August Fagerstrom FanGraphs Chat — 4/12/16

11:49
august fagerstrom: Hello!

11:50
august fagerstrom: Quick programming note: I’m in the process of moving, and very shortly someone is coming to my apartment to buy my dining room table and chairs. Due to that, we may get this thing going a few minutes late today. Apologies

11:51
august fagerstrom: In the meantime, listen to MF DOOM:

12:28
august fagerstrom: OK!

12:28
august fagerstrom: Table: sold

12:28
august fagerstrom: Will chat for an hour starting now

12:28
Proswagonist:

12:28
august fagerstrom: oh.

12:28
Slothrop: Early thoughts on this season’s run environment, compared to last year? Has the so called “year of the pitcher” passed us by?

12:29
august fagerstrom: Yeah, and it may have started in the second half last year. The sudden and yet-unexplained uptick in home runs is really fascinating. And enjoyable.

12:29
Big Joe Monferrant: What early season success story do you believe in the most?

12:29
august fagerstrom: Raisel Iglesias?

12:30
Otis : Why are the twins wasting Kepler away for late game defensive replacements?

12:30
august fagerstrom: I don’t think they believe in Rosario or, to a lesser extent, maybe even Buxton — yet. Between those two’s struggles and Sano being in the OF, it’s not hard to imagine Kepler getting more playing time than they’ve suggested and sticking

12:30
august fagerstrom: Rosario in particular frightens me

12:31
august fagerstrom: His strike zone control was borderline unacceptable last season and so far this year, it’s been even worse

12:31
Otis : Also, does mother nature hate the Indians, how many PPDs can they be a part of?

12:31
august fagerstrom: none for the next few days! Dome in Tampa Bay!

12:31
august fagerstrom: If they get postponed in Tampa Bay then something is up

12:32
The Dude of NY: Is Brad’s chat a response to your refusal to answer fantasy questions?

12:32
august fagerstrom: Reminder: if you want fantasy answers, go to Brad Johnson’s RotoGraphs chat later today!

12:32
Erik: Are Nola and Velasquez a future 1-2 punch? Or more like a future 3-4?

12:33
august fagerstrom: I think more like a 2-3. I like Nola, but it’s tough to be an ace without overpowering, dominant stuff unless you’ve got David Price or Cliff Lee’s command, and those guys are freaks

12:33
august fagerstrom: Velasquez might actually have more “ace” potential just because of his raw stuff, but he’s not nearly as refined a pitcher

12:33
august fagerstrom: Like both arms quite a bit. Not gonna put a soon-to-be ace label on either one, though

12:33
spookie: based on your statement ‘TPAB is like mad socially important, yo’ I relistened to everything he’s put out. still find everything but GKMC solidly ‘meh.’

12:33
august fagerstrom: The great thing about musical opinions is that everyone is always right

12:34
JDogg: If Verlander turns out to be what he seems … a declining SP with a 4.5 ERA and 14 wins .. should we be shopping Kinsler and JD Martinez to further bolster the farm?

12:34
august fagerstrom: Not sure I agree with your conclusion that Verlander seems like a 4.5 ERA guy

12:35
august fagerstrom: He had an awesome second half last year, his fastball still has tons of life on it, even if the velo is declining, and the guy knows how to pitch. Too early to write off JV

12:35
Erik: Are Herrera and Hernandez starters on the next good Phillies team? Or are they bench pieces who only look decent compared to their peers?

12:35
august fagerstrom: Closer to the latter than the former

12:35
The Average Sports Fan: For shorthand purposes is it fair to say getting league average players helps win regular season games while getting stars is what it takes to win postseason games?

12:36
august fagerstrom: Sure. I think one critical mistake casual baseball fans make in roster evaluation is the importance of having average players

12:36
august fagerstrom: Black holes can sink teams in a hurry. See: White Sox, Chicago, circa 2015

12:36
Erik: Fun Trevor Story fact: despite all the success he’s had so far, his BABIP is only .167.

12:36
august fagerstrom: Makes sense when you consider how many fly balls he hits, and how many of those fly balls have left the yard

12:37
Jeff: Assuming both stay healthy, who has a higher ceiling, and whom is more likely to reach that ceiling between Noah Syndergaard and Jose Fernandez?

12:37
august fagerstrom: Still probably say Fernandez but I’d also say that those are probably my second- and third-highest ceilings for a pitcher in baseball right now

12:37
The Man with the Plan: Lets say Dylan Bundy makes it through a healthy ~60-70 IPs this year mainly out of the bullpen but with a couple starts. What are his chances of finally fulfilling his destiny and reaching his former “Ace” potential?

12:38
august fagerstrom: Super slim. I mean, even when he was an uber-prospect, anyone reaching ace potential still has real long odds. A couple surgeries and struggles later and they’re even longer

12:38
august fagerstrom: Doesn’t mean he couldn’t still be a quality starter

12:38
Nick: I could have used those tables and chairs. What else are you selling?

12:38
august fagerstrom: Couch, chair, dresser, coffee table, 2 end tables, desk, office chair… pretty much anything in my current apartment

12:39
VanExcel: The focus in the offseason was on their pitching injuries, but is it possible the Dodgers offense could be a problem going forward? Puig, Pederson and Seager all have loads of potential, and Gonzo and Turner are steady but aging.

12:39
august fagerstrom: Feel like you just refuted your own hypothesis. Puig, Pederson and Seager all have loads of potential and Gonzo and Turner are steady. Good lineup.

12:40
Big Joe Monferrant: Who would have the better OPS over 500 ab? Brendan Ryan or MadBum?

12:40
august fagerstrom: Not sure if this is the reason why you chose this, but — Brendan Ryan’s Steamer projection: 46 wRC+. Madison Bumgarner’s career: 47 wRC+

12:41
august fagerstrom: That being said, it’d still be Ryan

12:41
august fagerstrom: Bumgarner has no idea how to control a strike zone, and if others pitchers actually had to gameplan against him as a real hitter, they’d chew up his swing and spit it out

12:42
august fagerstrom: Though I guess on the contrary, one could also argue that if Bumgarner got 500 plate appearances, he’d be taking daily swings in the cages and batting practice and would develop better strike zone control

12:42
august fagerstrom: Ryan’s still got a lifetime of hitting experience. I’ll take the hitter

12:43
Big Joe Monferrant: Over/Under on the number of times the yankees big 3 (Chapman, Miller, Betances), K 9 guys in a game? 5?

12:43
august fagerstrom: This is a really great question

12:43
august fagerstrom: I think it depends largely on how they’re all deployed once everyone is healthy

12:43
august fagerstrom: slash not suspended

12:43
august fagerstrom: If the question is restricted to one inning a piece, I’ll take the under

12:44
august fagerstrom: If those three guys combine for four innings…….it gets closer, but I still think I take the under

12:44
august fagerstrom: I’m definitely keeping an eye on this now, though

12:44
Guest: If you didn’t see the MF Doom Rhythm Roulette episode, posted 12 days ago, it is certainly worth it.

12:44
august fagerstrom: Have no idea what this is but it’s now the first thing I’ll be doing when this chat is over

12:44
Aaron: Where does Tom Hamilton rank in your personal radio broadcaster ranks?

12:44
august fagerstrom: number 1 in my heart

12:45
Erik: Is it generally true that a good manager can perceive true things about his players that sabrmetrics would have to ignore due to small sample size? I’m thinking things like doing better against a certain pitcher, or doing poorly when leading off. Or, conversely, are managers wrong to think they see these things, as they’re falling prey to the small sample size which good statisticians know to disregard?

12:46
august fagerstrom: I definitely think managers/coaches can see things in certain guys/matchups that they should use to occasionally go against the numbers. I just think it’s important that they understand they *are* going against the data when they do

12:46
Kurt: Is the Thor v. Jose matchup tonight the best of the year so far, or at least the most interesting?

12:46
august fagerstrom: Can’t imagine how it gets much better

12:46
Annoying craigslist buyer: Hey man I know we agreed to $250 but all I brought was $200 so take it or leave it

12:46
august fagerstrom: She showed up with cash in full! Solid Craigslist experience.

12:47
Brett Lawrie’s Empty Redbull Can: August! If you could be named after any other month what would you choose? Smarch is accepted.

12:47
august fagerstrom: It would not be Smarch.

12:48
august fagerstrom: June is a thing that other people are named, so that one makes the most sense I guess

12:48
august fagerstrom: Any of the three-plus syllable names would be obnoxious

12:49
august fagerstrom: June-July-August is the heart of the order for “months that can also be names”

12:49
Trainman: It’s only April, it’s only April, it’s only April, but the mets offense has been subpar to begin the season. How concerned should I be, or it’s only April, it’s only April, it’s only April

12:49
august fagerstrom: It’s only April

12:49
Igneous Iguana: It seems as if the As have given up on Billy Butler, as they’re barely playing him anymore… What are they going to do with him?

12:49
august fagerstrom: weep

12:50
James: Is Coco Crisp going to earn regular playing time again? Seems like he’s off to a good start though the Ks concern me a bit

12:50
august fagerstrom: Too many guys vying for time on that roster and too much wear on Crisp for him to be a 550+ PA guy anymore, I think

12:50
august fagerstrom: Certainly making it easier for them to put him in the lineup though

12:51
James: I know it’s just April but man Byung Ho Park is looking worse than Kennys Vargas. Even in ST he struck out frequently. Do you think he’ll settle down to a manageable K rate as he adjusts or did we really underestimate his K issues?

12:51
august fagerstrom: This is certainly something worth keeping an eye on, I think

12:52
august fagerstrom: He’s struck out in half his plate appearances

12:53
august fagerstrom: On one hand, it’s the first time he’s ever faced regular season MLB pitching, so you wanna give him a bit of a break. On the other hand, it’s the *only* time we’ve ever seen him face MLB pitching, and so far, he looks overwhelmed. And this is a guy who we figured might post strikeout rates in the low-30’s. That’s about the breaking point. Mid-30’s or higher in the K% department can knock someone out of the league

12:53
august fagerstrom: Far from ready to jump ship — I picked him as my RotY — but it’s one of the more concerning numbers, six games in

12:53
Marginal: It’s only two starts in, but think the Royals regret giving 37 year old Chris Young 2/$12.5M?

12:54
august fagerstrom: Doubt it. Even to the Royals, 12 million and 2 years is 12 million and 2 years

12:55
Jaime: What happens with Josh Hamilton when he comes back? Is there a spot for him?

12:55
august fagerstrom: yep on the bench

12:55
johnny nobody: who is the most exciting young pitcher in the pipeline and who has the best career? snell, berrios, glasnow, giloito, de leon, urias, manaea. is this the most loaded class of pitchers weve seen about to enter the mlb at one time?

12:55
august fagerstrom: Giolito and Giolito

12:56
Bork: AUGUST ARE YOU OKAY YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO TRANSACTIONS IN A PUBLIC PLACE

12:56
august fagerstrom: stranger danger

12:56
Byron: What are the chances Julio Urias makes it to the bigs as a teenager? He turns 20 in August

12:56
august fagerstrom: slim but possible

12:56
august fagerstrom: be a lot higher if he turned 20 in Octobr

12:56
august fagerstrom: or October

12:56
J6takish: What are you going to spend the table money on? Beer?

12:57
august fagerstrom: it’s replacing the absurd amount of money I’ve spent in the last few weeks on all the new stuff that’s going in my new apartment and the new apartment itself

12:58
Rich: Which SS comes up first and has the most impact: Arcia, Crawford or Turner?

12:58
august fagerstrom: This year? Turner

12:58
spookie: after how many ABs can we trust plate discipline metrics?

12:59
august fagerstrom: Swing rate stabilizes faster than anything — you can trust changes in that like next week

12:59
august fagerstrom: the more granular stuff takes a bit longer, though Contact rate is pretty quick too if I recall correctly

12:59
HappyFunBall: So are you in the camp that thinks Jose Reyes gets suspended/released? Or do you think there’s significant playing time for him in 2016 now that he’s legally cleared?

12:59
august fagerstrom: the first one still

12:59
august fagerstrom: he’s not playing on the Rockies, at least

12:59
Chicks dig OBP: Back to the HR uptick, do you think player philosophies like Chris Coghlin’s, have any impact on that? Do you think more players are moving to that thinking?

1:00
august fagerstrom: This is probably a part of it. There’s a lot of moving parts involved

1:00
demolition man: hazelbaker will win ROY and MVP, correct?

1:00
august fagerstrom: and Cy Young

1:00
Zorn: Chris Archer. Looks like a significant velo drop. Any worries here?

1:02
spookie: Mazara’s ceiling something like ’11 CarGo?

1:02
august fagerstrom: off the top of my head, Cargo seems like a pretty decent comp, yeah

1:02
Dooduh: May not take much for the Giles and even Kimbrel deals to look ridiculous down the road a bit. Thoughts?

1:02
august fagerstrom: both looked kinda ridiculous the day they happened in my opinion

1:03
Dooduh: If the O’s dominate the ALE, what do you think some of the rationalizations are we’ll be hearing for having blown that projection again..?

1:03
august fagerstrom: impossible to say without knowing how they dominated the AL East

1:03
Eric: This has been keeping me up at night all week: is Arquimedes Caminero good?

1:04
august fagerstrom: he throws like 300 miles per hour so yeah I’d say that’s good

1:04
Zorn: Projections loved Sano and Park but both striking out 50% of the time. What gives?

1:04
august fagerstrom: bet I write about this soon

1:05
august fagerstrom: Emma Baccellieri is in charge of the newsletter

1:05
august fagerstrom: oops

1:05
august fagerstrom: here’s the question I just answered:

1:05
The Dude of NY: Who writes the Fangraphs newsletter?

1:05
Matt: Who is the #1 ceiling?

1:05
august fagerstrom: Clayton Kershaw, who is there already

1:06
Zonk: Cubs have given up 9 walks, best in baseball. Cubs have taken 38 walks, also best. This is why the Cubs are 6-1: They are owning the strike zone. Agree?

1:09
august fagerstrom: Yep. I actually meant to write a Cubs offense walks post in the offseason. Forgot to do that. Almost everyone in their lineup is a 10%+ walk rate threat. No team has posted a collective 10% walk rate since 2010. Think the Cubs could do that

1:09
Hugh Glass: Hey August. Over/under 2 weeks for Reed call up? If over, by how much?

1:09
august fagerstrom: Not with the way Tyler White is hitting

1:09
august fagerstrom: They’d like to keep Reed down past the Super 2 point if they can

1:09
FTF: What could a team only made of FG writers looks like ? Please set up a lineup and a pitching staff.

1:10
august fagerstrom: are we allowed to bat Dan Farnsworth nine times and use all-time pinch runners?

1:11
M: A ton of good pitcher are giving up tons of runs (Fernandez, Cueto, Greinke, Kluber, Carrasco, Corbin, Price, Archer, Stroman, ect) any reason for this or just a small sample?

1:11
august fagerstrom: it’s been really cold and everyone has made 1 or 2 starts

1:11
Reginald Denton III: Re: your answer to the Thor/Fernandez question…who has the highest ceiling for a pitcher in baseball right now? Is it the obvious answer, i.e. the guy who’s already hit that ceiling?

1:12
august fagerstrom: Answered this earlier but without context and I’m getting a lot of questions — yeah, my #1 ceiling pitcher is the guy who is already there

1:12
Jeff: Which team do you think will dish out the most money this upcoming off season to sign Stephen Strasburg?

1:12
august fagerstrom: the Dodgers?

1:12
august fagerstrom: Would say Yankees but the Harper anticipation is really intriguing. Could probably swing both with how much money is coming off the books but they’ve been sooo stingy

1:13
Kakie Bryan: Mkaing my dream come True everyd ay! all best, kakie

1:13
august fagerstrom: have a nice day Kakie

1:13
Dave: Drop Corey Dickerson for Jeremy Hazelbaker

1:13
august fagerstrom: is this a threat?

1:13
Snarfle: I’m actually a fan of unusual month names. Like September? Kinda groovy.

1:14
august fagerstrom: this is the go-to choice of “annoying people who just met me thinking I’ve never heard anyone call me another month”

1:14
august fagerstrom: so I now hate the idea of September as a name

1:14
august fagerstrom: if I were September I’d wake up and punch myself in the face every day

1:15
Matt: Yo, why you hating on people named April?

1:15
BakedBean: April is a name :\

1:15
Art Vandelay: April and May are solid girl names

1:15
BakedBean: April is the leadoff hitter, wtf

1:15
Mother Nature: pretty sure April-May-June is the heart of the order…dunno anyone named July

1:15
mtsw: you should insist on having your name pronounced like the adjective instead of the month.

1:15
J6takish: Fun fact – If you put July, August, September, October and November into an acrostic poem it will spell Jason!

1:15
august fagerstrom: that was fun

1:15
BakedBean: Would the Diamondbacks make sense for Rusney Castillo? I know they lost their CF and depleted their farm system. Could the Sox kick in some cash and mid-tier prospect(s) for Rusney+salary relief

1:15
august fagerstrom: That sounds reasonable, yeah

1:15
Snarfle: Is Ketel Marte a good baseball player or just a speedy guy with a fun name? Btw, the cafe I’m in is playing Green Day.

1:15
august fagerstrom: I will always love pre-Warning Green Day

1:16
august fagerstrom: my first favorite band

1:16
august fagerstrom: I think Ketel Marte is both those things, too

1:16
Cecil Fielder: where are you moving to?

1:16
august fagerstrom: Cleveland, right across the street from the stadium

1:17
Otis : Is there any chance Mazara sticks all season long? regardless of who else comes back healthy

1:18
august fagerstrom: yes

1:18
Tyler White: Obviously, my current BABIP (and Triple-A and spring training) is unsustainable, but am I a legit high-BABIP guy? btw I am NOT fast.

1:19
august fagerstrom: the minor league batted ball data to which Dan Szymborsik has access says no. Certainly plenty of room for error in that, though. We’ll have to see more of the approach — if he sprays hard-hit balls to all fields, a .330 BABIP isn’t out of the question. For now, it’s tough to assume anything other than league average being his true talent ability

1:19
Zonk: Why are you getting rid of all your furniture? Doesn’t fit in the new space?

1:20
august fagerstrom: Just wanted new stuff

1:20
august fagerstrom: All the furniture I had was my furniture from my college houses. My new apartment is pretty nice and it would’ve felt weird. I wanted a fresh start

1:21
KErry: Thoughts on Rangers Rotation this year?

1:21
august fagerstrom: wasn’t a fan before, not a fan now

1:21
BakedBean: How shocking is Hanley at 1B? Is it possible that Hanley could be playing the best defense of his entire career? Could he potentially be a better 1B than he ever was at SS? And doesn’t he sort of play 1B like a SS, or like Pedroia diving around in the dirt?

1:22
august fagerstrom: Don’t wanna pat myself on the back too hard because a) who cares and b) no proof that Hanley is actually a plus defensive first baseman yet, but I was saying all offseason that I had completely faith in first baseman Hanley. He’s a lifelong infielder. As long as he could figure out scoops and stretches there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a plus first baseman

1:23
Nick: With the uptick in Home Runs and scoring in general, do you feel that steroids have found a way to sneak back into the game?

1:23
august fagerstrom: I hope not

1:23
august fagerstrom: and doubt it

1:23
Cecil Fielder: the orioles are not going to dominate the Al east.

1:23
august fagerstrom: I agree, Cecil

1:23
Reginald Denton III: Where do you live, August?

1:23
august fagerstrom: Kent now Cleveland Friday

1:24
Jason: There’s a Fangraphs newsletter? How do I sign up?

1:24
august fagerstrom: !

1:24
Scott: As a Pirates fan, I can tell you Arquimedes Caminero has the most hittable 99 mph I’ve ever seen.

1:24
august fagerstrom: then you haven’t seen Austin Adams pitch

1:24
Wardo: August, are you the rap guy? I just got on board with Kanye and I need some guidance – if I love No More Parties and Ultralight Beam what older Ye do i need to check out?

1:26
august fagerstrom: Don’t know if I’m “the” rap guy but I listen to plenty of hip-hop. Ultralight Beams sounds like nothing he’s ever done. NMP bears some resemblance to early Ye. Late Registration is one of my favorite hip-hop albums of all time

1:26
august fagerstrom: Check out that and College Dropout

1:27
Axe: Other than Kershaw, which under-30 pitcher is the best bet to make the HoF?

1:27
august fagerstrom: Bumgarner? He’s already a third of the way there at 26. Sale, too, at 27

1:28
august fagerstrom: For that question, with pitchers, think you’ve got to go with the guys who already have banked performance over the crazy-upside Syndergaard/Fernandez types

1:28
august fagerstrom: Just never know what’s going to happen with the young guys, as sad/scary as that is to think about

1:28
Cecil Fielder: how badly does the scwarbs injury hurt the cubs?

1:29
august fagerstrom: they’ll feel it, just significantly less than every other team in baseball would

1:29
Axe: How does your routine as a writer change from the off-season to spring training to the regular season?

1:29
august fagerstrom: more writing at the park rather than at home

1:30
august fagerstrom: lot easier to find topics too

1:30
august fagerstrom: and the chats are way more interesting

1:30
Snarfle: You know who’s also pretty stingy? Bees!

1:30
august fagerstrom: BEADS?

1:31
Mike: Calling someone named August September is the equivalent of calling a Mike Mark on purpose. Real douchy.

1:31
august fagerstrom: they all think they’re so god damn clever too

1:31
MNNAT: Mazara or A.J. Reed, rest of year?

1:31
august fagerstrom: Reed, probably because he has a clearer path to playing time

1:32
Otis : favourite easily available IPA?

1:32
august fagerstrom: Ballast Point Sculpin, hands down

1:32
august fagerstrom: god damn I love that beer

1:32
Mike: There has to be some additional value to having guys like Napoli and Santana back to back seeing 5+ pitches every at bad, right? While the ceiling for the Indians offense seems to be average, when putting this many guys together who see a lot of pitches and work the count could it actually make the lineup better?

1:34
august fagerstrom: yeah, this is something I talked about on the radio the other day. It’s been really interesting watching those two work consecutive at-bats so far. The real interesting part of the equation IMO is Yan Gomes batting after them, who is one of the most aggressive swingers in baseball. I do wonder what kind of effect that could have, and if it’s something that could be quantified

1:35
Slothrop: One time you shared a Lil Ugly Mane tape. You’re the man

1:35
august fagerstrom: thanks, dude

1:35
august fagerstrom: though I might argue in this scenario it’s Lil Ugly Mane who is the man

1:35
august fagerstrom: or mane

1:35
Rated Rookie: Assuming White keeps up something similar what he’s shown in Houston and in the minors, could you see him moving to 3B when the Astros are ready to call up Reed?

1:35
august fagerstrom: no

1:35
august fagerstrom: from what I understand, the glove simply isn’t playable at 3B

1:36
august fagerstrom: Alright! I’ve got another busy day of “getting ready to move” stuff. Gotta run. Thanks for chatting and apologize for the delay.

1:36
august fagerstrom: peace





August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at august.fagerstrom@fangraphs.com.

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Rational Fan
Member
Member

Thor and Jose Fernandez have a higher ceiling than Chris Sale?

Spartacus
Member
Spartacus

Thor’s slider is 95… Nobody in baseball can touch his stuff.