FanGraphs Chat – 9/25/13

12:03
Comment From juan pierres mustache
Verlander is officially a no. 2, right? 200+ innings is a big sample.
12:03
Dave Cameron: No, it’s not.
12:04
Comment From Zach
Anecdotally, it seems like we’ve seen an uptick in fantastic seasons by RPs (Kimbrel, Jansen, Holland, Uehara, etc.). Do you think it has anything to do with the concurrence of two factors 1) these are high-K specialists and 2) hitters are more tolerant of Ks? Basically, the highest-K pitchers separate themselves from the rest of the pack when hitters are striking out more often overall. This could be ridiculous. I just thought of it 10 seconds before I typed it.
12:04
Dave Cameron: I think we’ve seen a huge uptick in velocity in MLB, and now we have a whole bunch of guys who can throw 100.
12:04
Comment From Jason
What will Choo and Pence get in FA?
12:04
Dave Cameron: I’ll guess 5/75 for Choo, 6/90 for Pence.

12:05
Comment From t
Does Trevor Rosenthal get a shot at the rotation next year?
12:05
Dave Cameron: My guess is he spends his career in the pen.
12:05
Comment From juan pierres mustache
Ellsbury: Over/Under $70M for him this offseason?
12:05
Dave Cameron: Way, way over.
12:06
Comment From Colin
How much does base running factor into the new Offense metric compared to hitting?
12:06
Dave Cameron: You can go to the value section and see exactly how much of Offense is Batting/Baserunning for each player.
12:06
Comment From Paul Allen
Why is it that offensive stats can fluctuate a lot and no one seems to care, but UZR and defensive metrics fluctuate and critics cry about how useless the stats are? Can’t a fielder have a season where he misses some throws or doesn’t get to as many fly balls, or do we expect fielders to be robots and field every ball the same every time?
12:06
Dave Cameron: Because people don’t like to have their preconceived ideas challenged.
12:09
Dave Cameron: Sorry if chat is slower today – my internet connection is kind of horrible right now.
12:09
Comment From Guest
What do you think of the idea of reducing portion of shared revenue for teams that lose to punish teams for not trying to put a winning team on the field?
12:10
Dave Cameron: I think it’s a great idea for the teams with a lot of money and a terrible one for smaller to middle market teams.
12:10
Comment From Prich
% of pitchers that return from labrum issues? 33%… More… Less?
12:10
Dave Cameron: Way less. Like 1%.
12:10
Comment From Nick
Who’s had a better 2013, Votto or Goldschmidt?
12:10
Dave Cameron: Tie.
12:11
Comment From Andrew
A key point you didn’t address in your economic analysis of where to live: time. You might be right that with the cost of living factored in, the great deli down the street really costs $50 a sandwich, money that could be better spent traveling the world and eating amazing meals. But most people with jobs don’t have the free time needed to live like that. It’s much more efficient, maybe not economically but certainly in terms of time, travel, etc., to have many good options (not just for food, but culture, entertainment, etc.) near you than for you to always go to them.
12:13
Dave Cameron: Having lived in both a metropolitan city and in a town of a couple hundred thousand, my experience is that most people don’t take advantage of their proximity to things, and in general, devote about the same portion of their time to perusing their city either way.
12:15
Comment From Guest
All things being equal, should Cole be the Pirates #1 and start the wild-card game if his Sunday start isn’t necessary?
12:15
Dave Cameron: No. Liriano is the easy choice against the Reds.
12:15
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
Donaldson seems to be getting some MVP talk in the mainstream media. Do you think he finishes in the top 5? Could he beat Trout?
12:16
Dave Cameron: No and no. He’ll get some love from the bay area voters and a couple of random SABR leaning writers, but I bet he finishes somewhere between 7-10.
12:16
Dave Cameron: And doesn’t even appear on a bunch of ballots.
12:17
Comment From JEFFW
What is Matt Moore doing different than what he did in the minors, to produce such a high BB rate? Will he ever improve?
12:17
Dave Cameron: He had serious walk problems in the minors too.
12:17
Comment From Jim
what do you mean by the yankees have a different IRR than everyone else?
12:18
Dave Cameron: IRR is an economic term meaning internal rate of return. Basically, it means that the Yankees valuations of things are different than most other teams. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_rate_of_return
12:18
Comment From Tim
Mariano Rivera’s hall of fame case. Go.
12:19
Dave Cameron: So clearly the best reliever of all time that if you don’t vote for him you are saying that no reliever should ever make the Hall.
12:20
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
You could look at the old FLD metric and determine roughly how much WAR it was worth. If Cabrera was a -15, his defense cost him roughly 1.5 WAR (as far as I understand). Cant he same be done for the new Def stat do the same?
12:20
Dave Cameron: Your premise is wrong. Cabrera’s defense is an asset, not a liability, because he’s only -15 compared to a very good group of defenders. Looking at defense, including position, gives you a better understanding of where his value came from.
12:21
Comment From Jim
are there diminishing marginal returns with scoring runs? should a team look to add run prevention (pitching, defense) if it already scores a lot of run?
12:21
Dave Cameron: The diminishing returns don’t kick in until levels that are way beyond what we actually see in real life. In practicality, a run is a run.
12:21
Comment From Greg
What’s the best way to get involved in the baseball operations at a major league organization?
12:22
Dave Cameron: Play in the big leagues. Short of that, be related to someone with hiring power. Short of that, get lucky.
12:22
Comment From gregg
why doesnt bill gates just buy a team and then double the best offer for all of the free agents that he wants?
12:22
Dave Cameron: He would rather try to help the world.
12:23
Comment From Derek
More reasonable o/u on Ellsbury: 8/160?
12:23
Dave Cameron: I don’t think he’ll get eight years. I’d guess 6/130 or 7/150.
12:24
Comment From JB
Give me hope for the Mariners please.
12:24
Dave Cameron: GMs eventually get fired. They just delayed the inevitable, but change will come.
12:25
Comment From Orange
Would Matt Carpenter win the NL MVP in an alternate reality where Andrew McCutchen doesn’t exist?
12:25
Dave Cameron: No, and I doubt he even finishes in the top 5.
12:25
Comment From Jake
Alex Cobb or David Price: If you had a 1-gm playoff and had to choose, would you play the hot-hand(Cobb, who has also had the better overall yr) or the staff-ace in Price(who has more big-game success)?
12:25
Dave Cameron: Hot hands are myths. You go with the better pitcher, and that’s Price.
12:26
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
Guys on the radio today said that the Yanks should let Cano go and sign two pitchers because “starters win you ballgames and position players don’t”. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they want the Yanks to sign two three win players with the money they would spend on Cano. Its still wrong right? Costs equal, its still better to have one six win player than two three win ones right?
12:26
Dave Cameron: Not really, no.
12:26
Comment From Gareth
How does the Carolina’s rate compared to the Northwest / Seattle?
12:27
Dave Cameron: Some huge advantages, primarily related to cost of living. Some huge disadvantages, mostly related to weather — humidity is the worst — and lack of access to things you can find in a bigger city. For someone who works from home, though, I can’t justify paying the big city premium.
12:28
Comment From Brad
Link to this economic analysis of where to live?
12:28
Dave Cameron: It was a topic in the podcast on Monday.
12:28
Comment From Gareth
You should come see a Tribe game next year. They have an annual event called “Puppypalooza,” where you can bring your Dog. Its really well done.
12:28
Dave Cameron: A lot of minor league teams do this, and call it “Bark in the Park” or something similar.
12:29
Comment From run producer
Did you know A’s never went worse than 74-88 under Beane? I find it almost as fascinating as winning 6 AL West titles, avoiding a disaster season all these years. In fact only three teams haven’t lost at least 90 games since 1998 — Yankees, Cardinals, A’s.
12:29
Dave Cameron: I think understanding the concepts analytics teach are probably better at providing a floor than raising the ceiling. In other words, these things don’t guarantee championships, but they make awful teams far less likely.
12:30
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
Who’s the next guy to get the whirlwind retirement tour? My money’s on Jeter or Ichiro.
12:30
Dave Cameron: Jeter’s the obvious pick.
12:31
Comment From chuckb
Are the Cards better off using Rosenthal in the 9th or going w/ Axford instead and using Rosenthal in the 7th or 8th in the highest leverage situation? What should they do, not what will they do?
12:31
Dave Cameron: They used Motte for six out saves last year, no reason they can’t do the same with Rosenthal.
12:31
Comment From Luis
Is it fair that mainstream writers are crushing the Astros and even using the word tanking? All they seem to be doing is speeding up the process of being good and truly competitive again. Are they supposed to sign overpriced free agents so that they can instead win 65-70 games?
12:32
Dave Cameron: A lot of mainstream coverage comes from experience in a beat writing role. Beat writers have a huge incentive to push for a watchable, entertaining product, since they have to cover the team every day. Their interests are not aligned with team wins.
12:33
Comment From Stevenly
Are platoon tactics (such as the A’s) less effective in the playoffs than over a full season?
12:33
Dave Cameron: I haven’t seen any evidence that this is true.
12:33
Comment From person hscer
Haren o/u 1/8?
12:33
Dave Cameron: Sounds about right.
12:34
Comment From chuckb
Should the Cards use Wacha in the rotation and Kelly in the pen or vice-versa in the playoffs?
12:34
Dave Cameron: I think Wacha is better, so I’d give him more innings, but the starter/reliever distinction should mostly go away in October.
12:35
Comment From chuckb
Carolina has humidity? Houston says “hello”. When they say everything’s bigger in Texas, they mean the mosquitos and A/C bills.
12:36
Dave Cameron: Yeah, we certainly don’t have the worst humidity levels, but summer here is pretty lame.
12:36
Dave Cameron: Fall and spring are amazing thought.
12:36
Comment From stuck in a slump
ok, not sure if i understand… miggy at 3B is bad defensively because the bar is set so high by others, but his defense is still an asset? why not move him to SS then?
12:36
Dave Cameron: No one has ever said Miggy’s defense is an asset.
12:37
Comment From Greg
Is there anyone studying the game-theory aspects of pitching? One of the things I’ve always wanted to know is how much a pitcher’s best pitches benefit from him throwing his poor pitches and what the ideal balance is between variety and specialization in terms of pitch throwing. Is anyone working on that?
12:37
Dave Cameron: A lot of people have written about this. Matt Swartz has done a few talks on the subject, for instance.
12:38
Comment From stuck in a slump
the nats have bark in the park too, lots of fun
12:38
Comment From Gary
Cardinals have a Bark in the Park too
12:39
Comment From AJ
Is there a parallel to Leverage Index, but for games — i.e. if a game has more or less of an effect on the Postseason Probability %. It would help quantify the concept of “must win”…
12:39
Dave Cameron: Studes looked at this a few years ago, called it Championship Probability Added, I believe.
12:40
Comment From person hscer
Jayson Werth’s contract: not blindingly awful anymore?
12:40
Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s an overpay, but not an egregious. one.
12:40
Comment From RSquared
RE: Votto’s passivity. The anti-walk crowd seem to believe that patient batters with a good hit tool should expand the zone when needed. But staying within their zone made them good hitters. What am I missing?
12:40
Dave Cameron: Nothing. The anti-walk crowd basically just want to evaluate hitters by RBIs.
12:41
Comment From Nick
If the Seattle Times beat writer position were offered to you, would you take it?
12:41
Dave Cameron: No interest in being a beat writer.
12:41
Comment From Richie
You mean beat writers’ interests ARE very closely aligned with CURRENT team wins, don’t you?
12:41
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that was a typo.
12:41
Comment From Benson
Do Sternberg’s comments yesterday essentially guarantee that Price is done as a Ray after this season?
12:41
Dave Cameron: I think that was already guaranteed.
12:42
Comment From Greg
What do you think of the idea that platoons take up roster spots that could otherwise be used for pinch-hitters, defensive replacements, etc. and thus limit decision-making flexibility within a game? Real concern or overstated?
12:42
Dave Cameron: If you’re platooning, then you by default have a pinch-hitter on the bench.
12:42
Comment From Baseball Fan
The Indians will make the playoffs this year with a 36-52 record against teams with winning records. Due to the unbalanced schedule, at least 3 teams better than them will be going home as they had to play one another.

If there are going to be 2 wild cards spread over 3 divisions, do you think that MLB will change the yearly schedules to make the races a bit more level?

12:43
Dave Cameron: Games against losing teams count too. Your decision to exclude those from the calculation is faulty.
12:44
Comment From JayT
The weather is the number one reason I have no intentions of ever leaving the SF Bay Area. I know that I could live for a lot cheaper elsewhere, but I get to enjoy the weather every day, and that’s worth the extra $50K the housing costs a year.
12:45
Dave Cameron: Obviously, it’s different for everyone, and depends a lot on your life style, job, family situation, etc… I love the west coast, and will probably move back west some day, but the economic incentives for a person who works from home to live in the southeast are very high.
12:45
Comment From stuck in a slump
perhaps i misunderstood when you said “Cabrera’s defense is an asset, not a liability, because he’s only -15 compared to a very good group of defenders. Looking at defense, including position, gives you a better understanding of where his value came from.”
12:45
Dave Cameron: Asdrubal Cabrera, not Miguel Cabrera.
12:46
Dave Cameron: There is more than one Cabrera in MLB.
12:46
Comment From Richie
Where can I read Matt Swartz nowadays? He’s the best ever (nothing personal, mind you).
12:46
Dave Cameron: He’s consulting with a big league team, so most of his work is out of the public eye now.
12:47
Comment From person hscer
Chances Harper ever surpasses Trout in career WAR now? Close to zero? I hope it’s not that low but…
12:47
Dave Cameron: Not close to zero, given the chances Trout has a career ending injury and Harper doesn’t. A +15 WAR lead isn’t insurmountable if one guy plays a long time and the other doesn’t.
12:48
Comment From Benson
Do teams have to declare a 25 man roster for the wildcard playoff game only? If so, that team should probably go with 15 or 16 position players for the game, correct?
12:48
Dave Cameron: I believe that they can reset their rosters between the WC game and the DS, yes, so yeah, it should probably be 15 position players, 1 starter, and 9 relievers.
12:49
Comment From John
The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in SF – Twain
12:49
Dave Cameron: First Giants game I ever attended in SF was in the middle of summer and it was like 40 degrees at night.
12:49
Comment From Jay
If the Nats wanted to move Soriano this winter could they find a taker given the vesting option he has?
12:50
Dave Cameron: Probably, if they ate some of the money.
12:50
Comment From Bret
Given the return they got for James Shiels, who’s going to be able to meet the Rays um, price, for Price?
12:50
Dave Cameron: That trade didn’t set the market price for other teams who knew that trade was lunacy.
12:50
Comment From Billy
We have play-off odds for individual teams, but what were the odds of getting a tie for the AL wildcard this year and requiring an additional playoff game with all the teams that were in it?
12:50
Dave Cameron: There’s actually a tab on the playoff odds page that lists the odds of a tie.
12:51
Comment From g
Having lived in a town of about ~20k and NYC, I could not disagree more with your assertion that people don’t make use of their proximity to things … anecdotally you’re a million percent wrong
12:51
Dave Cameron: A town of 20K is a different story. I think the diminishing returns once you get into an actual city with stop lights and grocery stores and the like kick in very quickly.
12:52
Comment From Person
Given what Mitch Moreland has done this season, if you were Jon Daniels would you consider trading for Adam LaRoche?
12:52
Dave Cameron: How much money are the Nationals eating in this deal?
12:52
Comment From Scott
Do you think James Paxton is in the rotation at the beginning of next season for the Mariners?
12:52
Dave Cameron: Barring injury, yes. I still don’t think the command is good enough for him to stick as a starter long term.
12:53
Dave Cameron: At least, not a very good one.
12:53
Comment From Billy
I find something odd about the new fielding metric. Shane Victorino and Brett Gardner have posted very similar defensive numbers in CF (slightly above average) and during their time on the corners (elite). This leads me to believe their outfielding ablities are similar overall. However, Victorino gets an 18.3 while Gardner gets a 1.1. I would think they are similarly valuable defensively. Why is this?
12:54
Dave Cameron: You’re conflating abilities and performance. It can be both true that Gardner and Victorino are similar defenders, but have had different values as defensive players in 2013. Defensive performance is not a constant.
12:54
Comment From Guest
What kind of deal will Ervin Santana get next year?
12:54
Dave Cameron: 4/60.
12:54
Comment From IA
Does Fangraphs have an idea of where most readers are from / teams they root for. Any hotspots or is it pretty spread out?
12:55
Dave Cameron: It’s basically what you’d expect. A ton of NYC/BOS/LA/CHC readers, and then pretty much every city with a team is decently represented.
12:56
Comment From Tristan
Looking into the off-season, do you think the Cards and Dbacks match up on a trade for Owings/Gregorious? Especially after Ownings has produced a decent September, what kind of return could AZ see?
12:57
Dave Cameron: Seems possible, but I doubt STL has even given two thoughts to what they might do at SS in 2014 yet.
12:57
Comment From bobo holloman
Are you riding with K. Law on the Ryan Jackson train?
12:58
Dave Cameron: I don’t think that’s a Ryan Jackson train as much as it is an anyone but Kozma bus.
12:58
Comment From JEB
Do you think there is a city that has too many teams/or is undeserving of a team? Do you think Charlotte should have a pro baseball team?
12:59
Dave Cameron: Charlotte’s weird. It’s not a great sports town, and the sprawl is so awful that it’s not actually that easy to get to the stadiums for most of the people who live in the metropolitan area. I’d put a team in Brooklyn before I put one in Charlotte.
12:59
Comment From Bret
Does Halladay get a Major League Contract next season?
12:59
Dave Cameron: Absolutely.
1:00
Comment From Gareth
It makes me sad that the Indians may lose both Kazmir and Ubaldo to Free Agency.
1:00
Dave Cameron: Assuming Ubaldo opts out, he’s going to be a fascinating QO decision. They should probably give it to him, but I don’t know what kind of market he’ll command with compensation attached.
1:01
Comment From Greg
Outlook for Josh Johnson? Could he be next year’s Liriano?
1:01
Dave Cameron: Depends on health, which is basically unknowable from the outside.
1:01
Comment From Jon
Chances Z trades Taijuan Walker this offseason in a desperation move (when we all clearly know Walker could be a HUGE part of future)
1:01
Dave Cameron: Slim. I think they just throw money at their problems.
1:01
Comment From Titus Andronicus
What should be the Rockies’ number 1 priority for the off season?
1:01
Dave Cameron: Get better players.
1:02
Comment From BX
Definitely agree with diminishing returns between a “mid-sized” city and a huge urban center. Especially if the huge massive city has poor public transit and traffic is bad—making it harder/more expensive to get to places.
1:03
Dave Cameron: Yeah, traffic is a pretty serious impediment for a lot of people who live in the suburbs of a large city. I grew up ~10 miles from downtown Seattle, but my parents hardly ever took us there because it was a 30-40 minute drive in rush hour.
1:03
Comment From Shark Mapiro
How long does a player have to accept/reject a QO?
1:04
Dave Cameron: A week. The QO has to be made within a few days of the World Series ending, and then the player has seven days to go test his market and decide whether to accept or decline.
1:04
Dave Cameron: Okay, that’s it for me this week. Chat schedule will change a bit starting next week with playoff live blogs, but we’ll still have some regular Q&As as well. Thanks for hanging out everyone.


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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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sds
Guest
sds
3 years 2 days ago

Research shows that, for teams without “stadium problems,” winning this year increases attendance next year. Without endorsing Shields-for-Myers as a baseball move, it’s still possible that KC benefits financially from their improved 2013 record, right?

Jason
Guest
Jason
3 years 2 days ago

Ichiro won’t be getting the whirlwind retirement tour. He hasn’t been in the Major Leagues as long, stayed with the same team or that good in the last few years. When you add in the “language barrier” which results in him doing very few interviews to the point that a portion of the press and fanbase turned on him, makes any retirement celebration unlikely.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
3 years 2 days ago

who said Ichiro is retiring next season?

scraps
Guest
scraps
3 years 2 days ago

Nobody “turned on” Ichiro; the people who disliked him disliked him before, and didn’t need a reason, much less a dumb one like very few interviews. Ninety percent of fans in Seattle (I counted) appreciated him for his utter professionalism and dedication.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
3 years 2 days ago

To JayT: I just moved from SF to Charlotte in July, and I like the weather here better. SF is great for the downside weather, as it never gets too bad, but there aren’t enough perfect weather days there. Once a month we’d get 80 degrees and sunny, and then it would go back to mid-60’s and foggy (even in July). Oakland, on the other hand – that’s some world class weather.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 days ago

Some like it hot.

Power Station
Guest
Power Station
3 years 1 day ago

Some sweat when the heat is on.

But then again...
Guest
But then again...
3 years 1 day ago

Some feel the heat and decide that they can’t go on.

Bab
Guest
Bab
3 years 2 days ago

Despite its reputation, Oakland can be a lovely place. Weather especially.

baycommuter
Guest
baycommuter
3 years 2 days ago

Most native San Franciscans like cloudy and mid-60s better than sunny and 85…but for most people, almost anyplace in the Bay Area outside the city has better weather.

Ben
Guest
Ben
3 years 2 days ago

Comment From Baseball Fan
The Indians will make the playoffs this year with a 36-52 record against teams with winning records. Due to the unbalanced schedule, at least 3 teams better than them will be going home as they had to play one another.
If there are going to be 2 wild cards spread over 3 divisions, do you think that MLB will change the yearly schedules to make the races a bit more level?

12:43
Dave Cameron: Games against losing teams count too. Your decision to exclude those from the calculation is faulty.
__________

As usual, you didn’t get the question, but twisted it to your own end.

scraps
Guest
scraps
3 years 2 days ago

Those accusations don’t fit together. If you don’t get the question, you can’t twist it to your end.

You probably are just mad that Dave wouldn’t agree with the questioner’s leading question (“at least 3 teams better than them will be going home”).

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 1 day ago

…or is mad that Dave didn’t take his question…or (most likely of all) is a fan of the Rangers, Yankees, or Orioles.

Marco
Guest
Marco
3 years 1 day ago

Re: The Cobb vs Price question

I think Cameron is right in the abstract that you go with the best pitcher, but if they end up playing the Indians I think the calculus changes. The Indians have been among the best in the majors vs. LHP, but merely average vs RHP.

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