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Chat with MLBTR's Steve Adams: 4/11/23
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Steve Adams
Good morning all! I'm back and refreshed after a week off. Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and to chatting about the early stages of the 2023 season. We'll get going at 1pm now, but feel free to submit questions in advance.

As noted in today's Opener, you can also submit questions for our rebooted MLBTR podcast via email: I'm excited to have that project back up and running after several years and hope I won't be too terribly rusty in my return to the format, ha. Look for the next episode tomorrow!
Let's get underway!
Choose a Gray
Rank the Gray’s by your expectations of 2023 performance. Jon Josiah and Sonny
Steve Adams
Per-inning: Sonny, Jon, Josiah

But I'd probably rank expected workload in the opposite direction.

I still think Sonny, Jon, Josiah is my pick for overall value.
Stro Show
Thoughts on Stroman’s start? I don’t expect the K’s to stay at this level but can we expect a sub 3.5 ERA considering his ability to elicit grounders and the infield defense he has backing him?
Steve Adams
He has a 3.49 ERA over his past 805 MLB innings, so I don't see why a sub-3.50 would be out of the question. That's pretty much who he is.

He's throwing a few more sliders this year, so maybe that's reason to a buy a slight uptick in punchouts, but I agree, this level probably isn't sustainable, especially with his velocity slightly down (though that could just be an early-season thing).

I don't think you'd be crazy to pencil Stroman in for 160+ innings and an ERA of 3.40 or something.
Does if feel like there have been more injuries to key players this year?  Maybe it is my imagination.
Steve Adams
I think recency bias tends to create the perception that injuries are way up every year early in the season. We often forget a lot of the guys who started the prior season on the IL because they wind up pitching 140+ innings or playing 130+ games.
dbacks fan
How real is this Rays start to the season?
Steve Adams
It's "real" in the sense that they have a good roster -- it's not sustainable in the sense that they have like 7 guys with a 150 wRC+ or greater. The starts from Isaac Paredes, Jose Siri, Luke Raley and Josh Lowe are all awesome but look shaky for various reasons. Randy Arozarena is awesome, but he won't sustain THIS level of dominance, either.

I still think there's a decent chance they're looking for a big lefty bat this summer, but they're a good team with a deep pitching staff and a deep, versatile collection of position players.
Obviously Tampa Bay's going to come back down to Earth, but the 10-0 start has happened. It's in the books. They're overwhelmingly likely to make the postseason; they could play .500 ball the rest of the way and finish as an 86-win team, which is borderline playoff-bound right there in the 12-team format. (And I think they'll still play quite a bit better than .500 ball -- just saying for the purposes of illustrating the impact of their start)
Jason Hayward is off to a nice start. Do you think he stays with the Dodgers for the full season?
Steve Adams
I'm not going to declare he's fixed/back/whatever after 20 plate appearances, but it's encouraging and so long as he hits, he'll stay on the roster. Right now anyway, he's barreling the hell out of the ball, his chase rate his down, his contact rate is up -- it all looks good, but he probably had stretches of 20-50 PAs like this during his long run with the Cubs that were just overshadowed by general mediocrity, too.
When do you think the Cards will finally upgrade their pitching?
What are we going to do about the starting pitching?
Card in RI
What the hell is goin on in st. Louis? Its been disastorous to say the least
Steve Adams
Cardinals fans are (understandably) not pleased with the start of the season. In general, I'm not wildly concerned with Mikolas or Matz. They have terrible, small-sample ERAs but solid K-BB% and their velocity is in line with career norms. Both have a BABIP that's above or near .500. I think they'll be fine.
More concerned with Flaherty's walk rate, but he was kind of the wildcard of the group heading into the season anyway.

Broadly speaking, I think the group of Montgomery, Mikolas and Matz will be fine. Wainwright should be back before terribly long, and then you're really just looking at that final spot and hoping one of Flaherty, Liberatore or Graceffo can step up. I don't think either Woodford or Hudson misses enough bats to claim that spot for a long period, but they're options, too.

In general, those asking if the Cards will make a significant trade in April or May... no. Virtually no teams do this.
Brandon Marsh or Riley Greene? 12 team league
Steve Adams
Greene for me
do pirates trade for SS with Cruz out or do they stay in there minor system with what they have?⚾️
Steve Adams
They'll stay internal. It's not like they're expecting to compete this season anyhow, and they still expect Cruz back later in the year.
Twins fan
Is the next big Twins move to extend Pablo Lopez? They've got to make a big push at least surely? Make the most of the next 6 years with Buxton and Correa.
Steve Adams
I would be surprised if they haven't already looked into it to an extent, but I do agree it's a sensible place to look. This front office hasn't been big in general on making long-term commitments to pitchers, though they did make some offers to Jose Berrios and they offered nine figures to both Wheeler and Darvish in free agency so it's not out of the question they'd sign Lopez to a longer-term pact.
Adell or Cards' O'Neill = realistic targets for Red Sox with Duvall down for months? What would it take to land one of these? Or is it time to just move Kike back to CF (he looks awful with 5! Es already) and get someone like Iglesias?
Steve Adams
I don't think a major trade is a realistic pursuit this time of year. They've got Hernandez, they can play Refsnyder/Tapia out there, Duran is playing OK down in AAA. Duvall was never going to sustain anything close to his hot start anyhow, though the gains in his K% and contact rate were admittedly encouraging.
Seth Lugone
Seth Lugo recently said he had interest from 6-8 teams (or so) to be a starter. Sorta hindsight here, but perhaps the Mets should have entertained that given their offseason starter needs. I recognize it’s also possible that Lugo had been down that road too many times and couldn’t trust the Mets to keep him out of the pen, even if they had said they would.
Steve Adams
The Mets didn't have the rotation spot to promise him in the offseason. They added Verlander, Quintana and Senga to Scherzer and Carrasco. If you want to argue they should've re-signed Lugo over Quintana, that feels pretty heavily influenced by hindsight. Quintana was legitimately very good last year, and Lugo hasn't pitched more than 65 innings in a season since 2019 or more than 80 since 2018. He's had two nice starts, but I have a hard time seeing him just seamlessly jump to 160+ innings.
What would a mock orioles trade for Burnes look like?
Steve Adams
I just don't love the fit because I don't think the Orioles are concrete postseason contenders this season, don't think Burnes would sign an extension (there or elsewhere), and don't think they want to give up the massive haul of talent he'd require to basically get him for a shot a push in 2024.

Also, the Brewers are 7-3 and I picked them to win the NL Central, so I just don't think they're trading him this summer.
If the White Sox fall out of contention, who could you see them dealing at the deadline?
Steve Adams
Giolito, Clevinger, Lynn, Reynaldo Lopez, Kendall Graveman, Jake Diekman
Try to find a taker for Grandal probably
Teams might try on Anderson (assuming he's healthy), but I don't think the Sox would go into a full tear-down and they have a cheap option on him for '24, so a bit of a tougher sell there. The guys I listed are mostly rentals.
Add Joe Kelly in there, if he's healthy
Patrick Bateman
Dodgers find a good one in Outman or this just a hot streak?
Steve Adams
It can be both! Outman's hammering the ball when he makes contact right now, and his raw power's never really been in question. But he's not going to have 40% of his balls in play land for hits and 50% of his fly-balls turn into homers over the course of the season.

He's striking out less than I expected, which is encouraging, but we're looking at a small sample and it's still an ugly 30.8%.

His contact rate on pitches off the plate is atrocious, but he's also chasing off the plate at a pretty low level.

Outman feels like a guy who's going to have some pretty ugly stretches and some pretty amazing stretches, and the end-of-year numbers will balance out into something that looks pretty decent. He's been better than I expected to so far, but again, we're looking at like 11 games, so I wouldn't get carried away.
For what it's worth, I've got him in multiple fantasy leagues and am not actively trying to sell high, ha, so take that for what it is. He's not THIS good of course, but consider me intrigued.
Other than the Rays, 10 of the 15 AL teams have between 4-6 losses so far, so I don't understand all of the negativity about the White Sox. So glass half-full: Do you move a couple of their better minor league guys (Montgomery, for example) to rent an arm or two for the second half? Particularly if you sense the window is closing on this team and you don't want to do full rebuild...
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