Matt: By pitch run values, The Astros have been nearly twice as good against sliders as the next leading team. Is that notable or noise?
Craig Edwards: Both, probably. The Astros have a lot of really good hitters so them being particularly good at some pitch is bound to happen. Whether they have some secret training method to identify sliders, I couldn’t tell you, but I wouldn’t put it past them either.
Mark: How much would a team actually trade for 2 years of a superstar like Lindor or Bryant at late arbitration salaries?
Craig Edwards: Weird. So, yes, the Mets have done pretty much as expected. They were and are contenders for a playoff spot and needed a little more to go right than went wrong to make the playoffs.
Obvious Alias: If you knew that this year’s HR/FB would be consistent for years to come would you prioritize outfield defense less?
Craig Edwards: If more hitters are trying to hit fly balls, then I might want to prioritize it more, particularly if there aren’t a ton of ground ball pitchers I can counter with.
Eric Blair: Based on the timing of the trades they have made (Donaldson, Happ, Stroman, Sanchez, Pillar, Martin, Osuna etc.) and the returns they have received, do you think that Shapiro-Adkins are completely over matched by there peers.
Craig Edwards: Not based on the above, no. Trading a pre-injured Donaldson before the year might have been the safer bet, but giving it a shot in 2018 before a rebuild was probably the right choice. The Happ trade didn’t seem too bad. The Sanchez trade seemed a little odd, though he’s hurt now. They probably made the right choice about Osuna. The Stroman trade seems odd, but it isn’t crazy to have prioritized pitching and taken the best offer out there. The real test for them begins this offseason as they need to supplement their MLB-level prospects with good players to try and win back the fans.
Ben: Bad outing after bad outing for Kimbrel. Too soon to worry?
Craig Edwards: Hard to know in such a small sample. He’s obviously not the guy from two years ago, but his high-wire act might be good enough for the rest of the season. I’d be more worried about the innings before Kimbrel.
Tampa: The Rays were within .5 games of the Yankees before a mid-June series in the Bronx. They have played 11 games worse since then. They still have the best ERA in the AL. And the Yankees haven’t played world-crushing baseball (though they’ve been very good). Is Tampa more the team until that point of the team that’s basically .500 since then?
Craig Edwards: They’ve had a bunch of injuries since then, so over that time, sure, they are probably a .500ish team. The rest of the season, probably closer to the early-season team given all the moves they made at the trade deadline and getting some guys back from the IL.
lnswr: Is former position player Rowan Wick the Cubs’ best reliever?
Craig Edwards: He’s pitched the best, though it’s not like he can go forever without giving up a homer. Phelps has been good so far and Ryan has been mostly good, but Wick being the best isn’t the worst argument right now.
Cube Jockey: Do we ever see Alex Reyes pitch in another regular season game for the Cardinals?
Craig Edwards: I hope so, but it is looking more unlikely than likely at this point.
gashouse gorilla : How about a possible under-reported story line for the rest of the season? A player you think isn’t getting enough attention, a team on verge of a breakout or collapse?
Craig Edwards: Might be interesting to see if Rendon could sneak his way into the NL MVP discussion.
Matt: Back in early July, I wrote about my concerns regarding Vlad Jr’s launch angle. Now we are approaching 500PA and his launch angle against fastballs is 3 degrees. That is 269th of 275 players with 1000 pitches seen. At what point will my concerns of a Hosmer-ish profile be valid instead of being written off as “small sample/he’s 20”?
Craig Edwards: Maybe at some point next year, if he’s actually not producing. Since his first 10 games, he’s put up a 131 wRC+ and he’s only 20 years old. If he can do that without putting the ball in the air much, pitchers are in some real trouble as he gets older and used to the league.
JustSomeGuy: How hot is Gabe Kapler’s seat?
Craig Edwards: How hot does a seat get when Charlie Manual has been sitting in it all day long?
Gila Monster: Ryan McMahon has quietly had an excellent 2nd half. He has elite exit velocity and hard hit rates, but hit 51% grounders Any chance the Rockies work with him on elevating the ball and he reaches another level to join Arenado,Story, and Blackmon as a star?
Craig Edwards: The ball plus Colorado kills his overall numbers and the fact that he’s not hitting it in the air means he’s not actually taking full advantage of either. I would expect that’s something he will work on, though he can’t afford to strike out any more than he is or he simply won’t be productive.
Gila Monster: What is an adequate sample size to get excited about a player’s exit velocity?
Craig Edwards: One good swing, probably. If you want to look at an average or something, a month is probably plenty. There’s a lot more than exit velocity to making a good hitter, though, as it doesn’t consider strikeouts, which are pretty important in that context.
Kosch: Why to the Astros suck so much at base running?
Craig Edwards: Some of it is personnel. Alvarez, Gurriell, Stassi, Chirinos are all keeping their numbers low. Altuve’s been hurt, but he’s also not been a good runner in his career. Not sure what Bregman is up to.
Pd: With Harper’s and Machado’s performances this season, will this put an even bigger damper on high priced free agents?
Craig Edwards: I don’t see why. For one, Harper and Machado were incredibly rare free agents so there isn’t anybody like them available. If Rendon gets $250 million or something, Harper and Machado might still be relative bargains given their age.
Judge: Is Judge’s elite defensive performance this year just an SSS or is he really a great defender? (Imagine if he could avoid being banged up for a few months a year.)
Craig Edwards: He certainly seems to be a very good fielder. He’s got nearly 3,000 innings in right field and his numbers look very good by both DRS and UZR as well as outs above average. Unless there’s some peculiarity with Judge and Yankees in right field, I’d say he’s comfortably one of the better right fielders in the game.
J: I would guess that, should they end up in the WC, the Cubs would start Lester based on the last few seasons. Obviously he’s not their best pitcher right now. Who would you start?
Craig Edwards: I’m not sure how things line up for them right now, but they are probably going to play important games through the final game of the season and if there’s only a day off before the All-Star game, you probably just go with whoever has a full day of rest. I don’t think there’s that much differentiating the starters that there’s a right move, other than pitching someone on short rest.
Josh: How much better will projection systems be in 15-25 years once we have way more granular, high-quality data (e.g. statcast) to train the models with?
Craig Edwards: A little bit better, probably. No matter how much data we get, the numbers only play out over the course of 600 PA or 200 innings and a lot can happen within there that’s still going to be random, plus injuries affecting play and players getting better or worse. They should be better, but getting that much better is going to be really hard.
Michael Scott: Just assuming for the sake of argument that the Braves let Teheran, ($12 Mil), O’Day ($9 Mil), and Donaldson ($23 Mil) walk, that frees up around $45 Million. What do you see the Braves doing with that excess of $$$??
Craig Edwards: Buying back stock, most likely, but they’ll probably get another starting pitcher or two.
mesh chair rider: who, not currently in a playoff spot, earns one by the end of september?
Craig Edwards: Playoff odds say Rays, and that seems like a pretty good call given their proximity to a spot and their talent level.
Billy Beane: Craig, I think divisions and unbalanced play are kinda dumb. The Twins and Cleveland get to beat up on teams who aren’t trying to win while the Rays and A’s get 19 games apiece against the Yankees and Astros. I think that baseball should go East/West like the NBA and just top 5 make it.
Craig Edwards: That isn’t likely to happen because then you are reducing the number of games between Red Sox-Yankees, Cardinals-Cubs, Giants-Dodgers and while it doesn’t favor those teams on the field, it does in the stands and for fans. These things go mostly in cycles, anyway. The NL Central was weak for a decade and now it is incredibly competitive.
Craig Edwards: I wouldn’t mind going back to four divisions, though.
Guest: Has Miguel Sano got lost in the shuffle between early season Gallo-hype and the late season return of Judge? He has been fantastic.
Craig Edwards: I don’t know about getting lost in the shuffle given he’s like the sixth-best player on the Twins this season and he’s only played two-thirds of the year. He’s hitting really well, but if he’s not getting enough attention, blame the rest of the Twins.
Jonesing for Andruw: Is there really a market for Odor at this point? Even with tempering expectations of getting anything of note in return, do the Rangers just need to cut and eat the money? And does Mazara serve as a straight platoon guy next year?
Craig Edwards: He’s signed for three more seasons and he’s been below replacement in two of the last three years. It’s either try and let him rebuild his value a little or just eat it all. As for Mazara, that depends on what the Rangers do this winter. A platoon makes sense if they don’t think he’ll develop anymore, but he’s still young, and it might not be a great idea to give up on him as an everyday guy yet.
Guest: Hey ! I was just observing how good Marco Gonzales has been without a lot of notice
Judge and Sanchez: Both have 101 career HR. One is a catcher, one is older (and a giant human), both have been injured. Who ends up with more career HR?
Craig Edwards: I’ll say Judge. It’s really hard to see how both players are going to be in their 30s, but Judge could still have a couple seasons where he doubles up on Sanchez and that could be hard to catch up to.
Guest: How do the Red Sox fix their rotation in the offseason? Not much available payroll room, not a very deep farm system to promote from within or trade from, and not many pitchers that will be available for tade
Craig Edwards: I would imagine it is going to be built on hope that guys come back healthy. They might benefit from an innings-eater though I could see a few gambles on guys likely to produce nothing with a higher ceiling.
John: Why do teams send non-prospects to Arizona Fall league?
Craig Edwards: Sometimes they need to protect arms. Some guys they hope to trade so they don’t have to take up a spot on the 40-man. Other times, they just want to experiment with a new pitch and see how it goes. Some of it is just filling out a roster for all of the teams.
Matt: I’ve see a lot made of the Angels needing to fix their rotation. But isn’t Ohtani,Heaney,Canning a good start? Isn’t their infield a bigger issue? I mean it is Simmons and uh….yeah(Unless you buy La Stella and Fletcher’s defense)
Craig Edwards: No. That isn’t a good enough start. Make those guys 3-4-5 and you have the makings of a good rotation. Trout and Simmons can paper over some deficiencies on the position player side, but the team needs quality innings if they are going to get to the playoffs.
Benny and the Betts: How good is Andrew Benintendi really? Is he who he is or is their still a chance of a breakout.
Craig Edwards: Right now, he’s 3-4 win player which is pretty good, but he just turned 25 and there’s power in his bat we haven’t seen so, yes, a breakout is still possible.
Mario: What do you think about Mookie Betts to the Braves in the offseason? How much excess value does he have and would the Braves have to part with multiple pieces of Anderson/Pache/Waters?
Craig Edwards: Yes they would, but I don’t expect the Red Sox to do that.
Craig Edwards: and with that, I think we will close things down. See everyone next week. Thanks for all the questions.