August Fagerstrom FanGraphs Chat — 5/31/16

11:51
august fagerstrom: Hello! I feel like crap. This one probably won’t go for more than an hour. Nevertheless, we chat!

11:52
august fagerstrom: Music: Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77

11:52
august fagerstrom: Going to put some food in me before we start. Be back in 10

12:01
Bork: Hello, friend!

12:02
august fagerstrom: Hi, Bork! Your presence was sorely missed in last week’s chat. Glad we can get off on the right foot this time.

12:02
Zonk: I was critical of the Indians for their patchwork approach to filling the OF. Apparently I was wrong! Davis-Byrd-Ramirez-Chisenhall on pace for 12 WAR! The Indians are smarter than me, aren’t they?

12:03
august fagerstrom: They’ve been pretty fortunate with the play of Davis and Byrd. It’s still not a good outfield, but it hasn’t been the disaster is could have (should have?) been

12:03
Guest: So how often do you get the Conan “Fagerstrom!” treatment? http://fagerstrom.ytmnd.com/

12:04
august fagerstrom: Nearly every chat.

12:04
Bork: Does Marco Estrada have the best changeup in the AL? In the whole league?

12:05
august fagerstrom: Almost impossible to declare individual pitches the “best” in a vacuum because they function as part of an entire repertoire, but Estrada’s changeup works very well with his fastball, and its extremely unique nature make it stick out even more

12:05
Q-Ball: Kyle Hendricks rankings among all NL Starting pitchers: WAR-10th, FIP-8th, xFIP-10th. Do you believe he is THAT good? Like top-10 good? Or just sneaky-good?

12:06
august fagerstrom: He’s not a top-10 pitcher, but he’s definitely sneaky-good. He reminds me of Jose Quintana from a years ago, maybe not so much in the way they pitch, but in the difference between perception vs. reality

12:06
august fagerstrom: I think Quintana is now viewed as an ace by many, but it wasn’t always that way. Hendricks is legit.

12:06
Erik: Aaron Nola is one of only two pitchers (along with Noah Syndergaard) to be in the top 10 of both K%-BB% and GB%. Is he a top ten pitcher? Has he done enough to join the small group of pitchers who are undisputably aces?

12:07
august fagerstrom: He sure has pitched like one. Not ready to say he *is* one yet, just because others have done it for longer

12:07
august fagerstrom: He’s got the makings of an ace though

12:07
Matt: What are the odds Julio Teheran us traded? Will it exceed the return they got for Miller? Teheran is better, cheaper, and signed longer than Shelby.

12:07
august fagerstrom: High. No.

12:07
august fagerstrom: The return for Miller is an exception. Unfair to compare any other return to that one, because the Braves absolutely fleeced the Diamondbacks

12:09
Tom: Who is Rich Hill traded to? Will that end up being the best signing of the off season?

12:09
august fagerstrom: The White Sox are probably the most obvious fit as a contender in need of another arm, though it sounds like Shields might have legs

12:09
august fagerstrom: Pirates? Giants? He’ll be going somewhere

12:09
august fagerstrom: And yeah, it might already be the best signing of the offseason

12:09
Zonk: Who is the genuine coolest MLB player in your opinion that you have interviewed or spent time with?

12:11
august fagerstrom: Chris Archer. Went to a little league park in Cleveland last year to interview him for one of those camps that get put on for underprivileged kids. The fact that he went out of his way to give back to a city that he doesn’t even call his own was cool enough (especially because it was his initiative, not the league’s or the Rays’). We did the interview for 15-20 minutes or so, then he sat on the bench with me for another 20 minutes and we just talked about books and writing. He’s a really thoughtful, genuine dude

12:12
Andrew: Any chance Neil Walker’s performance as an RHB this year is more than a SSS fluke? Chipper improved his weak side over time, but then again Neil Walker isn’t Chipper…

12:13
august fagerstrom: He’s nearly doubled his career home run total vs. LHP in 43 plate appearances!

12:13
august fagerstrom: Wow

12:13
august fagerstrom: That’s something. I’d have to see the homers, but that seems like something. That being said, you still regress heavily

12:13
august fagerstrom: A sub-90 wRC+ over 750 plate appearances still means a lot more than the most recent 43

12:14
august fagerstrom: But maybe he’s closer to a league-average hitter from the right-hand side now?

12:14
Erik: The average career WAR of a #1 overall pick in the draft is about 20. In other words, Raul Ibanez or Joe Blanton. Is it right for me as a Phillies fan to not be excited about drafting Raul Ibanez or Joe Blanton? On a similar note, doesn’t that make tanking seem a lot less worthwhile? Nobody would tank for Joe Blanton.

12:14
august fagerstrom: Baseball players fail a lot.

12:14
august fagerstrom: If you think the average career WAR of the #1 pick isn’t exciting, don’t look at #2

12:15
august fagerstrom: There’s a huge dropoff. The #1 pick is immensely valuable. You don’t get excited over the median — tons of players do nothing, which in retrospect makes Raul Ibanez’s career pretty amazing — you get excited over the upside

12:16
Nathan: I don’t understand what just happened with the Joey Gallo (non-)experiment. Why didn’t they play him? Did he sleep with someone’s sister or something?

12:16
august fagerstrom: Wasn’t it the same thing as Urias? I don’t think his stay was intended to be a prolonged oe

12:16
august fagerstrom: one*

12:16
Charlie: Thoughts on Brantley’s shoulder – can he return to being the Brantley of old this year?

12:16
august fagerstrom: I have my doubts

12:17
Alex: Opinion of Foltynewicz? If he could harness his stuff then he could be a bonifide ace.

12:17
august fagerstrom: Sounds like you already have your own opinion!

12:17
Q-Ball: The Tigers appear to be in trouble. But if I am in the Tiger’s GM, I’m not sure how to fix it, other than spending yet more of Mike Ilitch’s money. Are the Tigers doomed to mediocrity?

12:17
august fagerstrom: You provided the solution to the dilemma

12:17
august fagerstrom: No point turning back now

12:18
Nelson: ZIPS is projecting 33 HRs for Adam Duvall. You buying that?

12:18
august fagerstrom: If the playing time is there

12:18
august fagerstrom: It’d just be a empty 33 homers, which is why the playing time is not a guarantee to be there

12:18
Jiim: Why does it feel weird to get back to work after a 3 day weekend

12:19
august fagerstrom: because we are creatures of habit

12:19
Q-Ball: When we are having our “Mike Trout or Bryce Harper” debates, should we now be including Manny Machado?

12:19
august fagerstrom: No, but he begins the next discussion

12:19
Eric: Do you think Buxton is up for good this time, and do you really think a month in the minors will make that big of a difference? Thanks

12:20
august fagerstrom: Reports out of Minnesota seem to indicate that Buxton actually looked different in AAA. Sometimes guys are a little more willing to try something different when the games “don’t matter.” Maybe he found something

12:21
humphrey: What exactly is bat speed? Is it simply the peak velocity of the bat that a hitter can achieve with his swing?

12:21
august fagerstrom: In a literal sense, yeah. When scouts talk about it, it’s likely being referred to in combination with bat control, being able to recognize and catch up to inside fastballs, etc

12:21
humphrey: And is bat speed that something that StatCast might be able to measure someday?

12:21
august fagerstrom: I’d hope so

12:21
august fagerstrom: Though I know nothing of any plans to do so in the future

12:23
Big Joe Montferrant: If you were the Dodgers Manager and you had to chose between starting Kershaw (and the dodger BP) next time around, or using any combination of these pitchers: Betances, Miller, Chapman, D-Rob, Kenley Jansen, Britton, Hector Rondon and Kelvin Herrera. Which would you chose?

12:23
august fagerstrom: Kershaw, somehow

12:24
Zonk: Pirates have a team BABIP of .338. While they have some speedy line-drive hitters on the club, that feel unsustainable. What say you?

12:24
august fagerstrom: Highest team BABIP since 1961 was the 2014 Red Sox at .329

12:25
august fagerstrom: And they had the benefit of Fenway

12:25
august fagerstrom: 2013 Red Sox* sorry

12:25
august fagerstrom: .325 is kind of like the maximum range for a season-long team BABIP, so yeah, the Pirates will come down a bit

12:27
august fagerstrom: that being said, I could see a Pirates team with Marte, McCutchen, Harrison, Freese (all high BABIP guys) finishing around 320

12:27
Cal: Have you transitioned from the “hold on to JUpton – he’ll get adjusted, he’s streaky” camp to the “man, might be time to cut bait, lost season” camp?

12:27
august fagerstrom: I don’t think I ever told anyone to “hold on” as that implies I would’ve answered a fantasy question, which I doubt

12:27
august fagerstrom: I simply pointed out that he is a historically streaky hitter, and that this year’s streak wasn’t far off from ones he’s recovered from in the past

12:28
august fagerstrom: Think I also mentioned that it’s always scarier when it happens at the start of the year

12:28
august fagerstrom: All of which is still true

12:28
Erik: Pujols has been replacement level so far this year. How closely will the final five years of his contract resemble Howard’s?

12:28
august fagerstrom: Will plead the fifth for the sake of any Angels fans reading this chat

12:29
Brett Lawrie’s Empty Redbull Can: Hey Eno! Marco Estrada once again #1 in the AL in opponents’ batting average. Top 10 pitcher in the AL too bold?

12:29
august fagerstrom: This is August.

12:29
Jiim: If I were the Angels don’t I prefer a package of Thompson their centerfielder, de Leon zack lee, barnes And an infielder for trout than just getting seager and Leon or Uriah and some other scrub

12:29
august fagerstrom: None of what you just suggested gets Trout

12:30
august fagerstrom: And no, you prefer the one that starts with the top-10 prospects

12:30
viet conigliaro: hi August — I love Jackie Bradley Jr.’s offense but it seems weird his defense has (apparently) sucked. Is this a conscious trade-off , small sample size or just YCPB?

12:30
august fagerstrom: All of the above, I’d imagine

12:30
august fagerstrom: It makes sense that with some (presumed) added strength, the defense could suffer. Also makes sense that a quarter of a season’s worth of defensive metrics come with a ton of noise

12:31
august fagerstrom: I’m confident in saying Bradley is still a plus defender, if not still plus-plus

12:31
Jimmy: How do you deal with being pretentious? No diss – i rather like you, but curious if you’re into it or think about it?

12:32
august fagerstrom: I deal with it by always trying to be myself

12:33
Tom: Any idea if anything David Ortiz is doing is sustainable? I am looking through the numbers and it appears like all of his numbers are around career normals.

12:33
august fagerstrom: Yeah, he’s just a Hall of Fame caliber hitter playing like the best version of himself

12:34
august fagerstrom: Not gonna run a 200 wRC+ all year, but there’s no reason to expect him to come crashing down to earth anytime soon

12:34
Matt: Aside from Kiley, what do you think of the Braves’ front office?

12:34
august fagerstrom: Think they did a good job this year

12:34
Kole: What are your thoughts on the notion of “positional profiling”? For instance, corner players need to hit for power, etc. Seems a little close-minded considering the successes of Heyward, Gordon, Marte, Calhoun, Brantley, etc. Those guys aren’t powerless, but they aren’t stereotypical thumpers either.

12:34
august fagerstrom: Value is value and any player can contribute in any number of ways

12:35
Total Clown: Marco Estrada is good. Why is Marco Estrada good?

12:35
august fagerstrom: Deception!

12:36
august fagerstrom: Funky delivery. High-spin four seamer, the likes of which hitters aren’t used to seeing. He repeats his mechanics very well and knows how to pitch

12:36
Bork: Chris Archer (I think) does a lot of work for other teams and is awesome. I know everytime he’s in Toronto he does work for the Jays Care Foundation. Usually alongside Stroman.

12:36
august fagerstrom: Yep, what he did in Cleveland was not out of the ordinary. He takes it upon himself to give back to cities across the country as often as he can

12:37
The Farthammer: You might have alrea answered this, but when does Urias STICK, or is it a crap shoot

12:37
august fagerstrom: Probably next year

12:37
august fagerstrom: Even if he joins the rotation on a full-time basis this year, he’ll eventually get shifted to the bullpen to preserve his arm

12:37
JJFad: Who is in the discussion for the best player, non-Trout, non-Harper edition? Machado? Kershaw? others?!

12:37
august fagerstrom: Kershaw is in the discussion with Trout and Harper

12:37
august fagerstrom: Machado and Donaldson kick off the next tier, IMO

12:38
Bork: Think Dickey retires at seasons end? Dude can probably pitch til he’s 60.

12:38
august fagerstrom: Yeah, with knuckleballers, it seems more to do with their personal standing, whereas with everyone else it’s physical

12:38
august fagerstrom: Dickey will likely continue pitching as long as Dickey desires to continue pitching, and that’s not knowledge to which I am privy

12:39
Forsyth: I’m pretty confused by your take that Lindor is the best SS, and even moreso, that Bogaerts is the 4th best. Bogaerts has a 3.0 WAR this year, is hitting .350+, power starting to show, defense has been very strong, batted ball velo is increasing every month. Seems like Bogaerts is the best SS in all of baseball.

12:40
august fagerstrom: Bogaerts had a 119 wRC+ at the time of that article and a 179 wRC+ since

12:40
august fagerstrom: Would still take Lindor or Correa. Bogaerts is very good.

12:40
The Farthammer: Is alex wood going to be cingrani of a few years ago?

12:40
august fagerstrom: Wood has already achieved worlds more than Cingrani ever did

12:41
Big Joe Montferrant: Is it more impressive that Bonds hit .381/.749/.929/1.678 Ahead in the count or that he hit .286/.451/.594/1.045 with 2 strikes???

12:41
august fagerstrom: The Bonds 2-strike / 0-2 stats are among my favorite

12:41
Alan: How does a scout gauge a pitcher’s deception? Is this based on hitters’ reactions facing said pitcher?

12:42
august fagerstrom: Have no scouting experience, but I’d guess this plays into it. Sitting behind home (batter’s view, essentially) and seeing when you can pick up the ball has a lot to do with it too. It’s pretty apparent which pitchers hide the ball better than others

12:44
Eldridge Cleaver: Do the Astros call up Bregman to play 3b anytime soon?

12:44
august fagerstrom: To answer this and the one million other Bregman questions: Brian McTaggart, the Astros’ beat writer for MLB.com, said yesterday in a tweet “Bregman isn’t coming any time soon. ”

12:45
august fagerstrom: He knows more than I do. I would also be surprised if a 22-year-old with 37 games above A-ball was close to the majors. Especially considering he just started playing 3B

12:45
Zonk: Is Albert Pujols already a Hall of Famer in your opinion?

12:45
august fagerstrom: He was a Hall of Famer years ago

12:46
august fagerstrom: Like, well before he left St. Louis

12:46
Steve: do you play ootp baseball?

12:46
august fagerstrom: No, but I’m completely obsessed with Hardball Dynasty on WhatIfSports, along with a bunch of other baseball writers

12:46
august fagerstrom: Similar game from what I understand

12:47
Jiim: Why is Harper still in the conversation of being the best? Just look at his batting average

12:47
august fagerstrom: fair point

12:48
Abe: Why does so much of the baseball world still treat “pitching to contact” as a real, doable thing, when we have really good evidence (even with recent qualifications to DIPs) that it’s like 80+% not a real, doable thing?

12:49
august fagerstrom: I’m not sure that “so much of the baseball world” does. You don’t really see (m)any teams stress it as an organizational philosophy. And for certain pitchers, those who would get themselves in trouble by pitching for strikeouts or want to be more economical with their pitches, I’m sure it makes some sense

12:49
august fagerstrom: I think it’s pretty clear that the strikeout is more favored than it’s been in the past, though

12:50
Jon: What is the Cubs true talent win level? >100?

12:50
august fagerstrom: Yeah

12:51
Keeper? I hardly know her: What do you think of Ryu after the latest setback? Worried about this season?

12:51
august fagerstrom: Worried about forever

12:51
The Farthammer: could you strike out ryan howard from 40 feet away? because im pretty sure i could.

12:51
august fagerstrom: I would not stand 40 feet away from Ryan Howard and throw him a baseball

12:51
august fagerstrom: (given that he has a bat in his hand)

12:51
Keeper? I hardly know her: Do you think the Phillies are a top 10 team in 3 years?

12:52
august fagerstrom: sure

12:52
The Farthammer: Who has the better bat? harper or trout, because I think its harper. And we all know bat is way more appreciated than glove

12:52
august fagerstrom: Projections still say Trout

12:52
august fagerstrom: It’s a wash

12:52
august fagerstrom: Harper’s offensive upside is probably higher

12:52
Gary: Are you optimistic about Gallo? His K% has almost halved this year in AAA.

12:52
august fagerstrom: Certainly doesn’t hurt

12:53
Terry Ryan: Should I go ahead and update my resume and LinkedIn profile now? I’m out after this year, right?

12:53
august fagerstrom: It’s either this year or til death do us part

12:54
Richie: Hoyt Wilhelm stopped pitching because he could no longer field the position. Was Wakefield’s defense still OK at the end?

12:54
august fagerstrom: If I recall correctly, Wakefield had major league offers, just not from the Red Sox, and he didn’t want to play anywhere else

12:54
august fagerstrom: Could be misremembering that

12:55
Bork: How much would people freak out if it came out that Kershaw tested positive for PED’s?

12:55
august fagerstrom: Like 18/10 worry points

12:55
Big Joe Montferrant: Could an MLB pitcher strike you out by standing 75 feet away?

12:55
august fagerstrom: An MLB pitcher could strike me out a lot of different ways

12:56
Jordan: I may have misread your Michael Feliz article but I did not find anywhere in there a reference to any decision the Astros need to make?

12:56
august fagerstrom: Starter vs. reliever

12:57
august fagerstrom: Apologies if that wasn’t clear. I labored through that article. Head has been pounding all morning

12:57
Jack: Thoughts on Yu Darvish and what it means for the Rangers >?

12:57
august fagerstrom: Means a first-place team added one of the most talented pitchers in baseball!

12:57
august fagerstrom: One who showed up throwing the hardest fastball of his life

12:58
august fagerstrom: I think everyone is just happy to see Yu Darvish pitching again

12:58
Jason: So here come the Royals with their comeback/clutch/exceeding W/L projections nonsense. Projections have them going 53-59 the rest of the way. You buy that?

12:58
august fagerstrom: Think they’re a little better than that, but not far above a .500 team rest of the way

12:58
august fagerstrom: Especially with injuries piling up

12:59
Curtis: When I worked grounds in Tacoma, R.A. Dickey would plop down in a seat in our break room during rain delays, in full uniform, more than once… and chatted it up. Always rooted for that guy during and after that. Love “normal” elite people.

12:59
august fagerstrom: This is cool. Never spoken with Dickey personally but have heard nothing but great things

12:59
Swfcdan: What % of questions do you read out? Mine never get answered!

1:00
august fagerstrom: Maybe a third? I get a ton and some get left behind. Mostly the fantasy ones. I promise I don’t look at names / play favorites or anything — apologies if I’ve missed good ones of yours

1:00
CJ: Curious, how long is a GM typically given? As an example, say Eppler? How long does he get to turn Angels arounds? Also, would a GM be hired if he said I need 5-6 years to see significant results and then be given that time?

1:01
august fagerstrom: Anything less than 5-6 years just isn’t giving the GM a fair shot to have whatever plan he set in place upon his arrival play out

1:01
august fagerstrom: Takes a couple years to make a team “yours”

1:01
august fagerstrom: Eppler’s situation is bizarre one in particular though because Moreno might be more hands-on than any other owner in baseball

1:03
Friend: Goodbye, Bork!

1:03
august fagerstrom: Yes, goodbye Bork, and goodbye non-Borks! I need to go take a nap

1:03
august fagerstrom: Thanks for chatting everyone. I’ll try to go longer next week given I’m feeling better. Apologies as always to those questions I didn’t get to





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.

newest oldest most voted
Dooduh
Member
Dooduh

No, Machado has so much more defensive value than the other two guys that he’s definitely turned the discussion into a threesome.

Dan Flaherty
Member
Dan Flaherty

threesomes are always more interesting anyway.