FanGraphs Chat – 3/12/14

11:46
Dave Cameron: It’s my first AM chat in a long time, as I’m hanging out in Phoenix today. But hopefully I’m awake enough to give cogent answers. As always, feel free to fill up the queue and we’ll start in 15 minutes.
12:01
Comment From Catoblepas
I’m on a training trip (for a different sport) and got the chance to play catch and hit some grounders a bit. It got me thinking, how often do you actually engage in the sport of baseball? How often do most writers? Are you going to play catch with anyone else in Phoenix?
12:02
Dave Cameron: Not much. I don’t have anyone at home to play catch with, really. A few of the FG writers bring their gloves on our PHX trip, though.
12:02
Comment From Guest
Is it difficult balancing an analytical site with the “clickbait” type mentality that seems to be taking over the web? How do you manage to do it?
12:03
Dave Cameron: Our belief is that if we provide quality content, people will make FG part of their regular reading and we won’t have to trick them into coming here. We’re not interested in becoming a slideshow site or anything like that.
12:03
Comment From Guest
Could Santana have milked another few hundred k out of the Braves? Or does he see this as his best opportunity to avoid a QO next season that cash was irrelevant?

12:03
Dave Cameron: If he wanted to avoid the QO, he would have waited a few weeks. He apparently just wanted to pitch for a team that wasn’t BAL or TOR.
12:04
Comment From Joshyoua
Have you ever gone clubbing with Felix?
12:04
Dave Cameron: Do I seem like a good wingman for going clubbing with?
12:04
Comment From Prich
You grew up on the West Coast, stop whining about the time, Mr. Cameron (blah blah, East Coast, last 10 years, blah… suck it up!)
12:05
Dave Cameron: Since I just flew in yesterday, my body is still on eastern time, so this actually isn’t all that weird feeling. Waking up to the Santana news is a reminder of how much harder my job would be if I lived on the west coast, however.
12:05
Comment From Josh
Santana signing thoughts?
12:06
Dave Cameron: Good move for the Braves. NL could help Santana, but still don’t think he ever gets what his agents asked for this winter.
12:06
Comment From Fantasy Baseball God
Should you play any of the other Fangraphs authors in a fantasy baseball league, would you be victorious and if so, why?
12:06
Dave Cameron: i should be, because I could threaten to fire them if they beat me.
12:07
Comment From Kevin Towers
Well, Tyler Skaggs has his velocity back. Re-thinking shipping him away to LA for the 2014 version of Jason Kubel. I’m just the worst.
12:07
Dave Cameron: Trumbo’s better than Kubel ever was.
12:07
Comment From Scott J.
What do you think of the Cardinals’ signing of Aledmys Diaz?
12:07
Dave Cameron: For $8 million, there’s basically no risk.
12:07
Comment From Vslyke
With the Braves signing Santana, what are the chances they extend him a QO next offseason and what are the chances he takes it?
12:08
Dave Cameron: Depends on how he pitches. It’s possible that he calculated that the Braves would be less likely to make him the QO due to their limited payroll and need to extend Hayward/Upton beyond the guys they’ve already signed.
12:08
Comment From Scott
Can you make sense of the Jays failing to sign a free agent pitcher this offseason? It seems like ownership is swinging madly between spending like drunken sailors (last year) and tight-fisted bean counters (this year)?
12:08
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I don’t really get the Blue Jays off-season. They already pushed in to win now, and they should, so why go into the season with several glaring holes?
12:09
Comment From Wily Mo Money Mo Problems
If Dee Gordon were able to steal bases roughly 70 per 162 games with about 85% success, what batting line do you think he would need to produce to be a 2 WAR player?
12:09
Dave Cameron: You have to get on first base in order to steal second.
12:09
Dave Cameron: The only way he could get 70+ steals is to get on base at a .340+ clip. He can’t do that.
12:10
Comment From Simon
Sullivan (I think) was real down on the Braves possibly signing big Erv, but as you pointed out, he’s pretty much Kris Medlen, more so if you put him in the national league. Draft picks are valuable, sure, but how do you quantify the value of a potential playoff/World Series berth? Are the playoffs worth a draft pick? Is the Series?
12:10
Dave Cameron: The Braves lost the 28th pick, I believe; it’s not that valuable. Given where they are on the win curve, this was a move worth making.
12:11
Comment From Guest
I’m wondering out loud if teams will start to delay the promotion of prospects to the point we see them trying to keep peak years within reasonable club control. Basically starting service time around age 24-25.
12:11
Dave Cameron: No one is going to keep a big league ready player in the minors for years.
12:11
Dave Cameron: Not on purpose, at least.
12:11
Comment From Guest
Now that it is down to Drew and Morales who signs first? Do both of these guys fall in as constellation prizes for Toronto and Baltimore respectively now that Santana has signed?
12:12
Dave Cameron: I’d guess Drew is the more likely of the two to wait until after the draft. I’d think Morales signs with Baltimore or Seattle pretty soon.
12:12
Comment From _David_
Jeff commented yesterday that the discrepancy in draft pick value between the NFL and MLB is due to the differing success rate of early picks. Why is this? Is it just that MLB prospects need more development which is harder to project, or is scouting baseball players simply harder?
12:12
Dave Cameron: NFL prospects are NFL ready, mostly. MLB prospects are not.
12:12
Comment From GSon
Who is the staring 3B for the Indians come March 31st in Oakland?
12:12
Dave Cameron: Carlos Santana.
12:13
Comment From Paul
I’m sure you have a million Santana questions, but here’s mine. If he has the exact same season as last year (3.0 WAR), was this a good signing by the Braves given the circumstances (money, draft pick, alternatives, chances to give him the QO/him turn it down after the season, etc)?
12:13
Dave Cameron: Yes, he doesn’t even have to be a +3 WAR pitcher to justify the deal.
12:13
Comment From CMR
Hi, Dave. Do you expect Trout to improve his baserunning or his power numbers at all in the next few years?
12:13
Dave Cameron: Power yes, baserunning no.
12:13
Comment From BassmanUW
If the Cubs’ brass are convinced, or reasonably believe, that Olt’s eyes were both his problem last year and he’s resolved the issues with his eyes, should the Cubs give him the starting spot at 3B on opening day? Or should they send him down to Iowa for at least a month or two regardless?
12:13
Dave Cameron: No harm in letting him prove it in games that at least kind of count.
12:13
Comment From Forsyth
If Sizemore breaks camp with the Red Sox, do they send JBJ back to AAA? Can’t imagine they’d do that since Sizemore can’t play everyday. So who gets cut? Carp the odd man out? Trade to Pirates?
12:14
Dave Cameron: Carp to PIT.
12:14
Comment From Guest
Antho’s comment about Santana wanting to pitch in the NL a cheap shot?
12:14
Dave Cameron: Probably just frustration. Of course, if they really wanted him, they could have offered more money.
12:15
Comment From Cory
If you couldn’t write about baseball for a living you would be….
12:16
Dave Cameron: Probably something in the financial sector.
12:16
Comment From BassmanUW
Wouldn’t the quality of your wingmanning depend entirely on how into baseball the targets requiring a wingman are?
12:16
Dave Cameron: I’m pretty sure there is no desired target group for which I am the best choice as wingman.
12:16
Comment From Mark
Rob Neyer tweeted from spring training last night that he had had “too much baseball” and couldn’t wait to go home. Have you ever felt the same, or is baseball for you a necessity on par with air, food and water?
12:17
Dave Cameron: A few years ago, I live blogged three straight playoff games, one of which went extra innings. It was like 12 or 13 hours of baseball, and I wanted to do anything else but watch more baseball when it was over.
12:17
Comment From Gila Monster
I asked Jeff this yesterday,but I imagine you have a better answer/more knowledge of the overlord. In a non-sarcastic sense, why are the graph tools limited on Fangraphs? Say I wanted to graph multiple pieces of data(say BABIP and OBP) you can’t. Or graph WAR. You also can’t. I have to imagine the tools are already there..
12:18
Dave Cameron: There are only so many hours in the day, and the list of things people want coded into FG is very, very long.
12:18
Comment From Chris
Where do you think Stephen Drew winds up playing this season? And how much of the season do you see him playing?
12:18
Dave Cameron: Gut feel is he ends up back in Boston.
12:18
Comment From John
10 years from now are we still basking in the glory of WAR or do you see the potential for backlash from the next generation of sabrmetricians?
12:19
Dave Cameron: The framework of WAR is very solid and likely long lasting. The inputs that go into calculating WAR will improve dramatically.
12:19
Comment From Crusty
Didn’t the Mariners keep Edgar in the minors for “years” when he was big league ready?
12:19
Dave Cameron: That was ignorance on their part, not a grand plan to hold down his service time.
12:20
Comment From JC
“The 28th pick is not that valuable” The Cardinals just spent $8 million on a guy that doesn’t appear to be close to anyone’s top 100 prospect list. The 28th pick is more valuable than Diaz, right?
12:21
Dave Cameron: $8 million over four years, not $8 million upfront.
12:21
Comment From Thomas
Thoughts on Szymborski valuing the 26th pick at $20M…essentially stating that you could say Santana is the highest paid pitcher in MLB history this season?
12:21
Dave Cameron: I think that’s an overestimate.
12:21
Comment From GSon
Best off season signing: Cano for the Mariners or Tanaka for the Yankees?
12:21
Dave Cameron: Both were bad.
12:22
Comment From Chris
If you were the Mets, how would you handle your current SS and 1B situations?
12:22
Dave Cameron: Make a couple of trades.
12:23
Comment From Scott J.
Let’s be real, the ratio of your baseball related tweets to tweets about your dog doesn’t reflect the ratio of your interests in the two. Do you plan on increasing your twittering about your pup?
12:23
Dave Cameron: Tweeting about things that I’m interested in but people who follow me are not is not a very good way to use Twitter.
12:23
Comment From A. Lane
Carp to PIT, what is the cost? Any chance Boston is a little worried about getting hosed like they did in the Hanrahan Melancon trade?
12:24
Dave Cameron: Teams don’t hold deals like that against the club they made a deal with, unless they thought PIT knew Hanrahan was broken and didn’t tell them.
12:24
Comment From Simon
Why do you think none of these teams with glaring 2B holes (coughDODGERScough) have ponied up for Drew yet? Is he more reticent to switch positions than we’ve been led to believe? Fits for Jays, Yanks, Dodgers, AND Orioles.
12:24
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think if he really was gung ho for being a 2B, he’d have signed by now.
12:25
Comment From Robert
Assuming he has another TJ surgery, do you think Medlen is likely to get non-tendered next offseason before his last year of arbitration?
12:25
Dave Cameron: No, they’ll just agree to keep him at $5.8M again for next year.
12:25
Comment From BassmanUW
So if I NEEDED a wingman, and my only options were FanGraphs writers, who would be my best choice? Just as a note, I don’t need a wingman, I’m just trying to do a public service for the single male chat participants.
12:26
Dave Cameron: Michael Barr. He’s shockingly good looking for a baseball writer.
12:26
Comment From Dylan
Prior to 2013, you stated you still thought Harper could be a better player than Trout in the long term. Do you still think that is possible they could be 1a and 1b going going forward considering A) Harper is a year younger B) Trout’s tools of Speed/Defense decline early while Harper’s power/hit tool develop later.
12:27
Dave Cameron: If we were only to calculate performance going forward, there’s a real chance Harper is better solely due to the fact that Trout could get injured while Harper stays healthy. Add in performance variation and I’d say it’s probably no more than 60/40 or 7/30 that Trout > Harper in the future. Given the huge lead Trout already has, though, his odds of finishing with more career WAR is probably more like 90/10.
12:28
Comment From Mark
With pitch values on FanGraphs, it is assumed that league average is 0? If not, is there an easy way to find what league averages are for the myriad advanced metrics on your site?
12:28
Dave Cameron: If you go to the leaderboards, click on league, and that will give you the average for every stat for any year you want to look at.
12:28
Comment From Sean C
Im confused by the WAR in the FANS projections. Kershaw is projected for less WAR than King Felix, however the fans have projected Kershaw to throw more innings with a lower ERA and a lower FIP. Is this just a mistake?
12:29
Dave Cameron: You have to include the league factor as well. A 3.00 FIP in the NL is less valuable than a 3.00 FIP in the AL.
12:29
Comment From Chris
Where would Morales play is he signs in Seattle? Would a trade be imminent?
12:29
Dave Cameron: DH, with Hart/Morrison sharing time in OF, and Saunders (likely) getting shipped out.
12:29
Comment From Charles
What surprises do you think the MLBAM system will hold? Do you think we could find truths behind conventional wisdom such as the hot hand or “clutch” hitting…etc?
12:30
Dave Cameron: No, they won’t even attempt to answer those kinds of questions.
12:30
Comment From Jerry Glavy
Isn’t WAR biased towards pitchers with great peripherals, like Javier Vazquez and Ricky Nolasco, while penalizing “smart” pitchers like Tom Glavine and Jered Weaver that get better results? RA9-WAR seems to better represent different TYPES of pitchers.
12:31
Dave Cameron: You’ve essentially determined ahead of time that RA9 is pitcher skill. That’s not true.
12:31
Comment From Mark
Will the Nelson Cruz, Kendry Morales and Ervin Santana signings and non-signing encourage more players to accept qualifying offers in the future? Who would turn down one year at $14 million anyway?
12:31
Dave Cameron: Players who can get more than that? Remember, Cruz is the only player who has signed for less than what he turned down.
12:31
Comment From Ben
Do you think Scott Baker makes the Mariner’s rotation out of spring training?
12:31
Dave Cameron: They don’t have a choice.
12:32
Comment From Jill Bames
Any thoughts in the saber community about standardizing WAR? A Baseball Prospectus-Baseball Reference-Fangraphs Round Table of Nerdery?
12:33
Dave Cameron: There are so many places where reasonable people can take differing views that there will never be one WAR. Even if all three of us agreed on a single formula, someone else would just develop a different way of calculating it for people who wanted to make different assumptions, and then that version would become popular.
12:33
Comment From Chris
Has mlb ever spent 1 billion dollars in fa like the nfl did yesterday?
12:33
Dave Cameron: MLB spent 2 billion this winter.
12:33
Comment From Eric
Why are NFL and NBA players “major league ready” when drafted, while MLB player nearly never are? Is it because a pure athlete can succeed at those sports, but not baseball due how finely tuned everything has to be?
12:33
Dave Cameron: Baseball has more to do with developed technique and less to do with natural physical abilities.
12:34
Comment From Ajas Fahtid
After watching an injured Morse last year, what do you make of him rebounding in SF?
12:34
Dave Cameron: He’s not good, even when healthy.
12:34
Comment From Chris
Still, I doubt the Red Sox would trade Carp for 50 cents on the dollar just to clear a roster spot and they probably value him more than the Pirates do, making a match difficult
12:34
Dave Cameron: If they want to carry Sizemore, they don’t have room for Carp.
12:34
Comment From Drew
Is there a difference in how ERA+ and ERA- are calculated? Or is it just a difference in how the results are shown?
12:35
Dave Cameron: I strongly suggest reading the THT article on this from yesterday.
12:35
Comment From Rick
Dave, how come the LOB% carried at FG has HR x 1.4 in the equation? Shouldn’t LOB% be a straightforward ratio? Don’t understand how that’s possible with multiplying something like this… Just curious what the logic behind it is.
12:37
Comment From kevinthecomic
Wouldn’t Eno make the better wingman? Seems affable and non-threatening enough to keep the ladies entertained, but not so good looking as to skewer ones chances of ‘going for the gold’.
12:37
Dave Cameron: I’m pretty sure drinking in public with Eno is a great way to repel women, not attract them.
12:38
Comment From Slack Schpeinke
yep the Braves draft pick was debated with Sulli some yesterday. I said the same thing – that losing the pick that late in the 1st rd was not a big deal PLUS they got extra sand rd pick for McCann. Sulli was all over the Braves going with other options scenario fwiw.
12:39
Dave Cameron: And you can’t simply just subtract the value of the lost pick without also putting the potential of a gained pick next year into Santana’s column. If the Braves contend and he pitches well, he’ll be worth the money and a QO, and they’ll get a pick back. If they don’t contend and he pitches well, they’ll trade him this summer for more than the QO was worth to them. Basically, unless he sucks, it’s worth doing, which is true of most contracts.
12:39
Comment From The Stranger
Doesn’t RA9-WAR double count runs prevented by giving pitchers credit for runs saved that also go into defensive WAR for position players?
12:39
Dave Cameron: Yes, if you were going to do a total team WAR, you couldn’t use RA9-WAR instead of FIP-WAR without adjusting the defensive totals.
12:40
Comment From Kevin
Fangraph’s projected standing have the top four teams in the AL West finishing within just two games of each other. Is this going to be the most interesting divisional race to watch this year?
12:40
Dave Cameron: I think our forecasts are low on Texas.
12:40
Comment From natty ice
why was morse nasty in washington then?
12:40
Dave Cameron: He had one good year. He’s sucked every other season.
12:41
Comment From Matt
When you are writing a baseball article, how do you balance data and readability? For example you could include data/graphs/tables..etc. along every step to reach your conclusion making sure you are exhaustive, but than it reads like an academic paper and not an article.
12:41
Dave Cameron: We lean more towards readability than being exhaustively thorough. I think the best FG articles are ones that present a correct and true point in an approachable way.
12:42
Comment From The Oberamtmann
If college switched to wooden bats, would hitters be more and pitchers less MLB ready?
12:42
Dave Cameron: No. Hitting is just a very technique driven skill, and it takes a long time to develop that technique.
12:42
Comment From Liam
Considering defensive measurement is the major gripe with the usage of WAR, do you think WAR will become more accepted in the mainstream when we have solid defense data for the new system?(hopefully)
12:43
Dave Cameron: I think people will always complain when the data rebukes their preconceived beliefs.
12:43
Comment From Rick
Thanks for sharing the LOB% stuff. I’m down with the idea that a pitcher’s LOB% could be a better reflection of his ability by weighing home runs that way, but it’s just interesting because that isn’t actually the percentage of his baserunners that score/he strands.
12:43
Dave Cameron: It was never intended to be.
12:43
Comment From GSon
Jesus Montero doesn’t even show up on the Mariners depth chart… is this a design form of disrespect from the Mariners or an oversight?
12:43
Dave Cameron: He has no shot of making the club.
12:43
Comment From Eno
Walks up to girl in club “I see you are drinking a Budweiser, do you know that has a negative -27 BAR on Beergraphs? You should really be drinking a a Heady Topper or Kentucky Breakfast Stout”
12:44
Comment From Bryce Trout
This question gets old: Aside from Trout and Harper, which three players (to make five) do you feel have the most total value for the rest of their careers?
12:45
Dave Cameron: Off the top of my head, I’d go with Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, and Giancarlo Stanton.
12:45
Comment From Jerry Glavy
Thanks for the reply. I haven’t determined that RA9 is pitcher skill, just that it seems to better represent the Glavine/Weaver types, and thus a wider range of types of pitchers, whereas WAR seems to favor the gaudy peripherals, regardless of end results.
12:46
Dave Cameron: There are pitchers that are underrated by FIP, sure. There are also pitchers that are underrated by ERA.
12:46
Comment From Eminor3rd
Thoughts on this Viciedo/Mariners rumor? As a White Sox fan, I hope you get him.
12:46
Dave Cameron: I don’t think it turns into anything.
12:47
Comment From Justin
any tips or suggestions on dealing with a family member that has cancer? found out my mom has it last night and I want to be as supportive as possible.
12:47
Dave Cameron: Is she going to get chemo? If so, be there as much as possible. The hospital is a lonely place. Just having someone around is really helpful. Also, bring outside food. Hospital food is the worst.
12:48
Dave Cameron: And just generally be encouraging. Talk about the future. Make plans for things to do with them after they get done with treatment.
12:48
Comment From Justin
yes. she starts on Monday.
12:49
Dave Cameron: Depending on what kind of chemo she gets, the first few days will probably be the roughest. Just help her get through that and she should be okay.
12:49
Comment From kevinthecomic
WRT readability vs. data intensity: I really enjoy reading the fangraphs articles. In fact, presenting data in a way that can reach the masses is going to be a pretty in-demand skill set for the next 20 – 50 years. I try to use the style that you guys use in my day-to-day job (I am required to research, use and present data in a way that gets decisions made). One of the things that I notice you guys do is to head off objections at the pass. Typically, these are the sentences that start with something like, ‘Sure, was successful in but…..’. I use this all the time and it is very effective.
12:50
Dave Cameron: I’m certainly thankful that some people are doing the intense heavy lifting research, because that’s where a lot of our data and conclusions comes from. There’s a need for both. I just see our job as more of a place to spread information than to work through the mechanics of finding it.
12:51
Comment From Kevin
Who has the better change-up:Felix or Shield?
12:51
Dave Cameron: I’m not sure anyone has a better change-up than Felix. Maybe Strasburg.
12:51
Comment From Justin
great advice. my father is with her today. I will go with her next week.
12:52
Dave Cameron: Get friends to go too. Even if they’re your friends. I had people come visit and hang out who I never hang out with otherwise, but it didn’t matter that we weren’t very close; just having them there was really nice.
12:52
Comment From Oye Como Wha?
Re: your comment on Santana’s value – how is a $14.1 mil salary plus a $15-$20 mil draft pick “worth” less than 3 WAR for 1 year?
12:52
Dave Cameron: Because the $15-$20M estimate is too high.
12:52
Comment From Guest
Is a change-up really a change-up when it could be someone’s fastball?
12:53
Dave Cameron: Yes. A change-up isn’t just about velocity; it also dives away from opposite-handed hitters, making it probably the most important pitch to limit platoon splits.
12:53
Comment From Crusty
Scherzer’s change is pretty great, too. That thing really breaks away from LH hitters.
12:54
Dave Cameron: Yeah, he has a very good one. There are some very good CH in baseball right now. Felix’s is tough to beat, though.
12:54
Comment From Tim
Is there a team you seem to be a lot higher on then the rest of the baseball writers?
12:54
Dave Cameron: Texas, it seems.
12:54
Comment From Kole Calhoun
Am I soon to be a fan and saber favorite?
12:55
Dave Cameron: You’re probably going to be a solid average guy. Those guys don’t often develop huge fanbases.
12:55
Comment From Justin
Dave, what are your thoughts on the Matt Carpenter extension?
12:55
Dave Cameron: Seems about right. As an older player without a strong tools pedigree, he was never going to land some monster FA deal.
12:56
Comment From Shawn
Can you explain why you think Szymborski’s estimate is too high?
12:58
Dave Cameron: The money not-spent on the lost pick doesn’t actually disappear. Teams can’t spend it on other draft picks like they used to, but they can spend it on other things that have value too. So maybe instead of spending that $2 million or whatever on a the 28th pick, they allocate extra money into infrastructure, or they hire a few extra scouts, or they use it to acquire a veteran at the trade deadline.
12:58
Dave Cameron: Losing the pick creates an opportunity to buy something else at the same time, and that something else has value too.
12:58
Comment From A. Lane
What are missing, because of a lack of access to Hit/Fx? And is MLBAM going to replace Hit/Fx too?
12:59
Dave Cameron: Yes, it sounds like the F/x products are going to get phased out. HITF/x was always a little bit limited because it didn’t have the full flight of the ball, which is where BAM’s big differentiator will be.
12:59
Comment From GSon
The Tigers lose Fister, Fielder, Infante, Peralta and Dirks.. replace them with Kinsler & some internal options. Has a team ever lost this much firepower/talent and still contend? How can anyone say the Tigers are the team to beat in the AL Central?.
12:59
Dave Cameron: Because they replaced them with some good players, and they’re clearly better than KC/Cleveland.
1:00
Comment From J. Gordon
Any word if Wacha is working on a third pitch? He flashed a breaking ball last postseason.
1:00
Dave Cameron: I had an NL player tell me that Wacha’s curveball is already a good third pitch.
1:00
Comment From Guest
We know SS defense can be great enough to overlook offense, but what about 2B defense?
1:01
Dave Cameron: It is always a balance, at every position. There is always some level of defensive excellence that offsets offensive limitations, everywhere. And vice versa; there is always an offensive threshold, even at shortstop, that makes a spectacular defender non-playable.
1:01
Comment From Guest
will fielder crush his projections?
1:01
Dave Cameron: Not unless he sits on them.
1:02
Dave Cameron: Okay, that’s it for me this week. I’m off to enjoy the SABR Analytics Conference and a week of baseball in the desert.
1:02
Dave Cameron: See you guys next Wednesday.



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


9 Responses to “FanGraphs Chat – 3/12/14”

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  1. Daniel says:

    Wouldn’t it make sense for a contender who could use a starting pitcher (Texas?) to trade for Cliff Lee? And wouldn’t it make equal sense for the Phillies to unload Lee for some younger talent?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JayT says:

      The problem is that the Phillies really wouldn’t get much back unless they ate a good portion of his salary. Lee is basically getting paid what he’s worth, so teams wouldn’t want to give up good players and still pay him what he’s worth, because at that point it would be an overpay.

      Also, the Phillies think they can contend (why else sign Burnett?), so I doubt they are all that interested in shipping out their best player.

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  2. sds says:

    Given your recent free-agents-vs-WAR-projections pieces, would you say that Fangraphs’ view of the game represents the mainstream perspective of (a) front offices; (b) the internet; (c) MLB fans; or (d) all of the above?

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  3. TKDC says:

    I like how Dave went all George Costanza on this chat and ended after a good joke. Well done.

    +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. jg941 says:

    Yeah, despite some follow-up questions above, I think Dave C. might be missing the point a bit on the valuation of those first-round picks in re: his comment about Santana being “worth” it, particularly if he put up less than 3 WAR in one year.

    It’s not about what a team can do with the avoided signing bonus, or salary they would pay said pick over his average controllable term. It’s about losing the net, surplus value of the pick to the team, in terms of average WAR produced vs. salary, other costs, etc. over that term. If those picks have an average net positive value to a team, then you do indeed lose that net positive value when you lose that pick – no getting around that assumption.

    That’s what’s behind Dan Szym’s – and numerous other – projections on those pick values, I’m sure. Dave may think Dan’s estimates are too high, but the argument around what a team would ‘do with that money”, etc. is apples-and-oranges….you lose the pick, you’ve lost the positive value that this pick would, on average, bring to the team, which is therefore a cost to the team of losing it in the context of acquiring another player.

    If Dave thinks it’s too high, that’s one thing, but it would be better to provide an opinion of what he thinks the pick is actually “worth’ in the context of valuing it as one of a team’s assets.

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    • cthabeerman says:

      I think the biggest error in this draft pick valuation lies in using the average value, in WAR, for what that pick is worth. Because the success rate of that pick (and most picks) is relatively low, I think that perhaps using the median value would be a more responsible fashion to value the pick.

      For argument’s sake, if a 10-year sample for the same pick resulted in team control WAR totals of 20, 5, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, that would be 3.5 WAR on average. But the likelihood of getting greater than a player resulting in 3 WAR is only 20%. Better/worse scouting and development may move the needle, but it’s still pretty unlikely that you hit the jackpot.

      If the distribution of WAR for that pick was fairly consistent from season to season, then I could see using an average value. But it isn’t. Just as you have to factor in the possibility that Santana could end up netting the Braves an extra pick in 2015, you also have to account for the fact that neither the 2014 nor 2015 pick are incredibly likely to net a huge return.

      -C

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      • Bip says:

        Yeah, but the chances of drafting the next Trout are real. You can’t just use the median because it tells you what a team will most likely get from its pick. You also have to consider the fact that, by losing a pick, a team may have missed on a legitimate superstar, even if it’s very unlikely.

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        • cthabeerman says:

          There’s a real chance at winning the lottery, but you don’t see people suggesting that you should base a ticket purchase upon the average amount won (which, to be fair, comes out to about 50 cents on the dollar the vast majority of the time).

          Lottery tickets, prior to finding out the winner, are typically thought to have almost no value whatsoever after purchase. The average person off the street would not buy a lottery ticket secondhand because it could potentially be worth hundreds of millions. Maybe you could stretch it and say a lottery ticket may be worth pennies, due to the still-very-unlikely chance that you win a buck.

          The point is just because you might draft Mike Trout doesn’t mean that the pick is worth average value netted, simply due to the volatile nature of the pick. Trout is the very rare exception to the rule.

          -C

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