Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.


Jason: Why are the crowdsourced projections getting more pesimistic even as it’s becoming more and more clear that there will be an attempt at a season?


Craig Edwards: It’s possible that the polls were due for some form of correction. Seventy percent is a pretty high number. There’s also the fact that these are done at one time every two weeks and whatever is dominating the news at that point is going to have an outsized influence on the results. If labor strife was in the news at the time, it is going to lower confidence. There’s also the general issue of necessary testing that still isn’t there yet. People at the end of March see the end of June as along way off and plenty of time to get testing up and running. Fast forward a month without any major progress and late June gets closer.


Curtis: How fitting would it be for Trout to finally be the batting or home run champ in an *asterisk season?


Craig Edwards: His highest finish in homer is second-place to Jorge Soler and that does feel a little weird. Maybe he’ll just go ahead and win the triple crown this year.


twinkietown: If the season isn’t played at all this year, what do you think the Twins will do with Nelson Cruz. Should they sign him another year (when his production will definitely be in question and he’ll probably demand a lot of money) or let him walk?


Craig Edwards: Without a season, it’s really difficult to know how the older players are going to do with a year off. That said, another one-year deal at a fairly similar rate wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. The Twins should have a decent amount of payroll room, though they might need to use it on the rotation rather than a DH. I wrote a little about every team’s potential 2021 payroll here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/projecting-team-payrolls-for-the-2021-seas…


Laura: What do you think about the realigned divisions proposed for when baseball is to start again?


Craig Edwards: I’m fine with it if that’s what they need to do to make baseball happen. Cubs-White Sox, Giants-A’s, Astros-Rangers, Angels-Dodgers make for some interesting matchups that we usually see for just a few games a year.  Plus Dodgers-Astros in the same division adds a bit of intrigue. It looked to be a decent mix competitively overall, so there isn’t much to complain about.


Carl: What does the cancellation of MLB’s summer showcase mean for the prep players in the 2021 draft?


Craig Edwards: That depends on how things shape up six months from now. There might be opportunities for some winter showcases. Otherwise, teams might be reluctant to go big on bonuses for players they don’t have ton of info on. Scouting in the northern part of the country could prove very difficult. There will still be fewer rounds in 2021 as well, which could impact the later-round higher bonus guys that usually go then.


wambsgans: You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking a few Craigs.


Craig Edwards: I watched season one of succession, but didn’t start season two. The first season was interesting, but it really wasn’t compelling enough to make time for the second season for me.


Jonathan: Is there any reason to use OPS+ vs wRC+?


Craig Edwards: I’m obviously biased, but I prefer wRC+.


Guest: Are you becoming a Zoom-bie? These conference calls are getting old and my ability to concentrate is waning.


Craig Edwards: Here at FanGraphs, we don’t normally see each other and our staff meetings are on the phone so that hasn’t really changed much. I


Craig Edwards: I have done a few zoom meetings socially, but haven’t really done it enough to form an opinion.


Jonathan: Why is OPS+ so commonly used though? It seems like there is no advantage. And if you’re using a + stat, I’d imagine you’d be familiar with wRC.


Craig Edwards: OPS+ is found at baseball-reference, which also uses OPS, so people who are more familiar with that site or OPS as a stat would likely feel more comfortable using it.


tootblan: Silver-lining shower thought: this pandemic and decreased revenue will be good for minor leaguers and we’ll see a lot more reliance on farm systems starting next year


Craig Edwards: That’s an interesting thought, but I’m not quite sure about that. Teams being more reliant on the farm system usually just means spending less on veterans, but it isn’t like the veterans don’t end up somewhere if they are quality major leaguers. They just end up cheaper.


Craig Edwards: It’s also going to be difficult for teams to rely on minor leaguers if they haven’t gotten better without playing. Playing in the minor leagues is a huge part of development. We are familiar with players getting a year older and subsequently better in the minors, but I don’t know if we can assume that without playing. Most minor leaguers who make the majors are taking pretty huge leaps forward in terms of the talent level they are playing against as well as reaching the limits of their own talent.


DD: Easy solution to team control manipulation: team has X amount of control over player regardless of when they reach the majors. High school, college. age/international, could all have different amount of control.


Craig Edwards: Doesn’t that unfairly punish the stars who get to the majors quickly? Is there a level where it is low enough not to penalize stars but high enough to reward development? You might as well do it by age, but that’s tricky as well.


Craig Edwards: I proposed the following plan a year ago.

  • Players receive their first, and only first, year of service time after 90 days
  • Players receive half-service time for days spent on 50-man roster, but not in the majors
  • Rule 5 Eligibility moved up one year
  • 40-man roster increased to 50 players
  • Teams receive an extra option year

Craig Edwards: It’s obviously a little complicated, but most of the neater plans have issues that make implementation difficult for both the players and owners.


Vader: Thanks for the chat Craig! I know it changes daily, but what’s your best guess today as to when the season will open and how many games we’ll play.


Jimmy: Getting in shape, reading, practicing Spanish, creating a website… what else can I do before I return to work next month?


Craig Edwards: Seems like you have things covered. If possible, spend as much time as you can outside, maybe try some cooking.


Big Fan: How might teams get creative with a five or ten round draft?


Craig Edwards: There’s more risk in trying to get too creative because teams that got creative in year’s past generally could take a bunch of risks in later rounds to spend money on. There will be fewer options to spend savings on. A bunch of big second-round bonuses to try and get first round talent likely makes the most sense. With so few picks, I don’t think it makes much sense to punt many picks on 10k signings. Sticking with players who are worth the slots you are taking might end up being the best value play.


Tork: Who would you take top of the draft and why?


Craig Edwards: He has Spencer Torkelson and Austin Martin as roughly equivalent. Given their values relative to the rest of the class, I doubt you could go wrong picking one of those two.


Craig Edwards: I guess I should say a lot could go wrong with either of those picks, but in terms of the decision at the time, those are the best two options.


B: I’d like to thank you for answering 12 of my questions under different names


Craig Edwards: The queue the last month is a bit lighter than normal so it is a bit easier to get questions in.


Buddy: Using analytics, how do I recover from a break up over quarantine?


Craig Edwards: I don’t know why you would use analytics to recover from a breakup, but if you must, make a sad playlist with 10-15 songs, play it on random, count the number of times you listen to it. Remove songs when they no longer make you sad until you no longer have a playlist. Then you will be recovered using analytics.


Buddy: Will you make a formula for that?


Craig Edwards: No. You should. It will help with the breakup.


Andrew: Over the last week I’ve looked at a few other sites that charge monthly memberships, like Baseball America, for example, and their monthly charges are significantly higher than FanGraphs. There’s a D1 baseball site that charges $15/month, which is in line with BA. FanGraphs offers the most useful content of all, in my opinion. Would FG consider raising their membership prices, even if temporarily?


Craig Edwards: Those sites have a paywall and FanGraphs is still free for everyone. If people want to give more to FanGraphs than a membership (https://plus.fangraphs.com/product/fangraphs-membership/) they can in the form of going ad-free, gifting membership, or simply donating.


Craig Edwards: Anyway, the support everyone has shown for the site has been fantastic, and hopefully after we get through this, FanGraphs will still be around in roughly the same form that everyone knows and loves.


Craig Edwards: I have to get going, but thanks again for all the questions.


Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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