Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–9/19/2019

2:01

Dr. Bob: RE: Your AL CY article. Kudos to not just presenting the FanGraphs answer but showing the other major measurements and how they differ. You didn’t trash them, just presented. Of course, I’m more confused now than ever.

2:02

Craig Edwards: Thank you? Here’s the piece that just went up. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2019-al-cy-young-voting-guide/

2:02

Craig Edwards: Hope to get the NL version by tomorrow.

2:05

Craig Edwards: I think it’s important to understand different metrics and how and why they are used. My goal wasn’t necessarily to confuse, but we are talking about good players having great seasons. There shouldn’t be a lot separating them, but how you choose to frame the performances depends on how you watch and understand the game. The differing views aren’t necessarily right or wrong. Some of it is just a level of confidence in the type of control a pitcher has over the outcomes.

2:05

Bo: Who should the Braves include in their October rotation?

2:07

Craig Edwards: Three months ago, Foltynewicz in the postseason rotation would have been nuts, but right now, he might be the guy for game 1. I think I’d put Keuchel after him, then Soroka, then a big question mark. Maybe start Teheran as number 4 so Fried could be used out of the pen throughout the series.

2:08

Overbearing Padre: Who are some middle of the order bats the Padres should target this offseason?

2:10

Craig Edwards: Rendon is the big name, but he’s not a fit. I don’t see J.D. Martinez in that outfield. That leaves Ozuna on the free agent market, and he might be a decent fit depending on the cost. As for trades, I don’t see the really big names actually getting moved. That’s what makes signing Machado last offseason look like a pretty good move, even if he hasn’t been great this year.

2:11

Fat Matt: Hear anything else on the Domingo German situation?  All I’ve seen is that he’s on the restricted list

2:11

Craig Edwards: That’s all I know.

2:13

Yankees: So, presumably Severino has two more starts to get up to 95 pitches, we should go with Paxton/Severino/Tanaka/bullpen I guess, then?

2:15

Craig Edwards: Happ is starting tomorrow, so we’ll see, but a bullpen game would be a pretty good idea. That’s probably true regardless of whether German would have been available as he’s struggled in the second half.

2:16

Cchamooka: Paul dejong has really fallen off from his hot April since about May 1, which has played a part in cardinals averageish offense. The team seemed to think of him as a middle of the order bat coming into the season, but I was wondering if you feel perception of him should be adjusted as more of a 6-7 hitter in a good lineup. Still a very valuable player imo, just shouldn’t be counted on as a primary run producer.

2:19

Craig Edwards: He went on a slump when everyone did and hasn’t really picked it back up in the second half. His strikeout rate really stands out when looking at his more recent play. I think we are seeing a lot of adjustments back and forth and he still has a few more to make. His season-long line is right around average just like it was a year ago. I think it is still okay to expect more next season as he continues to adjust.

2:20

Fang Raphs: Man, what is it about the A’s and starting seasons with a middling record for months before morphing into a total winning machine in the second half?

2:24

Craig Edwards: Probably primordial ooze. And maybe we just don’t notice all the years they weren’t able to do it. The last two years, they’ve been good at the halfway point and got just a bit better. The three years before that, they just weren’t that good. Back in 2014, they were great to start the season. Maybe the ooze only comes around on certain years.

2:26

Joe Don: The gap between my Rangers and those Astros is huge. Enormous. Grand Canyon-esque. What should we do?

2:26

Craig Edwards: Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon would narrow the gap considerably.

2:27

Overbearing Padre: Padres brass wants to be in WC contention next year. That means they need to win about fifteen extra games. What would you suggest they do to get there?

2:28

Craig Edwards: Get one big arm and a couple other minor moves supplemented by internal improvements and that should be enough to get in position.

2:28

Matt Scherzer: How much of a mistake was it for the Cardinals to not even make an attempt at Max Scherzer in 2014 off season?   It sounds like he really wanted to play for them and probably would have taken some kind of discount to do that…

2:31

Craig Edwards: Isn’t that everyone’s mistake. The history of big free agents arms before and since Scherzer (and Lester who was in the same class) is pretty bad. Plus, the Cardinals had a surplus of good pitching at that point and it wasn’t an issue for them at all in 2015 when they won 100 games. If you could go back and know that Scherzer would be healthy and good, of course you make that move, but that was impossible to know then and spending $200 million on a pitcher was a pretty poor bet.

2:32

J: Who would you choose for NL Gold Glove at short? Javy would have been my pick till he got hurt (likely would be 2-3 in DRS and first in UZR, plus lots of flashy plays), but now it seems you could make an argument for any of DeJong, Ahmed, or Story

2:33

Craig Edwards: I don’t know. I think there are good arguments for all three, but none have a compelling case where I would argue against it.

2:33

I am the Walrus: Castellanos contract annual salary over/under – $15Million?

2:35

Craig Edwards: Over. I don’t think that much over, but it’s not like he should get more than five years or anything like that.

2:35

I am the Walrus: IF Boston wanted to trade Betts, who would be a suitor?

2:36

Craig Edwards: Everyone, though a team with a great farm who really wanted to contend next year would probably fit best. Padres, Dodgers, Braves.

2:38

Overbearing Padre: Which above .500 teams do you think may sell some a big piece or two in the offseason? Cleveland? Boston? There doesn’t seem to be a Machado on the Orioles type of situation where a bad team has a gem in the lineup this year.

2:40

Craig Edwards: Cleveland already traded Bauer, Kluber’s value is down, they aren’t going to trade a younger pitcher and I don’t see how they could possibly justify trading Lindor. Boston has Betts, but moving Benintendi or Devers wouldn’t make sense. There aren’t any other bib 2021 FA to move.

2:40

Jonny: The teams you listed as potential suitors for Betts…I assume the same list would hold true for potential Syndergaard trade partners?

2:42

Craig Edwards: It would be wider fro Syndergaard because he’s around for an extra year, is cheaper and all teams need pitchers like him–not that teams don’t need Betts–but some teams have decent outfields already and no team is going to have a rotation slot where Syndergaard wouldn’t be a massive upgrade.

2:43

Guest: Is Chapman the new front runner reliever for HOF? Highest active fWAR @ 19.3 and 13th all time (which I believe incorporates WPA #s for relievers) with fewer innings than Jansen and Kimbrel. His K/9 is the highest and FIP the lowest of all pitchers min 500 IP. and FWIW his save numbers are respectible

2:45

Craig Edwards: I’m not so sure about that. The relievers in the Hall pitched for a really long time so he’s got a ways to go, and even if he keeps on pitching, his suspension will give a lot of voters pause.

2:46

Cove Dweller: If the Dbacks make a move to LV, do they rebrand?  If so, any suggestions for a new name?

2:48

Craig Edwards: Probably, though I hope that doesn’t happen. Moving franchises is a really bad look and an indication of failure as a sport. They are still drawing 2 million fans after they traded one of the franchise’s best players of all time. Arizona has been a decent market. They need to figure out how to make it work there.

2:48

Kiley DcManiel: The Cards remaining schedule is going to give me an ulcer, isn’t it?

2:51

Craig Edwards: I’m not a doctor and won’t pretend to be, so maybe? They could put the Cubs in the trash this weekend, and next week might not matter, but I don’t expect that to happen. They don’t need to be great. They just can’t collapse. What is it that they say in hockey or soccer about a two-goal lead? The worst lead? That’s where the Cardinals are at right now. It is actually a really good spot to be in and they are likely to end up with the division, but a collapse would be heartbreaking.

2:51

Fang Raphs: RE: A’s — you’re totally right, both about the secret of the ooze and some recency bias.
I went back to look at their recent playoff seasons and boy howdy that 2001 — 38-41 entering July 1. They’d lose just 19 games over the rest of the regular season.

2:51

Craig Edwards: There you go.

2:51

Ryan: Craig, if there were an award for most middling player in each league, who would you pick?

2:52

Craig Edwards: Willians Astudillo has quite the middle. Not sure about the NL?

2:52

Big Joe Mufferaw: What do you talk about? sports?

2:52

Craig Edwards: Some say too much.

2:53

All time: Does a team ahve to win the WS to be among the best of all time? If not, can this “title” be won based on stats (so, run differential and such) even if they crap out like the 2001 Mariners?

2:53

Craig Edwards: Greatest of all time is pretty arbitrary, but I

2:53

Craig Edwards: would say yes.

2:57

Craig Edwards: I think in terms of being remembered as an all-time great team, you need to win the series. The Cardinals had better teams in 2004 and 2005, but the 2006 is the one remembered the most because they won. I don’t think people think of the Mariners in the same way as the great Reds or Yankees or Dodgers teams because the regular season is part of the test of a great team and the postseason is the second part. Getting to the playoffs is a great accomplishment and winning in the playoffs is something of a crapshoot, but if you want the glory, you have to win the double of both seasons.

2:58

All time: The reason I ask that question is because I remember a chat with D Cameron in 2017 and people were asking in August (when they looked unbeatable) whether the Dodgers would be considered best all time if they won, and then they didn’t. On the other hand, I think if you win 103plus and the title you’re going to be talked about one way or another, even if you didn’t have an RD like the 39 Yankees.

2:58

Craig Edwards: I think that’s right.

2:58

Branding: My Dodgers really look a dollar short compared the AL WS contenders. Can you tell me why I should feel this way?

3:00

Craig Edwards: I’m not going to tell you how to feel, but if they make it to the series I don’t know that over the course of a handful of games, Verlander-Cole-Greinke is that much better in terms of your chances of winning than Buehler-Kershaw-Ryu and that rotation is better than any other AL team outside of Houston. It’s going to give the Dodgers a good chance of winning no matter who they play.

3:00

NL Cy: Who’s your pick?

3:02

Craig Edwards: Give me another week. It’s seemingly really close between Scherzer and deGrom, but there are some other cases to be made as well. I think I would lean toward deGrom right now, but the next week could make a difference.

3:02

Kevin from NBC: So, what’s your deal? You ski?

3:02

Craig Edwards: Is this like a BOFA thing?

3:04

Craig Edwards: One more quick plug and then we’ll be done. Wrote a thing Yadier Molina yesterday that shows just how crazy his career has been in preventing the run game. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/yadier-molinas-career-in-four-…

3:05

Craig Edwards: Also, I think Kiley and I might be switching spots next week, so watch out for that.

3:05

Guest: For Cy voting, shouldn’t IP be irrelevant now?  If Pitcher A has more WAR but fewer IP than Pitcher B, don’t we prefer Pitcher A because he’s added more value, full stop?  It feels like IP was a heuristic for combining ERA (or other run prevention) and quantity, but now WAR does that for us.

3:06

Craig Edwards: Not everyone just take WAR at face value, though, and if you are trying to consider context for that WAR, it is helpful to know how the pitcher got where he did.

3:06

NL Cy: Follow-up on that, would you have voted for Ryu if he didn’t blow up in August? Or would FIP still have swayed you to Scherzer/DeGrom?

3:07

Craig Edwards: I don’t think Ryu ever jumped into the discussion with deGrom and Scherzer just due to park and defense that was keeping his ERA so low (along with his good pitching, of course).

3:07

Sam: The playoffs is a crapshoot, but it seems to me like Friedman’s Dodgers are on the same trajectory as Rizzo’s Nationals, putting a good to great contending team out there every year, yet with the same loopholes year after year(bad bullpen, bad in-game manager). Do you consider this more of a success or a failure?

3:12

Craig Edwards: It’s a success. The playoffs are hard. Did the Giants have some secret formula where they went 3 for 3 in the playoffs but completely missed the other two years. How would the Cubs be viewed differently if Cleveland got like one more hit? The Dodgers have just had a little bit of bad luck in a few short series over the years. Keep in mind, this year and 2017 were the only juggernaut seasons. They were in the low-90s in all those other title years so it isn’t like they should have expected a championship.

3:13

Craig Edwards: Even if you have a 60% chance of winning every series (which they haven’t), you are still one in five to win it all in any given year. Even if you have a 20% chance of winning it all for six straight seasons (which they haven’t), you still fail to win a title a quarter of the time. It happens.

3:13

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

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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