Chat with David Schoenfield
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com's SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield stops by to chat some baseball.
Schoenfield is a senior writer for ESPN.com and he's been with ESPN.com since 1995 and has served in a variety of roles, including baseball editor, Page 2 senior editor and writer, and even interim soccer editor. He grew up in Seattle rooting for the Mariners, believes Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame and had no issues with Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young Award despite a 13-12 record.
Send your questions now and join Schoenfield Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
David Schoenfield (1:03 PM)
Let's get going ...
Can you please explain to me why after only 19 games that the Yankees have played you published an article asking if they were the best offensive team in mlb history? Whatever team currently is the best Offensive team in mlb history did so in a complete season of 162 games how can you even judge this after only 19 games? sure they have 36 homers or whatever but again only 19 games
David Schoenfield (1:04 PM)
I was merely pointing out that there were off to a great start. It's no different than saying Jered Weaver is pitching great and Matt Kemp is hitting great. Under your theory, why write anything until June?Will the Yankees likely keep up this pace? Probably not, but it's FUN to point how good they've been so far (last night excluded).
Mike (Los Angeles, CA)
The Red Sox: Awesome, super-awesome, or most super-awesomest?
David Schoenfield (1:06 PM)
Haha ... it's amazing how sensitive Red Sox fans still are about the Yankees. A week ago, Red Sox fans -- and I see a lot of them in the office here at ESPN -- where whining and crying and complaining about their team. A few wins and suddenly they're not so depressed anymore.
Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)
IF you had to name the 3 best managers in all of MLB- who be on your short list?
David Schoenfield (1:08 PM)
Hmm ... good question. I'd probably go Bruce Bochy (his handling of several multi-position platoons last year was excellent), Francona (never seems to make a questionable move, although he obviously has has had a lot of talent to work with) and Joe Maddon.
Dennis (San Diego)
Dave, Good job picking up where Rob left off on the blog. Also enjoying your appearances on the Baseball Today podcast. My question is this: is the Giants defense as bad as it seems this year? And who do you think is playing SS for them in August?
David Schoenfield (1:10 PM)
From FanGraphs, the Giants have the third-worst UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) in the majors so your perception may be correct. Huff and Burrell graded out OK last year and Andres Torres graded out like Willie Mays, so some regression was due, but I don't think the Giants the defense to be THIS bad.Jose Reyes?
Why dont the Yankees try Andruw Jones more? Its not like all their outfielders are doing great, ecspeacially Gardner!!!
David Schoenfield (1:12 PM)
Maybe because he isn't any good? He's hit .212 with a .714 OPS the last four seasons. A spot start here and there against a lefty pitcher seems about right.
David Schoenfield (1:12 PM)
Question to readers: Who do you like as the best three managers? (And why.)
Jose Bautista, best player so far this year?
David Schoenfield (1:14 PM)
Among position players, I think so. He leads FanGraphs in WAR, ahead of Votto and Tulo. Just scary good at the plate right now. I mentioned yesterday that he has more walks than games played ... only a select few have done that over a season, guys like Bonds, Ruth, Williams and Mantle.
You still sticking with your guns and taking the Red Sox, White Sox, Rangers, and A's? Or are you going to go with the Yankees now that they're neck and neck with the '27 Yanks for best offense ever?
David Schoenfield (1:15 PM)
I'll stick with my picks for now. No need to panic ... you know, unlike Red Sox fans. Before last night, Yanks rotation had the worst ERA in the AL, so I still have questions about their pitching.
Mariners: Terrible, really terrible, worst team ever since last year?
David Schoenfield (1:17 PM)
I have nothing to add. They are wretched, unless Felix or Pineda is pitching, and even then the other nine guys are wretched. My colleague Jim Caple reports that even Ichiro has looked shaky in the field this season.
You're not much of a generalizer are you, David? "it's amazing how sensitive Red Sox fans are". You're sensitive! Oh, I got you good!
David Schoenfield (1:18 PM)
I just get a good laugh about it. And Phillies fans weren't upset when I picked them to not make the playoffs. They didn't get upset at all. No, sir.
David, We keep hearing about the Royal's position players who are coming up through the minors but what about the pitching? They still need to get someone out unless they plan on playing in a lot of 9-8 games.
David Schoenfield (1:20 PM)
They have some highly rated pitchers as well -- Mike Montgomery was 28th and John Lamb 41st on Keith Law's preseason top 100 prospects list. They have another high pick this June and most of the top prospects are pitchers, so they'll be adding another good prospect.
As far as your question of "can the Yankees keep up the HR hitting", I'd like to point out that I could hit a homerun at Yankee Stadium, and I'm only a singles hitter.
Despite the hot start, what are the chances the Red Sox outscore the Yankees by seasons end?
David Schoenfield (1:22 PM)
Very likely, I think. Again -- it's early, and with Jeter and Gardner struggling and Martin and Granderson hitting well, I expect some regression from the Yankees. The Red Sox really don't have any holes other than C, especially with Lowrie hitting well. Crawford and Gonzalez will hit and the Sox will end up scoring a ton of runs. That's why I'll stick with them winning the East.
Haha it's amazing how the same could be said about the Yankee fans being just as sensitive when it comes to the Red Sox. Do you think right now they aren't scared knowing the Sox are playing great ball which they were expected to? I can appreciate the fact your a Yankee fan and it shows but don't sit here and imply thaat we as fans were giving up on our team cause we never give up as real fans.
David Schoenfield (1:24 PM)
I'm not a Yankee fan. And did I imply Red Sox fans give up on their team? No. Red Sox fans are clearly very passionate about their club.
Ok, so I think you've been giving Sox fans a hard time here for no reason. First off all, true sox fans were never THAT worried. Secondly, after everyone was raving about our offseason, including all 43 ESPN writers in that preseason poll, dont you think we had the right to be a bit worried when we started that way? Come on man, give us a break.
John (Northern Virginia)
As a die-hard Phillies fan, I can say with absolute authority. There is no fan more sensitive than a Philly fan. No matter the sport. But... there is no set of fans that cares more either. So, you take the good with the not-so-good.
Joe Maddon? One of the three best managers? Oh, yeah...I remember the media shoving his "quirky" brilliance down my throat durting the 2008 WS that they won...oh, wait...Meanwhile, Ol' Charlie Manuel (who did his usual underrespected, underappreciated job of taking a team with 6 of thier 8 regulars on the DL last year to the best record in the majors in 2010) doesn't even merit a blip in "best manager" discussions - does he?Maybe he should wear COOL glasses like Maddon. Make him look smarter.
David Schoenfield (1:27 PM)
I like Charlie ... I think he's a terrific manager. The players seems to love playing for him. I think he's done some questions things -- leaving Utley/Howard hitting back-to-back, which allows opposing managers to bring in a lefty killer without repercussions, the year he stuck with Lidge as his closer (2009) despite him having maybe the worst closer season ever (which came to bit him in the World Series). So, Charlie's one of the best ... but not in my top three.
Mike W (Chicago)
I'm adding Dusty Baker to your best managers. 250 wins with 3 teams and what he's done with this young Reds team is amazing. They slumped through a week of hitting around .200 so he shuffled the lineup and they put up 9 runs. I'm not a Dusty fan but he's impressed me.
Take on the Cardinals success? Are they able to hold of the Teds and Brewers?
David Schoenfield (1:31 PM)
Cards lead the NL right now in average, OBP and slugging. Offense has been terrific and Pujols hasn't even heated up. With so many teams struggling to score runs, that foursome of Rasmus/Pujols/Holliday/Berkman looks like it could carry the team a long ways. I have my doubts on McClellan and Lohse remaining productive for 30 starts, but I think it's a three-team race in the Central. Should be back-and-forth all season.
Lets put Ozzie somewhere in the top 5. Not only is he pretty good at what he does but he is WILDLY entertaining. Love that guy.
Dennis (San Diego)
As a Giants fan, I have an argument with your "best manager" pick - Bruce Bochy does NOT belong on that list. Yes, his moves seemed charmed in the playoffs last year, but if not for him they might have won their division by 5 games, rather than going down to the minors. Posey at 1B (basically playing Molina over Huff/Burrell)? His bullpen usage was often just silly. As a fan, he drives me insane. Even some of his charmed postseason moves weren't good decisions, they just happened to work out....
David Schoenfield (1:34 PM)
Well, the bullpen was wildly productive last season ... second-best bullpen ERA in the majors, so he was doing something right. As for Posey, I can't disagree, although clearly the front office made the decision to send Posey down to the minors. But Bochy did spend a year hitting Molina cleanup and you're right in that everything last postseason worked perfectly.
Say Jim Thome reaches 600 HRs. Does he receive the same treatment as other players in this era when it comes to HOF voting? Do you think it will be hard for any large framed player (i.e. I think someone like Maddux or Pedro or Biggio get a pass) to get in from this era?
David Schoenfield (1:36 PM)
So far, it seems only the players stained by positive tests or rumors or speculation are being affected (or will be affected). Thome, despite the large frame, hasn't been tied to PEDs and is very will-liked by the media, so I don't think he'll face the same hurdles as McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Bonds, Manny, etc.
Jim Caple (Seattle)
What possible reason other than increasing revenues is there for expanding the playoffs? We had just four team 18 years ago. Do we really need 10 now to make it "fair"?
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
Well, Jim ... what's wrong with increasing revenue? Shouldn't every business attempt to increase revenue? I would add that baseball's biggest question about the playoffs: Does it want to crown the best team or create a more exciting postseason? The best teams from each league haven't met in the World Series since the Yankees and Braves in 1999, so that's no longer an issue. So the question is whether more teams will make the playoffs more exciting/interesting. I don't really know the answer to that.
Mike (Morristown, NJ)
Why is it that MLB was so quick to take over the Dodgers, but hasn't even commented on the Mets financial situation?
David Schoenfield (1:40 PM)
I think that's the big question. I speculate that MLB got very angry when McCourt took out a $30 PERSONAL loan from Fox to meet payroll a couple weeks ago.
Is Alex Gordon for real? I want to believe it (for his sake) but I suspect that it's just a mirage. Any reason for hope?
David Schoenfield (1:41 PM)
I hope he's for real. His strikeout rate is still high and he's not walking much but he has 10 doubles (only one HR), so maybe he's cut down on his swing a bit, not always swinging for the fences. But most likely it's a bit of a mirage, fueled by a fluky BABIP.
Three best post-game media friendly managers:Ozzie--- just plain crazy, and that's fun.Charlie Manuel--- throwback baseball-speak mixed with southern mumbo-jumbo that oddly makes sense.Maddon--- cuz he gives the oddest quotes that make you chuckle and scratch your head at the same time.
Hodgie (Calgary, Alberta)
Any Sox fan saying "real" Sox fans don't quit on their team obviously has never spent any time at SoSH. Sox fans can quit on their team from pitch to pitch!
Why does a starting pitcher not get credit for a win until he pitches at least 5 innings, but a relief pitcher can throw one pitch for one out and get the credit?
David Schoenfield (1:43 PM)
It's in the rulebook and nobody seems inclined to want to change. It worked back in 1906 when pitchers completed pretty much every game they started, but not so much now.
Lidge in '09 is a GREAT example of Manuel's value as a manager...it would have been easy to bury Lidge, but he didn't - and he got 3 big saves (and no blown saves) to GET to the WS (and Lidge's blown save in the WS was far from the only reason why they didn't beat the Yanks). Manuel will never get the respect of saberheads who do EVERYTHING by the book (lke Showwalter, LaRussa and the other "geniuses" who would never bat two lefties back to back), but skills like "managing players" over a 162 game season are always underappreciated, which is why Manuel will never be given the respect that he should get.
I don't know how you do it David. Somebody asks your opinion, you give your opinion, and then everybody piles on you. You must have thick skin. Keep up the good work!
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
Anthony Rizzo is destroying PCL pitching with 7 HR, 26 RBI's, a 432 avg and a 1.291 OPS---at 21. Also, he missed a year of ball due to Hodgkins. I get the small sample, but is he going to be a legit 30-35 hr guy? How does the PCL compare to the Intl League?
David Schoenfield (1:46 PM)
That's more a question for Keith Law. (I don't think he's projected for that kind of power, especially in San Diego.) But don't the Padres need to call him up? Brad Hawpe is one gawdawful player right now.
No TLR??? No one get more out of his team!!!
I hate the Wild Card, but I love the idea of a one-game Wild Card playoff. I think it makes good teams less likely to hedge their bets when compiling a roster, but it also makes mediocre teams less likely to give up in the middle of a season.
What do the Braves need to do to right the ship? The starting pitching has been solid but the bullpen, with overpriced veterans like George Sherrill and Scott Linebrink, has been a dud. Should they bring up some of their solid young minor league pitchers and put them in the bullpen (Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Stephen Marek)? Or is the spotty offense more of a problem?
David Schoenfield (1:51 PM)
I'm not worried about the Braves just yet. Nobody is really off to a great start (other than Venters/Kimbrel) and several guys (most notably Uggla) are underperforming. Middle relief is the easiest thing to shore up in-season and like you mention they have some good arms in the minors they could use down there. It will be interesting to see if Teheran gets called up this year, but I would think they'll be pretty careful and have him a strict innings limit.
Sosa hasn't faced any hurdles with PEDs. He never failed a drug test. The other 4 names you mentioned are all known users. No admittance, no positive tests.
David Schoenfield (1:52 PM)
Right ... unfortunately, "rumors" are going to come into play with Sosa.
IS AROD BACK TO BEING AWESOME? (YOU CAN TELL I'M FROM NEW YORK BECAUSE I ONLY USE CAPS)
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
HE'S BEEN AWESOME SO FAR, THAT'S FOR SURE. AWESOME WALK/STRIKEOUT RATIO. I'M TYPING IN ALL CAPS TOO -- SO THAT MUST MEAN I LOVE THE YANKEES AND HATE THE OTHER 29 TEAMS.
Paul (SF, CA)
But we KNOW that Sosa did roids, just like we KNOW that Thome did not. You can tell just by looking at them and reading second and third hand reporting/innuendo.
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
Exactly. That's why personally I don't care. If I had a vote, I'd vote on the merit of their numbers.
What economic benefit do major league teams get in keepng a rookie like Desmond Jennings in the minors until June? I think it is related to the start of future arbitration eligibility. Not sure of the specifics though.
David Schoenfield (1:56 PM)
Right, two issues: (1) You can delay arbitration by one season -- basically, a certain percentage of two-year players, called Super Twos, are eligible. So if you wait long enough, he won't be eligible. (2) You can delay free agency. If a player has six seasons of major league service time, he's a free agent. So you basically get an extra season if you wait a few weeks to call him up.
Bill (Wakefield, MA)
When will a college or even online university offer a master's degree or a certificate program in sabermetrics? Would you enroll and make ESPN pay for it?
David Schoenfield (1:57 PM)
What makes you think I don't understand sabermetrics? Because I don't write much about xFIP or WAR or other stuff that 90 percent of a general interest audience doesn't care about?
What is going on with Carlos Gonzalez?
David Schoenfield (1:58 PM)
Good question -- you probably now better than I do. I didn't expect him to repeat last season, but I still expected big results.
Jason (Nashville, TN)
Do you think the Braves would put Teheran in the bullpen if they called him up? If not, who would he push out of the rotation?
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
I think they'd use him in the bullpen, barring desperation like a run of injuries.
Thought for top 3 Manager ... Gardenhire ... managed through lots of injuries and keeps bringing the Twins home at the top of the Central.
Would Bobby Cox make your top 3 if he didn't retire?
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
Saw your bit of the Phils offense earlier this week...the Phils had scored the second most runs in the NL last year with lots of injury issues. Assuming Utley comes back healthy (huge assumption), their offense should be just fine, but you seem to think they're not going to improve much at all. Did losing Werth really make that much of a difference?
David Schoenfield (2:01 PM)
Losing Werth, decline from Ruiz and Ibanez ... they're middle of the road right now in NL, which is kind of what I expected, but with the chance to bump up of Utley returns strong.
Mike (San Diego)
I was just about to ask you about Hawpe's abysmalness (sure, I'll use made up words). Even AFTER his 2 for 5 night last night, his OPS+ so far this season is -6. -6!!! Also, his WAR is -0.8 meaning that a team full of Brad Hawpes would be winless this year. Super. Can we just call it OPS negative for him? Good grief. Rant over.
If Cholly is so great, then why does he keep batting Rollins 3rd and Ibanez 5th? Ok, so he doesn't have a lot of choices right now, but why not start juggling it a bit more? Because this sure ain't working... and this is the kind of situation 'great managers' tend to work to their advantage.
A lot of local media says he's trying to pull the ball, swinging very early and not using the whole field, just wanted your take.Thanks David
David Schoenfield (2:04 PM)
Thanks, Ryan. I watch a lot of baseball, but it's difficult to make individual assessment on hitters without seeing a large percentage of their at-bats. It's still early, so hopefully it's just a little slump. But I always worry about guys with poor strike-zone judgment and pitchers figuring out their weaknesses.
Brad Hawpe (via mobile)
*crossing Mike from San Diego off Christmas card list*
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
Worse offense: Mariners or Padres?
David Schoenfield (2:06 PM)
May 20-22: Mariners at Padres .. the series nobody wants to watch. Padres are scoring fewer than three runs per game (no team has done that since 1972). But they have a tough park and no DH. I may still give the edge to Seattle.
Mike S (CT)
"I think it makes good teams less likely to hedge their bets when compiling a roster, but it also makes mediocre teams less likely to give up in the middle of a season."Because it's so much better for more mediocre teams to be in the postseason and have a chance to win the World Series... In 2001, the Athletics were the AL Wild Card with 102 wins and held the league's #2 record. Under the proposed changes, they would have had to face a Twins club that was 17 games worse over the course of the season. Yeah, a one-game playoff seems pretty fair.
David Schoenfield (2:08 PM)
Right, that's the problem I have with a one-game playoff. Or imagine a scenario where the Yankees used CC, Burnett, etc. in the final series and lose the division to the Red Sox despite 97 wins and have to face, say, an 83-win Seattle team (I can dream!) with Ivan Nova versus Felix Hernandez in a one-game playoff.
Mike (San Diego)
Not sure if anyone has been to Petco, but there is a mini-field where little kids can play that's at the "Park in the Park" behind the outfield. I think they should move the M's-Pads series to that field or else they might combine for 3 runs that weekend.
Bob (Fort Lauderdale)
No love for the Marlins?
David Schoenfield (2:09 PM)
First Marlins question! I like the Marlins ... playing well despite bad starts from Volstad, Vazquez and Hanley. Very dangerous team.
How do you even judge best manager? It seems the actual impact on the W column is pretty negligible I think you can be TERRIBLE but I'd guess everyone else is in the same ballpark. Isn't a 4th OF just as valuable?
David Schoenfield (2:12 PM)
Generally speaking, I think you're right. Back in the old days -- and I mean even 20 years ago -- a vital skill for a manager was assessing his talent, knowing who to play (a young guy or a vet, for example). Guys like Earl Weaver and Davey Johnson were masters at this. But now the roster are pretty much decided by the front office, nobody carries much of a bench, everybody uses a five-man rotation with seven or eight relievers and they all manage the bullpen the same way. So a manager doesn't really do all that much other than manage the egos and the media.
Mike Scoissia is the only manager to significantly trump pythagrium every year (minus last) over the course of the decade. He needs to be in the top 3.
Mike (San Diego)
Just so you know, Dave and readers, I actually LIKE the Padres, although it might not seem like it.
You haven't mentioned the Twins much Dave. So since you haven't mentioned my team I assume you hate Minnesota and since MN is mostly Scandanavians I can assume you pretty much hate Europe as a whole. So what the hell man? Whose side were you even on in WWII?
David Schoenfield (2:15 PM)
Good ending! Thanks, everyone. Great questions and comments this week ... even from Red Sox fans. (JUST KIDDING! I love Sox fans and their passion.) We'll be back next week.
David Schoenfield (2:15 PM)
And thanks for reading the blog. I appreciate all the feedback on that. Enjoy the games tonight!