Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–9/12/2019

2:01

Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.

2:01

Jeroboam: Bigger blow – Yelich or Baez?

2:02

Craig Edwards: Yelich, easy. Baez is a very good player, but Yelich has been the second-best player in baseball for nearly two years.

2:02

Mariners Fan: What does Kyle Lewis profile as moving forward  Quad A, Fourth Outfielder or regular starter?

2:03

Craig Edwards: The BOARD has him at a 45, which would put him in 4th outfielder territory. https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-in-season-prospect-…
The 30% k-rate is Triple-A is a little troubling.

2:05

Scary Harry: You are on the record as saying the Cardinals should have traded Bader and additional prospects for Zack Wheeler. Now that Bader has bounced back and Wheeler has been terrible for over a month are you ready to admit that you were wrong? Accountability is important in this business.

2:07

Craig Edwards: No I am not. I like Bader, but he’s got a 105 wRC+ since he got back on the strength of a 15% walk rate due to hitting eighth in the lineup. I’m not sold that he’s that much different than he was before.

2:09

Craig Edwards: And Wheeler has been terrible? He’s got a 3.58 FIP and 2.94 ERA since the deadline and in his last three starts, he’s got a 2.82 FIP and 1.50 ERA. I like Bader. I like Tyler O’Neill. I really like Dylan Carlson. Bader and O’Neill shouldn’t have been untouchable for a good starting pitcher, even if they were a pending FA because of the team’s depth in the outfield.

2:10

Mets: Who is going to take the Cubs out of the wildcard and why is it the Mets?

2:10

Craig Edwards: The Cubs still have the best shot. I wrote about every team in the wild card race for ESPN today. https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/27590598/one-thing-watch-t…

2:12

Craig Edwards: For the Mets to get into the playoffs they need to hope for poor motivation from the good teams they are playing like the just clinched Dodgers and the Braves at the end of the season and then repeat their early second-half performance against the bad teams. They still aren’t likely to pull it off, but all of the contenders have some pretty serious flaws.

2:12

Larry Walker: Just read your article on literal walk-off victories.  I know people have shied away from walking the bases loaded (either intentionally or pitching around somebody) because it puts relievers in a tough spot.  I feel like in certain circumstances, the benefits outweigh the risks of loading the bases, but what do the numbers say on that?

2:13

Craig Edwards: That’s something I was actually surprised about. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/when-teams-have-walked-walked-walked-it-of…

2:15

Craig Edwards: Replacing the pitcher worked slightly better in the very small sample I was using. There’s probably some issue with the numbers given that the type of pitcher called in when the bases are loaded might be better than average in tight situations, though presumably the type of pitcher a manager is willing to let stay in the game in tight situations might fit the same bill. I think generally, you want to give relievers a clean entry if at all possible, but with the bases loaded, it doesn’t really hurt to bring someone else in given the other pitcher already loaded the bases.

2:15

Hecubot: A’s bring up all three of their top prospects with 55 FV and they hit the ground running.  Do you think the A’s will challenge the Astros for the AL West next year?  Best defense in the majors. Montas, Fiers, Luzardo, Manaea, Puk, Bassitt in the rotation. Power throughout the lineup…

2:17

Craig Edwards: It’s not hard to see where the Astros could take a dip next year given Cole could leave and Verlander is up there in age. It still isn’t likely, particularly given the A’s likely don’t have the depth to survive a bunch of injuries and haven’t spent much the last decade. The AL West could be a lot of fun next year if the Angels and Rangers both spend a ton this offseason to compete with what the Astros and A’s already have. Doesn’t look good for the Mariners, though.

2:18

Ryan: In an article yesterday about the Rockies trading Arenado, Ken Rosenthal wrote “Yes, the pending free agencies of Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson and possible availability of other third basemen in a trade (Kris Bryant?) would complicate the market.” Would the Cubs really consider trading Kris Bryant this offseason? They obviously haven’t lived up to expectations the last 3 seasons, but trading away your best player doesn’t seem like a great strategy to get back on track…

2:20

Craig Edwards: They can run everyone back and be division favorites, probably. That doesn’t strike me as a team that should be trading a former MVP who is still one of the best players in the game. Sure, the farm system isn’t great, but most of the talent they had is either in the majors in some shape form like Quintana or helped keep the team in contention for five straight seasons now, with a sixth on the way next year. They need to fix their bullpen, but that’s about the easiest thing to solve. A shakeup for shakeups sake probably isn’t a good idea.

2:20

Cy The Cardinal: College Gameday is in Ames for El Assico this weekend. The Cyclones survived a scare in week one, but have had a week off to look at the tape and get ready for Iowa, I’m thinking Iowa State by two scores. Thoughts? Concerns?

2:21

Craig Edwards: I think you are way off base and I’m concerned about your incredibly high expectations.

2:22

Nick: The Indians are rumored to be considering a Lindor trade this off-season, but Carlos Correa is in a similar situation (elite SS, two years of control left, no evident interest in an extension).  Should the Astros consider trading Correa?

2:23

Craig Edwards: I don’t see why either team would make those moves. It seems were are in the “star might be traded” season already, but most of those deals don’t make sense because contenders don’t usually try to get actively worse and other contenders don’t tend to want to give up huge amounts for players who can leave after two years. The interests rarely align.

2:23

Nathan: Seems like Cardinals have given up on playing Tyler O’Neill, but refused to include him in a trade to the Mets for Wheeler? Any idea what they are doing with him? Do you think he still is in play for LF next year?

2:25

Craig Edwards: That’s a good question. A lot depends on what happens with Ozuna at the end of the season. The Cardinals could theoretically start next season with Bader, O’Neill, and Fowler with a bench of Martinez and Arozarena and then just bring up Carlson if the team decides it is time to move on. His lack of playing time right now, even in a pinch hitting role seems to indicate that the on-field staff doesn’t have a lot of confidence in him, or that he’s just hurt.

2:26

ISU by 7: By the Hawks resort to their classic “but it’s their super bowl” excuse

2:28

Craig Edwards: What is this, 2012? Iowa has won four in a row, five of the last six and eight of the last 11.

2:29

Mason Jarre: So Correa, Lindor, betts, Arenado and Bryant are all going to be traded?

Does the MLB minor league system have enough prospects to accommodate that?

2:29

Craig Edwards: Quick peek at the trade value rankings this year: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2019-trade-value-1-to-10/

2:32

Craig Edwards: So Lindor would take a huge haul, ranking 13th. Bryant was 25th, but that would go down a little with half a season less of team control at a higher salary. Correa was at 45 and probably drops out of the top 50 in the offseason. Betts has just one more year at close to $30 million salary. Arenado’s deal has little to no surplus, especially given the opt-out.

2:34

Craig Edwards: That’s sort of the problem with trading these players is that the overall value doesn’t match the name or the 2020 production. They are almost always going to be more valuable to the team that currently has them under contract, especially when the team is good.

2:34

Gordon: Are the Brewers of last week (with Yelich, but without Hiura or Woodruff) better or worse than the Brewers of next week (without Yelich, but with Hiura and Woodruff)

2:35

Craig Edwards: You could put Moustakas in that group as well and it might even out, but I think I would still rather have healthy Yelich over the three guys coming back from injuries given we don’t know exactly how healthy they are.

2:36

Grant: Jake Lamb in the past was an all-star caliber player, but his last two years have been ruined by injury.  Arizona controls him for one more year, but they’ve also done well without him this past season.  What do you think the future holds for him?  Non-tendered?  Traded to a team hoping for a bounce-back?

2:38

Craig Edwards: If he can still play third base, which he still has done in the second half, hold on to him and hope for a bounceback. If he’s really only a first baseman or bench player due to health, a non-tender might be in order. His salary should be low enough, and the team has flexibility with positions for their other players, that one more bounce back is fine to shoot for to see if he can get healthy.

2:40

Stephen: The Braves are 19-4 since August 17.  Arbitrary end dates and all, I know, but still, this is one of the hottest stretches of baseball that anyone has played this year and it seems, I’ll say, lightly covered.  Any thoughts on what they’ve been doing and/or why it doesn’t seem to be getting more attention?

2:41

Craig Edwards: The Braves have been on cruise control in the division for some time so they aren’t going to get any playoff chase buzz. They don’t have any major MVP or Cy Young candidates, so they don’t get any award season buzz. They also don’t have any major holes or controversies. It’s probably a good thing that nobody is talking about the Braves. Things are just going very well.

2:42

Phil: Is the question of should the Nats use Scherzer or Strasburg for the wildcard game a little beer or tacos?  Washington trending toward being locked in as 1st wildcard, so barring any radical standings changes in the next few days, they have 2 weeks plus to set calendars.  A wildcard day Scherzer/Strasburg tandem probably takes that bullpen out of play.

2:44

Craig Edwards: If that’s the case, they should probably try something like that in the next few weeks. It might not be reasonable though because what happens if Scherzer just goes seven strong innings. Does Strasburg come in for two. Is that really that much better than the bullpen considering comfort with the role. I know the Washington bullpen hasn’t been good, and if Scherzer is only going 4-5 innings, the strategy makes sense, but it might be hard to pull of practically.

2:44

Zach: Does Steven Souza ever become a full-time MLB player again?

2:45

Craig Edwards: That’s unfortunate to think about. I hope so. He will be 31 next season so time is running out. I would think he’ll get a few more shots if he can get even reasonably healthy to see if his bat can still be worth a starting spot.

2:46

Trent: Soler, Merrifield, Mondesi–the Royals have some legitimate position player talent.  Does the pitching catch up in time for them to be contenders while that talent is still around?

2:49

Craig Edwards: While they are around? Maybe? While they are still in their primes? Probably not. Soler will be 29 in 2021 and a FA after. Merrifield is already 30. Mondesi should still be in his prime for a while, but the Royals aren’t going to be able to count on homegrown players like they did in their last run. They just don’t have the farm for that. They’ll need significant outside help if they want to compete by 2021 when Soler and Merrifield are still around and hopefully good.

2:50

Alex Anchopoulos : Ronald Acuna and Mike Soroka say hi

2:51

Craig Edwards: Yelich, Bellinger, Rendon, and Marte nod downward at Acuna and Pete Alonso and the Tatis, Jr. injury has eliminated the need for a ROY debate.

2:52

ANF: The hawks are right that ANF. Luckily ISAEF (Iowa State Actually Educates Farmers)

2:52

Craig Edwards: I look forward to seeing that on a helmet.

2:52

Richie bklyn: Do yanks offer Didi a QO, does he take it? Would 4yrs 17 per lock him up?

2:56

Craig Edwards: I think they would offer it and he would think about taking it, though he might not want to hit free agency after his age-30 season. It’s hard to say what the market will be like given this season. Who was the last comparable shortstop to hit FA? I could see anywhere from 3/30 to 5/90 at this point. It depends on which teams need a shortstop.

2:56

UofIx3: Should the Cardinals worry about turning into the San Francisco Giants?  St. Louis’ farm system seems to be slowing down and they’ve sure are paying for a lot of decline years in their recent long-term contracts to older players.

3:00

Craig Edwards: Is the farm system slowing down? I know it isn’t as highly ranked as it once was but it has two position players among the top 50 in the game for the first time in a decade. Flaherty should be a fixture in the rotation, in the last few years, they’ve gotten an All-Star in DeJong plus production out of Bader and potentially O’Neill. They already have their catcher of the future in Knizner to the point they traded Kelly away. The extensions have locked up a few positions in the near term, but the only long term deal is Goldschmidt’s. They have the resources, good young players now and a few in the system to build around without much committed in salary down the line as the money from Molina, Fowler, Carpenter, and a parade of relievers come off the books.

3:01

Cy vs Herky: Score prediction?

3:01

Craig Edwards: 20-5.

3:02

Richie bklyn: Why dont NL teams always use an opener for the  back end of their rotation? Then  double switch/ ph… if they play their cards right the pitcher might never have to get an AB.  Would teams be more open to do this next yr w/ 26man rosters?

3:02

Craig Edwards: inertia. Fear of running out of players. Not wanting to disrupt a starter’s rhythm in getting ready.

3:05

Richie bklyn: I think MLB should bring back SUNDAY DOUBLEHEADERS. Make every team play 1 home and 1 road DH’S vs their division. Schedule  mondays off, that’ll be 8less days on the  schedule, use 4 for the regular season,  4 to expand playoffs… FANGRAPHS has the platform to get this idea going. GET ON IT.

3:05

Craig Edwards: I did it four years ago. It has not caught on. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mlb-attendance-so-far-and-a-call-for-doubl…

3:05

Western pants: Oh you are wrong about the Mariners.  Gilbert, Dunn, Sheffield, Kikuchi, Marco + Kelenic, Julio, Haniger, Lewis, White.  It’s going to be a spicy meatball in the West by the time August-September roll around in 2020.

3:06

Craig Edwards: 2020 seems pretty agressive for some of those guys to contribute to a contender.

3:06

Western pants: Kyle Lewis’ 30% K rate occurred at AA, for what it is worth. However, his power was suppressed really badly by his home park there.  I still think he’s a 4th OF, unless Dipoto decides to move Haniger, which would open up playing time for Lewis/Fraley/Bishop.

3:07

Craig Edwards: Noted.

3:08

Richie bklyn: Yanks playoff  lineup, Would you start DJ at 1B, Urshela  at 3B, and Voit or Encanarcion DH’s with  1 of em  coming off  the bench… or DJ at 3b, Urshela on the bench coming in for defense late, and Voit/EE starting at 1b/dh

3:09

Craig Edwards: That’s a tough call. I think Urshela ends up sitting, though I don’t think there’s a really bad choice to be made.

3:09

Western pants: Craig, who’s the bargain of the off season free agent market?  Is there such a thing?

3:12

Craig Edwards: Probably Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole, though if you are looking for a Lance Lynn type bargain to pay off I could see Marcell Ozuna not getting the offers he wants. I’m also interested to see if there is an overcorrection on Madison Bumgarner that might make him a decent bargain.

3:12

Western pants: What’s your favorite storyline leading into the playoffs?  Is it the role of attrition in pennant races?  Something else?

3:13

Craig Edwards: 15 teams have a shot at the playoffs with three teams vying for two slots in the AL wild card and eight teams fighting for three spots in the NL. That’s crazy with only two weeks left to go.

3:14

Mason Jarre: sticking with the Yankees, you have Chapman, Britton, Ottavino, Kahnle, Green and now Betances, do you even ask a starter who isn’t dominating to go more than 3 innings?

3:14

Craig Edwards: Not until the LCS at least. In a five-game series, you have to close things out when you can.

3:15

Richie bklyn: Would you be open to every team giving up two home games to play in and around North America, Caribbean Canada, Mexico and U.S. cities without baseball,  do it mostly on Mondays  and Tuesdays  b/c  those are usually the lowest attended games, but on the road in places like D.R., P.R., Mex city, Montreal Vancouver , Portland etc, they’d be one off  series and most likely sell out.

3:15

Craig Edwards: The travel sounds impossible to pull that off, but it’s an interesting idea.

3:16

Ryan: Who pitches the most innings for the Yankees in the playoffs this year?

3:16

Craig Edwards: Paxton?

3:18

Rick: What current player has the best chance to break Jeter’s mark for all time post-season PAs?

3:19

Craig Edwards: That is not something I’ve given a lot of thought to, but I’ll say Kris Bryant. Maybe Carlos Correa.

3:20

Craig Edwards: With that, we will close things down today. Other pieces this week on the Cardinals defense: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-cardinals-great-and-boring-defense/

3:21

Craig Edwards: and Beating FIP: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/beating-fip/

3:21

Craig Edwards: Thanks for all the question. see you next week.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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