Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 2/20/2020 by Craig Edwards February 20, 2020 2:04 Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling. Busy day for me, here. I wrote about dead money on payrolls. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/dead-money-on-2020-mlb-team-payrolls/ 2:04 Craig Edwards: and Kris Bryant as a leadoff hitter: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/kris-bryant-leadoff-hitter/ 2:04 Craig Edwards: Busy week actually. Yesterday, all MLB payrolls: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mlb-team-payrolls-as-spring-training-begin… 2:05 Craig Edwards: John Henry’s press conference: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/john-henry-said-what/ 2:05 Craig Edwards: and Kris Bryant’s trade value. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/examining-kris-bryants-trade-value/ 2:05 scully’s silky sound: though mlb sent out preemptive memos about throwing at batters, etc…. whats to stop a pitcher from throwing at hitters in spring training? exhibition games seem like the best time to enact revenge if I’m a particularly mean and cruel pitcher 2:06 Craig Edwards: I think that might be true for like a longstanding thing (to be clear, I think throwing at batters on purpose is terrible), but I don’t think pitchers will want to risk missing Opening Day and the beginning of the season. It’s still a pretty cool think to be involved in. 2:06 Craig: Which of the MIA starters breaks out this year? Smith, Alcantara, Lopez, Yamomoto, Elieser Hernandez? Can Smith do it for a full season? 2:09 Craig Edwards: Breaks out? Probably none of them. Until I see Smith go all season, I don’t think I’ll believe it. I do think both Alcantara and Lopez can take steps forward. Yamomoto and Hernandez are theoreticallyin a good park for their skills so it will be interesting to see if they can get better results. 2:09 Craig: Which Goldschmidt do we get this year – last year, two years ago or some version in between? 2:11 Craig Edwards: Depth charts says 121 wRC+ which is just slightly better than last year. I would go over on that and say 130 seems like a reasonable bounce back. Getting back over 140 at 32 years old seems like a reach, though that’s what Matt Carpenter did two years ago. 2:11 Tel: Why is it that JD Martinez’ comments about how he doesn’t want replay removed from the clubhouse are being taken as evidence some players are not mad about the Astros sign stealing? (Seen that mentioned in a couple of articles.) Last I checked he joined the Red Sox in 2018, the year they are being investigated for. Seems like he has a vested interest in downplaying the need to do something to stop electronic sign stealing. 2:12 Craig Edwards: I think a lot of players are heavily reliant on looking at video in games and it seems reasonable that there would be some pushback on limiting that, having nothing to do with the cheating scandal. 2:13 Jerome: Projected Standings have the Red Sox at 89 Wins with a Total Team WAR of 41.6. The A’s are projected at 86 wins with a Total Team WAR of 45.3. Is that level of schedule imbalance normal? Is it more the AL East getting the cakewalk schedule or the AL West getting a meatgrinder schedule? 2:14 Craig Edwards: It’s not just the schedule. There are probably certain team imbalances that might hurt in simulations that don’t show up when adding WAR. 2:15 Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Typo in your article on Bryant: the last paragraph begins with “Against left-handed batters,” but I think you meant “pitchers.” 2:15 Craig Edwards: Thanks. fixed. 2:16 Craig Edwards: Also apologies if my answers come out a little slow. I’m eating a burrito. 2:16 Dan: Not really a question unless you type much faster than I expect but I’d love to see a lost of players who would cost their teams the most by being injured due to difference between talent of their replacement for each team. 2:17 Craig Edwards: I think that would mostly just be a list of the top-20 players in the game with slight edge to starting pitchers. It would be interesting to find out which players with say a max of 3.5 wins or something who are actually the most valuable because the replacement was really bad. 2:17 Jerome: Do you think there will be any major moves made before the beginning of the season? I would define major as any move involving a 2+ win player. 2:18 Overbearing Padre: You think the Padres have one more big trade before Opening Day? 2:19 Craig Edwards: I think another big move is unlikely for any team given we are now into spring training, but if Bryant is being shopped, that is going to hang out there for a while. 2:19 Mac: What is Franco’s prospect value? Your original piece went only to 70FV 2:21 Craig Edwards: The sample size is prohibitive when it comes to doing a study like that, but I could see it being somewhere in the $150 million range, maybe more. We don’t really have a real life scenario to compare. 2:22 brad penny for your thoughts: is a burrito a sandwich? 2:22 Craig Edwards: No. 2:22 Brian CashGod: Severino dealing with continued arm soreness, Paxton is already on the DL for a couple of months, and Judge isn’t taking swings right now because of a shoulder injury – maybe the Yankees should just skip spring training this year? 2:22 Craig Edwards: Maybe the Red Sox shouldn’t have given up on the division. 2:23 Kevin: Knowing how Tampa operates, and fit being of paramount importance, would it be utterly crazy for Tampa to consider offers for Wander now? Maybe he will sign a Longoria type deal, but feels unlikely. Wouldn’t you reasonably be able to get a Mackenzie Gore & Patino + return right now? 2:24 Craig Edwards: They kept Price almost to the end and had their most successful run of wins in their brief history. The value they should get from Franco on the field over the next six+ seasons is likely better than any deal they could make. 2:25 Logan: More innings this year: Mikolas or Paxton? 2:25 Craig Edwards: oh geez. I’ll say Paxton. His prognosis seems less serious, potentially. 2:25 WIll: Given Bryant will now bat 1st, do you think that Ross will consider batting the pitcher 8th and stick Happ(?) in the 9th spot allowing Bryant to drive in some runs? 2:25 Craig Edwards: I think that would be a good idea, given the lineup is going to be very top heavy. 2:26 Beeks: Thoughts on the Brewers’ offseason? Doesn’t feel like they did enough considering a very winnable devision. Also feels like they are wasting prime Yelich years. 2:28 Craig Edwards: I’m not sure about wasting Yelich given they’ve made it to the playoffs both seasons. They did enough to stay contenders, but they are going to need the back end of their rotation to come up with a surprise or two and get something from 1B/3B/RF. They might pull it off given they are throwing a lot of bodies at the situation, but it could nosedive quickly, too. 2:29 The Godfather: Most impact this year? Nate Pearson or Alex Reyes? 2:30 Craig Edwards: It’s the time of year to get excited about Alex Reyes, but anything he provides is a bonus, so you have to go Pearson. 2:30 Lindor: With 2 pitchers injured will I now be traded? 2:30 Craig Edwards: The more out of the playoffs they are, the more likely a Lindor trade becomes. 2:31 Guest: Puig contract terms guess? 1/$10m pillow at this point? 2:33 Craig Edwards: Seems like that would have happened by now. I’m not sure what his market is. Basically any team without a sure starter should be happy to throw $8 million or so and hope that he has a good year and can trade him at the deadline. 2:33 Bob Welch: Can the Padres challenge my Dodgers for the division this year? 2:33 Craig Edwards: Maybe 2021. Betts deal made it very unlikely for this season. 2:34 Norm: What do you think the chances are Corbin Burnes bounces back from a disastrous 2019 and becomes at least a serviceable starter? 2:34 Craig Edwards: There’s a decent chance. I really liked him heading into the 2019 season, so presumably most of what I liked is still there. 2:35 Depressed Dodgers Fan: Why would we think of dealing Angel Pages after seeing how the Yordan Alvarez deal worked out? Along with Stripling and Pederson for an average middle infielder prospect! 2:36 Craig Edwards: I don’t think we know the full deal, but it did seem like a pretty good deal for the Angels. I don’t think Alvarez has too much bearing here. Not all big dudes with power succeed. 2:36 The Bomb Yo: Does Alec Bohm make an impact for Philly this year? 2:36 Craig Edwards: Not sure about an impact, but I imagine he’ll play. 2:36 ManBearPuig: MLB to players……Cheaters don’t get punished, but those who retaliate against cheaters? We’ll punish the heck out of you! What a message to send to today’s youth. Manfred and his PR team are an absolute dumpster fire! 2:37 Craig Edwards: If bigger penalties for throwing at players is actually the result of the cheating scandal, well…silver linings, etc. 2:38 Mr. Fister: Joe Maddon is the most overrated manager in MLB history! Fight me! 2:38 Craig Edwards: Maddon was a good manager. Not sure how he’s rated. A lot of managers make it to the Hall of Fame and he’ll probably be one of them. 2:39 Kevin: What’s a reasonable sample size for you to make judgments, worry about a players profile? JD Martinez hit 272/344/449 in 460 ABs last year against righties, a signifcant drop YoY from ’18. He mashed lefties. Anything to consider here, SSS, random noise? 2:41 Craig Edwards: Given that he was much better against lefties than the year before, I wouldn’t put too much stock in it. The 139 wRC+ overall is the number I’d be looking at. That’s probably a pretty good indication of where his talent it. 2:42 Mathenaging: I’m an overrated leader of men. 2:42 Craig Edwards: I think you are pretty properly rated. 2:43 Jacob: What do you think of the Rays offense this year? It seems as though they are doing a lot of platooning and emohasizing outfield defense (margot, renfroe) do you think these conecpts will suceed? 2:45 Craig Edwards: It was a little above average last year and they moved Pham. They should still be good running the bases, but they are still going to need to win with pitching and defense. 2:47 Managers in HOF: Do you think they deserve it, though? Obvoiusly we can’t really quantify their impact. 2:48 Craig Edwards: That’s one of those things I’m just not going to get worked up about in part because quantifying their work is so hard. 2:48 ManBearPuig: I don’t see bigger penalties for throwing at players as a silver lining. Head-hunting? Well yeah, but throwing at a guy’s back or butt for being a cheat or a total douche is completely fine by me. 2:48 Craig Edwards: It’s not fine with me. It’s dangerous. Throws to the back and butt can end up other places. 2:48 Carney Lansford: We don’t cheat, so the A’s should seriously push HOU this year. We’ve got some serious power, but will Puk/Lazardo be enough to hold up the back end of the rotation? Is Fiers the ace? 2:50 Craig Edwards: I think the Astros still have too much talent to blow things absent a big injury to the rotation, but watching Puk and Luzardo could make for an exciting summer. I don’t think I’d call Fiers an ace under any circumstances. In terms of their best pitcher, we’ll see who steps up during the season. 2:51 Drunk Vince Coleman: What is more likely: The Red Sox get a wild card or the NL East doesn’t get any wild cards? 2:51 Craig Edwards: The playoff odds, which are now live: https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds 2:52 Craig Edwards: say Red Sox getting wild card. 2:52 Big Joe Mufferaw: Why is Manfred seemingly going OUT OF HIS WAY to support the Astros? Holding press conferences to defend his stance, standing side by side with them in the report (that everyone thinks was bogus) and protecting them against HBP? 2:52 Craig Edwards: He’s defending what he did, and that means defending his Astros punishment. 2:53 Sox Fan: Handicap the field. Top 3 destinations for Mookie next year are 1,2,3? 2:53 Craig Edwards: No idea, but I’ll say Dodgers, Giants, Rangers 2:54 Pong: You a Brandon Woodruff believer? How many innings do you think he pitches this year and where does his ERA settle? (fantasy question of course) 2:54 Craig Edwards: 150, 3.7 2:54 Big Joe Mufferaw: Re: Red Sox shouldn’t have given up. Severino made 3 starts last year, Paxton and judge spent significant time on DL and they still won 103 games. Nothing new to see and all they need is not another 27 guys to hit the DL like last year. 2:55 Craig Edwards: Except they didn’t miss the guys on the DL because they got completely unexpected performances from the replacements. The Yankees are probably still a 100-win team, but injuries happen and sometimes the replacements aren’t so good. 2:55 Fresh Basil: More exciting youngsters this year? ChiSox or Blue Jay’s? 2:57 Craig Edwards: I’ll go White Sox because of volume. Still very interested to see what Vlad Jr. will do, but Eloy, Robert, Madrigal, plus Moncada if he’s still young at 24 plus Kopech, Giolito, Lopez on the pitching side. That’s overwhelming in terms of excitement. 2:58 Kevin: I am sorry but the hatred for Manfred is misplaced. He directly got 2 guys fired while handing out the largest suspension in sports history not tied to gambling, which resulted in 2 others being terminated. He cant suspend the players, the union wont let him. And he HAS to protect Astros from being baseball pinatas. Plus he gave the maximum fine possible to the Astros. What do ppl want from him? Yes he should shut his mouth, but otherwise think he made decent lemonade with crappy moldy lemons 2:58 Craig Edwards: I think they wanted him to be honest about what he knew. 2:59 Marko from Tropoja: What if anything do you make of Kershaw saying recently that this is the best he’s felt in years? 3:00 Craig Edwards: Maybe that he forgot what he used to feel like? Kershaw’s been a bit diminished since 2016, but he’s still been good since then. If he’s feeling better, that’s a good sign, but it’s hard to know what that means until he starts pitching against batters in a game. 3:01 Guest: Good burrito? 3:01 Craig Edwards: Yes. 3:01 I just became a dad: On Tuesday. That is all. It’s cool! 3:01 Craig Edwards: That’s great. Congrats. 3:01 brad: Craig, Manfred and Clark need to both be replaced, period. Question is, by Manfred saying he wont tolerate beanball retaliation, doesn’t that now give the astros an unfair advantage that any time there guys get beaned the other team has to worry about their SP getting tossed or suspended, thus making opposing SP less likely to be aggressive inside the plate? 3:01 Craig Edwards: I don’t think I need to be replaced, thank you. 3:02 Craig Edwards: I think the Astros pitchers are the ones most at risk, given that if a player on their team gets hit for any reason, if they get close to inside, they are more likely to get hit with a fine/suspension. 3:03 Oil of Zolay: Do you think this brouhaha has the potential to keep Verlander out of the HOF? There’s no possible way he didn’t know what was going on and I think it could rub a lot of voters the wrong way given his propensity to always run his mouth about others when he perceives them as not playing the right way. 3:04 Craig Edwards: I don’t think so. Only the hitters are going to live with this for too long, and all of them still have a lot of work to do to get Hall-worthy, save Beltran and I’m not sure what’s going to happen with him given he wasn’t a sure thing. 3:04 AW: Give me some hope about the Cardinals putting the correct people at third base and in the outfield. 3:05 Craig Edwards: I assume you want Matt Carpenter in both spots? The Cardinals have too many outfield possibilities that can go wrong to think there isn’t going to be some significant growing pains out there. As for third, Carpenter should get every chance to show he can rebound. He’s not awful at third and his only potential replacement is Edman, who can get plenty of playing time everywhere. 3:06 Alby: Re: Dead money article. What about Odubel Herrera and the Phillies? He’s off the 40-man roster in AAA, like Tomas and Castillo. 3:06 Craig Edwards: you are right. should have included him. 3:07 mervdiddy: The Nationals won a world series after holding on to Strasburg and Rendon in walk years, despite being just about where the Cubs and Red Sox are on the preseason win curves. Was/is that at all relevant to Red Sox or Cubs leadership, or just seen as a fluke? 3:07 Craig Edwards: I think it’s reasonable to think that where they were on the win curve wasn’t actually that important to the Red Sox. 3:08 Baby Yoda: Can we get another MiLB article about what happens if these changes actually go through? I know you don’t agree with MLB’s reasoning, but it’s their money and they’re gonna get some/most/all of what they want. So I’d love some analysis of what MiLB looks like without SS ball, etc. 3:09 Craig Edwards: You get a lot fewer players, and more players in complex ball at the spring training sites. Some players go to indy leagues, but there’s not many options there and you see more players just give up. 3:10 ManBearPuig: The Cardinals aren’t worried about defense. They care about hitting. That’s why they win so much…. 3:13 Craig Edwards: They won last year and did well in the second half of 2018 because they started caring a lot more about defense. It’s part of the reason Mike Shildt has a .571 winning percentage and his predecessor’s previous 2 and a half years were at .518 with similar talent. 3:13 matt: i think many people also wanted manfred to strip the title from the astros (note that I don’t mean award it to the dodgers, just take it away), but instead he “stood on precedent” in handling a literally unprecedented situation and then devalued the championship of his own sport by calling the trophy “a piece of metal”, so 3:16 Craig Edwards: I agree with Manfred about not stripping the title. That is sort of weird NCAA stuff that doesn’t actually do anything. The piece of metal part was obviously bad and gives the impression that he doesn’t care, and he might not. I thought the penalties were fair but given how widespread the cheating went into the front office, it is clear more needed to be done to clean house and perhaps punish the organization. A few more draft picks, firings, and international money still might not have been enough because people are angry, and they should be. The Astros cheated and not enough was done to prevent it despite multiple notices that something was happening. And that’s on Manfred. 3:18 Baby Yoda: Two whole sentences of analysis? Thanks! Somehow that’s still more than you put into 4 articles. 3:18 Craig Edwards: Thought it was the best I could do in chat format. 3:18 Craig Edwards: Anyway, that will do it for me this week. Thanks for all the questions.