FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 8/22/17

10:44
Paul Swydan:

What is tonight’s best matchup?

LAD (Stewart) vs. PIT (Taillon) (7.8% | 8 votes)
 
BOS (Fister) vs. CLE (Carrasco) (11.7% | 12 votes)
 
WAS (Roark) vs. HOU (Morton) (23.5% | 24 votes)
 
COL (Gray) vs. KC (Duffy) (52.9% | 54 votes)
 
TEX (Ross) vs. LAA (Nolasco) (3.9% | 4 votes)
 

Total Votes: 102
10:46
Paul Swydan:

20 AL position players have 3+ WAR. Which one surprises you the most?

Andrelton Simmons (3.3% | 4 votes)
 
Steven Souza Jr. (3.3% | 4 votes)
 
Didi Gregorious (4.1% | 5 votes)
 
Elvis Andrus (1.6% | 2 votes)
 
Justin Smoak (28.3% | 34 votes)
 
Jonathan Schoop (1.6% | 2 votes)
 
Logan Morrison (15.0% | 18 votes)
 
Tim Beckham (42.5% | 51 votes)
 

Total Votes: 120
10:47
Paul Swydan:

23 NL position players have 3+ WAR. Which one surprises you the most?

Chris Taylor (45.0% | 55 votes)
 
Zack Cozart (7.3% | 9 votes)
 
Tommy Pham (29.5% | 36 votes)
 
Eugenio Suarez (10.6% | 13 votes)
 
Travis Shaw (7.3% | 9 votes)
 

Total Votes: 122
9:01
Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!

9:01
Michael: Buxton or Hicks ROS?

9:02
Paul Swydan: According to the depth charts, it’s a wash: http://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&type=rfang…

9:03
Paul Swydan: I’m slightly more bullish on Buxton, because I feel like we haven’t seen his best baseball and I think we *have* seen Hicks’. But I think it’s fairly even. If there’s a tiebreaker, it might be playing time. Hicks will likely sit a little more frequently than Buxton just because of the Yankees’ depth.

9:03
Michael: Does WAR take park factors into account? If not, do you think it ever will?

9:04
Paul Swydan: Yes. Here’s the specific post: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/pitcher-win-values-explained-part-six/

9:04
Paul Swydan: That is linked from our Glossary entry on WAR: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/misc/war/

9:04
Michael: What would you rank Andrelton Simmons as a position player? Top 15? Top 25? Or what? (Real-life not fantasy).

9:05
Paul Swydan: Real life, I probably would be more conservative than top 25, if only because I’d like to see the good hitting keep up for a longer period of time than the bad hitting.

9:05
ham porter: I was thinking that the Blue Jays should sell high on Justin Smoak this offseason, but 1B/DH types didn’t draw much interest last winter in Free Agency. This year, that class includes Hosmer, Duda, Moreland, Alonso, LoMo, Santana, Beltran and Holliday. Do you think there will be demand for a Justin Smoak ($4.25M in ’17, $6.5M option in ’18) and what could the Jays expect in return?

9:06
Paul Swydan: The only demand I could see for him would be from a similarly cheap team like Toronto, and unfortunately with him already being on Toronto, one cheap team is already spoken for. Blue Jays are probably better off just riding it out. He’s basically already earned his whole contract in year one.

9:06
El Chupacabra: Gallo or Devers in a dynasty league?

9:06
Paul Swydan: Oh, Devers. Not even close.

9:06
Cam: I’m firmly in the pro-Robot Umps camp, as to me it makes sense that we should be getting calls right, instead of continuing a system of 60 year old men trying to figure out if a 90mph+ ball goes through an imaginary box, 250 times a game. Realistically, is the main holdup to this the potential for the Umpires Union to throw a tanty? Or is it apprehension towards a significant change to the dynamic of our game?

9:08
Paul Swydan: I think that the robot vs human umps is only a concern for a small portion of an audience such as FanGraphs, and that makes it a REALLY REALLY small portion of the general baseball audience. In other words, MLB has a lot bigger fish to fry, and without a tangible, workable solution in place (which I doubt MLB has) we aren’t going to see a change any time soon.

9:08
Martinez: There’s two games a couple weeks ago, LAD @ AZ, that don’t have Pitch Info data, does it not exist?

9:09
Paul Swydan: That is a fantastic question, and if you can point me to the specific dates, I will ask about it internally.

9:09
Doug: Could Verlander make sense for the Angels? They need durability in their rotation both now and next year, and have money to spend with Hamilton coming off at the end of the season.

9:10
Paul Swydan: They would be a team that makes sense only if Detroit just wants to clear cap space and isn’t worried about getting good prospects in return for him. That’s certainly not the way I’d go if I was Detroit, but it’s a possibility.

9:10
Timbers > Sounders: If you had to pick three of the Mariners outfielders to consistently start, which would you pick of Dyson, Gamel, Heredia, Haniger, and Martin?

9:11
Paul Swydan: Dyson, Haniger and Gamel

9:12
John Gibbons’ Waddle: How crazy is this Josh Donaldson at SS thing? I get the Jays lineup leaves much to be desired and therefore getting creative is key. Could this be the start of a more “little league” approach to fielding a lineup, with players becoming more multi-eligible then before?

9:12
Paul Swydan: First, that’s a great handle. Gibbons is basically a monocle away from being The Penguin.

9:13
Paul Swydan: Second, I dunno, that one had me flummoxed. I’d be surprised if this became a regular thing though. Donaldson is too valuable to dick around with consistently. My guess is the players are always bugging Gibbons to let them have a little fun and he acquiesced.

9:13
Phamily Man: What happens to the Sox when Pedroia comes back? At first it seemed Devers demoted, but he’s been boss. Nunez becomes a backup? Moreland?

9:14
Paul Swydan: Devers is going to play. That much I’m sure of. Nunez will probably split time between first and second. Moreland doesn’t need to play at all IMO, and it seems like Pedroia will be gimpy the rest of the way.

9:14
Oddball Herrera: My argument for Chris Taylor – really the biggest surprise w.r.t. Pham is that he’s healthy, he was always an interesting player.  Taylor…if anyone bothered to have an opinion on him prior to the last couple months, it was probably to include him in the great constellation of failed Mariners prospects.

9:15
Paul Swydan: That’s cold. Taylor is a great example of why you always want to take a good second/third/fourth look at a once-promising player.

9:15
Souza-Q: Hey Paul. Wondering where you stand on the Buxton Byronaissance? Does he keep it up ROS?

9:15
Paul Swydan: If you don’t know, I’m a big Buxton fan. Earlier in the season, I wrote that Minnesota needed to just let him play. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/let-him-play/

9:16
Paul Swydan: And then in late June I noted that he had cut into his K%. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/in-celebration-of-the-brewers-and-twins…

9:16
Paul Swydan: And he keeps cutting into it. I’m very encouraged. By WAR, he’s already having his best season, and we still have 4-5 weeks left.

9:16
Morris Buttermaker: Have you watched much of the little league world series? Are you surprised how many kids named Tebow as their favorite player? The oldest of them were toddlers when he was at florida.

9:17
Paul Swydan: No, I find it exploitative in a way I’m not comfortable with, although that catch by that one kid diving over the CF fence was amazing. Not too surprised by kids listing Tebow as their favorite player, he’s all anyone can seem to talk about ever.

9:17
Mr. Roboto: How far off are we from technology aided strike/ball calls? I am not suggesting full robot umpire situation, but perhaps a tool that allows the Umpire to relay strike/ball calls from a K-zone type display. Also – sensors in bases/balls for accuracy of reviews and even more advanced analytics. Gotta be within 10 years i’d think. Thoughts?

9:18
Paul Swydan: Within 10 years seems fair, but I’d be on the more conservative end of that 10 years. MLB and the Umpires Union aren’t even talking about it yet, nevermind having put a plan together and thought through the logistics of implementing it in all 30 parks.

9:18
Paul Swydan: I wouldn’t hold your breath.

9:18
Beetle Jones: David Wright, Miggy Cabrera, Pujols and a dozen other guys fooled me with so-so MILB stats and then became Keepers in Any League.  What’s the chance Delmonico or Hoskins follow that path?

9:19
Paul Swydan: Hoskins definitely could.

9:19
Paul Swydan: I’d be surprised if Delmonico did. But like you said, there’s always going to be some surprises.

9:19
Jesse: Pujols has a wRC+ of 72 for the year, 54 in the 2nd half, and is currently the 2nd worst qualified player in MLB by WAR.  He is also on pace for roughly 625 PA because the Angels won’t  rest him or move him out of the 3rd or 4th hole.  How much value do you think the they are costing themselves by continuing to do this in the middle of a tight WC race?

9:20
Paul Swydan: A lot, but it speaks to his status in that clubhouse. Not sure I really see a way around it for them. If they had hitters who were clearly deserving of cleanup status besides Trout that’d be one thing, but there’s not that nice, easy decision to make.

9:20
Travis: Before he retires, will Freddie Freeman win an MVP?

9:21
Paul Swydan: I’ll say no.

9:21
Minty: If you had to pick a hitter and pitcher for next year, who ya got? Hoskins/C Taylor Rodon/Honeywell/new mechanics Glasnow?

9:21
Paul Swydan: I’ll take Taylor on position flex and …. without looking at the stats, Rodon. Just on track record.

9:22
Doolittle’s Beard: Hypothetically, if a team agrees to take on all of Verlander’s contract, what kind of prospect package would it take?

9:22
Paul Swydan: Not much. A ball players. Guys with big ceilings and not much chance of reaching it.

9:22
Big Tuna: Who are your favorite streamer options for the latter part of this week?

9:22
Paul Swydan: Sorry my friend, I don’t do streamers. You’ll have to ask the RG folken about that.

9:22
Big Tuna: I have Cueto, Lester and Salazar all hurt for me and am trying to take a title. Are any droppable in a 12 team?

9:23
Paul Swydan: Lester might be. I feel your pain. I have Lester, Scherzer and Kershaw on the DL in our Ottoneu Staff league. Yesterday I traded for Arrieta and Davies to help fill the void.

9:23
Big Tuna: Best option to make up ground in steals: Zimmer, Span or Inciarte?

9:23
Paul Swydan: Probably Zimmer.

9:23
Zach: McCutchen as of today has been worth 44.4 fWAR for his career and will turn 31 after this season. If he can prove last year was a one off, how many more seasons at this level would he need to be a HOF player in your minds? (3.5 fWAR so far this season)

9:24
Paul Swydan: 6 or 7 at least. I hope he gets there.

9:24
Big Tuna: If I need ratio help, should I play matchups with my RP, benching volatile closers (Holland, Diaz) for ratio guys when they’re not likely to win and get saves?

9:25
Paul Swydan: At this time of year, it’s tough to get ratio help through RPs because of the small samples, and if you’re in a tight race for SVs and wins, benching volatile closers can be nerve wracking at the very least.

9:26
Paul Swydan: A better option might be to try to find RPs who qualify at SP like Ross Stripling or Brandon Morrow so that you can play all of the RPs at the same time, providing you don’t have a lot of SPs going each day.

9:26
Chin Music: What is your take on a league Commissioner advising other teams on players to pick up? I’m in 1st by only a point and the Commish texted me that the 2nd team place could gain points by picking up two available closers. Two hours later, that owner (his friend) picked up exactly the two mentioned players. Commissioner is out of it. It’s a $ league, too.

9:27
Paul Swydan: Shrug emoji. It’s in everyone’s interest to make the league fun whether they’re in it or not. If you’re a conscientious first-place owner, you probably had those potential moves mapped out anyway.

9:27
ResumeMan: What exactly happens in a rehab “simulated game”? Is it just the pitcher on the mound throwing to a series of batters? Does he have a whole set of fielders behind him and play it as if it were real? And what do they do after an inning ends? Do they sit around for about as long as the next half inning would be?

9:28
Paul Swydan: I believe the simulated part means that if the pitcher is scheduled to throw, say, 40 pitches in a simulated game that they just let him stand there and throw 40 pitches in game conditions, but without the normal rules of outs and innings and stuff. But I’m rusty on that definition, I could be very wrong there. Scouting types like Eric know that better than I do.

9:29
ChatzMcGee: Does anyone care about Joe Musgrove as a reliever (Eno might)? He’s been pretty damn good 0.59ERA/1.63FIP/2.92xFIP, 25% K-BB%, 51.4% GB% and 9.1% IFFB%. It’s only 15.1 IP, and I doubt he’s Devenski 2.0, but he seems interesting.

9:29
Paul Swydan: It’s definitely an interesting development, especially given the success they’ve had with Devenski.

9:30
ChatzMcGee: Bellinger and Wood to the DL on the same day, what’s the panic level in LA?

9:30
Paul Swydan: Given how much LA has used the DL, I don’t know what I would think if I was a Dodgers fan other than “I hope they’re all ready for October.”

9:30
Jart: The Dodgers seem like they’re going to have to make some very difficult decisions about who’s going to be on the playoff roster.  They have such a deep roster it almost seems unfair.

9:30
Paul Swydan: That’s the kind of problems you want to have. I think health will dictate some of it.

9:31
ChatzMcGee: Here’s an article showing that the Braves have received the least contribution out of their rookies of any team in the majors since 2015:https://www.talkingchop.com/2017/8/21/16177468/atlanta-braves-rookie-y…… the very least. How worried should Braves fans be about this rebuild? That’s a lot of fail.

9:32
Paul Swydan: It’s definitely interesting, but it doesn’t frighten me that much. I will say the strongest reaction I have is it makes me question the *timing* of their rebuild. IE, if they think they’re ready to compete next season, I’d be a bit flummoxed by that. But overall, not a huge deal to me.

9:32
robbob: Would Acuna get a September call-up?

9:33
Paul Swydan: As a fan, I hope so. But I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t.

9:33
Dan: Is there a glossary on scouting terms? Or phrases?

9:34
Paul Swydan: Eric has pieces linked at the beginning of most of his articles that explain the 20/80 scouting scale and stuff like that, definitely.

9:34
Tony: Would you give up your third round pick next year for 1 year Chris Davis and 1 year Byron Buxton? Last year Davis was drafted in second round and Buxton was a fourth rounder.  Some Third Round values last year: Kimbrel, Price, Jones, Piscotty, Thames.

Worried about Chris Davis and his future projections, seems like he is declining

Byron is heating u, but so was his September last year.

Worth?

9:35
Paul Swydan: If you’re trying to win this year, it’s a steep price but one that could be worth paying. If you’re doing this as a future play, then no, definitely not.

9:35
VardyParty: Why is the fastball the set-up pitch? Is it because it is easiest to control and command? Could a changeup or slider not be used as a set up pitch for the rest of the repertoire?

9:35
Paul Swydan: Generally, I think it is because your bat has to speed up for the fastball, and once the pitcher has your bat sped up, he can drop in something slower and get you to swing early and either miss it or make weak contact.

9:36
Paul Swydan: But not all pitchers pitch that way. Guys like Pedro Martinez and Zack Greinke can/did pitch “backwards,” which is a way of saying they used their non-fastball pitches to set hitters up.

9:36
Norris: Is a hard changeup still an offspeed pitch if it is only 4-5 MPH less than FB?

9:37
Paul Swydan: Yes, though obviously if the velocity gap is that small, you are relying more on the relative movement of the two pitches to help separate them.

9:37
Minty: Think Vlad Jr bashes his way up next September, or will he get the Acuna/Bryant treatment and be up 2019?

9:37
Paul Swydan: I’m not smart enough to answer this question, but I hope it’s 2018. :-)

9:38
Colt Holt : Five keepers in round drafted. 6*6 with std plus holds and obp. 12 teams. Scherzer, goldy, Harper first three rounds. Rizzo would be fourth. Grienke in 9th, Luis Castillo, Hoskins,  Filipe Rivero were free agents cost last pick. Who to keep?

9:38
Paul Swydan: Hard to argue with Greinke in the 9th. But see how Hoskins hits the rest of the way. He would be the one I keep an eye on.

9:39
Chin Music: Ride the hot hand with Dejong or stick it out with Bogaerts?

9:39
Paul Swydan: Couldn’t fault you either way. I think Bogaerts will turn it around, but, I always think that since he’s my favorite player.

9:39
Andres: Seems like José Ramírez has cooled off after a great couple of months. Can he rebound and be excellent again?

9:39
Paul Swydan: Yes. Yes he can.

9:39
Andres: Has Freeman lost some power after the wrist injury? Seems like it

9:40
Paul Swydan: Power usually comes back very slowly after wrist injuries. I wouldn’t worry about it affecting him long-term.

9:40
John: Hi Paul, thanks for chatting.  Question about WAR, if someone moves from LF to CF, they’ll play worse defense but they’ll get a bigger boost from the positional adjustment, theoretically balancing out, right?

9:40
Paul Swydan: Theoretically, yes.

9:40
Guest: Are Ryon Healy and Matt Chapman going to be part of the next good A’s team?

9:41
Paul Swydan: Boy, I sure hope so. Because if they’re not, they’re not going to be good again for a loooooooong time.

9:41
Mattingly’s Sideburns: Rank these things: Jonny Gomes as a commentator. Doug Fister starting for a contender. Brock Holt starting at 1B for a contender.

9:41
Paul Swydan: Yeesh.

9:41
Paul Swydan: Fister least offensive, then Gomes, then Holt?

9:42
Paul Swydan: But they’re all bad. Very bad. Do not like.

9:42
Tony Womack: Why dont teams sign guys to extremely frontloaded contracts instead of 25 a year for 10 years why not give 40 for the first 5 and 10 for the last 5 which makes the player more tradeable when they are declining

9:42
Paul Swydan: Because that limits the flexibility of the team in the current season, and in the future the backloaded salary might not seem so horrifying.

9:43
Paul Swydan: Case in point, Jayson Werth. When he signed his deal, it seemed like monopoly money. Now, here we are at the end of his deal, and his deal doesn’t seem so extravagant anymore.

9:43
Jason giambi: Miguel Andujar = Miguel Sano?

9:44
Paul Swydan: I don’t think so. Different profiles for one. Andujar doesn’t strike out as much.

9:44
Paul Swydan: For another, Sano spent a much larger portion of his age-22 season in the majors.

9:45
Paul Swydan: And in the minors, Sano hit for a lot more power.

9:45
Paul Swydan: Almost a 100 point gap in ISO.

9:45
Andres: Which 4 córner IF would you prefer to start: smoak, hoskins, freeman, rendon, shaw? Have to bench one

9:45
Paul Swydan: In a vacuum, Smoak. But Shaw hasn’t been very hot lately, so maybe him right now?

9:45
Paul Swydan: Good problem to have.

9:46
Da Bum: I’ve heard power is all about bat speed. I understand the science behind that but I wonder about a one handed swing. A one hander gives you greater bat speed but the ball doesn’t actually go as far. Why? Does the inertia not transfer as well because you can’t hold the bat as steady on contact? Just a random thought.

9:47
Paul Swydan: Not sure that is really true, but if it is, then yeah, it’s because a one-handed swing would probably lead to more vibration on the bat.

9:47
Nick: Whats the problem with Domingo Santana lately?

9:47
Paul Swydan: I mean, he was really good for four months. Everyone hits a downspurt now and then.

9:48
Paul Swydan: Certainly he’s striking out more this month. So there’s that.

9:49
Baby Bomber Fan: Hey, do you think NYY could get past Houston/Cleveland/Boston if they win wild card game?

9:49
Paul Swydan: Absolutely they could. They’ll be a dangerous team in October, especially if Chapman gets fixed.

9:49
Jeff Goldblum: Why am I the best actor since Laurence Olivier?

9:49
Paul Swydan: Because America loves a sexy guy with glasses?

9:50
Pie: Brad and Cameron both seem super high on Rhys Hoskins, what say you?

9:50
Paul Swydan: I’m on board.

9:50
Jeff Goldblum: Someone asked a different FG staff that if all US kids who played sports had been forced to focus on baseball, what percent of MLBers today would still be in the MLB? I believe the staffer said 90%. That sounds way, way too low, right? There’s obviously some self selection among MLBers in certain skills (hand-eye coordination, body control, etc.), but there would be a lot of amazing athletes who could have focused on developing baseball skills. I’d say 50-70% would be more correct.

9:51
Paul Swydan: I think you meant you think 90% is way too high. I don’t think it’s WAY too high. Maybe like 80%? I think a lot of kids drop baseball because it is a very hard sport, and even singular focus on it wouldn’t help a ton.

9:51
Paul Swydan: But it is fun to wonder about.

9:51
Ben: Who wins AL rookie of the year

9:52
Paul Swydan: Still gotta be Judge.

9:52
Paul Swydan: Can’t see Benintendi making that up in a month, even if Judge doesn’t play the rest of the way.

9:52
Tony: Feelings on Chris Davis for next year? Trending the wrong way?

9:53
Paul Swydan: Yup.

9:53
Paul Swydan’s Wife: How would you grade my tools?

9:53
Paul Swydan: All 80s.

9:53
J.D Martinez : Why does no one call me elite? I know I get hurt a lot but still

9:54
Paul Swydan: Because there are three phases to baseball, and you’re only good at one of them? And you get hurt a lot.

9:54
Tony womack: re: on the contracts, the huge contracts are horrifying. See rodriguez, alex

9:55
Paul Swydan: A-Rod didn’t earn his last contract, but he was never going to. He DID earn his first big contract (the one the Rangers signed him to).

10:00
Anon: Which player have you been the wrongest on?

10:00
Paul Swydan: Sorry my computer crashed.

10:00
Paul Swydan: Franklin Morales, Brian

10:01
Paul Swydan: Rose

10:01
Paul Swydan: But Rose was before I did this for a living so that doesn’t really count.

10:02
Paul Swydan: Anyway, doing this on an iPad sucks, so I’m gonna call it a night. Thanks for hanging out, as always!

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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.

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rustydude
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rustydude

I was seduced by Franklin Morales, back in the day. Figuratively, of course.