Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 18, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield
  (1:20 PM)

Sorry .. I'll be here at 1:30 ET

David Schoenfield
  (1:28 PM)

Apologies for the delay. Was working on something and lost track of time.

dc (dc)

So, the O's?

David Schoenfield
  (1:29 PM)

I think they're going to make it. They survived that Yankees/Rays/A's gauntlet and now get the Mariners, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Red Sox before finishing up in Tampa. Only question: Will it be a division title or wild card?

Dan (LA)

Hey David, I just bought tickets to the theoretical 1st ALDS Angels home game. Did I just waste $5 on that processing charge?

David Schoenfield
  (1:30 PM)

I'm going with yes.

Alex (OH)

Do you think the Reds starters are running out of gas? This whole not missing a start thing for all five of them could come back to bite them perhaps?

David Schoenfield
  (1:32 PM)

History says September record doesn't mean a whole lot. They haven't been overworked (nobody has pitched 200 innings yet, although Cueto will get there), so I don't think that should be an issue/blame. Not too worried, although you'd certainly like to see Cueto get a good start or two in before the playoffs.

eric (miami)

Do you see the Braves winning their one game wild card game whether its against the Cardinals or Dodgers?

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

With Medlen likely going, I think they'd be the favorite. But anything can happen, of course, and if you're facing a Clayton Kershaw, it's not much more than 50/50. But the Braves are the best team of the three.

Jim (Brooklyn)

The Rays should move to brooklyn. It really only doesnt make sense because of territory rights, but honestly, how great would a queens vs bronx vs brooklyn rivalry be? how about a new brooklyn team being rivals with the dodgers and giants as well.its a win/win for baseball.

David Schoenfield
  (1:33 PM)

New York SHOULD have a third team. More likely in New Jersey, but the size of the metro area would support a third team better than Tampa does.

Alex (Anaheim)

Would you be worried about Sabathia heading into October?

David Schoenfield
  (1:35 PM)

A little, yes, since we know he's battled a couple minor injuries this year. He hasn't been terrible lately (3.93 ERA over five starts since returning from second DL stint) but not CC-like either.

Tarek (NYC)

Yankees vs A's one game Wildcard game. Who it be the revenge of the 2000-01 A's?

David Schoenfield
  (1:36 PM)

Just don't let Jeremy Giambi anywhere near the ballpark.

Adam (Toronto)

Is Kris Medlen legit? His changeup is devastating, but with a pitcher his size, is he ready to come back down to earth or can he be a top end starter going forward?

David Schoenfield
  (1:37 PM)

I don't see why not. Lincecum has been a successful starter despite his short stature. Baseball people will say they'll worry about injuries, but that's true for any pitcher. Not saying he'll be a Halladay-like workhorse, but I'd be comfortable leaving him in the rotation next year for 200 innings.

Zack (Catonsville, MD)

Why did they use head-to-head record to determine the location of the wild card game as opposed to better record? If every other playoff seeding is based on record, why not this one. Right now, it doesn't matter, but let's say the O's end up with a better record than the A's; they still have to go out to Oakland?

David Schoenfield
  (1:38 PM)

No, better record still hosts. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker if the teams finish with the same record.

Turner (Boise, ID)

Ok, as an M's fan, I can say I'm pretty happy with the results of this year. They did the one thing I hoped, letting the albatross of Ichiro move on to different pastures. The pitching looks great, especially the bullpen with power arms. Ackley has started to show signs of looking like the player he needs to be and Seager is a very pleasant surprise. What moves do you think they need to make during the offseason to help the momentum?

David Schoenfield
  (1:39 PM)

Another starter, especially if they don't sign Iwakuma. A first baseman. At least one corner outfielder with power and on-base skills.

ZK (London, England)

Touchy issue for sure, but what should happen to Yunel Escobar? Keith Law said on Twitter yesterday he'd support a ROS suspension but I think that might be going a bit far. Maybe five games and a fine?

David Schoenfield
  (1:42 PM)

I think the *Blue Jays* would be wise to suspend him for the rest of the season, even if MLB doesn't. Although I suppose the players' union would fight that. Major League Baseball is an entertainment product and you can't have one of your players insulting a percentage of your customers, even if his intent was (arguably) not to offend.

Biagio (HWarriors)

Why is everyone talking about RA Dickey for the NL Cy Young? I know he's a good story, but Gio Gonzalez has been the better pitcher, and he's pitching for a contender. I know that team wins don't necessarily mean you win the individual award, but when all things are equal, the player in the middle of the race should win. Gio is 19-8 with 196K in 186IP and he should win the NL CY YOUNG.

David Schoenfield
  (1:44 PM)

Dickey has more K's, 26 more innings, a lower WHIP and higher WAR. And he didn't get to pitch against the Mets. I'm not sure you can make a case for Gonzalez OVER Dickey. Cy Young has always been more of an individual award than MVP, where team record *does* come into play.

Jeremy (Mississippi)

Do think Mike Trout's season or Rickey Henderson's MVP season is the best ever by a leadoff hitter?

David Schoenfield
  (1:46 PM)

Great question. Rickey led AL that year in OPS and steals (65 for 75). 28 HRs. 119 runs (led league). Looks like Rickey's season as a hitter only was better, so I'll give him the edge. Factor in defense, and Trout maybe gets a very slight edge. And we could be missing somebody else ...

John (Cincinnati, OH)

When Moneyball came out, it seemed Billy Beane became overrated. Was he in fact underrated the whole time?

David Schoenfield
  (1:48 PM)

The thing a like to note is the A's have never hit rock bottom, so Beane never gets those very high draft picks that make it easier (in some regards) to re-load. He never had his shot to draft a David Price or Stephen Strasburg. So, yes, I still think he's one of the better GMs in the game.

Marty (Fairfield, CT)

Hi Dave. It doesnt seem like any team wants to grab that second NL wildcard. who's your pick? I've gotta think its the Cards with their track record of september/october success.

David Schoenfield
  (1:49 PM)

I'm stick sticking with the Cards as well. Next nine against Astros and Cubs. Finish with Nationals and Reds, but those teams may be resting some guys by then.

Aaron (Atlanta)

Question about the new playoff format: I understand the goal of rewarding the division winners and providing extra incentive of not having to play in the one-game playoff for the Wild Card. But even if you win the division, you have to play the first two Division series games on the road! It seems as though the new format punishes everyone. It punishes the Wild Card by putting them into a one-game crapshoot and it punishes the Division winner by sending them on the road to open the playoffs.

David Schoenfield
  (1:50 PM)

That 2-3 format is a one-year thing since they didn't decide on the extra wild card until after the postseason dates had already been scheduled. So they had to eliminate the extra travel day to squeeze in the extra game. Next year it will go back to 2-2-1.

Mike (San Diego)

Ichiro had a couple decent years as a leadoff hitter...

Rickey (Rickey's House)

Rickey thinks Rickey was the best, but kindly do not forget Ichiro or Freddy Lynn in the equation.

David Schoenfield
  (1:51 PM)

Ichiro didn't have the power of Rickey or Trout, so purely as a hitter, I'm not sure he's quite on their level. Lynn wasn't a leadoff hitter.

Brandon (RI)

If two players have identical WAR, one on a 100 win team, the other on a 60 win team, isn't the 60 win team player more valuable to his team?

David Schoenfield
  (1:53 PM)

I see what you're saying, but the quality of your teammates doesn't really affect your value. If you hit 40 home runs and the rest of your teammates hit 60 does that make it more valuable than a guy who hits 40 home runs and the rest of his teammates hit 100? No, it's still 40 home runs.

Christopher (TN)

Ever notice that baseball writers insist an MVP be from a contender, but then when it comes for the HOF ballot, they count up all the MVP votes as an accurate reflection of his individual talents?

David Schoenfield
  (1:55 PM)

What, inconsistency from the BBWAA? You mean like voting in Gaylord Perry (cheater) but not alleged steroids users?

Todd (Philly)

How much should Dickey's back to back one hitters account for his candidacy? I feel like that is when he turned into "the story" of the summer and it almost feels forgotten in some of the arguments for Cy Young...

David Schoenfield
  (1:56 PM)

Personally, if it's close between players, I do like to look at dominant performances. Not sure that he gets extra credit for them being back-to-back, but I'm OK with extra credit for the performances themselves.

Chris (KC)

I abhor the sorts of slurs that Escobar appears to be guilty of, but how can baseball justify suspending him? They didn't suspend Delmon Young for making criminal gay slurs. They didn't suspend Gordon Beckham for spelling out the words "Getz is Gay" in the infield dirt at US Cellular Field during a White Sox / Royals game last year.

David Schoenfield
  (1:58 PM)

Wasn't familiar with the Beckham incident. Interesting. Young's incident could be perceived as being different since it happened off the field. But I'm guessing it *will* be difficult for MLB to suspend him. Will the union risk the bad publicity if it fights this one? That's the question. In the end, maybe the Jays just send him home for the season (with pay).

ZK (London, England)

As a Liverpool Football Club fan - and also a Red Sox fan - I wonder if Fenway Sports Group's divided loyalties have contributed to Boston's downfall this year. Is there a case to be made that it's not all Bobby V and Ben Cherington? Could upper management have stopped the rot earlier when they were maybe focussing on things in England rather than in Boston?

David Schoenfield
  (2:01 PM)

Well, the baseball operations side isn't going to be involved with Liverpool, so I have hard time seeing where that could be issue. I could be wrong, of course, but once the team's budget is put in place, the money guys sort of stay out of the way.

Brandon (RI)

Dave, your thoughts on a RP for Cy Young? I get the impression Jayson Stark is trying to make a statement because his (good) idea of RP of the year award was dismissed.

David Schoenfield
  (2:03 PM)

I agree with Jayson that it's a good idea. Personally, I'm not a big believer in relievers for Cy -- they just don't pitch the innings that starters do. And their value is overrated. For example, as of a couple days, there had been just 95 games lost when a team led going into the ninth. That's an average of three per team. So most teams have closers that protect nearly every lead.

David Schoenfield
  (2:04 PM)

Now, Kimbrel has been so impressive/dominating that I'd probably consider him for a down-the-ballot slot if I had a vote.

Shawn (DC)

Despondent Tigers fan, though I should have seen this coming with all our flaws -- everything really did ned to go right for the Tigers to win. That being said, what happens now, does this team implode in the off season and is Leyland gone? If so, who replaces him?

David Schoenfield
  (2:07 PM)

Sad thing is: Cabrera, Fielder, Verlander and Jackson have been great. I saw this team as an 88-team before the season, so the results aren't really all that surprising. Not sure why Dombrowski couldn't see it coming. I don't think they blow it up. They need to find a shortstop and second basemen who can play defense and ... as Buster Olney hinted at the other day ... maybe they go after Josh Hamilton. How about a Hamilton/Cabrera/Fielder/Victor Martinez middle of the order?

Alex (DC)

justin verlander is 2 years away from free agency, do you think hell break the record for a pitchers contract when he hits it after 2014? 7 years/ 185 million?

David Schoenfield
  (2:07 PM)

Felix Hernandez hits free agency the same year. One of them will break it.

Tarek (NYC)

Rickey's 1985 was better than Trout's season this year (just going from Memory).

David Schoenfield
  (2:08 PM)

Good point, his 1985 may have been than his 1990 MVP season. 146 runs in 143 games that year. Wow.

brad (nj)

Can we finally stop with all the MVP/CY Young argument nonsense. MVP/Cy Young DOES NOT MATTER!! It is MEANINGLESS!!!! Yet fans go on and on get angry, fight, yell over a stupid award that means nothing. The only thing that matters is wins and losses and who wins the final game of the year, please end all this MVP talk, it is a waste of everyones time.....

Marty (Fairfield, CT)

Celebrating RPs is like giving a participation award. 'Thanks for playing! Sorry you weren't good enough to make the rotation!'

Andrew (Toronto)

As a Jays fan, I'd be for sending Escobar home, too. The slur makes him look foolish, and he's been calling off teammates on infield flies when they've been parked under the ball all season. Vizquel and Lawrie shot him some pretty evil looks over the past month. Give him time to grow up.

David Schoenfield
  (2:10 PM)

It will be interesting to see what the Jays do. His contract is so team-friendly -- $5M per year for the next three (includes two team options) -- you hate to give up on him. On the other hand, he has a .295 OBP and all those other issues you mention.

billy (vegas) [via mobile]

If the braves dont resign bourn, then who do they go after in free agency or make a trade with. they seem to have a bunch of pitching depth

David Schoenfield
  (2:12 PM)

There are a lot of outfielders in this free agent market. Bourn, Hamilton, B.J. Upton, Melky, Victorino, Swisher, Angel Pagan. So if they let go Bourn go, I could see them going after a less-expensive option like Pagan.

Andrew (Toronto)

Maury Wills in 62 was a pretty sweet season by a leadoff man...

eric (sf)

Giants Nl favorite right now, given there experience?

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

One thing I noticed about them: Their starters have a 5.07 ERA this month. Even if you take out Vogelsong, who has been awful, they're not exactly clicking like they were in 2010. I actually like the way the Braves are playing now, with Medlen and Minor dealing and Kimbrel closing, but they're going to have to deal with that one-game playoffs. So I'd say the Nationals are probably the betting favorite.

Jason (Nashville, TN)

The Royals should have a line-up full of budding young stars between Perez, Moustakis, Myers, Gordon and Hosmer if he makes a comeback. Do you think they might make a run at Greinke?

David Schoenfield
  (2:15 PM)

They SHOULD. Will they be willing to spend the $100 million or so it will take to sign him? Unlikely.

billy (vegas) [via mobile]

Did u really suggest that the braves would take another chance on melky. they need a leadoff man, not a cheater. besides he wore out his welcome in atlanta

David Schoenfield
  (2:17 PM)

No, I didn't say that. I just listed him as one of the free agent outfielders. Pagan would be a nice fit, but he'd be a nice fit in a lot of places, including a return to San Fran.

Tom (ATL)

I would just like to say, I am glad that the Braves got rid of Yunel. They knew he was simply a bad person, not a good teammate and not someone the fans wanted to root for.

brad (nj)

Dave, has anyone tried to come up with an advanced statistic for manager effciency/proficiency, for example total team WAR divided by team wins, to see how good a manager has turned talent into wins?

David Schoenfield
  (2:18 PM)

Good question. Bill James had devised a formula where he gave a manager credit for wins above or below a team's expected record, but I can't recall how he devised expected record. Some guys will keep of a manager's W-L record compared to a team's Pythagoren record (expected record based on runs scored and allowed).

David Schoenfield
  (2:21 PM)

For example, the Orioles are 11 games better than their Pythagorean record, so Buck Showalter would be credited with a +11 on his ledger. But there are obvious flaws to that method.

Tom (LA)

FYI - Trout has the highest Rookie WAR (according to Fangraphs) in modern baseball.

David Schoenfield
  (2:22 PM)

Right, but that includes his defense. I think in evaluating him strictly as a hitter, Rickey's best leadoff seasons are better. I'll work up a post on this at some point. Tim Raines had some good years in there we should look at as well.

Jeff (NY)

This is such an exciting time for MLB, with so much talent under 25. I love watching these kids play?especially Trout, Harper, and Bumgarner. Which under-25 do you think will take the biggest leap forward next year?

David Schoenfield
  (2:25 PM)

Hmm, good question. A couple names that pop into my head: Brett Lawrie, Jesus Montero, Eric Hosmer, Anthony Rizzo.

AG3 (SLC)

Even though the Dodgers and the Red Sox have basically agreed that the two PTBNL will be Jerry Sands and Rubby de la Rosa, couldn't the Dodgers use both of them currently? Is there a gentlemens agreement prohibiting them from doing so?

David Schoenfield
  (2:26 PM)

Good question. The answer is, yes, since both are on the 40-man roster. So there must be a gentleman's agreement. Hadn't thought of that.

Marty (Fairfield, CT)

Dave, many of your peers and colleagues (even Karabell!) want to dismiss the importance of Run Differential because of the O's this year. To me, Baltimore this year is just a statistical outlier, and anomaly. Where do you stand on the value of this statistic?

brad (NJ)

And can we tell all those whiny O's fans that keep saying that ESPN should stop bringing up their run differential, that is IS VERY IMPORTANT stat, is shows that they have been very lucky and are not this good of a team. That is a fact, their hitting is horrible, their SP is one of the worst in baseball and their bullpen is good. They are not a good team and have just gotten luck, proven by their run differential!!!!

David Schoenfield
  (2:29 PM)

Brad, you seem a little full of energy today. My take on the Orioles: This is not the same team it was in April, May and June. Hunter, Matusz and Arrieta are no longer in the rotation. Look, would I pick them to win the East next year? Probably not. But it's a good club right now.

David Schoenfield
  (2:31 PM)

For example, since July 17, the O's are 37-20 with +43 run differential. There's nothing flukey about what has happened over that span.

Jonathan (Detroit)

Do you seriously think the Tigers would go after Hamilton? I know Mr. I wants to win bad, but that might be bordering on insanity.

David Schoenfield
  (2:33 PM)

Buster laid out some good reasons why, namely that not a lot of teams will want the risk on Hamilton or want to spend that kind of money. The Dodgers are locked in with Crawford/Kemp/Ethier in the outfield. The Mariners have money and room in the OF, but would he want to play in Safeco? The Angels have are glutted with outfielder/DH types. And so on. It makes some sense and the Tigers ... well, they came out of nowhere to sign Prince, so you never know.

Mike (San Diego)

Well if we're changing the rules to just look at hitting, Brady Anderson in 1996 was impressive.

MVP Voter (The Bar)

RIckey's Runs in 1985 mean nothing! We all know it is the man who drove him in that counts- grounding out with a man on third and less than two outs is much more important than a getting a walk...

Tarek (NYC)

If the O's win the WS this year. Brad (NJ) head will explode.

Matt (Boise)

Do you think it's "unfair" that the Braves will likely finish 5-10 games above the 2nd wild card team but will a single game determine if they make the "real" playoffs?

David Schoenfield
  (2:36 PM)

That's the argument against the second wild card and why I was initially against it. I guess Bud Selig's comment is simply: "Win your division then." I see both sides, but in the end it does cheapen the playoffs. One reason, in my opinion, that World Series TV ratings have gone down is the perception that it's not only the best two teams playing, but two random teams who just happened to survive the postseason.

brad (NJ)

So they dont just have a few hot players that are playing above their head, like Reynolds, who is a horrible player? They dont have anyone SP better than a #4 SP. Would you bet $1000 that they finish better than 4th place next year, behind NYY, Tor, TB?

David Schoenfield
  (2:37 PM)

Next year is irrelevant to 2012, however. Where the Yankees any good in 2000? They had the FIFTH-best record in the AL that year. They only made the playoffs because the AL East was so weak. Maybe that's not the best argument (since the Yankees were good the next year), but you get my point. The O's can win it all now and that's all that matters.

City of Brotherly Love (Philly)

Any chance of the Phillies catching the Cardinals for the 2nd wild card spot?

David Schoenfield
  (2:38 PM)

I think they blew their chances by losing 3 of 4 to the Astros.

Matt (Boise)

A way to settle the argument of a reliever winning the Cy Young. If the Tigers put Verlander in the bullpen and asked him to only throw 80-95 innings a year he would be absolutely unhittable during those innings. But he has more value to the team throwing 200+ innings with slightly worse peripherals since he can't throw 100mph on every one of his fastballs.

David Schoenfield
  (2:38 PM)

Yep.

Tom (LA)

FYI - Offensively (wRC+), Trout is tied with Ted Williams and Albert Pujols as rookies.

Tarek (NYC)

Best leadoff season was whoever hit 1st for the Bad news bears? Tried to look it up but couldn't find it.

David Schoenfield
  (2:39 PM)

Had to be Tanner, no?

Jon (DC)

Speaking of best seasons of all time, Harper is about to post the highest WAR by a teenager ever. I really don't want to take anything away from Trout, but to this point about how crazy it is for even a great 19 year old (like Trout) to perform, Trout really struggled at age 19.

David Schoenfield
  (2:40 PM)

It is crazy. I was lucky enough to be living in Seattle when Griffey came up at 19. Harper is certainly similar.

James (Baltimore)

What do you think the AL East is going to look like next year? I'm obviously extremely excited about the way the Orioles have played this year, but I'm not sure they can carry this success over to next season if the Red Sox and Rays get back on track. The division is definitely weaker this year than in past years. What moves do the O's need to make in the offseason? Also, brad from new jersey is bitter about something. Might want to figure out what it is

David Schoenfield
  (2:43 PM)

I mentioned this briefly when I wrote about miracle teams yesterday: The Orioles aren't a particularly *young* team, which is usually the case when a team shows big improvement. They're not old, but it's like they improved because of a bunch of 23- to 25-year-olds. And bullpens can be volatile from year to year. So I do think there are doubts about their staying power. (Although they will be adding full-time Manny Machado and eventually Dylan Bundy.)

Matt (Boise)

It's unfair to compare 19 year old Trout to 19 year old Harper due to the start difference in sample size. Who's to say if Trout had 500 ABs last year he wouldn't have had similiar numbers. People forget that Harper was horrible for a month and there was talk of sitting him against lefties.

Alex (OH)

It would seem that more starters could make the transition to reliever than that other way around I think. Look at Feliz, Bard, etc.

David Schoenfield
  (2:43 PM)

A lot of great closers were failed starters.

Sean (Colorado)

To Brad- do the Yankees have a pitcher besides CC better than a #4? And CC hasn't exactly been worthy of his "ace" status in awhile. Don't be a hater because it doesn't fit your pretty definition. The efforts by more than a few pitchers and hitters can't be ignored.

Stu (Chicago IL)

Tanner Boyle wasn't afraid to take one in the ribs for the team.

David Schoenfield
  (2:44 PM)

Exactly. Had to be the leadoff guy!

Deann (Milwaukee, WI)

If any team were to leap frog the Cardinals and Dodgers it would be the Brewers, right?

David Schoenfield
  (2:45 PM)

My preseason pick to win the NL! Can you guarantee no more blown saves?

sam (nyc)

what about darrin erstad's great leadoff season? And he was a gold glover.

Mike (Detroit)

It's hard as a Tigers fan to not have the team dead and buried atm. Is thier remaining schedule the one pulse of life they have left?

David Schoenfield
  (2:47 PM)

Maybe. White Sox do have Angels and Rays, but also six games against Cleveland. It's going to hard to catch Chicago at this point.

Matt (Boise)

The greatest closer of all time (Mo Rivera) was a failed starter.

Tarek (NYC)

If it was tanner, he did have the best lead-off season ever. Got into a fight for Lupus and told the Yankees to take that apology and trophy and shove it! Awesome.

sam (nyc)

I think Erstad had 240 hits, & his 100 RBI from the leadoff spot is a record.

David Schoenfield
  (2:48 PM)

He did hit leadoff that year. Would rank right up there, although that was in the heart of the big-offense era, so he doesn't rank as high among league leaders in OBP/SLG like Trout and Rickey.

Chris (KC)

Re Verlander, I wouldn't be so sure that he would dominate airing it out in relief. Look what happened when he aired it out for one inning in the All Star Game.

Matt (Boise)

To Sean in Colorado...Hiroki Kuroda has been better than a #4 this year. If anything he's been better than CC.

Bill (Baltimore)

Do you think the Orioles will make a run at Hamilton in the off season? Aside from finding a reliable second baseman, the need for a true middle of the order hitter is definitely lacking and there aren't other options on the FA market. If not, who might you see them adding?

David Schoenfield
  (2:50 PM)

I do think the Orioles are a possibility. Not sure of their payroll situation and attendance has been a little disappointing, so there may not be room to add much salary.

Todd (Chicago)

Are the Pirates dead in this race?

David Schoenfield
  (2:50 PM)

They're on a ventilator.

TJ (Detroit)

I can see the Tigers in on Hamilton. Ilitch has a ton of money, the Tigers are drawing great this year, and Ilitch has never been shy about investing money from his teams in his teams. If Detroit stays competitive, the fans around here will come to the park and spend money to supprt the effort.

Sean (Colorado)

He has been better than CC but the O's have a handful of starters with similar numbers to Kuroda. Point being, it's not all smoke and mirrors and there's no reason to hate on them just because they aren't always pretty in winning.

David Schoenfield
  (2:52 PM)

OK, time to run ... thanks, everyone! Great comments today. Enjoy your baseball!