Craig Edwards FanGraphs Chat–4/25/2019

2:02

Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.

2:02

Mike : If you were the Astros GM ,  when would you call up Tucker, Alvarez, or Whitley?

2:05

Craig Edwards: For Tucker and Whitley, you just wait for an injury. Tucker isn’t obviously better than the players ahead of him and he isn’t even hitting yet. If Alvarez is still hitting well, he might be the call over Tucker if the injury isn’t outfield related. As for Whitley, the team can control his innings and stress in the minors for a while and they probably want him up for good when they do call him up and potentially available for the playoffs.

2:05

John : Should the Baltimore orioles lower their ticket prices since the product on the field is pretty inferior ?   100 losses? Higher or lower ?

2:06

Craig Edwards: Should they? They should probably offer a lot more deals  for single-game tickets, but it if you don’t lower your prices when you are bad, it is harder to raise them even higher when you are good.

2:07

Barnard: What do you think would happen today if a batter came to homeplate and “called his shot” a la Babe Ruth?

2:07

Craig Edwards: He would be laughed at.

2:07

butch v: Hi Craig. I was wondering, did Muncy not do enough to last year to earn a full time job? Or at least starts against lefties

2:10

Craig Edwards: Muncy is probably one of those players where at the end of the season you see 500 plate appearances and think that’s fine, but every time he sits it is really frustrating. Muncy isn’t necessarily sitting sometimes because he deserves to, but because it is better to keep the whole team fresh and active. It doesn’t help him that Bellinger is a must-start and often plays Muncy’s best position. Getting a day off every week might also help Muncy stay fresh and you might as well do it against a lefty, even if he can hit them.

2:10

TomBruno23: What should the Cardinals do to manage the OF situation and what will they do?

2:11

Craig Edwards: I think Fowler goes back to right field with Bader and O’Neill playing center and Bader getting a majority of the time with Martinez getting the starts against lefties and the occasional righty start with Ozuna getting a day off every now and then.

2:11

Should have signed Harper: What are your thoughts on Dexter Fowler?  Is this merely a hot streak?  Has he bought himself more rope with this recent performance?  Does he get extended time now, as a reward?  Can O’Neill still oust him?

2:14

Craig Edwards: Fowler probably isn’t a 124 wRC+ hitter as he had a ton of hits bounce in at the beginning of the season, but if his power comes along like it has the last few weeks and he’s a 110 wRC+ and decent in right field, that’s an average player. I think there’s no way the Cardinals weren’t going to give Fowler a shot to keep the job, and so far he has, though O’Neill or Martinez can force their way into the lineup more given those bats have higher upside. I wrote a little about Fowler in this ESPN piece today. http://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/26597293/checking-six-veter…

2:15

Barry: Who finishes with higher OPS Heyward or G Polanco?

2:17

Craig Edwards: I’ll say Heyward, but Polanco was really good last season at the plate. I think around .800 for both would be fair.

2:18

Mr Met: Is Jeff McNeil going to show some pop or speed this year, or will he be Dave Magadan clone?

2:20

Craig Edwards: I’m not going to say he’ll never hit for power. He had a good run in Double-A last year, but he hasn’t really shown it over an extended period and certainly not in the majors. It’s really hard to hit for power if you are only going to strike out 10% of the time. He may sacrifice some contact for power in the future, but he isn’t going to be this player with power.

2:20

CubFan: What chance do you place on Vlad failing to reach (say not getting within 80% of the projected numbers) all these lofty expectations for this year?

2:22

Craig Edwards: Is there maybe 10% chance of an injury that would keep him from getting there plus the projections have him as roughly a 5-win/600 player right now so the chances are probably close to 50% that he doesn’t quite hit that. That said, a 50% chance at 140 wRC+ for a 20-year-old is pretty amazing.

2:23

Benjy Bronk: It’s been fun watching Tatis Jr tear it up at 20 YO. Is it fair to expect Vlad Jr to be significantly better?

2:25

Craig Edwards: Better than Tatis Jr. or better than Tatis Jr. is playing right now. Tatis has like a 150 wRC+ right now and at shortstop Vlad would have to be like 170 to counter that. As for what Tatis will do, the sample we have in the majors maybe ticks up Tatis’ likely good outcomes a bit, but there’s still more certainty with Vlad because of the bat. Maybe not fair to think Vlad will be significantly better, but still better, yes.

2:25

Alan: Here I was, with a Paul DeJong K question ready for you, and lo, you beat me to it. But now I don’t have a question, so I suppose I’ll just say thanks for the precognition.

2:26

intelati: Enjoying all the DeJong, Thomas, and Wong posts today.

2:28

Eloy’s Batting Stance: Hi Craig.  As a non professional scout or hitter, Eloy’s beginning stance looks a little twisted and uncomfortable at the plate.  I don’t recall seeing any similar stances before.  I know it worked for him in the minors, but do you think it’s part of the cause to his ‘slow’ start and would it be something he would have to adjust in the future?  Thanks.

2:31

Craig Edwards: It’s certainly unique, but I don’t think there’s anything to it that would affect him negatively in the majors after success in the minors. I wouldn’t worry too much about his start. He’s shown flashes of what he can do. It’s just a slow start over 84 plate appearances. If this were happening in August we would barely notice.

2:31

Bread Gardner: According to Jack Curry, the Yankees just acquired Cameron Maybin from the Indians.  Jay Jaffe told me this is because they need warm bodies.  I choose to believe it is because he has a great baseball name because this is fine. I’m okay with the events that are unfolding currenlty. That’s okay, things are going to be okay. *melts*

2:33

Craig Edwards: The Yankees are 14-10 despite all of their injury issues and haven’t used their best pitcher all year. They might win 93 games instead of 100. Cameron Maybin isn’t what you’re looking for, but the team will be fine. Probably.

2:34

Willson Contreras: Am I an MVP contender or is Baez going to continue taking all the attention away from me?

2:36

Craig Edwards: The framing number addition to FanGraphs hasn’t been kind to Contreras. Baez is still leading the team in WAR despite Contreras going near 200 for wRC+. I like Contreras, but it is April and after the tough last summer, we’re going to need to see how he holds up the rest of the way.

2:37

dezre: Better hitter rest of season – Franmil Reyes or Jeff McNeil?

2:38

Craig Edwards: I want the answer to be Reyes because he’s humongous and young so I will just go with that.

2:39

Joe B: Mookie Betts hasn’t been even attempting to steal bases.  Any idea what is going on?

2:40

Craig Edwards: Betts stole three bases last April and then 10 in May. Stealing is a lot easier when the weather warms up. Of course, sometimes after hitters break out, they attempt less steals because it is isn’t as important to their overall game. I’d just be patient.

2:41

Almond Milk: The Brewers are playing real bad right now, how much of that is strength of schedule versus real concerns?

2:43

Craig Edwards: The schedule is certainly playing a role with 20 games against the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Cubs, though the National League is just going to be tough to navigate without many gimmes. The Brewers need to figure out their rotation and the return of Gio should help. Shaw, Braun, and Aguilar aren’t this bad so the offense should be fine.

2:45

tom: what is your favorite soup?

2:45

Craig Edwards: I don’t think I eat enough soup to really have a favorite, though a well-made butternut squash soup can be fantastic.

2:46

Monty: Progressive betting; genius idea or playing God?

2:46

Craig Edwards: I prefer progressive batting, where you swing once on the first pitch, and if you whiff, you swing twice on the second pitch, four times on the third, etc. It’s foolproof.

2:48

AF: When does launch angle stabilize? Devers isn’t going to be a productive hitter with a 2° launch angle…

2:51

Craig Edwards: He’s always been a ground ball hitter, and that has held him back though I don’t think he’s going to keep hitting 60% of balls on the ground. As for stabilizing, we are at the range where this isn’t a fluke though Devers is still in range of where he’s been in the past. He’s still hitting the ball hard and walking a lot, so there’s some optimism to be had there.

2:51

i suppose: have you heard anything about travis sawchik’s new book?

2:52

Craig Edwards: I have not heard much though Travis is great and so it Ben so I imagine it will be really good.

2:52

Year of NL Competition: If last year was the year of the tank, is this the year of parity?  Seems like teams realized that tanking only really benefits if you’re one of a few teams tanking.  If half the league tanks, there’s less benefit than competing (financial benefit, “competitive” benefit, etc…).  Was last year an anomaly?

2:53

Craig Edwards: The AL begs to differ. There are cycles and right now the NL is incredibly competitive. There are a lot of teams that look like they should be competitive for a number of years so we might look back on the next few years as a great era for parity in the NL. The AL looks a lot different with a handful of teams not only bad, but pretty far away from being relevant.

2:54

Yankees: After all the injuries, then, which position player ends up leading the Yankees in WAR?

2:54

Craig Edwards: No idea. Gary Sanchez maybe?

2:55

kevinthecomic: Happy Vlad Day = DFA Bradon Drury Day

2:55

Craig Edwards: He should be kind of used to it after Gleyber and Andujar took his job last year.

2:56

Jonesy Whales: Any mechanical changes that make what Heyward is doing real? I know the underlying advanced numbers back it up, but it feels like we’ve seen short similar stretches before.

2:57

Craig Edwards: I haven’t noticed anything much. He’s been a tinkerer his whole career and the changes he made to get to inside pitches early on in his Cubs’ career actually took away what he could do with the rest of the plate. He’s got a very whiplike swing and maybe he is just very dependent on strong wrists which was a problem for a while. He hasn’t really had any stretches this good in a really long time, so hopefully he stays healthy and keeps things going.

2:58

Johnny : Do you think Juan Soto is more likely a three true outcomes hitter or a more well rounded hitter? Very valuable either way, of course.

2:59

Craig Edwards: He doesn’t hit quite enough fly balls or strike out enough to go that far. He makes too much hard contact not to get a decent amount of non-homer hits.

2:59

Yankees: The Yankees are playing .583 ball with AAA hitters. I think they should be happy, for now. How well would they be playing if they were healthy?

3:02

Craig Edwards: 16-8 maybe. It’s early. They’ve maybe gotten lucky with what they have so far but they had Judge for the first few weeks of the season and the team overall has still played pretty well and taken advantage of a pretty weak schedule. It’s going to get tougher.

3:02

santiagofish: Who puts up more wins this year: Yelich vs the Cards or Rizzo vs everyone

3:04

Craig Edwards: Yelich doesn’t play the Cardinals for a while so Rizzo should have plenty of time to catch up. Yelich is probably at 1.5 or so right now versus St. Louis. If Rizzo doesn’t have that by August we can re-examine.

3:04

J: What happened to AJ Pollock? He looks done.

3:05

Craig Edwards: I think just a bit unlucky so far. He’s still hitting the ball pretty hard. It’s possible the park change isn’t helping him, but this is likely just small sample stuff getting in the way.

3:05

Brood550: NL MVP race right now Bellinger followed by Yelich?

3:06

Craig Edwards: there hasn’t even been a single player of the month. Let’s wait a bit.

3:06

Brandron Drury: Who is this Wally Pipp person and why do people keep bringing him up?

3:06

Andy: What is wrong with Andrew Miller and why does STL have terrible luck with FA relievers?

3:06

Craig Edwards: Everyone has terrible luck with free agent relievers. The Cardinals just keep signing them.

3:07

Ralph Rowdie: Meg went with Bregman due to the “heel” factor; Who do you think will be more fun to watch over the next 5+ years, Alex Bregman or Matt Chapman?

3:08

Craig Edwards: I think we are more likely to see a lot of Bregman in the playoffs so even if Chapman is a more fun player, and his defense makes him so, I think, it will be more fun to watch Bregman because he’s more likely to have bigger moments.

3:08

Planet Dust: What are the things that we are currently mis-evaluating, where we’ll look foolish in 20 years–what metrics are going to end up looking like pitcher wins or something similar?

3:11

Craig Edwards: I think that in 20 years, there will hopefully be a ton of expansion to thin out the talent level and a lot of the things we think we know now about the shift and launch angle will be completely different because the talent pool will have changed.

3:12

Craig Edwards: That’s going to do it for me this week. Thanks for all the questions.

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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