument that places Ohtani ahead of Judge?

2:22
Ben Clemens: Nope. If I had a vote I’d vote for Judge by a mile. All the arguments that I’ve seen are basically ordinal arguments. “Well Ohtani is the xth-best pitcher and yth-best hitter. Judge can’t even pitch”

2:22
Ben Clemens: Yeah but have you seen how much better Judge has been this season than Ohtani while hitting?

2:23
Ben Clemens: Ohtani is hitting .266/.357/.534 in 600 PA’s. that’s freaking great. Judge is FIFTY offensive runs ahead of him

2:23
Ben Clemens: Ohtani’s offense has only been worth 30 runs!

2:23
Ben Clemens: Judge is having an otherworldly hitting season. He’s not your normal ‘best slugger in baseball’ that the well-rounded guy can beat. He’s having a season that will go down as one of the all-time best offensive performances. If you look at the numbers in sum, there’s no argument

2:24
Mike: Freeman vs Olson- Looks like Team Freeman won this year? & when you look at what ATL gave up in prospects to get Olson, has the momentum switched to “maybe we just should have gotten Freddie signed?”

2:25
Ben Clemens: I think it was always that way tbh. I didn’t like the move very much for Atlanta at the time. I thought it was too cute by half. It’s not like the particular prospects you’ve given up are the issue; it’s more that Matt Olson’s performance doesn’t feel like as much of a given to me as Freeman’s

2:25
Ben Clemens: It may not end up costing the Braves, they look pretty good anyway obviously. But is anyone surprised that Olson is merely pretty good and Freeman is a generational talent?

2:25
Coney Island: It’s nice though. It’s fun!

2:26
Ben Clemens: You know, I’ve heard that! I didn’t do a lot of NY things. Never went to the Hamptons, for example, despite working in finance the entire time I was there. And I guess at this point I’ll probably never go; whenever I go back I just want to spend the whole time seeing friends

2:26
RTJ: Does FG have a stat for like “HR+” that adjusts for home runs year-by-year based on league averages? If yes, where can I find it?

2:27
Ben Clemens: We don’t; that’s a cool thing, perhaps we’ll look into it this offseason

2:27
Josh: How do you see the last couple of spots on the Dodger position player side shaking out? Assuming Lux is healthy, seems like two spots for Bellinger, Gallo, Thompson, Taylor. Do you just straight platoon in CF/LF or give more run to one or two of the guys?

2:27
Ben Clemens: I don’t think Gallo is gonna make the cut, tbh. Great defense, but I don’t think you can afford to carry Gallo and Bellinger and in the case of a tie, gimme the guy who’s been there longer

2:29
Ben Clemens: But I think that’s all they need to cut? You’ve got nine starters (let’s count Thompson in this group just for the sake of argument), Barnes, Alberto, Taylor, that makes 12. No one meaningful coming back from the IL. Throw in Miguel Vargas, there’s your 13

2:29
Ben Clemens: Oh, unless you mean starting spots, in which case I think you make CF a semi-platoon and give Lux some occasional days off against tough lefties

2:29
Ben Clemens: But good news, almost all the tough lefties are on the Dodgers!

2:30
Appa Yip Yip: People talk about the steroid era like it was some sort of weird outlier like  baseball players haven’t been abusing drugs for decades. Before steroids half the league was on uppers. Every record in baseball is “suspect” bc we don’t know what guys were doing/using at the time. Let things be fun.

2:30
Ben Clemens: Totally agree

2:30
Ben Clemens: If I ran for President of Baseball, my campaign slogan would be “Let things be fun.”

2:30
1961: That was the last record-setting homer season where the team actually played in the playoffs. Not talking about MVP here, just funny that Big Mac and Bonds were the ONLY thing on their teams in a lot of ways.

2:30
Ben Clemens: That’s crazy

2:31
Ben Clemens: I guess there aren’t that many record-setting seasons, but I forgot those Giants didn’t make the playoffs

2:31
Silly Dan McGraw: would you rather have Matt Carpenter or Michael Conforto on the same deal next year?

2:31
Ben Clemens: I have started working on our top 50 free agents list for this offseason, and I think you are right to have them in a very similar area

2:32
Ben Clemens: Without giving away too much, b/c I still want you all to read the articles and boy does it take a long time to both tabulate and write, I think it’s close but I have Conforto ahead by a hair

2:33
Broken Bat: I believe the minimum 3 batter rule still applies in 2023. Do you potentially see left handed RP being slightly more valuable in holding runners with the new pickoff attempt rule? I mean isn’t it pretty normal the runner has a shorter lead vs. lefties?

2:34
Ben Clemens: I think it’ll be only a marginal improvement, and will kinda depend on the move of the guy. Sure, it’s normal that the runner has a shorter lead against lefties, but that’s b/c their pickoff moves are better. Limit those pickoff moves and it’s not clear to me what will happen. I think relievers who are quick to the plate will be the biggest beneficiaries, really

2:34
Ben Clemens: Being quick to the plate is like a free pickoff move that isn’t limited

2:35
Urban Shocker’s Jockstrap: Related to the earlier Strider question, do you think he pulls any Cy Young votes? And is he legitimately in the top 3 pitchers in baseball conversation? The numbers say so, I guess, but it just feels so weird to say for a two-pitch rookie

2:36
Ben Clemens: I do think he’ll get some Cy Young votes; why shouldn’t he?

2:36
Ben Clemens: I do not think he’s among the best 3 pitchers in baseball, though I’m willing to be proven wrong. You just have to do it for longer for me to believe that hitters won’t adjust

2:36
Ben Clemens: I’m a skeptic, sorry

2:36
Guest: I was watching that Guardians-Twins marathon the other day, do you miss these kind of games at all? I’m the outlier in that I like the ghost runner and appreciate extras ending quickly (I’d just go tie, personally, but people would hate that even more)

2:37
Ben Clemens: I miss them happening with very low frequency, for sure

2:37
Ben Clemens: Unlike other Ben (Lindbergh), I don’t have a problem with the zombie runner rule. I think it makes for more drama per inning in extras, which is cool. If I’m watching baseball and my wife comes in and there’s a runner in scoring position in extras, she always watches b/c the tension is fun

2:38
Ben Clemens: I think that’s a good proxy for how good of a rule it is in general, particularly given that players seem to like it

2:38
Ben Clemens: But yeah, I would also support a rule that says if the score is tied at, say, 2 or lower, you let it continue as a fun pitching duel with no zombie runners and see if things get goofy

2:38
Mike Trout: Has the universal DH changed the position adjustment? Shouldn’t it be harder to find a good DH now than it was last year?

2:39
Ben Clemens: We haven’t messed with it, and to be honest, I had a ton of trouble figuring out a data-driven DH positional adjustment penalty when I was digging through OAA data earlier this year

2:39
Ben Clemens: I do think that OAA confirms a lot of our existing adjustments (maybe it devalues CF very slightly, but that’s about it)

2:40
Ben Clemens: But I don’t think the DH adjustment should have changed very much, for one key reason: the pool of DH’s is just really big. It’s every player. Positional adjustments are about how much worse of a fielder you’d be if you moved up the spectrum (or better if down), and I doubt that’s changed a ton this year

2:40
brad penny for your thoughts: reasons for concern with recent StL offense, particularly goldy and arenado?

2:42
Ben Clemens: I mean, I’m always a LITTLE concerned b/c I feel like this season has been a 90th-percentile offensive result for the team, but I don’t take anything in particular away from recent weeks. Playing with a big lead in September and consistently running out suboptimal lineups for various reasons (get people some rest, get Albert 700 dingers, etc) isn’t great for your overall offensive numbers

2:42
Ben Clemens: If they’re running out Pujols against Corbin Burnes-level RHP’s in the playoffs, well, then I have a significant gripe with Marmol

2:42
Mike: Are positional adjustments fair to players that throw left handed? The only way they can get a positive positional adjustment is to play CF. All the other “plus” adjustments (SS, C, 2B, 3B) are all right handed. Fair or just the way it is?

2:42
Ben Clemens: Just the way it is. I’m a lefty. The world is lightly stacked against us

2:42
Ben Clemens: Lefties get plenty of countervailing advantages in baseball, at least

2:42
Dan: My boss is confusing me so I’m here instead.

2:43
Ben Clemens: I’m honored that you’d choose to be confused by me instead of them

2:43
Anon21: Not a question, but just read the Strasburg article in WaPo, and it’s really sad. He seems philosophical but also disappointed about the potential end of his career.

2:44
Ben Clemens: Yeah, really agree. I have a ton of memories of Strasburg thanks to going to college in VA and staying in touch with a ton of Nats fans. It’s a bittersweet read but I suggest it

2:44
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Hold up, Ted Williams in 1941 put up an 11 WAR season and batted .406 while finishing second in MVP voting to Joltin’ Joe. I love Ohtani, but I’m taking Ted for the best second-place MVP season.

2:44
Ben Clemens: Hm, fine, real MLB history (post-integration)

2:45
Ben Clemens: Shots fired, expecting to hear a ton of flak for that, but whatever. I’m much more impressed by baseball records that happened after the best players were all allowed to play

2:45
szakyl: It doesn’t seem like we heard from Eric recently. Has he left Fangraphs for another job, or is he just taking a post-deadline break while prospect news is slow?

2:46
Ben Clemens: Check out his great interview with Jeff Passan in this week’s FG Audio

2:46
Ben Clemens: (break)

2:46
Guest: Do you think starters will go deeper in these playoffs or will multi inning relievers be more of a factor? I don’t think many teams have more than a couple guys they really trust in a close game.

2:46
Ben Clemens: I think it depends heavily on the starter. The days of mediocre starters going into the 8th are over, but I could see Bieber/Fried/Strider/dG/Scherzer/(list truncated) going long

2:47
Kyle: The post-deadline Nationals aren’t much better, but they are a lot of fun. Who do you think their biggest offseason pick up is…?

2:48
Ben Clemens: Oh, interesting! I agree that the Nats have been more fun post-deadline, and Meneses has been fun. How would you feel about either Miguel Sano or Mitch Haniger?

2:48
P: Freeman’s obviously much better than Olson right now, but wasn’t the trade more about tomorrow than today? In a few years, do you think Freeman at first and Pache in CF is more valuable than Olson at first and Harris in CF?

2:48
Ben Clemens: You know they’d still have Harris, right?

2:49
Ben Clemens: I just don’t think the idea of accepting a lesser player and also trading prospects for it is a smart use of resources. The Braves go to great lengths to secure financially-advantageous contracts by locking up their young stars. It’s a smart strategy that benefits both those young stars (ex Albies) and the team

2:49
Ben Clemens: Backing that up by not paying the best Brave of the last decade is just wasting all the good work they’ve done with the other deals

2:50
1947: Especially considering Judge himself (and Bonds) wouldn’t have been allowed to play

2:50
Ben Clemens: Oh, missed the first part of this one, it jumped up the queue somewhere, but yeah, I just don’t care about old records that much aside from being like ‘man that guy was great at baseball’

2:50
Ben Clemens: Baseball does lend itself to across-era comparisons because relative to other sports the game hasn’t changed

2:51
Ben Clemens: But I think when you’re getting that far back, it’s just not noteworthy.  I’m doing a story about an all-time record that should run Wednesday. It’s an all-time record you’ve never heard of. And it was actually topped in 1908 and I just do. not. care.

2:51
1947: (I said as a Black fan that’s where it really starts for me, too)

2:51
Ben Clemens: Thanks!

2:51
Broken Bat: thanks for responding to earlier question. Is there a site where “ release” times for pitchers is listed? I know the difference in just observing Thor vs. Ohtani in stretch to plate by visual, but is this “ time”:listed somewhere?

2:52
Ben Clemens: I’ve never seen them anywhere publicly. I just ask people if someone looks noteworthily fast or slow. But hm, I’ll see if I can find them somewhere

2:52
Silly Dan McGraw: In the 2005 ALCS, White Sox starting pitchers pitched a combined 44 1/3 innings out of a possible 45.  That will never be seen again

2:52
Ben Clemens: Whoa. That’s…

2:52
Ben Clemens: That wasn’t even that long ago. Yeah, never happening again

2:53
Guest: Why do you think arm strength data is not publicly available?

2:54
Ben Clemens: Oh, like throwing arm? I dunno, b/c MLB likes to keep that stuff for themselves so they can have cool things to write about that no one else can. I’m totally cool with that, fwiw; it doesn’t really detract from my ability to analyze baseball, there’s so much other stuff, and I don’t begrudge them having some wowie stats to break out

2:54
Ben Clemens: There’s no rule that they have to make everything public, I think they do a good job adding to the public record without just saying here’s the raw statcast data file, terabytes per game, go nuts

2:54
James: Can we talk about how Jose Altuve has basically rebranded as a dead-pull power guy and is having a top-5 offensive season? How long will that be sustainable for him given his physical limitations?

2:55
Ben Clemens: Yeah, Altuve going full Marcus Semien and maxing out on lift and pull is not something I expected, but it makes a ton of sense

2:56
Ben Clemens: He plays in the right park for it, and his raw power is definitely on the decline (no shade there, he’s 5’6″ and 32)

2:56
Ben Clemens: I think it’s a great way to compensate, and he has the phenomenal bat-to-ball skills to make up for the whiffs by making contact with two strikes

2:57
Ben Clemens: A worse player might try this and explode their strikeout rate. Altuve’s increased from a career 12.1% (lol) to a still-sterling 15.1%. Excellent adjustment by a future hall of famer imo

2:57
Guest: But aren’t runs prevented by a strong throwing arm missing when using defensive metrics like OAA? Maybe they’ll do it once they figure out how to incorporate them?

2:57
Ben Clemens: We just use UZR’s arm component for htat

2:58
Ben Clemens: you don’t actually need arm strength. Just coordinates of where the ball was caught (which is already in the Statcast data), and what the runners did afterwards

2:58
Ben Clemens: We could all do that if we were modeling geniuses (I’m not, maybe you are). UZR and DRS do a pretty similar thing without the secret sauce Statcast stuff

2:59
MikeD: Second try on this as I hit send before I finished typing.  Shouldn’t the Angels, or Ohtani’s future team, consider playing him in the OF 30-50 games so as to not lock up the DH spot? Full-time DH’s are restrictive in today’s game.

2:59
Ben Clemens: Mmm, I think it depends on team composition, but I’m not convinced. The Astros don’t seem worse for having a Yordan/Brantley platoon more or less in DH/LF for the year. Ohtani still gets some rest days. I think the idea of over-taxing Ohtani (probably the most taxed player in baseball) to save some rest on other guys is probably not a great one

3:00
RJD: Judge’s season is bonkers, on pace to get over 11 f/WAR, only 13 players have ever done that. Currently at 210 wRC+, maintains would be the 11th player to do it, oh and he is going to be the 6th player ever in the 60 hr club; plus a shot at the triple crown. Think Brian Cashman regrets telling the world the contract offer?

3:00
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that one turned sideways on him in a hurry

3:00
Ben Clemens: I am really unsure what Judge is gonna get, my opinion on it has changed since Friday even

3:01
Ben Clemens: But I think he’s gonna set an AAV record for position players, and that he’ll get at least 7 years

3:01
Ben Clemens: Sorry, Brian

3:01
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Apparently FG has Pedro’s ’99 season at 11.6 WAR (lost to Ivan Rodriguez). You make a fine case for Judge over Ohtani that I agree with, but I think your analogous Pedro vs Ohtani comparison would be pretty cool, since comparing pitcher value can be trickier than for hitters.
That’d be a fun article, actually. “Why I have Judge over Ohtani, and Why I’d Take Ohtani over Pedro.”

3:01
Ben Clemens: My counterargument there is that Pudge was the second-best season that year

3:01
Ben Clemens: I don’t mean best second-place MVP finish

3:01
Ben Clemens: I mean best second-best player

3:01
Ben Clemens: Pedro was the best player in baseball that year, whether or not voters agreed

3:02
Hawk: For fun, which of the current wildcard teams (let’s not count the Braves/Mets, league of their own) do you think has the best chance at making a WS run?

3:03
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna disagree with our odds here, which have it as pretty squarely the Jays, and take the Guardians (who kind of fit what you’re talking about even if they aren’t actually a WC team)

3:03
Ben Clemens: Not that I think they’re likely to. But I think that their team construction is such that you could see them spiking a few leads and just going Stephan, Karinchak, Clase, handshake line

3:04
Ben Clemens: I think it’ll be an uphill climb! The offense will struggle, likely, as they have for the most part this year. I just like hte volatility basically

3:05
Ben Clemens: (they’re scoring 4.15 runs per game, which will be the lowest among playoff teams unless the Mariners fall below them)

3:05
Charlie’s Mom: This Brewers season turned into a bummer. What do you see as their direction this off-season?

3:05
Ben Clemens: It really did. It’s obviously easy to say in retrospect, but the trade deadline was a real turning point

3:06
Ben Clemens: I thikn that this offseason, they’ll try to reload on offense without really retrenching yet again

3:07
Ben Clemens: The next Andrew McCutchen will be…. let’s say Michael Conforto and Jurickson Profar, both

3:07
7/294: AAV is 42.

3:07
Ben Clemens: That’s higher than I’m forecasting but look, I’m just doing educated guesswork

3:07
goat: 1975 Joe Morgan is pretty tough to beat

3:07
Ben Clemens: This is a good one

3:08
Guest: Re Arm strength, I remember watching a game (probably on MLB network) where they rated the Yankees outfield by arm strength (green light for poor arm to run against red light for good arm to avoid running against) they gave the velocity of throws and percentile rank for each of the three (I assume it was maximum throw velocity rather than average

3:08
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that’s the Yankees broadcast I think? It’s really cool

3:08
Ben Clemens: My understanding is that it’s average velocity of competitive throws or something like that? I really like it though

3:08
Joe: Do you think the league would be better off with more publicly traded owners? It seems like Liberty is really committed to winning. Would other corporations?

3:09
Ben Clemens: Publicly traded corporations don’t exactly have a banner record of being great for their employees, but yes, I do. I think that there are enough teams that are run by people that have both no vision and a parochial view of the world that the benefits would outweigh the costs

3:09
MikeD: Re: Ohtani playing the field. The difference is most full-time DH’s are bad fielders.  Ohtani could add plus value defensively, even if it’s for 30 games, while providing additional roster value. They’d have to limit his OF work around his pitching.

3:09
Ben Clemens: That’s fair, I just think the upgrade wouldn’t be big enough. If he wants to do it, and he really thinks he can, I’d say maybe

3:10
Ben Clemens: But he just has SO much on his shoulders already

3:10
Tel: Do you think you might lost out on some article (i.e. the Framber article) because you have so many ideas and are such a prolific writer.  You are already on the front page 3 times to Justin’s none (though to be fair one is the chat and the other is just the update to Judge’s home run odds.)

3:10
Ben Clemens: Good news: there’s a lot of baseball to write about

3:10
Ben Clemens: I’ve never really felt scooped on a story here, except for the one time I went on vaca and came back to write about position players pitching, only to remember that Jay does a better job of covering that and had also written about it just the previous week

3:11
Ohtani: Where am I playing in 2024?

3:11
Ben Clemens: Seattle or San Francisco (San Francisco, pls! I’d go to so many games, Giants, and I’d pay full freight instead of going to the press box. Just get Ohtani for my viewing pleasure)

3:11
Todd: Pujols career post-30 seems like it would just break projection systems. He puts up a 77wrc+ at 36, then remarkably remains steady for about 5 years, till he “breaks out” again at 42. Just nuts

3:12
Ben Clemens: Stray comment from earlier, but totally!

3:12
Ben Clemens: This year is baffling from a projection standpoint. Always remember the key rule that projections are always wrong

3:12
Ben Clemens: specific projections, rather

3:12
Ben Clemens: like, the most common case by FAR is that they overestimate or underestimate by a decent margin

3:12
Ben Clemens: but they’re unbiased, in general, which is good

3:13
Judge’s 2023 projections: …have to take into account a 1 war (in 28 games), 5 war, and 10 war season

3:13
Ben Clemens: Yeah, this basically

3:13
Jack: What is it about Bellinger you think has made him seemingly unfixable? Justin Turner and Max Muncy are both examples of guys the Dodgers could do some kind of magic on to fix, but with Belli…are there any indicators of what is going on?

3:14
Ben Clemens: Great question. I really don’t know the answer. I think some of it might be that the fix already happened, and that was Bellinger going off in ’19, some of it might be the injury, and some of it might just be that he’s more a true-talent 110 wRC+ guy than 130

3:15
Ben Clemens: I remember thinking it was bizarre and impressive that he slashed his strikeout rate so much while also hitting for MORE power with a lofted-looking swing

3:15
KMart: How much WAR does an indivdual game like Yordan’s 4-4, 3 HR game this weekend add?

3:16
Ben Clemens: Nearly a win, like .8 or so I think. Don’t have a game-by-game breakdown handy but there’s an awesome Sam Miller article about Trout game-by-game

3:16
Ben Clemens: LOVE this story

3:16
MikeD: Judge breaking the AL-record on Apple TV this Friday would be bad for MLB.

3:16
Ben Clemens: omg I cannot WAIT for the homer probabilities on that one

3:17
Ben Clemens: If they don’t show home run probability for him every time up, I’m gonna be furious

3:17
HappyFunBall: As a Nats fan I want no part of either Sano or Haniger. If those are the choices, I’d rather resign Meneses for far fewer dollars

3:17
Ben Clemens: Well Meneses too!

3:17
Ben Clemens: Isn’t he pre-arb?

3:17
Ben Clemens: yeah, he is. I just think they’ll look for interesting young-ish hitters who could maybe rebuild their value in DC

3:17
John: Have you found some way to explain analytics to someone who likes traditional baseball stats but is not math-oriented and ‘doesn’t get it’?

3:18
Ben Clemens: It’s something I try to do a lot and generally struggle with

3:18
Ben Clemens: I’ve had good success explaining OPS+ or wRC+, the 100 scale is really nice

3:18
Ben Clemens: I’ve had success explaining the idea of FIP, and I generally don’t get into the specifics of how it’s calculated

3:19
Ben Clemens: Just, think about the outcomes that the pitcher has the most control over, when you’re watching a game: it’s the K’s, BB’s, and HR’s

3:19
Ben Clemens: I think the key is to either use things that are scaled to 100 (this guy is 23% above average, easy) or just not use numbers at all

3:19
Ben Clemens: No one’s expecting someone who is not math-oriented and ‘doesn’t get it’ to learn about spin axis deviation or whatever in one sitting

3:20
Ben Clemens: Just keep it simple. The core concept of baseball analysis, for me, is ‘focus on what matters’

3:20
Brewers Fan: Do you think the Brewers have been underperforming their true talent level or are they just this mediocre?

3:21
Ben Clemens: Preseason, we projected them for 89.6 wins. Now, we project them for 86.8 and they’ve traded away good players and had a few injury issues

3:21
Ben Clemens: Seems like they are what we thought they were (and the Cardinals did not let them off the hook)

3:22
Ben Clemens: On that Denny Green note (if you want to crown Aaron Judge, then crown him), I’m gonna call it a day

3:23
Ben Clemens: Thank you for the huge batch of excellent questions, and I’ll talk to you all again next week. Have a great day





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

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montrealmember
8 days ago

Great chat. It disturbs me that some people would vote for Ohtani as MVP. Aaron Judge should win in a landslide. He is twice the hitter Ohtani is. And while Ohtani is an excellent pitcher, Aaron Judge is an excellent fielder while Ohtani never plays defensively. And of course Judge led the Yankees to 1st place while Ohtani led the Angels to nothing. I know Aaron Judge will win MVP but I have a hard time accepting that Ohtani will get a decent amount of votes. All Rise !! The Judge has spoken.

Albymember
7 days ago
Reply to  montreal

Pitchers field their position, and pitching itself is a huge part of what we generally call defense. Ohtani will finish second, deservedly so, and will do so by getting mostly 2nd-place votes. Learn to accept what you have a hard time accepting.