Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 1/20/21

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The chat is now.

12:03
Matt: ZiPS seems very down on Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. Is there any hope for them?

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yes. Adell’s projection has already rebounded from the year before! But he still needs to develop.

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: As for Marsh, ZiPS is not yet enthralled by his offense

12:05
Tyler: Rangers ZIPS came out today. The rotation is a nothing burger outside of Gray. ZIPS seems to under project innings for Hearn (92), Dunning (109), who are both certain to be in the rotation but has (134) for Folty who isn’t even on the team?

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS goes from history.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You should not be using it as a predictor of who *will* get playing time

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But it does do a decent job with veterans who are guaranteed MLB jobs, simply because people *always* underestimate the chance that a random player will be injured

12:06
TomBruno23: Happy Cheese Lovers Day, White Castle is doing a BOGO on Sloppy Fries, today only. Enjoy.

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My GF had White Castle for the first time when we were driving from Baltimore about two years ago. She was repulsed after tasting it and was shocked that people like them.

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Objectively, they’re not good, but there’s something that makes you crave them sometimes!

12:07
KIDZERO: Dan,  your opinion on Rockies Organizational revamp? Sterling Monfort, son of Dick, now Director of Pro Scouting–my take is Tricky Dicky will never sell the Rockies; years more of mediocre Rockies results and Fan frustration, imo.

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Rockies are at a position where any improvement, they’ll have to demonstrate it to me first

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I couldn’t tell you anythign about Sterling Monfort’s ideas, unfortunately. Hopefully there’s some rebellion against his father’s baseball incompetence!

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s unfortunate that dad named him like the bad guy in an 80s movie.

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he was a character in Back to School.

12:09
Guest: Dan, what is the status on Marcel Ozuna and Trevor Bauer?  Will they be playing this year?  Are either subject to suspension before playing?

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Ozuna received a 20-game unpaid suspension around Thanksgiving. But as he was on administrative leave, they counted time served, and he’s eligible to play in 2022 immediately.

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Bauer situation is murky and still up in the air.

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ve seen no indication the Braves are going to release Ozuna and eat the money or anything like that.

12:12
Jefferson: What happened to sherten apostel? He was such a Zips darling last year. Does he still have the superstar upside projection?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He hit very poorly in 2021, unfortunately. Then missed the end with a knee problem

12:12
Greg: You mentioned that fantasy players should use ZiPS DC instead of ZiPS after Ariel’s evaluation of projection systems showed ZiPS to be the worst. How do you derive PA/IP projections for ZiPS? When would those playing time projections be useful? Why not just take DC playing time projections into ZiPS?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ve been telling you guys (well, those that have been around) that ZIPS is not a playing time predictor for 18 years!

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Here’s why I don’t use DC playing time for projections:

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Wow, thanks for the input, ZiPS!

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Asking a projection system what the Brewers (or any team) intends to do strikes me as a rather pointless use of a projection system.

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS DC makes ZiPS useful for fantasy purposes without direct intervention. ZiPS wasn’t primarily designed for fantasy.

12:17
x2R: Hey Dan, first time here!!

12:17
x2R: How did your love for statistics and data start? And what do you recommend to introduce into, books, etc?

And in baseball matters,What is the most surprising fact you have found? And bold prediction for next season, statistical level?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I was always good at math as a kid and loved baseball, so it was a natural combo

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My grandfather started getting me Baseball Abstracts and then the Elias Baseball Analyst when I was seven, in 1985.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I used to keep little lists of stats in a composition book

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and even made a little dice game when I was 8, with player cards.

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I hadn’t figured out how pitcher and batter cards interacted with each other at the age of 8, so you had to flip a coin to see which card you used

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I had a tendency to nerd up most of my hobbies.

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would do stuff like figure out damage formulas in NES RPG games

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and I had GI Joes, but each GI Joe had ratings for attack and defense and certain Joes had AOE attacks, and I gave objects in my room different elevation ratings

12:20
Jefferson: Taco chilli is in the slow cooker for dinner tonight. It has meat AND beans. Just try to stop me

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m sure it’s good, it’s just not chili

12:20
Alex: If the Seinfeld Soup Nazi served chili with beans, would you eat it?

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It might be good. I don’t dislike beans. They’re just not chili.

12:20
Guest: Any surprises with the final outcome of Atlanta’s projections?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not particularly

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though like this person, I was sad about Shewmake

12:21
Jefferson: Speaking of former Zips darlings, Braden Shewmakes projection made me very sad

12:21
DesmondJennings: What do you think the Rays biggest need is once the lockout ends?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d really like the Rays to sign some non-descript pitcher that can throw a lot of innings

12:21
Who’s Fabio?: Hey Dan, just curious, what do you think drives people to become debt collectors?  Especially with all the other choices available.

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Money?

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not everyone gets to do their dream job

12:22
Matt: Could one add up all the WAR totals shown on the depth chart graphic for individual teams and then compare them to other teams to gauge how the teams stack up in the projections? Or would that be an inaccurate gauge?

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You can, but it would not be very accurate

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS sims it out when there’s a season because not everyone is going to hit their 50th projection

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: nor will this account for depth. Sometimes, those pitchers are going to have 0

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So it’s very rough, but like the disclaimer says, there’s a karate chop in it.

12:23
Joe: NYY the top dog in the AL east as of now?

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would say that, but it’s very marginal

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And I thijnk they’re riskier than some other teams.

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Jays may have the highest chance of *not* falling out of the AL East race

12:24
Matt: What does Zips use for defensive projections incorporated into war?

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I use a blend of defensive numbers

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: for minors, I also include a probabilistic measure I’ve worked on stemming from Gameday positional data.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s more in the ZiPS Intro that too long to repeat here.

12:26
Alby: What’s your favorite sandwich?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s hard to beat a classic reuben with russian dressing

12:26
Fred: What does ZiPS says for an expected Freeman contract?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Varies a little from team to team

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s likely to beat it though

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS is looking somewhere around 6 years 120, but I dont’ think that lands him

12:28
Ted: I bought my tickets for spring training in Arizona. I’m going whether there are games or not. Any tips for filling my time if there are no games?

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Drinkin?

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Depends what else is going on in the area you’re at!

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Look for interesting local stuff

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: In march, we may be dealing with the sigma variant that has us bleeding out our rectums

12:29
Who’s Fabio?: Broadly speaking, how does the fence change at Camden get factored into the projections?  Did anything of magnitude change?

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: None.

12:29
Moog Powell: So basically what you’re saying is that you give Monfort “no respect”?

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Correct.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ll give him a nod if he can pull of the Triple Lindy.

12:30
DSC: Are you a DJ Lemahieu truther or is last season a more realistic expectation going forward?

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Somewhere in the middle!

12:30
Kate: ETA for getting ZiPS added to player pages after the last post goes up?  Loved reading them this year as always, great job!

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sometime next week! Gotta check for errors, update for players who have moved (fewer than usual!) and see who I missed

12:32
Sirras: At what point should we just run projections on an at-bat by at-bat basis to fill in games given the lockout has no end in sight?

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Follow your heart! lol

12:32
Jonathan: Have you ever considered using overall or even tool-specific grades from public-facing outlets (like FG) to improve your “ZiPS Top 100 Prospects” list?  Or does the inevitable turnover of personnel make it impossible to treat data as synonymous from year to year?

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: While I have, I don’t tend to like to lock on things that others do.

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Especially because then you have to *really* be aggressive at reviewing how THOSE outlets are doing

12:33
Tommy Cho: I feel for ZiPS & you when Ariel does his projection comparison, obv the playing time estimation is huge for the purpose of his comparison. This year he included ZiPS DC & it shined but still left ZiPS in there which I find annoying. It unfairly paints ZiPS in a bad light & I think it is malpractice for Ariel to include it knowing it is apples to oranges. Seemed intentional this year after a *mistake” last year

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Ariel didn’t make a mistake, he has my complete blessing.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He would never do anything to make ZiPS look bad. He was simply showing how ZiPS, without playing time adjustments, doesn’t work for fantasy.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Showing people what to use and not use is an important use for a tool.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If I do a video showing that you don’t use an electric drill to make a cheesecake, I’m not bashing the electric drill company!

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZIPS, when not filtered by a person’s knowledge of playing time, is not a direct fantasy tool!

12:35
Moose_Bolton: Have you tried Cinnamon Rolls and chili together? My girlfriend says it’s good and I’ve heard it is from others but I haven’t had a chance to try it myself.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have not.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and I do not think I am going to

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Do you need something THAT sweet to contrast with chili?

12:36
Matt: How often do you check the historical player recommendations that come out?  Learn anything fun from looking someone up?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Quite frequently!

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Especially when a name comes up

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I forget who had the comp last year, but I hijacked like half the accompanying blurb to talk about Scipio Spinks

12:36
Snapshot: What percentage chance do you give to a) Spring Training and b) Opening Day starting on time this year?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 50%, 80%

12:36
Scotty: One more team for ZIPs left, should we expect the rest of the site to be updated with ZIPs numbers sometime next week? Or is that too optimistic?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh, it’ll be next week.

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s no baseball news that’s demanding my time be divided!

12:37
that dude who posted on reddit about Dan s: Do you like Mexican food?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yes

12:37
Jonathan: I know OOTP licenses the ZiPS projections.  Do you happen to know which parts of it they use and which parts they don’t use?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I give ’em the ZiPS and they use it how they want.

12:37
Greg: Re: ZiPS playing time. I understand ZiPS wasn’t built for fantasy and the reason behind why it’s not good for fantasy is the PT projections. I’ll ask again: How do you calculate PT projections for ZiPS? Re: DC zero PA/IP – just make the PT projection 1 PA/IP so that the rate stats still are generated. I’m not sure projecting 250 PA for someone unlikely to get any PA is more useful (which is what ZiPS does today).

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Near seasons weighted, with adjustments for known, specific i injuries, age, position

12:38
x2R: When ZiPS shows a player’s projection, what’s the most probable percentile, 50th, other? What determines that?

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The weighted mean is slightly more accurate, but I’ve taken to just reporting the 50th percentile for ease.

12:38
Phil: So, I understand that Zips is, as you put it, agnostic about playing time. But do you have advice about how to use the projections if we are not agnostic? For example, if I am–for my own purposes, which are mostly purely mental–pretty sure that Tanner Houck will get twice as many innings as Zips says, can I just, you know, double everything? Or will more innings mean more times facing the third time through the order and thus eating it more times, and so some regression should be applied?

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It depends on the question at hand!

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Using the depth chart playing time is easier

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But how you look at an issue and what will happen will differ from how other people see it!

12:40
Lars: Are ZIPS projections adjusted if a player is surrounded by a new coaching staff and a change to approach/mechanics is made?  How much of a sample size is needed to make any such changes, if any?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It will if there’s as change in stat.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: As for sample size, it’s not a linear thing.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s no X PA threshold that crosses that suddenly changes everything.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s bayesian inference!

12:41
Caught looking: Do you see ZIPS changing much if electronic strike zone is implemented?  Either in terms of offense or catcher defensive metrics?

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sure, though the consequences that actually happen are hard to tell!

12:41
LB: I watch Xander Bogaerts a lot and just don’t see a horrible defensive SS. Just seems to be average at everything on the D side. Am i wrong?

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think he’s HORRIBLE.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But there are very high standards at the position

12:41
Szymbolism: You haven’t fooled me, Dan. I know you’ve been behind the lockout the whole time. You’ve just been waiting for the right moment to strike so that ZIPS fueled metaverse Scabs can replace the real players. And where does that leave the “benevolent creator?” Enriching himself in low level arbitration court. Let’s talk more about this next chat

12:42
Guest: YT recommended your yordano ventura WWE video a few weeks back, classic.  how many baseball personalities have you digitally created in the WWE universe?

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably 40-50?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: actually more than that

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like for WWE2K18, here’s a selection of stuff I have

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:46
Phil: I am scared to contemplate a universe in which Dan Szymborski is capable of single-handedly causing a work stoppage in a $10-billion industry. I just don’t know that I trust you to use your power only for good, if you have that much. Draconian chili rules will be just the beginning.

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Is the broccoli industry $10 billion? I”d like to stop that

12:46
Cave Dameron: Dan, I have just finished running my CoOL projections for the year and they have you projected as Very Cool. However, Steamer only has you projected as Pretty Cool. Why do you think that Steamer seems to undervalue your coolness, despite you consistently meeting (and sometimes exceeding) your projected level of cool?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Obesity?

12:46
Dan not Symborski: If the Mets could only add one more player, who would you add, Carlos Rodón or Kris Bryant?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Rodon

12:47
Kristaps Porzingis: How do you think someone my size(7’2 with a 7’4 wing span) would fair in baseball? Would I be limited to Pitching based on my size or would it be possible to be a good outfielder?

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The strike zone would be massive

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure someone with a 7’4 wingspan could really get the bat in the sweet spot over the plate super well

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Might need to be a pitcher

12:47
LB: Adam Duvall got a projection of +9 in RF, I’m guessing that’s good enough for an EX rating?  Is that the highest of any OF(along with Mookie and Judge and maybe others)?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It depends, I don’t know offhand what % of that is arm, range, error rating

12:48
TomBruno23: Ozuna and Bauer deserve starting spots on in the 2022 California Penal League and nothing else.

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think Ozuna would have to be in the Georgia penal league, I don’t see CA having jurisdiction!

12:49
RonaldAcuna: Are there any players that you think would be in jeopardy of not reaching “important” HoF milestones with the 2020 season shortened and the 2022 potentially being shortened by a couple months? Am I one of those players?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I actually did a piece about that in 2020!

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’ll see how serious a 2022 stoppage is in terms of games

12:50
Guest: Dan: season after season I’m expecting some rebuilds to work, but those not happen very often and I think patience (my patience) is a tool to develop.

12:50
MM: Seiya Suzuki had his signing window frozen. Once the lockout is over, he will have 20 days to come to terms with a team or decide to go back to the NPB. What % chance are you giving him to join the MLB? From what I have seen, he finds it clumsy the way the player’s union and owners have handled this situation so far.

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s nearly certain he’ll sign with MLB unless it drags on too long that he has to can the idea for 2022

12:50
Guest: Can you tell me one thing that surprised you about the Phillies’ ZIPS projections for the year?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yes, I think I can.

12:50
Moog Powell: When projecting players who have little to know MLB data, do you only use data from MiLB/Foreign League/Amateur level, etc. or do you incorporate scouting grades into the equation?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I used to have a scouting report parser, but the probabilistic method  with Gameday I developed is more predictive and a lot less work

12:51
ALBeast: Local media is reporting that the sister-city plan was killed by MLB, and Stu has a conference scheduled for the media at 1…

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it was unworkable

12:51
Raises hand: I got the Rodney Dangerfield/Back to School reference.  My doctor said I have 6 months to live, I said I want a 2nd opinion, he says ok you’re ugly too.

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My doctor said I’m fat and I said hey, doctor, I want a second opinion! He said that I was at risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

12:52
Phil: Have you noticed a change to the way people interact with you about Zips since gambling was legalized?

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not really

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Because…well…people who wanted to bed were mostly betting

12:52
Joe: Did the Orioles ruin Camden for a purpose, or will they continue their 40 year streak of being awful at pitching development and now just have a bigger, worse looking park?

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I doubt it has that much of an effect, or that it will ruin Camden

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I tend to think teams are best served by having parks that are as neutral as possible

12:53
Sam Huffs Mom: Why the massive drop-off in my boys projection?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:55
Guest: I’m glad it’s not officially 1/20/21 as your chat is entitled. I don’t want to live through that year again.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: oh dangit!

12:55
Boris: Do you ever stop to think about how cool it is that modern sports have driven an entire generation of students to pursue data science?

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it is pretty cool!

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have a great time talking to students who got interested because of analytics.

12:56
L Scott: True or false:  Of all of the teams built to “win now”, the LAA are the team most in need of at least 1 top end SP.  If true, do you see them swinging a deal with OAK?  Looking at Thor and Ohtani at the top of the projections is not very comforting considering the limited IP ceiling for both.

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d say True

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but I don’t see a deal with oakland

12:58
Hugh Jazz: What’s the projection for Mark Melancon? He signed with Arizona before you released those projections but for some reason he wasn’t included.

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:58
Cynthia: Were you surprised by Ronald Acuna’s projection? It seems like many group him with the other young stars like Soto and Tatis, yet his project is a good amount behind them.

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS is aware of the injury.

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And with another 100 PA, that’s like a six WAR projection still

12:59
Sox Fan: Could you run projections for Seiya Suzuki at a few of the different teams that he has been rumored to potentially end up with to give us an idea of what we might see?

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s one of the things I’ll probably do when/if the offseason resumes

12:59
Greg: > Asking a projection system what the Brewers (or any team) intends to do strikes me as a rather pointless use of a projection system.     – How is that pointless? It’s not asking it to project what a team intends to do but more so what volume to expect out of players that the team has put together.

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That necessarily involves projecting what a team intends to do.

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I want a projection system to sort through large amounts of data.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t want a projection system to make a guess about what the Braves see as the timeframe for Shea Langeliers.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: *I* can do that way better.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (and as such, the team projections from ZiPS reflects my beliefs about team plans)

1:00
Key Flaw: Have you had Tajin seasoning? Amazon accidentally sent me some (and shoelaces) when I ordered a book, and it is great on macaroni and cheese.

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have, but the lime means I don’t use it as widely as some other things

1:01
Phil: Shouldn’t a likelier concern about the lockout affecting HOF chances is more that a short spring training/quick ramp-up will lead to injuries, particularly for pitchers, rather than milestones?

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yeah, but I think the question is because this is more in a projection system’s purview

1:01
TomBruno23: I am a vegan by choice (yes, one of those) and the best gift I receive every year on my birthday from my wife is a sack of impossible sliders from Whiteys.

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Wait, who is a vegan by threat?

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Is that a thing? Are carloads of thugs paid off by Big Soy or Big Alt-Milk breaking into houses with crowbars, Uzis, and cheese made of cashews?

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: On that note, it’s time for me to head out for another week.

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone!





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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montrealmember
8 months ago

Camden Yards moving the left field fence back 26 feet and making it almost twice as high. How can that not have a BIG effect of right handed batters like Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle ??