Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat – 9/10/2020


Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.


Eric the Red: Are the Reds bad or unlucky?


Craig Edwards: Yes?


Craig Edwards: Pythag has them at the same record at 19-24 though BaseRuns has them at 22-21. That three-game differential is the third-biggest in baseball this year with only the Mets and Angels at -5 doing worse.


Craig Edwards: Desclafani not pitching well is a bummer, but the rest of the rotation is at or exceeding expectations.


Craig Edwards: There’s nothing glaring on offense except for Votto.


Craig Edwards: Going into the season, the Reds looked like something close to a .500 team, maybe a little bit better. They’ve played pretty close to that and have a record that is slightly worse. The good news is that they are still very much in the playoff hunt.


muenstertruck: Matt Wieter’s 19 pitch AB got me thinking about how you would value a hypothetical player who sees an average of 10+ pitches per AB. Even if that player had below average outcomes, you’d still want to slot him in – but how far below average could you go before the outcomes are an issue?


Craig Edwards: I think that player would be better as a pinch hitter. How much worse is a pitcher with 12 more pitches through twice in the order? I’m guessing it would be small and with the quality of bullpens the change wouldn’t be that dramatic. You are talking about two fewer outs from the starter.


Guest: Keeper league question- how negatively does Dylan Carlson’s 2020 performance affect his dynasty value?


Craig Edwards: I’m not sure about a keeper league, but I don’t really see Carlson’s performance this year really affecting his long term value. He’s a 21-year-old rookie who was put into a strange situation, then got a bunch of bad results despite hitting the ball well, then got bad results that were deserved. I don’t the think outlook has changed.


Jon: I’m trying to be patient but Vlad Jr.’s apparent lack of progress has me frustrated. What are your thoughts on his season?


Craig Edwards: He had a great August and has had a rough week to start September. He’s hit more fly balls this month which could be nothing or it could be he’s working on things. Sometimes it just takes time. He’s still been an average hitter at just 21 years old, which is an accomplishment.


brad penny for your thoughts: is FG gonna do a Lou Brock article/retrospective?  Or did i miss one?


Craig Edwards: Yes. Likely tomorrow. I think Jay is working on it, though he’s taken a few days off this week, hence the delay.


Dan’s dry flavorless chili: Have you ever eaten Dan’s chili? He talks a big game but frankly I am skeptical that it’s any good.


Craig Edwards: No.


kyler murray: what would my stats be if I was in the big leagues this year?


Craig Edwards: Really, really bad, I would think.


v2micca: Freddie Freeman is on a tear lately.  Assuming he is able to stay healthy, is he on track to make the Hall of Fame, or is he one of those guys that is projected to fall short?


Craig Edwards: I don’t think he’s on track. Take a look at this leaderboard for first baseman through their age-30 seasons.…


Craig Edwards: He’s right in the middle of a bunch of guys who are likely to fall short. That doesn’t mean he can’t make it. It means he needs to age better than most other players like him.


Overbearing Padre: Aside from the Dodgers, who should worry the Padres most in a three game series?


Craig Edwards: If we assume the Padres are going to end up with the fourth seed, that means they are going to play the second place team in either the central or the east. Right now, that’s either St. Louis or Philadelphia. St. Louis has the better bullpen, and Philadelphia has the better offense. If you are worried about getting bounced right away, I think Nola-Wheeler is more worrisome than Flaherty-Wainwright and would lean toward the Phillies. That said, in a three-game series, every playoff team should worry you.


Phillip Mamoufwifarts: Given the small sample that will go with his season, do you think Bobby Dalbec will end the season with the biggest gap between average and OPS you’ve ever seen?


Craig Edwards: Maybe, but he’s only got 35 plate appearances. Pretty sure there’s plenty of fluctuation to be had between now and the end of the season. Historically, Gene Tenace was always a low average, high performance hitter. Mark McGwire’s got a few pretty wild seasons as well.


Sodo Mojo: Marco Gonzales has dramatically lowered his walk rate while increasing his strike out rate by 20 percent this year.  If he can maintain those levels can he generate $100 million in surplus value over the course of his contract extension?


Craig Edwards: I suppose that’s possible given he’s only getting paid $30 million over the next four years, though his injury history is always concerning and a 2% walk rate really isn’t sustainable. The homers might rise a bit, too.


Struggling fan: Craig, I have been struggling to get through to the relatives that I currently live with about the value of sabermetrics. It first clicked for me when I realized that OBP was 99% of the time much more valuable than AVG, a lack of broadcast teams espousing OBP has certainly made this harder. Would calling OBP what it actually is “Not making and out” Percentage make more sense somehow?


Craig Edwards: I think it is better categorize stats as doing something rather than not doing something. If your relatives like average, but can’t get behind OBP, figure out why. Do they not think walks are important? What about doubles? Focus your efforts by finding agreement on what is important and then working toward stats that show those important things in the stats.


Isolated Thinker: How would a team covid outbreak be handled come playoff time?  Can’t really stop everything and wait until the teams are cleared to play and schedule doubleheaders.  Would teams just be forced to use their taxi squad or would that not happen because of playoff competitiveness?


Craig Edwards: I really don’t know. I think they would just have some sort of a delay and try to catch up. I don’t think they want too much roster change.


Ari: What would you think the starting point for a conforto extension would look like?


Craig Edwards: He’ll be 28 next year heading toward free agency heading into his age-29 season. If you start with a $12 M salary in arbitration next year, I think another five years and $100 million might get things started, though I think I might just roll the dice on both sides at this point.


Mike Hawk: Odds the Giants sneak into a WC spot and walk with a WS ring?  I mean, it IS an even year, yaknow?


Craig Edwards: Playoff odds have them at 2.6%, which seems kind of high, but I’ll go with that.


Scuffy Mcgee: Is Jurickson Profar nothing more than a utility guy at this point in his career?


Craig Edwards: I don’t know. He’s been pretty unlucky on batted balls this year. He’s also somehow still only 27 years old. An above-average bat at second base would still make him a regular, particularly as teams fill second base later in their planning and look for discounts.


Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: How excited should we be by Randy Arozarena?


Craig Edwards: I think you can be pretty excited. He hits the ball hard. He runs fast. I’m not sure about center field long term so he needs to do well on offense. That could prevent him from being all-star caliber but should be a regular.


Jkim: Dodger fan here, but am actually kind of worried that their record is a bit inflated w/ the really low ERA compared to FIP, also evidenced by the huge xwOBA-wOBA gap in the pitching. Especially in a short series I do think the pitching will be a problem if Buehler’s blister issues continue.


Craig Edwards: In a short series anything could be a problem and losing a team’s best pitcher hurts anybody. Even by FIP, though the Dodgers are the eighth-best pitching team in baseball so far.


Mize: Can Trout still lead the majors in WAR?


Craig Edwards: I’m not going to put anything past Mike Trout, but a one-win gap in just over two weeks is going be pretty tough. It would take a slump by Tatis Jr. where he wasn’t actually adding value while Trout just put up another two weeks like the last two weeks. The AL is still very much in his grasp, however.


FunFella13: You can still wear white shirts, Craig.  Just not white pants.


Craig Edwards: I will keep that in mind.


Guest: Thoughts on the Cardinals outfield moving forward, this year and next?


Craig Edwards: The shortened season isn’t doing the team any favors. Fowler will be on the last year of his deal next year so will still pay at least some. Carlson should be an everyday guy. Bader and O’Neill have looked good in spurts and should still be fighting for time. There really isn’t an easy answer. Edman should be on the infield. I think they continue to mix and match this year, and might end up doing the same next.


Guest: Will Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruf be better in 2021?


Craig Edwards: Good question. I’d lean Woodruff, but you’ve got to be pretty happy with how the rotation is setting up this year and in the future.


Big Fan: Craig, Austin Riley seems to have turned it around over the last month.  Any insight into whether he’s made adjustments and figured things out?  He’s still striking out a lot, but the results overall are really good.


Craig Edwards: He’s actually striking out much less, which is a very good sign going forward though I haven’t take a closer look.


Scuffy Mcgee: Do the Rays have enough offense this year to really contend for a championship?


Craig Edwards: There’s still not a lot there offensively, but a team doesn’t have to be a dynamo on offense to win it all. The Royals are the most recent example, and the Rays are better than them. Their wRC+ at the moment is even with the Nationals last year.


BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Javy Baez….what up with that?


Craig Edwards: He partly faults video. His strikeouts are up for the second straight year after his 2018 breakout. He isn’t hitting the ball as hard when he makes contact. We are also dealing with just 40 games and Baez’s game could be prone to fluctuations like that over a short amount of time.


Jimmy: Fewer games and poor defense, but will 200+ wRC+ gett Juan Soto any MVP votes?


Craig Edwards: First place votes? I don’t see that happening. I’m not sure it won’t be unanimous, though maybe Betts gets a few.


BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Outside of Wander, which prospects (that haven’t been called up) do you miss this season?


Craig Edwards: I’m not sure there really are any. Look at the current level up on the board. There’s a ton of MLB.…


Craig Edwards: There are some guys where it is about genuine curiousity, but not where the game is missing out on seeing guys.


Childish Giambino: Piggyback to Scuffy Mcgee’s question, if the Rays have enough offense to contend for a championship, do the Indians?


Craig Edwards: It asks a lot from the pitching staff, but it is certainly possible.


Appa Yip Yip: How sad would Dodgers fans be if a Ryu led Jays team beat them in the WS?


Craig Edwards: I really doubt the opponent would really matter in this case.


Gunther Centralperk: Do you think the Dodgers can/will (two questions) keep all of Bellinger, Buehler and Seager for the “long term”?


Craig Edwards: I think Seager would be the least likely of those three, but if they want to, they can.


Jimmy: On Soto: Not first place votes, but will he get recognition?


Craig Edwards: If he finishes the season strong, he will get some downballot votes, but not a top-five finish or anything.


Bill: What is the longer term outlook on Nick Madrigal? What type of player is he in a couple years?


Craig Edwards: same player he is now, roughly. Second baseman who makes a ton of contact, hits for a high enough average to get on base a decent amount. Should be a better baserunner than his numbers say in this small sample.


Morbo: Craig, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I read in one of your articles or a chat that in a former life you were an attorney. Do you have any advice for someone who is also trying to become a former lawyer?


Craig Edwards: Find something you love doing enough that you are willing to spend a ton of your spare time on it so that you can hopefully make a smooth transition to whatever it is you dream of doing. It’s not easy, but worth it if you are unhappy. Always try for happiness.


Craig Edwards: That’s all I’ve got time for today. Thanks for all the questions.

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