Ben Clemens FanGraphs Chat – 1/10/22

2:02
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, welcome to the chat. This one might be somewhat brief today (1hr or so) as I build up my chat stamina, slash because I have some writing to get to

2:02
Ben Clemens: But let’s talk baseball!

2:02
Guest: What do you think is more predictive for a 23-year-old?  18 MLB PAs or 388 AAA PAs?  And roughly at what quantities do you think they are approx. equally predictive?

2:02
Ben Clemens: The AAA line by a lot

2:04
Ben Clemens: I thikn I’d probably weight them equal when the ML line is, eh, 80% of the AAA line?

2:04
Ben Clemens: I haven’t looked into this specifically but AAA stats are really useful

2:04
Appa Yip Yip: Did you ever play Base Wars for the NES with the baseball robots that fight?

2:04
Ben Clemens: I never had a Nintendo actually

2:04
Ben Clemens: I got a PS2 in high school, my first console

2:05
Ben: If a player was a terrible hitter but hit a TON of foul balls (say .111/.211/.111 slash line, but averaged 20 pitches seen per plate appearance), would they be worth rostering and, if so, how would you best utilize them?

2:06
Ben Clemens: This question comes up in various forms from time to time

2:06
Ben Clemens: I think they’d maybe be worth rostering if they could also fill some other holes. Say fourth outfielder or something

2:07
Ben Clemens: You can’t start this guy every day, that’s a really big offensive hole

2:07
Ben Clemens: But say you’re facing deGrom or something? Or say your opponent brings in a tough reliever and you arne’t interested in seeing them for multiple innings

2:08
Guest: do you think baseball clubhouses are MORE professional than the average fan would expect (eg, it’s a workplace, and we only hear about the worst behavior because it’s unusual) or it’s LESS professional (eg, Eno’s experience with Moustakas and Hosmer are regular occurences and it’s miserable for regular people)

2:08
Ben Clemens: I think more professional ,but it really depends on what the average fan expects

2:09
Ben Clemens: That Hosmer story sticks out b/c there aren’t a lot of others like it, and I don’t think that’s due to some baseball omerta

2:09
Doug: Do you think if the lockout goes to the point where there’s an abbreviated spring, might we see fewer trades than anticipated? Feel like those take a while and teams might not want the chaos during spring training

2:09
Ben Clemens: For sure

2:09
Ben Clemens: I don’t anticipate a ton of offseason trades generally, but I think that teams will be behind on everything if we have an abbreviated spring

2:10
Joe: Care do make a prediction on what date there is an agreement between the owners and players?

2:10
Ben Clemens: Uh, sure. O/U Feb 8

2:10
171: Could a team survive with an entire pitching staff of guys who all pitch 3-4 innings every 3-4 days?

2:10
Ben Clemens: I wish I had a good way to answer this question, because I’m also very curious about it

2:10
Ben Clemens: I’ll be honest with you: my guess would just be that, a guess

2:11
Ben Clemens: Are there pitchers who can do this? yes

2:11
Ben Clemens: Could you make a whole staff out of them and also manage the innings correctly for games when guys just don’t have it?

2:11
Ben Clemens: That part seems really hard!

2:11
segiddins: For some reason, I just had a flashback to watching Rick Ankiel outfield assist videos on vacation. Is there anything else that’s so aesthetically pleasing, disproportionate to the on-field value?

2:12
Ben Clemens: Steals. Back-picks. Second basemen who make double play turns with really stable platforms to where it looks like the ball is just looping through a jai alai thing

2:13
Ben Clemens: Defense and baserunning are both really pretty, and both relatively low-value (compared to pitching and hitting)

2:13
Inaccessible Rail: How likely do you think it is that Cano finishes the season on the Mets roster?

2:14
Ben Clemens: Assuming a DH gets instituted, I’d say 75%

2:14
Ben Clemens: I’m higher on Cano than our projection systems are

2:15
Ben Clemens: And I also think that the team would benefit from a guy who is likely to hit fairly well, as opposed to a ton of question marks

2:15
Ben Clemens: But he’s 39

2:16
Ben Clemens: It’d hardly be a surprise if he just didn’t have it

2:16
Reds question: Were you as shocked as I to learn that Reds were in on Heaney?

2:17
Ben Clemens: Not really, to be honest. Seems like the kind of guy the Reds might go for thinking there’s untapped potential there. Maybe it’s not a good fit for their competitive window, but I think of them as a very ‘let’s find ways to help pitchers help themselves’ kind of team, and Heaney is a prime candidate for that treatment

2:17
Ben Clemens: And if they’re planning on trading somebody, they have a LOT of innings to fill

2:17
Max: Which starter will throw the most innings for the Mets this year??

2:18
Ben Clemens: The safe bet is Scherzer

2:18
Ben Clemens: I’m gonna say Tylor Megill, because chaos is fun

2:19
Inaccessible Rail: If the Padres finish under .500 again, Preller is out of a job, right? What kind of job could he get next?

2:20
Ben Clemens: Yeah, at this point he has to be. I assume he could easily get a job as a scouting director or the like, but presumably he’d keep angling for a GM job, or maybe one of those Dodgers-style AGM type roles where it’s a stepping stone back to GM

2:21
Neb: Can we ever get a manager without any baseball experience

2:21
Ben Clemens: How far off from that is Mike Shildt?

2:21
Ben Clemens: He played briefly at a medium college, not sure that counts as ‘no baseball experience’ but it’s certainly close to it

2:21
Ben Clemens: No professional experience, at least

2:21
John: What are the chances MLB tries to start establishing divisions in Europe, Asia and Latin America?  It seems to me that putting teams in Tokyo, London, Mexico City is far more valuable than maintaining largely dead franchises (from a revenue standpoint) in Pittsburgh, tampa bay, Milwaukee, KC, Cincinnati etx

2:22
Ben Clemens: I don’t know what the actual odds are, but I don’t think it would make all that much sense

2:22
Ben Clemens: The travel part matters a lot in baseball

2:22
Ben Clemens: I don’t think anyone would be served if they started, say, an Asia circuit with 10 teams that played in the MLB playoffs

2:23
Ben Clemens: no one would ever get to watch those players live

2:23
Ben Clemens: It’s not like they’d be taking frequent road trips to Houston and Milwaukee or whatever

2:24
Ben Clemens: If they wanted to collaborate on say, an Asia league that then plays the MLB champion in an extra postseason series

2:24
Ben Clemens: That would be of more interest to me

2:24
EcoResto: What team do you think was most negatively affected by the lockout?

2:24
Ben Clemens: I’m not really sure how to think about this

2:25
Ben Clemens: I guess a team that was planning on making a ton of changes this offseason but didn’t sign anyone yet

2:25
Ben Clemens: So maybe the Yankees?

2:25
Ben Clemens: They need to do several things, and they’d surely like to know what to do about Correa, but they just won’t get to for a while

2:26
Ben Clemens: And if they miss on Correa, their contingency plans will be happening RIGHT before the season

2:26
Guest: Thoughts on Nats prospect Yoander Rivero?

2:26
Ben Clemens: I’m the wrong person to ask on this one. Eric might have some dirt on him; to me he looks like a guy who hit well in low-level ball last year

2:27
Fernando Tatis-Buck Jr.: who do mets sign post-lockout?

2:29
Ben Clemens: How about Collin McHugh?

2:31
Baseball Fan: I was curious about what you said in your sinker article today. You said vertical movement wasn’t that important to VAA, but in the regression equation Owen McGrattan used for his article pfx_z has a pretty large coefficient, bigger than any other component.

2:31
Baseball Fan: His equation was VAA ~ -10.935970 + (release_pos_z * -1.065859)+ (release_extension * -0.030599) + (plate_z * 1.056003) + (pfx_z * 1.184797 )+ (release_speed * 0.085993).

2:34
Ben Clemens: That’s a problem with coefficients, though I do see your point overall. Like, the coefficient is similar between PFX_Z and plate_z, but adding a foot of vertical movement

2:35
Ben Clemens: is uh, kinda difficult

2:35
Ben Clemens: I also had a different-coefficient estimator, so there’s something to that

2:35
Ben Clemens: but plate_z still dominates in that one, because the difference between a 1 foot high and 5 foot high pitch is so much more than any variation in movement

2:35
Ben Clemens: Does kinda surprise me that his pfx_z coefficient was larger than mine though

2:35
Ben Clemens: I’ll look into it

2:37
Tiger Fan: What’s a realistic expectation for Manning at this point? Mid rotation arm or is the prospect shine still real?

2:39
Ben Clemens: I think the shine is still somewhat real

2:40
Ben Clemens: I’m not saying he’s gonna be great, but the raw stuff is there

2:41
namiki: Is it possible to calculate VAA from Baseball Savant’s csv file?

2:42
Ben Clemens: Yeah — you could use that equation baseball fan posted above, or there’s a link to another similar calculation (based on regressing trackman readings) in a link in my article from today

2:42
Luis Robert: What are my odds of winning MVP?

2:42
Ben Clemens: I don’t thikn very high. It’s hard to win MVP!

2:42
Ben Clemens: I dunno, 5%? That’s probably too high

2:44
The Real Ben Clemens: Most unexpected thing you learned from doing your research on flat sinkers?

2:44
Ben Clemens: So far, I’d say it’s that called strike rate varies so much based on the tilt the pitch comes in at

2:45
Ben Clemens: I just never would have guessed that it mattered so much to hitters

2:45
Guest: Can Connor “Eye” Joe be more than just a role player?

2:45
Ben Clemens: I mean…. I’m just gonna say no

2:45
Ben Clemens: I know that’s kinda unsatisfying, but I just don’t see it

2:46
Cito’s Mustache: My understanding is that FanGraphs has not included park factors in Minor League wRC+. Is that still the case, and can you talk a bit about the reasoning? Thanks, Ben.

2:47
Ben Clemens: That’s correct. i’m not exactly sure of the original reason we set it up this way, but basically I think the calculation load is just too high

2:47
Ben Clemens: So we just league-adjust

2:47
Clubby Stapp: Would Pearson, Gurriel, and Kirk get the conversation started with the Guardians on a potential J Ramirez trade?

2:47
Ben Clemens: I think so, but I don’t think it would get them over the finish line. Pearson’s star has faded

2:48
Ben Clemens: I still think he’s a really intriguing piece but it sounds like he’s looked at around the league as more high-impact reliever than top-flight starter these days

2:48
Carlos Rodon: Do I repeat my 2021 numbers? Which team do I pitch for?

2:48
Ben Clemens: I would love to see you on the Angels

2:48
Ben Clemens: And no, but I think you’ll be a solid #2/3 starter

2:50
White Sox Fan: Do the White Sox have realistic options to fix RF and 2B? Do they sign another SP?

2:50
Ben Clemens: 2B is a tough one

2:51
Ben Clemens: They must be regretting the Madrigal trade something fierce

2:51
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll be in on Michael Conforto if he wants a pillow deal, that would be interesting to me

2:52
Ben Clemens: And generally speaking, finding someone better than Adam Engel isn’t THAT hard

2:52
Ben Clemens: But I think they would look far more complete with Madrigal

2:52
Clu Heywood: Odds the Phillies trade one of their first round pitching draft picks this summer if they have a shot at the playoffs?

2:52
Ben Clemens: If they’re competing for the division title, then yeah I think the odds are quite good

2:52
Ben Clemens: They really need to make the playoffs

2:54
Owners: If a soccer-team owning oil sheik or oligarch decided to buy a baseball team and spend whatever it took to dominate, how would other teams respond at the ownership and FO levels?

2:54
Ben Clemens: Steve Cohen is trying this out, at least somehwat

2:54
Ben Clemens: I assume they’d complain and pocket the tax bill

2:55
Ben Clemens: The CBT structure is pretty good at hamstringing teams who spend a ton of money

2:55
Guest: Is there wRC+ for college hitters that you know of? How valuable would this stat be for player evaluation before the draft?

2:55
Ben Clemens: It might not be publicly available, but a team could hire any random analyst, pay them 60k a year or whatever, and have them make one

2:55
Ben Clemens: And as such, I’m sure every team has some version of it

2:56
Ben Clemens: That said… I’m not sure that wRC+ is what you want at the college level

2:56
Ben Clemens: I’d be looking for more of a KATOH-style model that looks for players with statistics that have historically been correlated with later ML success

2:57
Romulus: Tyler O’Neill is an enigma to me. Was the end of last year just a Arozarena-esque hot streak?

2:57
Ben Clemens: ZiPS would say no — it thinks he’s a 4 WAR player going forward

2:57
Ben Clemens: Heck, Steamer has him at 120 wRC+

2:58
Ben Clemens: The skills mostly appear to be there, and I think his approach is actually fine given what happens when he connects

2:58
Ben Clemens: Like, if you told me someone had Tyler O’Neill’s swing, I’d suggest a plate approach roughly like his

3:01
Matt W.: Tommy Pham or Jonathan Schoop for 2022?

3:01
Ben Clemens: I’ll take Pham (assuming this is for fantasy), but not by a ton

3:01
namiki: The flat sinker seems to be very good at calling strikes, but does it also work well with two strikes where the batter wants to be aggressive?

3:02
Ben Clemens: My guess is no, I’ll have to look into it more though

3:02
Ben Clemens: On that note, gonna get back to writing about Brent Suter’s goofy run of success

3:02
Ben Clemens: Have a great day everyone, longer chat next week.





Ben is a writer at FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @_Ben_Clemens.

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Broken Bat
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Member
Broken Bat

What is the Homer story? Bad to insert without any definition.

Phil
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Phil

https://tht.fangraphs.com/learning-the-language-of-the-clubhouse/

Here’s the story.

(It is a chat – should we really expect everything to be cited? Especially when you get the story by googling Eno Eric Hosmer – you don’t even need to know it is Eno Sarris – and I think the answer was clear enough without knowing the exact reference)