FanGraphs Chat – 4/30/14

11:26
Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday. I’m at the doctor’s office (no worries, everything is fine) so the chat might be a little late starting today, but I’ll make up for it on the back end if we don’t start right at 12.

12:06
Dave Cameron: Alright, let’s get this party started.

12:06
Comment From RK
Has your opinion of Trevor Bauer changed at all in the first month? Seem to recall you were pretty down on him (like most of us).

12:08
Dave Cameron: Personally, I think the most overrated players in the game are bad command/high fastball pitching prospects who rack up strikeouts by pitching out of the zone in the minors. Bauer, Archie Bradley, lots of guys fit this mold, and get a lot of hype because of velo and K numbers, but if you want to succeed in the majors, you have to throw strikes. Sometimes they learn, but it’s not as often as people think.

12:09
Comment From Matt
Is there any difference between a strikeout swinging and a strikeout looking? I know that it seems like there shouldn’t be, but I was curious to know if one is better/worse than the other.

12:09
Dave Cameron: Swinging strikeouts are more predictive, for both the batter and the pitcher, going forward. Called strikeouts are mostly a function of randomness.

12:10
Comment From K
Glad everything’s fine! What do you make of Heyward as a hitter? Is that upside starting to fade?

12:11
Dave Cameron: The lack of power development has lowered his ceiling. He’s a reminder that some 20 year olds are more developed and players follow different aging curves.

12:11
Comment From John
Will Ian Desmond’s brutal D lead to lost playing time?

12:12
Dave Cameron: He’s the only National that isn’t hurt; they don’t have anyone to replace him even if they wanted to.

12:12
Comment From Quinn
Do you still believe in “The Plan” that Theo and Jed have in place? What is and isn’t working?

12:12
Dave Cameron: Yes, the Cubs are going to be good in the not too distant future.

12:13
Comment From Stanatee the Manatee
Assuming it’s not a panic move, what do you think the reasoning is for the Cards sending down Wong?

12:13
Dave Cameron: A wake-up call. Apparently he’s not the most coachable kid around.

12:13
Comment From Julian
People continue to talk about a Boston trade for G. Stanton. Is there any smoke there? Or is it just a “makes too much sense” scenario. Do you think it happens?

12:14
Dave Cameron: The Marlins will have to trade Stanton eventually, and when you line up franchises that would have the prospects to acquire him and the cash to sign him long term, it doesn’t leave a ton of options. Boston is the most logical fit.

12:14
Comment From yojiveself
how much of a grudge would you hold towards a team if you were killing it in the minors but you weren’t being brought up due to Super 2? Would you make them pay after arb ends?

12:14
Dave Cameron: None. It’s a business.

12:15
Comment From Jays Fan
Hi Dave. Hope all is well. Just wondering what you expect from Marcus Stroman in his first few years as a major leaguer. Thanks!

12:15
Dave Cameron: I haven’t seen him pitch, but based on numbers/reports, sounds like he’s going to be an elite K/BB type who might give up some homers.

12:16
Comment From Marichal
Kyle Blanks has hit 7 HRs in 64 ABs for El Paso. Meanwhile Yonder Alonso has zero HRs and his BA sits below the Mendoza Line. Think we’ll see a promotion any time soon?

12:16
Dave Cameron: Kyle Blanks isn’t anything special either.

12:16
Comment From Gabes
How often do the wOBA coefficients work in-season? Do they get updated daily? And are they only for this season, or this a trailing average situation from the end last season happening?

12:17
Dave Cameron: They’re updated every day, but the reality is that they stabilize after a few days and don’t move much after that.

12:17
Comment From Guest
Milwaukee at St. Louis today. From 2011 – 2013, Garza’s ERA at home has been 2.85 versus 4.43 on the road. He spent most of those years pitching at Wrigley. How much of that is pitching in Wrigley as oppose to Garza simply being a better pitcher at home?

12:17
Dave Cameron: Embrace randomness. Not every split has a cause.

12:17
Comment From Daniel
Last week, you said that you wouldn’t offer Kyle Seager an extension. I was just wondering if you could offer some reason to that? He still seems like one of the few good position players on the team, how do you let that go?

12:18
Dave Cameron: Not signing a player to an extension is not the same as letting him go. They have him for four more years. He has the kind of skillset that doesn’t get paid in arbitration, and I don’t see much upside for a breakout, so going year to year won’t cost you much versus giving him guaranteed money now.

12:19
Comment From Gabes
How much of Dayan Viciedo should I buy into? Plenty of small sample variance in there, but his O-Swing and SwStr are down significantly and his batted ball profile seem to predict an uptick in power.

12:19
Dave Cameron: He’s young enough that improvement should be expected, but improvement means he’s okay rather than he sucks.

12:19
Comment From Beer Loving Dog born in a Volcano
What makes Smoak only average defensively? He seems to have better reaction and the ability to make more athletic plays than most first basemen.

12:20
Dave Cameron: He’s slow and doesn’t have much range.

12:20
Comment From Injured Padre
Is there any reason to have a positive outlook for the Padres in the next few years? Or does their development cycle just peak with a team that can shoot for 82-85 wins.

12:20
Dave Cameron: I don’t really get what they’re doing, to be honest. They’re not really rebuilding, they’re not really contenders. They’re just kind of in the middle.

12:21
Comment From Will
What would you imagine Jose Abreu would fetch if he was put back on the market after the first month of the season? More than 68 million?

12:21
Dave Cameron: 168 million.

12:21
Dave Cameron: Probably over 8 or 9 years instead of 6, but he’d get way more.

12:21
Comment From Michael
When do you think Polanco will get called up?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Around the time Super Two doesn’t apply any more; late June or early July.

12:23
Comment From Jays fan
What should the Jays do about Brandon Morrow – he seems like more of a concern than Dustin McGowan right now…

12:23
Dave Cameron: Morrow is what he is. You just live with the inconsistency.

12:23
Comment From Matt
At what point during the season is it appropriate for underachieving teams to make moves with only the future in mind?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Probably not until June or July, unless you’re selling an asset that might explode before then.

12:25
Comment From Al
Which team is farther from the mean? Diamondbacks or Brewers?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Probably the Brewers. I don’t think the D’Backs are a particularly good team.

12:25
Comment From Mr, Jones
Andrelton Simmons 2014: 91 PA, 2 BB, 3 K. Thoughts?

12:26
Dave Cameron: When you swing at everything and avoid working counts, it’s hard to walk or strikeout.

12:26
Comment From Dewey
After a month into the season, what is the reasonable current games behind line of no coming back for team? I know the Cubs are under that line, but what about the D-Backs?

12:27
Dave Cameron: You don’t just want to look at games back. Number of teams ahead of you in the race matters too, and number of games left changes the calculations. That’s why we have playoff odds. Just look at those.

12:27
Comment From Iko Uwais
So the Rockies are on a nice little run. I know it’s still April, but they have pitching reinforcements coming and the lineup looks real solid. Thoughts going forward?

12:28
Dave Cameron: When you have Babe Ruth playing shortstop, it hides a lot of flaws. They will be a solid team as long as Tulo is healthy.

12:28
Comment From Yadier Molina
If I continue my current production/pace, how do the writers plan to rob me of an MVP this year?

12:29
Dave Cameron: Someone will hit more dingers than you.

12:29
Comment From APH
Is there any evidence that hitters may perform worse in blowout games? As in it’s a 10 run game so they don’t go for long ABs and sort of phone it in.

12:30
Dave Cameron: You have to contrast that with the fact that they face worse pitching in mop-up time. So there’s confounding factors.

12:30
Comment From cbird
SP: Corbin/Miley/Parker/Bauer/Skaggs Eaton/Parra/Upton/Goldschmitt/Hill/Montero/FA SS/3B from Farm Reasonably cheap, plugging holes with farm. not trading away cheap young talent, pretty freaking good baseball team. FIRE TOWERS

12:30
Dave Cameron: Corbin and Parker would still be hurt, so that rotation would be atrocious.

12:30
Dave Cameron: But yes, Towers hasn’t really improved the team with all these moves.

12:31
Comment From Jays fan
Getz isn’t the solution to the Blue Jays second base problem…what is?

12:31
Dave Cameron: A trade.

12:32
Comment From Will
Who has the most trade value on the Marlins? Fernandez or Stanton?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Fernandez.

12:32
Comment From Minor League Pitching Prospect
Who’s the best and potentially most impactful arm currently in the minors? Is it still Archie Bradley? He’s been off to a rough start this year and is now dealing with elbow soreness. Gausman? Bauer?!?

12:33
Dave Cameron: I find almost all of the current crop of “top pitching prospects” overrated. Noah Syndergaard is about the only one I think is worth the hype.

12:33
Comment From Catoblepas
Xander Bogaerts is apparently open to the idea of an extension — would it be crazy to do so this early?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Absolutely not; I’d sign him tomorrow.

12:34
Comment From Daniel
From your twitter link yesterday, I was looking at the best hitters over the last 365 days. I was shocked to see Justin Smoak on page two, in the top 60. As a 1B, how high does one need to rank as a hitter to be a good player?

12:34
Dave Cameron: He needs to get to the 120-125 wRC+ range. He’s at 110 or so, I think, which makes him slightly better than a scrub but not a useful starter.

12:35
Comment From Dustin
Is the true talent gap between a fully healthy Tulo and a fully healthy Trout in the range of 2 wins?

12:35
Dave Cameron: Maybe 3.

12:35
Comment From benj
So what’s the inverse of the low command/high FB pitching prospect? Soft tossing lefty junkballers? FB only zone pounders?

12:35
Dave Cameron: Good command guys whose out pitch is a change-up. Scout/prospect types consistently underrate change-up guys.

12:35
Comment From Forsyth
At what point can Red Sox fans start getting excited about Mookie Betts (or should they just not get excited because he’s going to be playing for the Marlins)?

12:36
Dave Cameron: You should get excited now. He’s either going to be a fascinating 10th man who plays everywhere or he’s going to get you a great return in trade.

12:36
Comment From Evan
Does the downward trending run environment lead to pitchers’ WAR being overstated or is the lag too minimal to affect anything (or is this not even a factor)?

12:36
Dave Cameron: WAR adjusts with the run environment.

12:37
Comment From Bret
Do you ever see FanGraphs getting furthered involved in MLB Draft coverage from an analytics perspective? Or would that be kind of pointless?

12:37
Dave Cameron: Draft analytics are hard. If we had the right person, we’d do it, but most of the heavy lifting on draft analytics are being done inside MLB organizations.

12:38
Comment From Forsyth
Does a high pitch/plate appearance provide value? Is it too nominal to be included in WAR? I always hear analysts say “the more pitches he fouls off, the advantage goes to the batter”, but is there any actual statistical evidence of this?

12:38
Dave Cameron: There’s no real evidence that a higher P/PA is, in itself, beneficial.

12:38
Comment From FRED
Charlie Blackmon: Chris Shelton and Brian LaHair?

12:38
Dave Cameron: No, he can actually play.

12:38
Comment From Jake
Watching Tanaka pitch, McCann catch, it feels like every fifth pitch is a ball turned into a strike. Do pitchers with excellent control especially benefit from good framing? Are there any kinds of pitchers who get a boost in framing value?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Framed pitches are generally low/away, so pitchers who pitch up in the zone get less of a benefit than sinker/splitter guys who pound the knees.

12:39
Comment From Matt
Johnny Cueto has consistently outperformed his FIP every year in the majors. I know the Reds have a good defense, but can we label Cueto as a pitcher who isn’t given enough value by a FIP based WAR?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Yes. Part of it is that he’s impossible to steal on, so fewer of his runners score than usual.

12:40
Comment From Indians fan
How worried should I be about the Indians. I don’t care if they make the playoffs, I just want them to be relevant for most of the year.

12:40
Dave Cameron: I think they’re roughly a .500 team.

12:40
Dave Cameron: So, if that’s what you’re expecting, no need to worry!

12:41
Comment From Lars
Corey Kluber got roughed up by that solid Angels lineup. Better things for him going forward?

12:41
Dave Cameron: The Angels can mash. I wouldn’t be concerned about anyone struggling against them.

12:42
Comment From Dan
How much can a team be expected to lose money-wise by allowing a player to reach Super Two status? Is that money really more valuable than perhaps losing 1-2 WAR or so by letting a guy who is ready to contribute toil in the minors for 3 months? Especially for teams who marginal value of a win is very high?

12:42
Dave Cameron: You don’t lose 1-2 WAR by letting the Super Two deadline pass. Realistically, the difference of any prospect over 50 games is in the fractions of a win, and the long term savings is often $10M or more.

12:43
Comment From Concerned White Sox Fan
What is the answer to Colorado’s pitching problems? Sinkerballers? There must be something they can do to improve their staff. Is it as simple as talent?

12:44
Dave Cameron: Their staff is actually fine once you look at park adjusted numbers.

12:44
Comment From Jake
WHat are the chances that Tanaka doesn’t take the opt out, compared to two months ago?

12:44
Dave Cameron: It all depends on health. If he’s healthy, he opts out. He only opts in to the last three years if he’s hurt.

12:45
Comment From Scott
how should I feel about the increase in Mike Trout’s K%? I’m concerned he’s selling out for power and that it could lower his ceiling from outer space to the heliosphere.

12:45
Dave Cameron: Selling out for power is okay if you hit for more power.

12:45
Comment From Anton
What should one use and why?: Plate discipline stats, or pitch f/x plate discipline stats?

12:46
Dave Cameron: I use the PITCHF/x numbers; their definition of in-zone/out-of-zone has been consistent over the years, so it’s easy to look at changes, while BIS’ definition has fluctuated.

12:46
Comment From Jack
How long can Oakland survive at the top of the West with their current rotation

12:46
Dave Cameron: All year. They’re really good.

12:47
Comment From gregory
Why did the Cubs spend most of their free agent budget on relief arms when they had no plans of contending? Was that a mistake?

12:47
Dave Cameron: Relievers are one of the last places you can spend money without committing multiple years. So for teams looking to spend but maintain long term flexibility, the bullpen is now more attractive.

12:48
Comment From Ringtone Composer
Are you surprised by how high the Marlins ROS winning percentage is (.463)?

12:48
Dave Cameron: Yeah, they’re overachieving a little bit.

12:48
Comment From Anton
How much predictive value does batted ball data have?

12:48
Dave Cameron: A lot. Batted ball data is one thing a player has a lot of control over.

12:49
Comment From Dewey
What helps to explain hitters who showed well-above average plate discipline in the minors that struggle with the same skill set in the Majors? Is it simply more quality pitches that a hitter has not experienced yet?

12:50
Dave Cameron: Walk rates in the minors can be inflated by simply not swinging, because minor league pitchers suck at throwing strikes. That doesn’t work as well in the big leagues.

12:50
Comment From disco derk
but more P/PA does drive up the pitchers pitch count, therefore it provides value, right?

12:50
Dave Cameron: The difference between a high and low P/PA is about 1 pitch per plate appearance. A hitter faces a starter about three times in a game, so we’re talking three extra pitches at the extremes. It’s just not a big deal.

12:51
Comment From Garth Vader
How do I express RE24? “Joe Smith has a 10 RE24 so he has ____” Is there a best of both world metric that combines RE24 and WPA or something to enhance the context of RE24?

12:51
Dave Cameron: has been 10 runs above average.

12:52
Dave Cameron: RE24 is expressed in runs above/below 0.

12:52
Dave Cameron: And if you want more context than RE24, you want WPA.

12:52
Comment From Brad
Wow 10M for fraction of win? Then there is no reason to call any of these guys up b4 super 2 then, right?

12:53
Dave Cameron: It depends on how open you think they are to a long term deal. A lot of the recent contracts have bought out Super Two at a premium of closer to $5M, so if you think you can get them to sign early, then it’s worth doing, perhaps. If they’re a Boras client, leave them down.

12:53
Comment From Scott
As a Tigers fan, I still wish we had Fister instead, but should Robbie Ray’s strong performances in AAA give me hope that he’s somehow better than everyone thought?

12:54
Dave Cameron: That’s basically the entire point of that trade. If the Tigers are right about Robbie Ray, it was a good deal. If they weren’t, it wasn’t.

12:54
Comment From JBD
It’s sort of sad to watch Yankees fans get upset over a player leaving for more money.

12:55
Dave Cameron: Fans are selfish, not logical. They don’t care that they’re booing a player for doing what every player who comes to NY does. They only care that Cano doesn’t help them win anymore, and that’s basically the only variable fans care about.

12:55
Comment From chuckb
What would you do vis-a-vis Allen Craig? Continue to play him in the OF, hoping that his not hitting isn’t caused by defense? Bench Adams? Play Craig in RF vs righties and at 1B (w/ Adams on the bench) vs. lefties?

12:55
Dave Cameron: I’d probably platoon Craig and Adams at 1B, like they did last year.

12:56
Comment From FreePolanco
You’re using a double-standard on the Super Two estimates there – You can’t say “any prospect” only gets you a fraction of a win, and then use the star-player $10+ million estimate if that “any prospect” reaches Super Two. you have to apply the same quality-of-player standard, no?

12:56
Dave Cameron: By any prospect, I was setting an upper bound. More accurately, I’m saying that no prospect projects to be worth +1 to +2 WAR over 50 games. They don’t all project at the same level, obviously, and you don’t care about Super Two for marginal prospects.

12:57
Comment From Dan
I know you don’t generally lost 1-2 WAR by letting the Super Two deadline pass. But in some cases it’s not unreasonable. I think 3 mos of Polanco is probably worth 1 WAR+ over the Pirates replacement level starters.

12:57
Dave Cameron: It’s not three months. You absolutely want to leave any real prospect down for at least the first few weeks of the season to get the extra year of team control, so the time between that and the Super Two deadline is closer to 50 games.

12:58
Comment From Andrew
Does WAR “add up” at the end of the season? I mean to say that it seems like if MLB is 500 as a whole (mean 81 wins) and a replacement level team would be 48 wins, then there should be about 33 WAR per team on average league wide (roughly 900 in MLB). Has WAR correlated to that? Is it indexed to do so?

12:58
Dave Cameron: There are 1000 WAR per season. The stat is designed to hand out that number every year.

12:59
Dave Cameron: I should say, 1000 WAR per season based on 30 teams/162 games. In years with fewer teams/fewer games, there’s proportionately less.

12:59
Comment From Brad
So you aren’t a fan of working the counts? or do you think it is overrated?

1:00
Dave Cameron: Working counts is good if the goal is to get to 2-0/3-0/3-1 counts, so you can whack a hittable fastball. Just taking pitches and making outs for the sake of running up a pitch count isn’t helpful.

1:00
Comment From Bick
Re: P/PA and good vs. bad accounting for 1 pitch per PA; 5 “patient” hitters will reduce a starters outing by an inning. I see plenty of value on getting into a team’s bullpen 15-20% quicker.

1:00
Dave Cameron: Relievers are better than starters.

1:00
Dave Cameron: Getting into a team’s bullpen isn’t actually a good way to score more runs.

1:01
Comment From JimO
Do we have a better way of spotting a Doug Fister in the minors and distinguishing him from someone like Blake Beavan?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Fister always had a very good change-up, Beavan never has.

1:01
Comment From Bernie
Can the DET trade really be that simple? Even if they were right about Ray, if no one else agreed, they shouldn’t pay their price for him they should pay the leagues price for him.

1:02
Dave Cameron: If the league was wildly undervaluing Robbie Ray, and the only way for the Tigers to get Robbie Ray was to trade Doug Fister, the trade is justifiable because DET was getting the wrongly valued asset; the league price for a correctly valued player might not be any better long term. But this all depends on the Tigers being the only organization to recognize Ray’s value, and Fister being the only way they could acquire him.

1:03
Comment From wobatus
Running up the pitch count of, say, Justin verlander, though, makes sense, no?

1:04
Dave Cameron: Not at the expense of taking hittable pitches. Running up the count by not swinging at pitches out of the zone is good. Running up the count by staring at strikes isn’t worth it.

1:05
Dave Cameron: Alright, have to run. Thanks for chatting today, everyone.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Matt Russo
Guest
Matt Russo

Hey Dave, what do you think is going on with Eric Hosmer right now?

Dave
Guest
Dave

He’s probably relaxing before the game. Maybe stretching? Having a sandwich? Who knows?

Jay29
Member
Jay29

Good answer, Dave.

Ajay
Guest
Ajay

Probably making fun of Eno.

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