Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 1/14/21

12:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ANd we go!

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Welcome to the chat!

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Uh oh

12:02
Hi: This doesnt show up on the homepage. Chat is only accessible thru tweeted link

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I am asking!

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I will have to answer slowly! lol

12:03
Guest: Where do the Zips projections see the Padresmf

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not much has changed since my NL West piece

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: since nobody ain’t doing nothing

12:04
Mr Bean: Do you ever run ZiPs for players not affiliated in MLB, like Korea, Japan, Mexico, etc?  I’d be curious what Mel Rojas Jr would look like at an MLB equivalent projection.

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I do all the time, but don’t include them all int he basic set

12:04
Dk: If the Mets sign Springer they can’t re-sign Conforto or Thor so would you pass on Springer and sign Bradley Jr?  Also Davis is unplayable at third, would you sign Cesar Hernandez to start at second and play McNeil at third base?

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: TheY CAN

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think I’d prefer they sign Turner and made Davis the 3B/cOF backup dude

12:05
Nats fans: Are the National’s done adding or do they have to wait to see what Soto/Turner/Bell get in arbitration?

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have no idea what’s going on this offseason.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not even joking. This winter is an odd one. People on teams are even confused.

12:07
Billy Beane: Dan any weird installations you would recommend for someone who likes taking apart his desktop but doesn’t do anything terribly hardware intensive because he’s a console gamer? (Example, I have two low-end GPUs installed because I wanteded more HDMI outputs)

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Custom loops are fun!

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ve made them for friends and colleagues, but I don’t do one for myself because I have cats that like to jump on computers.

12:07
George: I was very interested in a Nats projection you had: Steven Fuentes. Is it really true a 23-year-old AA pitcher is the fourth best starter on that team?

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s more a reflection on how ZiPS feels about their starters after three.

12:08
Glenn Danzimborski: Do you have any plans to write a piece about unheralded ZiPS prospects? Who would be some of the headliners?

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yup, this stuff will be around Prospect Week

12:08
Curly Howard: How does one run a sandwich through the wash?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I had it wrapped in a paper towel and sitting on a basket of laundry I was bringing downstairs. But I just forgot about it and dumped the whole basket of laundry into the washing machien

12:09
sportznut: When might we see the ZiPs spreadsheet this year given you got them done so quickly?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe David’s getting them up tonight

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Platoon splits will be up there, though not tonight.

12:09
Bean Chili: Give me my respect!

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You don’t exist

12:10
George: I noticed ZIPS isn’t really buying the breakout from Tanner Rainey. I know fans in DC really hope he blossoms into that bullpen ace that he sometimes looks like he can be, but I was wondering your thoughts on his chances?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s frightened by how horrid his walk rate is historically. The Bat and ZiPS are against Steamer on this one

12:12
Mike Rizzo: I really enjoyed your piece on the NL East and how the Nats were hurt the most by the Lindor Trade. What reasonable moves do you think I need to make to make it a real three team race? Cross my fingers for a Robles/Kieboom breakout or a couple more adds?

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Need a 2B bump and I think I’d want Springer and another starting pitcher.

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Josh Bell’s projection will go up a little when ZiPS is in the mix, but not *that* much.

12:14
Guest: Would Brandon Nimmo’s ZiPS improve if he was pushed to left instead of being forced to play negative defense in center?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably, but not necessarily help the Mets that much given their roster constraints right now

12:14
Guest: Hi Dan. Do you know if all the projections on the site are updated for 2021? I see ZIPS, but then next to it I also see ZIPS2021. And I don’t see any year identifiers at all for Steamer, ATC, and THE BAT

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Those are the 2021 projections made before 2020

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Nothing new is in the database. All the 2021 ZiPS that are available at this moment are in the team-by-team rundowns

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Or in articles I post

12:15
Joe: If NYY is stringent about staying under the LT, with the ~30-35M room they have would they be better spreading it around to a SP, RP and SS vs giving DJLM 20-25 ?

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Some teams would, but I don’t necessarily think so in this case.

12:15
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: At what point will you run all of your chat questions through a neural network to see if we notice and/or if there’s a change in the quality of responses?

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That would be funny.

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK, for the rest of the chat: if you want the neural network to answer your question instead of me, put (NN) in the question.

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: At what point will you run all of your chat questions through a neural network to see if we notice and/or if there’s a change in the quality of responses?

A: We’ve done a lot of work with chatbot development in the early days and we do tests with the developers at every step to make sure their work is effective and they are aware of common pitfalls to make sure they are improving quickly. We’ve definitely seen performance improvements that make our next generation of interactions more effective and usable.

12:17
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: TEST: Does Chili have beans in it? (NN)

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: Does chili have beans in it?

A: Our chatbot is the wrong answer, the correct answer is “Your chili is broken.” However, the chatbot doesn’t like beans either. If there’s a bean in there, the chatbot will assume that you are stupid and you want a chili without beans. If there’s no bean, the chatbot will assume you are a terrible human being and will attack your self-esteem.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:19
JT: Regarding Turner and the Mets, there may still be bad blood from Alderson jettisoning him because he thought he was a bad influence

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Most things can be worked out. These are professionals and 95% of the time, this stuff is water on the bridge.

12:19
Billy Beane: Do you have any hot takes on the Harden -> Brooklyn deal?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Damn he’s taking a tax hit! $13 million I saw

12:19
Jeremy: When will zips be added to the depth charts?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Likely tonight.

12:19
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: Or . ..  Have you been running your chat questions through a neural network already to see if we notice and/or if there’s a change in quality of responses? (NN)

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: Or . ..  Have you been running your chat questions through a neural network already to see if we notice and/or if there’s a change in quality of responses?

A: No. This question is not a good one for a neural network to learn on. Even the best neural networks can only produce images and sentences, not chat-related chat. It is a good question to ask as a data scientist, though.

12:21
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: New hypothesis: Dan has been a Neural Network himself the entire time

12:21
Rob: Do you feel the Orioles should start to look to add some long term pieces now or are you in favor of them waiting another year?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think now’s a good time. There are still *far* too many holes.

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think the O’s are as close as the Padres were at the time they signed Hosmer

12:21
Dk: Familia and Betances for Cain? It’s cash neutral in 2021 but Cain has one more year on the contract than those guys.

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think the Brewers would want this

12:23
Mozeliak’s Bow Tie: Does Bader and Oviedo get Nimmo or Dom Smith?

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It might, though I don’t know how the Mets feel about Bader

12:23
J: When will the ZiPS be on the projection page??? I’m dying here!

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Likely tonight or early tomorrow

12:23
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: Who’s the worst team that could still turn themselves into a competitive team if they were to go out and sign the best remaining FAs

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like go out and get Realmuto, LeMahieu, Springer, Bauer, Ozuna, Turner, and uh Semien?

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s a lot of dudes!

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think most teams would be competitive if they did that. I think the Royals would be. Maybe the Tigers.

12:25
sportznut: Q (NN)- When will the Tigers win their next World Series?

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: When will the Tigers win their next World Series?

A: Probably sometime before my grandchildren are eligible to play for the Detroit Tigers.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I swear! It’s the neural network throwing shade.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:27
George: Honestly, where does Realmuto sign if the Phillies don’t sign him? Who even wants to win anymore????

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d love to see the Nats sign him.

12:27
Mike Rizzo: Re: Springer- Where would he play in DC? Bench Robles? Schwarber and hope for a DH?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think you have Robles share some time with Schwarber and get 400 PA or so across OF positions. Plus some extra time when Schwarber DHs

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But he’s the biggest question mark in their outfield

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Schwarber’s not on a log-term deal

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: log-term?

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So plenty of opportunity for him to prove himself

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He was *awful* in 2020

12:28
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: What would be a good nickname for Wander Franco (NN)?

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: What would be a good nickname for Wander Franco?

A: I love names that start with “W.” There’s “Wonder,” and there’s also “Wander.” And I think it fits my personality, because I’m always thinking, “What’s next?” I’m always on my feet and always thinking ahead.

I’m also reading a book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” I’m trying to read that one in it’s entirety before my next trip. And it’s going to be very interesting. I’m really trying to get into it. I like history, so this is kind of like a Western history.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OH GOD NO PENDING MESSAGES

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The site has not been fixed yet, so there’s nobody finding this on the front page! lol

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So you 31 people who found this, I need you guys to be clutch here!

12:32
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Commas matter. There’s a big difference between “OH GOD, NO PENDING MESSAGES” and “OH GOD NO, PENDING MESSAGES.” Meg may want to have a word with you if it’s the latter.

12:32
Atilla the pun: The Royals bucked the slow market trend by signing their FA targets (Minor, Santana, Taylor, Holland).  Did they spend more than they needed to in doing that?  Does it matter if they did?

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Doesn’t really matter, really. I don’t think the Royals were well-situated to take advantage of these mid-market signings. But really, in this offseason, do I want to be whining about one of the teams that’s actually *trying* in their limited, Royals way?

12:33
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: I thought the no pending messages was part of the NN response

12:36
Barry’s Fivehead: Who is the next big name FA to sign, and where?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have a hunch that Springer will sign in the not too distant future

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though where? I have no idea.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I kinda think the Blue Jays might close the deal

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But in this case, I don’t have any *specific* backchannel info

12:36
Joe: The rumors of 11/320 for Tatis appear false, but what does ZIPS think of that offer? It sounded high to me.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I suspect the Padres *are* talking, but 11/320 so far before FA is unlikely.

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Four years before FA is a long time, so the Padres have a great deal of leverage.

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And businesses are not in the business of spending more than they need to if they can help it.

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (I fully expect businesses to look after their interest, I just want MLB to have a revenue-sharing that more incentivizes investing in players being more aligned with the team interest)

12:38
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: Man, I generally have so many questions, yet with this boundless opportunity to ask them, I find myself seizing up

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:39
Eric: Building a franchise & you have the 1st overall pick, congrats! Who are you taking? Trout, Soto, Tatis, Acuna, Wander, Someone else?

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Tatis

12:39
Eric: Is there any chance Ariel redoes the comparisons to so Zips is compared equivalently or will we have to wait till next year?

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Next year. I’ll make sure and provide him playing time prorated version before the year starts.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s not hsi “fault” or anything because he’s looking for complete and direct fantasy applicability.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And since ZIPS isn’t really targeted there, you’re going to have some odd pricing.

12:40
Eric: On a scale of 100 what % should you value offense to defense? 80% offense? 90% offense? Is there a % that war or zips uses?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure you need to place a scale on it. A run is a run pretty much.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS doesn’t go in and say “X of a player’s WAR is offense, Y is defense”

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: BTW, I’m super-pumped: I scored an RTX 3080 from a Newegg drop!

12:43
Atilla the pun: At some point they league has to make a firm decision on the NL DH, right? Has to be hurting the market as this drags on.

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I suspect it’s no this year.

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But a very strong possibility for 2022 to forever

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: As this is a very lightly attended chat for technology reasons, feel free to considering this a Lightning Round and ask ANYTHING

12:46
Atilla the pun: Best mascot name for Cleveland?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Asthma Pimps

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Definitely the best neural network thing I’ve ever done.

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:47
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: How does the Neural Network work, and why should we believe it’s not just you? (NN)

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: How does the Neural Network work, and why should we believe it’s not just you?

A: The following slide describes how it works, but really, it only demonstrates how much better it works than regular AI! It’s so accurate, there’s no question it’s intelligent.

While the AI could be built using brute force processing, it would require a massive compute farm and millions of dollars of hardware.

Instead, the Neural Network builds upon what AI researchers know about “General Machine Learning.” But the key ingredient is something called “Unsupervised Learning,” where the network has no prior knowledge of the training data. The input data is simply 1s and 0s. The network “learns” by looking at the rest of the data, rather than trying to manually discover the relationship between each 0 and 1.

If you look at the network representation above, you can see that while all the 1s and 0s look the same, the spacing between them varies depending on the input data. The network will simply “learn” that the spacing looks g

12:48
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: Which is a baseball player name is better: Randy Johnson or Johnny Dickshot?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The latter since the poor guy got the nickname “Ugly” on top of that!

12:48
Mr Bean: Follow up on Mel Rojas Jr question.  If you run ZiPs for him at some point, does that mean he’d be on the DMB software with a projection, or would he never be put on there?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I probably wouldn’t put him on the DMB disk.

12:48
Not a Criminal: what’s your social?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: @DSzymborski on twitter and I don’t do instagram

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: wait, my SS? xxx-xx-xxxx!

12:49
Tim: I’m excited about the Mariners’ young talent. How close are they to competing for the division?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s a lot of interest there, but I think it’ll be a couple years. Luckily, the Astros/A’s have issues of their own so it’s not going to be like trying to rebuild in NL West

12:50
Martha Stewart: What’s your favorite comfort food?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My mom’s chicken milanese. She makes me a gigantic batch at my birthday every year.

12:51
Dan Szymborski’s older brother: What’s your ideal setup for the MLB postseason (# of teams/# of games)?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t have a brother

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: two teams, best of 11

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (I didn’t say it was the best for MLB profitability)

12:52
Brandon: Is any combination of Mize/Manning/Skubal going to actually be a 1 or 2 starter for the Tigers? Does Zips show any higher upside?

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: All three have upside, though sorting through it is going to be a matter of time. I think the Tigers were hurt here not having minor leagues in 2020

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: When there were struggles, there was nowhere to send guys TO while still having them play baseball.

12:52
Ian: Tatis Jr. extension rumors aside, what do the Padres need to do to shore up their team? Obvious answer is bench and bullpen, but so far it’s been pretty quiet on that front. Are Kirby Yates and Jurickson Profar likely to return or maybe the Pads are looking at other versatile pieces like Kiké Hernandez?

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s really not a lot to do. Depth, maybe an extra reliever if there’s a bargain they like.

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The weakest spot left is first base, but they’re *not* addressing that one!

12:53
Matt: Is Dan actually 3 cats in a trench coat? (Nn)

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Q: Is Dan actually 3 cats in a trench coat?

A: Yes! Dan is so shady, he even owns a trench coat! And trust us, Dan is not wearing one at the moment.

12:54
Broken Code: I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS CHAT TO BE SEEN [Error: Number stored as text]

12:55
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: What is one bias you have about baseball that you have difficulty overcoming?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe every sidearmer/submariner is frigging awesome no matter how much evidence to the contrary.

12:55
John: adley rutschman is pretty cool

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t *think* I have a lot of baseball biases. Hopefully a couple decades of trying to be objective has ironed out most of those lumps.

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m sure in real life I have plenty

12:56
re:injuries: The funniest injury is still Zumaya & Guitar Hero

12:57
Edd: Looking at contract projections for DJLM, it seems the analytically inclined (FG contract projections, Petriello, etc. >80 million) Project DJ to come in quite a bit lower than the rest of writers in the industry, any inkling why and what do you see him coming in at?

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not sure. I think there’s still a general tendency to underrate just how risky aging is for a post-30 player.

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And, without ragging on anyone in particular, I think there are certainly some writers who think that teams evaluate players the same way they did 10 years ago

12:58
Broken Code: Hey Dan, you should do one of those aged pictures for your chat avatar.

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Whaddya call this one! I’m 42!

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There were a bunch of writers who really thought J.D. Martinez was going to get $180-$200 million from a team back when he was a FA

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Maybe I’ll just go with the Donald Troump avatar.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

1:00
The Ghost of Wade Boggs: What’s the difference between lightning round chat and regular chat?

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: In the Lightning Round, I have to answer *any* question, no matter how stupid, or no matter how little I know the answer, with the exception of a few categories (extremely personal, work-related, politics)

1:01
Steve: According to ZIPS, how much of an improvement is the Sox move from Colome to Hendriks?

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: about 0.9 wins

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: so about 1 win

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: why would a person say about 0.9? WTF Dan?

1:01
James: How’s your 3080????!!!!

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Got the notice from Newegg that it shipped. So it could still technically end up the UPS driver’s RTX 3080.

1:02
SK: Twitter photo might need updated…

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, I still have a goatee. That picture is like two or three months old

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No changes in appearance since

1:03
Carrot Top: I need some new material.  Can the NN tell me the Top 10 Knock Knock jokes?

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, the neural network gave me kind of a high concept knock knock joke

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

1:06
Zach: When are the ZiPS bell curve projections getting released?

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’re still figuring out what to do/how to present the percentiles

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And there’s no bell curve! ZiPS does not assume a distribution.

1:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Is non-parametric

1:07
Eddie Rosario: Where do I end up in 2021 and how much will I get paid?

1:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think probably 1/6 or something, no idea who

1:07
chelu671: Any thoughts on mlb.com’s WS predictions for the next ten years?

1:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s a silly exercise of course, but it was fun and it wasn’t the craziest thing I’ve read

1:07
Guest: When do we see Adley?

1:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He pretty much has to make an appearance in MLB sometime in 2021 unless he’s a disaster in the minors

1:07
Eric: whats your burrito order Dan?

1:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I rarely order burritos. Beans tend to disagree with me. I’m a taco guy.

1:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK, we’re past one

1:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Those how found this chat and helped make this one of the weirdest ever,  you have my thanks!

1:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hopefully we’ll be working correctly next week!





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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