Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–6/13/2019


Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.


IsIt2020Yet?: Will the Pirates ever put it all together and stop being a mediocre team? Need a new GM to get there?


Craig Edwards: I think it starts at the top. The Pirates had a window to contention open up but close too quickly because reinforcements weren’t brought in to supplement the talent that was already there. The club has a bunch of good talent right now but they’ve got a few holes and lack rotation depth. Between Marte, Bell, Polanco plus Tucker and Hayes, they have building blocks, but they are in a tough division. I’m not sure what a new GM is going to do differently that would make the team more likely to contend. They might get back to the same level they were a few years ago, but they’ll need more commitment from ownership to see it through.


Guest: Do the Yankees DFA Cameron Maybin or release Clint Frazier when Judge & Stanton return (in addition to DFA Morales)?


Craig Edwards: I know it has been a little rough for Frazier lately, but he’s still hitting at an above-average rate. He’s not getting released. Maybin, maybe.


John: I understand at least some regression is due for Zach Davies, but is he also possibly a pitcher that can just consistently induce soft contact without missing bats?


Craig Edwards: Probably not. He’s got a FIP right around 4.00 which is probably a reasonable expectation. Even if he’s got the soft contact gift, right now he’s got an 82% LOB rate. That’s not soft contact. That’s just sequencing. He’s always posted a BABIP of around .300 in the past so that’s what we should expect in the future. He’s a roughly average starter and his ERA is likely to reflect that going forward.


Jason N: Who has more trade value… Hunter Renfroe or Franimal Reyes?  And who should the Padres try to trade?  Renfroe has a more complete game and outperforming Franimal.  Reyes is younger, more control, and performing well offensively.


Craig Edwards: Reyes has more trade value which is why we hear rumors about Renfroe, who’s 27 years old. This is probably as good as Renfroe can get while Reyes is 23 and could get a lot better. I wrote about Reyes here.


Brian: Is this just a slow start to Victor Robles or were expectations to high for this year?


Craig Edwards: I think this is about what we should have expected. I think hoping for more isn’t far-fetched, but he missed a lot of time last year and he just turned 22 years old. His strikeout rate will come down some, and he’s hit the ball hard in the past but that hasn’t shown up yet this year consistently. He should turn things around.


Xolo: What the hell are the Padres doing with Urías? He’s a consensus top 25 prospect and he’s been one of the best players in the PCL despite also being one of the youngest but they’re just going to leave him down there? And for a Garcia/Kinsler platoon?


Craig Edwards: I’m sure he’ll be up soon, though Kinsler has played pretty well over the last month. Garcia hasn’t, but I don’t think Urias is coming up unless they have a plan to get him a bunch of playing time. The power Urias flashed the first month of the season hasn’t kept up and the PCL is crazy this year. I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this point.


Jason N: Ron Fowler (Padres owner) was the owner rep in the last CBA negotiations.  The Padres also don’t seem to be gaming the service time rules like other teams appear to be (Tatis and Paddack as examples).  Do you think Fowler has some insights into what the owners negotiating stance for the next CBA will be that makes them comfortable that their approach won’t bite them in the rear when it comes time to pay up?


Craig Edwards: I think it is more likely that San Diego saw a marketing opportunity and took it. They signed Machado and bringing up hotshot prospects builds excitement. They’ll need to win more, but what they are doing now should help build excitement for this summer and next year.


Ryan: Do you think Cole Hamels will have any repercussion for hitting Arenado?


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. He probably should though. MLB needs to do a better job erring on the side of caution because the risks are so great. If the Rockies have hit some Cubs players in the past, and that’s what comes to mind when Arenado gets hit, that’s all the more evidence of the need for a suspension so that we can move past this nonsense that could cause terrible injuries.


Dellin’s Donuts: What do you think the return on a trade for MadBum is? A top 50 guy and lotto ticket prospect? Only has 1/2 season left.


Craig Edwards: I think something like that. Better than the JA Happ return. Not as good as the David Price return, which would be something like the Darvish return of Calhoun, Alexy, and Davis.


IsIt2020Yet?: Imo, Huntington’s player development is fireable by itself. They’re behind the league in a lot of ways. Every pitcher you all write about who’s left the org talks about better understanding their pitches after they’ve moved on.


Craig Edwards: I think there are some blunders there with Cole and Glasnow, though Cole pitched like an ace for them when he was healthy and Glasnow’s health might put him in the bullpen where he was in Pittsburgh anyway. Taillon has been a success while Musgrove and Trevor Williams have done well, too. The Pirates were lauded just a few years ago for their reclamation projects. They can and should do better with developing their prospects, but they haven’ been as bad as it has seemed.


Llewelyn: Are the twins real? Everything seems to make sense, they have a ridiculous offense and their run differential seems to be in line with their record, but I can’t help but feel like some of their hot starters will come back down to Earth. Are these simultaneous breakouts reflective of a new culture? Or is it just entirely luck that they all seemed to happen at the same time?


Craig Edwards: They are real in that they are very likely to make the playoffs. They do have a ton of players whose performances will come down some but they are in a bad division. Going .500 gets them to 90+ wins and playing like a .500 team with their schedule should net them even more. While people harp on the bullpen, I think starting pitching depth is their biggest need right now.


Zipp: What’s going on with Jimmy Nelson? Came back for his start on the 5th, and hasn’t pitched since. Seems very strange to let him go so long between appearances when he’s building up his strength.


Craig Edwards: That start didn’t go that well and the Brewers are in a tight playoff race. They essentially skipped one start so he could build things up in a less competitive environment and he’s starting this weekend. We’ll see if he improves then.


Guest: Oops meant to say option Frazier not release


Craig Edwards: good clarification. Though possible, I think they’ll want to have five healthy outfielders.


Josh R: Could Machado’s downturn be as simple as playing in the better league?  He wasn’t a complete stud with LA last year either.


Craig Edwards: I think his downturn is just a few bad weeks. He was at 114 wRC+ with too many strikeouts three weeks ago. That’s not too far off from expectations. The strikeouts come down at some point and he’ll have a good power streak and his numbers will be well above average again.


Zumba: Where do you stand on the awesomeness of Yordan Alvarez?


Craig Edwards: So far, so awesome. His position is going to limit his value as a player and he might be just a platoon bat, it is way too early to know, but right now he’s just a very good hitter.


Bo: Loved your piece on Stroman. Hard not to want him in a Braves uniform. Would that be a match made in heaven?


Craig Edwards: Thanks. Here’s that piece:


Craig Edwards: He would definitely fit with the Braves and they have the prospects that could land him.


Stroman: When am I traded? Do I bring back more or less than Madison? And where?


Craig Edwards: I think it will be a comparable deal when compared to Bumgarner though I would guess Toronto gets someone closer to the majors or in the majors with San Francisco willing to take on someone not ready to contribute right away. I’m terrible at guessing destination, but Braves, Yankees, Cardinals, and Twins seem like the best fits.


Chuck: The Rays have now led the MLB in BABIP for a year and a half…are they just that good or should we expect some regression?


Craig Edwards: They might not be this good, but good defense plus good positioning can lead to a lower BABIP.


Concrete Fan: Is Frankie Montas an above average starter now?


Craig Edwards: That certainly seems to be the case. If he can keep this going, he’ll be more than that.


Doug: what would the Braves need to give up to get Yates from the Padres?


Craig Edwards: It’s hard to know what the Padres want. They need to do some consolidating of their own, but I would guess a top-50ish prospect would do the trick with extra going San Diego’s way depending on the first player. I don’t know if the Braves are going to be willing to part with what San Diego will want, which would be like Waters or Contreras.


HappyFunBall: Rays have led the league in BABIP on offense is, I think, Chuck’s question.


Craig Edwards: my mistake as they also do quite well on the pitching side. I think it is possible as they have a lot of guys who hit the ball hard but aren’t necessarily huge home run hitters. Their ISO is closer to middle of the pack. I wouldn’t necessarily expect their BABIP to drop a ton.


Juan Soto: What do you think of the Nationals recent success? Indicative of the team, or simply a blip?


Craig Edwards: It’s a good team with a lot of talented players. They had some injuries with Turner and Rendon missing time, but their recent run is closer to general expectations than a lucky string of success.


Kiley DcManiel: Would the Cardinals have ruined Voit?


Craig Edwards: I don’t know that he would have been this good had he stayed in St. Louis, but he probably would have been a solid contributor. Keep in mind that even if the Cardinals had kept Voit, he’d still be on the bench right now. Even if they hadn’t traded for Goldschmidt, they would have gotten a new third baseman and kept Carpenter at first base. Their wasn’t a realistic way to keep Voit, give him playing time and improve the team this past offseason.


Definitely Not a Cubs Fan: The main culprit in the Cardinal’s string of mediocrity the past four seasons? What do you change as GM, right now?


Craig Edwards: There isn’t really a main culprit. The Cubs and Brewers being really good hasn’t helped. They’ve had bad luck not having one good outlier 90+ win season from a team projected to win 85ish games every year. They used to have a bad manager. Their generally conservative approach to acquisitions has hurt them because they don’t have an in-house superstar and spending money on average players and relievers hasn’t helped on the field and only served to decrease flexibility. If there is a single main culprit, it is a lack of a superstar, and there’s not much they can do about that right now. What they need to do right now is fix the rotation, and that’s something they can do.


MB: Who are reasonable targets for the Brewers to add in the next few weeks? I think two bullpen arms would be ideal, but doubt it’s any of the top guys.


Craig Edwards: Any add should be on the pitching side. I agree they aren’t likely to get a top bullpen guy because they aren’t likely to want to meet that price. They’ll get somebody in the pen though reinforcements could come from within the organization. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them get one of the available starters.


Matt: Why have the phillies’ bats been so quiet? Is it the fault of the hitting coach? both santana and alfaro have been much better outside the organization.


Craig Edwards: They haven’t been exactly terrible. Kingery has played really well. Hoskins is still hitting and McCutchen was hitting really well before he got hurt. Harper and Realmuto aren’t that far away. Franco is an enigma so I’m not sure if the staff can be blamed. Alfaro is just young and he might be hitting this well if he were still with the club.


Voldemort: Any chance the cubs give Adbert Alzolay a rotation spot this season?


Craig Edwards: If there is an injury and Montgomery and Chatwood aren’t available, he might get a shot.


S: How would you solve Pittsburgh’s logjam in the outfield?


Craig Edwards: Give everybody a few days off per week to keep players fresh but also playing a bunch.


Big Alv: Yordan Alvarez has better splits against lefties from the minors, probably because of his opposite field approach. He’s not going to have to platoon if that’s any indication of his talent.


Craig Edwards: He’s just advanced so quickly, it’s hard to know how he’ll do against the game’s best and if he’ll even get those types of opportunities in Houston this season.


Richard: Assuming Giles can quickly regain his health, would he or Stroman have more trade value?


Craig Edwards: Stroman.


LGM: Best offense, rest of season: David Bote, Bryan Reynolds or Garrett Cooper? Thanks


Craig Edwards: I’ll say Cooper, Reynolds, then Bote.


BillyB: Right now the Astros 3rd and 4th starters (Miley and Peacock) are better statistically than Bumgarner or Stroman.  Is it worth pursuing a starter for the Astros?  Or should they be focused elsewhere, like bullpen or first base?


Craig Edwards: Pursuing a starter should help the bullpen, too. I don’t think the Astros have to do anything, though I’m sure they will trade for someone in the bullpen as their needs develop in the next six weeks.


Doug: Austin Hedges is hitting 181/249/316 yet is on pace for a 2.7 fWAR season. Really?


Craig Edwards: Catching is hard, but it is less hard for Hedges, who makes up for his bat by stealing a lot of strikes. He probably doesn’t get to 2.7 WAR, but he should be an average player.


Voldemort: Craigory, quick fantasy question for you. Does it bother you that Harry and Hermonie didn’t end up getting married in the end?


Craig Edwards: No. I think Hermione’s future is better without being saddled to Harry.


Craig Edwards: Guess that will do it for today. Almost…



Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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4 years ago

In the first 2 questions on this thing the host describes Gregory Polanco as a building block and the next question is if the Yankees will release Clint Frazier. What website am I on? Did you guys keep reading? Does it get better?