FanGraphs Chat – 4/23/14

11:39
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday chat day and the queue is open.

11:41
:

11:41
Dave Cameron: And while we wait for the chat to start, a recent picture of the puppy.

12:02
Dave Cameron: Queue is very full today, so just as a fair warning, there are going to be a lot of unanswered questions. I’ll get to as many as I can.

12:02
Comment From Benji
Can Melky have another MVP type season like he did with the Giants?

12:02
Dave Cameron: Probably not, but I think he could be a solid +3 win player for them.

12:03
Comment From Tom
What happened to the Dbacks?

12:04
Dave Cameron: They were a mediocre team, they lost their best pitcher, and the replacements have been atrocious. Kevin Towers and Jack Zduriecnik are good friends, and they both should have plenty of time to go fishing together soon.

12:04
Comment From Brad
Liberty is too cute for words.

12:04
Dave Cameron: It is her primary redeeming quality.

12:04
Comment From Tom
In light of Mike Petriello’s article re: the Indians defensive woes. Do you think if this continues we will see Lindor by the ASB?

12:04
Dave Cameron: I think we’ll see Lindor by the All-Star break no matter what.

12:05
Comment From Guest
With Seagers struggles is there any chance Franklin takes over 3rd temporarily?

12:05
Dave Cameron: That wouldn’t help anything. It’s unrealistic and won’t happen, but once the Mariners finally convince themselves that this is a bad team, they should approach Cano about a trade.

12:06
Comment From Ted
Does Tanaka finish in the top 5 in Cy Young voting? He hasn’t really done anything wrong yet.

12:07
Dave Cameron: His one flaw is going to be the home run ball. He might give up too many longballs to win out.

12:07
Dave Cameron: And by win out, I mean the Cy Young.

12:07
Comment From Brad
If you were GM for Phillies what prospects would you expect back for Cliff Lee?

12:08
Dave Cameron: It all depends on how much money you eat. They have a ton of cash and no need for financial relief, so they should eat as much as possible and ask for the moon.

12:08
Comment From Goat
Hey Dave! Surprised nobody’s talking about Pedro Alvarez improving his plate discipline. SwStr% down from 16.4% to 11.4% and K% down by NINE ppt, echoing what we saw in ST. He’s hitting more flyballs and sustaining his rollickingly high batted ball distance. .151 BABIP masks pointers to a potentially huge progression. Viable NL MVP candidate if this is legit?!

12:08
Dave Cameron: The hitting more fly balls and the .151 BABIP are related.

12:09
Comment From RK
Is it possible on the site or do you know what the walk % is for the first batter a reliever faces? Sure feels like it’s much higher than the overall rate.

12:09
Dave Cameron: You’d need a database to query that.

12:09
Dave Cameron: Hit up @darenw on Twitter. I bet he can run it for you, and he’s awesome.

12:09
Comment From Fred
Any idea what’s wrong with Cano to this point? He’s going to turn this thing around, right?

12:10
Dave Cameron: Just not hitting for power; I wouldn’t be too worried.

12:11
Comment From ummmm
so…danny salazar?

12:12
Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s not good. Cruising through first few innings, then getting rocked. This is how you end up in the bullpen.

12:12
Comment From Nick
Should the Mariners be concerned about Kyle Seager?

12:13
Dave Cameron: To an extent, yes. He’s become a fly ball hitter who isn’t driving the ball enough to make that profile work, and he hits a ton of infield flies, so the low BABIP isn’t entirely unexpected. Doesn’t hit lefties very well. Nice, solid player. Not a star.

12:14
Comment From Pietraynee
What three players do you think are most likely (however unlikely that is) to provide more WAR than Trout this year if everyone stays healthy?

12:14
Dave Cameron: McCutchen, Posey, Longoria.

12:15
Comment From Stanatee the Manatee
Has there been any research done about prospects not reaching potential due to too much time in the minors? It’s probably paranoia, but I worry about the Cards keeping Oscar Tavares in the minors too long and it hindering his growth.

12:15
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that doesn’t happen.

12:15
Comment From TADontAsk
Is there anything we can look at in a pitcher’s statistical profile, other than batted ball data, to show why they might have a consistently low BABIP? Kershaw, for example, allowed the highest line drive rate of his career last year but had his lowest BABIP. Thanks!

12:16
Dave Cameron: Pitch location. Guys who pitch up in the zone will generate more infield flies, and thus a lower BABIP. They’ll usually give up more homers too, however; that’s the trade-off.

12:16
Comment From Guest
Will this be Smoaks last season as mariner?

12:16
Dave Cameron: I would imagine this is Smoak’s last season as a starter, anywhere.

12:17
Comment From john
Curtis Granderson – another Alderson market misread/mistake. Thoughts?

12:18
Dave Cameron: I didn’t like that deal when they signed it, and I don’t like it now.

12:18
Comment From Prich
Please rank in order of the Puppy’s favorites: Playing, Eating, Sleeping, Biting

12:18
Dave Cameron: Playing, Playing, Playing, Playing, Sleeping, Biting, Playing…. Eating.

12:18
Dave Cameron: She lives to play.

12:19
Comment From B
How does the Defense metric work? Reds starters have allowed the fourth fewest runs and pitched the third most innings, yet they are 23rd in WAR. The Reds defense is second in this Defense metric (at 15.1). How much of run prevention is pitching vs. how much is defense? How does the breakdown vary across teams?

12:20
Dave Cameron: We assign full value for all non-HR batted ball outcomes to the fielders and not the pitcher. This is wrong, but no one really knows what the true split should be, and it’s probably different for every pitcher. The guess is that run prevention is about 80% pitching and 20% defense, but a huge majority of the 80% that is pitching is BB/K/HR.

12:20
Comment From Perry
What would be your statistical definition of a “good” player and what is the percentage of “Good” players currently in MLB? 30%

12:21
Dave Cameron: +3 WAR or better is a good player, to me. I’d guess that there are probably ~100 good players in baseball.

12:21
Comment From Matt
Should the Dbacks enter full rebuild mode at this point? Towers depleted a lot of their minor league talent, and they’re not going to do anything this year.

12:22
Dave Cameron: Yeah, they need to move into sell mode. Trumbo should be sent to a team that needs a 1B/DH type. Maybe move Prado/Hill, plus all the relievers.

12:22
Comment From Jake
There’s no name on the title, to whom am I speaking? TO WHOM!? HELP ME OH MIGHTY TROUT

12:23
Dave Cameron: Whoops, guess I should maybe turn that on.

12:23
Dave Cameron: Better?

12:24
Comment From GianMarlo Stanfield
Did you like the contract the Braves gave Heyward in the off season

12:24
Dave Cameron: They know they’re not going to be able to keep him long term, so it gave them some cost certainty for next two years.

12:24
Comment From Jordan
Jose Fernandez has a __% chance of winning the Cy Young

12:24
Dave Cameron: 38%.

12:25
Comment From Machete
When does the puppy become a Dog?

12:25
Dave Cameron: She turns a year old in a few weeks. But talking to other lab owners, they stay puppies for a while.

12:25
Comment From Eli
Little Richard’s, Bibb’s, or other?

12:26
Dave Cameron: I live around the corner from Little Richards, but I rarely go there. I took Carson to Bibb’s when he came to town, and he liked it a lot.

12:26
Comment From primantis
How many wins will the Pirates have forgone if Polanco is brought up mid-June, rather than starting the season with the team.

12:26
Dave Cameron: Less than one.

12:26
Comment From Jake
Are people too quick to forgive a player with good core skills, but injury proneness? Isn’t a consistent 3 WAR/150 G guy as useful as a 5 WAR/150 G guy who only gets ~100 games a year?

12:27
Dave Cameron: Absolutely not. You’re not going to be able to get +2 WAR in those other 50 games.

12:27
Dave Cameron: Great and occasionally injured beats the crap out of steady and decent.

12:28
Comment From RF
How amazing has Mookie Betts’ last year+ been? .296/.418/.477 in 340 PAs in low-A, .341/.414/.551 in 211 PAs in high-A, and now .452/.500/.694 in 70 PA in AA. And he plays plus defense at an up-the-middle position and is a prolific base-stealer with a nearly 90% success rate.

12:28
Dave Cameron: The real question with Betts is where else can he play. If he can become an above average outfielder, he has a future in Boston. If he’s a 2B only, he’s trade bait.

12:28
Comment From Guest
If MLB stops allowing mid inning pitching changes, how much do strikeouts drop?

12:28
Dave Cameron: Some, and injury rates go through the roof.

12:29
Comment From Nate
Is it possible that Justin Morneau is back to being his vintage self?

12:29
Dave Cameron: Coors Field is a wonder drug.

12:29
Comment From nik
With Hamels back the Phils top 3 is really solid – if the BP stabilizes and the old vets continue producing is there a Wild Card run in this team?

12:29
Dave Cameron: No.

12:30
Comment From Justin
Do you think the A’s go to a closer by committee setup with Gregerson’s recent struggles finishing games?

12:30
Dave Cameron: I’d imagine they’ll just go back to Jim Johnson.

12:30
Comment From SMC
Seriously? Trade Cano in year 1 of a 10-yr deal?

12:30
Dave Cameron: It won’t happen, but this is a team that has little or no use for a guy like Cano, and shouldn’t have ever signed that deal to begin with.

12:30
Dave Cameron: They’ll be bad when he’s good, and by the time the Mariners are good, that contract will be an anchor.

12:31
Comment From Long (but worthwhile) Rant
Hi David. I’m in a bit of a quandary – wRC+ is an attempt to measure individual events and summarize them in a convenient, comparable number. One event, it has seemed to me, has been overlooked (from this and likely many other metrics), namely the Sacrifice Fly. While it is a situational statistic, unlike a HR or a 2B or a BB, it appears to have value but is given none by wRC+. It isn’t registered as an AB and counts against your OBP but appears to me to be a positive outcome. Care to clear things up?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Sac flies are outs. Outs are bad.

12:31
Comment From Paulie
Who would be a good replacement for Jack Z WHEN he gets fired? or at least which franchise will they rob?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Call everyone listed in STL’s directory and offer them all jobs until someone says yes.

12:32
Comment From Guest
How likely is it that a) the Mariners approach Cano about a trade like you suggested and b) a trade actually happens?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Zero. It would take way too much pride swallowing for both sides to admit a mistake this early.

12:33
Comment From Grand Admiral Braun
Would you vote for Cliff Lee for HoF IF he retired at year’s end?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Maybe. But I’m a peak-over-longevity, kinda-big-hall guy.

12:33
Comment From Will
Should the braves be majorly concerned about Justin Upton’s 35% strikeout percentage. Or is this just Justin being Justin?

12:34
Dave Cameron: This is what he does.

12:34
Comment From Sadwick
Without any rebound performance, do you think that Arizona’s awful start will lead to Towers and Gibson getting booted, or just Towers?

12:34
Dave Cameron: I’d imagine everyone is getting fired there.

12:34
Comment From JBD
A coworker was just diagnosed with Cancer. As a survivor, any tips on how I can best be supportive? Thanks!

12:35
Dave Cameron: If they’re going to be hospitalized during chemo/radiation, just go and hang out. Bring board games. Bring food. Hospitals are lonely places. Be around.

12:35
Comment From Guest
Can the Mariners trade Cano without eating any of his salary?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Nope. They outbid the only other interested team by $65 million.

12:37
Comment From Charlie
I thought of it this when I saw McCann catch Tanaka and Lester complain about calls: If pitchers were more aware of pitch framing, would they deman good pitch framers. I’m kinda surprised the entire Red Sox rotation hasn’t demanded David Ross catch them.

12:37
Dave Cameron: Pitchers have been aware of this forever. Remember Charlie O’Brien?

12:37
Comment From Max
How do you see Mesoraco continuing this year?

12:38
Dave Cameron: He’s a good solid catcher. He won’t keep this up.

12:38
Comment From Daniel
Good hitters typically have better BABIPs than poor hitters, correct? If that is true, then at what point can we look at a young player running a higher BABIP and determine he is simply hitting the ball harder? Is this where we look at other stats that show where and how hard the ball is being hit? What are some of the stats you would recommend looking at?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Yes, hitters have more control of the quality of their contact than pitchers do, so the natural spread in hitter BABIP is larger. The key drivers of BABIPs are line drives, avoiding infield flies, and not hitting a ton of fly balls. Guys like Jose Bautista will always post low BABIPs because every ball is in the air. Guys like Joey Votto post high BABIPs because everything is hit straight.

12:40
Comment From Brian S
What’s your thought on Dan Haren’s idea of incorporating opposing batter skill into pitching WAR (and maybe vice versa for that matter)?

12:40
Dave Cameron: It’s worth doing; it’s just a little complicated.

12:41
Dave Cameron: There are a lot of tweaks we could make that would incrementally improve WAR. You can always be improving on models.

12:42
Comment From Visitor
My father claims I am insane for being bothered by Rick Vaughn in “Major League” being a dominating starting pitcher based on only a 96-100 mph fastball, but I don’t think there is anything close to a real life Rick Vaughn ever, is there?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Tony Cingrani?

12:43
Dave Cameron: More about deception than velo, but a good one pitch starter.

12:43
Comment From Michael
Assuming that the pirates hold out for super 2 stauts with polanco when is that date exactly

12:43
Dave Cameron: No one really knows. Late June.

12:44
Comment From Guest
At what point would Batter v Pitcher data become useful?

12:44
Dave Cameron: When it’s batter versus pitcher type and not specific pitcher.

12:45
Comment From Pumpsie Green
I’m sure the Red Sox or Jays would be happy to take Cano in the next year or two. Huge markets, and almost no money committed past next year. Although, a position shift would be required sooner in Boston.

12:45
Dave Cameron: If that was true, both would have pursued him in free agency. Neither did.

12:46
Comment From Chicago Mark
Do you see Drew and Morales signing after the draft? Who would you guess are their primary suitors?

12:46
Dave Cameron: I bet Morales re-signs with the Mariners sooner than later. Scott Boras is probably texting pictures of Morales taking BP every day.

12:47
Dave Cameron: Drew to DET still makes some sense after the draft.

12:48
Comment From Daniel
Given what you said about Seager’s profile, what type of contract extension would you offer him?

12:48
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t.

12:49
Comment From Chris
Does rebuild mode for ARI include bringing up Archie Bradley?

12:49
Dave Cameron: He’s not ready.

12:50
Comment From osund
Are Michael Brantley’s early season home run numbers sustainable? If he develops some extra power, his contract becomes even more of a steal

12:50
Dave Cameron: Probably won’t keep this up, but guys adding power is one of the primary ways they improve in a hurry.

12:50
Comment From Catoblepas
At what point do the Sox start exploring other positions with Betts? Or does he stay at second as the centerpiece of a Stanton deal?

12:51
Dave Cameron: I’d probably start moving him around now. Teams know he can play 2B; figure out where else he can play in case a trade never develops.

12:52
Comment From Prich
Cano for Kemp… who says no?

12:52
Dave Cameron: The Dodgers.

12:52
Comment From Narwhal
Why is Jean Segura this terrible? What do you expect from him going forward.

12:53
Dave Cameron: The swing-at-everything approach only works if you hit for power.

12:53
Comment From Logan
If, theoretically, Cano were to allow a trade, is there any team that would actually take on this contract and give something of value in return? Would it even be in the realm of possibility to get an Oscar Taveras or Joc Pederson from a contending team that needs a 2B?

12:53
Dave Cameron: Sure, if you ate $100 million of the deal. Maybe more.

12:54
Dave Cameron: If you want an elite young player back, you aren’t getting it for a guy no one else would have signed for that price in FA.

12:55
Comment From Ryan
Who is the worst defensive player you’ve ever seen and what made him so bad?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Jesus Montero, Catcher.

12:55
Dave Cameron: Not a single redeeming quality.

12:56
Comment From Bill Belamy
Mike Moustakas….any value there this year? His OBP has always been terrible, but I have this thing for former high first round draft picks…

12:56
Dave Cameron: So did Jim Bowden

12:57
Comment From Gareth
My pet peeve in baseball is a player not being able to advance the runner at second with nobody out. Whats yours?

12:57
Dave Cameron: People complaining about hitters not making outs on purpose.

12:58
Comment From Dewey
Can balls in play data (LD%, GB%, OFB%, etc) from the California and Pacific Coast League help mitigate/balance the extreme hitting environments when evaluating players?

12:58
Dave Cameron: No, minor league batted ball data is mostly useless.

12:58
Comment From Lee
what would you expect the real world record of a team made up of entirely replacement level players be? Related, can one arrive at a reasonable estimate of a team’s record by combining the WAR of all players on the roster?

12:59
Dave Cameron: A replacement level team would win about 48 games, by definition. So total team WAR, +48 wins, gets you in the ballpark of expected wins at the team level. It isn’t designed to match up exactly, but it’s usually +/- 10 wins for every club.

1:00
Comment From SMC
Prime Pujols vs. Prime Miggy. Select one.

1:00
Dave Cameron: Pujols.

1:01
Comment From Marker
Where would Morales fit in SEA? Don’t they already have a billion 1B/DH types?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Hart would play OF more. Also, Smoak and Morrison are basically useless.

1:01
Comment From Donald
Johnny Cueto is one of the 5 best starting pitchers in baseball. True or false?

1:02
Dave Cameron: False.

1:02
Comment From Brad
will you have a hall of fame vote by the time Lee is eligible?

1:03
Dave Cameron: Who knows. I’m seven years away from a HOF vote based on current rules, but I’m guessing it gets changed before then.

1:03
Comment From Machete
This is why I don’t see a Stanton to Boston trade. He will want a huge contract, and the Sox have moved on from that kind of thing..or so they say.

1:03
Dave Cameron: They’ve moved on from those types of deals for free agents. Young stars in their 20s are another story.

1:05
Comment From SMC
I think Lee *could* make it in. If he manages another four years at or close to this level, he will be at or close to Schilling’s win total. Schilling is an interesting comp, and he will probably get in.

1:06
Dave Cameron: The writers won’t put Mike Mussina in the HOF. Their bar for pitchers right now is insane.

1:06
Dave Cameron: Okay, off to get some lunch and watch some baseball. Thanks for hanging out, everyone.



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Astro_fan
Guest
Astro_fan

Must hurt losing to Houston like that.

Nate
Guest
Nate

It does, but not so much now that we’re getting used to it. Just got swept by the Marlins too…

gus-bus
Guest
gus-bus

Does.

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