Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 3/19/2020


Craig Edwards: Welcome to the chat.


Craig Edwards: Couple quick plugs. I wrote about a potentially different playoff system for this year and included a poll at the bottom we could still use some feedback on.…


Craig Edwards: and today, I wrote our daily COVID-19 roundup with updated news on its effect on baseball.


Chris: A superdraft sounds awful. People need a distraction and need the draft!!


Craig Edwards: I think it would be better to have some sort of a draft at some point. There are obviously complications with doing it now, but even without playing much this spring, there are a whole bunch of players who will be ready to start their professional careers this summer or even the fall in Arizona. If it’s just a way to save $300 million, that would be unfortunate.


Craig Edwards: A bit of news.


MLB Communications


A league-wide initiative has been announced for Minor League players to receive compensation between now and the scheduled start of the Minor League season. @MLB will continue to work with all 30 Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for compensation beyond 4/8.
19 Mar 2020


Craig Edwards: So this at least pushes the question to April 8, but we don’t yet know what the plans are after. Just going off the top of my head, my guess is we are talking about a million per team to float the minor leaguers pay through to the start of June.


jr: hey craig, thanks for doing today’s chat. couple covid-19 questions for you…first, how do you think mlb should address service time if the season is indeed shorter tahn 162 games. assuming the regular season starts july 1, how would you design your schedule?


Craig Edwards: As to the service time issue, it’s something that’s going to be pretty testy between the union and MLB. Prorating the season makes some sense, but you worry the shorter season might lead teams to make some ugly decisions. The service time and how much money is paid to players might end up with some give and take.


Craig Edwards: As to the schedule, if we are starting on July 1, we could probably get in around 90 games by late-October. I’d probably eliminate interleague play beyond four games with the team’s rival. That leaves, like 5 games in division and two out of it or 4 games in and three out?


Kyle: Do you think that a significantly shortened or even cancelled season would have more adverse effects on teams in win-now mode or be a bigger step back for rebuilding teams in need of the time for player development?


Craig Edwards: If I could choose which team I would be in a short season, I’d rather be a win-now team assuming the season gets played. If you were in rebuilding mode, getting those young players and prospects as many reps as possible is very important in getting to that next window for contention. Those reps plus the instruction missed seems worse as most win-now teams will still be able to win now or have another pretty good shot next season. Plus rebuilding teams might be out of a bunch of draft picks, too, if the draft doesn’t happen.


Sotofor2020: When the season starts, which of the three of Fedde, Voth, and Ross do you think will be the Nats 5th starter? I know Fedde has an option but the other two have to make the team I think.


Craig Edwards: Hey, a baseball question. I think all three probably make the team. Fedde does have an option and they other two do not as you noted, but it is hard to tell how that might play out. Does Fedde the starting spot because is he struggles, he can just go down to the minors? I think in the end, they’ll just choose whicheve pitcher they think is best and that will come down to Voth and Fedde. These guys might only get one or two starts in the next spring training so whoever comes ready to pitch could get the job.


HappyFunBall: I think a cancelled season is far worse for a win-now team. All those older players and walk-year contracts will be far less valuable in year n+1. A rebuilding team can figure out something for those developing guys to work on, even if they can’t have full games.


Craig Edwards: I mean, a cancelled season is really bad for everybody. Losing a season of contention when a team is ready to win is probably worse than setting back the next window of contention. But in a shortened season, I’d rather have the win-now team because you still have the opportunity to win.


Craig Edwards: As a bit of an aside, we can talk about the Dodgers not getting as much out of Mookie Betts in a shortened season, but a potential contender like the Red Sox or Cleveland that took steps back suffer because as teams not guaranteed to win but somewhat close to contending, their playoff odds go up. If they hadn’t taken a step back, the increased variance might have helped them make a surprising run.


Drew: What major leaguer do you think Jordan Groshans best comps to?


Craig Edwards: Here’s what Eric had to say in the Blue Jays write-up: Groshans immediately stood out to scouts on the showcase circuit, looking like a Josh Donaldson starter kit with similar swing mechanics, plus raw power projection, a plus arm, and a third base defensive fit. He comported himself well during a 23-game jaunt in the Midwest League (.337/.427/.482) before he was shut down with a left foot injury that kept him away from baseball activity until just after the New Year. The mystery and severity of the injury, combined with Lansing’s tendency to caricature hitter’s stats, has much of the industry in wait-and-see mode here, though the power is for real.


Craig Edwards: He’s the expert on this so I have no reason to disagree.


Dave: Do Theo and Maddon have the best shots of getting in the Hall of Fame from the 2016 Cubs? Lester and Zobrist will fall short. Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez would all have to be healthy and great in their 30s to have a shot.


Craig Edwards: I think Bryant is still on that trajectory of the players with 28 WAR through his age-27 season plus an MVP. If he averages five wins the next three seasons and three wins over his age-31 to age-37 seasons, he’ll be at 64 WAR, which is right on the borderline there.


Craig Edwards: Maddon, I’m guessing will make it, probably Theo at some point, though I don’t see Lester, Zobrist, Rizzo making it while Baez has only been good the last two seasons so he’s gotten a late start in terms of the Hall of Fame.


Debrah with big boobs: What do you foresee as the biggest challenges that MLB will have to deal with in the fallout of this season?


Craig Edwards: That’s a really tough question. When baseball lost games to the strike, that was a turnoff to fans and many left the game for several years. Right now, everyone is missing all sports. I don’t think the next few months or however long everything is shut down is going to make people turn away from the game and it might make everyone come back to the sport faster. The biggest challenge in the years to come will be with dealing with the contractual ramifications with the players and owners and television partners. There is going to be a lot to work out and all sides have more contracts coming up that will be tougher to deal with than they already were due to the lost revenue. (All of the above assumes a normal recovery).


Mac: What’s the minimum number of games MLB would consider playing this season without outright cancelling the entire season?


Craig Edwards: I’ll say 50.


Craig Edwards: Thanks for all the questions today. I know these are difficult circumstances. I’ve got to get moving and be a parent.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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