Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 2/10/14

11:57
Dan Szymborski: And boom goes the Danimite.
11:58
Comment From Jack
Better signing for the Nats: Burnett or Morales
11:59
Dan Szymborski: Morales probably better than Burnett – the Nats are one of the teams that have the least need for Burnett and I wouldn’t go after Morales in their position
12:00
Comment From Harjit
What do you think happens with Stephen Drew? This has to end at some point right?
12:01
Dan Szymborski: Have a little bit about Drew in an upcoming piece. I think that some of the QO decliners made a big tactical mistake.
12:02
Dan Szymborski: The cost of losing even a 2nd rounder is magnified when it’s a player of the type likely to be signed to a 1-or-2 year deal.

12:02
Comment From StevePete
Is cespedes going to be decent this year?
12:02
Dan Szymborski: He should be.
12:02
Comment From gump
where can i find batter splits based on whether or not shifts are being employed? like “rizzo hit into X shifts and hit X’, but after $date he hit into Y shifts and hit Y'”
12:02
Dan Szymborski: Don’t know honestly. Re-posting just in case someone here knows.
12:03
Comment From John Stamos
Continuing CK2 into EUIV, yay or nay?
12:03
Dan Szymborski: Yay, but I’m sooo far behind in playing EUiV
12:03
Comment From Jon
Better for the Pirates? Burnett or Morales
12:04
Dan Szymborski: For Pirates, probably Burnett. The problem with Morales, again, is that compensation.
12:05
Dan Szymborski: To forestall all the questions, I’m likely to have at least the first part of the spreadsheet up by the end of the week. ODDIBE stuff may not be in there yet.
12:05
Comment From Jake
Do guys in a platoon get overestimated? That is, does being in a platoon artificially boost ones stats beyond their true skill level? I suppose that’s the point, but would their be any benefit to a WAR adjustment that accounts for splits, in the name of finding a true skill level?
12:06
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think it’s that much of an issue – the player already takes a WAR hit from reduced playing time. Rivera had lower WARs, remember, becuase he was in a role that maximized his abilities in much fewer innings.
12:07
Comment From balticfox
Another Tanaka question: about 25 yrs. ago, I read that there was a prevailing belief among many pitching coaches that before the age of 25, innings pitched for SPs should be closely monitored and restricted. That belief was probably based on anecdotal information. What do we know today about that? Doesn’t Tanaka have a lot of IPs under his belt at a tender age? Possible red flag?
12:07
Dan Szymborski: Most of what we know is that pitching at any age, for any amount of time, is an injury just waiting to happen. Our arms are simply not designed well to be pitchers.
12:08
Dan Szymborski: There is no pitcher that isn’t a game of Russian Roulette.
12:08
Comment From Compton
Can you guide my in the right direction as to how to use stats like K% BB%, GB/FB, etc for fantasy baseball preparation?
12:08
Dan Szymborski: That’s kind of a question for more of a fantasy specialist.
12:08
Comment From BobbyS
Give us a rundown on the Arroyo signing… like/hate/laugh/cry?
12:08
Dan Szymborski: A little ridiculous in light of Maholm signing.
12:08
Comment From dave d
who makes it to the bigs first, Addison Russell or Byron Buxton
12:09
Dan Szymborski: Russell slightly.
12:09
Comment From Oren
Is Santana so homer prone that the AL East, outside of Tampa, is too risky for a team to sign him?
12:09
Dan Szymborski: He’d survive in Fenway, but the AL East isn’t a good fit, what with Camden, Yankee Stadium, and Rogers.
12:10
Comment From Darryl
Mets would only need to give up a 3rd rounder for Drew or Morales. Who is a better fit for them? Honestly neither seem like they’d add any more than +1 win over the incumbents, if that.
12:10
Dan Szymborski: Drew likely. Honestly, I think in the psoition they’re in, they need to be more concerned with what Tejada or Davis can do then eking out an extra win here or there.
12:11
Comment From Chris
Is Santana going to the Mariners? Seems like all other teams are dropping out?
12:11
Dan Szymborski: It’s one of the better fits. The rotation is extremely top heavy and it’s a safer park for him.
12:11
Comment From inquisitive
Coming off a shoulder injury and Tommy John surgery, and with a minimum of two years and $17.5 million left on his contract, does 27-year-old St. Louis lefthander Jaime Garcia has any trade value? Does Seattle flop Jesus Montero have any trade value? Could there be a trade match? The Cardinals might have the best shot at fixing Montero.
12:12
Dan Szymborski: Garcia’s trade value is quite limited at this point. Montero’s is non-existent.
12:12
Comment From Jake
Best advice for people hoping to take up contributing to online sources like Fangraphs Community, SBnation?
12:13
Dan Szymborski: Write a lot. Practice is very important. And try not to do the same thing everyone else is doing. Zag if everyone else is zigging.
12:14
Comment From Kyle
Chris Tillman is homer prone and made Camden Yards work. Why would other home run prone pitchers be unable to make it work?
12:15
Dan Szymborski: It’s not that they’d automatically be awful, but it’s adding home runs that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
12:15
Comment From Redd
Porcello is frequently described in projection rankings as “breaking out” but FG teaches us not to trust 1st/2nd half splits. Is Porcello a breakout candidate in your opinion? If not, then who?
12:16
Dan Szymborski: I do, but not because of 1st/2nd half splits. His strikeout rate’s improved sharply as have his overall peripheral stats and the Tiger defense is looking a lot better.
12:16
Comment From Drew
Better deal: Colon or Arroyo?
12:16
Dan Szymborski: Colon.
12:16
Comment From Jake
OAK gets a lot of credit for taking advantage of the GB-FB platoon.That advantage was written about in The Book almost seven years ago. What do you think is the next big advantage to be exploited by a big league club?
12:16
Dan Szymborski: It’s much older than that, GB/FB matchups were a stable of Elias Baseball Analysts in 86/87
12:18
Dan Szymborski: I still think that if a team can figure out techniques for avoiding more injuries consistently, they can get serious mileage out of it.
12:18
Comment From J. Peterman
RE: WAR for platoon guys – should the fact that one’s skills limit him to one side of the plate and therefore require the presence of another player on the active roster be a factor? Isn’t it better to have a guy hitting .280/.350/.450 and a utility man instead of 2 guys combining for that stat line and not a utility guy?
12:18
Dan Szymborski: But again, WAR already assumes that the PA that the platoon guy doesn’t get will be taken by a replacement player.
12:19
Dan Szymborski: The difference between Joe Schmo with 3 WAR in 600 PA and Petey Platoon with 1.5 WAR in 300 PA is that WAR thinks the other 300 PA that Petey Platoon didn’t have is totally going to suck.
12:20
Comment From Andreltron
Braves team Batting average: over or under .247?
12:20
Dan Szymborski: Above. They were above it last year and there’s no way Uggla and Upton combined for 1000 PA again when they’re combining to hit about .180.
12:20
Comment From J. Peterman
Who provides a better WAR/$ this season – E. Santana or J. Santana?
12:20
Dan Szymborski: Still probably Ervin.
12:20
Comment From Kyle
With highly touted players like Montero, Justin Smoak, Matt Wieters, and Matt LaPorta failing past AAA with the bat (at least with respect to their intial projections) what is the issue the projection models are having? What is important that they do not or cannot consider?
12:23
Dan Szymborski: What issue? ZiPS generally gave ugly projections to Smoak and LaPorta. Montero’s been a miss for everyone, not specifically projections only. and ZiPS has never been that aggressive with Wieters.
12:23
Comment From Guest
Is Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana worth forfeiting a draft pick for the O’s? I say no.
12:23
Dan Szymborski: Jimenez yes, Santana no.
12:23
Comment From Jake
Does the Yankees farm bounce back next year, what with the big international buys, and the basic fact that 2013 was seriously unlucky?
12:23
Dan Szymborski: That’s a basic fact? Old players get injured a lot and while they had more injuries than one would expect, they were also 6 wins over Pythag, which is seriously *lucky*
12:24
Dan Szymborski: If I fill my crankcase with maple syrup and my car breaks down a lot, one could hardly call that unlucky. A lot of the Yankee misfortune was brought upon by *their* decisions.
12:26
Dan Szymborski: Tanaka improves the team, but it remains an ancient, hole-filled team. The infield has potential to be a notable disaster.
12:26
Comment From BobbyS
It seemed like the new Comp pick system was a bit silly anyway… do the current FA situations do anything to change the system in the future? Would it be ‘better’ to attach comp picks to the players who sign the most valuable contracts, instead of some seemingly arbitrary one year number? Other options?
12:26
Dan Szymborski: I don’t know if any change is going to be *that* significant.
12:26
Dan Szymborski: I think what’s more likely is that players in positions where they would fetch one or two year contracts in FA start accepting offers.
12:26
Comment From BobbyS
There’s already a lot of zigging and zagging…. at this point in the game you might want to be zugging or zygging… or perhaps make up your own vowels!
12:26
Dan Szymborski: zerging?
12:27
Comment From balticfox
Since science has demonstrated that humidity levels can have an effect on how far a fly ball will carry (water vapor being lighter than air), is this a small variable in your ZIPs calculations? Or do you rely on batted ball data alone?
12:27
Dan Szymborski: I don’t really find that all that useful. Humidity levels would already be captured somewhere in park effects.
12:27
Comment From kevinthecomic
If no player has ever accepted a QO, how come Pittsburgh didn’t offer Burnett a QO? Shouldn’t they have taken the zero (or near zero) probability into account when making that decision?
12:27
Dan Szymborski: I think they should have.
12:27
Comment From Harry
do you think the Marlins are the 3rd best team in a weak NL East or are they still a year or 2 away?
12:27
Dan Szymborski: A little ways away, but they shouldn’t be a doormat.
12:28
Comment From Tom
Would you trade Mike Trout for Bryce Harper and Stehpen Straburg? I thought I would until I looked at the 2013 WAR, and noticed Trout was more than two Strasburgs better than Harper.
12:28
Dan Szymborski: Depends on team construction.
12:28
Comment From pr
how does Zips treat a situation like Smyly going to start?
12:28
Dan Szymborski: I have historical reliever–>starter conversion stats.
12:28
Comment From Kevin
As a Sox fan, how much longer until I should just accept the fact that Drew is coming back?
12:29
Dan Szymborski: It’s quite likely. Because of that pick, Drew’s more valuable to the Red Sox than the average team. I think he ends up with a 1-year deal with the Sox for less than the qualifying offer.
12:30
Comment From Kyle
Just wondering, is there a reason why your projection model is not open sourced? What are the benefits to keeping it as a black box? I’m not suggesting anything untoward, just that baseball has historically been very open with the process and that has changed in recent years with teams showing interest.
12:30
Dan Szymborski: The same reason that Coke doesn’t list their ingredients.
12:31
Dan Szymborski: I’ll happily admit it – it’s useful to me, from a career-perspective, to not have ZiPS be open source.
12:31
Dan Szymborski: Now, it’s not *completely* a black box. I’ve talked enough about what’s inside that someone with a lot of time on their hands could probably make something that performs similarly.
12:32
Dan Szymborski: I’m sure most long-time readers could describe fairly accurately how ZiPS goes about its business, I just don’t reveal those final, exact, nuts n’ bolts.
12:32
Comment From balticfox
If you fill your crankcase with maple syrup, you’d be walking a lot more. Maybe that would be a good thing.
12:32
Comment From gump
who should I tweet at about the shift splits if no one here knows? Dave?]
12:32
Dan Szymborski: Dan Brooks
12:32
Comment From Jake
I’m more curious about the Yankee farm, as opposed to the team itself. The professional club, yeah, lucky ducks compared to Pythag, but the big prospects really didn’t progress as hoped orassumed
12:33
Dan Szymborski: There they were unfortunate. Their 3 biggest OF prospects all were disappointing.
12:33
Comment From Drew Smyly
Everyone seems to predict big things for me in 2014. Am I worthy of all the hype?
12:33
Dan Szymborski: Depends. I think Smyly will be good, but not near the level of the top 3 guys.
12:33
Comment From Larry
Do you think players next year will be more inclined to accept the QO after seeing what it did to the market of Drew and Morales etc?
12:33
Dan Szymborski: Yes
12:33
Comment From Gila Monster
How do you best adjust projection systems from being too conservative? I find they tend to always find them signicantly conservative….
12:33
Dan Szymborski: They’re not.
12:34
Dan Szymborski: For example, of players with 300 PA last year, ZiPS was over on something like 2 more player than under.
12:35
Dan Szymborski: The issue is that people are too optimistic. People *vastly* underrate the downside of established players, both in magnitude and probability.
12:35
Comment From Matt
Jake asked about Yankee farm system, not about their pro roster.
12:35
Dan Szymborski: I misread, sorry Jake!
12:37
Comment From gump
where does the Russian national anthem rank? top-10? top-3? obvious #1?
12:37
Dan Szymborski: It’s right up there. It’s an excellent tune.
12:38
Dan Szymborski: Israel has an excellent one as well.
12:38
Dan Szymborski: And of course, France
12:38
Dan Szymborski: Berlioz arranged the Marseillaise quite nicely
12:39
Comment From Nathan
What happens to the Sox INF if they sign Drew? Middlebrooks benched or AAA? Xander at 3B?
12:39
Dan Szymborski: I suspect that he’ll be a fill-in/backup option.
12:39
Dan Szymborski: Middlebrooks is going to have a very short reach
12:39
Comment From gump
since fly balls travel shorter distances in the spring/fall, do fly ball pitchers do better than ground ball pitchers (better than you’d expect, at least) then? then run value of a fly ball vs. a groundball must change over the course of the season…
12:39
Dan Szymborski: Actually, I don’t think anyone’s approached that issue.
12:39
Comment From Corn Subsidies
“The same reason that Coke doesn’t list their ingredients.” because ZiPS contains a large amount of High-Fructose Corn-Syrup.
12:40
Dan Szymborski: Well, I mean all the flavorings, like the cinnamon, vanilla, etc.
12:40
Comment From Jake
Fangraphs is so fantastic, I keep forgetting it’s a business
12:40
Dan Szymborski: Snarky comments about baseball players don’t pay the mortgage on their own!
12:40
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
Dan Szymborki: has more time than you to make projections and that that’s why his are the best
12:41
Dan Szymborski: I better stop that Szymborki guy before he cuts into my business!
12:41
Comment From McPhi
do you think Wilin Rosario has significantly outperformed his projections?
12:42
Dan Szymborski: He was a little over his ZiPS in 2013 (315/486 vs. 301/470). Don’t remember his 2012 ZiPS off-hand, but I imagine he crushed it
12:43
Dan Szymborski: He had a sub .750 OPS in his second run at AA in 2011, so I can’t imagine ZiPS liked him in 2012
12:43
Dan Szymborski: Yup, had him at 252/285/431, 79 OPS+ for 2012
12:44
Comment From Chris
Will Nick Franklin get enough OF starts to get position eligibility?
12:44
Dan Szymborski: I imagine not.
12:44
Comment From gump
is there a way to tell how much projection error comes from injury time and how much comes from unexpected improvement/regression?
12:45
Dan Szymborski: That’s very difficult to parse out. I can code serious and clear injuries, but not a guy who’s hamstring bugs him repeatedly but enver goes on the DL
12:45
Comment From Jake
Do you think ZiPS’ accounting for the fact that any star player can have a Pujols-esque slip into mediocrity, or season ending injury drives a lot of the perceived pessimism?
12:45
Dan Szymborski: Yes.
12:45
Comment From Szymbo the Clown
If you were going to rank pitchers for a fantastical version of baseball, who would you sandwich Tanaka between?
12:45
Dan Szymborski: Assuming by fantasy you don’t mean porn
12:46
Dan Szymborski: I’d probably put him somewhere in the Moore/Lester/Shields tier.
12:47
Comment From Humble is Hard
Is it greedy of me to want a Mariners’ winning season so shortly after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl?
12:47
Dan Szymborski: Probably. They’re around .500, so it’s not unreasonable.
12:47
Comment From JV
Carlos Santana or Salvador Perez this year?
12:47
Dan Szymborski: Fantasy Santana, real-life Perez.
12:47
Comment From Gila Monster
Greece’s national anthem in 158 stanzas long….
12:47
Comment From kevinthecomic
I miss the national anthem of the Soviet Union, especially when sung by Nikolai Volkoff.
12:47
Comment From JV
Thoughts on Dexter Fowler this season?
12:48
Dan Szymborski: Solid, above-average player. Obviously, his hitting stats will look superficially much less impressive.
12:48
Comment From Dustin
How weak/strong does Zips view the AL relative to the NL? Is there an adjustment at all for that?
12:49
Dan Szymborski: ZiPS is pretty conservative about these things, generally sees the average AL team about 2 wins better than the average NL team. Houston actually brought the league difference down a bit (not completely captured in a year of head-to-head)
12:49
Comment From Gila Monster
US has a bottom 3 national anthem IMO. It is awful.
12:49
Dan Szymborski: The problem is the tempo and the singing style.
12:49
Dan Szymborski: When you have a military wind band playing it in a straightforward fashion at a good clip, it improves a lot.
12:49
Comment From Brian
where do we stream the sochi olympics?
12:50
Comment From Mark
So, do you have a favorite Saudi prince?
12:50
Dan Szymborski: Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is an up-and-comer!
12:51
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
of all the times I have gone with the Dan Szymborski: “fill in the blank” joke the one time I spell your name wrong….
12:51
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
With one less letter in his name Dan Szymborki has that much more time in every day to do ZiP (no “s”) projections…watch out
12:51
Comment From Matt
If you mention cut the throats of sons and woman in your national.anthem….it is awesome
12:51
Dan Szymborski: There’s a lot of violence in music.
12:52
Dan Szymborski: The last act of Berlioz’s Les Troyens has quite a lot of pretty awful things said
12:53
Dan Szymborski: Like Dido saying that she should have exterminated all the Trojans and should have killed Aeneas’ sons and served his father his limbs at a banquet.
12:54
Dan Szymborski: And then the crowd proclaims that their only wish is to horrify the world at their future massacre of the Trojans.
12:54
Comment From Dustin
Has anyone looked at geography with respect to player development? As a Minnesotan, we get like 11 games in each summer, so it feels like an 18 year old here might have more development left in him than an 18 year old in Texas or Florida.
12:54
Dan Szymborski: Don’t believe so.
12:54
Comment From gump
russian anthem is the same as soviet anthem, lyrics are the only difference
12:54
Dan Szymborski: It’s a good tune
12:55
Comment From Juicy-Bones Phil
Thoughts on the Rangers signing of Tommy Hanson?
12:55
Dan Szymborski: No-risk signing. He’s still worth that.
12:55
Comment From Jake
“Your actual national anthem sounds like a parody made on QI.” – My British Friend
12:55
Comment From Corn Subsidies
Does J-Hey return to the excellent form he was pre-broken face while leading off for the Braves? or was that a flash in the pan?
12:55
Dan Szymborski: I think he’ll be OK
12:55
Comment From balticfox
I love the Marseillaise too. But I tend to sing it only when Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains are in the same room.
12:56
Comment From McPhi
New Zealand
12:56
Dan Szymborski: New Zealand’s solid as well
12:57
Comment From Prospector
Zwerking.
12:57
Comment From BobbyS
Concerning cold weather prospects… I know Sickels seems to put some favor toward that. And while they may have more development left, they’ve also missed out on prime development/experience time.
12:57
Comment From Jake
Just so we’re clear, your fantasy baseball porn’d be heavy on the Trout on Trout action, right?
12:57
Dan Szymborski: Yeah.
12:57
Comment From Nathan
How does ZiPS work with players from foreign leagues, eg: Tanaka, Abreu?
12:58
Dan Szymborski: Better with Japan than Cuba, at least. We have a good amount of data of Japan–>USA and USA–>Japan, but Cuba is still sparse
12:58
Comment From Justin
In a vaccuum, “The Star-Spangled Banner” can’t compare to “La Marseilles” or “O Canada” or many other anthems. But I love the fact that it’s sung to the tune of an English drinking song, and it’s about expressing shock and surprise that we somehow won a battle we never expected to win. That’s pretty goddamn American, right there.
12:59
Dan Szymborski: On that note, time to end this National Anthem-themed edition of ZIM IS IN UR BASE ruining ur Lunch.
1:00
Comment From McPhi
speaking of cuba, do you expect projection on Miguel A Gonzalez?
1:00
Dan Szymborski: Yeah, I just haven’t tackled it yet.
1:00
Dan Szymborski: As usual, you can find my writing and occasional chats at ESPN.com, projections and weekly chats at FG, DSzymborski on Twitter (and steam!) and everywhere near my house where beer and/or bacon are plentiful.


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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Matt
Guest
Matt
2 years 3 months ago

He asked about the Yankee farm system, nothing about their pro roster.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 3 months ago

Cherington didn’t sound at all like he was planning for Middlebrooks to sit much this year when speaking on MLBN this w/e. I think they would very much like to cash that draft pick for Drew in June. It’s obviously why they signed him for just 1 yr last winter. They had every intention of turning him into a draft pick then and now they’re just following thru on that.

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