Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 2/17/22

12:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Welcome to a no doubt very upbeat chat!

12:01
Sirras: If MLB made an offer consisting of:

  • Ownership can only fire one player per month, where “fire” means lighting a player on fire.
  • The CBT threshold is lowered to $10 and players on teams over the threshold are subject to daily whippings until the team gets below the threshold
12:01
Sirras: Then:

  • How likely do you think MLBPA would be to accept?
  • Why won’t the players negotiate in good faith?
12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: lol

12:02
bk: Dan please, I am starving. A ZiPS top 100 Jays teaser, I need it.

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hey, we gotta keep you guys coming back for SOMETHING. It’s just next week!

12:02
Mike in Cleveland: Do you have ZIPS projections for everyone involved in the labor negotiations?

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:04
Joe: Granted if they want they COULD sign both, if they can only sign 1 what makes more sense for NYY to go long term with Correa or Judge given what they stand to earn?

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably Correa – he’s younger. Though it depends on just how much Judge wants

12:04
Jeff: Who’s the best hitter in baseball at this very moment

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Soto

12:05
goodfor: What does ZiPs say is Wander Franco’s 90th percentile projection?

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 317/381/616, 6.6 WAR

12:05
Appa Yip Yip: Hey Dan, have you thought about using ZiPS to find the ideal post-lockout free agent candidate for each team? I’d imagine Carlos Correa would show up a lot but it would be interesting to see.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m doing my favorite homes for each of the top FA tomorrow and Monday.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That approach probably should be done earlier in the offseason

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: or as you guess, I’ll end up mostly with Correa and some Freemans.

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And I’m not doing strictly the BEST ZiPS home, because then the article will be mostly just be Red Sox and Phillies

12:07
Manny Trillo: There seems to be a lot of unrest with the players with salary growth (and therefore CBT) not rising with revenue. While a fair point, wouldn’t somehow tying at least CBT or somehow broader spending to revenue would help solve this

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: MLB won’t do it

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Even the *MLBPA’s* proposal has CBT growing slower than revenue historically

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Let’s put it this way: MLB’s revenue nearly tripled from 2003 to 2019

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: CBT threshold has less than doubled.

12:12
Teddy: do you like footlongs?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: This seems sexual, but if it’s food, then yes

12:12
Joe: Who’s an under the radar Orioles prospect that you see as a potential regular?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Does Henderson count?

12:12
Breezy: ZiPS believes in Fried with a 1.12 WHIP projection while Steamer and THE BAT do not with a 1.29 and 1.30 respectively. Maybe there’s not a question here, so ..  what up with that?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s always hard to say as I can not tell you *exactly* what they do differently

12:12
14343: What version of JV do you expect to get this year?

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Very good, but distinctly below his best

12:13
Jfast: Who is the best fictional ballplayer of all time

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Bug Bunny

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: BUGS Bunny

12:13
TooDamnTall: How much do you spend annually for data for zips?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Very little. Dan has his ways.

12:14
Tacoby Bellsbury: Does ZIPS include actuarial tabling in terms of death rates? Should it?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No explicitly

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but implicitly

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS knows when players of a similar age have disappeared, it just doesn’t know why

12:15
Moog Powell: Which is more likely:

A blernsball league independently forms and it’s success comes that the expense of baseball, causing baseball to die

or

Baseball slowly morphs into blernsball?

12:15
Appa Yip Yip: Would a package of flaked spicy beef jerky soaked in beef stock or water until soft then heated up technically meet your definition of chili? Beef minced fine, chilis, spices. I’m seeing all the ingredients

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I guess technically? Just kind of an odd chili?

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not every chili is necessarily a GOOD chili

12:16
Guest: T/F: If Juan Soto had Cody Bellinger’s 2021 season, he would still be worth > $350 million.

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh, that’s fun. Hang on

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: False. ZiPS says $313 million

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: though that’s slightly WORSE than Bellinger’s year because Soto isn’t a CF

12:18
Gilberto: I’m on the players side pretty much absolutely. But, part of me can’t help but feel they did this to themselves. For so many CBAs they sacrificed the earnings of minor leaguers and younger players for the established players. Now that teams have figured out established players aren’t worth it they suddenly care, but where was this 10 years ago?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It was always hard to be a complete dick to Weiner, a guy people liked who was quietly fighting a terminal disease at a young age with great courage, but those years were really bad for the MLBPA and they kinda had a “go along” attitude

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And a lot of where they are are those seeds

12:19
Tacoby Bellsbury: What does ZIPS say is Wander Franco’s age-90 projection?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 0

12:19
TooDamnTall: It’s 1am in my timezone and I should get to bed, but I just need some DanTime

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: This sounds sexual too. Let’s keep it PG!

12:19
Ben: Are the ZiPS projections for free agents based on a neutral park or the home park of their last team?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: last team

12:20
Jfast: What are some of the intangibles you hope you’ll be able to more accurately quantify (or bake into ZiPS) in 10-20 years?

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I want better injuries for one

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m working on a save model – trying to model team’s intent with stuff like contract length and time with team

12:20
ZeroGravitas: it seems weird that the base salaries don’t have built-in inflation adjustments. Isn’t that pretty much standard issue for union deals in any industries?

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I can’t say cross industry

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: MLB’s proposal is basically a near-hard salary cap, with no floor, and a cap that increases by 0.94% a year. That’s clownshoes

12:21
Slapshot: What are your thoughts on that beer/chili “cocktail” that Cincinnati airport came up with last week?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Reference my Brian Jordan discussion on Twitter yestdraay

12:21
Sirras: Is there a projection ZIPS has for this coming season that particularly amuses you, whether for good or bad reasons?

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m amused that the best Mariners projection is a guy who has topped out at AA so far! And that I don’t disagree!

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Also ZiPS giving no Pirates pitcher a 1.5 WAR projection

12:24
Sirras: Barry Bonds, let’s say 2015 – still projected to be above replacement?

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: A tthis point? probably no

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS doesn’t really have much to say about a guy a decade after they retire

12:25
Yuniesky Betancourt: Would you rather fight 25 squirrel-sized Yuniesky Betancourts or 1 Yuniesky Betancourt-sized squirrel?

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The latter. The Royals would offer him nuts and get me out of trouble

12:25
Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: On Monday, Kevin shared that he was enjoying a leftover bowl of Cincinnati chili for lunch.  Many people believe that traditional chili (even what you would define as chili) is often better on the second day.  Do you think this applies to Cincinnati style?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It does because it gives me 24 hours to plan either another meal or to escape to another locality

12:26
Moog Powell: What’s something you desperately want to be wrong about, but pretty certain you are correct about?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The whole afterlife thing

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d really like to see my dad and grandparents and four of my cats again. But I don’t believe I will.

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Kinda bleak for noon on a Thursday, but you asked!

12:27
asnbrv: historically, does really 10% of all players exceed their 90th percentile projections?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yes

12:27
BT: Baseball book recommendations?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m so behind right now honestly

12:27
Tom: Am I right in thinking Trevor story has kinda gone from one of the top free agents to someone who’s not considered to be in the top tier anymore? If so why?

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Just that he had a relatively meh 2021 and there’s someone a LOT more exciting at his position

12:28
Sirras: Which is more interesting to you – different good/bad teams every year or dynastic teams? Let’s say this is over a 5-7 year period

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I like a good mix

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and I need at least one or two stunningly incompetent teams for me to make memes about

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:31
Guest: If I put a single kidney bean in a 50-gallon vat of chili, is it no longer chili?

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It could be an ccident

12:31
Sirras: Who ended up winning the presidential brawl?

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: lol, we didn’t do the final four because at the time, we switched chat providers and this one didn’t have polling yet

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and by the time it had polling, the momentum was gone

12:31
MilwaukeeBeerjays: Sir Dan of zipsland! Have you poked your nose into the world of video game speed running? If you haven’t you should. Blind punch-out! Beating FF1 in 2 hours!

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not personally

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I like watching people compete

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I don’t desire to speed run myself. I want to sit back and enjoy games.

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t want to beat Final Fantasy VI in 31 minutes

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I want to wait for Shadow. I want to fight the demon in the painting at Owzer’s house. I want to finish Locke’s quest for Phoenix.

12:33
Jfast: Which baseball player has wow-ed you the most in person (for whatever reason)?

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Soto because he’s a guy who can barely drunk and has better plate discipline than Joey Votto

12:33
Dalton Wilcox: What’s the pandemic’s impact on ZiPs formula/s? Esp for minor leaguers?

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not really a formula

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but it does make the projections less accurate

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: since we have less data

12:34
Sean: The fact that Julio has the highest M’s projection doesn’t bode well for their playoff drought, right?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS isn’t really down on the M’s, especially if they make more additions

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: it just REALLY loves Rod

12:34
Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: If you order a chili dog, but the chili contains beans, is it no longer a chili dog?  Is it just a sloppy stew dog?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s a hot dog with meat-and-bean stew used as a condiment

12:35
Guest: do you feel like you personally have good player evaluation skills with out Zips? Could you be an ok scout type? Or are you just a smart guy who made a great tool?

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think I’d be a good but not amazing scout

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Better if I had spent the time making and working ZiPS on scouting

12:35
Toucan: Hi Dan!  Does ZiPS know about a player’s teammates and/or lineups so it can project R/RBI, or is that just based on the player’s individual offensive projection?  Basically the same question for pitchers – does it it know about bullpen strength or defensive quality for things like ERA?

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS knows *generally*

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: since it’s at the offseason, it has a simpler model

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: since we don’t know exact players

12:36
It’s the Yips!: Michaela Schiffrin has the clearest case of the Yips (Steve Sax disease) I have seen since Chuck Knoblauch & Rick Ankiel. Yet every commentator treats her falls this Olympics like an unsolveable mystery. IT’S THE YIPS!  Sad for her…the yips is brutal and nothing you can consciously do will make it better.

12:36
171: Can’t help but believe that MLB wants to contract MiLB to ultimately reduce the quality of talent at the MLB level so that top college players can go almost straight to MLB after the draft and teams can essentially run 1 MiLB facility.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would not be surprised if this is the long term goal

12:36
Ben: Leaving aside his hits record, do you think anyone ever matches Pete Rose’s 12 consecutive 700 plate appearance seasons? Semien and Merrifield were the only 2 players in all of MLB to reach 700 PAs in 2021, although they each did it in 2018 and 2019 as well.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably not

12:37
Jfast: Who is currently on the best value contract, according to ZiPS? Bregman? Franco?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Might be Albies

12:37
Breezy: When you go to run a specific projection, do you do the Tom Hanks move in You’ve Got Mail where you rub your hands excitedly and slowly press your finger to the keyboard?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: unfortunately, it’s a two key combo.

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: what I should do is buy one of those kailh MONSTER switches and tie it to running ZiPS

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:39
Guest: dan! its midday! afterlife musing are allowed by we cant say “DanTime”?

12:39
Brian: What team breaks consistently breaks ZIPS the most?  What current player?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Nobody consistently does that. Unfortunately. After all, it would likely provide an opportunity to get real improvement from calibration

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Now, the team that HAS missed by the most is the Astros (ZiPS has underrated) and Cubs (ZiPS has overrated)

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but misses are, sadly, not correlated

12:41
Appa Yip Yip: I want to obsessively esper train my team until the game is laughably easy and I x-magic Ultima everything into oblivion

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t always do the whole Gogo copying Ultima thing

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but I DO at least do a lot of esper training in that desert area that has the zombie dragon thing

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and get all the cahracters

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: oh god, I gotta finish V pixel remaster because VI comes out next week!

12:43
Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: One last chili question since I’m kind of on fire today: Do you eat your chili with tortilla chips/Fritos?  If so, would you be defiling the chili if you were to use bean tortilla chips?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No. No as long as it’s not PA$RT of the chili

12:43
San Dzymborski: In your opinion, would Griffey have broken the home run record if he took steroids? More power + decreased injury risk has to carry him to at least 700, right?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t really have a way to quantify that

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The effect of steroid suspensions as a dummy variable in projections is about worthless

12:44
JakeDuBois: Well, I imagine ZiPS doesn’t take trash cans and buzzers as part of its formula, so that can be forgiven

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: this graphic I made for a tshirt is some of my finest work

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:44
Guest: It had to be done.

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: WTH font are you using?

12:45
brad penny for your thoughts: are StL zips the most boring?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Usually yes

12:45
Breezy: Bucket list of things you want to see happen at a game firsthand?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I want to see a perfect game in person

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and baseball related, on my bucket list is for me to exclaim “sweet sassy molassey!” but it not be planned, just completely organic because something happened that meant that it was the only thing one *could* say

12:46
Richard: If 100% of the CBT penalties were given to the players to do as they see fit, could that move the needle substantially towards a deal without actually changing the thresholds?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Becuase the CBT penalties still dissuade owners

12:46
Waylon’s Slacks: Who’s better over the next 5 years: Jazz Chisholm or Jonathan India?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: India

12:46
San Dzymborski: What was ZiPS’ best breakout prediction?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Bieber

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Going INTO 2019, ZiPS projected Bieber as the #14 SP, just behind Kershaw

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Also Scherzer 2013

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: which wasn’t as much of a breakout

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but it was to me, it made me put $200 on Scherzer to win the Cy

12:50
Kevin: Why did Skaggs, Harvey, etc.. not return positive tests? Does MLB test for drugs of abuse?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Opiates weren’t classified as drugs of abuse in the agreement until after 2019

12:50
MilwaukeeBeerjays: Yeah if you’re playing the game I agree taking time to enjoy an RPG is the way to go. But seeing the skills these dudes have is pretty impressive. You should teach Zips how to speedrun

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh, it IS pretty impressive. I enjoy watching it. It’s just a skill I personally prefer watching rather than actually doing

12:51
Hardball via Hardcore: What is Minnesota trying to do? What should Minnesota do?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Emoji shrug. Go back in time and sign Gausman/Ray

12:51
171: JFYI Towson is an absolutely miserable pedestrian and commercial experience now.

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Towson was never a great pedestrian area

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: remember, there’s basically no public transportation in Towson

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: yeah, bus, but nobody really uses that in Towson

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I do miss Towson Commons.

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: when it had Borders and stuff there. We hung out there a lot

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So many good memories

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like the time we filled out the windshield washer reservoir of our friend Dan’s Honda Prelude with urine.

12:54
Jfast: What skill/trait do you most admire in good hitters?

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m still a sucker for mind blowing power

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: if you can have good power FOR A MAJOR LEAGUER, that’s an insane amount of power

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Because you could put Juan Pierre in your beer league softball team and he’d be like prime Barry Bonds

12:54
Breezy: What is the best way to play that Semantle game? It’s so hard to think of words when every guess is cold.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You want to start off not hating Semantle because by the time you’re done the daily, you will.

12:55
Guest: Is DH best for teams looking for more run production  from one player or  teams using it to rotate/rest players?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You can do both

12:55
Mob Ranfred: Odds of a full season starting on time at this point?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 20%

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: MLB’s move towards the players they touted was pitiful

12:55
*: Anyone who’s played Backyard Baseball knows the correct answer to the “best fictional ballplayer” question is Pablo Sanchez.

12:55
Appa Yip Yip: Shouldn’t that read “shuffle into your own deck”?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The card has to be playable!

12:56
Prospect lists: Which happens first, MLB season begins or Fangraphs finally publishes the top 100 prospects?

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The latter, duh!

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Prospect Week is next week!

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Top 100 was 2/17 last year. 2/12 in 2020, 2/13 in 2019. It’s not at a crazy later date

12:57
UKR: Who wins this homerun derby?

Aaron Judge at AT&T park or Dee Gordon in Mexico City

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Still the judge

12:57
171: When the O’s, Tigers and Rangers are good again, what teams take their place as the very bad meme teams?

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Could be A’s in short term (Matts gone relatively soon I think), Phillies, Reds

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Phillies I think are past their peak window already

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and Reds are talking cost cutting at every opportunity

12:58
Guest: not a question just a comment on your perfect game comment. I was fortunate enough to be at David Cone’s perfect game. The most remarkable memory of that game was an early inning rain delay (sun shower). I spoke with a guy a few rows in front of me. He had his four (?) year child with him. This was the boys second game ever, in his hand was a beany baby which he had from his only other game; Doc Gooden’s no no. I would have tried to market the kid to the yanks!!

12:58
Matt: Would the Angels be better served spending the rest of their money on starting pitching (and rolling with Rengifo at SS) or adding a SS with that money instead?

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think you gotta add wins wherever you can get there. The Angels would be better with the Carlos Correa of pitching than the Carlos Correa of shortstop, but they don’t have the option to sign the Carlos Correa of pitching.

12:59
Appa Yip Yip: It’s very funny to me that Twins fans regularly ask if they could trade Austin Martin for starting pitching help.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, his name does sound like Aston Martin, which would naturally make one worry about his long term health

1:00
171: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would you eat it?

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Don’t be silly. Of course I would.

1:00
Guest: I love how you didn’t comment on the meme itself but the font instead (just a quick screenshot and the Oogway meme and mashing them together, that’s all it was).  Serious question, though, are there any ZiPS projections that not only struck you as surprising but still make you think “am I 100% positive that this is the right projection?”

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Steven Kwan

1:01
Lem Kane: My first son will be born this year. What will baseball look like when he’s draft eligible in 2029?

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The owners will have a much larger pieces of the pie and idiots on twitter will still be blaming players

1:02
Teddy: Is Kyle Tucker an mvp contender this year

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS has him 8th in WAR among AL hitters. So I think that means yes

1:02
Jfast: A genie has given you the ability to choose 3 pitches to add to your arsenal. Which pitches would you choose, and from whom?

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Gimme Nolan Ryan’s fastball, Tom Candiotti’s knuckler, Clayton Kershaw’s curve.

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hell just give me the first two. I’ll use the third wish for something else.

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: On that note, it’s time for me to head out for another week.

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone!

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hopefully we’ll haev better baseball news next time we meet.





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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Pat Listachiomember
7 months ago

I saw Philip Humber’s perfect game in person. Took some great video from the 2nd row of the final out. It was strange because Brendan Ryan checked his swing at a pitch in the dirt and was super mad that the home plate ump punched him out, and then was like half running half yelling back at the ump while the catcher threw down to first, and everyone else was starting to celebrate.

Maybe I’ll upload it and maybe since my youtube account has only 3 subscribers, MLB won’t flag it.