FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 9/10/13

6:15
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

Jeff and I will be here at 9 pm ET to answer all of your base-and-balling queries, and even some of other natures as well.

The queue is open, and the polls are coming up. See you soon!

9:00
Paul Swydan: Hi peoples.
9:01
Jeff Zimmerman: Yo.
9:01
Comment From Jacob S
A friend threatened to revoke my “nerd card” after I admitted that I don’t really care about Star Trek. I read Fangraphs, play D&D, play approximately 500,000 different video games, and typically spend an hour a week hanging out at a comic book store. Am I safe from this supposed revoking of my nerd card?
9:01
Paul Swydan: I think you’re good, Jacob S.
9:02
Jeff Zimmerman: You should have the Gold nerd card.

9:02
Paul Swydan: Star Trek spent basically the entire 90s and early 2000s not caring about itself. If they hadn’t run that franchise into the ground, JJ Abrams never would have been given the keys.
9:03
Comment From Jaack
Okay, just looking at WAR leaderboards finds me three guys in the top six, Chris Davis, Josh Donaldson, and Carlos Gomez who would blow that poll about surprising seasons out of the water. Sorry about being a stickler, but its my job.
9:03
Paul Swydan: Well, I mean, we’ve kind of acknowledged our surprise vis a vis those guys already. This is the new surprise guys poll. Or something.
9:04
Jeff Zimmerman: OK.
9:04
Comment From David
Thoughts on Anthony Rendon? He hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been an elite hitter either. Of course, not every rookie comes in like Puig, Trout, Harper, etc. But assuming he stays healthy, how does he project for next year and moving forward?
9:05
Jeff Zimmerman: I like him a lot, I think he may have been rushed a bit.
9:05
Paul Swydan: I like him next year. The league has adjusted to him in the second half, and he has a bit of a platoon split, but he should be a good three-win player. In fantasy, depends on what position you want to play him at. At this stage, he probably doesn’t have the power for 3B, but that could change.
9:05
Comment From Internet Jackson
The Cleveland Indians are the only thing I know how to love. Are they going to return my love and take me to the postseason? Also, will Chris Perez blow it in the stupid wild-card game?
9:06
Paul Swydan: Maybe – they have the cupcake schedule – and probably.
9:07
Jeff Zimmerman: I don’t think so, I see it as the Rays and a team from the AL West.

Chris Perez may be why they don’t make the playoffs.

9:07
Comment From Redd
Keeper question – Can keep 14. Headley, Jarrod Parker and Brian Dozier are all on the bubble for the final spot. Who do I go with? Is Dozier showing himself legit or is this all flash in the pan? Thanks!
9:07
Paul Swydan: I’d go with Parker, unless you’re really hard up for 2B, and then maybe Dozier.
9:08
Jeff Zimmerman: I would go with Headley……………………………………………Dozier-Parker
9:08
Comment From John
Does team FIP*IP/9 minus team UZR give an accurate estimate of team runs allowed?
9:08
Paul Swydan: Uh oh, math – this is a Jeff question.
9:09
Jeff Zimmerman: Probably should, but no, I have looked. I little more goes into to it like sequencing.
9:09
Comment From zack
Have you been impressed with the way AROD has been hitting? He has a higher wRC+ (138) than Longoria (132).
9:10
Jeff Zimmerman: No, not really once he got healthy.
9:11
Paul Swydan: I mean, it’s in nearly 500 fewer PA so I’m not sure I love that comp. But yes, I have been pleasantly surprised with A-Rod’s performance, particularly the minor bounce back power-wise.
9:11
Comment From Hapless Lionel
My undergrad legal studies professor is the Assistant Attorney General in my state as well as an alumni for the law school I want to go to. What can I tell him that will make him like me (or at least make him think I’m smart)?
9:12
Paul Swydan: I’m guessing not a lot, sounds like a smart dude. Just go in to his office hours and say hi and chat with him. Even if you don’t have a reason.
9:12
Jeff Zimmerman: You asking me?
9:12
Comment From Ryan
What should the Red Sox do if Ellsbury is limited in the playoffs? Is Jackie Bradley Jr their best alternative?
9:13
Paul Swydan: I think against LHP, the lineup they have tonight is best – Gomes, Victorino, Nava.
9:13
Jeff Zimmerman: Ellsbury will probably be out around 40 days. Bradley isn’t horrible. I could see them try for someone on waivers.
9:14
Paul Swydan: The rub is what they would do against RHP, like say against the Tigers. Do they trust Bradley to play center then? I would, but they seem to be hedging right now.
9:14
Comment From Guest
How good will Danny Salazar be next year?
9:14
Paul Swydan: I think VERY good. I’m quite excited. And I owe it all to Cistulli, that punk.
9:15
Jeff Zimmerman: No idea really, let me look.
9:15
Comment From Roger
Playoff odds for the Indians at 34%: do they get the job done?
9:16
Jeff Zimmerman: Hope not (Royals fan)
9:16
Paul Swydan: Just posted this as a reminder that our playoff odds on the site are AWESOME. Look at them every day to keep the doctor away!

http://www.fangraphs.com/coolstandings.aspx

9:16
Comment From Roger
Who should the Reds include in their post-season rotation? Latos and Bailey are seemingly locks for first and second starters, but Cueto might not be entirely health; Cingrani left tonight’s game with an apparent injury; and Arroyo/Leake are less than stellar.
9:17
Paul Swydan: Well, I think there have been rumblings that Cingrani would be pushed back to the bullpen anyway. If that is the case, I would hope for Latos-Bailey-Cueto-Arroyo.
9:18
Jeff Zimmerman: Like some teams, they should go with one pitcher 3 inning and another for 3 and then the bullpen.
9:19
Comment From Guest
What are the chances that the Jays sign McCann next year. Arencibia has been brutal this year and their future catcher, Travis D’Arnaud, now plays for the Mets.
9:20
Jeff Zimmerman: I see McCann getting a crazy contract from NY or Boston. I don’t think Toronto will be in play.
9:20
Comment From AJT
Arroyo will probably be the #3 starter regardless because he’s a veteran. That’s how Dusty played it last year. Should be Leake(or Cingrani if he’s healthy). Cueto may be use in the bullpen last time I heard.
9:20
Paul Swydan: That’s an interesting question. I guess the answer depends on what they do with the rotation. Are they re-signing Josh Johnson in an effort to make a run at it again next season? If not, and they don’t add another SP or 2, it may not make a hill of beans who is the team’s catcher. But certainly the Blue Jays have the coin to land McCann.
9:21
Paul Swydan: I don’t think using Cueto out of the pen is going to make recovering from his injuries any easier, so I don’t see that actually happening, but I agree that Arroyo is likely to be involved one way or the other.
9:21
Comment From Ryan
MLBTR published a list of their top 34 free agent SPs. Who would you target on that list?
9:22
Jeff Zimmerman: I don’t like the list of possibles at all. I would wait and see doesn’t sign and try to get them on a one year cheap deal.
9:24
Paul Swydan: I mean, Eno is excited about the Japanese guy. I like Kuroda, Burnett, Maholm. Ubaldo has been good lately. Maybe there is something there after all. Jason Vargas has a good changeup.
9:24
Jeff Zimmerman: IMO, I think Kuroda will have the best 2014 season.
9:24
Paul Swydan: It’s a weak crop.
9:24
Comment From zack
Bold Prediction: Carlos Beltran will sign with the rangers in the offseason
9:24
Jeff Zimmerman: I could see that.
9:24
Paul Swydan: I could see this. Part-time DH, part-time OF. Just as long as the Rangers move Kinsler out of the way and play Profar full-time in the middle infield, I’ll be happy.
9:25
Comment From AJT
Best cheap seats at Fenway?
9:25
Jeff Zimmerman: Those exist?
9:25
Paul Swydan: The seats I get in the bleachers right behind the bullpens – sections 40, 39, 38, are pretty reasonable and give a great view.
9:26
Paul Swydan: Whatever you do, just don’t get the grandstand seats down the first-base line. The seats do not face home plate. So unless you like being positioned towards left field, you’re going to have to sit funny in the seats the entire game, and then you mysteriously wake up the next morning with a back ache.
9:27
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
Uncle Leo?
9:27
Paul Swydan: HELLO.
9:27
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
Tanaka went 20-0 with a 1.24 ERA last year. I don’t care if W-L record doesn’t matter that’s damn impressive.
9:27
Paul Swydan: It is. But don’t forget, Matsuzaka put up similarly ridiculous numbers once upon a time. So it doesn’t always equate to stateside greatness.
9:28
Jeff Zimmerman: It will be easier to get comps with Japan data on B-Ref
9:28
Comment From Jaack
But Tanaka doesn’t make you want to stab out your eyeballs when you watch him pitch.
9:29
Paul Swydan: Well, but to be fair, I’ve never seen him pitch. Maybe he does. I don’t know.
9:29
Comment From Wes
What are your favorite sports besides baseball? Anyone on their edge of their seat with this US-Mexico matchup?
9:30
Jeff Zimmerman: I like pretty much all sports besides golf. The only sport I play is Frisbee golf.
9:30
Paul Swydan: I would be watching if the Sox and Rays weren’t playing (and my wife wasn’t watching So You Think You Can Dance, groan).

Other than that, after baseball my rooting interests (and sports are as follows):
- Basketball (Celtics)
- College Hockey (Boston University)
- NFL (Patriots)

9:30
Jeff Zimmerman: I would have to go with football.
9:31
Paul Swydan: And if BU’s basketball team ever gets good again, then them too.
9:31
Comment From Rocket Roger
What’s wrong with Lance Lynn?
9:31
Jeff Zimmerman: First, he was never great to begin with. Any regression/age will cause him problems.
9:32
Paul Swydan: His walk rate has gone up this month. But after allowing 11 homers in the first five months of the season, he allowed 3 homers in his first Sept. start. Something tells me that won’t continue.
9:32
Jeff Zimmerman: K/BB goes from 3.6 to 2.8 to 2.4.
9:34
Paul Swydan: You’re going to count his 34.2 innings from his rookie year when he was a reliever? Surely you jest.
9:34
Comment From NB
In head to head playoffs, who do you prefer to have on your staff, G. Cole or D Salazar? Thx
9:35
Paul Swydan: Probably Salazar now that the Pirates are talking about moving Cole back to the bullpen like they’re living in a world where Stephen Strasburg being shut down last year wasn’t the worst decision of all-time.
9:35
Jeff Zimmerman: Really depends on the opponents and if multiple starts.
9:36
Comment From Jacob S
Are you at all surprised by Douglas Fister being a top-10 pitcher by WAR since 2011?
9:36
Paul Swydan: No, not really. He does all of the things that FIP likes. And he’s just good in general.
9:36
Paul Swydan: He’s also been healthy, which helps.
9:36
Jeff Zimmerman: No, he has owned the Royals for 4-5 games a season. He has been sneaky good.
9:37
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
How old was Dice-K when he came over though? I didn’t think he was that young.
9:37
Paul Swydan: His first season in MLB was his age-26 season. A little older, but certainly not an old man when he debuted.
9:38
Jeff Zimmerman: Dice-k’s issue was the over use of his arm.
9:38
Comment From Bree Olson
Odds that Stephen Drew returns to the Sox next year? Seems like the money could be better spent, but he’s performing just barely well enough to possibly justify bringing him back.
9:39
Jeff Zimmerman: Gut says no, but as you stated, it could go either way.
9:39
Paul Swydan: I don’t know. For the season, he’s been worth 2.4 WAR. He has hit slightly better than average, fielded slightly better than average and run the bases slightly below average.

That’s not a guy you bring back in order to hold back the next great player in your farm system.

9:40
Paul Swydan: It’s been suggested that they could bring him back and move Middlebrooks to first and Xander to third. But I don’t see the point. I’d rather keep Napoli — who has hit much better – and leave Xander and Middlebrooks in their natural positions until they prove that they can’t handle them any longer.
9:40
Jeff Zimmerman: Paul, the more I dig into Xander, the plate discipline scares me quite a bit.
9:41
Jeff Zimmerman: Very Travis Wood and Jeff Francouer and Yuni -ish.
9:41
Paul Swydan: He’s the third-youngest player in the majors — only Harper and Profar are younger. He’s going to be juuuuuuuuust fine.
9:41
Jeff Zimmerman: as you shake your magic 8-ball
9:42
Paul Swydan: He had a 10.9% BB rate in Triple-A and a 13.5% BB% in Double-A. That’s nowhere near Francoeur-ian.
9:42
Comment From Rated Rookie
What’s scary about Bogaerts’s plate discipline? That it is scary good?
9:42
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
All prospects who don’t have a 10 win season at 20 are now considered busts. Thanks a lot Mike Trout.
9:43
Paul Swydan: Shaking my fist! TROUUUUUTTTTTTTT!!!!
9:44
Paul Swydan: BTW, looks like the US scored again – 12 minutes away from qualifying for the World Cup. Boo yah kid.
9:44
Paul Swydan: Now 10 minutes. Time flies.
9:44
Comment From zack
Will Ubaldo carry this improved level of performance into next season?
9:45
Jeff Zimmerman: Maybe if he can face the Twins and Sox every other start.
9:46
Paul Swydan: Well, for the season he’s still been exactly average. But in the second half he’s been much better, and the K% for the season is well up over last year.
9:46
Paul Swydan: I just don’t know. I want to believe. But I’d be hard pressed to depend on him for next season.
9:46
Paul Swydan: He strikes me more as a luxury item.
9:46
Comment From Chris
There have been reports that the Nationals are trying to lock up Ian Desmond. What would you say is a fair deal for him? He’s cleaned up his defense somewhat and he’s an elite offensive SS.
9:47
Jeff Zimmerman: Agree, you pick him up once the rest of the starting staff is set.
9:47
Jeff Zimmerman: Depends on the contract details.
9:47
Jeff Zimmerman: BRB
9:49
Paul Swydan: He’s 28 next year, so this is the time to do it. This is the rare time when you could 6 or 7 years and not have it kill you. Desmond does generate value with his legs, but given his power stroke — which now seems pretty legit — there is the hope that he could adapt as he matures/slows down. I would try to do something like 5 years, $70 million and see if he bites. It’s all about what is going to keep him from reaching free agency.
9:50
Comment From Greg Proops
Most likely 1st place team to flake out? For me it’s the Braves… I even sort of root for them (a lot of my friends are Braves fans) and I can’t shake the feeling that they’re just good and not great.
9:50
Paul Swydan: I would agree with this. I also don’t have a ton of confidence in the Rangers, though they’re a wild card team at the moment.
9:51
Comment From Joe
What kind of contract does Uribe get this off season? Dodgers keep him as a placeholder for C Seager?
9:52
Paul Swydan: They could do worse, certainly. But I can’t shake the feeling that this is all his BABIP. His ratios are very similar to last year, when he was a 0.2 WAR player. I would do a series of one-year deals with him to keep him on his toes until Seager (or whomever) is ready.
9:52
Jeff Zimmerman: Back.

Speaking of these “early” contracts (Desmond), which one may have been the worst? Jose Tabata?

9:53
Paul Swydan: This is probably one of those instances where the team can afford to offer a couple million extra to keep the term to one year.
9:53
Paul Swydan: Tabata is definitely up there, Jeff.
9:53
Comment From Spartacus
Worst “early” contract? How about Starlin Castro…meh.
9:53
Jeff Zimmerman: Escobar may be there.
9:53
Paul Swydan: Manny Corpas on the Rockies a few years back sucked pretty hard.
9:54
Comment From Gila Monster
What do the Red Sox do at first? McCann is risky and free agent 1B is awful. Middlebrooks possibly the best option?
9:55
Jeff Zimmerman: I could see an aging 1 year vet. Konerko.
9:55
Paul Swydan: As I said earlier, I would honestly roll with the Napoli / Carp platoon for another year. The duo have been a top-10 unit this season offensively, and Napoli’s D has actually rated well by both UZR and DRS. Don’t see the reason to switch things up.
9:56
Comment From Carlos Danger
On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you about Mookie Betts?
9:56
Paul Swydan: 17
9:56
Comment From Gila Monster
If I owned a restaurant, I wouldn’t ask customers how they like their steak done. It would always comes rare.
9:56
Jeff Zimmerman: For the name alone, 7
9:56
Paul Swydan: Remind me to never go to Gila Monster’s restaurant.
9:57
Jeff Zimmerman: I think each steak should come out as the owner thinks it should be cooked, some more rare then others.
9:57
Comment From Jaack
If you don’t get your steaks rare (well medium rare is okay I guess) you might as well be eating charcoal.
9:58
Paul Swydan: Jaack has a radical opinion? Well I never!
9:58
Comment From Buzz
Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, crime fighting duo
9:58
Comment From Branson H
I think steaks should be cooked however the customer wants them to be cooked… what do you care if they want it that way?
9:59
Paul Swydan: Seriously. This is one of the oddest discussions we’ve had in awhile.
9:59
Comment From Greg Proops
Would you really rather have Konerko than Napoli back? Or is that assuming Napoli wants more?
9:59
Paul Swydan: Well, I’m sure Napoli will want more than he got this year, but Konerko is toast IMO. He’s a stay away.
10:00
Comment From zack
If you were running the pirates who would you start in the wild card game: Liriano or Burnett?
10:00
Jeff Zimmerman: I am just not sure Napoli can stay healthy. Maybe Konerko is a bad comp, but I would have a decent back up option with Napoli.
10:01
Paul Swydan: I would start Burnett if those were my two choices.
10:01
Jeff Zimmerman: Liriano with a short leash. His best game is better than Burnetts best, but his floor is lower.
10:01
Jeff Zimmerman: Disagreements.
10:01
Paul Swydan: Disagreements indeed.
10:02
Comment From Jaack
Willie Mo Pena, Lastings Milledge, and Chad Gaudin were all once among the youngest players in the league.
10:03
Paul Swydan: Honestly, I would probably start Cole. Hurdle will be more aggressive about taking him out early because he is already thinking of moving him to the ‘pen. So either he tosses a shutout or he gets pulled at the first hint of trouble. Which seems like a good recipe for the play-in game.
10:03
Comment From Joe
Dodgers were rumored to be close to dealing Zach Lee for Howie Kendrick. I feel like they should have pulled the trigger. Thoughts?
10:04
Jeff Zimmerman: OMG – Ned Yost explains his decisions from last night (warning- possible brain damage may occur): http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/10/4472425/yost-explains-decision-to-pinch.html
10:05
Paul Swydan: Eh, I wouldn’t have done that deal. Kendrick is just a guy, IMO. He’s 10th in WAR among 2B this year, and from 11-13, he is less than one WAR better than a hobbled Chase Utley, and Utley has played 95 fewer games in that span.
10:05
Jeff Zimmerman: I think they could get more in the offseason. Greg Holland for Kendrick would be a good trade for both sides.
10:05
Paul Swydan: Carlos Pena struck out? No way.
10:06
Comment From Ron Swanson
Give me all the bacon and eggs you have
10:06
Paul Swydan: I will, Ron. I will.
10:06
Jeff Zimmerman: But the experience.
10:06
Comment From Jaack
I care how other people eat their steaks because I care about their well-being. Most people who do not order rare do so out of fear–a fear based in lies and unreality. Also, I wouldn’t dare waste a fine piece of beef on someone whose lust for beef could be fulfilled by USDA Select chuck meat or something. Don’t waste the best on those who can’t appriciate it.
10:06
Paul Swydan: But in order to cook them, we’re going to have to sign off. So, blame Ron Swanson if you must. Either way, we’ll be back next week to talk some more baseball.
10:06
Jeff Zimmerman: See you then
10:07
Paul Swydan: Night!



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Paul Swydan is the co-managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for ESPN MLB Insider and the Boston Globe. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.


One Response to “FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 9/10/13”

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  1. Oh, an after dark chat? I’ll just be sitting here, trying not to c$m.

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