Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 5/10/17

12:03
Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday, everyone.

12:04
Dave Cameron: Sorry for the delayed start; had a toddler meltdown to help with.

12:04
David: Will Chris Taylor turn into a pumpkin or is this a Justin Turner-esque resurgence?

12:05
Dave Cameron: Those aren’t really the only two options. Taylor projected as a roughly league average player heading into the season, so it’s not that weird that he’s had a good 50 at-bats. I don’t think he’s going to turn into an offensive star, but he’s a good defensive middle infielder who isn’t a terrible hitter.

12:06
Erik: The Phillies’ rotation was supposed to be their strength, but even the pitchers doing well by ERA like Hellickson have awful underlying numbers. What do you make of them going forward? Are they still the average unit they were projected to be at the start of the year?

12:07
Dave Cameron: A healthy Nola would help, but Velasquez isn’t doing anything to push back against the idea that he’s a long-term reliever.

12:07
Dave Cameron: At this point, I’d be more encouraged about the Phillies hitters. Altherr looks good, Hoskins is crushing Triple-A, Hernandez and Herrera look solid.

12:08
Dave Cameron: I still don’t love Franco, but they are starting to put together a line-up.

12:08
Ryan: Realistically, which starter should the cubs go after and what do you think it would take to get him.

12:09
Dave Cameron: Darvish is the easy answer, but I could see them paying a lot less to get an Estrada or Vargas, given that they might not need whoever they acquire to be a frontline starter in the postseason if Lester and Arrieta are throwing well.

12:09
Dave Cameron: If Arrieta implodes, and they don’t trust him in October, Darvish is more likely.

12:10
Jacob : What’s a good comparable for a potential Estrada trade?

12:10
Dave Cameron: Maybe the Kazmir trade from a few years back.

12:10
007: How frequently do Zips, Steamer, etc update their ROS projections? I’m interested in Conforto vs. Judge ROS–but given how much has changed in past week, how up to date are those projections? (and who do you like ROS)

12:10
Dave Cameron: They’re updated every day.

12:11
Dave Cameron: So the ROS projections you see on the site today include yesterday’s games.

12:11
Kevin: Any reason why the Dodgers aren’t letting Wood pitch deeper into games?

12:11
Dave Cameron: They don’t really need to. They’re carrying nine relievers.

12:12
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: In practice, does actual run production depend on how teams achieve their aggregate wRC+ (or equivalent metric), or just what the aggregate is? I.e., will a team of 110 wRC+ three outcome guys really score as many runs as nine Royals-esque slap hitters with the same wRC+, even if the former may struggle with situations like man on third, one out?

12:12
Dave Cameron: Yeah, there’s basically no real evidence that contact-oriented teams will outperform their linear weights expectations.

12:12
Dave Cameron: It doesn’t really matter how you get to your wRC+

12:13
Bork: So uh…Iwakuma on the DL.

12:13
Dave Cameron: A win now team now has Yovani Gallardo as their #1 starter.

12:14
Brad: What are your thoughts on Aaron Altherr? I’m seeing comparisons to Werth. Would the Phillies be silly to give Kendrick or Saunders more playing time than him? Thanks.

12:15
Dave Cameron: Besides both playing in Philly, he doesn’t really remind me much of Werth at all. But he definitely should be playing almost everyday.

12:15
Eric: For years, Mark Reynolds had power but could not hit for average. Last year, after moving to Coors, he finally hit for average, but no longer hit for power. Finally, this year, he is hitting for both average and power. Is Mark Reynolds somehow good now?

12:16
Dave Cameron: I don’t think 44% of his fly balls will keep flying over the fence, so no.

12:16
Dave Cameron: But he’s okay-ish.

12:16
Erik: The Reds and Brewers are both over .500, and seem to have some legitimate, unexpected improvements. Are they ready to contend as early as next year, or are they still years off?

12:16
Dave Cameron: The Reds rotation remains awful.

12:16
Dave Cameron: The Brewers isn’t a lot better.

12:17
Pine Marten: With the Cubs struggling as they are and the improvement of several mid-tier teams in the NL, do you see a scenario in which the Cubs are fighting fora Wild Card spot in September (or miss the playoffs?)

12:17
Dave Cameron: The Cubs will be fine.

12:17
Noah: How sustainable is a breakout like Alonso’s, when it comes with a change of approach? Do you see a pitcher adjustment that could mitigate his newfound power?

12:18
Dave Cameron: This isn’t sustainable in the sense that he won’t hit 70 home runs, but clearly, he’s doing things quite differently now. It will be interesting to see how he responds to getting pitched around a bit more, but I think he’s probably a legitimately good hitter now.

12:18
Zonk: What should the Cubs be worrying about, and in what areas will they be fine, in your opinion?

12:18
Dave Cameron: The 5th starter problem is legitimate and needs to be addressed. The offense will be fine.

12:19
Colinbaseball: What are your thoughts on Ben Lindbergh’s piece on baseball’s not being juiced? Are you convinced MLB is giving us the whole truth?

12:20
Dave Cameron: I don’t see any reason for MLB to manufacture a fake report; the PR nightmare from something like that getting out would be way worse than the PR nightmare of just saying “yeah, we tightened up the balls because offense was too low”. So, I believe that they are being honest with what they know.

12:20
Pine Marten: Yonder Alonso, Eric Thames, Mark Reynolds, who put the magic dust on all the first base bags?

12:20
Dave Cameron: You didn’t even mention Ryan Zimmerman.

12:21
fake news: How did Alex Bregman lose his ability to hit more flyballs than groundballs?

12:21
Dave Cameron: As Tony noted in his offseason write-up, Bregman’s 2016 batted ball profile was a mess, and suggested it wouldn’t work long term. Seems pretty likely the Astros saw that too and are helping him try to make adjustments that will work better over the long run.

12:22
CubFan: Who’s closing for CWS after the trading deadline? Robertson, Jones (currently on the shelf with a nerve issue), Kahnle or someone else behind door #3?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Jones

12:22
Dave Cameron: Though the way Giolito is struggling in Triple-A, I wonder how long before he becomes a bullpen conversion.

12:23
Q-Ball: What off season move for you looks the most regrettable in the early going?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Have to imagine the Red Sox would love to undo the Shaw/Thornburg trade right now. Not that they should have seen Thornburg getting hurt coming, but Shaw would be a nice 3B for them, and they could have gotten a reliever without opening up a hole at that spot.

12:24
PTBNL: Dave, I’m tired of watching the Red Sox play Marco-Pablo looking for options at third base. Is it unreasonable to think that Devers could get a shot at the everyday 3B duties by the end of this seasoN?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Not unreasonable at all. I bet he’s the starting 3B there by July.

12:25
CubFan: Can Severino keep this up or will he come back to earth? Saw him against my Cubbies Sunday night and he looked nasty. Hitting upper 90s into the 7th and it’s 40 degrees outside.

12:26
Dave Cameron: I don’t think he’s an ace, but there’s solid command of a couple of good pitches and at least a usable change.

12:26
Andy Green: Is Hunter Renfroe’s performance so far a real concern, or is he just undergoing rookie struggles?

12:26
Dave Cameron: He’s not very good.

12:27
Alan: As it stands now, the Cardinals are projected to be the first wild card in the National League with 86 wins. The Rockies and Mets are both vying for the second – with projected records hovering around .500. Is this the year we get a wild card with a losing record?

12:28
Dave Cameron: Nah; teams that are in the race will make trades to make themselves better at the deadline, and a few of those teams will pick up some sequencing wins.

12:28
Dave Cameron: But I wouldn’t be shocked if we had an 86 or 87 win Wild Card team.

12:28
Chirp: Should the Jays replace an injured Morales with Rowdy Tellez or should he be given more time to adjust against advanced pitching?

12:28
Dave Cameron: He has an 85 wRC+ in Triple-A.

12:29
Ronnie: Robbie Grossman has a 128 wRC+ in 481 PAs going back to last year. Is he “for real”?

12:29
Dave Cameron: No. He doesn’t hit the ball hard enough to be a high BABIP guy.

12:30
Porcho Villa: Thanks for the Alex Wood piece. Who are you higher on for the rest of this season– Wood or Chuck Morton?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Wood, easily.

12:31
Dave: What do you think the Yankees do with Frazier this year? He’s starting to hit in AAA and there’s not a clear spot for him yet, any chance he’s a deadline trade piece again?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Depends on what they’re buying. I would guess they would prefer to keep him, but if he gets them Darvish and they have a chance to win the division…

12:32
cj: I see myself as a reasonable braves fan, meaning I had no high hopes last years finish would translate like many other fans thought. My question is who do the braves trade at the deadline now? Freeman seems to be here to stay now with how he hits, but what about Teheran? or do they sell at all due to the new park? it just seems like a weird year with not many assets to trade of value

12:32
Dave Cameron: I saw Rosenthal note the other day that they expect to both buy and sell at the deadline, but given that they’re trying to continue to sell this notion that they’re close to winning, I have no idea what they can sell that anyone will want. Jim Johnson again? Okay.

12:33
Erik: Without interference from MLB, does the strikeout trend continue climbing inexorably, reach some equilibrium, or start falliny again as part of some natural cycle of adjustments?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Until they figure out how to limit/reduce velocity, it’s going to keep climbing.

12:33
PTBNL: Not much attention has been given to the Marlins this year. They’re 13-19, and their pitching has not been very good. Is there any chance that they could be sellers at the deadline? I’m thinking guys like Ozuna or Yelich might have value, I’m just not sure whether the team wants to try to build around those guys in the next few years, or if they’ll realistically be able to do so given their lack of pitching and prospects.

12:33
Dave Cameron: Guessing they won’t do much while the team is up for sale.

12:34
Dave Cameron: Will want to give the new ownership/front office a chance to make that call.

12:35
Redler: A) Trey Mancini is actually a good hitter who should be getting more at bats or B) Trey Mancini is overperforming and Baltimore knows this or C) He’s okay but Baltimore has too many okay-hitting guys with no defense

12:35
Dave Cameron: B and C

12:35
Paul: Cubs’ Rotation: Was last year a fortunate alignment of all starters performing at their peak, or are they just off to a slow start and their early struggles are not a sign for serious concern?

12:36
Dave Cameron: They over-performed last year, but they also had a great defense behind them. This year, they have Schwarber and Jon Jay out there too frequently.

12:37
Greg: Three 19-year-old Braves prospects are currently at Double A. They’re all ranked in multiple top 100s. Why would a team so far from contention do this? What’s the point in rushing prospects when you are bad, or have they figured something new out?

12:37
Dave Cameron: They don’t think they are far from contention.

12:37
Dave Cameron: I don’t think they’re right, but it seems pretty clear there’s an organizational push to win soon.

12:38
Oscar Gamble: What’s important to discuss with a SO before having children?

12:38
Dave Cameron: “Do we want children?”

12:38
Dave Cameron: More seriously, I think parenting philosophies are something you probably want to talk through before you have to make real-time decisions.

12:39
Wes: Do you see Moncada staying in AAA for the majority of the year or is Hahn just doing typical front office speak?

12:39
Dave Cameron: He’ll be up after the Super Two deadline.

12:40
Sonny: How early would a team like Toronto, who had October aspirations, sell to try to set the market? Is there any precedent for sell offs before say the end of June?

12:40
Dave Cameron: They’ll wait as long as they can. Teams that sell early are usually ones who knew they were going to be bad.

12:41
HappyFunBall: How more bullpen implosions do you think the Nats tolerate before Victor Robles starts looking for apartments in Chicago or KC?

12:41
Dave Cameron: They have a big enough cushion in the NL East that they can afford to wait.

12:42
Daniel: Cody Bellinger is better than Adrian Gonzalez. What will happen there?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Well sounds like Toles is out for a while, so Bellinger to LF.

12:42
HappyFunBall: When you say that the ROS projections update every day … do you mean that ZIPS and Steamer actually recalculate? Or that preseason projections are simply re-balanced for expected playing time ROS?

12:43
Dave Cameron: ZIPS and Steamer ROS projections are updated projections based on in-season performance being taken into account. It is not just a playing time adjustment. Go look at the forecast changes for a guy like Ryan Zimmerman to see the differences.

12:44
Ty: The Jays, at 10.5 games back at this point and with their injuries, look like they can’t realistically get back in it. Do you foresee a full out fire sale or would you expect them to keep Donaldson and build around him in the coming years?

12:45
Dave Cameron: I don’t think they’ll nuke the whole team, but I do think they’ll listen on Donaldson, and Estrada probably goes.

12:45
Q: Asked this question in a few chats–if you’re a GM with your choice of Judge or Conforto, who do you take? Jeff said Judge, no question. Travis said Conforto who he believes to be a budding superstar. What’s say you?

12:45
Dave Cameron: I’d take Judge.

12:47
Kosch: How come the Leaders by team by position list all the PA’s for a player? For example, Marwin Gonzales has 86’s total for the season, but when you sort by OF it shows that he has 86 PA’s for the outfield when that is not true? http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=of&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&t…

12:47
Dave Cameron: It’s a leaderboard, not a split. It’s showing you the performance of all the players who have played enough to qualify at that position. If you want to see performance while playing a specific position, use the splits dropdown to pick “As LF”

12:47
Trey : True or false, once Amed Rosario gets called up, he’ll be so good (relative to Mets SS) that Met fans will be like wtf was this guy doing in the minors all season

12:47
Dave Cameron: False

12:48
Jake: Can even the Yankees afford both Harper and Machado in 2019? We’re talking about committing somewhere between $800 million to $1 billion over ten years for just two players.

12:49
Dave Cameron: No, no one is getting both.

12:49
Trent: you say (and other pundits have said) the Reds have an awful rotation… but isn’t that kind of antiquated concept as Starters and Relievers, Rotations and Bullpens are starting to merge together. Consider how Bryan Price is using their entire pitching staff… it seems misleading to say they have a terrible rotation when really their overall pitching is probably closer to average or mediocre

12:50
Dave Cameron: Even with relievers carrying a larger load, the Reds only have three good RPs too. Most of their pitching staff is terrible, including the guys who throw the most innings.

12:50
Sonny: In D Laurila’s piece yesterday on Jed Bradley Jed mentioned he never regained velo lost while transitioning to pro ball, is it common for amateur pitchers to throw harder outside of org ball (regardless of injury history) and any insight into why?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that happens to almost everyone. You pitch once a week in HS. It’s much easier to throw harder with a reduced workload.

12:51
Erik: With homers at an all time high, why is no one making a run at the record? Seems like every other year someone was making a run last time homers were this high

12:51
Dave Cameron: This HR surge is about the low-end guys finding power, not the high-end guys adding more.

12:52
Brian: Is Giolito really struggling, or are we just scouting the stat line? I’ve read that the stuff is still where it needs to be and he’s working through some things. So, while the results aren’t there, changing anything now might be an overreaction.

12:52
Dave Cameron: The stuff is down, the results are bad, and he’s been overrated for a while now.

12:53
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Could you share a behind the scenes story of Fangraphs? What’s something fun that we don’t know about?

12:54
Dave Cameron: The story of how Carson came to get hired is great. He was recommended to us by Jonah Keri, who warned us we were going to get an email from a guy who wanted to write for us, and that it was going to be different. It was certainly different.

12:54
troke: Are there more injuries this year than usual, or does it just seem that way because 1/3 of my fantasy team is on the DL?

12:55
Dave Cameron: There are more DL stints because of the 10 day instead of 15 day change.

12:56
Phil: Assuming Kershaw and Hill (when healthy) are locks for the rotation, which 2 of Maeda, McCarthy, Ryu, Wood, and Urias gets pushed out of the rotation? And do the Dodgers just pretend Kazmir is dead for the rest of the season?

12:56
Dave Cameron: They’ll just rotate those guys through, with different convenient injuries.

12:57
caesar_solid: who are the Cubs more likely to trade before July: Candelario, Happ, Baez or Schwarber?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Candelario is the one with absolutely no future in Chicago.

12:57
Dave Cameron: You can make a case for trading any of the other three, but Candelario is a clear trade chip.

12:58
Daniel: Moving Forward… pick one: Benintendi, Yelich, Mazara, Schwarber

12:58
Dave Cameron: Yelich

12:59
AFan: How would you address Nationals’ bullpen which has multiple issues, not just a closer problem??

12:59
Dave Cameron: Patience. Kelley/Treinen/Glover are all decent.

12:59
Dave Cameron: They’ll come around.

1:00
Sean: A few years ago a Harvey-Puig swap seemed to make sense. Might it still make some sense today, ironically? Who says no there?

1:00
Dave Cameron: Mets already have too many OFs.

1:00
B: Are the team pages new? Either way, I just found them and think they are fantastic. The pitcher usage graphs are awesome.

1:00
Dave Cameron: They got rolled out about a month ago. Glad you like them!

1:01
Moltar: Even if Rosario puts up a 60 wRC+, this Mets fan will just be happy to have a SS with any semblance of range on defense.

1:02
Dave Cameron: The Mets haven’t cared about defense for years; why start now?

1:02
Harber123: Are front offices so far removed from batting average as a measurement tool that a Ryan Schimpf could legitimately run a sub .200 batting average on the regular and be considered a valuable asset if hes hitting 25+ tanks and wielding a 15% BB%.

1:02
Dave Cameron: Yes

1:04
Dave Cameron: Alright, thanks for hanging out everyone.

1:04
Dave Cameron: I’m off to do some writing.

1:04
Dave Cameron: We’ll do it again next week.

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victorvran
Member
victorvran

“Is Giolito really struggling, or are we just scouting the stat line?”

I think it is absolutely fair to suggest that a guy with a 5.72 bb/9 is struggling. But jumping ship on him being a starter already, for that team, seems a bit premature indeed.