Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 1/23/2020

Craig Edwards: Got a lot of good questions so far, so let’s get things rolling.

Beltran’s Mole: Luis Rojas seems like a great manager hire, does he make more sense than Beltran?

Craig Edwards: He makes a lot more sense than Beltran given he has managerial experience. To me, that matters a lot, no matter what level it is.

russ: Christian Pache or Dylan Carlson?

Craig Edwards: Offensively, I’d take Carlson. Overall, it’s hard to pass up a potential gold glove center fielder who might hit at some point.

DJ Tanner: Nick Solak is projected for more WAR than half the guys starting for the Rangers in your write up. Why does it seem teams are so keen to keep rookies out of the starting lineup instead of hoping to build for the future? Seems like Solak would be an immediate upgrade somewhere. Or is it strictly money driven decision?

Craig Edwards: I think there is a lot of playing time available to Solak even if he isn’t a starter at any one position. In our estimates, Solak is getting more than 400 PA, but they are spread out between different positions. That might be a better use of him given the potential downside of the starters. If he plays well, he’ll get to keep playing and it won’t be an issue.

Craig Edwards: Here’s the current depth charts we are estimating for playing time:

Craig Edwards: Here’s the article I wrote on the Rangers:

Craig Edwards: I probably should have mentioned it in the piece, but one point of clarification: Joey Gallo isn’t projected for 2.2 WAR, it’s 3.4, but at the position where we project him to get the most playing time, the position nets the Rangers 2.2 wins.

DJ: I’ve been trying to get this question answered on Betts value vs. Machado’s from 2 yrs ago. Forget the ask, realistically Betts can’t be significantly more. 1 Top 50 prospect & some upsiders?

Craig Edwards: I think Betts’ status as a better hitter helps some, but we have to remember that Machado was an average hitter in 2017 when the Orioles might have been trying to trade him.  That said, I think one top-50 guy i.e. 55 FV or higher is fair for one season of Betts with some other guys thrown in because a 1-1 isn’t common. I think it might be preferable to get two guys in the 50-100 range just to spread things out. I also think Boston should just keep him.

Pache: Hey, don’t sell my offensive growth short. I put up a 134 wRC+ at AA as a 20 year old, while increasing my ISO close to .200 in a huge pitcher’s park. Sure, I struggled at first when I got to AAA for a 26 game stint, but I lit it up for the last 15 games, good for a 134 wRC+ .

Craig Edwards: I don’t think it selling Pache’s offense short when comparing him to Carlson. It’s just that the two players are the same age, but Carlson is a switch hitter who was a little better in Double-A and way better in Triple-A.

What if….: So the Mets fire Beltran to avoid getting all wrapped up in the banging scheme mess. This is understandable. But assuming Beltran is not at risk of getting a formal suspension, why don’t the Astros just lean in & hire Carlos? They’re already going to be ‘wrapped up in this’ regardless. How much worse would hiring Beltran make it?

Craig Edwards: This assumes that Beltran is the best manager available. Also, the Astros do not want to lean in to this at all.

L. Scott: The 3 batter minimum rule is ridiculous. It directly affects how the game is managed.  The ripple effect also involves messing with pitcher’s ERAs.  A reliever has to face 3 batters with the bases loaded, but if he walks the 1st batter on 4 pitches he has to stay in and continue to fail?  Now that SP has 3 ER against him that may not have happened if the RP was removed after that one batter.  I cannot believe this was approved.    If the goal is to speed up the game, how about stopping batters from stepping out of the box for 30 seconds after each pitch?

Craig Edwards: I agree except I don’t care as much about the ER part of it.

Guest: TB
H: based on the numbers, I’m surprised there isn’t even one article arguing that, in fact, Walker is a lot closer to be the shoe-in for HOF that everyone seems to take for granted w/ Jeter. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jeter was good (especially when it mattered), but that has a bit to do with who and what teams he was lucky enough to play for. It’s just strange that, even writers I respect, haven’t been alluding to this fact. Instead it’s all no-brainer for Jeter, and more of a feel-good that Walker got in. I mean, they think he deserves no doubt, but there’s this air that Walker isn’t even close to the air that Jeter breathes. It’s strange.

Craig Edwards: You aren’t necessarily wrong, but other than getting into an unnecessary argument, there isn’t much point to it. Jeter has a lot more going for him than Walker did and doing an article saying they are the same doesn’t really push forward the conversation. Larry Walker was great and deserving of the Hall of Fame whether he put up those numbers in Colorado or the bottom of the ocean. That’s a much more important conversation to have, especially now that the ballot is clear enough where we don’t really have to do exclude worthy players.

GRB: StL had no intent of signing Ozuna?

Craig Edwards: The contract certainly seems to indicate that was the case.

Craig Edwards: We heard for a long time the Cardinals were waiting for the price to come down. It came down really far and they didn’t get him.

BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Mets get Royce Lewis and Alex Kiriloff, Twins get Thor.  Everybody wins?

Craig Edwards: The Mets are trying to win. If they are out of it at the halfway point, a Syndergaard trade makes a lot of sense as do the Twins as trading partners.

Dog mutton: Craig, what can you tell me about the defensive metrics used to evaluate Omar Visquel?  Is there really enough info available to evaluate this statistically?

Craig Edwards: He spent half his career in the UZR/DRS era and half outside of it. In the UZR/DRS portion he was about 50 runs above average in both and that’s about 1/3 of his career. In the earlier part of his career, with total zone, which is a little less precise, he was 80 runs above average. If you want to assume that UZR/DRS is a better measure and that Vizquel aged normally, you could add maybe 50 runs or so to his early career totals. That still doesn’t get him close to Ozzie Smith, who you might also want to bump up his totals if you assume that great defensive players were a bit shorted on the extremes.

Craig Edwards: The problem with Vizquel’s candidacy isn’t his defense. It’s his offense. Vizquel had a career 83 wRC+ and didn’t contribute on the bases due to being caught stealing too often. That’s really, really bad. If you want to look at surface numbers, you can say he was roughly as good as Ozzie Smith. If you want to actually look at offensive contributions, he’s about 160 runs behind. We can’t just handwave away is awful offense. I wrote about that a bit a few years ago.…

Kurupt FM: Is oatmeal a stew?

Craig Edwards: More of a chili

Sodo Mojo: What do you think the Mariners could get in return for Seager if they picked up half of his remaining contract and would it be worth it for them to do it?

Craig Edwards: Hard to say right now with Bryant and Arenado still maybe out there. If they pick up half his deal, you are getting a slightly above average player at 2/19. If you could get a back-end top 100 guy or a couple guys in the next couple hundred prospects, I think that would probably be worth it. I doubt that deal is available right now, though. Probably a better trade candidate in July to make sure he doesn’t go back to 2018 levels again.

robert: Any reason to think Andrew Miller will be better this year, or will the decline continue?

Craig Edwards: I don’t think it is too far-fetched to think he’ll go lower than 11 homers and when you only pitch 60 innings, that will have a significant effect on his FIP and might put both FIP and ERA around 4.

LOL Mets Fans: Can someone tell Mets fans that they arent going to get Royce Lewis and Alex Kiriloff for Thor. I feel you breezed by the insanity of the trade premise.

Craig Edwards: yes. that trade doesn’t work.

Cito’s Mustache: Re: 3 hitter minimum.. managers will want to avoid relievers who “just don’t have it” that day even more now than in the past. So I think we’ll see more relievers come in to start an inning vs in the middle of one with men on base, in order to give them the best chance at success. A consequence of this could be that starting pitchers are pulled a batter or two earlier and IP totals go down even more than they already have. Agree/disagree?

Craig Edwards: It goes both ways, though, as managers might want to leave in a starter rather than bring in a guy they need for three hitters. The interesting move is going to be the gamble with two outs and you want to bring in a guy for one batter to end the inning. Do you still do it knowing if the batter gets on, the pitcher has to keep going?

ATL : What should Braves fans expect payroll to be at to start the season?

Craig Edwards: We currently have it at $158 million.

Craig Edwards: That’s probably just above average at about where the Braves will be for the foreseeable future given their ownership.

Joe: Are the Reds really contenders in the NL Central?  They added a few pieces, Akiyama/Moustakas/Miley, but I really can’t see those players causing them to make that big of a jump in the standings.

Craig Edwards: Absolutely. On paper they are right there with the Cardinals and Brewers. They should have a good bullpen to go along with their very good rotation and that will give them the opportunity to be even better than they look in the Depth Charts. Would we be saying the same thing if the rest of the division hadn’t sat around all offseason with the Cubs still with the possibility of trying to get worse? Maybe not, but the Reds look like a low-80-win team and if you get there, you’ve got a shot to be better than that and make the playoffs.

robert: Who locks down LF for STL (at least until Carlson is ready): Thomas or Hunky O’Neil?

Craig Edwards: I don’t agree with your nickname for Tyler O’Neill but I do think he’ll get a long look in left field. With Arozarena’s departure, Thomas should get a real shot as fourth outfielder and that might get him a bunch of playing time.

Dave C: What is a fair offer for Marte from the Mets perspective?  Andres Giminez and Dom Smith and a rookie ball flyer.  Too much or too little?

Craig Edwards: Value-wise that makes sense but I don’t know what the Pirates would do with Dom Smith.

Topps: Who are your picks for ROY in the AL&NL

Craig Edwards: Let’s get to spring training at least.

Altuve: Altuve, unless he lasts until he’s 42, is likely to be more borderline than inner circle HOF (if he even lasts that long, of course; 30s are where it is). This scandal might be rough for his legacy.

Craig Edwards: If Altuve gets to borderline Hall status and puts up another 30 wins after his 30th birthday, I don’t think the scandal is going to stick. Second base is in a weird spot right now. I think Utley is deserving and Cano with a few more good years will be, too, depending on your PED perspective. Then you have Pedroia, Kinsler, and Zobrist who are all in the Hall of Very good area. Altuve’s MVP is going to help him out a lot assuming he ages well.

Welp: Does Piscotty bounce back this year?

Craig Edwards: He should be better than last year. He’s still only 29 and a year removed from a good offensive season.

Johnny5Alive: although I think giminez and smith is too much for marte, with 1 year of control, who can’t play center, now tell me a package from the mets for arenado!

Craig Edwards: Marte can still play center and he has a 2021 option so there’s two years remaining. I don’t see how the Mets are going to accommodate Arenado’s $35 million salary. The Mets would need to include Alonso to get the Rockies to pay down enough salary that the Mets would actually get ownership approval. That’s a long way of saying it’s not happening.

Johnny5Alive: why didn’t kent get more traction for the HOF? 56 war is good, all time HR leader, MVP award.  Is it his attitude? too many different teams?

Craig Edwards: 56 WAR isn’t that good. The two retired guys directly above him in WAR over the last 50 years are Fred McGriff and Robin Ventura and the two guys below him are Lance Berkman an Ron Cey. It’s mostly a group of guys who just weren’t good enough for the Hall. Without the mystique of Vlad or a lot of angry old support like Jim Rice, Kent’s case just isn’t that great.

Mr. Burrito: I see a lot about how the Dodgers and Cubs match up well for a Bryant trade. I don’t see it (though I think Bryant is very good)…. What am I missing?

Craig Edwards: The Dodgers just have a lot of excess and Bryant is really good. LA can afford to give up players other teams might not be able to. Add in LA being way below spending capacity and a match does make sense.

Nick: Any chance the Cardinals give someone like John Gant or Austin Gomber a chance at the 5th spot in the rotation over Kim or Wainwright?

Craig Edwards: No. Gant had that opportunity last year and was beat out by Hudson. They’ll let Wainwright start unless it is obvious he’s done and Gomber hasn’t done enough to show he’s ready. Kim would seem to be the first guy up should somebody get hurt in Spring Training.

Joe: What’s your take on David Ortiz’s upcoming HoF candidacy? I really can’t support him, he just wasn’t good enough

Craig Edwards: I think it depends on how you view postseason numbers. He falls a little short in the WAR department, but also put up essentially two full wins in the playoffs. How much credit you give those or if you want to use a multiplier gets him pretty close. It’s a tough call.

Cooper: Before the 2017 season, the Mariners traded Marte and Walker to the Diamondbacks for Haniger and Segura.  Given all that has happened since then (Marte’s breakout and extension; Segura’s trade to Philadelphia; Walker’s injury history; Haniger’s own injury history, etc.), how would you assess the trade?

Craig Edwards: Sometimes it boils down to who gets the best player, and given that, it’s hard not to see Arizona on top with Marte.

Foolsgold: 3 years from now, Dodgers SS will be….. Seager, Lux or Downs?

Craig Edwards: Lindor?

Paul: Any chance the Cardinals start Thomas and O’Neill in the Corners and make Fowler the 4th outfielder? Doesn’t make sense to start an older declining player ahead of two younger guys with more potential upside.  Also any chance Fowler waives the No Trade Clause if Carlson starts tearing up AAA and gets called up?

Craig Edwards: The Cardinals had better outfielders last year and Fowler got 574 PA. I think it would take a lot to get Fowler out of a starting role. If the Cardinals were out of it and Fowler was playing well, I could see him waiving his no-trade clause, but that seems like a pretty far-fetched scenario. If Fowler is about to lose his job, a Fowler trade seems like a pretty tough one to make.

Christian: Is the post 2021 FA class of shortstops (Baez, Story, Lindor, Correa, Seager) the best single class of a FAs at a given position in MLB history?

Craig Edwards: Maybe, though it will be interesting to see if they are all still shortstops in two years.

Craig Edwards: That is going to do it for today. Thanks for all the questions.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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