Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–3/21/2019 by Craig Edwards March 21, 2019 2:00 Craig Edwards: Let’s get this thing rolling. 2:00 TJ: In the most general sense possible, who has the better offensive season this year: Juan Soto or Ronald Acuna? 2:01 Craig Edwards: Got to be Soto. More valuable is an interesting question, and I think I lean Acuna there, but just offense, have to bet on Juan. 2:02 CamdenWarehouse: do expect Brinson to take a big step forward this year? 2:03 Craig Edwards: Almost anything semi-productive would be a big step forward, but if he could approach average at the plate and use his speed, he should be at least average overall which I think would be a good middle step toward fulfilling his potential. 2:03 BrewCrew: Super stoked to see Woodruff, Burnes, and Peralta all make the rotation. Which one is most likely to breakout this year? 2:04 Craig Edwards: I agree it is really exciting. I would put them in the order you did. 2:04 SLUGGIN’ ASS DEX: i don’t have a question 2:06 Craig Edwards: yet your name might provide an answer. Fowler could really make things easy on the Cardinals by having a good couple weeks at the beginning of the season. A rebound for Fowler might only be to an average player, but there isn’t a big difference between that and Martinez or O’Neill right now. I’m still skeptical of Fowler, but if you go with him now, it’s hard not to give him at least six weeks, which would be really hard if he struggles out of the gate. 2:06 Aceman: With all these early extebsions will Boras have to cave in and start having his guys sign extensions instead of waiting for free agency 2:06 JAMES: Are all these extensions for elite players going to increase what players who actually reach free agency get in the next couple years? like Rendon and Betts? 2:08 Craig Edwards: I put these two together. It’s possible that more extensions make the top of the free agent market the same as it has always been so no adjustment needed. The middle tier of players, which are the ones who come with a lot of questions, like pitchers in their 30s, where extensions might make more sense, which is what we saw with Nola and Severino. 2:08 Don Juan: Would you be buying Kershaw at today’s current price? 2:09 Craig Edwards: I would have a hard time signing just about any pitcher to a big deal who couldn’t pitch in a game today, Kershaw included. That’s particularly true when the injury is arm-ish related with the potential to linger. 2:09 Manly: What’s Bellinger’s ceiling like? 2:11 Craig Edwards: MVP. Granted two years ago somebody asked if I would take Judge or Bellinger and I took Bellinger. If he can so just a bit better at the plate than he did in 2017 and play okay defense, that’s going to be close to MVP-type consideration. 2:11 Ryan: Does Trout’s extension make him the undisputed trade-value king for the next five or six years or so? 2:12 Craig Edwards: I think so, at least the next two or three, though there are still a few teams that might shy away from that contract, no matter how good it is. 2:12 Don Juan: Thoughts on how crazy it is that there are so many very good second gen players right now (Vlad, Mondesi, Bichette, tatis…) 2:12 Craig Edwards: That’s interesting question. Is it better than the Bonds, Griffey group we had a little bit ago. Obviously not yet. 2:13 Marc: Did the White Sox overstep in giving a contract to Eloy, or will this become the next big thing to do with top prospects? I find it hard to swallow that the White Sox believe more in Eloy than the Blue Jays believe in Vlad. 2:15 Craig Edwards: I don’t know about next big thing, but there is probably some value in avoiding a grievance. The White Sox didn’t exactly win big in this deal compared to doing nothing as it is a reasonable deal for both sides given the current system. The Vlad issue resolved itself for Toronto, but he’s still on another level from Eloy which makes reaching a deal more difficult. 2:15 Don Juan: Thoughts on Aldaberto Mondesi? 2:17 Craig Edwards: I think he’s a good player with potential to be a lot better. He’s also a reminder that prospects take time to develop and can go through long periods of being unable to hit before learning and developing what it takes against the best competition. 2:17 Roger: Spring training stats mean nothing, I know, but they can still set up some interesting questions: for example, do you think Tanner Roark (24:4 K:BB ratio this spring) or Jon Gray (22:1 K:BB ratio) will have the better year? 2:18 Craig Edwards: I would take Jon Gray by a lot in this scenario. Gray got pretty unlucky for half a year despite pitching pretty well, then came back and looked really good for a month before wearing down at the end of the year. I expect Gray to be very good. I expect Roark to pitch a decent amount of innings at an average level. 2:19 Vader: Bieber is having a fantastic Spring. Do you think he can carry it over to the regular season? 2:19 Craig Edwards: I would focus more on Bieber’s good 2018. His ERA was inflated and masked really good overall numbers. 2:20 Cody: With the recent news about Luzardo, will we see the A’s pursue another starter via free agency before the season starts? Or will they rely on their internal depth? 2:21 Craig Edwards: I would expect them to roll with what they’ve got at this point, but wouldn’t rule out a minor trade or seeing which guys are affected by a roster crunch elsewhere. I don’t see them pursuing Keuchel. 2:22 JAMES: How could Gio not get a Major league contract offer? He has to be better than the number 5 for at least half of the teams in baseball 2:24 Craig Edwards: There’s probably a lot we don’t know in terms of what might be considered an offer or not and what demands he might have been making. If his agent says he wants 3/50 and a team doesn’t respond with an offer that’s a different situation than him calling teams asking for some offer and getting nothing. It’s hard to read too much into it either way. 2:24 Trevor: Glasnow seems to have gotten some love since joining the Rays, but his xFIP with the Rays and Pirates last year was exactly the same, and his FIP with the Rays was much worse. What is the reason for the newfound optimism with the new club? 2:25 Craig Edwards: If you can pitch just as well as a starter as you did as a reliever, that is actually a pretty big improvement. 2:25 Johnny5Alive: giants really doing closer by committee? 2:27 Craig Edwards: Do they really have any better options? It might work out better for them anyway to not be tied down to someone who might keep the job for longer than they deserve. 2:27 Reagan: Do you think when luzardo comes back from injury do you think he will come straight to the majors? 2:28 Craig Edwards: No, I would imagine some time in the minors to get him back up to speed will be necessary. 2:28 Vader: Who will be an All Star this year that will surprise most? 2:28 Craig Edwards: Hunter Strickland? 2:29 Jsto: Will MLB ever end blackouts on MLB. tv? So frustrating that I could not watch the first two games of the season as I don’t get ESPN! 2:30 Craig Edwards: While frustrating, the national games are less of an issue than the local ones. The maps are crying out to be redrawn, but there are going to be local blackouts for as long as cable networks keep offering millions for exclusivity. The time might be coming where that changes, but it isn’t in the immediate future. 2:30 Jon Singleton: ELOY DID NOTHING WRONG 2:32 Craig Edwards: I don’t see any reason for outrage at this particular deal. He just guaranteed himself more than $40 million and will get about $60 million in his first seven years, which is when he would have been a free agent. That’s a ton of money during arbitration. For that price, he gave up one year of free agency. The system makes him a bargain, regardless of contract. Be mad at the system, not Jimenez. 2:33 Trent: Re: Surprising All Stars: the answer should always be a hitherto unheralded reliever, like Jeremy Jeffress, or Joe Jimenez, or Steven Delabar, or Brendan Donnelly . . . the list goes on and on. 2:33 Craig Edwards: For sure, though some starter is going to have a really good half like Miles Mikolas and a few players will come out of nowhere relative to perception. 2:34 andy: What actor has most tragically never been cast as a lovable but befuddled manager in a classic baseball movie, and why is it Stephen Root? 2:35 Craig Edwards: I would argue that Stephen Root has done a great job with his roles and a befuddled manager would be a waste of his talents. We’re talking about Jimmy James, here. 2:35 Vader: Looks like the Mets could really use a RH bat in the middle of their lineup. Does Alonso get the most AB’s there after April? 2:36 Craig Edwards: Tell me how Dom Smith does this month and I’ll have a better answer. I’m inclined to say yes to the question. 2:36 Thomas: Do you like Bieber or Buehler to have a better 2019? And how about a better career? 2:37 Craig Edwards: Buehler for both, though I do have some injury concerns about Buehler given his past and just how hard he throws, though that might be unwarranted. 2:38 Roland: What will Kikuchi’s final stat line look like this year? 2:40 Craig Edwards: The projections say 141 innings with 4.40 FIP, and that seems pretty reasonable though I could see it a lot closer to four if he is getting pulled pretty early. 2:41 Alan: Dakota Hudson or John Gant? And how long do they keep that 5th starter role? 2:43 Craig Edwards: I like both in that end of rotation role and think piggybacking them early on wouldn’t be a bad idea though it looks like Hudson is going to get the early nod. Hudson hasn’t been able to miss bats in the minors despite what should be a pitch to get them with in the slider. He’s a pretty extreme groundball guy and how long he stays in the the rotation is going to depend on Wacha and Wainwright staying in it once the Cardinals get Martinez back in a month or two. 2:44 Norman: If the Brewers and As don’t want to splurge on Kimbrel or Keuchel to account for their recent pitcher injuries, who are the best FA alternatives? Miguel Gonzales? Jim Johnson? Ryan Madson? It’s a grim assortment of pitchers still left unsigned. 2:44 Craig Edwards: It’s really slim. I would expect internal replacements to be the answer if the two better pitchers aren’t willing to settle for a one or two year deal. 2:46 Josh R: Is FanGraphs still considering the AL to be the superior league? Isn’t that incorporated into projections and values? It sure seems like the NL has surpassed the AL by quite a bit. 2:48 Craig Edwards: That’s a good question I don’t have the answer to. It was much closer last season and might have gotten even closer this offseason. The AL is certainly more top-heavy and has the advantage with NY, BOS, and Houston over the Dodgers, Nats, and Cubs, but the big middle of the NL might make them better. Adding up the projections on this page, which doesn’t account for schedule, should tell you. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Standings 2:49 Craig Edwards: Whoa. Jeff Passan @JeffPassan BREAKING: Reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a five-year, $50 milli… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 21 Mar 2019 2:49 Lar: Thoughts on D. German? Doing well this Spring but is it just noise or the real deal? 2:51 Craig Edwards: He was pretty good last year, but he pitches in a park that is tough for his skills and could have trouble against lefties. I think he might be an average starter right now, which is pretty good. 2:51 Hello: deGrom extension prediction? 2:52 Craig Edwards: He’s got about $40 million coming to him the next two seasons, so I think 6/150, 7/175 would make sense. 2:52 HappyFunBall: Severino 4/40, Nola 4/45, Snell 5/50 … holy cow is young pitching cheap if you drafted it! 2:55 Craig Edwards: With the risk of injury so high, pitchers seem okay holding off free agency for that guarantee. Snell’s an interesting case because on the one hand, he’s still a year away from arbitration unlike Severino and Nola, but on the other, that Cy Young means he is in a different stratosphere when it comes to arbitration. He might have been looking at double what the other guys were. At the same time, he is a minimum salaried guy this season and the year before arbitration has always been the best time to try and sign guys because you have the most information about them before they actually become financially set. 2:56 Dexter’s Sexters: Sluggin’ ass Dex is back, baby! Mark him down for 3 WAR. 2:56 Craig Edwards: Don’t let anybody tell you Cardinals fans don’t like Dexter Fowler. Two homers in a spring game and he’s getting all sorts of love, or something like it. 2:57 Lance Mannion: Hi your thoughts on Greg Allen, another yo yo year for him or does he stay up Thanks 2:59 Craig Edwards: I think he has to prove to MLB pitchers that he can do some sort of damage against him. His patience played well in the minors because the pitchers just aren’t as good. I imagine he’ll get a shot but he needs to be aggressive and start hitting the ball harder if he wants to be a permanent starter. 3:00 Brett: How do you see the Padres OF situation playing out? 3:01 Craig Edwards: I think Franmil, Margot, and Myers is the best bet for most playing time and I think it should be at least average overall with Reyes the best bet to break out. 3:02 Fat Matt: Really glad you have a chat now. After the playoff chats last year I was hoping you’d have one soon. Keep up the great work! 3:02 Craig Edwards: Thank you. With that, we’ll close things up for the day.