Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 2/25/21 by Dan Szymborski February 25, 2021 12:03 Dan Szymborski: It is a chat. 12:05 Jon: With whom do Odorizzi and Bradley Jr. sign, and what do their contracts look like (in terms of years and dollars, not in terms of what a contract actually looks like)? 12:05 Dan Szymborski: No idea where, but I imagine we’re now at the verge of looking at 1 year deals, probably under $10 million 12:05 Sadman: have you used any deep learning techniques in zips and why are you so great? 12:06 Dan Szymborski: I use unsupervised learning in awards model and my still experimental Hall model, but I mostly use more traditional techniques with ZiPS itself. 12:06 PB Defenders: Haven’t seen even a rumor about Maikel Franco signing with someone. ‘sup with that?! 12:06 Dan Szymborski: You have to be a huge believer in his 2020, especially D, for him to have a really interesting market 12:07 LB: I know it’s context-dependent, but is there an amount of weight lost by a player that leads you to have concerns about their power remaining the same (i.e. Vladito)? Converse question could also apply for slap hitters adding a ton of mass. 12:07 Dan Szymborski: I don’t think I can even merit a rule of thumb for that. 12:08 Dan Szymborski: I’ve never actually studied reported weight loss deltas like this, because getting up-to-date year-to-year weights is impossible 12:08 Dan Szymborski: Fun fact: John Kruk’s listed weight on BR is 170. 12:08 degrominator: Do you expect ZIPS to have a higher average projection error than typical due to the smaller sample of games in 2020. Presumably having to rely more on data from 2 years ago increases error bars right? 12:08 Dan Szymborski: I do. 12:08 Dan Szymborski: We have less data and less *recent* data 12:09 Dan Szymborski: Plus all the unknown about playing in the midst of a raging pandemic 12:09 Jim: Curious if ZIPS weighs NCAA performance as much as pro, fractionally or not at all? 12:09 Dan Szymborski: It does weigh it, but the adjustment factors are brutal! 12:09 Appa Yip Yip: I was about to make a joke about Teoscar’s ZiPS WAR projection then saw his batting line is quite strong and it’s the defense that sinks him and was like, yeah. fair. Would his defensive adjustment be less punitive as a DH than a (very) poor RF? 12:09 Dan Szymborski: Yes 12:12 Dan Szymborski: Goes up 0.3 WAR 12:12 Scott: What are the chances Trout ever win a WS ring with the Angels? Feels like his talent has been wasted there. 12:12 Dan Szymborski: Well, if the Angels maintained their current strength for the next ten years, their probability of winning at least one world series is 12.5% 12:12 Bring Back Mookie: Mike Lupica at the Athletic wrote today that Pete Alonso had a better rookie year than Dwight Gooden. That is all. 12:12 Dan Szymborski: That’s an odd one 12:13 Dan Szymborski: I assume Lupica’s just being analytically odd here rather than analyzing their personal demons during their rookie years? 12:13 Ben: What does ZiPS think of Scott Kazmir’s comeback attempt? 12:13 Dan Szymborski: Put it this way: when I gave Jay the VERY speculative ZiPS proj for Kazmir, his reaction was, IIRC, “Oof” 12:13 GG: ZIPS currently projects Juan Soto 1 point behind Trout in wOBA for 2021. Do you think this year will be Trout’s last time projected to have the best bat in the game? 12:14 Dan Szymborski: Could be! I did an article about this last year and the basic contours haven’t changed that much 12:14 Dan Szymborski: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/mike-trouts-inevitable-decline/ 12:14 Dan Szymborski: though that was overall WAR 12:15 Dan Szymborski: for batting only, I believe Soto has a higher projected OPS+ than Trout for 2022 12:15 SteveO: Do you realize that we are only five weeks from your being able to answer “April”?!?!? First time in two years, woohoo! 12:15 Dan Szymborski: DON’T JINX IT 12:15 Chris: Where do you stand on mlb teams and service time? 12:15 Dan Szymborski: They do need a fairer system or least, an explicit requirement in the CBA beyond players having to rely on a bad faith case 12:16 Dan Szymborski: My personal favorite would be a system in which when a player hits six-year, MLB free agency, his team has to “repay” him from the service time fragment, pro-rated to his salary. 12:17 Dan Szymborski: So the Cubs would have to either release Bryant before the season or commit to paying him 171/180th of his salary on top of his salary 12:17 TooDamnTall: Hey Dan, a pleasure as somewhat frequently. I’ve noticed that when ZIPS comes out, the weather often turns cold. I know correlation is not causation, but where there’s smoke there’s fire. 12:18 Dan Szymborski: 12:18 Inaccessible Rail: I’ve been looking at the depth chart rankings almost every day. After the Lindor trade, the Mets were third, but gradually slipped down to 7th as other teams made signings. But now I see they are back up to 4th. How did this happen? Can’t just be the Taijuan Walker signing, can it? 12:18 Dan Szymborski: .Hard to sasy as I hvaen’t been tracking it every day 12:20 Zimboarsky: Who are your top breakout candidates for 2021? Non-rookie category 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Doing an article on these next week! 12:20 DFan: Have you heard any news concerning Forrest Whitley’s performance in camp so far? Be nice to see him get back on track. 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Haven’t heard anything specific yet 12:20 Guest: Do you think the Mariners end up starting Kelenic in the majors this year? Their only choice is basically call him up to start the season, or like, in July/August or something to prevent a service time manipulation grievance open and shut case, right? 12:20 Dan Szymborski: I think they call him up midseason. 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Weirdly, Mather’s quotes probably make the team wait longer 12:21 Dan Szymborski: Because if the team did a Kris Bryant Special on him now, the anger would be immense. 12:21 Old Prospector: Hi Dan, good work on the ZiPS top 100 as always. Josh Green is rated very highly on the Dbacks ZiPS (1.7 WAR;2nd best pitcher) but didn’t crack your top 100. What caused him not to make it? 12:21 Dan Szymborski: Hmm, I’m really not sure. 12:21 Dan Szymborski: He probaby should have 12:22 Dan Szymborski: Hang on 12:24 Dan Szymborski: Bah, I did the RoY eligibility manually for players who did not make Eric’s lists 12:25 Dan Szymborski: and I did not mark him as rookie eligible for some reason 12:28 Dan Szymborski: And I did mark Hays as one 12:28 Marshall: Which franchise do you think will be the best (i.e., win the most games) over the next 5 years? 12:28 Dan Szymborski: Dodgers are still a safe bet, if a boring one 12:28 Chamaco: Is this the sandwich chat or the beans in chili one? 12:28 Dan Szymborski: This chat cna be whatever the questions make it into! 12:29 what cheer: Is it wrong for a team to offer a long-term extension, and an immediate slot in the MLB lineup, to a prospect who is at least one year away from being MLB-ready? Think of Jarred Kelenic, Evan White and Logan Gilbert in Seattle’s 2019-20 offseason. 12:31 Dan Szymborski: I don’t think it’s wrong. I think it’s frequently less-than-ideal for the player — and will say so — but in the end as with Albies, it’s their choice and their personal risk aversion. However, where I *do* cry foul is if teams are improperly leveraging in bad faith, for example, not promoting or benching someone as a punitive measure to cajole a contract or punish not having one. 12:31 Don Von Handburger: It’s often a futile task to predict SP’s innings. But given that Zac Gallen threw 170 pro innings in 2019, would he would be a good bet to be one of the few guys to throw 190+ this year if healthy? 12:31 Dan Szymborski: Generally, the guys who throw a lot of innings are the safer bets, but safe is relative here. 12:31 Don Von Handburger: When you eat chocolate bunnies around Easter, do you just gobble the whole thing down, foil and all? 12:31 Dan Szymborski: I don’t eat much chocolate. 12:31 Aceman: What % of hitters could change their approach mid season if there is a noticeable change with the ball….will they even try or will they mostly stick with lift and pull no matter how the ball plays? 12:32 Dan Szymborski: It’s hard to say. I dont’ think the ball would lead to any mid-season changes just for the ball 12:32 Nick: What do you think the terms of a fair Bieber extension would look like? 12:32 Dan Szymborski: Ima doing something on this next week too! 12:32 Guest: Is all weight gain good weight gain and all weight loss good weight loss? 12:33 Dan Szymborski: I can assure you that all weight gain is not good weight gain. 12:33 KB: Why is ZiPS still scared of Tyler Matzek? Are the horrors of the yips still too fresh on its mind? 12:33 Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure SCARED is accurate, but it’s still cautious given his history before 12:34 Dan Szymborski: He was gone for a very long time! 12:34 Question: An evidence that COVID has meaningfully hurt revenue/profitability of MLB teams? It seems like there are just as many extensions, big contracts, low contracts and disappointed mid-tier FA as any off season. 12:35 Dan Szymborski: I expect it has. My complaint isn’t that teams aren’t struggling, but that they loudly insist they want the players to share in the pain when, prior to this year, they had no interesting in them sharing the gain 12:35 TooDamnTall: What would you say was one of the more crazy ZIPs projections you ran that you thought was crazy, and then turned out to be pretty close? 12:35 Dan Szymborski: It’s really Bieber. 12:35 D: Dan, why do we now have to sign in to give a thumbs up or down to a comment on an article? It’s kind of a hassle. 12:35 Dan Szymborski: I didn’t know it was one way or the other! 12:35 D: Have you heard anything about Yasiel Puig? Do you think he will play this season? 12:36 Dan Szymborski: I’ve heard jack-squat about Puig. For all I know, he could have become a Tibetan monk 12:40 JC: Bryant doesn’t make that much contact and doesn’t hit the ball that hard. Where does his success come from? 12:40 Dan Szymborski: When he *does* hit hard, he hits hard though. 12:40 Dan Szymborski: He’s awlays been a good fastball hitter 12:41 Dan Szymborski: I can’t do it quickly. 12:42 Dan Szymborski: But I bet he has a fairly high EV variance 12:42 Dan Szymborski: It’s better to hit 5 pitches 110 MPH and 5 pitches 60 MPH than hit 10 pitches 85. 12:42 Kyler: Have you ever messed with Spring Training stats at all? I know they are mostly meaningless, especially for established players, but I’m just curious if in a year like this with much less previous season data if some spring training stats might help provide a little more clarity on some players, especially prospects who didn’t have a minor league season. 12:42 Dan Szymborski: I have verified Rosenheck’s work that demonstrates a tiny, but real advantage to including them for the upcoming season 12:43 Dan Szymborski: But weirdly, long-term projections get slightly *worse* if you include last year’s stats 12:43 Rodney: If Ohtani can perform at the level he did in 2018 and sustains it over 20 starts and 100+ games as a DH, is he the AL MVP? 12:43 Dan Szymborski: He could be, but that’s a pretty big ask! 12:43 Regression: Any ideas who had the biggest changes from 2020 ZIPs to 2021 ZIPs? I see Keston Hiura was projected to be a 115 OPS+ before being awful last year and is now 102. 12:43 Dan Szymborski: That’s also one of my yearly conceits! 12:44 Chet Manley: I know this isn’t a fantasy chat… but I’m in the deep stages of a 50 round D&H and looking for some late power. Travis Shaw, Dan Vogelbach or Mitch Moreland? 12:45 Dan Szymborski: Swing along with Mitch 12:45 Dan Szymborski: He was legitimately good in 2020 and has the easiest playing time path by far 12:46 Jake Odorizzi: I’m bored, Dan. 12:46 Dan Szymborski: STONKS 12:46 Yasiel Puig: Will I get a major league deal or just an invitation to ST at this point? I’ve heard nothing about who might be interested. 12:46 Dan Szymborski: I think Puig could still get an MLB deal 12:46 Dan Szymborski: Not a big one 12:46 Jonathan: Your service time solution is genius 12:46 Dan Szymborski: A genius one would be one that owners would agree to. They would not agree to mine. 12:47 Dan Szymborski: Though I’d like to see the MLBPA at least get some small percentage of the salary for a service time “refund” just to get it established 12:48 Moose_Bolton: Hello Dan. What is is the best musical group/artist you have discovered within the last year? 12:48 Dan Szymborski: I don’t think I listened to a lot of new music this year 12:49 Dan Szymborski: Looking at my media monkey times played, the band I did not own any music of before 2020 that saw the most play was Great Lakes Myth Society 12:51 Doug: What would the be the equivalent to an NFL QB be in WAR? The starting 5? The entire pitching staff? 12:51 Dan Szymborski: Entire pitching staff might not be a bad comparable 12:52 Steve’O: Keep hearing the Rocks talk about McMahon’s new swing. Are you buying it? Possible 30 hr breakout? 12:52 Dan Szymborski: If the Rockies like it, I probably don’t 12:52 Appa Yip Yip: What teams are you most looking forward to watching from a pure entertainment baseball is fun perspective? 12:52 Dan Szymborski: Padres 12:52 brad penny for your thoughts: was that a confederate butterfly statue you were tearing apart? 12:53 Dan Szymborski: She wanted me to pretend the butterfly thing was a fighter jet. 12:53 Dan Szymborski: When a very nice youngish woman you’re close to wants a photo of you pretending to strafe a village in a butterfly, you do it. 12:53 CeddyBReady: If I put tomato sauce, mozzarella, and other pizza toppings on a tortilla and then grill it like a quesadilla, IS it still a quesadilla? Trying to figure out how powerful a tortilla can be. 12:53 Dan Szymborski: I haven’t studient quesadilalytics 12:54 Dan Szymborski: studient? 12:54 Dan Szymborski: studied 12:54 Guest: Who makes the playoffs sooner: Tigers or Mariners? 12:54 Dan Szymborski: I think M’s 12:54 Dan: Do projections account for less innings/abs do to seven inning games and less extra innings or is it too small to matter at the level of full season projections? 12:54 Dan Szymborski: They do not. And there probably aren’t enough innings to matter 12:54 Guest: Dan, I made “chili” with beef, peppers, chicken broth, and onions. Was it chili? 12:54 Dan Szymborski: IT HINK YOU MADE STUFFED PEPEPRS 12:55 Guest: Who would you rather have for the next 3 seasons – Plesac/Adell or Framber Valdez/Triston McKenzie? 12:55 Dan Szymborski: I thin kthe former 12:55 Appa Yip Yip: Knight Rider but instead of Kit it’s ZiPS. Does David Hasselhoff survive the entire series run? 12:55 Dan Szymborski: I think he dies because ZiPS has nothing to help him out in his missions 12:55 Dan Szymborski: and that’s KITT 12:57 Dan Szymborski: :”KITT, we need to save the president of San Marada!” “I…uh…can give you Ron Kittle’s projection” 12:57 Jeff: Who is a player you believe in despite the current data, which is all 12:57 Dan Szymborski: To speak of the devil! Adell! 12:57 Dan Szymborski: Possibly Moncada as he likely came back too quick from COVID 12:57 Appa Yip Yip: Are you saying you didn’t get super into sea shanties? 12:57 Dan Szymborski: Was I supposed to? 12:57 Kyler: Hey Dan, cat question. Is it normal for a 5-ish month old kitten to go through a biting phase? My kitten has been (playfully) biting me and also wanting to chew on stuff. Is she teething? 12:57 Dan Szymborski: Yeah, kittens can be bitey 12:57 Dan Szymborski: The best thing to do when they bite is completely disengage 12:58 Dan Szymborski: Don’t yell or do any attention-grabbing behavior 12:58 Cat Latos: How do my cat friends do? 12:58 Dan Szymborski: Justinian is sitting on a pillow on my left side desk. 12:59 Dan Szymborski: Mercutio’s been hiding since he heard the garbage truck 12:59 Dan Szymborski: Cassiopeia was upstairs sleeping last time I checked 12:59 Dan Szymborski: and Constantine was mad that I won’t give him dinner at noon and was fuming at the top of the high bookshelf where he goes to sulk 1:00 bob: Is Joey Votto done being an impact player, or could you see him putting up a 4+ WAR season this year? 1:00 Dan Szymborski: I think he’s done as an impact guy 1:00 Dan Szymborski: I think 2020 *was* the bounce 1:00 Dan Szymborski: He’s going to be 38 befor eh end of the year 1:00 Lucas: Will I get to watch my NC Dinos without a VPN this year? And Why don’t leagues like the Cape stream on Twitch? 1:01 Dan Szymborski: Dunno what the rules are, I use my VPN when required. Teams should definitely try to reach out to new audiences. 1:01 JD Martinez: Is my claim of not being prepared for 2020 reason enough to throw it out, or are my days of 140+ wRC+ likely over? 1:01 Dan Szymborski: I think there’s still a chance, but I’d be bullish. He was *really* awful last year and he’s not young 1:01 Guest: Now that we’ve exhausted tv show theme songs how about video games? Super Mario Bros and at the end can you add “it’s a-me!” 1:01 Lucas: Who voices ZiPS in this show? 1:01 Dan Szymborski: A bored me? 1:02 Marshall: Is there a way to search for the greatest all-time offensive, defensive, and baserunning seasons (e.g., in terms of WAR components)? 1:02 Dan Szymborski: Of course, silly bones! 1:02 Dan Szymborski: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y… 1:03 Chip: How confident are you in ZIPS’ projections for Giolito? Should I be drafting him in fantasy ahead of the second tier of Buehler, Kershaw, Scherzer, etc.? 1:03 Dan Szymborski: Not very, but I’m not very confident in any pitcher because, well, pitchers 1:03 PhilDiggety: Sean Kazmar Jr. played for the Padres in 2008, getting 46 plate apperances. He has played at the AAA level in EVERY SEASON SINCE THEN WITHOUT GETTING A CALLUP TO THE MAJORS. (Obviously he didn’t play in AAA in 2020.) He got an invite to Spring Training this year with the Braves. This dude needs to play in the majors again!!! 1:03 Dan Szymborski: At least he got the health coverage! 1:04 Dan Szymborski: At least he made the majors. I can’t remember name off the top of my head, but there always some random AAAers that I project for a decade but never get a cup of coffee and then I forget that they never did 1:04 numba1: “also I hate numbers & never want to see one again”, love your work Dan 1:04 Dan Szymborski: I think the piece is interesting, but I was damn glad to be done with it. 1:04 Dan Szymborski: It was one of those things where I loved the idea, but I fell in love with the idea before considering just how much work it would be. 1:05 Dan Szymborski: I have a tendency to do this. 1:05 Dan Szymborski: Spending 30 hours on a piece is less than ideal. 1:05 Dan Szymborski: That’s like 15 Dan is Made About Something Stupid pieces. 1:05 Lorenzo: Who is your pre-season MVP, meaning “this team has no chance of the playoffs if ________________ goes down for the season”. Someone besides Trout, and thanks. 1:05 Dan Szymborski: I do a most indispensable every year too! 1:06 Dan Szymborski: You guys can’t take away my yearly pieces in chats! 1:06 Dan Szymborski: Those are easy topics! 1:06 Matt: When will the three year zips be available? 1:06 Dan Szymborski: I’m literally on the verge of giving David an update that contains them 1:07 David: Players should fight for more control over their careers in the next CBA. I’m all for teams taking advantage of the rules as they are currently written, so instead of complaining about manipulation, players should focus on changing the rules. 1:07 Dan Szymborski: I agree. 1:08 Dan Szymborski: I think people framing it as morality go a little off-base sometimes. Teams don’t give players x or 3 times x dollars because it’s nice, but because they’re incentivized to do it. The focus should be on designing a system in which teams are incentivized. I want to see investing in quality talent and winning games be incentivized so that the smart thing, the profitable thing, and the good-for-baseball thing are the same thing 1:08 Dan Szymborski: I don’t expect teams to act against their self-interest. 1:09 Jeff: What’s your favorite alt titles for players? Products? Assets? Commodity? 1:09 Dan Szymborski: I do try to get away with those descriptions 1:09 LMNOP: Will you write an article reviewing your service time idea? I don’t think I completely understand 1:09 Dan Szymborski: Probably, if the situation arises 1:09 Dan Szymborski: I hate writing things that aren’t connected with a direct story or a direct piece of news. 1:10 Dan Szymborski: Writing dry things bore me and I’m not good at toughing out things that bore me. 1:10 Lucas: Been watching Bassmaster tourney, whens ZiPS coming out for them so I can improve my fantasy team? 1:10 LMNOP: You might be the only FG writer that doesn’t view teams’ time manipulation as “immoral”. And I agree with you 1:11 Dan Szymborski: I can only speak for myself. I’m not the type who craps on people who think differently about something philosophically. 1:11 Dan Szymborski: I *want* teams to be incentivized financially to put together good teams. 1:12 Dan Szymborski: But when you have a system in which the Rays see *very* little change in revenue no matter what happens, they’re going to heavily invest money to change what happens. 1:12 Dan Szymborski: So much of baseball’s revenues are not connected with anything to do with team quality. 1:13 Dan Szymborski: I’ve gone on about this in twitter numerous times so I’ll keep it short here 1:13 Dan Szymborski: MLB *taxes* having high revenue and *subsidizes* having low revenue. 1:13 Dan Szymborski: SO what we see is the natural consequence. 1:13 Dan Szymborski: MLB should be *subsidizing* winning. 1:14 Dan Szymborski: A small-market team ought to see more in shared revenue when they win 90 games instead of 70 games. 1:15 Dan Szymborski: In the end, teams like the Rays and Pirates aren’t charities. if you want them to invest *money* in baseball games, there have to be real financial incentives to winning that aren’t there for losing. 1:15 Dee Arby: Always curious to know how you named your cats what you did. Please explain while also providing cat update. 1:15 Dan Szymborski: No particular reasons 1:15 Dan Szymborski: I’m a mythology/literature cat namer guy 1:16 Jeff: Are the Cubs at least Lovable Losers again or is payroll still too damn high? 1:16 Dan Szymborski: Don’t thin kthey’re lovable 1:16 Feline drive: What kind of sandwich do your cats seem most interested in when making it? 1:16 Dan Szymborski: Galileo was the real foodie among cats 1:16 Dan Szymborski: Still miss the old gray cat – he would have been 22 today 1:17 Dan Szymborski: None of my current cats are particularly interested in human food 1:17 Dan Szymborski: Though the catlets like tearing open food *packages* 1:18 Dan Szymborski: Catlets vs. pecans 1:18 Dan Szymborski: 1:18 Dan Szymborski: catlets vs. ramen 1:18 Dan Szymborski: 1:19 Dan Szymborski: catlets v. pineapple 1:19 Dan Szymborski: 1:19 Dan Szymborski: And on that note, it’s time for me to depart for the week! 1:19 TarzanJoe: Made chili last weekend with ancho, morita, arbol and habenero peppers. Habeneros may have been a bridge too far. Also, as an inattentive cook, I used Guinness to braise so it wouldn’t burn 1:19 Dave: Just opened the chat and the first thing i saw was cat ramen 1:19 Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone!