FanGraphs Chat – 4/9/14

11:45
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday, so let’s chat. The queue is now open.
12:05
Dave Cameron: Sorry for the slight delay; had to finish up the announcement of our new content agreement with Fox Sports. If you haven’t seen it, you can check out that announcement here. http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…
12:06
Comment From Kris
What can/should the braves do with BJ Upton…? Is there anything that can be done?
12:07
Dave Cameron: Have patience. The contract basically is unmovable at this point, so they simply have to hope he can figure out his swing issues and get back to being a reasonably productive hitter.
12:07
Comment From Catoblepas
What kind of changes can we expect with the Fangraphs-Fox collaboration? Is the site as we know it going to disappear?
12:08
Dave Cameron: Absolutely not. This is a content arrangement, where Fox has essentially employed us to write for their site, but that is simply going to be in addition to what we already do. FanGraphs itself won’t see any changes from this, beyond the fact that Jeff, Eno, and I will be publishing one piece per week each over at Fox. Beyond that, FanGraphs isn’t changing at all.

12:09
Comment From Kyle Seager
Am I bad?
12:09
Dave Cameron: Not unless you’ve started believing in the predictive power of seven games. Which you shouldn’t. Don’t do that.
12:09
Comment From Zimmerman
HOF question and steroid debate. Is it reasonable for Fangraphs to project what Bonds would have produced had he not taken steroids and have the voters base their decision on that. I understand not voting him in because he did steroids but he was sure fire Hall of Famer anyway before he started to juice.
12:09
Dave Cameron: There’s no way to know:
12:09
Dave Cameron: 1. When he started using.
12:09
Dave Cameron: 2. How much they affected him.
12:10
Dave Cameron: 3. How many pitchers he faced were using too.
12:10
Dave Cameron: It’s a web that cannot be untangled.
12:11
Comment From Jon
Dave, any real surprises from the first week+ of baseball?
12:11
Dave Cameron: Well, there was this.
12:11
Comment From juan pierres mustache
the moment when Dee Gordon hits a 400 foot homer off of Max Scherzer is the moment you are sure you are dreaming
12:11
Dave Cameron: The Marlins hitting also has to qualify, but again, seven games.
12:11
Comment From Joey
Is it outrageous to believe Utley has 1 final good season in him? .280 25 HR 100 RBI?
12:12
Dave Cameron: Utley has never been bad. When healthy, he’s excellent.
12:12
Comment From Ryan D
Yordano Ventura? Thoughts?
12:13
Dave Cameron: 100 with movement is obviously exciting. That said, I’m mostly skeptical of velocity guys with mediocre secondary stuff, because we can basically guarantee that he can’t sustain this velocity long term. If he’s going to be an ace, the non-fastball stuff has to get better.
12:13
Comment From Darth Stout
Is there anything to the perception that pitchers are getting injured more this Spring than in years past?
12:13
Dave Cameron: Yeah. According to Stan Conte, the historical average is something like 18-20 Tommy John surgeries on MLB pitchers per year. We’re already at 15 or 16.
12:14
Comment From Marcus A.
How worried should Mariners fans be about Paxton?
12:15
Dave Cameron: The fact that he has a history of arm problems makes this more of a concern. Lat strain can often be the initial diagnosis for a more severe shoulder issue. Don’t know enough yet, but I’d be concerned.
12:15
Comment From Catoblepas
Is there a stat to distinguish between a “doubles hitter” and a “home run hitter”? ISO doesn’t do it, and I’m trying to figure out the proper rates to use. HR%, HR/FB%, some combination thereof?
12:16
Dave Cameron: Couldn’t you just use 2Bs and HRs? I’m not trying to be dismissive, but it seems like this might be a case where the basic numbers give you exactly what you want.
12:16
Comment From Tywin
Most overrated team in MLB?
12:17
Dave Cameron: The Royals. They’re a popular pick this year to contend. I don’t see it.
12:17
Comment From ffffred
Are there any strikingly small sample size things going on that you do think warrant concern or optimism?
12:18
Dave Cameron: Everything is too early, but the kinds of numbers that might be interesting to me are changes in pitch mix (like Chris Sale’s increased change-up usage I wrote about yesterday) or velocity changes. Results don’t really matter yet. Process might.
12:18
Comment From PJB
as a bucs fan I’m terrified of the brewers. (and of the notion the division might cannibalize itself out of the playoff picture). are they a mediocre team on a good run or a serious threat?
12:18
Dave Cameron: I don’t really see them as legit contenders.
12:19
Comment From Tytos
Team most likely to lose more games than last year is Boston, right?
12:19
Dave Cameron: Or Atlanta.
12:19
Comment From Skuggs, NYC
Congrats on FoxSports, just saw Neyer’s tweet. Does this mean no ESPN for you?
12:20
Dave Cameron: I personally won’t be writing for ESPN this year, but FanGarphs partnership with ESPN Insider is continuing on. Paul Swydan and Mike Petriello will keep writing for ESPN on a weekly basis and will continue publishing those pieces on the FG+ blog.
12:20
Comment From Bubba
Obviously you take the under, but would Trumbo be the most likely candidate to pull a 2013 Chris Davis (I’m excluding known awesome hitters like Stanton)?
12:21
Dave Cameron: He’s got the power to have a monster season like that, sure. But so does Michael Morse and a bunch of other undisciplined hacks to have never turned into Chris Davis.
12:21
Comment From Moop
Ok, so here’s the deal. I was chatting with you about Mous in Venezuela and working hard and blah blah blah last week. MAYBE you were right. (He did get a hit yesterday though)
12:22
Dave Cameron: You shouldn’t overreact to seven games any more than you should overreact to spring training.
12:22
Comment From Bert
Any thoughts on Aaron Barrett of the Nationals? Seems like Matt Williams really likes, as he’s been used in a couple high leverage situations already this season. Had some great K rates in minors. Is this a future closer in the making?
12:22
Dave Cameron: Yeah, he’s a good arm. The Nationals bullpen is very good.
12:23
Comment From Ryan
hot wings or mozzarella sticks Dave? You can’t pick both!
12:23
Dave Cameron: Neither? I’ve never understood the appeal of wings. Maybe it’s because I don’t drink, but they just aren’t very good.
12:24
Comment From Chone
What has made James Paxton so effective up to this point? And barring injury, is it sustainable?
12:24
Dave Cameron: The Angels are a hyper aggressive team, so his command problems haven’t hurt him. Even if he’s healthy, I wouldn’t expect that to last when he faces teams who realize he doesn’t really throw enough strikes.
12:25
Comment From _David_
Is the Matt Thornton throw-it-down-the-middle thing real? It seems like it would have worked for more pitchers and we’d be hearing about them.
12:25
Dave Cameron: Not many guys can throw 99 from the left side.
12:25
Comment From Kris
Comment section at Fox Sports already seems to be a bit different than the comments section here… Do you think you’ll have to alter your writing style for pieces there?
12:26
Dave Cameron: Writers can’t write for the commenters. You write the best pieces you can, try to back up your points with as much evidence as possible, and then develop a thick enough skin that the comments don’t bother you.
12:27
Comment From Tim
Since I’m wise enough not to take anything that has happened thus far with too much weight, can someone tell me WHEN it is safe to do so? I.e. team performance, individual performance, minor league performance, etc.
12:27
Dave Cameron: There is no date at which things become “real”. It’s like climbing a flight of stairs. You’re not at the bottom and then the top. It’s a process. You put more weight on things every day, but at a slow incline.
12:28
Comment From Dave
Nice to see the national exposure of Fox Sports, how do you plan on dealing with the color commentators who don’t care/can’t understand advance metrics, or the philosophy behind such stats?
12:28
Dave Cameron: They don’t really affect my life in any way, so I don’t have to deal with them.
12:28
Comment From GSon
Matt Moore’s injury.. Do the Rays really believe Erik Bedard can get the job done? or will they explore Shark infested waters on the north side of Chicago?
12:29
Dave Cameron: They’re not going to make a play for Samardzija. They’ll find an in-house strike thrower who can take advantage of their defense.
12:29
Comment From DTSS
What’s your take on Miami? One of the worst teams in baseball or .500 team with an outside shot at the playoffs if things go well?
12:29
Dave Cameron: In between. Better than the Astros and Twins, but not a real contender.
12:29
Comment From David
If the mets moved duda or Davis who would net back more value?
12:30
Dave Cameron: Probably about the same; not much.
12:30
Comment From Big Poppa
Nats trade R. Zimmerman to O’s for Hardy then flip Hardy to Yanks for Nova….Who says no?
12:30
Dave Cameron: Everyone who isn’t the Nats.
12:30
Comment From Curtis
What one change would most help the Arizona Dimondbacks this season?
12:31
Dave Cameron: Not have Pat Corbin blow out his elbow? Their pitching isn’t very good now.
12:31
Comment From Corey
Do you think Corey Hart is Sexson 2.0? But cheap so actually good?
12:31
Dave Cameron: He won’t do what Sexson did his first few years in Seattle. He’s going to be a solid source of power who needs a lot of off days and probably makes a lot of outs.
12:32
Comment From KJ
In light of the recent article, how bad would Papelbon have to get before the Phillies put someone else in the 9th?
12:32
Dave Cameron: He’ll have to have a total meltdown. Phillies need him to save games if they have any chance of moving any of that contract at any point.
12:33
Comment From Rick
Will I have to go to fox sports to read some of the pieces? Or will the articles have links on the front of fangraphs?
12:33
Dave Cameron: We’ll probably throw up posts linking to the pieces we write over at Fox.
12:33
Comment From Bret
What do you make of the Jays needing to resort to asking 5 players to defer money, just in order to sign Ervin Santana to a one year deal?
12:34
Dave Cameron: Teams have budgets. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise.
12:34
Comment From Jays fan
Is Brett Lawrie not a good baseball player? He keeps topping the ball or popping up and Keith Law doesn’t think very highly of his defence.
12:35
Dave Cameron: He shouldn’t be anywhere near this bad. His upside might be closer to Martin Prado than we thought, though.
12:35
Comment From Rick
Billy Hamilton is doing what most expected him to do…which is not get on base…granted, it’s a small sample, but he was rolling in spring training…is he just not ready for the bigs? Think he’s in AAA by June?
12:36
Dave Cameron: I’m going to write about him tomorrow, I think. Low contact and no power isn’t a great combination, but there are a few guys who have made it work.
12:36
Comment From Antwon
Velocity=Most overrated skillset in baseball? T or F
12:36
Dave Cameron: False. That would be arm strength, which matters almost not at all.
12:37
Comment From Thomas John
Is it possible we’re seeing increases in TJ surgery as somewhat of a proactive measure (against partial tears and whatnot)?
12:37
Dave Cameron: It’s possible, sure. I don’t think we really have a good answer on what is happening to pitchers right now.
12:38
Comment From Guest
How worried should D’backs fans be?
12:38
Dave Cameron: Pretty worried. They were a longshot before they dug themselves this whole. If they don’t turn it around soon, they’ll be mid-season sellers.
12:39
Comment From Catoblepas
No, I totally could, I guess what I’m asking is how predictive those are. Are rates of doubles (or non-hr extra base hits, maybe) and home runs at all stable from year to year?
12:40
Dave Cameron: For taller/young players, the mix moves away from 2Bs to HRs as a player ages, but for the most part, 2B/PA and HR/PA rates are pretty stable.
12:40
Comment From LaLoosh
The Mets (mess). Discuss.
12:41
Dave Cameron: They’re not particularly good, but help is coming. If they finish the year with Montero and Syndergaard in the rotation, that will help a lot.
12:41
Comment From Ace Ventura
To follow up on your Ventura thoughts, would you say that these issues would arise in later years, or as soon as this season?
12:42
Dave Cameron: Both. The list of pitchers who could throw this hard and stay healthy for 200 innings is very, very small. History says he’s going to have to dial it back to ~95-96 if he wants his arm to stay attached.
12:42
Comment From Guest
Do certain teams match up better or worse than others? Or is that sort of thing only relevant in other sports?
12:43
Dave Cameron: There are definitely platoon match-up advantages for some teams. A lefty heavy line-up won’t do so well against Chris Sale.
12:43
Comment From jocephus
are you going to get the new RBI baseball?
12:43
Dave Cameron: Call me when it’s Baseball Stars.
12:43
Comment From Matt
Do you ever read the crazy twin cities articles that bash Joe Mauer all the time? How do you explain to a sports writer how amazing he has been?
12:44
Dave Cameron: They don’t value walks and want their stars to hit dingers. There’s nothing you can do, really.
12:44
Comment From Christian
Should the Angels look at getting Morales? I can’t imagine them sticking with Ibanez all year or even all month…
12:44
Dave Cameron: Yeah, he looks awful. That would make some sense.
12:45
Comment From Mason
If I let you pick the group of players, how big would it have to be for you to take it over the field for an MVP prediction.
12:45
Dave Cameron: At least six. Maybe more like 10.
12:46
Comment From Timothy
I’m sorry, but Thornton hasn’t sniffed 99 since 2010 and isn’t the elite level fastball pitcher that he was when he was in his prime, aging into more of a LOOGY role.
12:46
Dave Cameron: The question was about how the White Sox fixed Thornton. When they did that, he threw 99.
12:46
Comment From Zordon
Does Nate Eovaldi’s reliance on his fastball make his hot start unlikely to continue?
12:46
Dave Cameron: Lack of a change-up is a big problem.
12:47
Comment From Reddickulous
Gall darn it, I pay attention to batter/pitcher history, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Is it really so crazy to believe that the confluence of the peculiarities of a hitter (stance, swing plane) and a pitcher (arm slot, release point, height?) can create a meaningful advantage for one or the other? This does not seem like baloney.
12:47
Dave Cameron: There’s a difference between what could matter and being able to measure it within a reasonable matter of time. The problem with batter/pitcher match-ups is that by the time you have enough data to find those advantages, the players are retired.
12:48
Comment From The Colonel
Wings aren’t very good TO YOU. That’s your opinion. By just saying wings aren’t very good comes across as though anybody that likes wings must have bad taste.
12:48
Dave Cameron: Preferring wings is like preferring the Twins style of pitchers. Maybe you really like Kevin Correia, but that doesn’t mean he’s good.
12:48
Comment From gregory
Has there been research done on which pitch types are most often called incorrectly by umpires?
12:49
Dave Cameron: Fastballs down and away.
12:49
Comment From Thurman
Wings not very good? True for most of the country but have you ever been to Buffalo?
12:50
Dave Cameron: I have been to Buffalo. I have not eaten wings in Buffalo, but it was cold enough that I know to never go back.
12:51
Comment From DRSimmons
Couldn’t you make an argument that speed is the most vastly overrated skill in baseball?
12:51
Dave Cameron: Speed affects range, which can be a big deal. Throwing arm is as close to useless a skill as there is in baseball. It just doesn’t matter much at all.
12:52
Comment From Josh
Congrats on the FoxSports deal. You may not write for the commenters, but there is a slightly different audience over there than on Fangraphs. Would you imagine you may touch on different subjects over there or mostly the same stuff?
12:52
Dave Cameron: I would imagine our stuff over there might be more commentary and less researchy. You probably won’t see us publish anything at Fox that is mostly just a data dive to see what we find.
12:53
Comment From Rays 7th Infielder
Is averaging the projection systems the best way to identify a “consensus” projection, or is there no real benefit to doing that? Ie. should I just pick the projection system I like most and ignore the others?
12:53
Dave Cameron: I like our depth chart forecasts, which combine ZIPS and Steamer.
12:54
Comment From Daniel Bryan
I understand small sample size, but what about with a guy like Billy Hamilton? There were already questions about his ability to hit, and he’s looked awful. Do we still stick with SSS from a scouting perspective?
12:54
Dave Cameron: Yes, it’s still SSS.
12:54
Comment From Ira
Assuming Jose Abreu bats anywhere near his projections, would the White Sox be wise to try and move him for more prospects?
12:54
Dave Cameron: They have him for six years. No reason to deal him.
12:56
Comment From LaLoosh
You aren’t going to let a hour go and not discuss the over-turned replay on Josh Hamilton’s catch, are you?!?! and how MLB has quietly redefined what a catch is!!! Anarchy!!
12:56
Dave Cameron: They’re saying that the rule has been called wrong previously, not that it’s a change now.
12:58
Comment From Grant
Hopefully this is a fun quick thought exercise. If every team in MLB had the option to reverse one trade they had made in the past, which reversed trade would produce the biggest change on the current competitive landscape?
12:58
Dave Cameron: The Miguel Cabrera/Marlins deal, maybe? Replace Casey McGehee with Cabrera and the Marlins are suddenly fascinating. And the Tigers are the Royals.
12:59
Dave Cameron: Jose Bautista from PIT to TOR maybe in the mix too.
1:00
Comment From Skuggs, NYC
You said throwing arm doesn’t matter, but didn’t Sullivan just write an article for 538 that said it did? A good amount acutally.
1:00
Dave Cameron: No, Jeff’s piece noted that throwing arm is co-correlated with having another tools. Guys who have strong arms are good players not because they have good arms but because guys with good arms often are better athletes than guys with weak arms.
1:01
Comment From chuckb
Adam Wainwright to the Cardinals?
1:01
Dave Cameron: Probably not as impactful as Cabrera, but in the mix.
1:01
Comment From Paul
Re: reversed trades – this is probably too nuanced, but if the Braves don’t trade Teixeira to the Angels (for Casey Kotchman), then the Yankees sign Tex, the Braves get the comp pick that becomes Mike Trout. Replace BJ Upton with Mike Trout. :(
1:02
Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s way too much of a stretch to say that the Braves draft Trout just because they have that pick.
1:02
Dave Cameron: Okay, that’s it for today. Thanks for hanging out everyone.



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


10 Responses to “FanGraphs Chat – 4/9/14”

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  1. Erwin says:

    What’s up with Josh Hamilton? Has something changed and what type of production can we expect from him this year?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. LaLoosh says:

    OK, so MLB is saying that a catch isn’t a catch unless it is transferred to and secured by the throwing hand..? What?? So if it’s in the glove for literally 5 seconds or more and then when moved to the throwing hand it slips and falls to the ground, that is not a catch?!? Absurd. That is a full out attempt at ANARCHY.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe Don says:

      Happened to Elvis Andrus in BOS last night, too. Caught the ball on a force at 2B, held it in his glove, dropped it on the transfer – runner safe! We are all going to have to recalibrate.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Daniel says:

    Is there a place on the website where one can view all the GIFs?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. damm says:

    Stop being a homer and taking so many mariner questions. Nobody else cares about your shtty team

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. JS says:

    The Brewers are contenders, surprised how many people are still sleeping on them and did not do their homework this off-season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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