Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–7/18/2019


Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.


Craig Edwards: First, here’s my piece on the lack of potential 60-homer hitters this season. I was somewhat surprised that the answer was more than just it is really hard to hit 60 homers.


Rexy: How do you feel about tatis’ strikeout problems? Can he still have an above average ba. Also are you confident that he will improve his swing miss issues as he ages?


Craig Edwards: He’s always had that as part of his game. He does hit the ball hard, but he’s obviously not going to keep BABIPing  over .400 forever. If he’s a .340 or .350 BABIP guy an everything else stays the same, that’s still a 110-115 wRC+ probably. With good baserunning and even slightly below average defense, that’s a 4-win guy. Presumably, he’ll get his strikeouts in slightly more manageable fashion in the future, but he can still be good with a 30% strikeout rate.


THE George Lopez: I’m not sure if this is your department, but it will a little sad/strange to see the feature where you can scroll down to the bottom of a player’s page and view all their previous contracts disappear. It was always nice to be able to see that, and now I have to go to a different site to hunt that info down, so, yeah, just seems a little odd that that helpful feature was gotten rid of for some reason.


Craig Edwards: Somewhat related to that is that roster resource has been integrated into FanGraphs which you can read about here.


Craig Edwards: At some point, we’ll get more detailed contract info in an easier to access spot.


John: Which teams are likelier to make trades due to Rule 5 roster considerations?


Craig Edwards: The Rays are the big ones. Eric talked about that a little bit.


Craig Edwards: If you have questions about a particular team, got to the roster resource page and look through for Dec 19 players under Rule 5 status. If there are a bunch of players needing protection, then a trade now is more likely.


Inspector Brosseau: Opinion: Twins made a huge mistake by not paying a premium to trade for pitching help 2-3 weeks ago, when it was obvious it would be needed. If the Indians are still 10 games back right now, they sell and the division is a cakewalk. Now they’ve let them back in it and have to pay up anyway.


Craig Edwards: I think the Twins definitely could have been helped, though there isn’t that much they can do about Cleveland playing great. We don’t know what that premium might look like just because nobody else has made that move, either. Dallas Keuchel seems like the more obvious miss.


John: Do you think the Cardinals could get Bauer without giving up Gorman or Carlson?  Or who would you try to target at the deadline?  Because we need this trade to be for the long-term, and not just this year since we are a couple pieces away.


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. They could try an O’Neill and Hudson. Given where Cleveland is right now, it’s hard to see them as highly motivated to move Bauer. They can still make another run with him this year and then trade him in the offseason if they want.


Craig Edwards: As far as what else the Cardinals can do, Syndergaard, Minor, and Stroman are the other arms with 2020 control. The team’s trade chips are Carlson, Gorman, Knizner, Bader, Hudson, and O’Neill. It will take at least one and maybe two of those guys to land one of those pitchers. The Cardinals have never had the appetite for one of those deals at the deadline in the past. If they feel confident about this season, and O’Neill for Bumgarner deal makes some sense.


Jeff: Thought your 60 HR piece was interesting, but with Yelich hitting another last night, it seems like he and Bellinger both have at least a reasonable shot if they stay healthy. Which as noted is the crucial prerequisite to having a chance. Has the way teams use the DL/IL for precautionary purposes changed over time? Last three seasons only 9, 6, and 10 players in the league hit 700 PAs, and the relative likelihood many of those lucky guys will be sluggers in a given year seems low.


Craig Edwards: He still has to hit 26 homers in 65 games. That’s a 65 homer pace, and he’s less than that now. It’s possible, but is still not very likely. As for the PAs necessary. I think teams are also more cognizant of getting players days off, which isn’t going to help home run pursuits. In addition to the 25 guys you mentioned another 35 had more than 680 PA so it isn’t like it is impossible. You just have to have the right guys in the right year. Stanton in 2017 playing somewhere other than Miami probably gets to it. Better health from a handful of guys would increase the chances by a lot this season.


J: Should I trust that J Hey is really as much better in right than center as the early metrics say this year? Both DRS and UZR seem to think he’s still a gold glover in right but pretty bad in center.


Craig Edwards: Heyward is generally a great fielder because he gets great jumps, is very good around the ball and has good positioning to prepare himself for the throw and then makes very good throws. The one thing he doesn’t have is great sprint speed. Many plays in center field come down to having that speed. Center exposes his one relative weakness. It doesn’t make him bad in center, but I do think he is much better suited to right field.


Stevil: Is there any indication of Pittsburgh shooting for the postseason, and if so, should Hayes be available if they could acquire a semi-controllable star?


Craig Edwards: I don’t think that would be wise for the Pirates. When they went for it last year, they traded Glasnow, who looked like a reliever for them, Meadows, who couldn’t seem to stay healthy, and a recent pick. It was a high cost, but not guys who were almost assuredly part of the future. Hayes is a guy they should keep. I don’t know what going for it for the Pirates would look like, but I wouldn’t see them trading Hayes.


Roger: Hi Craig. Franmil has had a nice season and he is underperforming is xBA. Would you confidently project him as an annual .260 30-35HR bat?


Craig Edwards: That seems pretty fair.


Impatient: How early is too early to worry about Vladito? This time next year?


Craig Edwards: Next August maybe some concern, sure.


Chris: When will dipoto start trading?


Craig Edwards: He’s already made a few trades, but I’m sure more are on their way in the next few weeks.


Slurve: If you were building a team from scratch starting today, which player would you pick first? Why?  (i.e. is the answer still Trout?)


Craig Edwards: Still Trout.


Billy Pilgrim: Is this a fair trade?Boyd for Brujan and Sanchez.


Craig Edwards: That’s a top-20 and a top-40 prospect both in the 55 range. That seems pretty steep for 3.5 years of Boyd, who only has one good half-season of baseball. I think two guys in the top-100 is reasonable, but more like one guy in the top 40 and another guy at the back end of the top-100 plus couple longer shots or low ceiling guys.


Chris: Who does Mike leake end up with?


Chris: Will Domingo Santana or narvaez be traded?


Craig Edwards: I’m sure Jerry is on it. I’ll say Leake to the Brewers?


Phil: what’s your outlook for Amed Rosario the remainder of the year?


Craig Edwards: I think his season line right now is a pretty reasonable expectation. Something like .270/.310/.430ish. He had a solid August and September last season and has been hot as of late so possible a little bit more than that, but I wouldn’t expect it.


Dennis Quaid from The Rookie: With the Angels 5.5 games out and Jo Adell mashing in Double-A, do you think he makes it to the bigs this year?


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. If the Angels were going to be in the playoffs, it might make sense to see if he can handle MLB pitching in September and get him on the playoff roster, but right now, he’s probably better served developmentally by sticking in the minors the rest of this year.


Trent: Should the Reds try to extend Tanner Roark and/or Yasiel Puig?


Craig Edwards: Right now? I wouldn’t think so. If they are worthy of extensions, then they are worthy of qualifying offers. Might be better off seeing the season out and then negotiating with the QO attached.


John: What type of contract do you think Gerrit Cole will get this offseason?  The Cardinals really need to go all out for him(i know they wont).


Craig Edwards: Corbin got 6/140. Cole will be the same age, but has been better longer so I would think 7/175 or something like that. I doubt the Cardinals go after him, but can’t rule it out, particularly if they miss the playoffs again.


Roger: Is Chris Sale *actually* the most inconsistent pitcher in baseball, or does it just seem that way.  (12Ks through 5 scoreless innings so far today; at least 5 earned runs in his previous 3 starts)


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. I think he just went through a rough patch. Poor performances are just more noticeable with a pitcher like Sale because of the higher standard he sets.


Randy Arozarena: What do I need to do to get my shot in CF in St. Louis?


Craig Edwards: You need to get yourself on the 40-man roster and have available playing time. Right now, O’Neill, Bader, Fowler, and Martinez are all still outielders even with Ozuna down and O’Neill has earned himself an extended role. Even benching Bader means O’Neill or Fowler in center field on some days. It might take one more injury or a trade to provide a real shot at playing time.


Inspector Brosseau: Angels have to look into playing Ohtani in the outfield a bit, right?  Start every 6 days, sandwich those days at DH, other days in the OF w/ Pujols filling in at DH, get a full time first baseman who actually contributes positively to the offense…Whole lineup is better


Craig Edwards: Unless they are going to tell him to walk the ball back into the infield every time, that’s too big a risk right now. I wouldn’t want him throwing other than in a highly monitored, relaxing setting.


Petey Bienel: do the Nationals have the prospect assets not named Kieboom to get into the bullpen trade market?


Craig Edwards: Every team has the prospects to get into the bullpen trade market. It’s just the level of reliever that matters. I don’t see them going for Will Smith, but there are always a ton of relievers, including a bunch who could help the Nationals, who won’t require more than a 40 prospect, and the Nationals are fine there.


Inspector Brosseau: (Re: Ohtani, I mean for next year.  It’s DH for him for 2019 clearly)


Craig Edwards: Oh, okay. I’m still not sure that is the right way to go given he’ll get rest around the days he’s starting. Plus, the Angels have Trout, Upton, and at some point next year, Marsh and Adell. It probably isn’t worth it for a very temporary need.


____: Thoughts on Robel Garcia?


Craig Edwards: Is he good? Probably not with that strikeout rate. Do we not know enough about him that it might be worth getting him a bunch of playing time now given the Cubs’ lackluster options at second base? Probably.


Dennis Quaid from The Rookie: Hunter Dozier is swinging the bat well again–maybe he has re-adjusted. Can he make an All-Star Game?


Craig Edwards: If we can chalk up his slump to his injury, and I don’t know a whole lot about thorax injuries, then an All-Star berth is a possibility in the future, but I’d still like to see him keep this up another couple months.


Mel: Would you expect the Yankees to pursue Cole in the offseason?


Craig Edwards: Seems like a pretty obvious fit.


Matt: With the Nationals trying Kieboom at 3b for the post-rendon era, it got me thinking about the value of different positions. Assuming his glove plays the same at 2b and 3b, does his offense profile better as a 2b? Is Kieboom and a league avg 3b in the lineup better than Kieboom and a league avg 2b?


Craig Edwards: I don’t think that matters all that much. His ability to play both does help the Nationals in that when they are pursuing other players, they can look to both second and third base without Kieboom blocking or getting blocked by someone. Kind of find it hard to believe that Washington doesn’t just bring Rendon back, though.


Morbo: Do you think there is a talent evaluation problem within the Cardinals FO? (Why or why not?)


Craig Edwards: Not sure I see a talent evaluation problem. They have solid prospects. Their big swing at the international pool in 2016 have been mostly misses but most of those guys are still young enough where we could see some surprises down the line. They’ve done a good job developing young major leaguers like Bader and DeJong and Carlson is another example of good development. Where the problem lies is in a perpetual lack of risk-taking and going the safe route because it is a little easier and creates less friction. That means mostly safe trades, unnecessary extensions and trading players when their value is at its lowest instead of at their peak. The Cardinals aren’t that far off despite everything, but it has been a disappointing few years.


jkim: Which one of May/Lux/Ruiz/Smith will the Dodgers give up for a top-end reliever?


Craig Edwards: None of the first three, and while a Will Smith for Will Smith trade would be exciting, the Giants probably aren’t in the market for a catcher. Not sure which other relievers out there would be worth giving up Smith for which might cause them to make mulitple moves rather than just one.


White Sox Fan: Does my team have the worst FO in the majors right now?  Rebuild at least 2 years behind and every ML guy we sign/trade for (with the possible exception of McCann) sucks.


Craig Edwards: The rebuild is going pretty well, I’d say. The team has Moncada, Anderson, Jimenez with Robert, Madrigal, and Vaughn all close. They had some bad luck with pitching last year, but Giolito is doing well, Cease should be solid and hopefully Kopech can come back well next year. They should’ve gotten Machado, but they are basically one Lester move away from being in very good position in the Central. They have to deliver now that they have the opportunity, but all things considered, they are in a good spot.


TC Bear: What percent chance would you give Cleveland winning the division?


Craig Edwards: They are 16% chance right now according the playoff odds.


Craig Edwards: I’ll let recency bias enter my brain and say it is more like 25%.


Sum: Are you surprised at Mookie’s mere 13 HRs, given the league-wide homer spike? Is there something in his hitting profile that suggests an adjustment could increase that number? Or just luck to this point in the year?


Craig Edwards: I think it is just a general lack of production issue more than home run specific. He’s still got a 125 wRC+ but when you go for 185 like he did last season, expectations were raised. It’s really hard to be Mike Trout in more than one season unless you are Mike Trout.


pumpsie: Kiley predicted $49M total for Judge’s 3 years of arb. Sound right to you?


Craig Edwards: so that’s 10, 15, 24? that’s pretty reasonable. Finishing second to Altuve in the MVP in 2017 probably cost him $10 M- $20 M.


pumpsie: Would Guerrero Jr. be in the show if he were on a playoff-bound team like the Dodgers, Astros or Yankees?


Craig Edwards: He would have been on the team last year in that case. Maybe he would’ve adjusted better this season, then, too. All speculation of course, but Guerrero’s performance so far doesn’t justify keeping him down or mean he deserves a demotion.


Lefty Gomez: In light of baseball’s trend toward growing specialization, how important should WAR be in evaluating a player’s admissibility to the HOF?  For instance, starters aren’t throwing as many innings, so will not be able to accumulate as much value.


Craig Edwards: I think pitching standards will evolve and need to evolve from what they’ve been in the past. 300 wins became the standard at some point over the last 30 years when it wasn’t necessary at all before then. I think voters might look at peak a little more, but in terms of not pitching enough innings, I think WAR is actually the reasonable alternative when considering innings because it looks at the actual impact in the innings pitchers did pitch.


Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me. Thanks for all the questions. See you next week.

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