Craig Edwards: Light queue so far so we’ll get things rolling in a second.


Craig Edwards: And just because it is both relevant (because MLB and MilB are negotiating) and not (COVID-19) has vastly changed the landscape in the minors, I’ll do one more plug for my series on the minors v. majors. Here’s the third part with the first two linked in the piece. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/untangling-a-minor-league-mess-part-iii/


Tom G: Is there a good resource to explain the numbers (e.g. why multiplying HR’s by 13) in FIP? I looked in the glossary and a few other places and could not find anything. Thanks!


Sam: What do you think the minimum number of games MLB would need to be able to play before they’d cancel the season?


Craig Edwards: 25? I think if they could get a month in October in Arizona followed by playoffs in November, they would do it. It wouldn’t even surprise me if they went straight to a tournament if it got late in the year and they got the go-ahead for games.


Guest: I just don’t see how it is morally okay for MLB to consume hundreds of thousands of tests when those tests could save thousands of lives. Is there a different argument I’m missing?


Craig Edwards: The entire system is based on widespread testing availability. They won’t be able to start if they are taking away all those tests from those who need them more. I don’t have the link handy, but in Germany, they are trying to get their Bundisliega season started back up in early May. Germany currently produces 640,000 tests per week and soccer needs only 30,000-40,000 of those. We need to get similar numbers in the US so that the tests MLB would need wouldn’t be making a huge impact on testing availability for the rest of the population.


Jeff: O/U on taxpayer dollars spent on new stadiums after the COVID shutdown…$3 billion?


Craig Edwards: Depends on the time period we are talking about and just how stretched municipal budgets are in the next few years. It’s been a bit harder in recent years to get that stadium funding as Oakland and Tampa Bay have needed new stadiums for like a decade but haven’t been able to work it out and other cities have been as generous as potential expansion sites as we’ve seen in the past. Arizona is also having a tough time getting more stadium money. The Braves decided to move to Cobb County after Atlanta spent their public stadium funds on other teams, but the team still got the money. The Rangers just got a bunch of money for their stadium so it does happen, but if we are talking say, through 2024, I think I go under on $3 million. Add another half-decade and probably goes over. All of that aside, it is a bad use of taxpayer money to build stadiums, and most of the time, those stadiums are a good investment from the team even if they have to pay for them.


Gavelin the Javelin: Hey Craig! Been thinking about expansion lately. Do you think that it’s more urgent with revenue lost this year? And what cities do you think land a team?


Craig Edwards: As for cities, I think all the usual suspects: Montreal, Portland, Charlotte, Nashville, a third New York team and a third Texas team would be fine as well. I’d love to see some pretty aggressive expansion over the next decade. The talent pool could easily support it and it would help generate a new generation of baseball fans in areas without as much current coverage.


JK: Do you have any insight into Giants’ new signing Javier Alexander Francisco?


Craig Edwards: I do not, but Eric chats on Fridays and he might be a bette resource.


Craig Edwards: It turns out the belt was a pretty bad PR disaster so they stopped awarding it.


BLT: What’s actually in place to stop someone from using in game footage to decode signs?  Will the league require that the replay reviewer be segregated from any other function?  Seems like it’s bound to happen again (even if by accident)


Craig Edwards: They could make the replay review phone’s placement very obvious and just always have a camera on it. It should be pretty obvious. The other option is to put a league employee with the replay reviewer. There are other options, including getting rid of replay, but the two things that make the most sense are requiring manager challenges without the assistance of a replay review person or to just add an umpire in charge of deciding if a play should be reviewed or a combo of the last two things.


Craig Edwards: The last one would be like college football with challenges plus booth review. It is weird that MLB started from scratch very recently on this and this is what they came up with as it is more convoluted and time consuming.


Jeff: Any teams considering doing what the Falcons did after they got a stadium and dropping concessions from lolwtfwhobuysthis to merely high?


Craig Edwards: If they thought it would make them more money, they’d probably do it.


Jason: Is it bad that as a Mariners fan I am vehemently against Portland baseball because that team will end up making the playoffs and/or winning a world series before the M’s do?


Craig Edwards: It is not bad, but I think that your sentiments show exactly why you are wrong. I think that in the end, you would get more out of fandom having a big rival, particularly one relatively close. It would certainly hurt to see them succeed, but that’s part of the fun of fandom.


Craig Edwards: Another quick plug and thank you. Please consider supporting the site with a Membership, or going ad-free (which makes the site run really quickly) if you enjoy what FanGraphs has to offer and want to make sure it continues, we appreciate it. There’s also merchandise, if that’s your thing. https://plus.fangraphs.com/product/fangraphs-membership/


Jeff: Once the NCAA is the dominant minor league for baseball, sometime early this decade, what recourse do young players really have?


Craig Edwards: It’s going to take a while before everything gets figured out. Even with the reductions in minor league teams and draft rounds, we’ll still have a somewhat similar system. Unfortunately, a lot more players will fall through the cracks, players who might have contributed in the majors or even become stars who won’t have an opportunity to pursue a professional career.


Craig Edwards: I think there will still be incentives for teams to draft high school players, and perhaps moreso with fewer rounds and teams and potentially more focus on development at complexes.


Craig Edwards: Teams that pride themselves on development and embracing technology would seemingly be at odds with reducing the number of minor leaguers as those extra players might better themselves with more professional help that MLB teams can provide. It’s an unfortunate situation that potentially affects the entire sport.


Sam: Do you think minor league contraction could lead to more prospects taking the Carter Stewart approach and going overseas to play?


Craig Edwards: I’m not sure about that. Stewart was fairly unique case as a high draft pick who had his bonus offer reduced. The number of players who are going to get significantly better offers to play in Japan or elsewhere is probably limited. The contraction is just going to end a lot of players’ careers before they start and force out a bunch of players earlier in their minor league career than they would have otherwise.


Laura: How is COVID-19 affecting the minor league system?


Craig Edwards: The contract between MLB and MiLB is up at the end of this year and COVID-19 has essentially put a stop to the minor league season and making it unlikely they play at all. There’s not tv revenue to provide a reason to play in front of empty stadiums. That ensures that all minor league teams are hurting financially right now and gives MLB more power in their negotiations to contract teams as many teams aren’t going to be able to survive the season, regardless. As a result, MLB seems likely able to force the contraction plan it wanted and further consolidate and ownership and power to the major league teams at the expense of the rest of the minor league owners.


Don Juan: Do you think Corona beer needs to change its name?


Craig Edwards: I guess if people stopped buying it, then I suppose they would. It’s not Corona’s fault the virus is awful, but if they can’t sell it, they will have to do something.


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


Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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