Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 8/20/14

11:45
Dave Cameron: I’m back for our regular Wednesday chat fest. You know the drill: queue is open, and we’ll start in 15 minutes.
12:01
Comment From Romelu Lukaku
White Sox beat writers (and broadcasters) are making it sound like Carlos Rodon will debut in September. Do you have any idea why they would start his service clock in a lost season?
12:02
Dave Cameron: Because there’s little real difference to giving him 25 days of service time. It’s not going to affect his arbitration or free agent eligibility.
12:02
Comment From Paul
Re Gordon article: I was surprised that you didnt mention replacement values. It is easier to shine when compared to left fielders than when you play CF so it affects the replacement value and hence the WAR
12:02
Dave Cameron: This simply isn’t true. Read the primer on positional adjustments in the FG Library.
12:03
Comment From Mike Nakamura
I was hoping you could explain something to me: The Blue Jays rank 12th in starters’s WAR, despite being in the 20th area of FIP. Is the difference there entirely due to park factors, or are there other factors I’m missing? I have read the fangraphs primer on pitching WAR and it was not clear to me.

12:04
Dave Cameron: FIP is not park or league adjusted; WAR is. The AL and their home park move them up. If you want park/league adjusted FIP, use FIP-.
12:04
Comment From Stephen
Hey Dave, read your article on Alex Gordon yesterday and I was wondering how big of an error bar do you put around WAR? Does a player need to be a full win ahead for the difference to be statistically significant?
12:05
Dave Cameron: I’d say the margin of error is in the range of a win or so, maybe pushing towards two in the case of an extreme defensive rating.
12:05
Comment From Matt
Regarding the Gordon piece from yesterday: does the fact that Trout loses value by switching from LF to CF not represent a significant flaw in the positional adjustment system? I guess the simple solution is to just award more ‘points’ for playing CF, relative to LF/RF – to account for how much better the baseline is for CF defense?
12:06
Dave Cameron: He didn’t lose value by moving to CF. He’s losing value by catching fewer baseballs than he used to.
12:06
Comment From JBizzy
Oh dear Lord, “Evaluating the Prospect” is fantastic. Bravo!
12:07
Dave Cameron: Yeah, we’re pretty excited about having Kiley on board. You should look forward to some really great prospect stuff from him and his crew in the future.
12:07
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Who is your All-Time favorite player? and your All-Time most hated player?
12:07
Dave Cameron: Probably Randy Johnson. And I don’t think I have a most hated.
12:09
Comment From Jays fan
What do you think Rasmus does this off season? It has been a disaster of a walk-year for him. I thought the Jays were sure to get a draft pick from him walking but now I have my doubts…
12:09
Dave Cameron: I could see them making him a QO and him taking it.
12:10
Comment From Steve
Will contract play any role in your assessment of valuable, or is it a Most Outstanding Player award to you?
12:10
Dave Cameron: Contract won’t be a factor, no.
12:11
Comment From Vanderbilt Commodores
Is it fair to say that trading away Cespedes and Austin Jackson had a bigger impact on the offense than expected for the A’s and Tigers? Do you think it has contributed to their offensive stuggles. My first though would be No
12:11
Dave Cameron: You don’t want to draw conclusions based on several weeks of data, but these are nice reminders that both teams made marginal upgrades more than any kind of substantial improvements.
12:12
Comment From Steve
What role will catcher framing play in your MVP vote?
12:12
Dave Cameron: It’s one of the main questions I’m going to have to try and figure out. If I bought into the framing metrics entirely, Lucroy would probably be the leading candidate right now. I’m pretty sure I don’t, though, so the question will be how much weight to give them.
12:12
Comment From A. Lane
The variance of hitting performance is much higher than pitching performance, true or false statement?
12:13
Dave Cameron: False.
12:13
Comment From JC
Where is Tulowitzki now on the trade value list, given the hip surgery?
12:13
Dave Cameron: 10-15 spots lower, maybe?
12:13
Comment From JoshTC
As I have seen some baseball writers slowly warming up to WAR (citing it in articles as evidence of how well a player has performed), does this mean that the populace is more amenable to advanced statistics, or that only the writers are? Will we see wOBA or wRC+ in television broadcasts in the coming years?
12:14
Dave Cameron: I think WAR is a little unique in that it’s trying to answer a question that no other metric is really capable of answering. With wOBA, you can use OPS and be 95% of the way there, so there’s not the same kind of need to replace it. With WAR, there’s no real alternative.
12:15
Comment From John
What’s your sense on whether the Braves can keep Heyward or Justin Upton after next year?
12:15
Dave Cameron: I think they’re more likely to try and keep Upton.
12:16
Comment From AJ
Hey Dave. What do the White Sox have to do to contend next year? I think Sale, Quintana (and possibly Rodon) give them a pretty good top 3…but that offense looks horrible outside of Eaton and Abreu. Thanks.
12:16
Dave Cameron: They’re not ready to contend yet. Give them another couple of years.
12:16
Comment From Joe
Are the scouting grades from Kiley’s org reviews going to appear on player pages? I believe I heard this was in the works.
12:17
Dave Cameron: Indeed. Announcement coming soon.
12:17
Comment From Matt
RE replacement values for LF/CF: I think he’s referring to the point that it seems like Trout and Gordon are at least close to equally capable defensive OF, yet Gordon gets much more of a bump for his defensive WAR than Trout because he’s in LF. It seems like we need a more generous ‘adjustment’ for CF?
12:17
Dave Cameron: You’re assuming that the difference between them is the baseline and not their performance. There is no real data to support that assumption. The positional adjustments were derived empirically and have significant data to support the numbers.
12:18
Dave Cameron: That doesn’t mean that they aren’t perfect, but this idea that Gordon is getting a huge bump because he’s an LF is just incorrect.
12:19
Comment From Ira
Do you think we’re going to see a Cuba react to the contracts being paid to its defectors, i.e. trying to get in on the windfall by loosening its grip to some degree?
12:19
Dave Cameron: Eventually, the system is going to have to change. There’s no reason for the current setup to continue. It’s not good for Cuba, the players, or the teams. The only ones who benefit from this setup are human traffickers.
12:20
Comment From Matt
RE: Trout losing value by moving to CF: I’m sure he’s gotten to fewer balls than before and few than the average CF. I guess my point is that I think he would be as valuable as Gordon in LF (probably gets to more balls than Gordon, but not as valuable in terms of throwing runners out), – yet Trout gets less credit for defensive WAR because he plays CF instead. Does anyone think that Gordon would be a better CF than Trout?
12:21
Dave Cameron: You’re conflating 2014 performance with true talent level. No one is arguing that Gordon is a better overall defender than Trout. The question is whether he’s performed better defensively over the last four months. The best player doesn’t always play the best.
12:21
Comment From Fish
What range is Hanley looking at for his FA contract? If the Mets have some money to work with (which they probably don’t) does making a run at him make sense?
12:22
Dave Cameron: I think he cracks $100M. How far over that he goes depends on how confident the winning bidder is that he can play SS.
12:22
Comment From parlay
I’m an old man and highly skeptical of all advanced statistics. Can you tell me why I should buy in?
12:23
Dave Cameron: Because they’re better than the alternative.
12:23
Comment From STiVo
Do you consider BaseRuns to be like a “true talent” indicator for teams?
12:24
Dave Cameron: More than wins and losses or run differential, yes, but it’s still just single season data. For a real true talent estimate, you want multiple years of data.
12:25
Comment From Josh TC
RE your Castillo article: Do you think teams who have signed duds in the past are less likely to sign an IFA in the future? I’m specifically thinking of mid-small market teams with less money to throw around
12:26
Dave Cameron: Yeah, this plays a factor. I had a conversation with a team executive a few years ago who wasn’t interested in Hisashi Iwakuma because they had a bad experience with a Japanese pitcher. He admitted it wasn’t a rational decision, but said that they were going to have to take a while before they could fish in that pond again.
12:26
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Will we ever see a pitcher throw 270 innings ever again? (last to do it is Randy in 1999).
12:26
Dave Cameron: Ever is a long time, but probably not any time soon. That’s 8 innings per start for 34 starts. It’s possible, I guess, but really unlikely.
12:27
Comment From Eminor3rd
That’s not true, Dave. Your all-time most hated player is clearly Miguel Olivo
12:27
Dave Cameron: Okay, yes, that’s probably true.
12:27
Comment From J
Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada are the new Maddux and Glavine, right? Seriously, though, are they competent 4-5 starters going forward?
12:28
Dave Cameron: Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with having those two at the back end of your rotation.
12:29
Comment From Kingpin (Grinnell, IA)
Did you leave Aledmys Diaz out of the article on Cuban hitters on purpose or was that just an oversight?
12:30
Dave Cameron: Didn’t meet the $10 million contract minimum.
12:30
Comment From Chicago Mark
The Cub announcers thought that not only was there a good fit between the Cubs (Shortstop) and Mets (Pitching) but they saw something actually happening between the two teams. We all see a fit but do you think the two teams get together to make a trade?
12:31
Dave Cameron: The only people who see a fit are those who vastly overrate pitching prospects relative to hitting prospects. The Cubs don’t need to trade a valuable asset just to try and satisfy people’s weird desire to have pitching prospects.
12:31
Comment From t
Why didn’t you mention Miguel Alfredo González in your Rusney/Cuban defectors article?
12:32
Dave Cameron: Because it was about hitters?
12:32
Comment From Anton
Which is correct: that Gordon has been as valuable as trout (based on war), but has been playing above his defensive talent, therefore trout has a higher true talent level. Or that uzr isn’t telling the truth and that Gordon hasn’t been worth 17 runs above average, making him less valuable than trout this season.
12:32
Dave Cameron: We don’t know. Maybe one, maybe both.
12:32
Comment From Exar Kunn
Do our defensive metrics take into account the ability to control the running game? For example, if you had peak Ichiro in the outfield, hitters aren’t going to turn that single into a double. While a defender like Ellsbury is “challenged” all the time.
12:33
Dave Cameron: Yes, that’s included. http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…
12:34
Comment From Maxo
Has the percentage of high strike calls increased more than the increase in edge calls?
12:34
Dave Cameron: No. The strike zone is getting bigger at the low end and away, not so much up or in.
12:35
Comment From Matt
OK, last comment on the LF/CF defensive valuation discussion: I understand it’s measuring performance in 2014 and not ‘actual talent level’ – but when the difference between them is almost 25 runs of defensive value, and you admit that Trout is probably a better ‘true talent’ defender, isn’t there something wrong with the evaluation methodology? It would be like a below average hitter (Simmons) having a better offensive year than an elite hitter (Cabrera). Is it possible? Sure, but extremely unlikely.
12:35
Dave Cameron: You mean like Michael Brantley having a higher wRC+ than Jose Bautista? http://www.fangraphs.com/le…
12:36
Dave Cameron: You’re underestimating randomness.
12:36
Comment From DoffBHoya
what exactly has made the Angels so good? is it simply pitching + Trout?
12:37
Dave Cameron: They have a lot of above average players who don’t get much recognition: Kendrick, Aybar, Calhoun, etc…
12:37
Comment From steve md
Hi Dave, it looks like Zimmermann isn’t going to sign an extension with the Nats in the offseason. What do think about a Zimmermann for Profar trade after the season because it looks like Desmond isn’t going to do an extension also?
12:38
Dave Cameron: Rangers aren’t giving up Profar for a rent-a-pitcher.
12:38
Comment From BassmanUW
Regarding Rodon, though, isn’t the issue not whether they should bring him up in September or on Opening Day, but whether they should bring him up in September or on April 15 or so? He hits free agency an entire year earlier by bringing him up before April 15, and let’s be honest, the odds of him making a big difference for the White Sox’s competitiveness next season are slim.
12:38
Dave Cameron: They’re not going to want to give him a full year’s worth of work next year either, so he’s unlikely to be an April callup either way.
12:39
Comment From primantis
The lack of balls in play is impacting my desire to attend games in person. The batter/pitcher matchup is better viewed on TV. When do you think MLB addresses this?
12:40
Dave Cameron: I think they want to keep run scoring low for a while to create some distance between the “Steroid Era”. Once people move on to caring about something else, they’ll let offense go back up.
12:40
Comment From Kris
I think 85% of the confusion over Alex Gordon/defense is that people don’t think defensive metrics can/should fluctuate like offensive metrics. Thoughts?
12:41
Dave Cameron: I think that’s part of it, but I also think people just don’t want to accept that defense matters as much as it does.
12:42
Comment From BassmanUW
So would the idea behind a September call up for Rodon to essentially just be to let him get a look at MLB pitching before spending 2-3 months in Triple A next season? If so… I actually really like that plan.
12:42
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that would be my guess. If they know they’re going to limit him to ~150 innings next year, so they won’t be calling him up until July anyway, then there is no harm in giving him a look in September beyond the 40 man roster issue.
12:42
Comment From Shawn
Could Justin Upton be a darkhorse candidate for the MVP? I know he is more of a counting stats darling than sabermetric darling, and is wildly incosistent, but when the braves are winning, a main contributor usually is his bat.
12:43
Dave Cameron: I have an NL MVP vote this year, so I’m hesitant to say that any player is or is not a candidate. That said, I’d have to be convinced that he belongs in the top tier of candidates.
12:44
Comment From Jon
Baez, Russell or Castro…. Who ends up being the best overall player?
12:44
Dave Cameron: Russell.
12:44
Comment From Ira
Should the Mets go all in on Castillo?
12:45
Dave Cameron: You should never go all-in on anyone. Bid what makes sense.
12:45
Comment From STiVo
Do you think Adam Jones cracks the top-10 in AL MVP voting again this year?
12:45
Dave Cameron: Probably.
12:45
Comment From Nick
How would you order your 4-man postseason rotation for the Nats? Gio to the bullpen?
12:45
Dave Cameron: Depends on Gio’s health. Right now, he’s probably the odd man out, but he could get himself back in the mix with a strong finish.
12:46
Comment From DoffBHoya
the cubs #1 starter in 2015 will be:
12:46
Dave Cameron: Jake Arrieta, unless they sign Max Scherzer.
12:46
Comment From person hscer
could there be a benefit to starting 5 pitchers in the playoffs if your 3, 4 and 5 guys are so close?
12:46
Dave Cameron: No, because the 5 would be starting instead of the 1, and no good team has a 5 that is close to their 1.
12:47
Comment From Dylan
How are command and control pitcher paid compared to strikeout pitchers? Guys like Zimmermann,Fister, and Iwakuma are all going to be FA at roughly the same time. Zimmerman and Fister have been top 10-15 starters by RA9-WAR for a few years. Iwakuma has looked like the new Cliff Lee for 2 seasons. But I feel like they are undervalued
12:47
Dave Cameron: Cliff Lee got paid just fine.
12:47
Comment From Guest
Speaking of Scherzer any chance Cards go in on that?
12:47
Dave Cameron: Unlikely. Not their kind of move.
12:48
Comment From BassmanUW
Would you put Arrieta as a 1 above Jon Lester if the Cubs sign Lester, or do you just not think the Cubs are legitimate enough players for Lester?
12:48
Dave Cameron: I think Scherzer is probably a more Cubs-ish kind of pitcher.
12:48
Comment From Charm
Wouldn’t the Orioles have been better keeping Arrieta, not signing Ubaldo and then using that money to sign Choo?
12:48
Dave Cameron: You were on the right path until that last word.
12:49
Comment From Matt
If you’re Hoyer, does it make sense to aggressively pursue Hamels via trade if they strike out on the big FAs out there?
12:49
Dave Cameron: Nope. No reason to give up talent to acquire an expensive pitcher when you can just use money to do it instead.
12:49
Comment From Moop
What happens to the ace James Shields next year? Where does he go?
12:49
Dave Cameron: Well, the ace James Shields hasn’t been a thing for a few years now. The quality middle-of-the-rotation guy probably goes to a team who thinks he’s still an ace and regrets that evaluation.
12:50
Comment From Fuuuudddgggeeeee
Re: Cliff Lee getting paid just fine… Ruben Amaro Jr.
12:50
Dave Cameron: That contract worked out pretty well until he got hurt.
12:50
Comment From Costanza
I’d like to do some analyses but don’t have data to work with. Where can I get a free starter data kit?
12:50
Dave Cameron: Depends on what you want to do. Retrosheet is a massive database and free.
12:51
Comment From A. Lane
You stated this before, but hard throwers with an overpowering fastball and spotty command, and position players with most of their value tied to their bat are the most likely to be overrated as prospects correct? Is there any group that has a tendency to be underrated?
12:51
Dave Cameron: Plus command pitchers whose best off-speed pitch is a change-up and not a breaking ball. Prospect analysis is almost always too low on these guys.
12:52
Comment From LaLoosh
huh? re Shields. Looks like the very same SPer he’s been for several years. Don
12:52
Dave Cameron: Look at something other than ERA.
12:53
Comment From sk
when would a potential Rusney Castillo bargain turn into an overpay in your opinion? (in years and dollars)
12:54
Dave Cameron: I don’t know enough about Castillo to say. I just think the entire international market has been too conservative. So, whatever the expectation is, maybe it should be multiplied by 1.5 or something.
12:54
Comment From Player Development Nerd
As teams get smarter, they will decrease the length of free agent contracts and stop paying as much for a player’s period of declining performance. This seems like it will transfer a lot of wealth to the owners, who still get the benefit of cost control and won’t spend as much in free agency. So what happens in the long run? Do the players negotiate for greater compensation in their early years, or will the owners laugh all the way to the bank?
12:55
Dave Cameron: We’re already seeing this shift, but they’re not spending less money, they’re just spending it differently. Instead of big money to aging free agents, it’s now big money to pre-arb players in extensions. The wealth is being transferred from the 30+ guys to the 20-30 guys.
12:56
Comment From John
RE: Gio, having only RHP in a postseason rotation doesn’t bother you?
12:56
Dave Cameron: Not really.
12:56
Comment From Matt
More of a request for Appelman, but I’d love for Kiley and the prospect team to have their own section on the main page with just the scouting stuff. Like fantasy and not graphs have.
12:56
Dave Cameron: This is the long-term plan.
12:56
Comment From LaLoosh
Yes, looking at everything on Shields. You made the comment, so it’s kinda on you to explain what you’re referring to.
12:57
Dave Cameron: K% last three years: 23%, 20%, 19%. That’s while league K% has risen, so the decline is even larger than it looks. By xFIP-, he’s at 94 last year, 95 this year, the two worst marks of his career.
12:58
Comment From STiVo
re wealth transfer: But haven’t the owners captured at least some of the wealth, because the pre-arb guys don’t have the bargaining power to get their full free-agent value?
12:58
Dave Cameron: That just leaves more room in the budget for things like four year deals for middle relievers.
12:59
Comment From Shawn
Is there anywhere that gives balls/strikes by umpire or something that measures an umpires zone?
12:59
Dave Cameron: Baseball Savant has umpire data.
12:59
Comment From Justin
6/80 for Seager?
1:00
Dave Cameron: He’s got three arb years left, and probably won’t make more than $25 million over those years, so a 6/80 extension would be buying out three free agent years for $55 million. Too high.
1:00
Comment From Guest
I totally agree with your comment about MLB keeping runs down. I’m a believer in the higher K to BB as the main cause of the lower run environment, but so many people comment on less-PEDs being the main reason, that it seems like it is almost scripted to me.
1:01
Dave Cameron: It’s not even an arguable point; the rise in Ks and drop in BBs is the driving force behind the decline in run scoring. And the strike zone is getting bigger. It’s not too hard to connect the dots.
1:02
Dave Cameron: Okay, off to get some lunch and answer a backload of emails.
1:02
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out today.



Print This Post



Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


9 Responses to “Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 8/20/14”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Parlay says:

    Is Josh Hader more of a Clayton Kershaw type of pitcher or more of a Felix Hernandez type?

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. KingCoinflip says:

    “David Cameron @DCameronFG. Flight was supposed to leave at 12:18. We haven’t started boarding. Flight status in terminal and online: On Time. Airlines are amazing.” Is it possible their departure time was within one standard deviation of On Time? I hear other people say this when what they are telling people is clearly wrong

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jimmer says:

    ‘Well, the ace James Shields hasn’t been a thing for a few years now. The quality middle-of-the-rotation guy probably goes to a team who thinks he’s still an ace and regrets that evaluation.’

    A few years now? Last year he had a 4.4 WAR (3.47 FIP). That was his second best year. The year before was 3.9 WAR (3.47 FIP) The year before was his best ever was 4.5 WAR(3.42 FIP).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. LaLoosh says:

    Shields 4.4 war last season the 2nd highest of his career; this year on the way to 3.5. To me, his peripherals are in line with career norms. If you want to argue that normal aging is due to set in during his next contract, that’s fine but that will be factored into his cost and the term of the deal he gets. If the Sox didn’t want to go full freight on Lester than I could see them to like a 4/$80M for Shields (his age 33-36 seasons).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • indyralph says:

      A lot of his WAR is tied up in the fact that he pitches a lot of innings. By xFIP he was 41st in 2013 and 42nd this year. So it depends on how you value the more innings of #2/3 starter performance or the fewer innings of #1/2 performance. There’s reasonable arguments for both, but I think most people think of an “ace” as somebody who does both. Currently, it’s probably somewhere in between with a trend towards the middle rotation guy.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Colonel Obvious says:

    Could we please get the playoff odds for April 15, 2014 loaded?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Park Chan ho's Beard says:

    re Fuuuudddgggeeeee’s response: RAJ offered Lee less money than the Yankees (and Rangers too?), so it’s not like the decision was limited to just him. Everybody wanted Cliff Lee at the time.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *