Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 3/26/2020

2:02

Craig Edwards: Let’s get going.

2:02

Dan: I just want to say thanks for the chats. Even when I’m not able to attend reading them later gives me a sense of community and normalcy (see even when things get weird fangraphers are refreshingly normal compared to other groups I interact with these days)

2:03

Craig Edwards: Thank you for reading them. The queue has been much lighter the last few weeks with no baseball on the immediate horizon, but it is always good to talk a little baseball even if the subjects aren’t quite what we were hoping for.

2:04

tony: How would notorious “slow-starter” Mark Texeira fare in 2020 assuming a season actually happens? Great season because he worked out the kinks with BP and sim game ABs before the late opening day? Or bad season because a bigger chunk of it was eaten up by the slow start?

2:07

Craig Edwards: That’s hard to say, but it is very dependent on why Teixeira put up a 105 wRC+ in April compared to 130 in all other months. If it it was weather-related, we’d expect that not to be a factor now. If it was related to getting up to speed, then it maybe two abbreviated springs would be enough to work out the kinks. I suspect having had spring one would be a net benefit by the time the season rolled around.

2:07

Curtis: If one city plays games without fans, don’t all cities have to? or how will MLB address that if it comes to starting the season but to the idea of empty stadiums?

2:09

Craig Edwards: If a city can play games with fans, they will absolutely do it. I would imagine the players would rather go to a game with fans even if it meant that the other team had some sort of advantage. Also, being used to playing games with no fans might be an advantage for the home team, anyway. the bottom line is if a team can charge fans to come watch them, they will do it. Could make revenue sharing pretty wild, though.

2:09

John: Who schedules a FanGraphs chat during Game 6 of the World Series?

2:10

Craig Edwards: How is David Freese doing in the game? Has he recovered from that botched fly ball?

2:10

diadem: With the talk of one or two doubleheaders a week would that not require at least the #5 and #6 starters on the depth chart to get more starts? Or would the opener strategy be more prevalent giving relief pitchers more innings? Would rookie starters (May, Gonsolin, I Anderson, Howard etc. get to the show quicker?

2:14

Craig Edwards: That depends on the roster rules and if teams get a bunch of extra players. I think there would be more rookie pitchers in that scenario. I think the opener would be more prevalent regardless. Most teams don’t even have five quality starters, let alone six so openers would be more of an option for teams without quality starting depth.

2:15

Appa Yip Yip: We’re half an inning and two Elvis Andrus errors away from The Bat Flip. Prepare yourself accordingly.

2:15

Craig Edwards: I’m currently watching Kyle Lohse attempt to bunt.

2:16

Craig Edwards: Here’s Ben Clemens’ viewing guide for today’s action if you are starved for baseball. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/an-opening-day-viewing-guide/

2:16

Brian: I know we don’t have a lot of concrete info on service time but how do you think prospects who otherwise would have had their service time “manipulated” to start the season will get treated?

2:19

Craig Edwards: I suspect it will still get manipulated, though there aren’t as many clear-cut candidates this season.

2:20

Craig Edwards: Two minute break. Baby just had a huge poop I need to take care of.

2:22

Craig Edwards: Okay. I’m back. Lance Berkman is up.

2:22

Sammi from a Brooklyn park bench: How much will ballpark factors affect Mookie going from Fenway to Dodger Stadium?

2:25

Craig Edwards: I doubt there’s that much of an effect. Betts’ value isn’t hugely reliant on homers and his xwOBA and wOBA in his career have matched up pretty well. He underperformed his xwOBA by quite a bit last season. Expecting him to get back up to a 185 WRC+ isn’t reasonable, but it isn’t too far-fetched to see him get above 135 by quite a bit.

2:25

Scotty: Lets say Thor comes back next season and pitches 50-75 innings with 3.50 FIP and good peripherals and velo, what kind of contract would he be looking for?

2:27

Craig Edwards: If he looks good, I think he’ll still get a healthy deal, maybe something resembling Wheeler’s deal. He might have been  in line for double that with two good, healthy seasons, but he should still get a very good deal.

2:27

Craig Edwards: Jake Westbrook now pitching for the Cardinals against Nelson Cruz.

2:28

#1CraigEdwardsFan: I filled out your poll about the start of the season.  What were your answers?

2:30

Craig Edwards: I think we’ll be in the 76-100 game range with a July start. I do think there will be some games in empty stadiums with at least a few games in spring training stadiums. I think the season will end in early November and I’m hopeful there will be an added round to the postseason. Here’s my preferred postseason structure. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/modifying-the-2020-playoffs-to-account-for…

2:31

eloquentboot: Craig, please give me your best home budgeting advice.

2:32

Craig Edwards: I’m not sure what the best advice is, but I’d say write down everything you spend and plan your groceries around meals you make at home. If possible, use a separate savings account that you put a set amount in so that it is different from your checking account.

2:33

Jason: Screw the MLB and their insistence on screwing amateur players. Only 10 rounds and a $10K max for undrafted players is ridiculous and has seemingly no correlation to Covid.

2:33

Craig Edwards: This is a reference to this piece by Kiley McDaniel. https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28957785/sources-mlb-mlbpa-close-d…

2:39

Craig Edwards: I think there’s a way to the draft within the framework they discuss. A minimum bonus of 100k or more should be in there because if you are doing fewer rounds, there shouldn’t be the same moving bonus pool stuff around. The no bonuses for undrafted players over 10k is pretty revealing in its intent. It makes the move an obvious cash-saving one and not one based on the difficult circumstances presented by COVID-19. If a player is good enough now to make his pro debut, he should be able to do that without the constraint of a 10k bonus. It’s essentially telling many good players not to try and turn pro this year, which is bad. It effectively turns next year into a superdraft, but if bonuses are the same as a normal year, then all the good prospects end up with half what they might have otherwise.

2:41

Craig Edwards: David Freese with the homer. What a moment. I was sitting on my couch at home knowing that I had already spent money I didn’t have on a Game 7 ticket. When it looked like the series was going to end in six games, I had consoled myself with the knowledge that at least I would get back the money I had spent foolishly. Instead, I went crazy on my couch at home and then took a bus from Chicago to St. Louis to see Game 7.

2:41

I miss baseball: Everyone, this was discussed in Dan’s chat, but please consider supporting FanGraphs via membership (if you can).  I think we can all agree this is an amazing site

2:44

Craig Edwards: That’s very kind of you. FanGraphs needs people to read the site, but that is understandably more difficult without actual baseball to comment on. I think everyone here at FanGraphs is proud of the work we are still producing and find that work interesting, even compelling, but there’s no doubt that not as many people are reading about baseball right now. If you are inclined to support the site right now, a membership or going ad-free is a great way to do so. https://plus.fangraphs.com/product/fangraphs-membership/

2:44

Russ: Any guess on how the expected long term delay in season starting impacts the level of play? Old players are still going to age out but new players development is paused?

2:47

Craig Edwards: I suspect the level of play will still be incredibly high. It’s possible we notice more rust-like plays, but sometimes that’s because we are looking for them, not because they are actually happening more.

2:47

I miss baseball: Do you play OOTP?

2:48

Craig Edwards: I do not. I’ve done fantasy baseball and ottoneu, though I’m not particularly good at either one. I tend to let bias and rooting interests cloud my judgment. I find that is more fun, though not super-conducive to winning.

2:48

I miss baseball: Do you play The Show?

2:49

Craig Edwards: I think the last sports video game I played on a regular basis had Clint Dempsey starring at Fulham on my PS3.

2:49

Dave: If the season is cancelled, wouldn’t it make sense to give teams the opportunity to unwind any trade made this offseason? If both teams decide to stand pat, great. But if say, the Dodgers object, they get Verdugo and Downs back. Fair?

2:52

Craig Edwards: That sounds very complicated. I think everyone just cuts their losses at that point. What do the Red Sox get in that situation? Can the Phillies get a little back on the J.T. Realmuto deal because they only got half the production. I think if the season is cancelled, everyone will have to take a step back and understand that the people involved matter more than the baseball moves. Betts deserves to be a free agent and that’s going to matter more than the Dodgers being out a couple prospects. Everybody will just have to move on.

2:53

Jerome: I worry the A’s might be one good bullpen arm short of true contention. What will the shortened schedule do to the trade deadline? When does it get pushed back to, and how will behavior at the deadline be unique? Hopefully not fewer sellers because my A’s need more bullpen help.

2:54

Craig Edwards: I would think there would be fewer sellers just because it takes longer for teams to fall out of contention than we might have time for this year. That said, there are always relievers available so that’s not something I would worry about.

2:54

Domingo: How much does the new draft format (only 5-10 rounds) hurt teams with high picks?

2:57

Craig Edwards: Not that much, because the biggest benefit to having a high pick is getting one of the best talents and that won’t change. If the lack of scouting muddles things to the point where there is less certainty about those picks there is some penalty. A short draft also limits the opportunities to go underslot early and overslot late, but those opportunities present more marginal gain. Getting the best players is the biggest benefit to an early pick.

2:58

Craig Edwards: Arguably, the teams at the top need more players so a shortened draft prevents them from taking more shots, but that’s again, a smaller deficit.

2:58

Bored: With fewer rounds are all but the elite high school prospects more likely to go to college? Also do fewer rounds incentivize teams to draft more college prospects in an attempt to secure value?

3:01

Craig Edwards: I’m not entirely sure how that will play out. In theory, players might have a little more leverage if teams don’t want to lose out on one of their only picks, but that just means teams needing to be sure about a pick’s cost ahead of time. That cuts against the riskier high school signings and more college players like you suggest, but it probably makes it so there will be fewer upside guys drafted in general, which would be unfortunate.

3:01

Matt Klentak: The limited undrafted bonus that is capped at 10k will force teams to take high school kids with the picks and keep college kids as “undrafted”. The higher bonus will matter more to the high school kid than the college senior who doesnt have a choice but to sign

3:03

Craig Edwards: the college senior only goes in the first 10 rounds if a team is moving around bonus money, knowing they have 30 more rounds to draft $125k players. I would imagine that few, if any college seniors end up getting drafted. The college juniors still have some leverage.

3:04

I miss baseball: Who is the Dodgers’ third-best position player this year?

3:04

Craig Edwards: The projections say Seager narrowly over Turner though Muncy has a shot as well. I think I’d still side with the projections and take Seager.

3:05

Uncle Spike: What do you make of the Rays optioning down McKay and Nate Lowe.  I was expecting both of these players, especially McKay, to break camp on the MLB roster.  Do you think we’ll see quick promotions for both of them?

3:06

Craig Edwards: Probably wouldn’t make much of it right now. We still have more spring training and we don’t know what the early season schedule will look like.

3:06

Matt Klentak: I know everyone hates to look at the economic side of this but baseball is hurt as well, limiting the pay they give to draft picks is less debt they will have to make up. *ducks*

3:10

Craig Edwards: We are talking about $10 million per team turning into $6 million per team or something like that with another couple million over the next few years. As a fan of baseball, getting more talented players into professional baseball seems like it would be worth it. From a financial perspective, those later picks still pay off on the whole.

3:11

Craig Edwards: One quick plug, and then I’m out of here: I wrote on the possibility of expansion as a way for owners to make up for lost revenues in 2020. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/will-mlb-turn-to-expansion-after-losing-re…

3:12

Craig Edwards: Thanks for all the questions.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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horacefury19
Member
horacefury19

If the league really goes with a 10-round draft (or fewer), it seems like they intend to create a player shortage in the minors that would bolster the argument for implementing (that is, ramrodding) the expulsion of 40+ lower level clubs from the professional ranks.

averagejoe15
Member
Member
averagejoe15

The union is so fixated on the singular goal of maximizing near term earnings potential for veterans it’s become concerning. Any strategic, longer term considerations seem to be thrown out the window the moment ownership offers money for vets now.

The players who least need money in this very moment are the ones set to receive the largest portion of ownership’s $170m prepayment. While minor leaguers are mostly left to fend for themselves.

Ownership continues to run circles around the union in negotiations (though the owners have not exactly acted in good faith). What business would still employ Tony Clark at this point given these outcomes? Certainly not PE firms and hedge funds like those run by many of the owners.