Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–4/11/2019


Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling here. Walker Buehler is having a rough inning after going deep.


Bread Gardner: Conspiracy theory: the Rays have a black ops unit that has sabotaged the Yankees and Red Sox, thereby clearing the way for their own ascendance. It’s the only explanation.


Craig Edwards: That is a theory. It’s also possible the Rays are on the rise in terms of their competitive window while the Yankees and Red Sox created monster lineups with thin rotations. Lineups can go through short slumps and rotations can be very vulnerable over short periods. As for all the injuries, particularly with the Yankees, sometimes it happens.


Matt: Who’s more likely to sustain anything close to their production: Tim Beckham, or Ryon Healy?


Craig Edwards: Given that Mike Trout couldn’t sustain Beckham’s current production, the answer has to Healy. I think both could possible remain above-average bats the rest of the way, but I’d bet on both being below average hitters from this day through the rest of the season with Healy having a slightly better shot.


Khris Davis: Over/under: 247 HR by end of season?


Craig Edwards: While 247 career homers at the end of the season would be fun, he’d need 45 more this season. He’s got 9 so far counting today, but expecting 54 in one year is a bit much.


Bread Gardner: I challenge you to name a team that does not have a “thin” rotation, or could survive the loss of one of its four best starters with more than an exceedingly mediocre stopgap.  (Never mind losing more than one at the same time, or a legitimate ace at all.)


Craig Edwards: The Dodgers have been fine without Kershaw. Cardinals are surviving without Carlos Martinez. The Red Sox just haven’t produced much in the way of pitching while the Yankees just traded away their best pitching prospect. It makes teams vulnerable in small samples because it can hurt both the rotation and the pen.


Yankees and Sox: Based on what’s happened thus far, which team would you more expect to rebound? Yankees, because Betances and Stanton and Hicks should return within the month, or Sox because they just can’t be THAT bad?


Craig Edwards: They will both rebound. The Red Sox are a little more worrisome, but both clubs should top 90 wins at the end of the season.


Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: O/U 25 home runs for Yandy Diaz this season?


Craig Edwards: Under. It’s great seeing Diaz solve some of his ground ball issues and get the ball in the air, but certainly the league will adjust to him and we’ll see how he adjusts back. We don’t even know for sure that Diaz will be getting full-time plate appearances which also hurts his cause.


Donjuan: Can you rank the breakout shortstops: DeJong, Swanson, Beckham, E. Hernandez? Thanks.


Craig Edwards: Hernandez isn’t a shortstop and there’s a decent chance Beckham maybe shouldn’t be, but it is nice to see Swanson’s good start and hopefully he’ll continue to be above-average DeJong has a perhaps higher ceiling with power and might wRC+ 120 this season.


WASBAPPIN: How many organizations are keeping their best position player/best pitcher in AAA right now? Jays w Vladito, White Sox w Cease, etc


Craig Edwards: Not sure I’d go that far with Cease, but with Jimenez getting the early call for the White Sox, it might just be Vlad. Maybe Mize in Detroit. Interesting question.


Donjuan: How do you rank Matt Boyd going forward?


Craig Edwards: He’s obviously not going to keep striking out 41% of batters. He has used his fourseamer and slider more than he has in the past, and it is going to be hard to keep going relying almost solely on two pitches. He was already an average pitcher over the last two years so he might settle in as above-average, but he can’t possibly keep this up.


Derek: Assuming Trout comes back and remains 100% healthy (please let this happen), does he have even the slimmest of chances to hit .400 this year, or is that just never going to happen again?


Craig Edwards: It isn’t going to happen in the current environment. Pitcher’s are too good and generally won’t give Trout enough of the pitches he would need to see to hit for that high of an average. Too many fly balls that sometimes turn into homers often turn into outs which is going to keep anyone from hitting .400.


thrasius: Mariners and Rays, which team can best sustain their early season success?


Craig Edwards: Rays. They won 90 games last season and look better so far this season. The Mariners power surge isn’t going to keep going and they don’t have Edwin Diaz to lock down the ninth like they did last year.


Ryne Stanek’s Hair: Do the Rays regret trading Tim Beckham now?


Craig Edwards: I doubt it. He had this type of streak with Orioles and then slowed down.


Degrom is human after all: Does Pete Alonso have a chance to be Paul Goldschmidt?


Craig Edwards: It’s possible. When Goldschmidt was Alonso’s age, he put up a 124 wRC+, which Alonso could do. Of course, then Goldschmidt took things to the next level, which is really hard to do. I think expectations should be a bit lower for Alonso, but top-10 first baseman over the next five years isn’t too unreasonable to hope for.


Gary Sanchez: His BABIP is still minuscule despite all other signs. Is it just because he pretty much only has home runs for hits? But it’s clear he can still hit.


Craig Edwards: He hits a ton of fly balls and a lot of those fly balls are infield fly balls. Fly balls are more often turned into outs in the field of play, which is going to limit his BABIP. Homers also hurt the BABIP, but they are good for his hitting profile.


llmm: can we all decisively stop hoping bundy has a breakthrough season?


Craig Edwards: He’s only 26. We can still keep hoping. I’m just not counting on it anymore. His arm just might not be up for the rigors of starting pitching. He also might need more time to get his strength up enough to do it.


chet: can corbin burnes stay in the rotation? probably moot since MIL doesn’t have better options, but his two starts have been roller coasters


Craig Edwards: I think so. It’s easier to get less strikeouts and try to get through games than the other way around. We are only a few games into the season, and like you say, the Brewers don’t have a ton of better options right now.


chet: i’ve seen some chatter about bryant’s inability to hit offspeed pitches. I always figured he’s a good enough hitter to adjust, but this has been going on for more than a season. Anything there? can he get back to MVP form?


Craig Edwards: He’s always been vulnerable to those pitches, but even in his MVP years he was striking out a lot. He just needs to do more damage when he does make contact, and that’s probably more injury related than pitch selection, though the entire league pitching a lot more offspeed stuff in general probably doesn’t help.


Something: Trout is once again on top of the WAR leaderboard. That means that the first sign that SSS is over right?


Craig Edwards: That is indeed the first sign, but sometimes even Trout jumps the gun. Maybe we need to change it to 10 consecutive days atop the leaderboard to be sure.




Craig Edwards: Good lord. So many extensions.


Bo: Dansby Swanson – anything giving you reason to believe he can keep being an above average hitter? He’s hitting the ball very hard.


Craig Edwards: I mean, the walks, especially unintentional walks, are a good sign, too. He was in the majors within basically a year of being drafted and so his bat has had to develop in the majors so fits and starts aren’t surprising. He only needs to be a 110 wRC+ to be close to a four-win player.


Derek: Per Devan Fink’s article that just went up – Mike Trout has the most cumulative WAR since 2006. He began playing in 2011. He is good.


Craig Edwards: All Trout facts are good and amazing.


Vader: Do you see Vogelbach getting regular AB’s…we know he can hit.


Craig Edwards: Yes. The Mariners being good early shouldn’t get in the way of Vogelbach seeing if he can hit consistently at the MLB level.


NorCalNobody: Why would anybody keep running on Laureano…as an A’s fan, I hope they keep doing so cause it is fun to watch


Craig Edwards: He’s playing center field and center fielders are almost always going to get run on to some degree. I think players will get more careful, but sometimes it takes a while for word to get out.


Zipp: What the heck is going on with Walker Buehler?


Craig Edwards: It is very windy out and the weather could be a factor today with command. Might be hard to get a good grip, something like that.


Mario Mendoza: More likely: Jeimer develops some power, or Sano develops some discipline?


Craig Edwards: I think Candelario already has some power so getting up to 30 homers or something like that isn’s impossible. Sano’s going on three seasons of around 35% strikeouts. Sano could get a lot better and still be really bad so have to go with Candelario in this scenario.


isaacmeep: 7 yrs $35M with potential for 9 years $45m on Albies per Joel Sherman


Craig Edwards: The Braves sure are lucky. I really don’t get this one or the Acuña deal. They just don’t compute with similar deals.


Bo: What’s the OBP equivalent of the rarity of batting .400 for a season? OBP > .450?


Craig Edwards: more like .500, though Bonds did it every year from 2001-2004.


Bo: Albies deal makes the Acuna deal look very player-friendly, huh?


Craig Edwards: I wouldn’t go that far as Albies is the inferior player, but if this is giving up 4, or even just 3 free agent seasons, for a $35 million guarantee is kind of baffling.


Derek: Dee Gordon is hitting home runs now


Craig Edwards: There might be something going on with the ball this year.


Something: Last night the Twins walked (or hit) 7 straight Mets. That has to be a record right??


Craig Edwards: I know it isn’t good.


Rays: So would you predict a Rays-Yankees-Sox East finish (with the latter two meeting in an overhyped single game)?


Craig Edwards: I think I went Yankees, Red Sox, Rays at the beginning of the season, but the Rays have probably jumped past the Sox and they have a decent shot at the Yankees if New York keeps having trouble with injuries.


Craig Edwards: I think that’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for all the questions. Good luck with your own contract extensions.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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