FanGraphs Chat – 2/19/14

11:44
Dave Cameron: The queue is now open, so get your questions in.

12:00
Dave Cameron: Probably going to start 5-10 minutes late today, but we’ll run long in order to make it up to you.

12:14
Dave Cameron: Sorry guys, just a few more minutes.

12:15
Dave Cameron: Okay, just pushed out my list of the best moves of the off-season, so let’s get this thing started. And you can read that here, if you’re interested. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-best-transactions-of-the-2014-off-season/

12:16
Comment From Nelson
Is there a way to assign a dollar value to a players fielding versatility? For example how much more valuable is Bonifacio over an identical hitting mono-positional player?

12:17
Dave Cameron: I think the value shows up in the fact that these guys have MLB jobs at all. If a guy like Bonifacio only played one position and hit like he did last year, he’d probably be a Triple-A lifer.

12:17
Comment From Guest
Has Gausman become a trade candidate?

12:17
Dave Cameron: No, they’ll figure out that he’s one of their two or three best starters by May.

12:18
Comment From Ryan Brain
Name the goofiest thing the puppy has done all week.

12:18
Dave Cameron: Ran away. Our underground fence stopped working yesterday, and she figured out that she was free to go exploring. That wasn’t a fun hour.

12:18
Comment From Ryan Brain
Now with the Orioles presumably out of the picture, E. Santana signs with Toronto or the field?

12:19
Dave Cameron: The Blue Jays seem to be the only team left with a huge need and a desire to spend this kind of money, so they’re the obvious fit.

12:19
Comment From Ryan Brain
_____ will be the first year a player rejecting the QO will sit it out until after the draft.

12:20
Dave Cameron: It won’t happen. Players will always want to play to maintain their future value, and the QO system will be changed in the next CBA.

12:20
Comment From Teddy
Who in your opinion has had the best offseaosn, and the worst offseason team wise?

12:20
Dave Cameron: Those exact posts are coming next week.

12:21
Comment From Ian
What do you think of the impending Homer Bailey deal? And if it means the Reds can only keep one of Cueto/Latos, which would you target?

12:21
Dave Cameron: I like Bailey, and I think he’s the kind of pitcher you want to keep around if you can. That said, $110 million for Bailey in a winter where similar pitchers are getting $50 million is pretty surprising. He’s not that much better than Jimenez/Nolasco/Santana/Garza/etc…

12:22
Comment From Isaiah Thomas
Who would be the five players on a hypothetical baseball version of Mount Rushmore?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Why has this become such a popular thing? Who popularized the Mt. Rushmore as a list trend?

12:22
Comment From David
If Homer Bailey gets 6/100+, Jordan Zimmermann gets _______

12:22
Dave Cameron: More, certainly. I think Zimmermann gets to free agency, though.

12:23
Comment From _David_
I know the Mariners are just hyping Franklin’s trade value. I know. But do they think other teams don’t scout or wouldn’t do their homework over something this important. If it’s all a ruse, it’s getting pretty brazen. Said McClendon, according to Greg Johns: “I don’t have any preconceived notion of who my shortstop will be.”

12:23
Dave Cameron: That’s why you don’t put any stock in comments in spring training. They’re worthless. It will be very obvious very soon which of the two can play short and which one can’t.

12:24
Comment From Uncle RIco
where can i see Whiff/Swing rates (often cited in Sleeper and the bust) for each specific pitch on FG boards

12:24
Dave Cameron: I’d imagine that they’re just calling swinging strike rate by a different name. It’s on the leaderboards as SwStr%.

12:25
Comment From V
Which team has the better record at the end of the year, LAD or STL?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Probably comes down to health. If Matt Kemp goes back to being Matt Kemp, Dodgers are probably best team in baseball.

12:25
Comment From _David_
Trying to escape years of hype…Do the Mariners, at this point, have an above average collection of “young talent” combining MLB/MILB?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Nope.

12:25
Comment From Cordon
Are you buying Paul Goldschmidt?

12:26
Dave Cameron: I don’t think he’ll regularly be as good as he was last year, but he’s a +3 to +4 win player headed into his prime, so sure.

12:26
Comment From Jays Fan
Would the Jays consider signing Nelson Cruz, if it meant they could move Bautista to 3rd and Lawrie to 2nd. Or does that completely kill their defence.

12:26
Dave Cameron: Nelson Cruz isn’t very good.

12:26
Comment From bill
How do the Mets compete in 2015 and beyond? The arms are great and coming, but FA market looks barren. Can you trade for 1b, SS and 2-3 outfielders? Ahh

12:26
Dave Cameron: Of course you can. You can also develop them.

12:27
Comment From Matt Kemp
Could the Dodgers trade Andre Ethier for Mookie Betts or Nick Franklin or does his contract make it hard to obtain a decent prospect?

12:27
Dave Cameron: The Dodgers can’t get anything for Andre Ethier. They can pay someone else to take hiim.

12:27
Comment From Joe
Thoughts on the Ubaldo deal?

12:27
Dave Cameron: Fair price, not a bargain.

12:27
Comment From Guest
What do you think about Jose Abreu’s Steamer projections?

12:28
Dave Cameron: I think projecting Cubans is hard.

12:28
Comment From tonyyyy
Do you think the collision rule change at home plate could eventually cause the ‘type’ of player used at catcher to change? They’re usually sturdier, slower types, but if the collision opportunities disappear and swipe tags become the mainstay, will we see a move towards more athletic catchers?

12:28
Dave Cameron: I think we’re going to move towards more athletic catchers regardless of that rule change.

12:28
Comment From Paul
Your Kimbrel write-up was great. Wondering what ultimately you think the best approach for the Braves was for his situation? I have seen lots of “they should’ve traded him”, but that sort of “analysis” isn’t very useful when we have no idea what sort of offers they got/could have gotten. And if not trading him, then they were going to have to pay him some pretty big money the next 3 years anyway. Even if he got hurt.

12:29
Dave Cameron: I’d have gone year to year. I think the risk they took outweighs the reward of buying out a free agent year four years from now for a pitcher who very well may not be very good then.

12:29
Comment From Compton
Is a Sanchez/Lambo two-headed monster at 1B a viable option for a playoff contender?

12:29
Dave Cameron: Sure. You don’t have to be above average at every position to be a contender.

12:30
Comment From Compton
Who’s your favorite James Johnson in sports? This includes all Jim and Jimmy Johnsons as well.

12:30
Dave Cameron: I liked the one who played basketball at Wake Forest a few years back. I’m guessing that whole “can’t shoot” problem caught up to him in the NBA, though?

12:31
Comment From MSW
Over the course of the offseason I’ve started to slowly bring my father-in-law around on some of the sabr line of thought. He’s as old school as they come (coached youth baseball for 30 years), and it can be a little intimidating to tell him he’s misguided about stuff when I personally haven’t taken many swings past t-ball. What are some things I can have him read to help ease him in to statistics like FIP and WAR? He’s open to learning more about them, but I’m not really eloquent enough to explain them on my own.

12:32
Dave Cameron: Instead of trying to convert him on the numbers, sell the ideas and concepts. Talk about baseball being a “game of inches”, and note how that shows up most on balls in play and whether one goes for a single or an out. That’s far more useful than trying to convert him from BA/HR/RBI to wOBA.

12:33
Comment From Ervin Santana
Someone’s going to pick me up eventually, right?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Yep, probably in the next week or so.

12:34
Comment From nj0
How closely do you follow college baseball? I plan on going to the Houston College Classic to see UT, Rice, and some others and was wondering if there were any prospects that I should be paying close attention to.

12:34
Dave Cameron: I’m not the right guy to ask. Hit up Aaron Fitt on Twitter.

12:34
Dave Cameron: (Actually, I don’t know if Aaron Fitt has Twitter. He should, though.)

12:34
Comment From Bruce
When is is better to use FIP than xFIP?

12:35
Dave Cameron: When you’re talking about past performance and not future performance.

12:36
Comment From Harjit
Hi Dave, hope this finds you well. Wondering what your thoughts are on David Price at this point, as well as The Shark. Two pitchers who were pretty much set to be traded not being moved after all. Are teams just valuing their prospects a lot more given they aim to extend them?

12:36
Dave Cameron: I think the prices those teams put out were just too high. Price will still have value to the Rays to help them contend, and the Cubs can move Samardzija at the deadline.

12:37
Comment From GSon
Homer Bailey looks like he’s going to ink a 6 + 1 yr option contract for north of $ 100 MM. Does a 2-2.5 WAR player really deserve to be compensated at that level? Will the Reds rue the day?

12:37
Dave Cameron: Bailey’s better than that./

12:38
Comment From Grack Zeinke
now that the Jays have whiffed on all the good FA pitching (can’t believe they’d seriously consider Ervin), why not sign the most obvious FA for them, Nelson Cruz? Haven’t heard him linked there but he’s a perfect fit for park. otoh, speculation about Cruz in Seattle makes no sense considering that Safeco is horrendous for RHed power.

12:38
Dave Cameron: A good player that is not a great fit for your park is still better than a bad player who is.

12:38
Comment From Guest
I’ve been looking for egregious cases of players from the pre-sabermetric era not getting the chances they may have deserved simply because their skill set was unappreciated. Know of any good examples?

12:38
Dave Cameron: Edgar Martinez.

12:38
Comment From Guest
What are your expectations for Walker and Paxton?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Walker will throw 160 decent but not great innings, and Paxton will spend most of the year in Tacoma.

12:39
Comment From tylersnotes
if the market is correcting itself with regards to arb extensions (i.e. the recent deals in ATL), is the next logical step that teams become more hesitant to lock up young guys due to risk/cost and the number of FAs trends back up? Basically, is the extension vs FA market a cycle, or are the ATL deals a minor correction that shouldn’t impact the trend toward locking up more and more young players for longer? I’ll take your best guess.

12:39
Dave Cameron: The prices will rise to the point that teams will be less willing to do these kinds of deals, and we’ll find a happy midpoint at which these contracts work out for both. They’ve simply been too team-friendly to date.

12:40
Comment From Jullien from NJ
What do you think the ceiling is on Wil Myers?

12:40
Dave Cameron: Jay Bruce with more walks.

12:41
Comment From Michael
The answer might be obvious, but even with positional adjustments, wouldn’t you rather have a 5 WAR shortstop than a 5 WAR first baseman, because the shortstop is harder to find? Follow up question, if WAR adjusts for position, why are high WAR shortstops harder to find than other positions?

12:41
Dave Cameron: Your assumption is faulty. It is not harder to find a +5 WAR SS than a +5 WAR 1B.

12:42
Comment From Joe
Will there be a worst list as well? I hope so!

12:42
Dave Cameron: Worst transactions coming tomorrow.

12:42
Comment From Royo
Do you think Stanton gets moved during the season this year?

12:43
Dave Cameron: No, he’s the kind of player that generates more offers in the off-season.

12:43
Comment From Scott Kazmir
Will I improve on last season’s production or regress in 2014?

12:43
Dave Cameron: I think you’ll get better.

12:44
Comment From Bill
Could you recommend a couple sabermetrics books to someone who is a long time reader of Fangraphs but would like some extra seasoning?

12:44
Dave Cameron: The Book by Tango/Lichtman/Dolphin. It’s amazing.

12:44
Comment From Catoblepas
Is Price definitely not getting traded at this point?

12:44
Dave Cameron: Nothing is ever definite, but if a team was going to make that kind of move, they’d likely have already done it by now.

12:45
Comment From Max
Thoughts on the Braves offseason extensions?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Pricey, but more good than bad.

12:46
Comment From Guest
How many points of SLG is 1 point of OBP worth? For example if you had a player who was 350/350, how high would someone with a 300 OBP have to slug to equal his value? Or does it not work like that.

12:46
Dave Cameron: It’s around 1.8 points of SLG for 1 point of OBP.

12:47
Comment From Prich
What was the THEORY in switching to the new CBA draft compensation system, as opposed to keeping the old system?

12:47
Dave Cameron: The old system was atrocious. This is mostly okay with a few warts.

12:47
Comment From Balto
The Orioles should sign Morales now, right? What should they pay?

12:47
Dave Cameron: 3/27.

12:47
Comment From Nelly
How many years and dollars do you see Santana getting?

12:48
Dave Cameron: 4/50. Teams like to play copycat.

12:48
Comment From nj0
Is it legal for a contract to explicitly state that a team will not use the QO once a player hits FA? (I realize that the QO is most likely going away soon, but still….)

12:48
Dave Cameron: No, neither side is allowed to negotiate away the QO.

12:48
Comment From Goro
Clarify something for me, if you will. 10% swinging strike percentage means out of 100 pitches thrown, 10 are whiffed at, right?

12:48
Dave Cameron: No, it’s out of 100 swings, 10 are missed.

12:49
Comment From jocephus
say you have an idea to write about, how long does it take before its done? how quick is yer turnaround? do you ever have topics that sound good but after writing it up, it doesn’t seem that interesting?

12:50
Dave Cameron: Depends on the topic. I can turn around a news post in half an hour if it’s pretty straight forward, though a few hours is more common. More researchy ideas take longer, and I’ve had plenty of posts that ended up just not working.

12:50
Comment From Prich
Have you made it to a Duke-UNC game yet? If so, how was the atmosphere? If not, what the hell are you waiting for!?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Tried to go a few years ago, and cheapest tickets i could find were $1,500. For a regular season game. The prices are nuts.

12:51
Comment From J. Peterman
Is there a table somewhere of frequentcy that a runner on base X scores in a given inning when there are Y outs?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Run expectancy tables give you something close to that. Not exactly what you’re looking for, but similar.

12:52
Comment From Ben
The DH spots for the NL teams are projected to have about 300 plate appearances in the depth chart. What’s up with that?

12:52
Dave Cameron: For NL teams, the DH spot is PH instead.

12:52
Comment From First Time Poster
What do you think of Jason Castro moving forward? Can he mature into a middle of the order bat for the Astros?

12:52
Dave Cameron: More of a solid hitter than any kind of impact slugger.

12:52
Comment From Paul
The Braves are said to now be working on a long-term extension with Simmons. Not sure what comps both sides are using, but hypothetically, if he got Andrus’ exact deal, what would you think? That’s too much right?

12:53
Dave Cameron: Way too much. He’s four years from FA, Andrus was two.

12:53
Comment From Jake
Why is it easier to stand out as a position player than as a pitcher? 8 position players with a higher WAR than Kershaw in 2013, including Trout, who was 4 wins better.

12:54
Dave Cameron: Position players simply have more opportunities to make an impact. Think of it this way: Run scoring and run prevention are both roughly 50% of winning, but position players are 100% of run scoring and pitchers are not 100% of run prevention.

12:55
Comment From Mark
James Johnson is currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies and has had a bit of a renaissance this year. He’s a good bench player.

12:55
Dave Cameron: Awesome. He was fun to watch at Wake. It’s too bad they suck now.

12:55
Comment From Jake
What are the odds the Kershaw extension is the most team friendly extension signed this offseason?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Almost zero.

12:56
Comment From Ed
Do you ever go to Wake Forest football/basketball games or are they too painful to watch?

12:56
Dave Cameron: I used to go to a couple WFU hoops games per year. Then they stopped recruiting good players.

12:57
Comment From Joel
Would the M’s do well to sign Capuano? Seems like that’s their best option right now…(although I’m guessing Boston signs him).

12:57
Dave Cameron: Yes, he’s a perfect fit for them.

12:57
Comment From Guest
Wouldn’t most of the worst transactions list basically the best transactions list backwards?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Not necessarily. There are win-win trades, or deals that hurt one team far more than they help another.

12:58
Comment From First Time Poster
As someone closer to the game than most, what is your take on the leagues ACTUAL stance on homosexuality within the sport? One would hope that the game is filled with open minded individuals but then there is always Brett Myers…

1:00
Dave Cameron: Southerners are overrepresented among the American MLB population (because of weather reasons relating to their childhood homes), and so MLB players tend to be more right-leaning than the US population.

1:00
Comment From The Traveler
Hi Dave. Ever been to the Pelicans park in Myrtle Beach, SC? I’m going there on a trip and want to stop in. Any reviews?

1:00
Dave Cameron: I have not. I always try to spend as little time in Myrtle Beach as possible.

1:01
Comment From bill
I want to cut cable. If i didn’t live in my team’s own market I could do MLB.TV and project it onto my TV, but since I’m in my team’s market, am I screwed?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Legally, yes.

1:01
Dave Cameron: That’s why the cable companies are signing these huge deals for MLB broadcast rights.

1:01
Comment From Ira
Are the days of star-for-big-time prospects swaps over? It seems like the Rays and Cubs were asking for these types of deals and no one was biting. Are the asking prices too high or are GMs more reluctant to part with prospects now?

1:02
Dave Cameron: No, we’ll always see stars-for-prospects swaps. The days of teams paying ridiculous prices for short term rentals is probably coming to an end, though.

1:02
Comment From Balto
Re: the Stanton comment. Why do some kinds of players produce better offers off-season or mid-season? I can understand relievers/bench players mid-season, but otherwise it’s not obvious to me

1:03
Dave Cameron: Because at mid-season, the only teams shopping for upgrades are the contenders, so players who have as much or more long term value as short term value are held until the off-season, when rebuilding teams will be more likely to get in on the bidding as well.

1:04
Comment From bill
Does wOBA take into account strikeouts in anyway? I’m looking for a catch-all stat that values walks and absolutely hates strikeouts.

1:04
Dave Cameron: You’re looking for a bad metric.

1:04
Comment From Joe
Tango and Lichtman are pretty famous, but who is Andrew Dolphin? Is he a real person?

1:04
Dave Cameron: Yep, but he’s not really part of the sabermetric community.

1:05
Comment From Mike
I agree that the Tigers should not have traded Fister and that they didn’t get value for his production. Do you think his trade value is as high as his actual value on the field is, though? Seems like everyone acknowledges that he’s very good, but he’s now been traded twice for packages that haven’t involved a single top 100 prospect. Maybe teams can’t look beyond the stuff when it comes to giving up more (and actually being willing to move him)?

1:05
Dave Cameron: The first time he was traded, he hadn’t yet turned into what he is now. This time, plenty of teams would have beat the Nationals offer but were never given the chance.

1:07
Comment From GSon
Dave…you’re in luck..not nose bleed tix to NC at Cameron Indoor March 8th.. now at a discount, $ 1,299.92 ea !! you can’t turn that down!!

1:07
Dave Cameron: Yeah, not happening.

1:09
Dave Cameron: Sorry for slow response, an idiot has flooded the queue with the same question a few hundred times.

1:09
Dave Cameron: So I’m having to skim through the queue more than normal.

1:09
Comment From Guest
when the QO was negotiated and the players union agreed to it, did they underestimate the effect it would have on the offers some of the players received?

1:10
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think they didn’t quite understand how much teams would value the draft dollars under the new draft system.

1:10
Comment From E
South Myrtle Beach is not bad, hotel row is dreadful but once you get to Murrel’s inlet and such it is quite nice.

1:10
Dave Cameron: I’m sure there are parts of it that are just fine. It’s mostly awful, though.

1:10
Comment From Guest
Does your wife work for Wake Forest?

1:11
Dave Cameron: No, she works for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. They are affiliated, obviously, but she’s an employee of the hospital, not the school.

1:12
Comment From STiVo
How many runs can a great outfield thrower save with his arm?

1:12
Dave Cameron: I think the most ever in a season is 15-20.

1:13
Comment From Razor
Re: The guy flooding the queue. Is this why we can’t have nice things?

1:13
Dave Cameron: Yes. He’s to blame for all the world’s problems.

1:13
Comment From gareth
Would Capuano make sense for the Indians?

1:13
Dave Cameron: He’d make sense for any team that wants a solid pitcher at a good price.

1:15
Comment From me
So, why not just answer the guy’s question?

1:15
Dave Cameron: Don’t want to reward that kind of behavior.

1:16
Dave Cameron: Okay, off to grab some lunch and get the dog some exercise.

1:16
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out today, folks.



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Tony
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Tony

Any particular player that you think will make a major leap forward in terms of production in 2014?

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