Baseball 

Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 7/5/22

2:00
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, welcome to a time-displaced baseball chat. Fourth of July took up my regular slot, so we’ll use today instead

2:01
Ben Clemens: I’m hard at work on our trade value series at the moment (read: somewhat hard at work), but popping my head up for air and to talk ALL BASEBALL a la Carson Cistulli introduction

2:01
Benny Baseball: What am I looking at in free agency this off-season?

2:01
Ben Clemens: Benintendi is an interesting case; you can easily talk yourself into him being an above average position player, but not really past that

2:02
Ben Clemens: The strange thing is, that could be anywhere between Avi Garcia money (4/53) and Eddie Rosario money (2/18)

2:04
Ben Clemens: I wouldn’t bat an eye at either. I think he’ll end up on a team with horrible depth, because that’s where he’s the best upgrade

2:04
Ben Clemens: Angels, White Sox, that kinda thing

2:04
Zach: Julio Rodríguez is a top ______ player in MLB right now

2:04
Ben Clemens: I dunno, I’m gonna be conservative and say 25, but this question siv ery much on my mind

2:04
Some Guy: Of Leiter, Cavali, and Espino, which pitcher would you rather have as your team’s pitching prospect?

2:04
Ben Clemens: I’m a big fan of Leiter. I haven’t done a deep dive on any of them, and Eric’s writeup of Cavalli today looks veyr good, but Leiter just seems amazing to me every time I see him pitch or look at his measurables

2:04
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Have you commented on The Crew before? Cooperative trick taking with limited communication? I’ve played the original (The Quest for Planet Nine) before and enjoyed it, but the sequel/reimplementation (Mission Deep Sea) has more varied missions that completely replace it for me. And they’re cheap!

2:05
Ben Clemens: I’ve only played Planet Nine and I thought it was really cool. So presumably I’d like the sequel

2:05
Ben Clemens: Limited communication trick taking games are great, though. Hanabi is maybe my favorite of these but there are a bunch of similarly-styled ones

2:05
Malcolm Nunez: Does Malcolm Nunez bring Martin Perez to St. Louis?

2:06
Ben Clemens: I think he would, but I wouldn’t make that trade if I were the Cardinals. I’m a huge Nunez fan and think that he’s closer to a breakout than most people seem to

2:06
Ben Clemens: I’d give him a slightly higher hit tool than we have, basically

2:06
Malcolm Nunez: Do Alec Burleson and Michael McGreevey bring Montas to St. Louis?

2:07
Ben Clemens: That seems more reasonable, with maybe an extra prospect thrown in, but that’s before Montas left his last start with velo down

2:07
Ben Clemens: I think there’s a decent chance he’s not getting traded

2:07
Blake Seams: What do the Astros do at centerfield? It was a timeshare with Jose Siri (63 wRC+) and Chas McCormick (113 wRC+). But now Meyers has returned from injury (105 wRC+ in 9 games back). Also Meyers and McCormick play good defense, while Siri plays great defense. Does one or more of these guys get traded away as a package for an upgrade at CF?

2:08
Ben Clemens: I don’t think that’s how it works, really. “Here, take our two platoon CF’s and give us back a better CF” is probably not a pitch that anyone is gonna fall for

2:09
Ben Clemens: I assume they’ll be in on the Bryan Reynolds derby, b/c why not, and Cedric Mullins can be had for the right return, but I’m guessing the Astros will end up standing pat and using a Myers/McCormick platoon most of the way

2:09
RTJ: What do the Dodgers do with Max Muncy? A healthy amount of walks, but can they really keep trotting him out there with a .170 BA?

2:10
Ben Clemens: They can!

2:12
Ben Clemens: I think he’s actually starting to get back towards normal, even. Looks bettr at the plate in recent weeks. I still think he’s hurt, so I’d be considering giving him an IL stint if the lead widens out in the division

2:12
Soggy_Fan: I have a clarification question on Julio Rodriguez’ fWAR this year. If I’m remember correctly, FanGraphs switched their defensive WAR calculation to be based on OAA this year. Julio is listed as having 5 OAA (93rd percentile per Statcast), and yet grades out as a roughly replacement level defender (-0.8 fielding runs, probably weighed down by -1.8 arm runs). It seems like for a player that is grading out so highly in percentile for OAA and playing CF, that he would have accumulated more than 0.4 defensive runs above average. Am I missing something here?

2:13
Ben Clemens: I’ll have to look into the specifics here but we have him as a slightly above average defender (in terms of defensive value). The arm doesn’t help for sure , and the CF adjustment isn’t as high as you’d think, but I agree that I’m surprised he’s not slightly higher there

2:13
Ben Clemens: We are using OAA (and really RAA) though

2:13
Thomas: I’m the EW listener who sent that question about single-game home run records. Honoured to have inspired a Clemens article! And I found your conclusion satisfying – well done

2:13
Ben Clemens: Great question!

2:13
Hector: On Sunday, Alex Cora sat Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez for rest. Have you looked into if it is more beneficial for a team to rest multiple stars for a single game vs spreading the rest over multiple games?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I haven’t written an article about it ever but I don’t think it matters much, basically

2:14
Bookbook: I know the early reporting was that Julio couldn’t stick at CF long term, especially on this site. Have the facts on the ground (~90th percentile speed scores, solid defensive performance) changed that thinking at all?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Definitely a question I’ll be asking people in our trade value series

2:15
Ben Clemens: I’m not an expert on him but I’m certainly more willing to blieve his defense now

2:15
Trev: How much baseball do you watch in a week. 10 hours? 20?

2:15
Ben Clemens: Closer to 20 than 10, but it varies a lot from week to week

2:15
Rick: Hi Ben, Strider and Javier have both been breaking out this season. Both of them feature high spin fastballs they like to throw high in the zone and both are on the shorter side for pitchers (around 6 feet). Does their height have anything to do with the “rising” aspect of their fastballs?

2:16
Ben Clemens: Short answer: yes

2:16
Ben Clemens: Longer answer: yes, but neither of them are particularly drop-and-drive-y. They have roughly average release points — a few inches below league average vertical axis wise

2:17
Ben Clemens: The spin matters far more for both of them, though their arm slot and height help them create plane

2:17
KG: What happened to Tarik Skubal? Looked like one of the few bright spots for the Tigers to start the year, but has completely fallen off a cliff the past 5-6 starts.  Growing pains, or something else?

2:18
Ben Clemens: I’m leaning growing pains, but I wasn’t particularly bought in on Skubal when he was hot so that informs my view

2:18
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna run out and let my wife in (she forgot her keys), and then I’ll expand on this when I get back

2:22
Ben Clemens: Okay!

2:23
Ben Clemens: Allow me to just say this: Skubal mostly looks like he’s gonna be fine to me. Still missing bats, still needs to work on consistency

2:23
Guest: should Odorizzi be on the trading block? Seems to be the odd man out of the Hou rotation, and they have Hunter Brown waiting in the wings to contribute in the arm barn if needed

2:23
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so; it’s just playing with fire. I don’t think the return would justify the contingent loss the Astros would suffer if someone in the rotation got hurt

2:23
Sad Person: Can you give me any positives of remaining a Reds fan?

2:23
Ben Clemens: Watching Joey Votto is really fun

2:24
Shohei <3: Is there any way to truly assign era-adjusted stats for pre-integration players? The fact that they played against a significantly reduced talent pool means that stats like ERA+, OPS+, etc. can’t properly account for the fact that average players in that era would in all likelihood be closer to replacement level if leagues were integrated at the time. I think this also bleeds into the way people treat accomplishments that aren’t reasonable in an integrated game (.400 avg, 150+ RBI seasons).

2:24
Ben Clemens: Basically no

2:24
Ben Clemens: It was just a different game

2:24
KG: Is it worth Toronto calling up Gabriel Moreno only to sit and play irregularly?  Helpful in terms of getting his feet wet with catching and working with the ML pitchers, or stunting his offensive development (guess he’s pretty developed but hasn’t show the power this year)?

2:25
Ben Clemens: if I were them, I think I’d send him back down, but it’s not like he’s riding the bench

2:25
Ben Clemens: Kirk moonlighting at DH helps

2:26
Ben Clemens: The more I think about it, the more I like leaving him up. Yeah, his power  hasn’t really showed out in the majors, but it wasn’t at Triple-A either this year and the combination of needing every last win and Jansen being on the IL means he’s still adding value

2:26
Cito’s Mustache: Is there any correlation between pulled flyball % and HR/FB rate? Since, on average, pulled fly balls do travel farther than oppo FB. Specifically thinking about Gausman, who is suppressing the long ball (0.2 HR/9) and allows just 17.9% of FB to the pull side.

2:26
Ben Clemens: There is, but pitchers don’t exert a ton of control over whether batters pull their pitches long-term

2:27
Jeremy Pena: Am I a top 3 SS in the AL right now? (After Bogaerts and Anderson)

2:27
Ben Clemens: I’d rather have Correa, rather have Seager if we’re talking about just this year, and JP Crawford as well (again for this year)

2:28
Ben Clemens: I like Pena quite a lot! I think I was on the record saying the Astros should skip shortstop replacements and plug him in. But I still think it’s wise to bet on pedigree over his start for now

2:29
vr: Was playing a board game (Hive Mind) with friends where we were all supposed to list unpredictable things. One person listed sports, which I had considered but decided was at least somewhat predictable due to having spent so much time reading about projections and statistical performance predictors. I thought about it again and realized that maybe sports really are inherently unpredictable— randomness seems to be key much of the time. Would you characterize sports as fundamentally unpredictable?

2:29
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’d call sports fundamentally unpredictable. That’s what’s fun about it

2:29
Ben Clemens: Everything has statistical performance predictors and whatnot, but the reason we all like sports so much is b/c we don’t know the answer

2:30
Ben Clemens: I guess there are some semantic issues around what ‘predictable’ means, but I’d consider sports unpredictable

2:30
Moonlight Graham: Willson Contreras will be a __ on August 3rd?

2:30
Ben Clemens: catcher

2:30
Ben Clemens: Oh, teams, right. I’ll say Giant b/c I think that’d be fun

2:30
Dan McGraw: Has Judge playing center changed the valuation on him to some teams? or is he just faking it out there

2:31
Ben Clemens: I think it’s bumped him up slightly. I wouldn’t consider him a long-term answer out there, and I don’t think most teams do either. But if you want someone to play an average or slightly above average CF next year, Judge can do that

2:31
RTJ: Oneil Cruz is insanely fun to watch – I’m so glad he’s finally up. I found an old-ish FG article about short stop height, but 6’7″ is a lot, right?

2:32
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it’s comically taller than anyone else who people have seen stick at shortstop

2:32
Ben Clemens: That’s why evaluators were so divided on him coming up: if he can play shortstop, he’s amazing, but well, he’s 6’7″!

2:33
Ben Clemens: If he can stick there for a few years – and to me it looks like he can – he’s one of the best prospects in the game. And he kinda needs to, b/c he hasn’t looked as good defensively at third and Ke’Bryan Hayes has it locked down anyway. He’s not exactly a second baseman and has looked dicey in the outfield

2:33
Ben Clemens: So, shortstop is his natural position and the best fit for the team, I think he’ll play there until he can’t

2:33
Fred: Please explain how Kyle Tucker is still behind Yuli Gurriel almost every day. Even with Brantley out, they haven’t move him up in the lineup. I understand the L-R-L-R… lineup configuration, but he is their 2nd best hitter, and still hitting 5-6 in the order. Should I expect this to change in the near future?

2:34
Ben Clemens: You should not, b/c the best predictor of the future is the present, particularly for something like this where the manager has full control

2:34
Ben Clemens: Dusty Baker likes to stagger his lineup, so he does. I personally wouldn’t, b/c I’d want more at-bats for Tucker, but I’m not a Hall of Fame (deserving) manager

2:35
UZR: How can UZR be negative but UZR 150 be positive? (Looking at Nico Hoerner’s page)

2:36
Ben Clemens: Oh man, I’ve asked Appelman about this before and it’s confusing. Basically in UZR/150, the relative contribution of each component is standardized.

2:37
Ben Clemens: As in UZR/150 uses some ratio of range runs, some ratio of arm runs, and so on. In small samples (and even medium samples sometimes) that can lead to  discrepancies (like the Hoerner one)

2:37
EVs: Why were EVs for hitters removed from the player page? I loved seeing that right next to wRC+.

2:37
Ben Clemens: Dunno, but I’ll ask, I like it too

2:38
Ben Clemens: Well, you know what, on looking at it, I’m still okay with how it’s displayed

2:38
Ben Clemens: They’re in the ‘statcast’ tab and if you’d like, you can create a custom dashboard of your own with whatever stuff you want appearing on the dashboard

2:38
Ben Clemens: Mine has barrel rate on it, for example

2:38
Waiting: R. Helsley has been great in the STL bullpen. Smoke and mirrors (check that babip!) or talent change (check that K-BB!)? Or something in between?

2:38
Ben Clemens: Talent change

2:38
Ben Clemens: Like, he has a 1.46 FIP

2:39
Ben Clemens: His fastball has gotten a lot better, his slider plays off of it well, I think if he continues to have playable command (definitely the worry here) he’s a top 10 reliever in baseball

2:39
Scheur Stevewater: Do teams track which umps are more or less susceptible to good or bad framing? If they do, would it be worth the time to game plan around?

2:39
Ben Clemens: They do, and probably a little bit yes

2:40
Guest: Does Kelenic or Torkelson have a better career as a hitter?

2:40
Ben Clemens: Gimme Torkelson by a mile

2:40
Ben Clemens: But I mean, I would have said that before 2020 even

2:40
Sodo Mojo: What should KC fans expect as a return on Benintendi? Is a fringe top 100 and flyer reasonable or should they push for more given the limited number of sellers this year?

2:40
Ben Clemens: In my eyes, they’d be lucky to get that. Corner-only outfielders with no team control and no power are not usually hot commodities at the trade deadline

2:41
Chapultepec: How about the unsustainably decent season Keston Hiura is having? Can’t say I’ve ever seen that much production with that much swing and miss.

2:41
Ben Clemens: Best production-with-whiffs season since… Keston Hiura

2:41
Ben Clemens: It’s I guess encouraging to see him hitting for power again but this isn’t really sustainable in my opinion

2:42
Ben Clemens: I do think he could approach average wRC+ despite that crazy strikeout rate but I don’t think it’ll look like this

2:42
Dan: In no way is this meant to be a sky-is-falling type question, but looking at Wander Franco’s swing decisions is interesting in that he doesn’t seem to make any other than “swing.” Since his hit tool has proven to be exceptional at every level (and because, to some extent, he rightly thinks he can do damage on most swings), do you think it’s just going to take him a little longer than we thought to develop some selectivity in the zone?

2:42
Ben Clemens: Basically yes

2:43
Ben Clemens: His hit tool is just so good that I don’t think he’s ever had to make a swing-less adjustment

2:44
Ben Clemens: I don’t think he’ll keep swinging as much as he has this season, but it’s definitely a worry, and one that makes perfect sense given his skill set and age

2:44
Coop: So, yesterday: grilled fare or something more exotic? And beverage of choice?

2:44
Ben Clemens: My wife made carnitas, I made a corn salad

2:44
Multiphasic: Willson Contreras will be a-dorable on August 3rd.

2:44
Multiphasic:

2:44
Ben Clemens: Can’t argue with that

2:44
Cito’s Mustache: Follow up to Oneil Cruz staying @ SS… is there anything inherently prohibitive about a 6’7″ human playing the position, or just that it hasn’t been done before?

2:45
Ben Clemens: Shortstops have just tended smaller b/c of the flexibility they need. Taller people are generally less flexible, and shortstops need to get pretty low to field, so you can see why it would be tough

2:45
Yordan: I continue to hurt baseballs at an alarming rate. Would you take me over Soto, Freeman, or Ohtani for best LHH over the next 5 years?

2:46
Ben Clemens: I’d take Soto, but I think you’d be wildly incorrect to take Freeman or Ohtani over Alvarez for the next five years

2:46
Matt VW: Three key players of the 2018 team (Bogaerts, Eovaldi, Martinez) are likely to leave at the end of this season. If you’re the Red Sox, do you add a little around the edges at the deadline to go for it one more time with this foundation? Or do you hang on to in the pipeline assets for the next cycle?

2:47
Ben Clemens: Add a little around the edges, and extend Devers. I think losing Eovaldi is survivable, as is Martinez, and there’s gonna be a lot of shortstops if the team wants to replace X in free agency

2:47
Ben Clemens: but you can’t expect to always be in contention in the ALE, so being in contention means you should add a little

2:47
J: Jose Urquidy for Danny Jansen. Assuming Jansen returns fine from the IL, who says no? I know this kind of trade between contenders in the same league is practically unheard of, but rarely do 2 teams’ weaknesses so perfectly complement each others

2:47
Ben Clemens: I think this might just work

2:48
Ben Clemens: I like the trade more for the Jays b/c I really like Urquidy, but Jansen is good

2:48
Ugh: Ben can I PLEASE sneak in a fantasy Q?  Are you ok with cutting Aroldis now that he’s returned?  Holmes is likely going to hole the role all season, right?  Thanks sir!

2:48
Ben Clemens: Oh I’d cut Aroldis yeah

2:48
spend nutting: Is Bryan Reynolds > 50% to get traded? for a team that is (in theory) trying to compete in 24/25, isn’t he a guy they should keep to build a core with? feels like whatever the return would be would be underwhelming and set the rebuild back

2:48
Ben Clemens: I think that he is going to get traded, and probably for a return that’s disappointing to Pirates fans and disappointing to whatever team trades for him

2:49
Ben Clemens: Like…. I think he’s more above-average regular than star

2:49
Ben Clemens: But that’s a valuable player, 3.5 years of cost-controlled above average regular is great

2:49
Ben Clemens: For Pirates fans, they’ll wonder why they traded last year’s MVP candidate for some prospects they haven’t heard of

2:50
Ben Clemens: and since fans are such pearl clutchers about prospects these days, the acquiring team’s fans will freak about that

2:50
Ben Clemens: So it’ll be a lose-lose trade from the fan perspective, and probably win-win from the front office perspective. I don’t think Reynolds is the kind of player you HAVE to keep

2:50
Ben Clemens: If they traded Ke’Bryan Hayes, I’d feel differeintly

2:50
FailedRebuild: If you were GM of the CWS… and didn’t have to placate Reinsdorf… would you blow up the team and rebuild again? Jimenez can’t stay healthy, Robert is mercurial, Giolito’s gonna leave as a free agent after next year….

2:50
Ben Clemens: I would definitely not!

2:51
Ben Clemens: Why would you want to get rid of a team that wins plenty of baseball games and has made the playoffs two years in a row?

2:51
Ben Clemens: Are you just really enamored of what all these teams who get bad for fun have been doing?

2:51
Ben Clemens: Rebuild again? You gonna get Yoan Moncada in trade for Yoan Moncada

2:51
Matt Damon: MATT. DAMON.

2:51
Roberto Beers: Young, pre-roid, Mike Morse was a 6’5 SS with those massive levers too. Not quite 6’7 but had the rough build

2:52
Ben Clemens: Yeah… and haha, he realllllly didn’t stick there

2:52
FailedRebuild: Ha! No, but I’d like to see a team that can get past first round.

2:52
Ben Clemens: Yeah…. I mean, it’s just about bites at the apple

2:53
Ben Clemens: I might try to build the team differently, or prioritize different things, but I’d just never be a GM who would take a team that’s currently good and try to make it worse on purpose

2:53
Tiger’s Fan: Better career: Wander Franco or Julio Rodriguez?

2:53
Ben Clemens: I will take Wander

2:53
Scott: Trying for saves, would you hang on to minter, or find another? any suggestions who’s likely a good pick to replace him with? Thanks

2:53
Ben Clemens: I think I’d hang on to Minter, but I take my fantasy cues from Jason Martinez’s closer depth chart

2:54
FailedRebuild: Thanks. Appreciate the input. TLR has made the last 2 y… despite actual success… feel more painful than they would seem to be.

2:54
Ben Clemens: Now that I would change!

2:54
Steve O.: Should the Yankees call up Oswald Peraza I mean IKF has been bad and hasn’t even been great defensively. Might as well see what he can do going into the trade deadline. If he stinks, they can trade for someone or go back to IKF.

2:54
Ben Clemens: I would, yeah

2:54
Ben Clemens: Not that I think it’s super likely to pan out but you know what you’re getting with IKF at this point, a nice utility infielder

2:55
Ben Clemens: It’s nice to get a look at a potential successor before making trades

2:55
Jeremy: Cal Ripken was 6′ 4″, and he was a terrific (and underrated) defensive SS. It’s surely not impossible that a guy 3″ taller could play at least an adequate shortstop.

2:55
Ben Clemens: I mean, it’s definitely not impossible, Cruz is doing it right now

2:55
Ben Clemens: But I understand people’s hesitance, he’s just so tall

2:55
Ryan: Is Gunnar Henderson a top 10 prospect?

2:55
Ben Clemens: For me, yes

2:55
Bill: Does Julio make the all star team this year?

2:55
Ben Clemens: He better. He’s clearly deserving

2:55
Ryan: Mancini best available bat on the market?

2:55
Ben Clemens: I’d go with Contreras

2:56
Tiger’s Fan: Most likely return to MVP form next year…Tatis Jr., Acuna Jr., Soto?

2:56
Ben Clemens: Boy, tough one

2:56
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna go with Tatis, I’m just such a sucker for his skil set

2:56
Bill: Is Julio in the discussion for #1 on the trade value series?

2:56
Ben Clemens: Sure

2:57
Ben Clemens: But I’m pretty sure he will not finish number one

2:57
Steven: Besides getting healthy SPs to return, what move that the Mets could make would really have them jump into the Dodgers tier?

2:57
Ben Clemens: Catcher upgrade, but I think they’re kinda close to that tier already

2:57
Ben Clemens: Maybe a few extra relievers, too

2:57
Dan: Tangentially related to the large SS conversation, would you make Tatis your CF going forward? Wrist-aside, he still has a shoulder problem and isn’t great defensively at SS, but I keep going back and forth about the relative risk of diving plays in the outfield.

2:58
Ben Clemens: Nah I would keep him on the infield. I’m worried about the diving, too, and I think that the kind of bad he is at shortstop (errors, basically) is something that will smooth out over time

2:58
Lavish Lavin: Old-timey pitchers barely struck anyone out by modern standards. Cy Young’s career K/9 is 3.43. How did good pitchers in earlier eras distinguish themselves from their peers, if not by their strikeout totals?

2:58
Ben Clemens: By not walking anyone, by not allowing home runs, by being durable, and by inducing weak contact

2:58
Ben Clemens: pitching was just so different then compared to now that I barely know how to compare it

2:58
Logan: Speaking of custom FG dashboards, what all is on yours other than barrel rate?

2:59
Ben Clemens: Swing rate, barrel rate, hard hit rate, swstr%, and then just regular dashboard stuff

2:59
Tiger’s Fan: Kyle Tucker should be an all star and gold glover this year? T or F?

2:59
Ben Clemens: I really have no idea on gold glove

2:59
Ben Clemens: But All Star? yes

2:59
Jeremy: Among Derek Jeter’s more impressive achievements was being defensively overrated despite being 6′ 3″.

3:00
Tim Teufel: Do you think the Braves catch the Mets? If not, Do you think deGrom/Scherzer returning or an offensive rebound is more likely to be the reasoning the Mets stay afloat in 1st/top of the league?

3:00
Ben Clemens: I think that the Mets will hang on

3:01
Ben Clemens: and, uh…. I guess I’ll take an offensive rebound. I like the Mets’ offense quite a bit

3:01
Blake Seams: Is there any way to find batter stats that can be filtered by pitch velocity?

3:01
Ben Clemens: You’ll have to do it yourself on baseball savant, but it can be done. They have filters there, so you could, say, sort by pitch value, but limit it to pitches thrown 95 mph or harder

3:01
Pedro: What do you see for Parades ROS and in 2023?  Thanks in advance

3:02
Ben Clemens: I think that he’ll be an above average regular

3:02
Ben Clemens: So, 120 wRC+ let’s say, driven by solid K/BB numbers and meaningfully less power than he’s showin right now

3:03
Ben Clemens: I am obviously a big Paredes backer, I’ve been the high person on him at FG for years now, and I’m glad to see his skill set popping in the majors, but he’s not gonna keep hitting for this much power

3:03
RTJ: playoff odds page aside, who’s more likely to miss the playoffs: Padres or Red Sox?

3:03
Ben Clemens: Sox, I tihkn the division is just so tough that I can see them going on a 2-8 stretch where they only play great teams

3:03
Games: By how many games do you think NYY and HOU win their divisions by? I know what FG says but what do you think?

3:04
Ben Clemens: NYY: 8, I think they’ll cool off. HOU: 75

3:04
adambulldog: What do the Yankees have to give the Cubs in exchange for Happ?

3:04
Steve O.: If you’re the Yankees would you give up Oswald Peraza+ for Ian Happ, or would you rather just go for someone like David Peralta or Benintendi?

3:05
Ben Clemens: I would not trade Peraza plus for Happ, who in my estimation is a nice player who’s only an upgrade on Aaron Hicks in the Yankees’ OF

3:05
Ben Clemens: I’d prefer to go smaller, like Steve O. said

3:06
Ben Clemens: I’ll be very curious to see Happ’s market develop. He’s improved his contact quite a bit this year

3:06
Ben Clemens: I think it’s at the cost of some barrels, he’s running his lowest barrel rate and a below-average for him hard-hit rate, but for someone with plus power, I think that’s a reasonable tradeoff

3:07
Ben Clemens: I don’t know if he will keep it up, which I imagine would make teams hesitant to surrender a big return for him — you could totally imagine him turning back into a K’s and HR’s guy with league average offense

3:07
Ben Clemens: But his new slightly less powerful but more under control form makes a lot of sense for someone who has that much natural pop

3:07
Tim: (Sorry for follow-up, but one note to say the Musgrove/Gio comparison is obviously not accounting for a pretty drastic difference in pitch type usage, which may play a big role here)

3:07
Tim: I spent the weekend tooling around some Fangraphs numbers, as cool people tend to do over long weekends, and discovered that since 2020 Musgrove and Giolito have REALLY similar numbers across the board, with the glaring exception of Gio allowing nearly one additional run per nine (3.83 ERA to Joe’s 2.99). Giolito has obviously been a mess lately, but what’s your long-term outlook? Think he can get to a sub-3 ERA as well?

3:07
Ben Clemens: Whoops, those are out of order

3:08
Ben Clemens: My long-term outlook is for Giolito to return to his front-of-rotation form. I think that he’s more susceptible to cold stretches because of his pitch mix, when his high changeup isn’t fooling anyone he can look really bad

3:09
Ben Clemens: And I think that has a lot to do with how it sometimes seems as though he’ll never right the ship

3:09
Ben Clemens: An additional secondary pitch popping would go a long way for Giolito, but his fastball and changeup are so good that I think he’s going to figure it out even if that doesn’t happen

3:10
Ben Clemens: But yeah, Musgrove is a good example of how a pitcher with a solid fastball can hit the next level by having his breaking balls improve; at this point (and maybe always, but especially now) I think of him as more a slider/curve guy than anything else

3:10
Some Guy: Do you think anyone will ever manage to surpass Edwin Jackson’s record for the most teams played for in a career?

3:10
Ben Clemens: I don’t

3:10
Ben Clemens: It’s just soooooo many

3:11
John: Hey Ben, I think something is amiss with the playoff odds, specifically the wild card tab. The teams occupying the top spots in each league (Blue Jays and Padres) aren’t showing up. https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/fg/wc

3:11
Ben Clemens: Oh that’s strange. I’ll mention it

3:12
Pod: Been listening to some old FG audio… do you know Dayn Perry personally, and is he still awful?

3:12
Ben Clemens: I’ve never met Dayn, but I loved those old FG Audios

3:12
Guest: obvious caveat of soft STL media treatment here, but do you think it’s strange that Yadi just chillin in Puerto Rico right now isn’t getting more attention?

3:12
Ben Clemens: Yes

3:12
Ben Clemens: My uncle texted me about it yday to ask basically the same thing. It’s quite interesting and I’m shocked no one is talking about it

3:12
John: Hi Ben, why do analysts (especially fantasy analysts) still use HR/9 long after K/9 and BB/9 have been replaced by the superior K% and BB%?

3:14
Ben Clemens: I think that HR/9 is more of an ensemble stat. It measures how many batters you have to face to get through nine innings in addition to the rate at which you give up homers. I don’t find it particularly more or less useful than HR%

3:14
Ben Clemens: Caveat: I haven’t actually tested it to see which is stickier, so maybe I will when I’m back from vacation

3:14
Guest: The Blue Jays don’t hold the top AL wild card. The Red Sox do.

3:14
Ben Clemens: Jays have the top odds, not the top wild card, and I’m assuming that’s what our system uses

3:14
Dan: Better career – Kirilloff or Pasquantino?

3:14
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna take the hype and go with Vinnie P

3:15
Jake: If the Nats decide to deal Juan Soto before this year’s deadline, what’s the best package out there? How many teams even have the prospects to make a realistic run at it?

3:15
Ben Clemens: I truly have no clue what he’d fetch. It would make the Chris Sale deal look small in comparison.

3:16
Ben Clemens: Say, three top 50 prospects with a headliner in the top 5?

3:16
Ben Clemens: plus some more stuff

3:16
Ben Clemens: Very few teams have that kind of juice; the Rays, O’s, Yankees, and Dodgers come to mind for me

3:16
Guest: What kind of return could the Nats get for Bell? Is a fringe top 100 prospect unrealistic?

3:16
Ben Clemens: Depends on who needs him but I’d say that’s the top end of what they could get back

3:17
Ben Clemens: For me, fringe top 100 extends to about 160 or so

3:17
Guest: Does Shohei deserve the MVP if he hits 30 homers with a sub 3.00 ERA? Or has voters’ fatigue already set in?

3:17
Ben Clemens: I tihnk he’d deserve it, but don’t think he’d win it. The fatigue is real

3:17
Ben Clemens: Speaking of fatigue: I have a bunch of projects to get through before I leave for vacation on Thursday, so I am going to turn my attention to those. Have a great week, everyone, and I’ll talk to you via chat in a few weeks (articles sooner)

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