Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–5/23/2019


Craig Edwards: I will be right there. Keep those questions coming in.


Yo: Only four innings, but Jordan Lyles appears to be dominating yet again. What do I make of this? HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO MY CHILDREN?!


Craig Edwards: If your children want or need Jordan Lyles explained to them, you should feel pretty good. That said, Lyles did this for a time last year as well but couldn’t keep it up, particularly because he was basically a two-pitch pitcher. I do wonder if the changeup is actually better and might help him sustain success. It’s something worth looking into.


LP: If you are Nationals, do you throw in towel now or make any changes and hope they get you back in contention? If you throw in towel now, what takes for them to contend next season?


Craig Edwards: Way too early to throw in the towel given their talent level. When you have elite pitching, you should almost always play for the season because that’s not something you can count on, even for next season. All the injuries are really hurting them, but if you are only going to get a Machado-like package for Rendon, selling doesn’t really accomplish much for their long-term goals. Their position-player core should be good for a long time while the pitching might not last. Have to keep supplementing without tearing down.


dilbert: Who should the Cardinals target to fix their rotation? Which of their hitting prospects do they part with?


Craig Edwards: Everyone? Bumgarner, Stroman, , Sanchez, Minor, Keuchel, bring back Lance Lynn. The Cardinals really need help in their rotation. As for prospects, I think the Cardinals would prefer to hold on to Knizner, Gorman, and Carlson so that means, Hudson, O’Neill and any of the pitchers and outfielders in Triple-A could be parted with. It also means they might not outbid other teams desperate for pitching who really want to win this season.


tan mom: stl rotation is really bad eh?


Craig Edwards: getting a lot of questions on the cardinals rotation. I think Flaherty and Mikolas will be good, but Wainwright is the team’s third best pitcher when he’s more suited to a five-spot while Hudson has been okay lately, but has to not give up homers to be successful with his poor strikeout and walk rates, which isn’t something you can count on. Wacha just isn’t getting outs right now and his velocity has completely deteriorated. The Cardinals really could use Martinez or Reyes and probably both in the rotation if they are going to fix this without going outside the organization and that’s a big ask.


Question Asker: The Andrelton Simmons injury is a bummer. Just how good does that trade look in hindsight?


Craig Edwards: It really hurts the Angels’ chances of making the playoffs, which were already suffering. Hindsight tells us Simmons develops into an above-average offensive player which we really couldn’t be sure about. Simmons is still cheap and that defense is excellent while the Braves end turned into what could be a really good reliever in Newcomb.


Overbearing Padre: Ken Rosenthal suggested the Padres are looking for a frontline starter and a lefty bat. Let’s just say the Mets dangled out Syndergaard and Conforto or the Nationals dangled out Scherzer and Eaton. What would the return package look like from San Diego?


Craig Edwards: This is really fun, but nearly impossible. So let’s say Paddack and Urias.


Hanley Ramirez: What were the chances the Marlins could string together a five game winning streak?


Craig Edwards: If you have to pick a start date and assume a 35% chance of winning every game, about 1 in 200. Over the course of a season, it is probably more like 50/50.


Matt: I’m currently writing about this(so don’t steal the idea like my Buxton chat comment): But Franmil Reyes, eh? Swinging at a league leading pitches in the zone(82% vs a nice 69% last year), hitting a lot more fly balls, and is keeping the k-rate down. We looking at Khris Davis type (despite being more Stanton physical comp wise) quietly succeeding in San Diego.


Craig Edwards: Franmil Reyes is probably worth exploring. He broke out a bit last year, struggled to start this year which might have lowered expectations, but has since rebounded closer to what everybody hoped he’d be. He’s a fun player and shows the danger of writing someone off too quickly early in the season. If he could only walk a little more.


Yeeargh I’m Cursed: The last of the Mets preseason crowded infield went down last night, who are their options and how screwed are they?


Craig Edwards: The Mets are fine. Didn’t you see the press conference?


Craig Edwards: They went from 3 to zero in terms of second basemen pretty quickly. Hechavarria there is obviously not what you want.


Jenny: Hi — is it possible to see the entire WAR for a team anywhere on FG? On the team leaderboard pages, you can see it but only divided by pitching, hitting and fielding so to see a team’s full WAR you’d have to add it all together. Is there anywhere to see the cumulative WAR for a given team in a given year? Thanks!


Craig Edwards: I’m not sure there is without adding it up, though BaseRuns provides a decent approximation of which teams are producing the most in terms of WAR.


Cookie Monster: Would/should the Nats be open to a Scherzer trade if they keep losing games? What would a trade like that look like?


Craig Edwards: No they should not. Even if they fall out of it this year, their next window to contend should be 2020. There’s not reason to trade one of the very best pitchers in baseball unless you are undergoing a massive rebuild.


Purple Rain: I’m can’t decide if I want the Twins be a aggressive at the trade deadline.  Getting SP/RP help would be great but idk about giving up a top tier prospect for somebody like Bumgarner or Stroman.  Just give Kimbrel and Keuchel money and solve the problem that way…


Craig Edwards: I think the Twins need to take advantage of the opportunity they have, and if that means being aggressive at the deadline so be it if they aren’t sure on the pending free agents given the layoff. It might be better to have a more sure thing who is pitching well now than someone who needs a month to get ready and then you still might have problems. With where the Twins are now, they can afford to wait another month before they really have to assess things.


Cornealius: Which NL East team has been most disappointing thus far?


Craig Edwards: It’s the Nationals. They were supposed to be really good and they just haven’t been. Not sure how much you want to let injuries play a role in terms of disappointment, but they are just so far back of expectations.


Cvantez: Would the Brewers really send Kiura back down if Shaw returns?  I know the Ks are unsightly, but it’s not like he’s offering *less* good contact than Shaw was.


Craig Edwards: They might. Shaw getting sent down is what brought Hiura up in the first place. I’m not sure it has as much to do with how he plays than whether Shaw is going to resemble his old self as opposed to the player he’s been this season. If Hiura is better, then they’ll play him, but I think they’ll give Shaw a chance.


Bread Gardner: I actually feel bad for the Orioles at this point.  When even your play-by-play guys sound defeated—nay, *resigned*—pity starts creeping in.


Craig Edwards: It’s always tough when that happens and it doesn’t happen often, but I’m sure there are better days ahead for Orioles fans. It just might take a bit.


Cvantez: If Casey Mize continues to pitch at a high clip this year, is there anything to be said for my hope that the Tiger FO takes a chance and brings him up and signs him to a nice extension to cover the controllable years?


Craig Edwards: I think that might be kind of difficult. Mize just signed for $7.5 million last year. He likely doesn’t need the guarantee Detroit would offer and I doubt the Tigers would want to take the risk necessary when they have him at such low salaries for the next 3-4 seasons.


Buff: Kike Hernandez, David Bote, or Scott Kingery ROS?


Craig Edwards: I like Kingery.


John McGraw: I have Franimal, Yandy Diaz, and Puig on the same fantasy team. Considering a name change to Selling Jeans.


Craig Edwards: I like it. A Call to Arms isn’t bad, either.


Zach: If you scroll down on the FG homepage (between Hardball Times and the community blog), a row of leaders appears, and that includes total team WAR for the top 5 teams


Craig Edwards: there you go.


bozos72: Is it weird that nearly half the league (14 teams) is playing to within 1 game of their BaseRuns record?


Craig Edwards: I’m not sure, but it doesn’t feel weird. Having a middle half all near the BaseRuns record seems about right.


Canadian Guy: Which star on a Toronto team is more exciting: Vlad Jr. or Kawhi?


Craig Edwards: To me, Vlad, but I like baseball more than basketball. I also tend to like a singular skill more than an all-around game, but people get to decide for themselves what they find exciting.


Pablo : Why is Trevor Bauer bad now?


Craig Edwards: He’s probably not bad, but it is possible fewer sliders and curves and more fourseamers have led to more walks and fly balls, which is what has hurt him so far. Hittes aren’t chasing as many pitches outside the zone. He changes things a lot so sometimes he is going to be at an imbalance. This looks like one of those times.


Zoop: Was there some sort of agreement, spoken or otherwise, not to sign Keuchel or Kimbrel before the draft?


Craig Edwards: That would violate the CBA so I’m guessing not.


AA: More expensive at the deadline, Bauer or Bumgarner?


Craig Edwards: If Bauer is available, then Bauer, but I doubt that’s going to happen.


Dave in London: Likelihood that the White Sox move Colome before the trade deadline? I think he still has a year of team control left through arbitration. Does that make it more or less likely that he’ll be traded?


Craig Edwards: He’s the guy you absolutely trade at the deadline if you are the White Sox. He might not bring much back, but even a little bit of prospect depth gives you more flexibility and we don’t know if he’ll be good in August, let alone 2020 at a fairly high salary.


Matt: Is there a decent way to easily look up say Swing% in different counts?


Craig Edwards: There’s not an easy way, though if that’s something you are interested in, I’d suggest playing around with the Heatmaps on the player pages which shows swings by count if you filter for that.


Voldemort: Why are the Brewers forcing Jesus Aguilar into a platoon a year after he was an allstar hitting 30+ homers with 100+ rbis. Doesn’t he deserve the change to sort out his early season struggles and be an everyday player?


Craig Edwards: I assume they saw something more than just the bad hitting line, which was really bad. You could’ve said something similar about Thames last year, though not to the same degree. Giving him some playing time allows him to work through his struggles and if he bounces back, it’s not hard to give him more PAs.


Lukas: If the Padres sneak into the playoffs, do they pitch Paddack potentially over his innings limit or do they shut him down?


Craig Edwards: I think they find innings past whatever that limit might be. You don’t throw away a real shot at a World Series, which is what the Padres would have if they made the playoffs, over a somewhat arbitrary pitch number. Maybe that means his playoff starts go four innings instead of 6, but if Paddack gets you to the playoffs, you have to keep pitching him once you are there.


Del Martin: Urias has the third highest IsoP in the PCL but people still keep saying that he’s going to have Cesar Hernandez-type pop. I know the PCL is a hitter’s league but what does he have to do to change opinions?


Craig Edwards: Do it in the majors. That’s his next level. Nothing he does in the PCL is going to change many opinions at this point.


John: Pirates are 2 games above .500 with a -50 run differential.  Lesson to the Reds: never try.


Craig Edwards: Or: try and you never know what might happen. You could get very lucky.


Jeremy: How worried should I be about Benintendi? His K-rate is way up and his stolen bases are down?


Craig Edwards: He’s just swinging way more, which is probably an approach that can be fixed. I’m sure he’ll come around. As for steals, he only stole four bases in the second half of last season, so he just might not be stealing as much.


Jaffe rhymes with Taffy: What do you use as an end point for SSS for teams, hitters, and pitchers?  When do you start to feel comfortable with the results?


Craig Edwards: I don’t think there is any one end point. It’s about looking at the individual player and trying to figure out what’s causing the good or bad results. After two months a player can have one really good month, one really bad month and regular stats. Does which one came first matter in how you evaluate the player? Probably, but the biggest thing is to look for what is making a player successful and trying to figure out if it will last or if it is likely to get worse.


blake: How worried should Cards fans be about the starting rotation?


Craig Edwards: They are still coming. Very worried. See above.


Guest: Who is your favorite player that you just couldn’t quit on, but never “made it” ? My friends will never let me live Kila Ka’aihue down. I also was in the Edwin Jackson will be an ace camp.


Craig Edwards: Not sure about made it, but at least recently, Lance Lynn as ace and Tyler Lyons as good starting pitcher.


Voldemort: Does Kirby Yates break the single season saves record this year? Also, Kirby Yates is the man.


Craig Edwards: No, and yes.


Tom: Could Carlos Martinez start this season? I thought it was determined he could only be a reliever, due to the strength of his shoulder (or lack thereof).


Craig Edwards: There’s a lot of things floating around, but the latest seems to be potentially back in the rotation after the break. His velocity seems fine now and if he could build up some multiple-inning relief outings, he might feel more confident about holding up as a starter and the club could certainly use him.


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

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Craig, you mentioned elite pitching when asked whether the Nationals should throw in the towel. Three good starters who seldom go more than seven innings does not constitute elite pitching when the pitchers that are being used after the starters leave appear to be one of the poorest bunch ever assembled.

John Autin
4 years ago
Reply to  bosoxforlife

By that standard, then, elite SP no longer exists in MLB.

4 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

It almost looks more and more that way, but i am focusing on the Nationals. Assuming a five man rotation and 9 innings per game that comes to 45 innings per trip through the rotation. If Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin each pitch 7 innings that leaves 24 innings to the rest of the staff. Sanchez and Hellickson certainly don’t qualify as elite then the remaining innings get turned over to the likes of Matt Grace, 8.02 in 25 unbelievable appearances along with Wander Suero, 7.17 ERA in an equally unbelievable 22 appearances, then there are Kyle Barraclough and Tony Sipp who are each toting 5.40 ERA’s to the hill in numerous tries. Yes indeed, I am saying that three quality starters doesn’t even come close to being an elite staff and that continuing to bring in these guys is madness and the only possible answer is to ask the quality starters if they can try to go all the way. The answer may be no but if it is the Nationals are doomed.