Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–9/5/2019


Craig Edwards: It’s been Justin Verlander week for me here. First, on his no-hitter:


Craig Edwards: Then, today on his home runs and his FIP and ERA.…


K Rock: What’s up with Gallen?  Last night aside, did Miami give up too early on him?


Craig Edwards: I don’t think so. You could argue they sold high on him. He wasn’t expected to perform this well and he’s probably going to be closer to league average than a #2. Miami is all in on looking for future stars. You could argue that it is the exact same philosophy that got them a bunch of stars and couldn’t get enough average pitching, but if they do actually get the average pitching if the stars pan out, then they will be on the road to contention.


Fangraph’s lurker: What’s your go to quip when people say that baseball players are paid too much to play a game? I like to point out the revenue split, how many people that split is concentrated in (30 owners vs a ton of players), and that entertainment is the most valued service in society, even more than health


Craig Edwards: I’m not much of a quipper, but billionaires don’t just give away millions of dollars for no reason. They do it because it makes them even more money. If owners want to cut ticket prices and food concessions and lower cable bills, then there might be an argument to pay players less, but that just isn’t going to happen and paying those players millions of dollars is part of what enables them to charge so much. The players are the product and teams need to pay them a lot of money so that the teams can make money.


Sad Giants fan: Why does Dakota Hudson keep pitching well even with his terrible peripherals?


Craig Edwards: He has a great ground ball rate, which helps, but also the Cardinals just have a really good defense. He’s not close to as good as his ERA implies. He’s got 15 unearned runs so to believe that his ERA approximates the way he’s pitched, you have to believe he’s been playing in front of a bad defense. If he’s playing in front of a bad defense, then his ground ball rate wouldn’t actually be that helpful. Hudson might be a little better than his FIP due the GB rate, but that only takes him to being an average pitcher who’s been helped by a good defense.


Alan: Why do some teams like the Mets get second-guessed for all trades yet the Astros don’t for the JD Davis or the Aaron Sanchez deals?  Are some teams more bulletproof?


Craig Edwards: Teams that win a lot tend to get the benefit of the doubt. Not sure the Sanchez deal was a huge loser given the injury and the team didn’t give up very much to get him. Davis is hitting well with a pretty high BABIP, but what was Houston going to do with him. WIth Bregman at third, Gurriel at first, Alvarez at DH and Springer, Brantley and Reddick’s contract in the outfield plus Kyle Tucker the Astros are deep and had to make a cut somewhere.


Craig Edwards: As for the Mets, they get second guessed because they haven’t won as much, they carry an average to below-average payroll in a massive media market and make decisions based on finances instead of talent.


Obvious Alias: Was that Paul DeJong hit further evidence of a different ball this season???


Craig Edwards: So 104 mph, 27 degrees, 438 feet. That’s not unreasonable though a quick look at old data says it is a homer 83% of the time which is not the case for balls that travel 438 feet.


Ethan: Do you think Jack Flaherty going forward is closer to his first or second half version?


Craig Edwards: First half performance is 1.6 WAR/180 innings. Second half performance is 7.4 WAR/180 innings, so the over under is 4.5 WAR. I think the cumulative numbers is probably right as a 4-5 WAR seems like a reasonable expectation for next season, though because he’s a pitcher, you sort of have to take the under if you are just guessing.


JustCurious: NY Cy Young race got a lot more interesting this month. Who do you think wins it and why (also maybe more interesting, who do you think should)>


Craig Edwards: If Scherzer pitches like he has the last three starts, somebody is going to catch him. If he pitches like he did earlier this season, the award is his. I still think Scherzer comes away with the award, but if not him, I think deGrom will be the right choice.


Ryan: Will the Cardinals be players in free agency this year?  Those Molina/Goldschmidt/Fowler contracts look like they could really start hurting.


Craig Edwards: The Cardinals will need at least one pretty good to really good starting pitcher. I don’t know if that means Cole or Strasburg or if they go in the tier below into the Bumgarner, Odorizzi, Keuchel, Porcello, Wheeler, Ryu group. They could make a trade for someone, but there are enough starters out there, that they’ll probably grab somebody and call it an offseason. The money for those vets shouldn’t ever really hurt the Cardinals considering they are still more than $40 million under the tax amount and nearly all the money comes off over the next three seasons. Whether having high-salaried players prevents them from spending to improve because they have blocked out a few roster spots over the next few years is another question.


Nick: Who bounces back better from this year’s disappointing performance: Votto or Goldschmidt?


Craig Edwards: Goldschmidt. This is the second year of it for Votto while Goldschmidt is younger. He also has the excuse of changing teams. Vintage Goldschmidt isn’t coming back but he could easilt be good next year as opposed to just average-ish like this year.


Tyler: Is Eugenio Suarez going to hit 50 HRs?  Did the Reds really acquire him for Alfredo Simon?


Craig Edwards: Maybe, and yes.


Norman: Jose Iglesias has a higher OPS than Nick Senzel.  Should the Reds (1) re-sign Iglesias, and (2) be worried about Senzel’s future?


Craig Edwards: I’d lean toward no on the first one unless he comes back under similar circumstances. As for Senzel, he’s 24 and in his first full season playing at a new position. I wouldn’t worry about him. Look at what Scott Kingery has done with the Phillies the last two years.


Concrete fan: If you had to pick the Wild Card teams right now, what would be your selection?


Craig Edwards: In the NL, it is looking like Washington and probably the Cubs. In the AL, there isn’t really even a clear favorite among the three teams, so I’ll say Oakland and Tampa Bay.


June: If you have five above average starters who magically never got hurt and always pitched to 27 batters a game how many relievers would you need?


Craig Edwards: I guess you would need 2-3 innings per game, so around 400 innings, which is probably six relievers.


Nick: What does the Brewers’ competitive window look like?  They stand to lose key contributors like Moustakas and Grandal this off-season; their rotation still has holes; and they don’t have much left in the farm system.  Will they be legitimate contenders in 2020 and 2021?


Craig Edwards: I think they should still be competitive. Having Burnes come through would help. Zack Brown isn’t highly regarded, but he wasn’t awful considering the Triple-A ball this season. They are losing guys but they still have Yelich. Maybe a bounceback from Cain or Shaw plus they should have a lot of money to spend to fill some of their holes.


Obvious Alias: I was referring to this!-


Craig Edwards: ha. That’s a good one.


A-A-Ron: Isn’t there too much inconsistency when it comes to CY voting? Scherzer won in 2016 as a “compiler” (over the “dominator” Kershaw) but could win this year in the opposite role.


Craig Edwards: Different writers vote on the award every year so it can’t be completely consistent. I think Kershaw was hurt by not even getting to 150 innings. That doesn’t make it right, but there was an 80 inning gap there. Scherzer is still going to be within 30 innings of deGrom and he’s going to qualify for the ERA title so the situations are a bit different.


Overbearing Padre: Given the poor 2019 performance, the scarcity of ready-now position player prospects ready to debut next year, and the FA market that lacks all-star quality position players, does the Padres’ rebuild look pretty doomed? The plan was to be ready for 2021, but they’re all out of Tatis’s in the Minors and their offense is weak.


Craig Edwards: No. The Padres are still in pretty good position. They will have Tatis, Jr. for a full year going forward presumably. Plus they have 5 top-100ish position players in addition to two top pitching prospects to join what they already have in the majors. They should be fine and can trade for what they need.


Dan: If you are Nick Krall, whatever the budget you are given, what do you target for the Reds for 2020? Seems to me it has to start w/Grandal and after that it gets pretty vague as to where the most impact can be made. Lots of decent players around the roster, no real stars beyond Castillo.


Craig Edwards: That’s a good question. They should have a decent amount of money to spend. The depth in this year’s free agent class is at starting pitcher, so they might still be better off going that route rather than trying to fit somebody else in. Bringing back Puig or signing Catellanos might make some sense if they don’t believe in Winker/VanMeter/Ervin as the outfielders after Senzel and Aquino.


James: Does it appear that Edwin Diaz can’t handle the pressure playing in NY like Sonny Gray did? Any chance Brodie can get any value back trading him this offseason?


Craig Edwards: He’s a reliever. It happens. I don’t think it is New York. Blake Treinen, Diaz, Hader, and Leclerc were the four best relievers in baseball a year ago with 12.3 WAR. They are at about 10 under that mark this year with only Hader even close to last season.


Mason Jarre: As a Yankees fan I know my fellow fans think playing in NY is harder, because it makes the good players seems even more ‘special’ but I’m not sold on it being harder over randomness.



Craig Edwards: I’m sure some aspects of it are harder, even just getting to the ballpark plus more media, but how do you compare it to say, playing on a losing team or in a mostly empty ballpark? Most players not seen as New York players don’t really get a chance to have things even out and sometimes they are just on the downside of their careers. Gray has had injuries on and off for a while and it’s a long season.


Red Sox: Are we done?


Craig Edwards: WIth the chat? Almost. The Red Sox? With a 5.7% chance that’s not done, but it doesn’t look very good.


Logan: The Diamondbacks have a 73-67 record (and an even better BaseRuns record); a top 5 farm system; lots of rotation options with upside in Gallen, Weaver, etc.; an impressive cast of young position players in Marte, Walker, Kelly, etc.; and not much in the way of burdensome financial commitments.  How excited should I be as a DBacks fan for 2020 and beyond?


Craig Edwards: The Dodgers are always going to be tough, but yes, there’s a reason to be excited about next year. The Rockies don’t look so good and the Giants probably need another year or two so the division shouldn’t be as competitive. I think the Diamondbacks got some surprising performances that maybe won’t repeat, but contention should be expected in their current window.


James: Should Dylan Carlson be starting next year in the Cards’ outfield?


Craig Edwards: Maybe by the end of the year. I doubt he’ll push his way into the starting lineup on Opening Day, but some of that depends on how things sort out in the offseason. If the team refused to trade Tyler O’Neill at the deadline, you’d think they’d want to give him a shot at everyday playing time before relegating him to the bench or another team. We’ll also have to see where they stand on Marcell Ozuna. Carlson will have to hit well in Triple-A over an extended period. He doesn’t turn 21 until next month so it doesn’t make sense to bring him up until you know for sure, he’s better now than the players ahead of him. We don’t know that yet.


Craig Edwards: That seems like a good enough spot to end things today. Hope everybody has a good week.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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