Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 7/30/2014

2:34
Neil Weinberg: Hey everyone, let me remind you of the guidelines.

My job here is primarily to serve as something of a Site Educator. This means that I’m responsible for providing resources to readers about our data, advanced metrics, and how to make use of the features available at the site.

My Twitter handle is @NeilWeinberg44 and if you want to get in touch about these kinds of questions at times other than 3pm on Wednesdays, that’s where to find me. It’s my job, so take advantage of it.

With that said, I will prioritize “how does this work?” and “what does this mean?” type questions during the chats, but feel free to ask regular questions about anything as well. Although if you’re here for fantasy advice or prospect talk, I’m probably less helpful than some of our writers. Deadline questions welcome too.

Think that’s it, queue is open and we’ll start at 3pm!

2:36
Neil Weinberg: Also, two points of business: 1) There is a gentleman fixing my car’s windshield, so at some point I will disappear in order to pay him. 2) I injured by right index finger over the weekend so my typing is a tad slower than usual. I’ll make up for both by chatting for a long time.

3:00
Comment From Chris
That’s what you get for parking behind Fenway.

3:00
Comment From Jobber
Did you injure your right finger in the same travisty that harmed your windshield?

3:00
Neil Weinberg: I now realize how alarming those two facts were side by side.

3:01
Neil Weinberg: And no, they were not the same incident. Burned my finger in a small grease fire, windshield was hit by a rock. Windshield is fixed…finger less so. Let’s chat!

3:01
Comment From Dave M.
How would someone actually go about calculating the context-neutral run value of something like a single?

3:03
Neil Weinberg: Basically, you’re look at working backwards from wOBA. So the wOBA constant for a single is about 0.891, the wOBA of the average PA is .312. Subtract and divide by the scale to get to runs…which gives you about 0.45 or so. Which is good, because I just looked it up and it said 0.46 about three years ago!

3:03
Comment From Jason Tyler
Shelby Miller in a deal for Lester? What are your thoughts?

3:03
Neil Weinberg: Depends on the rest of the deal, but Cards should do that if they don’t have to kick in too much.

3:04
Comment From zurzles
WAR only adjusts for park using a single park effect figure, rather than individual factors (singles, doubles, HRs, etc), right? Are certain types of pitchers with certain skills that aren’t quite as affected by general park factors at a disadvantage? i.e. Iwakuma and his minuscule walk rate and high HR/FB for Safeco seems to be getting dinged a lot with a 2.4. Cameron mentioned in a chat that Kershaw is underrated by WAR, and I figured that was because of park effects dinging him too much when his skills (high GB%, amazing K:BB) don’t seem don’t seem too reliant on Dodger Stadium. Am I warm?

3:06
Neil Weinberg: So you’re right about the single park effect, but that’s not why WAR doesn’t fully value Kershaw. Kershaw’s pitching style is one that allows him to legitimately run a lower than average BABIP and fWAR doesn’t give you credit for that in any sort of direct way. Lefty-fly ball guys, or righties who are fly-bal/hold runners well types are usually a little undervalued by fWAR because fly balls don’t fall in for hits as often as ground balls and keeping runners close limits the number of runs you’ll allow

3:06
Comment From Gary
I’ll try to not ask many questions that require H, J, N or B so you can avoid using the offending finger.

3:06
Neil Weinberg: Actually “u” is the hardest!

3:07
Comment From Sam
Neil, any reason that K%-BB% and RA9-WAR are available to use in the Custom Leaderboard section, but not in the Custom Player Pages section? I’d love if they were available to both, thanks

3:08
Neil Weinberg: My guess is that we missed that box when adding those stats. This is a good way to submit these questions in the future, http://www.fangraphs.com/bl… but I can also look into them

3:09
Comment From Jason Tyler
thoughts on the Masterson trade?

3:09
Neil Weinberg: Like it for both sides

3:09
Comment From Jasper
Who’s going to be a victim of the innings limit? Garrett Richards, Tyson Ross?

3:09
Neil Weinberg: Ventura comes to mind, maybe

3:09
Comment From Jays fan
How is pitch framing converted to run values?

3:11
Neil Weinberg: Couple different approaches. This is how BP does it. http://www.baseballprospect…

Basically, you get credit for how unlikely it was to steal that strike and the value of the count swinging by one pitch. Some debate over use of context in the count, I think still

3:11
Comment From Daniel
Why does FIP- not correspond better with pitching WAR? For example the Padres are #21 in pitching WAR but #11 in FIP-. Isn’t WAR based on FIP?

3:12
Neil Weinberg: Innings are the first place to start, but we also use IFFB as an input in fWAR because they are fielding independent. I think Dave or Jeff wrong about how popups fall in less often than batters reach on dropped third strikes…maybe? Either way, we don’t have those in FIP because FIP is a widely used stat and having different inputs would be confusing. But we include them like K’s in WAR

3:12
Comment From Triple R
I’m not sure if you can remedy this, but why doesn’t the site yet have SIERA-?

3:13
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think the bigwigs like SIERA more than xFIP and there are other things that are higher on the list of priorities.

3:13
Comment From Josh
You sometimes tweet out how many times a player has swung and missed during the game while the game is still going on. Where do you find live statistics like that?

3:15
Neil Weinberg: Couple options. In a pinch, just go back through the at bats on Gameday. You can also use FG. Drop your cursor over each PA in a live play log and it will show you the pitch data. http://www.fangraphs.com/li…

you can also use a fancy trick and get live data from Brooks but that’s kind of complicated to explain right now

3:15
Comment From Garth Vader
Has there been any talks about adding more filters to the tables? Seems like basic HR, RBI etc… would be easy to add. Also advanced stats like pitch values, plate discipline etc would be great additions. Been looking to compare players and it’s hard to weed results.

3:16
Neil Weinberg: Not sure if this is in the works, but your best bet as a workaround is to create a custom list of stats and then export into Excel. I’m doing a “how to use the leaderboards” post for Friday so I’ll give you all the steps then.

3:16
Comment From Baron Von Waffles
Given that WAR is finite. How much does the allocation of it vary? A player has two statistical congruent seasons in a row, what would the expected WAR variance be? Or a gap of 10 years?

3:19
Neil Weinberg: If I understand the question you’re asking, a player who has the same BA/OBP/SLG etc from one season to another won’t have identical WAR because WAR is based on the total production of the league.

So for example, league average wOBA this year is about .312. Last year it was about .314. It was way higher 15 years ago. A .340 wOBA this year is slightly more valuable than it was last year. So a player with identical raw numbers won’t have the same WAR because the league will move a little around them. Go look at Trout 2013 and Helton 2000 for example.

If I misunderstood the question, ask it again

3:19
Comment From Garth Vader
Read an article today quoting “zone distance” or how far of the plate pitchers pitch a batter. Is this a viable thing to look at or can show any true values? Was being referenced towards how scared pitchers are of a hitter

3:20
Neil Weinberg: I haven’t see the article you’re referencing, but I wouldn’t use it as an average measure. I think the underlying idea about how far off the plate a pitch is matters, but I a slider to Josh Hamilton should be farther than one to Votto

3:22
Neil Weinberg: Catching up on rumors…Lester to the O’s is the hot one. Interesting!

3:22
Comment From Bryan
When translating FIP to WAR, Park Factors are applied. Since FIP is intended to strip out everything other than home runs, walks, and Ks (of which only home runs in impacted by ballpark), how does the park factors calculation work? Does it only look at the propensity for ballparks to allow home runs, or does it look at just runs in general? Thanks!

3:22
Neil Weinberg: FIP is an ERA estimator. So you apply the park factor in a similar way as you would to ERA or RA9.

3:23
Comment From Guest
Zips question, maybe you can help? The BaseballThinkFactory website is very hard to navigate. How do I find the Zips projections including Comps and Liklihood of Event?

3:23
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know. Ask Dan S on Twitter. He will know. But we post the number one comp in the preseason!

3:24
Comment From Stephen
likelihood that Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t with the Phillies in 2015?

3:24
Neil Weinberg: 50/50

3:24
Comment From Doctor Doom
Hey Neil, welcome back! Quick question…what’s the best way to determine if a pitcher is being harmed by his defense? If there a specific stat to reference? Moreover is there way to determine what type of pitchers are hurt/helped by a particular defensive strength or weakness?

3:27
Neil Weinberg: There’s no perfect answer to this but I would look at BABIP on grounders and fly balls. And if you’re ambitious, break it down by location. So obviously a ground ball guy who pitches in front of a terrible SS would likely be affected, but see if more ground balls are going through when he’s on the mound than average. The real tricky part is that the sequence of events matters in a really unpredictable way.

For example, not only can a ball get through that shouldn’t, but if it extends the inning the pitcher has to face the lineup a third time more quickly, etc

3:28
Comment From Third Generation North Dakotan
Do team “off” stats in the leaderboards account for park or league?

3:28
Neil Weinberg: Yes.

3:28
Comment From Freakebonics
Better chance at a world series by the end of the decade, astros or cubs?

3:28
Neil Weinberg: End of this decade? Cubs probably.

3:28
Comment From Dan
Is RE24 a better statistic for relievers than starters?

3:30
Neil Weinberg: Yes. RE24 for starters only really matters for the ten or twenty starters who have really good or bad luck when it comes to how often their relievers strand their runners. In a single season your RA9 can swing by up to 0.50 runs if you have bad luck bullpens behind you, but typically this isn’t a huge deal. But for relievers, it paints a better picture of the performance.

Heads up, too, RE24 is getting a brand new glossary entry this week!

3:31
Comment From Guest
Ever heard of Ramsey before today? I havent, and I try to keep up with the top 100.

3:31
Neil Weinberg: Heard of him, but that’s about it. Sounds like a nice player but definitely someone the cards could afford to part with

3:31
Comment From Freakebonics
If pitch framing were included in WAR, how would that change the discussion on Lucroy? How much value might that add to him?

3:32
Neil Weinberg: Still too early to say exactly how to make this work, but it;s probably an extra two wins a year maybe? That makes him a really strong MVP candidate, but he’s kind of that already.

3:33
Comment From Spencer
Is there any general adjustment to FIP for a pitcher moving from the AL to the NL? For instance, can we expect a pitcher with a 4.00 FIP in the AL to put up a certain FIP in the NL? Is there some kind of quick and easy benchmark?

3:34
Neil Weinberg: Nothing perfect, but it’s about 0.10 to 0.20 difference between the leagues on average, so totally devoid of context that’s a fine number to use. There’s a lot of other factors that will play in.

3:34
Comment From Milwaukee BeerJays
Speaking of Framing: The Jays broadcast team, or at least El Buck di Martinez, seems to think that “pitch framing” isn’t a thing and instead extols the virtues of shorter catchers because “the umpire gets a better look at the pitch”. I’m thinking this is malarkey, however, is there a correlation to C height and pitch framing value?

3:36
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know if height is a predictive factor, but catchers improve at framing without getting shorter. It’s mostly about how your receive the ball and how much you move while doing so. I caught in high school and I couldn’t hit, so I spent a lot of time working on receiving. The umpire’s eyes can’t track the ball the entire way so if you receive it the right way, you can ‘trick’ him into seeing the ball in the zone. Don’t think height matters but I’m openminded

3:36
Comment From Bastiat
How does FG create wRC+ for the minors? it adjusts to league, but does it adjust the league run environment vs other leagues?

3:36
Neil Weinberg: Yeah, no park effect. Everything else should be like MLB.

3:37
Comment From tz
I remember an article (I believe it was from Dave) about treating infield flies the same as Ks for purposes of calculating FIP. Is this being done for the calculations on the site?

3:37
Neil Weinberg: In WAR, but not in raw FIP.

3:37
Comment From zurzles
If catcher WAR were to include pitch framing, pitching WAR would have to include the inverse, right?

3:38
Neil Weinberg: Yeah, this is why it’s hard. Figuring out the right way to make that trade off is not easy.

3:39
Comment From Daniel
How can you make a wOBA scale for, let’s say, a college conference? Thanks.

3:40
Neil Weinberg: Get this question pretty often. You need to use linear weights and you need to have a good amount of data on the league, but I’m not the person who is best able to help you on the specifics of the computation. Best bet for that would be to go over to Tango’s site and post in the forum. I imagine there’s a link buried somewhere with the code

3:41
Comment From dogbone
Let’s say a small market team like the Pirates Trade for Lester/Price. How would one compare the long term value for the loss of Top prospects (loss of possible good AND cheap players) vs the value gained for playoff $$$ + fan interest??

3:42
Neil Weinberg: Making the playoffs has big financial benefits, so you factor in the odds of making it with or without this player times the revenue and throw that into the analysis. Fan interest is typically sort of factored into those numbers, but I think you could make the case that some teams would benefit more financially from making the playoffs and should therefore pay more in prospects to acquire a key player, but it always depends on lots of stuff

3:43
Comment From Freakebonics
Are any catchers unusually bad at framing, to the extent that they have strikes called balls more often than average. Who are those catchers and what value do they lose?

3:44
Neil Weinberg: No one is this bad. The worst catchers are like 100-200 strikes worse than average per season I think. Salty is the worst this year I believe.

3:45
Comment From Kyle S.
Where does Masterson fit into the Cardinals rotation, how does it impact the race in the central?

3:46
Neil Weinberg: Masterson is going to replace a non-Wainwright/Lynn starter, but I don’t know how much the Cards are concerned about innings/performance of the various options. He’s great against RHH, so he also makes sense as a bullpen option in October. I think he’s a nice little upgrade for them but I think they’re a good shot for the postseason either way

3:47
Comment From Hieronymous
Regarding reports of Lester to Orioles: if that happens, with a package of Miguel Gonzalez and a non-Bundy/Harvey/Gausman prospect, that’s a great deal for the O’s, yes?

3:47
Neil Weinberg: If the O’s get that deal, it would be great for them.

3:47
Comment From Russ Adams
How would I find out if Dusty Baker is right, and sometimes taking a walk is less valuable than putting a pitch into play? Runners 2nd and 3rd 1 out, a guy with a good BAPIP and line drive/fly ball tendancies would be better off to put a ball into play than walk than if a big double play/strikeout candidate came up?

3:50
Neil Weinberg: You would rather walk than make an out. If you put the ball in play, you have some probability of getting a hit (let’s say 31%). Then there is also some probability that something good happens when you make an out (X%). The odds are almost always in your favor in a context neutral situation to walk, and usually in a context dependent one because the guy behind you can just do the same thing.

3:50
Comment From Andrew
I was reading an article about a player’s zone%, and how it was lesser in previous months than it was in July. How on FG would I be able to find the zone% or other stats for a player by month?

3:51
Neil Weinberg: Couple options. On the leaderboards, you can select a specific month in the “split” drop down box and that will tell you. Or if you go to a player’s page and then go to game logs, you can select the dates you want and compare!

3:52
Comment From Guest
Is RA9-War park and league adjusted?

3:52
Neil Weinberg: Yes.

3:53
Comment From JC
How to value Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna based off of advance stats? Offensively and Defensively?

3:54
Neil Weinberg: Lots of ways to evaluate a player. Learn about wOBA http://www.fangraphs.com/li… for offense and work from there. Defense you want to look at his position and how he compares to others using UZR or DRS.

3:54
Neil Weinberg: Keep the questions coming, going to take a minute to get caught up on the rumors and will keep going after that. Tell your friends, free chat!

3:59
Comment From Will
Masterson or Minor ROS? Streamer and Zips very close?

4:00
Neil Weinberg: Masterson for me.

4:00
Comment From Freakebonics
Who wins NL and AL mvp?

4:00
Neil Weinberg: NL: Cutch AL: Trout

4:01
Comment From Guest
What organizations in your opinion other than the obvios ones use advanced info and sabermetrics?

4:02
Neil Weinberg: I think the truth is that most teams use this stuff. There are four or five obvious exceptions as far as really buying in, but I know people who work in some FO that people typically think of as older school that just don’t talk about their analytics dept.

4:02
Comment From Aaron
Does an xFIP-type stat that takes into account the wOBA of batted ball type exist?

4:03
Neil Weinberg: SIERA uses batted ball data, so that’s going to be the closest thing to what you want. You can also just look at wOBA for pitchers but we don’t have that on our leaderboards, you have to dig around to find it.

4:03
Comment From Guest
Are teams that are talking with the Cardinals about trades aware that Shelby Miller has been god-awful this year?

4:04
Neil Weinberg: Sure, but if you think he’s hurt and will heal, you’re not worried. Miller was highly touted, had early success and then vanished. It’s not like there’s nothing left there.

4:05
Comment From GeorgeFred
Andrew McCutchen and the defensive metrics? He looks really good

4:07
Neil Weinberg: The metrics have never loved him. His arm isn’t great and that’s sometimes hard to see, to be honest. Like we think it’s easy to see a guy has a cannon, but if you allow a runner to advance often enough on an okay throw, that catches up with you. Also, while he has decent speed, his range is probably more like average. He’s the kind of guy whose numbers will center around average-ish I think. And I know some scouting types agree.

Really, an important lesson is not to judge defenders by their GREAT plays but to judge them by the plays they barely miss. Usually a better barometer

4:07
Comment From Doctor Doom
Considering the atrocious Cleveland defense, what are the odds that a sinkerball pitcher like Masterson will experience a noticeable boost pitching in STL?

4:08
Neil Weinberg: Yeah, this should certainly help his raw numbers and make it easier for him to get through innings. I think….never mind, here’s Jeff on the very same: http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

4:09
Comment From GeorgeFred
The Reds should sell right?

4:09
Neil Weinberg: In theory, I would.

4:09
Comment From Garth Vader
Statcorner has wOBA+ for minors that’s park and league adjusted. Is there a drastic change in the conversion from wOBA to RC to wRC+ that would make a difference between wOBA+ and wRC+ with doing a mental park adjustment?

4:10
Neil Weinberg: wOBA+ and wRC+ are on different scales. So the range of wOBA+ outcomes are going to be smaller. Keep that in mind (assuming I’m right about how they calculate it)

4:10
Comment From GeorgeFred
NL Cy Young this year?

4:11
Neil Weinberg: Kershaw followed by Wainwright. Sorry I am boring

4:11
Comment From FredGeorge
At what point can we say prospects are not what we thought they were?

4:13
Neil Weinberg: Your opinion of a prospect should always be updating. If Taveras came into MLB and was great for 100 PA, you would improve your impression of him a little. If he stunk, you’d decrease it a little. There’s no magic cutoff

4:13
Comment From Mike
Is there a reliable way to quantify a catcher’s game-calling ability? If not, is there one in the works?

4:15
Neil Weinberg: There isn’t one. And someone is probably working on one, but I’m not aware of one that’s close. It’s so hard to know if you’re not a team because we don’t know which pitchers the catcher called, which the pitcher called, what the plan was going into the game, etc. And that’s before we get to the math and sequencing.

4:15
Comment From Guest
How often do you think metrics are used in player contract negotiations?

4:16
Neil Weinberg: Can’t say for sure, but I would think pretty often in non-arbitration hearings. Teams have their own stats though, so they might care about different stuff than we think

4:16
Comment From The Oriole Bird
How would you ballpark the odds of Hunter Harvey being a complete bust (say, 2 career WAR or fewer)?

4:17
Neil Weinberg: Probably the long run bust rate of pitchers taken in his draft range or ranked where he is on the prospect list. Chris St. John is doing this kind of work on hitters, but I don’t know of a quick way to do it with pitchers at the moment

4:17
Comment From Milwaukee BeerJays
I did some math: I averaged out the top 10 and bottom 10 (sss, but for science!) pitch framers by height from http://www.statcorner.com/C… – from the beginning of the season until now – and they averaged out to pretty much the exact same height 72 inches and 72.1 inches. Perhaps averaging out all the + framers VS. all the – framers would give a more accurate result (as well as over more than one half season) but it looks like height makes no difference at all. (take that Buck!)

4:18
Neil Weinberg: Yeah, this would be pretty easy to test. Early returns are promising!

4:18
Comment From FredGeorge
If a pitcher were known to throw the occasional eephus, how often could he throw it and not get hurt?

4:18
Neil Weinberg: Do you mean injured? I have no idea. Do you mean “hurt” like “get hit very hard?” Once an inning?

4:18
Comment From Mike
Did you ever think Brett Gardner would be this good?

4:19
Neil Weinberg: I’m actually a big fan of his skill set, so kind of yes. I don’t mean that to sound like I’m awesome at predicting stuff. I just happened to like him early on.

4:19
Comment From Mike
I think Masterson is worthless until his knee heels. The nice thing about the trade is now CLE can’t give extend a qualifying offer which means he can be signed if you believe he’ll have a bounce back year (which I do).

4:20
Neil Weinberg: Yeah, this is good news for him.

4:20
Comment From Gary
“Really, an important lesson is not to judge defenders by their GREAT plays but to judge them by the plays they barely miss. Usually a better barometer” What a great way of putting it!

4:20
Neil Weinberg: Now I hope that no one comes along and proves that I’m full of it on that answer!

4:20
Comment From Mike
Mark Appel a bust?

4:20
Neil Weinberg: I honestly think he’s hurt. But I am 100% speculating

4:21
Comment From Lee
How high can a batters K% be and still be successful as a hitter?

4:21
Neil Weinberg: Mathematically really high, but practically in the current game, I’d say 35-40% if they really crushed the ball when they connected.

4:21
Comment From Gary
I just noticed that Baseball Reference actually DOES account for BIP by using the team’s prorated DRS. If the goal is to assess actual VALUE (which does include luck) and not skill, I think that sways me to their WAR over fWAR

4:24
Neil Weinberg: Baseball-Reference assumes teams perform equally behind each pitcher. I think that is a shaky assumption. If you want to credit pitchers with how their defense played, RA9-WAR is a better bet for me. And luck actually happened but it doesn’t mean we should assign it to the pitcher

4:24
Comment From Andrew
Your pick to win the AL East right now?

4:24
Neil Weinberg: Blue Jays, but it’s so close

4:24
Comment From Mike
The fact that a lot of pitches are called from the dugout makes it even more difficult.

4:24
Neil Weinberg: I think this happens less often than people think, but yeah, game calling is so hard to judge because there are so many variables we have virtually no data on.

4:25
Comment From Lee
Wainwrights strikeouts down quite a bit lately. Just because he’s getting older?

4:25
Neil Weinberg: Down from 22-23% to 20.9%. Not sure it’s much of anything yet

4:26
Comment From Mike
what time are you gonna chat until?

4:26
Neil Weinberg: If the questions stay good and keep coming, lets’ say 5pm. If they’re amazing 515pm. Who knows?

4:26
Comment From The Oriole Bird
I love the point of not judging players by their best plays (call it the “Brandon Phillips fallacy”)… but, really, shouldn’t we be judging them on ALL plays? That’s the point.

4:27
Neil Weinberg: Absolutely, I meant it more in the sense of “don’t think guys who make highlight catches are automatically great defenders.”

4:27
Comment From Lee
How much longer is the Cardinals window of success?

4:28
Neil Weinberg: With this core? Two-three more years? But they build as they go so probably for freaking ever.

4:28
Comment From Lee
The Rangers rebound after this injury riddled season?

4:28
Neil Weinberg: Yeah. They got crushed by injuries, but they can contend next year with some good breaks

4:29
Comment From Fowler
DO you think Prince Fielder will have a bounce back season next year?

4:29
Neil Weinberg: If he’s 100% healthy, yes. Not 50 HR, but yes.

4:29
Comment From Mike
Should the Yankees go after Hamels? If you were them, would you empty the farm for him?

4:30
Neil Weinberg: No. I don’t think he makes them a WS team this year about you can just go buy Scherzer in December.

4:30
Comment From Mike
Who was the best player of the 1990’s?

4:31
Neil Weinberg: Bonds?

4:32
Comment From Mike
Yea that’s my thought too. My friend says Griffey but I think you just settled it for us!

4:32
Neil Weinberg: Griffey was great, but I’d say Bonds

4:32
Comment From John
What’s happening to Miggy Cabrera? His numbers are down across the board. What’s your prediction for Evan Gattis’ production ROS?

4:33
Neil Weinberg: Cabrera is hurt. Recovering from last season’s injury and surgery. Not able to really drive the ball and getting beat inside.

4:33
Neil Weinberg: Maybe .350 wOBA for Gattis?

4:34
Comment From Jordan
If they’re real and spectacular how long then?

4:34
Neil Weinberg: Seinfeld reference, nice. Presumably my wife and dog are getting home at 6, so that’s the ceiling

4:34
Comment From Matts
Difference between DRS and UZR?

4:35
Neil Weinberg: Slightly different accounting practices, but similar. I’ll dig into this more, probably in the offseason and have a post about it

4:35
Comment From Jake
For most teams, there’s a lot of dissonance between FG Season To Date mode ROS and the BaseRuns record. What’s the difference between the two? What equation does ROS record use for Season to Date mode?

4:37
Neil Weinberg: Season to Date mode uses their stats so far and BaseRuns uses projections based on lots more data. So if you have guys who the projections think are overperforming, BaseRuns will regress them but Season to Date won’t

4:37
Comment From Matts
At some point do the Yankees go into rebuild mode? Fans make that hard for them?

4:37
Neil Weinberg: I can’t ever imagine that happening. I’m sure it will, but i can’t even picture it.

4:37
Comment From Gary
Are you involved at all in data or algorithm changes for Fangraphs internal metrics?

4:38
Neil Weinberg: My job is to communicate about the data, so I’m in the loop, but I’m not working in the database or inventing stuff.

4:38
Comment From Matts
Last year during the NLCS after Han-Ram got his ribs broken, I thought the Dodgers would be better of playing a Nick Punto or something? Hanley at 60% or someone from the bench?

4:39
Neil Weinberg: Tough question because we don’t know a lot about his injury and every person handles injuries differently. Because 60% is just a guess. Is he at 85%? 40%? No clue but fun to consider

4:39
Comment From Mike
Prime Maddux or prime Pedro?

4:41
Neil Weinberg: *Prime* Pedro, but Maddux was really good for a long time around his peak relative to Pedro.

4:41
Comment From Jordan
What’s going on with pedroia, hes now a ground ball masher, his extra base hits are quickly evaporating. Is this a trend we see continue as he ages, or does he reverse this? Do you like him or carpenter more ros?

4:42
Neil Weinberg: He had that hand injury last year, was it? Wonder if it’s some mix of healing and decline. He’s gonna be good still, but the power is probably never really coming back. Carp.

4:42
Comment From Matts
Tigers window of success

4:43
Neil Weinberg: You can always reload, but next year might be it. Then again, they have the resources to turn it around quickly

4:43
Comment From John
What do you think of the enigma that is Jarred Cosart? Cannon for an arm, nice movement for his secondary offerings, great GB/FB ratios in the minors, but what’s preventing him from achieving success in the majors?

4:44
Neil Weinberg: He has a very tenuous relationship with the strike zone.

4:44
Comment From Gary
Any idea if changes are in the works for UZR to handle shifts in some way other than throwing them out?

4:44
Neil Weinberg: I’m sure it’s being considered, but we buy UZR, we don’t create it, so I don’t know.

4:45
Comment From Armond
After reading Jeff’s post about the Masterson trade, I now think the Cards are steps ahead of everyone in how they evaluate trades and how they will improve the team. With that said, do you think there is a bat out there they could acquire?

4:45
Neil Weinberg: The problem with this question is that there are basically no good bats on the market. Zobrist would be a good get but he’s probably not getting dealt anymore.

4:45
Comment From Guest
Maddux has 5000 IP, Pedro has 2800

4:46
Neil Weinberg: No person on Earth would argue their career values.

4:46
Comment From Jordan
Smyly’s numbers are alright this year, but his splits aren’t the prettiest. Absolutely destroys lefties but righties hit him pretty hard. Is he bound for the bullpen as more of a loogy type, or does he workout his issues with righties enough to be a good starter?

4:47
Neil Weinberg: Smyly is a fine back-end starter and has the stuff to get righties out, especially with the deception in his delivery. He’s way more than a LOOGY, but probably never more than an average starter.

4:47
Comment From Trent
You guys buy UZR? Like for cash?

4:47
Neil Weinberg: I think we probably use electronic payments, but we buy a lot of our data.

4:48
Comment From Jake
Is this the year the deadline gets moved back?

4:48
Neil Weinberg: My guess is that it happens in the next CBA. Although I would rather it be in June than August, but I’m in the minority.

4:48
Comment From John
Do you buy JD Martinez’s reinvented swing and success this season? or do you think he’s a flash in the pan (evident by his mini-slump post-ASG)?

4:49
Neil Weinberg: He’s made real improvements, but he’s obviously not a 170 wRC+ guy. Something like a .340-.350 wOBA guy seems plausible.

4:49
Comment From Jake
From 1990-1999, Bond’s OBP: .434. SLG: .602. BB%: 18.6%. K% 12.2%. 343 SB, 1478 hits and 361 HR. Griffey OBP: .384. SLG: .581. BB% 11.4%, K% 14.6%. 147 wRC+, 151 SB. For Griffey, 66 wins on mostly good defense in CF. For Bonds, 81 wins on dependable defense in OF. Griffey was one of the greatest. Bonds was worlds better, and it wasn’t particularly close.

4:50
Neil Weinberg: AND we didn’t even talk about 2001-2004 where Bonds was some sort of baseballing supervillian!

4:50
Comment From Doctor Doom
On a scale of 1-10 how firmly are you a believer in DIPS theory? What do you say to someone who’s either skeptical of or unaware of the concept that pitchers have very little control on base in play?

4:52
Neil Weinberg: Depending on how you interpret the scale of 1-10, I’m a 9 or 10. Big believer. I usually talk to them about seeing-eye ground balls and diving catches. Everyone buys DIPS at the micro-level, you just have to convince them it doesn’t even out until you get to like 800 innings

4:52
Comment From Jake
Oh? What’s your take on an earlier deadline?

4:53
Neil Weinberg: I would rather teams decide if they’re in or out soon rather than letting them play out more of the season and deciding to fold up and get players back. I would also prefer fewer than 10 playoff teams. Build your team in the winter and play it out. That’s my preference, I get the other side, just like it better this way

4:53
Comment From Stuart
I’m reading Game of Shadows right now and it’s incredible how much they undersell how good Bonds was before he got on the sauce.

4:54
Neil Weinberg: Barry Bonds was a HOF before McGwire hit 70. Think about that.

4:55
Neil Weinberg: Alright, few more minutes. Fire off your quick questions. Anything.

4:55
Comment From Mike
Do you think international free agents are the key to the Yankees getting back to the top? Prime-year talent isn’t available in free agency anymore and they’re never bad enough to draft high.

4:56
Neil Weinberg: I don’t know if this is actually true, but my gut reaction is that drafting well in the 2-6 rounds is a good way to stay good for a long time. They can still do that.

4:56
Comment From Jake
Bonds HOF odds, over/under 10%?

4:57
Neil Weinberg: Under on the actual ballot. Which I think is wrong.

4:57
Comment From Sirras One
Citi Field makes an appearance in Sharknado 2. Would Mets fans actually run away or prefer to be swept away and never have the Mets crush their hearts again?

4:57
Neil Weinberg: I have three very close friends who live and die with the Mets. This made me very sad.

4:57
Comment From Guest
Favorite pizza?

4:58
Neil Weinberg: Anyone in the Michigan area, hit Pizza House in Ann Arbor.

4:58
Comment From John
Want to chime in on the Bonds topic. Even though Bonds will probably not make it into the HOF because of juice, I personally think that it still takes tremendous skills to hit a freaking baseball, and no one did it better than Bonds during his time, a time filled with juicers.

4:59
Neil Weinberg: No one gives him enough credit for this. Even if he was taking every possible steroid, none of the other juicers came close to him. That’s worth…something

4:59
Comment From Doctor Doom
Corey Kluber…most underrated pitcher in baseball?

5:00
Neil Weinberg: Certainly a top candidate. And if we’re talking this year, sure. Fister and Sanchez have been underrated too. Also Sale a little even. Greinke…Strasburg…

5:00
Comment From Jake
Does it make sense to prioritize managers for the HOF when front office acquisitions are so much more important? The Boss and company were 10x as important to the Yankees Dyansty as Martin, Showalter, or Torre ever were.

5:01
Neil Weinberg: Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you. Billy Beane is way more responsible for Oakland’s success than Bob Melvin, but we value managers for some reason

5:01
Comment From Trent
So someone who cheats baseball deserves to get it’s highest honor?

5:02
Neil Weinberg: I don’t think the HOF should be in the business of being the morality police. I understand the point I just think there’s no good way to fairly reprimand people or if we should do it at all

5:03
Comment From Doctor Doom
Which area of baseball analysis do you think will benefit the most from future evolutions in statistical analysis?

5:03
Neil Weinberg: Is it stupid to say defense? Defense.

5:05
Neil Weinberg: Alright, I should theoretically go do things other than chat before my wife gets home. Let’s do it again next week. As always look for me on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44 if you need guidance during the week on FG related stuff. And I’ll have some stuff out about RE24 and leaderboards this week.

Also, first Hardball Times post is going up tomorrow, so read that?

Have fun with trade rumors, sorry for accidentally talking about steroids, it was mostly an accident!



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Neil Weinberg is the Site Educator at FanGraphs and can be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44.


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These might be the most informative web chats on this site. Thanks Neil for taking the time to do this.

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