Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 5/25/23

11:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It is chat time!

12:00
Well-Beered Englishman: What’s a weird historical hot take you had that you can fess up to? This morning, I was remembering when I used to think, “How will the Angels make room for Mike Trout when they already have Peter Bourjos?”

12:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I liked the Soriano-Wilkerson trade. The Wilkerson part.

12:00
Blake: Is Mitch Haniger going to get it going?

12:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: To an extent.

12:00
Ray: When does Shane McClanahan get universally recognized as a top five pitcher in baseball?

12:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Maybe I’m in a bubble, but I think people are already at that point.

12:00
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: Hi Dan. In the last Power Rankings, the White Sox were estimated to have around a 6% chance at the playoffs.

Does that feel low to me because the division is hot garbage? Or am I being overly optimistic that they are only 5.5 games back?

12:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The number of teams is as important as the games

12:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And there are three teams in the sameish position as the Sox

12:01
Grayson Rodriguez: How much hope is there for him still? He looks overmatched at the big league level, and seems like he’s lost his command since the injury.

12:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Plenty of hope. When he’s cruising, he’s been downright solid

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But there always seems to be an inning with thim in which everything blows up

12:02
Tim: How does ZiPS handle projections for switch hitters who stop batting from both sides (hopefully Ozzie)?

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It doesn’t, really, until after the event.

12:03
Scot: Any idea whats been up with Kevin Alcántara’s BB rate this year? It went from 12% in 21, 11% in 22 to 3.8% this year. I get higher level of comp, but his K% has basically stayed the same. Thats odd, no? Thanks.

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s certainly a concern, though I wouldn’t go into full panic about that

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: it’s too bad that he’s not in AAA since better statcast things available

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Would really need to dig into his swing rate which I can’t really get here right now

12:05
Guest: Should the Giants make Casey Schmitt the starting shortstop for the rest of the year? Crawford’s defense looks like its fallen off a cliff

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he should be starting most days

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wrote about Schmitt last week

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Unfortunate, the site is having hiccups at the moment

12:06
Bryce Miller: How long do you think he can keep getting away with throwing fastballs 70% of the time? He’s shown he is capable of utilizing his offspeed pitches more, such as during his third start vs Detroit, but overall he’s relied heavily on his fastball.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I do think he has to stretch out eventually.

12:06
Kyle: Are you a believer in Miller (SP)?

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yup

12:06
Guest: Have you done a study of which teams are best at player development? Maybe take the projected 5 year WAR for the teams’ prospects and compare to the actual WAR for that time period?

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I haven’t

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The site’s being worked on as we speak

12:08
BABIP: Were you surprised to see the BABIP on <75mph fly balls be over 0.600? It certainly matches the eyeball test with the frustrating little bloopers ending up in no-man’s land

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wasn’t, but I also knew the data beforehand! lol

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Those little slow ones just fall onto the ground before an OF can get to it

12:08
Derek Lowe: Do Groundball pitchers break expected stats? We keep hearing guys like Stroman, Elder, Cobb are bound to regress, but the 10 top GB% starters are all significantly outperforming their expected stats outside of Ashcraft. 9/10 is a significant trend and most of those are outperforming xERA and xFIP by over a run!

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS doesn’t have a problem. I haven’t tested Statcast’s implementation

12:09
Bird Crap: Hey Dan, do you rerun the ZIPS prospect projections or update the list in-season? I’m wondering if Jordan Westburg’s performance so far has moved the needle at all for ZIPS. (It hasn’t for Eric’s list, he’s still outside The List). Can you give me a back of the napkin 80th percentile projection for him? I don’t really understand why he isn’t up yet, 40 man roster be damned.

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t usually en masse during the season

12:09
Bird Crap: Also…those City Connect uniforms have gotten panned by the interwebs…but I think they are decent, maybe a little better. Your thoughts? Is the lack of a crab a criminal omission?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m kind of meh on them

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Don’t need a crab

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but I tend to like the uniforms if they look good and have some connection to the team and not just the city

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Some of them are just uninteresting

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and some just cram too much stuff into them

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and they end up like this

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think Braves have the best City Connect so far

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: A lot of it ends up being like

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hey, let’s put a ocelot on the jersey. Random? Well, if you were a TRUE fan of this city you would know Dali visited this city once in 1951

12:13
Lucas: Who wins the AL East and can they send four teams to the playoffs?

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They can and they may. Money’s still on the Rays

12:14
Sodo Mojo: Is Bryce Miller for Robbie Ray an upgrade ROS or is he going to crash to earth soon?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I mean, Ray’s not throwing any more injuries…

12:15
Rip Calkin: If you’re the O’s, do you mess with success by trying to work in Cowser/Westburg/Ortiz (more than to date)? Or do you let things ride as long as the winning continues? Elias has been fairly dogmatic in his commitment to the long-term so far, but seems caught in a dilemma now.

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You always mess with success

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: When you don’t mess with success, you’re chasing yesterday’s victories again

12:18
Oh Oh Oh O’rioles: Are we nearing Westburg time? Gunnar and Mateo have been pretty meh, as has 2B.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hopefully he won’t displace Gunnar

12:18
Didace: So, you like City Connect that looks just like old uniforms?

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, but I do want to see some kind if unifying element

12:18
Wes: Do the 10 people in this chat making the A’s pitching staff have to audition or is it more of a dibs system? I’ll call dibs now just in case.

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s whoever’s willing to work for fame, I think

12:19
Justin: If you could own any piece of baseball memorabilia what would it be?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d like to get a ball from the first game I have memory of, a Mike Boddicker start against the Red Sox

12:19
Thought Experiment: If MLB were to expand, how do you think the expansion process would work? Would there be an expansion draft and a major league team playing right away, or would a new organization be allowed to spend a couple years building up a farm system before fielding a big league roster?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The latter, like with Arizona/TBV

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: TV

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: TB

12:19
Cave Dameron: How chunky do you like your peanut butter?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Very

12:20
Sadtrombone: It seems like ZiPS still thinks the A’s have an above-replacement team going forward. Is the only way to change its mind jettisoning the vets off the roster? Or is it just against the nature of ZiPS to project above replacement performance?

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Replacement level is REALLY bad

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and the teams that lose the least and the teams that win the most are the least likely to be in close approximation of their median outcomes

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Kinda like how MOST lottery winners are having a lucky day

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Nobody has the MEAN outlook of winning the lottery, but lottery winners exist

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Teams that win 45 games are far more likely to be unfortunate 50-win teams than fortunate 40-win ones

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: A .350 hitter is more likely to be a fortunate .320 hitter, not an unlucky .380 one

12:22
Syndergaardengnomes: Why are the Mets so reluctant to just plugging Vientos in at DH and moving on to other issues?  Yes, he will strike out.  He will also likely outhit Vogelbach and Pham…

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s a real vein of conservatism in a lot of their decision making

12:22
I draw my sword at thee, Mercutio: Any update on our feline friends?

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Justinian is asleep on the top of the PC

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: my main one

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not doing anything right now that requires me chasing him off

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Everything runs about 6 degrees C hotter when he’s sleeping on top, so I don’t want to do anything particularly CPU hungry

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The other three last I checked were looking through the kitchen screen because there was a long-haired black cat hanging around in the backyard and they all had to stare

12:26
Dreamin: If there was any component of play that isn’t measurable at the moment you could make measurable what would it be?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would love to have a brain readout of the exact instant a player makes the decision to swing or not swing

12:27
M: If you could only pick one, would you rather your favorite team have elite pitching or elite hitting and why?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Elite hitting because injury

12:28
fewer than the A’s: any ideas on how the Guardians offense could be improved?

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think they’re too aggressive at the plate. They’re a good contact team, but their quality of contact has been sub-meh

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And contrary to conventional wisdom, contact teams are streakier offenses than teams wiht similar runs scored that hit a lot of homers

12:30
KatzOnAKeyboard: Is there a way to tell when a stat should see some regression? Looking at Brash’s BABIP it feels like that has to go down at some point, yet he just keeps on getting BABIPed

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s not a linear or a binary thing

12:30
SoJo: Cat hair isn’t good for your RAM…

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The top is an exhaust

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I get far more cat hair from the front intake

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: which I do have to clean out regularly

12:31
Meowsa: I work in the field of Data Engineering (essentially, building pipelines for data to flow through). Is this something MLB teams need? I don’t really know what the scale of data an MLB team will deal with at any given time.

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If something you do is useful, a team will want it

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The best way to get a job in baseball is solve a problem a team has

12:32
Izzy: Is Riley Greene finally great at baseball?

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I certianly hope so, I had him on my breakout list!

12:33
Chad Ogea: Which current MLB player would you pick to win an Olympic decathlon?

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Witt?

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: One of the fastest and a strong arm

12:34
Prime Number Hunt: When kitties aren’t asleep near the PC fans, have you used your processing power to hunt for mega-primes before?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: no

12:34
jas: Given the way the Cardinals brass has handled personnel decisions this year, do you find it kind of surprising how consistently good they’ve been? It looks more and more like it was a run of things consistently breaking the right way, rather than being able to deftly maneuver around things that go wrong

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s a competent front office, but it’s a very risk-averse one

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and sometimes, when a lot of things go wrong, that has a real negative effect on your ability to handle it

12:35
petey: are some of the lower cost nats now developing trade value? Candelario, Williams, Thomas,..?

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: SOME. People tend to overrate trade value of guys like this

12:35
Rob: Does MacKenzie Gore look like a #2, #3 or something else to you in peak?

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he’s sub ace. 2/3ish sounds about wright

12:35
Un-ionization: Do you believe MLB front office employees will begin to bargain workplace rights, or at least to keep their electrons for themselves?

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would guess no.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s not really a lot of leverage

12:37
El Mago: Javier Baez has stopped striking out.  After leading NL with 184 Ks in 547 PA in 2021, he improved to 147 Ks in 590 PA with Tigers in 2022.  This year Baez’s 590 PA K-pace is down to 107.  Is Javy without Ks like bald Samson?

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: His contact rate has been trending upward. Problem is, he’s also hitting less hard too

12:38
Meowsa: Re:Olympics: Tyler o Neil?

12:40
Ross: Are you buying the Kelenic breakout?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: increasingly

12:40
Meowsa: Would you be willing to have your cats be in a movie where they start playing baseball for the Oakland As? Which is most likely to accrue the most WAR?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sure. Probalby Justinian who is the most active

12:40
Rob: Tatis running some wild Statcast numbers. Looks like a 70 D in RF nearly 80 sprint, 80 arm. Running low strikeout rate but also super low walk rate. 75 percentile power. Think he gets back to 90 percentile exit velo? If so are 7+ WAR seasons still in future?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s a possibility, but seven WAR seasons are HARD

12:40
Guest: is the sine-like curve of fly ball exit velocity to outcomes a fundamental flaw of the game

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I woudln’t say that

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure a pure linear relationship between hitting the ball hard and getting a hit is necessarily a good thing

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s better that it’s *one* of the important thigns

12:41
Jerry: Should the Mariners try and make an early trade for a bat? Or should they standpat because of the hole they have dug in the standings.

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The M’s should make a trade for a player they need as soon as they can get a team to part with such a player

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s no time like the present, where possible

12:42
J-Rod: How are you feeling about Julio Rodriguez? We are 50 games in and he is still a below league average hitter.

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: nic

12:42
Uninvited Guest: How does one find out what problems a team needs solved? I assume they don’t make that too public. If any teams need an environmental clean up, can you give them my number?

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think the A’s need environmental cleanup, but they don’t like paying for things

12:47
Mariners: If there was an elimination game today, would you go Castillo, Kirby, or Gilbert?

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Still Castillo

12:49
lee_rumbah: Hot honey on pizza y/n?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Meh

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I like spicy things but I’m not big on sweet

12:49
Baseball Fanatic: This isn’t a question, I’m just here to say how fortunate we are to be blessed with daily baseball throughout the summer and into fall

12:50
Dan: If a player had access to six seconds of time travel could a low level org guy become a impact major leaguer. So average speed but 20s in other skill now knows  exactly how a ball will curve and if it will be called a strike before making a swing decision. On defense they can start their break as soon as the batter starts swinging (repositioning before the pitch is rule out for paradox reasons)

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would imagine that this was the case

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you know exactly where something is going to be, it’s like hitting off a tee

12:50
Rob: Where did all the top 1B go? Early 2000s was full of them. Is conditioning and training the cause? Are we simply selecting for better overall athletes? Seems like the 2 tool 1B with good enough D is going the way of the pocket quarterback.

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think we’re more willing to keep players at prime defensive positions than we used to

12:51
Josh: How are you liking all the rule changes so far?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Except the zombie runner still being around, just fine

12:53
Ross: What are your thoughts on the idea that the pitch clock is causing a big increase in arm injuries this year? Seems like pitchers have been dropping like flies.

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m unconvinced

12:54
Manfred Man: Would the implementation of the Manfred Man be improved if the runner had to actually run like a zombie in the movies?

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: slightly!

12:55
SoJo: You seem slower than normal today…crappy questions, running mobile?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sorry, been checking the site and seeing what problems are

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and I had to go to the bathroom at one point

12:55
mmddyyyy: Do you read chats by other writers?

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not really. I think of chats as a conversation between the writer and their readers

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and it kinda feels creepy, like I’m eavesdropping

12:56
Who’s Fabio?: I was a shortstop in the minors but I could make a spot start for the A’s.  I was on the A’s radar at some point in the early 2000s.

12:57
Rob: World WAR Z zombie or traditional?

12:57
SoJo: Have you seen anything on the financial impact for concessions with the shorter games?

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I haven’t

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I know teams are serving beer longer

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure it makes as much a difference as people speculate

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t eat more on days I’m awake longer

12:58
Mike M: How would you rank the following in order of most preferred to least preferred?  expansion, automated balls and strikes, removal of extra-inning runner, tacky baseball

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: automated balls and strikes, removal of extra-inning runner………………………..tacky baseball…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….expans

12:59
Guest: “I don’t eat more on days I’m awake longer” hmm, I’ve never compiled the numbers, but I’d bet that I do

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though you’d have to adjust for health

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: When I was horribly ill back in early February

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I was literally sleeping 16 hours a day for a week

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and I ate almost nothing (I lost 17 pounds in a week). But not because I was awake less!

1:00
mmddyyyy: For scale, what would pitchers need to get to balance metal bats?

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: shotguns

1:02
KCbbq: What happened to Taylor Ward this season? Started off great then blamo.

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

1:03
KCbbq: Will Bryce Miller’s tendency to over rely on his fastball lead to an eventual implosion as the league figures him out?

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: As I said above, there’s a risk

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Baseball is a game of adjustment. If you’re too one-note, people will figure out how to hum your tune.

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Tony Cingrani was one pitcher wno learned that the hard way

1:04
Sharps: Which MLB players would make the best pro wrestlers, and vice versa?

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Now O’Neill I think would be a good pro wrestler

1:05
Meowsa: *unless you’re Mariano rivera

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: See, Mariano was one note. But the cutter was the brown note, so batters were too busy crapping their pants to ever be able to adjust!

1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m kinda offended that on MLB the Show, he doesn’t JUST have a cutter

1:07
mmddyyyy: Do reporters keep score?

1:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like fans, some do, some don’t

1:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not personally a fan of it. I don’t want to do paperwork

1:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I want to have the option of wandering off from the press box to get beers, maybe chat wiht some random fans, help myself to seats in different parts of the park

1:09
Farhandrew Zaidman: Don’t try to make sense of MLB The Show arsenals. Kershaw’s had a change up for years, which, ok?

1:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I *am* glad that for Devin Williams, Sony just decided “yeah, that’s obviously a goddamn screwball that is.”

1:10
mmddyyyy: Do writers get fangraphs email addresses?

1:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m sure people can ask for one if they want

1:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and David would give them one

1:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s never come up for me

1:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I didn’t have an ESPN address either

1:11
mmddyyyy: How hard does a pitcher have to pitch for them to throw “Hard”?

1:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ll say 95 mph. Makes it consistent with hard-hit rate for batters!

1:11
SoJo: Can I just encourage everybody on this chat to support Fangraphs with a yearly subscription?!?

1:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Of course!

1:12
Dan: How many Yankees right now are better at SS defense than Volpe. I understand that this doesn’t mean it’s wrong to play him there

1:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: In the last three decades how many years was their starting shortstop one of the best five defensive shortstops in their organization?

1:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: On that mean note, I will head off for the week

1:13
Broadcasting Crew: If you could choose one broadcast team to narrate your life which squad would you go with?

1:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The old Miller/Angel team I grew up with on 1090 AM

1:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: nostalgia and all





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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ccovillemember
14 days ago

Jetes at home enjoying time with his new baby boy catching strays from Fangraphs chats.

johndarc
14 days ago
Reply to  ccoville

I mean, he knows he wasn’t the best Shortstop on the team. I doubt he cares with all the millions of dollars and fun life he has/had.