Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 6/7/22


1:57
Ben Clemens: Hey, let’s start slightly early, because I’m going to end this chat around 3 ET
1:57
Ben Clemens: Without further ado:
1:57
Matt: Where do the Angels go from here? 12 straight losses, and they’ve made no changes.
1:57
Ben Clemens: I don’t really know what changes they can make
1:58
Ben Clemens: They called Jo Adell back up when Taylor Ward got hurt, but I’m assuming that’s not going to placate any nervous fans
1:58
Ben Clemens: Their worst hitter in this stretch is Mike Trout
1:59
Ben Clemens: They’ve already done plenty of shuffling of interchangeable middle infielders
1:59
Ben Clemens: I guess they could mess with the pitching? But the starters have been alright
1:59
Ben Clemens: I think they just need to not lose so many games. I know that’s reductive but, well, your good hitters need ot hit
1:59
James: Is there a way to quantify the value of the 8 hitter getting on with 2 outs to turn the lineup over for the next inning? It feels like this sort of thing is not discussed much.
2:00
Ben Clemens: This isn’t quite the same, but I looked at whether Austin Hedges would make more sense on an AL team or NL team, and found that he’d actually fit better in the NL (pre-DH), because it hurts less to fail to reach base when the player after you isn’t going to drive you in anyway
2:02
Ben Clemens: I think this effect has become less important with the universal DH, but I’d basically say this: It’s good to get on base. It’s always good to get on base. But if you have a guy who gets on base a lot, it’s better to use them to either drive runners home or load the bases for people to drive runners home than to clear hte pitcher’s spot
2:02
The Great Giambino: If you have not played Smash Up, you should stop this chat right now to go try it. Best I can describe it is a mix of deck building meets Magic the Gathering where the game is never the same twice
2:02
Ben Clemens: I was very tempted to leave this for the last question of the chat and then just sign off, but I thought I might forget
2:02
Ben Clemens: Smash Up is great, highly recommend it
2:03
Appa Yip Yip: It seems like an unusual number of the starters signed to big contracts have been bad this year. Rodon, Gausman, and Scherzer are the only ones putting up good numbers. What’s up with that?
2:04
Ben Clemens: I dunno. I think you’re maybe overstating it — Syndergaard has been serviceable, better than our projections I think, Verlander was only free agent ish but has been excellent, Kershaw was great until he got hurt, etc.
2:06
Ben Clemens: Eduardo Rodriguez has been slightly disappointing but not terribly so. Overall, I’d just say that this is kind of what you get in pitching. 9 pitchers signed deals with AAV of 20 million or higher, and 2 of those (Ray, Stroman) have been pretty bad
2:06
Ben Clemens: E Rod has been run of the mill bad
2:06
Ben Clemens: The other 6 have been somewhere between okay and great
2:06
AJ Preller: Because he gets 10/5 rights after the season, this deadline is my last chance to trade Hosmer. What is it going to take for me to finally make it happen?
2:06
Ben Clemens: It’s not happening
2:06
Appa Yip Yip: On Friday I asked you to pls fix José Berríos and I just want to say thank you for your service.
2:06
Ben Clemens: You’re welcome
2:06
JD: Is it possible that the A’s developmental woes are due to lack of resources or are they just bad at drafting/signing international talent?
2:06
Ben Clemens: Porque no los dos?
2:07
Super Freak: Over/under 74 wins for the Pirates?
2:07
Ben Clemens: Under, but by less than I would have expected preseason. My boy Ke’Bryan Hayes is off to another great start, let’s gooooo
2:08
Josh: Are Gallo and Hicks cooked? Hard to complain about a 39-15 team and both had had points with wrc+ > 110, but have to wonder what NY does going forward
2:08
Ben Clemens: I am willing to concede that Hicks might be cooked. I’ve never been a big Gallo fan, but I don’t think he’s done by any means. He’s just kind of a feast or famine hitter
2:09
Ben Clemens: I think his defense will likely rebound, and that his bat will a bit too, but that he’s more average regular that gets to the stats in a way that looks weird than star
2:09
Nate: Think the Braves will eventually figure out how to get Willy C’s bat in the lineup every day?
2:09
Ben Clemens: They’re certainly trying! They’ve played him in the outfield this year
2:09
Bring Back DeSpaniel Hair!: Nothing to ask this week, but you should be demanding a pay raise or a bonus or something. You, sir, are killing it right now!
2:10
Ben Clemens: I actually demand minor league baseball hats
2:10
Ben Clemens: I got a Savannah Bananas one recently (go watch them if you live in driving distance, it was so fun) but my collection is overall lackluster
2:10
Appa Yip Yip: If you were making the trade value series right now, where would you put Alejandro Kirk? He can’t handle a full catching load (bc he’s shaped like a friend) but absolutely hits enough to DH days he doesn’t. He’s a wee little unicorn.
2:10
Ben Clemens: Shameless cross-promotion alert: I’m looking into Kirk for a segment of The Sleeper and the Bust this week
2:10
Ben Clemens: Ben Clemens Investigates: Alejandro Kirk
2:11
Ben Clemens: I don’t *think* I’d put him in the Top 50, but he’s certainly in that 40-70 kinda range of good young players with holes
2:11
Ben Clemens: Absolutely in the conversation for top 50, let’s say
2:11
RTJ: Was looking at Babip – JD Martinez with an absurd .468 Babip. He’s got good hard-hit metrics, but I’m wondering how or if the shift on him is maybe not working?
2:12
Ben Clemens: It’s just not a big enough sample size to say anything yet
2:12
Ben Clemens: And Fenway messes with everything, of course
2:12
Ben Clemens: I’d generally not shift against JD, though, because I’d generally not shift against any righties
2:12
Guest: Do you have a FLGS in SF you’d recommend ?
2:12
Ben Clemens: Heck yes. I live a few blocks from Gamescape (it’s on Divisadero between Oak and Page) and it’s incredible
2:13
Ben Clemens: They have a big stock of things, the staff are really helpful, and if they don’t have a game I’m looking for they’ve either let me know when it’s in stock or told me if they know another place to get it
2:14
Phil: I guess this is a question for Meg, but she doesn’t chat any more: would anyone over there be interested in a writeup of what Daniel Bard is doing? His best RA9 since 2010, and I really can’t find any comparable careers: no one else seems to have missed quite so much time from the majors and been this successful on return, and the closest equivalents are people who were playing in another country, not people who were completely out of baseball as a result of being terrible.
2:14
Ben Clemens: Sounds like a fun thing to look into when there’s a lull in article ideas I have. And to be honest, right know I’m writing about Mike Yastrzemski bunting for hits, so it’s not like I’m awash in great ideas
2:14
Mendoza Line: What is the capital of Uruguay?
2:14
Ben Clemens: I think it’s Montevideo? That’s off the top of my head, so let’s type this and then Google it:
2:15
Ben Clemens: Bam! Got it in one. The way I remember it is that I know Paraguay and Uruguay are Asuncion and Montevideo, and so the capitals are in alphabetical order just like the countries
2:15
Ben Clemens: Same way I remember Bismarck/Pierre
2:15
jas: Has Dakota Hudson made a deal with the devil? Check out that statcast page
2:16
Ben Clemens: Check out Dakota Hudson’s career FIP/ERA gap, while you’re at it
2:16
Ben Clemens: I think he exists as a reminder that sometimes baseball is better experienced than analyzed
2:16
RTJ: Count me among the fans (and managers apparently) that completely forgot that you can’t bring in a position player with a run differential of 5. Very stupid rule, even given the expanded bullpens
2:16
Ben Clemens: I have to say, big fan of enforcing the rule if you’re going to have it on the books
2:17
Ben Clemens: I think if you’re going to allow teams to carry 14 pitchers, you should just not let position players pitch at all, but I’d prefer 13 or 12 man pitching staffs and letting position players pitch
2:17
Ben Clemens: I see why they have the rule, though
2:17
Ben Clemens: Otherwise you say ‘okay only 13 pitchers’ and the Dodgers say ‘hey have you heard of this hot new pitching prospect, Tyler Anderson?’
2:17
Ben Clemens: Whoops, that should say hot new hitting prospect
2:18
Ben Clemens: If you can just declare a pitcher a hitter with no consequences, the roster rules don’t have teeth
2:18
Todd Coffey Time: It’s been fairly well established, I believe, that Barrel% is a solid leading indicator of future perfomance for hitters when it comes to the Statcast stats. However, I am curious what can be considered a similar leading indicator of future performance for pitchers?
2:18
Ben Clemens: Strikeout rate! Whiff rate, too
2:18
Ben Clemens: I like to look at GB% and pop up%
2:18
Ben Clemens: A good mental heuristic is that pitchers control whether batters hit the ball, and what angle they hit it at
2:19
Ben Clemens: Hitters have control over those things too…. and then hitters also control how hard they hit it
2:19
Ben Clemens: So if you’re looking at pitching stats, it’s generally best to focus more on up/down and yes/no
2:19
Ben Clemens: than how hard
2:20
Pat Kelly’s Potential: Being offered Soto for Judge and I think I should do it if only because of regression to the mean thinking and Judge’s injury risk. Am I oversimplifying regression to the mean though?
2:20
Ben Clemens: I think I’d do it too, but I do wonder whether Soto’s counting stats are just going to be crushed by the Nats
2:20
SJ: It’s assumed some Rangers prospects will eventually have to get traded because so many of them are infielders blocked by Seager and Semien (even assuming some of them bust they have a surplus). Do you think teams knowing they’re in this position diminishes their trade value?
2:21
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it decreases their value too much if they’re good prospects overall. It definitely decreases their leverage on fringe 40-man or rule-5-eligible types
2:22
Ben Clemens: Think of it this way: let’s say that for whatever reason, the Orioles acquired Will Smith and JT Realmuto in trade, and decided they had to trade Adley
2:22
Ben Clemens: Now, do teams know that the Orioles need to trade him? Sure. But they also know that all their competitors want to acquire him. Let’s abstract it into random numbers: if Adley has 1 unit of value to the Orioles and 7 to other teams, you might be tempted to offer them 2 units of value in trade
2:23
Ben Clemens: Hey, the O’s double their value, and you know they need to do something, you have them over a barrel
2:23
Ben Clemens: But why wouldn’t one of your competitors offer 3 units of value? And why wouldn’t another competitor offer 4, etc
2:24
Ben Clemens: As long as the players are generally desirable and there are multiple interested parties, leverage shouldn’t be a huge deal here. Now if you end up in the DBacks situation where you’re trying to trade an outfielder (Starling Marte) into a crowded trade deadline market and everyone knows you have no leverage, that’s diff
2:24
Guest: What’s going on with Max Muncy? Has one of the weirdest slash lines you’ll see with .150/.327/.263 buoyed by a 20% BB rate. Obviously a .183 BABIP is impossible, but his batted ball quality is also way down
2:24
Ben Clemens: Still hurt, I’d guess?
2:24
Smiling Politely: This is the exact song our Spanish teacher used to teach us the South American capitals in the mid 90s:
2:24
Bill DeWallet: Masyn Winn seems to have gone from a 20 hit tool to a 55 or 60 hit tool this season.  Couple that with his pop, speed, and arm at SS and is he a top 25 prospect next year?
2:24
Guest: Are you more impressed by the Tiger’s inability to score runs or the Yankees’ inability to allow runs?
2:25
Ben Clemens: Oh, by the Yankees
2:25
Ben Clemens: Man, are the Yankees good this year
2:25
Ben Clemens: Sometimes I just go back to the positional power rankings for starting pitchers and laugh and laugh at the comments
2:25
Ben Clemens: Lots of very smart people who consider themselves even smarter than that berated our power rankings for overrating them
2:25
josh: What stats do you look at for relievers? I have always felt ERA, FIP, etc matter less for them because they operate in small sample sizes. One bad partial inning can blow up their line. Or am I wrong and FIP is good actually
2:26
Ben Clemens: So, you’re definitely right ,but I still look at FIP (and xFIP) because you have to look at SOMETHING
2:26
Ben Clemens: I also really like looking at strikeout and walk rates
2:26
Guest: Should MJ Melendez be moved to the OF full time? His defensive stats at catcher are not good.
2:27
Ben Clemens: If you mean his 2022 major league stats, he’s only played 161 innings, so I think it’s a bit early to pass judgment on him
2:28
Ben Clemens: So I think this is more of a question for Eric or Tess; I’d defer to talent evaluators there
2:28
Jose Miranda: Crawdads have another Llamas de Hickory hat out this year. It’s my favorite.  Trash Pandas is good too but goes with less.
2:28
Derek: Seager -> 3B somewhat solves that problem too, no?
2:28
Ben Clemens: An excellent point, but still, if Seager stays at short you could just move the prospect of your choice (Jung probably?) to third
2:29
Ben Clemens: So eh, to some extent it’s zero sum
2:29
Ben Clemens: Oh hello again
2:29
Rick: How much of a concern is it for Jung to be losing almost two full years due to injury?
2:29
Ben Clemens: Yeah, extremely concerning
2:29
Ben Clemens: Another reason not to get too worked up about prospects; they bust more than you think
2:29
Ben Clemens: For just completely uncontrollable reasons
2:29
MM: At this point, would you drop Cronenworth (my current 2B) for someone like Espinal? Or do you see bounce back potential?
2:30
Ben Clemens: I would not, but Espinal sure makes it tempting. Must be a shallow league if Espinal is available; I looked just at my Ottoneu team and he’s rostered in 80% of Otto leagues
2:31
Ben Clemens: I do see bounceback potential in Cronenworth, but Espinal is a really similar hitter to Cronenworth if his power is real (I don’t think it’s this real)
2:31
Matt: as far as what changes they can make, would firing Joe Maddon be prudent? To me, he seems overhyped. Managers may not make much of a difference, but you can’t get much worse than 0-12.
2:32
Ben Clemens: Could always go 0-12 against worse teams. I’m a Joe Maddon skeptic when it comes to tactical advantages — I write about silly/dumb things he does more often than most managers (TLR, you’re not most managers). I can’t speak to how he is in the clubhouse, though, which is more important than whether he walks Corey Seager with the bases loaded
2:32
Grant: re: Angels – their entire bullpen is imploding simultaneously, including their ‘big 3’ of Tepera, Loup, Iglesias, all of whom were performing well up until 3 weeks ago. Coupled with Trout’s struggles, I think at some point you have to throw up your hands and hope for improvement from your current roster. Am I off base?
2:33
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so. That’s exactly what I’d do. It would be one thing if they had obvious reinforcements or if some experiment they were trying wouldn’t work but… Ohtani and Trout aren’t hitting, and their best relievers have been bad. What are you gonna do about that?
2:33
Guest: When can we decide Luis Guillorme is good?
2:33
Ben Clemens: Love me some Guillorme. Don’t think he’s going to keep hitting this well but the man caught a bat on the fly in the dugout, and survived going from a great beard to a TERRIBLE clean-shaven look
2:34
Ben Clemens: He’s immortal
2:34
Babe Lincoln: Dom Smith’s trade value at 0 now?
2:34
Ben Clemens: The only word in this sentence that doesn’t make sense to me is ‘now’. Dom Smith hasn’t had much trade value for a while. Not that he’s a bad player, just, so-so-hitting first basemen aren’t hot commodities
2:34
Dan: I thought the Yankees rotation would be top three this year and I still badly underestimated how good most of their starters would be.
2:34
Ben Clemens: They have been SO good
2:34
Babe Lincoln: Which positional adjustment do you think needs revision, and in which direction?
2:35
Ben Clemens: Oooh! I’m trying to figure out this very question at the moment
2:36
Ben Clemens: I’m struggling with OF/IF equivalencies, but generally speaking, I’d say my conclusions so far are: the OF positions should be a little closer given the relative populations of each these days, and I’m skeptical that DH should be so penalizing
2:36
Ben Clemens: Fun fact: it’s really hard to figure out what the DH adjustment should be (I’m not actually sure if that’s a fun fact)
2:36
TStats: Ive got a good feeling about Q today, am I insane
2:36
Ben Clemens: Nah, I think he’s actually good
2:36
J: Thoughts on Christopher Morel? Plate discipline certainly seems better than advertised.
2:37
Ben Clemens: I’d buy somewhere between high-end utility guy and average regular, which is more than I expected when he came up. ‘Guy you didn’t expect to be good mashes for rebuliding team’ is consistently a fun story, I can’t help but rooting for him
2:37
Appa Yip Yip: So MLB changed the ball in mid May, yeah? Why do they keep trying to mess with things on the sly when it’s so easily apparent that they do.
2:37
Ben Clemens: I’m actually skeptical that they changed the ball, but look, the evidence isn’t great and they don’t have a ton of credibility. The whole humidor thing has just been embarrassing
2:38
Taillon: I know Cortes is quite a story, but I’m most impressed by Taillon. Also anyone notice Cole is not a bad pitcher? He is not a bad pitcher.
2:39
Ben Clemens: Taillon is a guy I’m always rooting for, in the same way that I’m rooting for Daniel Hudson, was rooting for Jonny Venters, etc…. these pitchers who were off the field for forever for various health and injury reasons
2:39
Ben Clemens: The most impressive part of the Yankees’ rotation has been making people forget that Gerrit Cole is having an excellent season, perhaps one of his best seasons
2:40
Jacob: Is Tarik Skubal a top 5 CY finisher this year? Will any of the Tigers other opening day starting pitchers be healthy again?
2:41
Ben Clemens: I’m skeptical of a top 5 finish, but I’m just a skeptical person by nature. If we voted right now, I think he’d comfortably be top 5
2:41
Cortez tha Killah: Will we be able to think of Hunter Greene as an ace by season’s end?
2:42
Ben Clemens: I’m down on Greene, but oooooooh yesterday’s start has me reconsidering
2:42
Ben Clemens: OR well, not just yesterday’s start, and by ‘down on Greene’ I mean I think he might need a few more years to click
2:42
Dan: Who is the best primary left fielder in baseball?
2:43
Ben Clemens: I’m considering ‘primary left fielder’ as a player who starts more than half their games in left. That disqualifies Yordan Alvarez, who would otherwise run away with this. With that said, I’m gonna say Mark Canha.
2:44
Ben Clemens: It’s not exactly a deep position at the moment
2:44
Trivia: What was the last WS winner to feature the (eventual) Cy Young winner from their league? It’s rarer than one might think. (And of course the answer would be Verlander 19 had they finished that one)
2:44
Ben Clemens: Love this as a trivia question, I’m gonna start thinking about it right now, apologies while I don’ answer questions for a few minutes
2:44
Ben Clemens: Yeah, honestly, I’ve got nothing
2:44
Guest: Do you see any chance of a Tyler O’Neil or Joey Gallo bounce back?
2:45
Ben Clemens: 0% chance, both teams should release them
2:45
Ben Clemens: (no, I definitely do, this is not how baseball works)
2:45
los: Rodon has a 2.50 FIP. His ERA is almost a run higher but that’s still excellent, I do not get why he was included on the list of bad SP signings
2:45
Ben Clemens: He was listed as one of the few who has panned out
2:45
Zach: Do we talk enough about how good and fun Julio Rodriguez is? What this question presupposes is: what if we don’t?
2:46
Ben Clemens: We don’t just yet, but I think that has something to do with Seattle’s slow start. He’s super fun, super young, and super good
2:46
Nic Stone: Thoughts on the Miguel Andujar situation? Seems like he should be playing in Majors, but the Yanks seem unwilling to start him over Gallo or hicks. Should they?
2:46
Ben Clemens: Yeah…. I’m skeptical that he’s a slam dunk major leauger. Not that stats are everything, and it’s a small sample, but in the last THREE YEARS he’s hitting .253/.281/.366 for a 77 wRC+
2:47
Ben Clemens: and playing butcherous defense
2:47
Ben Clemens: Now, if you want to argue that the Yankees have mismanaged his playing time, and that he’d be better with everyday reps, I’d completely believe that. But that’s more second-division starter than playing in the majors, at least until he proves he can do a little more than that
2:47
Trivia: (It’s Randy Johnson 2001)
2:48
Trivia: (I thought of that question a few months back when I realized MVP + ring is a lot more common – Betts, Altuve, Bryant recently)
2:48
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that’s shocking to me
2:48
RTJ: Which team should most take a chance on Trevor Rosenthal ? Red Sox bullpen is in disarray and they technically are in a wild card spot (which is a whole other thing).
2:49
Ben Clemens: Sure, the Red Sox might as well try. I’m rooting for him to be good again, thought he was very underappreciated in St. Louis
2:49
Deathclaw: I’m an A’s fan living in the Midwest. I go on a trip to the Bay area and attend a game once or twice a year but this season I decided to go see a Rodon and Musgrove showdown at Oracle Park. I felt a little bad abandoning my boys on my trip out there but they are making it tough to want to follow them closely right now. What is there to look forward to right now? Certainly not the impending trade of my favorite pitcher, Frankie.
2:50
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it’s a very depressing time to root for the A’s. My bay area A’s fan friends have just focused on the minors but that’s not exactly a strength at the moment. I guess you can root for Sean Murphy, Pache (he’s worth watching for defense alone), and the eventual arrival of Nick Allen?
2:50
Ben Clemens: Yeah it sucks. Glad you got to see an excellent pitching matchup instead
2:51
Ben Clemens: I went to that game, by the way! I really enjoyed it, pitching duel without being a grind
2:52
Greg: Oh of course, I don’t know how I forgot about the Johnson/Schilling DBacks
2:52
Trivia: It might be because it’s easier to win a Cy on a bad team. A few times it’s happened the year AFTER (Randy 2000, Lincecum 09, Arrieta 2015).
2:52
Jeff S.: Are the mariners finally turning it around? They’ve won 3 straight series, offense is above average and their starters have been… better, even with Ray struggling mightily.
2:54
Ben Clemens: I think so. Helps that the Angels have come crashing back to earth
2:54
Fecal Sculptor: Why is “flied out” the proper past tense for the verb “fly out” instead of “flew out”?
2:54
Ben Clemens: Ooh, this is gonna bother me now. I have no idea
2:54
Steven: I’m sure it’s been asked before, but do you think Buehler is just bad now? I try to be rational/optimistic but I’m terrified every start he makes now. Looking at his stats it really just seems like the four seamer that’s getting consistently hammered, but he hasn’t eliminated the pitch from his repertoire so is that just a non-option? As for Muncy, he’s definitely still injured and went on the IL/is doing rehab starts. I’m not concerned about him moving forward until he puts up bad numbers while healthy.
2:55
Ben Clemens: I’m worried about Buehler, and I have been for most of this year. I think his fastball is just not getting the shape and command that it used to. I agree with you that it really does seem to be just a four-seamer problem, but that used to be a really big part of his game, so it’s a tough thing to just trim back. I think the solution is just that he needs to pitch through it and rediscover his best fastball
2:56
Ben Clemens: That’s a very unsatisfying solution, I know. And it’s not like he’s been terrible. But I think that it’s getting hard to watch him pitch and think ‘yeah that’s a dominant starter’, and it’s b/c of the fastball
2:56
Deathclaw: How are you feeling about Flaherty making it through the SLAP tear and bursitis in the short and long-term?
2:56
Colton: What are you expecting from Flaherty when he finally returns for the Cardinals? I’m skeptical of him but know what he has been in the past being from St. Louis and there’s always someone here who thinks he’s still the ace he was at the end of ’19.
2:57
Ben Clemens: Popular question today, I just grabbed two of them as a representative sample
2:59
Ben Clemens: My expectations are that he’ll be a top-shelf starter. I don’t think he’s an ace or anything, but I think he’s probably the Cardinals starter I’d most want on the mound if he’s back and not rusty; kind of a co-#1 with Mikolas and Wainwright. I agree with you that he’s not the 0 ERA 2019 hero, but I love his slider and ihs ability to mix sliders and fastballs to good effect
2:59
Piso Mojado: The Bismarck/Pierre comment right into a Dakota Hudson question was intentional, right?
2:59
Ben Clemens: I’ll never tell
2:59
Ugh: I wish I never had the “Flied out” vs. “Flew out” vs “Fly out” in my head
2:59
Ben Clemens: I’m sorry. For what it’s worth, I’m in the same boat
3:00
RTJ: I actually was at the Angels v Sox game last night. 2.5 hour pitching showcase and some great defense from Trout and JBJ in center. Something is different about watching elite defense in person vs on TV
3:00
Ben Clemens: 100% true. It’s fun to watch web gem replays but I think that speed is just more impressive in person. It’s the same reason hockey is so mind-blowing in person; you see those guys skate and you just thikn ‘wait people this big can’t move this fast’
3:01
Ben Clemens: A great outfielder running down a ball in the gap is wildly impressive, and more so when you see that space getting eaten up with your eyes rather than from the forced perspective of the TV camera
3:01
Guest: The Mets have 5 off days between now and the end of the month. Seems like a lot. Good or bad?
3:01
Ben Clemens: Definitely good. Using your worst starters less often matters more when your best starters are on the shelf and you’re in injury-replacement mode
3:02
Ben Clemens: Every schedule has a period with more off days; this is the best time for hte Mets to be hitting that patch
3:02
Ben Clemens: I’m going to answer exactly five more questions and then go make some lunch, starting with:
3:02
Max H: True or false: Votto finishes the season in Cincinnati?
3:03
Ben Clemens: I’ve gone back and forth on this one. I’m gonna say True in the end; I think this comes down to what Votto wants to do, and while I think he’d enjoy playing in Toronto, I don’t know what’s in his mind and he seems to me like the kind of person who values history
3:03
Ben Clemens: That leans, in my head, towards him playing out the rest of hte year with the Reds and having a tear-jerker of a farewell
3:03
Dan: What do you make of Albies’ struggles this year, and do you view his ceiling any differently than you did upon his arrival in ATL? Do you think there’s any chance the Braves ask him to follow the Cedric Mullins path and give up switch-hitting? 140 career wRC+ from R side, 93 wRC+ from the L side.
3:05
Ben Clemens: I do think he should consider it, but I odn’t think it’s obviously the case that he should do it. His numbers are definitely better form the right side, but a lot of that is BABIP, and he doesn’t have a huge sample of righty batting
3:05
Ben Clemens: He’s basically played one season’s worth of PA’s (693) from that side of the plate
3:06
Ben Clemens: And has a .344 BABIP there. I thikn it’s fair to say he’s a better natural righty hitter — he’s right-handed, etc. — but a lot of his peripherals look the same right vs left
3:06
Matt: Any comments on if the Phillies feel like a rejuvenated team after firing Girardi, or did they just luck into facing the Angels at a low point?
3:07
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I’d say the second. I do think that firing Girardi was a useful reset button for the clubhouse, though. You might not think managers have a ton to say about team success — I’m in that camp at times — but having a new boss and changing the vibe at work has definitely helped ME perform at a higher level in the past, so why wouldn’t it for major leaguers?
3:08
Guest: It seems like an unusual number of the hitter signed to big contracts have been bad this year. Freeman, Taylor and Correa are the only ones putting up good numbers. What’s up with that?
3:08
Ben Clemens: Ooh, I love mirror image questions
3:09
Ben Clemens: I think you neglected Trevor Story a bit, he’s been great! Just in a strange way
3:10
Ben Clemens: The two Texas guys have been bad, and that’s done a lot to make the whole class look worse. So I’d say go ask the Rangers. And maybe ask the Phillies why they’re so cursed that they signed two DH’s and have to play both of them in the field, which is obviously bad for their WAR but probably also bad for their hitting because it can’t be a self-affirming feelin to stubmle around the outfield the way they do
3:11
Oddball Herrera: Is there an wRC number that would represent a team being on average better off volunteering an out and not sending the player to bat?
3:12
Ben Clemens: Let’s end with this one. There is not, because of the way wRC+ treats all outs the same, but you could imagine a hitter where that’s hte case. Yadi Molina with lead boots on, or something. You’d see that in baserunning value, which is counterintuitive, and something I am hoping we’ll write an explainer about (and update) this year.
3:12
Ben Clemens: With that, it’s time to go make some sheet pan fried rice and talk Blue Jays on the radio, just a standard Tuesday afternoon. Have a great rest of the day, everyone, and thanks for chatting.
3:12
Ben Clemens: As always, if I didn’t get to your question, I’ll try harder next week, but you chatters are voracious, and there are a ton of unanswered ones every week.


 

Ben is a writer at FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.



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