FanGraphs Chat – 4/16/14

11:42
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday, so let’s talk anything besides fantasy questions.
11:42
Dave Cameron: The queue is open.
12:02
Comment From jocephus
is shelby unbroken now?
12:03
Dave Cameron: Didn’t look fixed to me. His command was still terrible, and he’s still throwing his curve much slower than he did a year ago. Maybe it’s a mechanical tweak that the Cardinals can make and get him back to what he was, but one game with 7 strikeouts isn’t evidence that he’s back.
12:04
Comment From Xolo
How insulting was San Diego’s offer of 3/33-39 to Headley?
12:04
Dave Cameron: They aren’t serious about keeping him.

12:04
Comment From M
Now that Springer is up, would you recommend stashing Gregory Polanco? Similar impact type bat of 15ish HRs and 20SBs?
12:05
Dave Cameron: They’re not at all similar. Polanco is a gap-to-gap guy with contact skills; Springer is an all-or-nothing slugger.
12:05
Comment From BuffaloC
How long until Towers and Gibby are out? What Towers has done to this team is borderline criminal. GRIT.
12:06
Dave Cameron: I haven’t liked his roster decisions either, but let’s get real; you can’t attribute the team’s pitching problems to “grit”. You can’t just pretend like one personality trait you don’t like about that team is the cause of any problem they have.
12:06
Comment From dan
Could the Phillies land Mookie Betts (BOS) in a Lee trade later this summer?
12:06
Dave Cameron: Going from blocked by Pedroia to blocked by Utley isn’t really an upgrade. I think they try to use him and some other neat stuff to land Giancarlo Stanton.
12:07
Comment From Stephen
Good morning Dave. Do you know if there is any data on how switching from metal to wood affects high school/college players entering the minor leagues?
12:07
Dave Cameron: The NCAA changed the way their bats work a few years ago — google BBCOR if you’re interested — so the change isn’t nearly as dramatic as it used to be. Still different, but it’s at least in the same general range now.
12:08
Comment From Pale Hose
Christian Yelich has a 63.6% groundball rate in 336 PAs. Is this a cause for concern in his long-term outlook? Can he be successful with this approach?
12:08
Dave Cameron: You can be a good hitter and hit a ton of groundballs. You just won’t hit for a lot of power.
12:08
Comment From Daniel Bryan
Poor Billy Hamilton. Gets a pinch hit, then a caught stealing. Lays down a bunt, gets thrown out. How long is his leash?
12:09
Dave Cameron: I think the Reds give him another month. If he’s still getting on base at a .250 clip by then, they’ll go with Heisey/Bernardina.
12:09
Comment From Not Walt Jocketty
maybe this is rudimentary, but what is the difference between plate discipline and pitchf/x plate discipline? i was browsing homer bailey’s numbers to see what’s causing his inflated HR/FB ratio and noticed huge differences between them. also, any insights on to what you think his problem might be?
12:10
Dave Cameron: The BIS Plate Discipline stats are manually recorded, so they aren’t updated until two days after the performance; for a starter who pitched yesterday, his pitches from that start won’t be included. PITCHF/x is based on a computer algorithm and is updated nightly.
12:10
Comment From Logan
Do you have any thoughts on Nick Franklin getting called up? Thoughts on him as an outfielder?
12:10
Dave Cameron: He played a few innings there in spring training, but he’s not an outfielder, and they shouldn’t just stick him out there and assume he’ll be fine.
12:11
Comment From Guest
Does the Astros bringing up Springer put added PR pressure on the Diamondbacks for not calling up Bradley? Who the hell is Bolinger or whatever his name is?
12:11
Dave Cameron: I don’t think Kevin Towers cares about PR, nor should he, really.
12:11
Comment From Matt
Expectations for Springer this season?
12:11
Dave Cameron: .240/.300/.420.
12:12
Comment From Tommy
Do you believe in pitching coaches having a huge effect on relief pitchers’ performance? As a resident of Pittsburgh, people here revere Ray Searage as a miracle worker due to the development of Grilli and Melancon. While he certainly could have had an effect on them, I mostly credit that to proper utilization and often volatile nature of RP year by year performance. What do you think?
12:12
Dave Cameron: I think some pitching coaches can have a big impact, yes. Don Cooper, for instance, has made a career out of teaching guys the cutter and turning crap into gold. There aren’t a lot of Don Coopers, though.
12:13
Comment From Terry
Can you talk about shifts a little? How do you see their increasing prevalence affecting the game in the long term? I’m thinking along the lines of depressed offensive stats and lower scores, but do you think hitters will be able to adjust accordingly?
12:14
Dave Cameron: The game will find an equilibrium. If shifting really drives down offensive performance, guys will get better at bunting.
12:14
Comment From Justin
With Taillon out for at least a year, the Pirates’ 2015 rotation lacks upside. Cole, Morton, and then a smattering of #4 types. Someone like Samardzija would bridge the gap from 2014 trade deadline to healthy Taillon/ready Glasnow/Kingham time quite nicely, right? Better than committing (spitballing ) $60 mil to Liriano.
12:15
Dave Cameron: Cole/Liriano as your top 2 in a playoff series is fine. I don’t think they need an “ace” type; just another solid starter if Wandy doesn’t get right.
12:15
Comment From Guest
On a scale of 1 to keith law, how good are you at cooking?
12:16
Dave Cameron: I’ve got a few things that I’m pretty good at. I can’t cook anything you ask me to cook, but if you give me the right to pick the menu, I can come up with something that won’t suck.
12:16
Comment From Guest
Will any team pay more Morales than 3/30?
12:17
Dave Cameron: No, teams are smarter than they used to be.
12:17
Comment From DC
Would Nats be better off signing Ian Desmond to a long term (6/100?) deal, or rolling the dice and letting Danny Espinosa play short?
12:17
Dave Cameron: I think I’d sign Desmond.
12:18
Comment From billy
would you have called up springer?
12:19
Dave Cameron: Recent long term extensions have priced in something like a $5 million Super Two premium. If Astros think they can get Springer to sign something similar, then calling him up now isn’t going to hurt them much financially, and it’s a good idea to try and put your best team on the field.
12:20
Comment From Ryan D
I’m not sure if you watched Yordano’s start. On f(x), some fastballs were labeled as cutters. Was this an error or did Yordano add a cutter?
12:20
Dave Cameron: Don’t put too much stock on the PITCHF/x labels. They’re good at grouping things like fastball/curve/slider, but trying to figure out what kind of fastball isn’t its strength.
12:21
Comment From Pumpsie Green
How strong is the union’s case in the ESPN issue? Any way they can force the reporter to divulge sources?
12:21
Dave Cameron: No, they can’t. But it’s pretty clear that the executives did violate the CBA. MLB’s right that it probably doesn’t matter much, but the union is right that they aren’t allowed to do that.
12:21
Comment From NatsManager
Why are pitchers demonstrating such extremes? Masterful one game and getting hammered the next.
12:22
Dave Cameron: Because pitching results include a lot of things that aren’t pitching.
12:22
Comment From Chris
Boston media is going crazy about the Sox low-ball offer to Lester, 4yr – $70-$80m. That doesn’t seem crazy low to me. What is Lester worth on the open market??
12:22
Dave Cameron: AAV is about right, but it’s at least a year too short, and probably two years. 6/110 or something in that range is what I’d guess.
12:23
Comment From Stephen
Did you get your taxes done early or late?
12:23
Dave Cameron: I did them a week ago. So, for me, that’s early.
12:23
Comment From Dewey
Can high groundball starting pitchers get away with low strikeout rates, or does a pitcher “have” to miss bats regardless to be successful?
12:23
Dave Cameron: You have to miss some minimum number of bats, but a quantity of GBs and walk avoidance can make up for a low K rate. Ks are best, but low BB/high GB works too.
12:24
Comment From Mugatu
Assuming he was MLB ready at the beginning of the year, what (if anything) did the Astros gain by waiting until now to promote George Springer?
12:24
Dave Cameron: They control his rights for an extra year.
12:24
Comment From TKDC
Why do old school commentators understand how bad it is to walk guys, but don’t understand how good it is to walk as a hitter?
12:25
Dave Cameron: I think it’s more about assigning credit. Hitters don’t get credit for walks because they “didn’t do anything”; the pitcher was the one at fault for the walk. It’s a passive play, and people like to reward action.
12:26
Comment From Finding Forrester
How does Springer’s promotion at similar times to that of Trout / Harper / Myers affect your position on the future of their teams prospects? Correa? Appell? Singleton? Doesn’t it force their hand to be at least *a little* more aggressive on their promotions or does it make more economic sense to stagger their times until each hits FA?
12:27
Dave Cameron: I don’t really understand your question, to be honest. Teams wait until after the the player doesn’t have enough service time to earn a full year towards free agency. This isn’t new, and it won’t change until the rules do.
12:27
Comment From Johnny
Do you buy Kevin Towers’ explanation as to why they are not calling up Archie Bradley? Seems logical, but I’m sure service time is definitely still a factor.
12:28
Dave Cameron: Actually, I believe Towers. You don’t care about the extra year of team control as much with pitchers, who usually break down before year seven anyway.
12:28
Dave Cameron: Let’s keep in mind that Bradley’s command sucks and projections think he’s not very good right now.
12:28
Dave Cameron: His profile is regularly overrated by prospect analysts; I have no problem believing he belongs in the minors.
12:29
Comment From 7 year old puppies
My wife lets the lab out of his kennel first thing. She goes to the bathroom, he comes to make sure I’m still in bed before flinging garbage all over the kitchen.
12:29
Dave Cameron: Labs are the best.
12:29
Comment From Tom
Do you think the Reds could end up as sellers at the deadline and if so, who would they move if they were out of the race by that point?
12:30
Dave Cameron: If they have a disaster first half, I could see them putting Cueto and/or Latos on the block. They won’t be able to re-sign all their pitchers, and I’d be a little worried about giving either one a long term deal.
12:30
Comment From Gabe
At what point is a low BAbip not a reasonable excuse for bad performance? For example: Mike Moustakas has a .125 BAbip but a wRC+ of -1.
12:30
Dave Cameron: You just listed a cause and an effect.
12:30
Comment From Johnny
ICYMI, Giancarlo Stanton is a good hitter.
12:30
Dave Cameron: And, shockingly, despite being “protected” by Casey McGehee, pitchers will throw him strikes. Funny how that works.
12:31
Comment From Johnny
Dilemma: I need to study for finals but Yu Darvish vs. Felix Hernandez.
12:32
Dave Cameron: Well, they aren’t pitching now, so you have eight hours to study.
12:32
Comment From Will
Who have you change your opinion on the most based on the early season results (not as a result of injury)?
12:32
Dave Cameron: Hard not to think that Jesse Chavez might actually be a quality SP now.
12:32
Comment From john
dave – nice piece on gyorko… while i am a big fan, i thought it was much too early to give him that kind of deal
12:33
Dave Cameron: I don’t have a problem with the timing. I just don’t think you need to rush out and give six year deals to league average players with limited upside. Especially guys whose value is going to come in things that arbiters won’t know to reward.
12:34
Comment From Guest
Who gets displaced in the Pirates OF when Polanco gets the call up?
12:34
Dave Cameron: Well, I don’t think it’s going to be McCutchen or Marte, so…
12:35
Comment From Guest
How many options does Nick Franklin have left? Can he be sent down again and again?
12:35
Dave Cameron: Players have option years, not number of options. So in a year where the option is used once, it can be used an unlimited number of times.
12:35
Comment From Hogie (DC)
Offseason: Jordan Zimmermann for package with Mookie Betts as centerpiece. Who says no? Zimmermann wants to test free agency, so Nats ship him out with a year to go.
12:36
Dave Cameron: Boston’s not trading Betts for a one year rental.
12:36
Comment From Xolo
What’s your take on Gyorko getting the third largest extension for a player with only one year under his belt?
12:36
Dave Cameron: The deal is fine in a vacuum; it will probably even work out okay for San Diego. But yeah, his agents should get a medal. Or Starling Marte’s agent should be hanging his head in shame. Maybe both.
12:37
Comment From Timothy
Do our questions get any more visibility if we send them right after you answer a question, or do you try to scroll through all the ones you get?
12:37
Dave Cameron: I generally run about 20 minutes behind, so I don’t see questions until long after they’ve been put in the queue.
12:38
Comment From Guest
How do you go about establishing a fiscal limit for each team such that $ per war is consistent. Is it at all reasonable to scale as a % of payroll or does it have a o be league wide. If the latter , why?
12:38
Dave Cameron: $/WAR is not consistent. The Dodgers spend a lot more to buy a win than the Rays do.
12:38
Comment From Guest
Do full Time Fg writers have press passes to attend free games?
12:39
Dave Cameron: Eno Sarris, David Laurila, and I are members of the BBWAA, and have a press credential.
12:39
Comment From Ringtone Composer
Giancarlo Stanton has 3 of the 5 longest HRs this season, as judged by HitTrackerOnline’s “True Distance” metric. Does he hit the ball as hard as anyone you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching?
12:39
Dave Cameron: McGwire in his prime, maybe. But yeah.
12:40
Comment From Guest
Dave, thanks for the chat. I’m sure you’re getting a bunch of Springer questions, but I was wondering if you have any idea, whether speculation or informed on your part, as to why Singleton isnt coming up as well. Slash line looked similar, just named PCL player of the week. And Carter clearly isn’t working right now. Is it defensive work still needed? Thoughts? Thanks.
12:40
Dave Cameron: He missed most of last year. No harm giving him more experience.
12:40
Comment From Pumpsie Green
If Jose Bautista played centre all year and hit 50 homers again, what do you expect his WAR would be?
12:40
Dave Cameron: Lower than it would be if he played a corner spot.
12:41
Comment From Jose
From your Fox article, is the Gyorko contract was something you personally would have done if you were the Padres, or no?
12:41
Dave Cameron: Probably not. I doubt it will hurt them much, but I don’t see the need to buy out guys like him ahead of time.
12:41
Comment From Krusty
Do you think groundball pitchers lose some of their groundball effectiveness over time due to adjustments being made by hitters? Caution: sample n=1 approaching… I’m thinking of how Felix’s gb rate was in the 60’s % in his first couple of yrs but has normalized to the 50’s since then, while his stuff has remained largely the same. Or at least that’s my perception.
12:42
Dave Cameron: He’s traded GBs for Ks. It was a conscious decision once he started losing velocity.
12:42
Dave Cameron: And realized that his fastball is his fourth best pitch.
12:42
Comment From Nolan
have you watched Andrew Cashner this year? Trying to temper my enthusiasm a bit, but he looks like an ace right now. Health permitting, how good is he?
12:42
Dave Cameron: I’ve always been a Cashner guy. If his arm stays attached to his body, he’ll be good.
12:43
Comment From JoelInCanada
There was buzz with the Giants last week re: contract extension for Pablo Sandoval. They offered 3/40 I think, Pablo’s agent says their starting point is 5/90. What is Pablo worth? Is he worth more to an AL team?
12:43
Dave Cameron: If he has a good year, he’ll get something like 5/75 as a free agent.
12:44
Dave Cameron: Maybe 5/90. Somewhere in there.
12:44
Comment From Josh
How bogus is the arbitration rule? It screws teams from having their star prospects start where they should to begin the year and then you have to figure out when the Super 2 deadline is since there is no hard date.
12:44
Dave Cameron: Figuring out when to call players up to avoid Super Two isn’t hard. And it doesn’t “screw teams” because they’re the ones making the decision to keep the guy down.
12:45
Comment From nik
Do 3 more 5-WARish years make Utley a HOFer?
12:45
Dave Cameron: For me, yes. For BBWAA voters, probably not.
12:45
Comment From Pumpsie Green
What’s your solution to Ryan Zimmerman, and what do you expect the Nationals’ solution will be?
12:45
Dave Cameron: Patch it together for this year, moves to 1B next year.
12:45
Dave Cameron: Billy Hamilton walk alert.
12:46
Dave Cameron: Billy Hamilton on base alert. Code Red. Code Red.
12:46
Dave Cameron: Chat will pause while Hamilton is on base.
12:46
Dave Cameron: Hamilton steals second.
12:47
Dave Cameron: This is now a Billy Hamilton baserunning live blog.
12:47
Dave Cameron: Hamilton to third on a ball in the dirt.
12:48
Dave Cameron: Votto draws a walk. Shocking. We will now resume our regularly scheduled Q&A.
12:49
Comment From Josh
What would a Cashner extension look like (I’d love to see him back home in Houston)?
12:49
Dave Cameron: I don’t think you want to give a guy with his history of arm problems a long term deal.
12:49
Comment From Sean
In regards to holding down prospects because of potential super two: what if the CBA was changed so that players received raises in their 2nd and 3rd seasons that reflects service time? So instead of receiving an extra year of arbitration, they get salaries of $1 mill and $1.5 mill in years 2 and 3. Would that be good for teams and players?
12:50
Dave Cameron: The problem with inflating salaries for all young players is that you’re disproportionately hurting low-revenue teams that rely on cheap pre-arb players to contend. That kind of rule would simply exacerbate the gap in competitive balance.
12:50
Dave Cameron: Also, Francisco Liriano is having some command problems today…
12:50
Comment From The Oriole Bird
What data does Fangraphs use for park factors to determine, for example, wRC+ for 2014 stats?
12:51
Dave Cameron: Park Factors are based on regressed five year numbers.
12:51
Comment From Catoblepas
Dave, do the playoff odds have a bayesian aspect to them? Like, obviously we don’t expect the A’s to win at a .666 pace for the rest of the season, nor the red sox to win at a .333 pace, but do they incorporate that information and conclude that the As are maybe better than projected and the red sox worse?
12:51
Dave Cameron: Yes, that’s exactly how they work. We take what they’ve already done and what they’re expected to do going forward to come up with a new projection based on all the available data.
12:52
Comment From Hank G.
What’s the single best measure of offensive production that is not adjusted for position?
12:52
Dave Cameron: wRC+.
12:52
Comment From Guest
Let’s say every one of your readers for everything you published had taken economics. Would your job be easier or harder?
12:53
Dave Cameron: Probably harder. A lot of what I do is taking economic concepts and explaining them to the masses. I’d be much less useful if everyone already understood those concepts.
12:53
Comment From Zach
Labs are great, but you’ve gotta try a Pit Bull/Lab mix. I’ve got one and she’s the best dog I’ve ever had.
12:53
Dave Cameron: Working from home with one dog is hard enough.
12:54
Comment From 7 year old puppies
I’ve seen much grousing on FG re the ARod suspension, much of it way off base. The right of an employer to discipline is fairly sacrosanct and it is highly unusual for any court to impinge it post arbitration.
12:54
Dave Cameron: Unless the employer agrees to a collectively bargained agreement that lays out the exact terms of how an employee can be punished. Which is exactly what MLB did.
12:56
Comment From chuckb
How much influence do you think Springer’s agent and the MLBPA had in his callup or do you think it was strictly a baseball decision?
12:56
Dave Cameron: This was the plan all along, I’m sure.
12:56
Comment From ED
Does Springer’s promotion in any way accelerate Carlos Correa’s road to the big leagues?
12:56
Dave Cameron: Not at all. I guess I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is a surprising callup. This is what teams do. This is what they’ve always done.
12:57
Comment From Dan
Let’s say Simmons does not regress significantly from his wRC+ of 146. Does he challenge Mike Trout for the crown of best player in baseball?
12:57
Dave Cameron: Sure. And if Emilio Bonifacio keep this up, he’s a Hall of Famer.
12:58
Comment From someone
Is votto hitting second a happy accident or did someone on the reds take a tip from The Book?
12:58
Dave Cameron: Bryan Price is a smart dude.
12:58
Comment From Glendo
What are the odds that Tai Walker’s shoulder is actually fine?
12:59
Dave Cameron: It’s possible, of course, but the likely outcome is surgery.
12:59
Comment From Hank G.
Why should young players be the ones that have to subsidize low-revenue teams?
12:59
Dave Cameron: Good luck getting the old players to agree to do it.
12:59
Comment From Kevin
Just me or could Elias actually be a decent 3-4 at some point?
12:59
Dave Cameron: It’s just you. He’s not good.
1:00
Comment From Mikey
How does UzR adjust for shifts? For example, what happens if a third baseman makes a play on the second base side because of a shift? How does this affect his UzR?
1:00
Dave Cameron: It doesn’t: UZR does not reward players for plays made with the shift on.
1:00
Comment From Catoblepas
related question: do the depth charts get updated as well? if the red sox learned that pedroia was out for the season with his wrist thing, for example, would that be reflected in the charts and playoff odds?
1:01
Dave Cameron: Yep. The DCs change with injuries and transactions, and those playing time estimates power the projections.
1:01
Comment From Meano Eno
I’m moving to Winston Salem soon, so if you notice a stalker, its probably me
1:01
Dave Cameron: You’ll like it here. Hit me up on Twitter when you get here and we’ll grab lunch.
1:02
Dave Cameron: Unless you are a stalker. Then we’ll go to the courthouse and fill out the restraining order together.
1:02
Comment From Paul
Re: Simmons… Jeff said yesterday he thinks a ceiling of 110-120 wRC+ is feasible. Do you agree with that? Even at “just” that offensive level, he’d be a regular MVP candidate I imagine.
1:03
Dave Cameron: I think 100-110 is more likely, but yeah, it’s possible. Question is how fast the defense declines.
1:03
Comment From Jim
Considering attending school at UNC Chapel Hill, any thoughts?
1:04
Dave Cameron: I didn’t go there, so I can’t speak from experience, but my UNC loving friends all had a great time, and the area is awesome.
1:04
Comment From Harry Porter
Boo UNC, go Pack!
1:04
Dave Cameron: I would show some UNCG Spartan pride, but I don’t have any. I did appreciate their very low tuition prices, though.
1:05
Dave Cameron: Alright, off to do some real work. Thanks for the questions.



Print This Post



Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


7 Responses to “FanGraphs Chat – 4/16/14”

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

    Dave,should the snakes promote Bradley.Seems they sure could use him.Also, Shelby Miller looked fine to me in Mil.Seems he quit the pitch experimenting,and went back to the fastball.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. RogerClemensNeedle says:

    An economist would make Dave’s head explode.

    Contract principles =/= economics, and baseball (specifically the younger players under team control) does not fit into the economic world that the rest of us live in.

    -6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • indyralph says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Economics is all about how people and organizations manage scare resources. How does that not relate to contract principles? Also, what economics class did you take where the impact of unions, monopolies/cartels, and taxes were not discussed? All clearly apply to baseball.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • dkulich44 says:

      You do know Dave is an economist by trade, right?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jimmer says:

    great chat today.

    Vote -1 Vote +1