August Fagerstrom FanGraphs Chat — 9/6/16 by August Fagerstrom September 6, 2016 12:05 august fagerstrom: Yo! Labor Day threw me off for a second. We’ll get this one started up real soon 12:05 august fagerstrom: In the meantime, this is very good: 12:13 august fagerstrom: ok! let’s begin 12:13 Bork: Hello, friend! 12:13 august fagerstrom: Hi, Bork! 12:14 Ronnie: If a Colorado Rockies player hit .400 would anyone even care? 12:14 august fagerstrom: Yeah, definitely 12:15 august fagerstrom: “Batting title” is not something people care about anymore, hence the lack of publicity surrounding DJ LeMahieu. .406 is still a number people care about 12:15 Ronnie: Clayton Kershaw has the most pitcher WAR in baseball since the start of the 2005 season. When the 2005 season began Clayton Kershaw was a junior at Highland Park High School. 12:15 august fagerstrom: Love these 12:15 Ronnie: Mike Trout has the most position player WAR in baseball since the start of the 2009 season. When the 2009 season began Mike Trout was a senior at Millville High School. 12:15 august fagerstrom: hnnnng 12:15 Whats that Odor: Just found out that Wilmer Flores uses the “Friends” theme song as his walk up music, if you try to tell me there is a better walk up song in the MLB then you sir are off your rocker 12:15 august fagerstrom: Lindor uses the Space Jam theme song 12:15 august fagerstrom: So 12:15 august fagerstrom: Guess I’m off my rocker 12:16 EvanC: Jose Reyes slashing .278/.331/.449 in 172 PA. Does he find a starting job next year? 12:16 august fagerstrom: Ugh. I guess 12:16 Watty: Can you think of any other players with names that imply some sort of baseball action? I have Dexter Fowler (never hits ball fair) and Neil Walker (great OBP!) off the top of my head. 12:17 august fagerstrom: Grant Balfour 12:17 august fagerstrom: isn’t there a guy with the last name pitcher? 12:17 august fagerstrom: Ah, Travis Pitcher hasn’t played since 2014 http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=pitche000tra 12:17 august fagerstrom: Yours are more creative. I very much enjoy those, and welcome any more suggestions to the chat with open arms 12:19 Bruce: Would RA Dickey get a postseason start over Stro, Sanchez, Happ and Estrada? If not, would he have any value in the pen, besides mop-up? 12:19 august fagerstrom: He’s not one of their four best starters, no 12:20 august fagerstrom: To the latter question, I’ve actually been fascinated by the idea of a knuckleball reliever for some time. I’m not totally sure why we don’t see it more often. I guess it’s just because so much of a knuckleballer’s value is tied up in their durability. But if the “knuckleball hangover” is a real thing, why can’t it go the other way? Wouldn’t bringing in a knuckleballer for the 6th-7th innings after seeing 5 innings of a 95mph fastball be, like, an impossible adjustment? And then you go back to ultra-heat for the 8th and 9th? It’s like doubling down on the knuckleball effect 12:21 august fagerstrom: It makes a ton of sense, intuitively 12:21 august fagerstrom: Would love to see it in action 12:21 CapnZippers: Big Sexy, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Rafael Montero are going to drag the Mets to the playoffs. Exactly how they drew it up, yeah? 12:22 august fagerstrom: I know you’re just kidding, but while those guys aren’t the way the Mets drew it up, “develop a stable of good pitching” is how they drew it up, and in a way this is a testament to their player development staff on the pitching side 12:22 Tom: Statistically speaking: how different are 4 singles from a Home Run? Is one better than the other? 12:22 august fagerstrom: Linear weights are your friend: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/principles/linear-weights/ 12:23 august fagerstrom: Run value of a single is 0.70. Four singles = 2.8 runs. Run value of a homer is 1.65. One homer = 1.7 runs. 12:24 Zonk: Mike Trout is on pace to be only the 2nd player to lead the AL in WAR (Fangraphs measurement) for 5 straight years. The first? Mickey Mantle. Trout was within .5 WAR last year of Harper in leading the whole league 5 straight years…..that’s never been done. Neither has 6 straight years leading the AL, which he has a shot at. Is that where we are with Trout? That is transcendent. 12:24 Zonk: In short: Is Mike Trout the greatest player since Mickey Mantle? With the chance to be the greatest player since…ever? 12:26 august fagerstrom: I mean, Bonds happened between Trout and Mantle 12:26 august fagerstrom: So there’s that 12:27 august fagerstrom: And mid-20’s Bonds was as good as current Trout, if you wanna pretend like the steroid years didn’t happen 12:27 august fagerstrom: After that, all that stands between Trout and Mantle is Mays and Morgan, and Morgan’s debatable 12:28 august fagerstrom: As to your latter question, allow me to plug one of my favorite things I’ve written: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/getting-mike-trout-to-168-4-war/ 12:28 General Joe: Bregman is on pace for a 5.2 win season. At age 22. Have the Astros found another demi-God? 12:28 august fagerstrom: Definitely don’t take a 38-game WAR sample and prorate it to 600 PA and call it “on pace” 12:28 august fagerstrom: That’s a dangerous game 12:29 august fagerstrom: Steamer, the more aggressive of the two projection systems on Bregman, projects him as roughly a +3 WAR player over 600 PA 12:29 august fagerstrom: At 22, that’s really good 12:29 august fagerstrom: The Astros drafted a player second overall who is very good at baseball. “Found another demi-god” is a bit dramatic 12:29 Zonk: Without looking it up: Who was the last player not named “Trout” to lead the AL in WAR? 12:29 august fagerstrom: Well that’d be 2011 12:30 august fagerstrom: That’s the insane Jacoby Ellsbury year, right? 12:30 august fagerstrom: It is! 12:30 august fagerstrom: Ellsbury: 9.4 Bautista: 8.1 Pedroia: 7.8 12:30 Freddie Freeman: Am I the best 1B in baseball right now? 12:31 august fagerstrom: I’d still take Votto or Rizzo or Goldschmidt but you’re close 12:31 august fagerstrom: Having a hell of a season that’s likely going unnoticed because Braves 12:31 E: Guys who played in the MLB: Junior Spivey, Kelvim Escobar, So Taguchi, Sean Casey, Jeff Suppan 12:31 august fagerstrom: this list is SO taguchi 12:31 Erik: Do you anticipate the current playoff teams all making it to the playoffs a month from now, or will someone go on a late run? 12:31 august fagerstrom: Been beating the Astros drum all year, no point in stopping now 12:32 Guest: AL MVP. We have accurate measures of individual performance and we have an award that supposedly is to be awarded based on individual performance. Is not any vote for AL MVP not named Trout an implicit acknowledgement that the award is topical trash? Why are sports writers committed to the creation of nonexistent narratives to define an individual award in the scope of team performance? 12:33 august fagerstrom: Because there’s not one perfect, objective measure of player value 12:33 august fagerstrom: Nor is there an accepted interpretation of what the word value means 12:33 Kyle Hendricks: Hello August. This is how excited I would be if you would consider me for CY Young. What is your take on that? 12:34 august fagerstrom: I think I would not currently consider you too strongly for Cy Young but boy you’re having an impressive season! 12:34 Television : With the Cubs run prevention reaching legendary proportions, are we past the small sample size stage & ready to just accept that for this season, it’s an outlier & most likely will be for the remainder of their season? 12:34 august fagerstrom: Accepted that a while ago. They may very well break the all-time BABIP allowed record 12:34 bizarro bork: Homer Bailey — bad name for a pitcher 12:34 august fagerstrom: good one 12:34 j6takish: Rich Hacker has a career 32.2% K rate 12:34 august fagerstrom: also good one 12:35 Matthew G: Prince Fielder (when is he wasn’t DHing) 12:35 Seth: homer bailey–bad name for a pitcher…josh outman–good name for a pitcher 12:36 Houzer : Is Texes not playing Profar or Gallo in order to hide flaws before a winter trade? 12:36 august fagerstrom: I think they’re not playing those guys because they think they’ve got better options 12:36 Nicole: If the Indians make the postseason how many catchers will be on the postseason roster? The catchers (offensively) are being treated like pitchers in the NL in that in tight games there almost always is a pinch hitter. 12:37 august fagerstrom: There will be 2. They’re pinch-hitting for them because and only because they’re allowed to carry more than 2 on the roster 12:37 Stu: If an elite reliever (Miller, Jansen, etc.) were given the entire offseason to prepare to be a starter in 2017, what would a reasonable expectation for how they would do? Let’s assume the pitcher in question is excited about the idea. 12:37 august fagerstrom: Been thinking about this a lot lately. More specifically: been wondering how Miller’s current approach would work as a starter, having to go through a lineup 3 times throwing just fastballs and sliders 12:38 august fagerstrom: Obviously he’d have to take the effort level down a notch, but I mean, it’s hard to see how guys would suddenly adjust to the slider 12:38 august fagerstrom: May have to think of a way to ask him this question 12:38 Chavez-Ravin: Yasmani Grandal a top 3 catcher in the NL? 12:38 august fagerstrom: Might be a top 3 catcher in MLB 12:39 august fagerstrom: Posey, Lucroy, Grandal is probably my list 12:40 Aaron (UK): Tim Wakefield relieved for a fair part of the postseason in both 2003 & 2004: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/heres-to-you-mr-wakefield/ 12:41 Mike Greenwell: Hi August — What kind of production (and for how long) does Dustin Pedroia need to keep up to be a realistic Hall of Famer? 12:41 august fagerstrom: If he follows a fairly standard aging curve and plays for another 5-6 years he’ll be close 12:41 august fagerstrom: Becoming a 5-win player at 32 again certainly helped 12:41 august fagerstrom: I wouldn’t bet on it happening but the possibility is there 12:41 Jim Lonborg: Re knuckleball reliever: Wakefield was a closer for a while. The results were mixed. Bringing a knuckleballer into a late game situation with men on base is particularly tricky, and a reliever who has to be brought in clean has limited value. 12:42 august fagerstrom: This is a good point 12:42 Mark: Does anyone call Brian Dozier the Bull-Dozier? Should they? 12:42 august fagerstrom: probably and probably not 12:42 Moltar: Seriously though, is anything in baseball crazier than Bartolo over the last three years? 12:43 august fagerstrom: Trout is crazier 12:43 august fagerstrom: We just saw Bartolo with Moyer not all that long ago 12:44 Big Tall T: Just read your great article on Dozier. How long do you think he can be successful with the pull% and Fly%? I mean, he’s been successful with it a while now 12:44 august fagerstrom: I mean he’s not a true-talent .300 ISO guy all of the sudden 12:45 august fagerstrom: But if he’s learned to lay off the outer-third stuff and punish the mistakes inside, he’s still going to get mistakes inside 12:46 GSon: After the parade down Euclid before Thanksgiving.. would you recommend a deal that saw Jose Ramirez going to the Dodgers for Yasiel Puig? 12:46 august fagerstrom: Crazily enough, I would not recommend that deal 12:46 Joe: The Pirates have the same number of “BaseRuns wins” as the Brewers. How did they become so bad so fast? 12:46 august fagerstrom: Wow, is this real? 12:46 august fagerstrom: Holy hell it is 12:46 august fagerstrom: 62-73! Pirates are at 62-73! 12:47 august fagerstrom: Unreal 12:47 august fagerstrom: I mean, their star 7-win center fielder suddenly had a league-average season 12:47 august fagerstrom: That doesn’t help 12:48 august fagerstrom: And then they didn’t have enough frontline starting pitching or depth, which in hindsight is a problem we probably all should’ve seen coming in the Spring 12:48 august fagerstrom: Couldn’t have seen Cole and Liriano having the seasons they had, but they really didn’t have much room for error 12:49 JNC: When did Miggy move to 1B full time? Is there a way to determine this from his player page? I was quite surprised by his decent defensive numbers the past two seasons and am curious about when he made the switch… Thank you. 12:49 august fagerstrom: Fielding section of his player page should help: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1744&position=1B/3B#fieldingadvanced 12:50 august fagerstrom: Originally moved there from 2008-11, took a two-year break to pretend like he was still a third baseman, and then has been back there full-time since 2014 12:50 Fire Kevin Cash: If you like knuckleball relievers, keep an eye on Eddie Gamboa with the Rays. Threw 3 innings against the Os yesterday. No hits, 1 BB. 12:50 august fagerstrom: This is a thing the Rays are doing now, right? Don’t they have a handful of knuckleballers developing in the minors? 12:50 EC: Remember when people used to argue about who the better 3B was, Ryan Zimmerman or David Wright? Getting older sucks. 12:50 august fagerstrom: 🙁 12:50 Joe: Bob Walk- terrible pitcher name. 12:50 Joe: There is a retired hockey goalie named “Steve Passmore” 12:50 august fagerstrom: strong submissions 12:51 bananastand: Puig wouldn’t be back up if Reddick hadn’t been playing so poorly right? Does his promotion again mean that the Dodgers didn’t really care that much about his character concerns and are willing to live with them if Puig is hitting? Is Puig still on his way out this offseason? 12:51 august fagerstrom: I throw my hands up at trying to figure out the Puig/Dodgers situation anymore, and concede that I’ll probably just never have enough information to have a clear enough idea as to what’s behind all that 12:52 Bork: Is Brett Cecil a prime example of why you don’t pay premiums for relievers? Before the season started he was looking at a giant off-season contract. Now all he has going for him is “am lefty can pitch” 12:52 august fagerstrom: Sure. And Andrew Miller is a prime example of why you do 12:52 J: At what point do we consider a high or low LOB% a skill? We know pitchers can hold runners to varying levels and some get more outs but what about the guys that perform really well/awful from the stretch? 12:53 august fagerstrom: Three years seems like a fair amount of time. If a pitcher runs a LOB% a standard deviation or more above/below league-average, good chance there might be something there 12:54 Jim Lonborg: Um, Andrew Miller tried being a starter and it didn’t go well. I doubt he’d be eager to give it another shot. Let us not forget the ghost of Daniel Bard. . . 12:54 august fagerstrom: I’m aware of this, and it’s certainly not something I’d actually suggest. But when Andrew Miller was a starter, he hadn’t figured out how to pitch the way Andrew Miller is currently pitching. His delivery was completely different, he had no feel for his slider whatsoever, and he threw a bunch of other crappy pitches 12:55 august fagerstrom: What I’m saying is, hypothetically, what would reliever Andrew Miller, who commands his slider to the same area of the zone 60% of the time with his new, efficient delivery, look like if he stretched out to be a starter? 12:56 august fagerstrom: Just a fun thought. Feels like he could be an above-average starter. Whether he could provide more value in that role than he does currently as a reliever, I’m not as sure 12:56 Julio Pepper: So, another Hall of Fame question. Cano has 48 fWAR at 33 and looks to be on the path. He has almost 60 bWAR, which makes him close to a lock. I know they use different defensive metrics, but this seems like an enormous gap. I think he gets in easy; any thoughts on this? 12:56 august fagerstrom: Cano Kinsler and Pedroia are kind of all in the same boat. As long as none of them collapse and they all play 4-5 more years, they’ll all be right on the cusp 12:57 august fagerstrom: Let’s say one of them ages really well and makes it easy, one collapses and makes it easy, and the other is a really tough decision that we all bitch and moan about a decade from now 12:57 Dock Ellis: Altitude Disc Golf update: yep, discs are definitely more overstable here. Maybe it flies a little further too but that’s no confirmed. 12:57 august fagerstrom: This is awesome 12:57 august fagerstrom: And probably frustrating when you’re actually on the course 12:59 Snarfle: Too early to be excited by New Buxton? Normal answer is yes, but has he ever had a stretch like this in the majors? 12:59 august fagerstrom: I mean, he had 3 homers in his first 109 games, and then has had 3 homers in his last 5 games 1:00 august fagerstrom: So no, he’s never had a stretch like this 1:00 august fagerstrom: Add to that the four homers he hit in a row in AAA two weeks ago, and yeah, consider me excited 1:00 JIm: The Jays and Boston play each other 6 more times this year – look into your crystal ball and tell me how those 6 games shake out 1:00 august fagerstrom: exciting! 1:02 Julio Pepper: Can you name more than 10 pitchers you’d rather start a single game than Rich Hill? 1:02 august fagerstrom: Assuming no blister issue whatsoever? 1:03 august fagerstrom: Kershaw Fernandez Scherzer Syndergaard Sal 1:03 august fagerstrom: Those 5 for sure 1:03 august fagerstrom: Sale* 1:03 august fagerstrom: Probably Kluber 1:03 august fagerstrom: Maybe Bumgarner 1:04 august fagerstrom: And then Hill is right there, IMO 1:04 august fagerstrom: So, no. I don’t think I can 1:05 EvanC: Robinson Cano has a leg up on those guys. I don’t care what fWAR says. bWAR considers him easily best player of the three. 1:05 august fagerstrom: what if I don’t care what bWAR says? 1:05 august fagerstrom: (I do. But I think you consider all the information, and don’t just discard some of it because “reasons”) 1:09 august fagerstrom: Sorry for the delay. Had to take an important phone call real quick 1:09 A cat: When you look at the 15 and 16 graphs for JBJ’s offensive production, there are almost identical 35 game spikes. Is it a pattern you need to consider on projections, like that is flukey and would lower your estimates accordingly? 1:09 august fagerstrom: That’s random 1:09 august fagerstrom: Or at least: I feel very comfortable in saying that’s random 1:10 Ben: Tebow to Braves seems like it’s gonna happen. As a Braves fan, part of me wants to be embarrassed, but another part of me wants to just say “eh, he’ll probably suck and be gone within a year or so, so whatever”….. 1:10 august fagerstrom: A National League team would be a surprise to me 1:10 august fagerstrom: Figured he’d wind up in an AL org so that left field wouldn’t be a must-have 1:10 august fagerstrom: Really want the Astros or Blue Jays hitting guys to get their hands on him 1:11 Slew: Let’s imagine the hypothetical (and glorious) world where Bartolo goes into the hall. Which cap would he wear? 1:11 august fagerstrom: Indians probably, but maybe Mets 1:12 august fagerstrom: Seems like the Mets will probably be remembered as the Glory Years of Bart, even though he was at his best in Cleveland 1:12 Santa: You’d rather start Hill over Verlander? 1:12 august fagerstrom: I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice 1:13 august fagerstrom: The guys I listed are the only obvious ones, to me 1:13 august fagerstrom: Anyone else you could make an argument either way, IMO 1:13 Erik: How do Utley’s HoF chances compare with the Cano/Kinsler/Pedroia group? 1:14 august fagerstrom: Easier to say because we’re so close to the end of Utley’s career, but I think he’s got the best shot out of all 4. He certainly had the best peak. In my eyes, he’s already done enough. If I have a vote when he’s up for induction, he’ll be on my ballot 1:14 HappyFunBall: Trea Turner v. (healthy) Billy Hamilton in a foot race. Where do you lay the odds? 1:14 august fagerstrom: Hamilton 1:15 august fagerstrom: In talking with Petriello a couple weeks ago about writing a potential “Trea Turner Has Dethroned Billy Hamilton” post, the Statcast numbers weren’t particularly close. 1:16 Pomeranz: best dodgers rotation: kershaw, hill, maeda, urias, de leon? 1:16 august fagerstrom: probably 1:16 London Tribe: Is Thome a first ballot HOF guy? 1:16 august fagerstrom: He probably won’t be, because voters are strangely stingy with their first-year votes, but yeah, no reason Thome won’t get in quikly. 1:16 august fagerstrom: quickly* 1:17 Erik: Koufax is in the conversation for best of all time despite having a very short career and an even shorter peak. How extremely long would a pitcher’s career have to be to be the anti-Koufax and still be a Hall of Famer? Twice as long as Moyer? 1:17 august fagerstrom: It’s much easier to appreciate the value that Koufax provided in such a short term than the value (if he even was providing value at the end) of a guy like Moyer stretching it out 1:17 august fagerstrom: You get to a point of diminishing returns eventually 1:18 Thomas: Why do HBP have a slightly higher run expectancy than walks? They seem like identical vents to me, at least in effect. 1:18 august fagerstrom: Mostly because walks can be issued strategically 1:18 august fagerstrom: The “unintentional intentional” walk 1:18 august fagerstrom: HBPs are never an outcome the pitcher desires 1:18 Snarfle: A lot of people are intimidated by the mere concept of a spice cabinet. There’s no need to be, August Fagerstrom. Start out with some cumin (the powder, not the seeds, obvs), dry tarragon and basil. That plus your standard salt and pepper and you have seriously upped your game on all variety of meals. “What did you put in this?” they exclaim, and you give a sly smile. Level 2 is oregano, curry powder and a wild card like dill or paprika. I’ve come around to spice blends too, but it’s fun to mix and match your own. 1:18 august fagerstrom: To end, a spice tip: 1:18 august fagerstrom: thanks for chatting y’all 1:18 august fagerstrom: same time same place next week!