Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 5/6/21

12:03
James: Trent Grisham is good. But is it possible he might be under the radar, star level good?

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s certainly *played* like a star the last 80ish games now. I’m not convinced that he’s quite that good, but he’s certainly proving me wrong.

12:03
Beepollen: So, the Dodgers – what the hell’s going on???

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I should note they have a 20-12 pythag record, which equates to a 101-win schedule. And that’s going to be far more predictive than their current record is

12:05
James: What is going on with all of the league wide injuries? Pandemic short season related? Pitchers throwing harder than ever? SSS?

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I haven’t looked at injury rate compared to previous Aprils, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the weird 2020 made things riskier.

12:05
Rick H.: What is the all time negative WAR effect for a manager? ASKING FOR A FRIEND.

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s a real messy question! It’s hard to make manager WAR

12:06
Jorge Washington: Is there a player in the Major Leagues you expect to be able to make good chili? And who do you think that is?

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, that’s one I’ve never thought of before!

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t trust any Cincinnati Red to make chili

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: just as a safety issue

12:07
Jorge Washington: What does ZIPS and its creator think of Cole Irvin?

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS sees Irvin as rougly average and I’m about on the same page on this one

12:07
What’s that Odor: What’s with all the no-hitters so far this year?

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Lower BA means more no-hitters!

12:09
Kim: Any thoughts on what the Yanks are doing re: their pitchers ratcheting up changeup usage?

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They haven’t been forthcoming, but I expect that it has to do with replacing Rothschild with Matt Blake; the changeups were bumped last year too

12:10
My Name?: What’s your outlook on Kyle Tucker? Just a BABIP issue, or anything else there to be concerned about?

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Ain’t nobody having a .177 BABIP as predictive.

12:11
Jorge Washington: Are you into craft beers?

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yes, though I drink less than I used to be a good margin

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Alcohol triggers my GERD far more than it used to. I drink about one beer a week now

12:12
Dr. Frank Jobe: With pitchers seeming to continue to get ahead vs. hitters on the whole, is it time to revisit the classic split of available WAR between position players and pitchers? (I think it was 55% go to position players and 45% to pitchers).

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, I don’t see why it would work this way

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Pitchers don’t make up any larger percentage of the results of a pitcher vs. hitter matchup than before

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And WAR is a scarcity issue.

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If every pitcher suddenly throws 18 K/9, it doesn’t mean that pitchers are objectively more valuable, so long as the pitcher has the same predictive value of a particular batter vs. pitcher matchup

12:13
Max Kepler: Have you ever been to Europe? If so what places did you visit?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not a big international traveler because I hate flying. I’ve been to England, Scotland, and Germany at different times

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t really do touristy stuff

12:14
SharkCueto: The Cubs are fixed! Lights out bullpen & Matt Duffy is the contact hitter they’ve been searching for. World Series, here we come!

12:14
Jacques Pederson: Is there an advantage to a “stars and scrubs” approach vs a “no holes” approach in that the weaknesses are easier to identify and address in-season?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Stars and scrubs make it easier simply because you have places to upgrade

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But it’s also a risk in having more value locked up in fewer players

12:15
SharkCueto: How does a pitcher adding a new pitch (example: Alzolay adding his slider mid season last year) change ZIPS?

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It doesn’t; ZiPS looks at pitch data, but it’s results focused

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Projections aren’t a thing where you can just say “pitcher adds slider, ERA+ goes up 10 points”

12:15
Greg: How good in percentage terms do you think ZiPS is compared to whatever the best projection system will be in 2050? I.e. 75% as good at projecting?

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 97% or so. All the low and middle hanging fruit are long gone

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’re just nudging projections now, at least when it comes to near-future projections

12:16
Lunch Angle: Ohtani the pitcher’s command is as superlatively bad as his stuff is good. Is that something that we can expect to improve as he gets more experience?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I do. Remember, he still have very little experience throwing against major league hitters, thanks to injuries

12:17
Jeff: I don’t know why I don’t say hi first

12:17
NotGraphs Revivalist: Lance Lynn could make me chili anyday

12:17
Sharps: with xwOBA seeming to be less accurate (every team seems to be underperforming it), would changes to that affect ZIPS?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m having similar issues in-season this year

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Which is why it’s taking longer than usual to roll out my zBABIP piece for first month

12:18
Al Gone Quinn: So Air Force 1 is slated to be this slick Supersonic Transport jet in the year 2036. I’m holding off on running for President until then because why would u want to have the office before then. I’ll be 76 yrs old. Think I can pull off another old guy Biden type victory?

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:18
Steve: Patiño and Mc Clanahan or Mize and Skubal

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Former

12:18
QQ4U: I’ve (and others I think) assumed for a long time that in small sample size situations (i.e. playoffs) pitching *seems* like a more reliable metric than hitting for predicting success. Have you seen any hard data to back that up?

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have not

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And I’ve looked at this myself

12:19
Aleks: Are you related to Wisława Szymborski or is it just a common Polish name?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I am related, but it’s quite distant. I don’t have the full family tree accessible here (I’d have to ask mom), but it goes pretty far back.

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The real troublemaker was Johann Nepomuk Maximilian von Szymborski from the early 19th century.

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: This particularly amuses me. Let’s get a Szymborski King of England!

12:24
Hungry bear: Okay to rage drop suarez in shallow 10 teamers??

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s actually possible given the shallowness of the league

12:25
SharkCueto: Which active or retired baseball players do you think have 5+ cats?

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ve heard that Lil’ Bedrock is a cat of fans

12:25
Zach: What are the rules for qualification for the fangraphs leaderboard? I can’t quite figure out why Tatis doesn’t qualify.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Tatis is ineligible from normal BA qualification rules

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 32 * 3.1 = 99.2 and Tatis only has 96 PA

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 95

12:27
Bigfoot Erotica: Why is Cavan Biggio swinging at so many more pitches out of the zone now? I really liked his plate discipline coming into the year.

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe that with him, there’s been an intentional bid for him to be more aggressive at the plate. How much it plays into this is unknown, but it doesn’t appear to be working

12:28
Julio: What is up with Gavin Lux?  Is this just who he is now?  Or is there another level waiting to come out?

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d be far from throwing in the towel, but he might need some triple-A time to get back on track

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He got very few PA last year in a key developmental season

12:29
Tel: Re: Yankees and changeups – they figured since none of their batters can hit one that it would hold for the rest of the league too.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s how the Mets feel when Jacob deGrom pitches!

12:30
Tel: Chapman’s doing pretty well this season, FIP of -0.81 and xFIP of -0.16 (which actually went up after his last couple of outings, which included only 4 strikeouts in 2 perfect innings – but one of the other outs was a flyball).

12:30
Mister Puppy: Do you have any idea how teams are valuing John Means in terms of trade value? 3 more years of control if I’m not mistaken, really just depends on how legit other teams believe he is.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he’d fetch a lot in a trade now

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: At least as much now, as Quintana a few years ago

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There were already reasons to consider him a better pitcher than in his rookie season

12:30
QQ4U: also which of your cats would fit best as a character in a JRPG

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Galileo probably had the biggest personality of my cats

12:31
Billy Beane: Dan do you have any mechanical keyboard recommendations? I’ve decided I want one but don’t know what to get.

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Love this keyboard. Though you many want tenkeyless or compact and there are versions of those

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The ease of removing key switches is a big deal for me.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m using Kailh Box Jades for my number pad (clicky, tactile), Kailh Box Royals for my letters (very tactile, no clicky), Cherry Black for my spacebar, Cherry Speed Silver for my utility keys that use a pinky (tab, caps, shift, enter), and Gateron Brown for the various other, miscellaneous keys

12:34
KB: Is William Contreras really the answer for the Braves for an extended period? He’s exciting but largely unproven.

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t go THAT far

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: at least right now

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The last team we saw him, he was a kinda meh Double-A hitter

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Also, I wish he was Wiliam instead of William. Due to Willson, his parents have been using more than their just share of l’s.

12:36
Dan: Bad stretch for the Dodgers? Or closer to talent level?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, they’ll be fine

12:36
Farmer Ted (not a farmer): The obvious answer to Jorge Washington‘s question is Chili Davis

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But someone MADE of chili shoudln’t be making chili

12:36
Jacques Pederson: Lance Lynn is from Brownsburg Indiana. Your trust is misplaced in him. His chili probably has beans and noodles.

12:36
Vote Dan: Who was worse as a GM: Dave Stewart or Jeff Birdich

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I actually think Bridich was worse

12:37
Appa Yip Yip: Justin Smoak plays in Japan now but I bet that dude makes a hell of a chili

12:37
Padre’s fan: I think the most exciting play in baseball is the routine fly ball.

12:37
Kevin Platinumstein: Would you sell high on Rodon or do you think this is his year making 27-30 starts?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Depends how high you can tell him!

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: err, sell

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And the White Sox should have an astronomical price given their position in contention.

12:38
NashvilleSounds: Do you think Hendriks is a significantly worse runner than Abreu, process errors aside?

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Possibly. The bigger deal is that the risks are bigger

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s certainly a less EXPERIENCED runner

12:38
where’s Waldo: does being on a Taxi Squad have any PLAYER benefits?  I finally found Michael Chavis on Boston taxi squad.  Read up the blurbs on taxi squads, and concluded that a player gets screwed being on the taxi quad. Your position, please.

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: IIRC, the main benefit is you get the MLB per diem of $100 something per day

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Which isn’t nothing as it’s on top of minor league salary

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and for many minor leaguers, an additional $100 a day is a ginormous pay bump!

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But no service time

12:39
BringBackDeSpanielHair: Re. ragedrop for Suarez, he’s suddenly taking walks. I’d hold

12:39
A Tribe Called Kipnis: Is this the year that 4 or fewer teams win 90 games?

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think so

12:39
Michael: What are your thoughts on dropped 3rd strike? I think it’s a terrible rule.

12:39
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Once again, get rid of the dropped third strike rule. John Means did nothing wrong.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think dropped third strike is a dumb rule

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Now, IF you allowed a runner to choose to run to first on *any* dropped strike, it would still be dumb, but a little less so since it’s actually a rpinciple

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but why would he get to run *after* striking out

12:41
Evil Twin: Chances Colome regains closer role in MN?

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s possible, but I think Taylor Rogers is going to stay as the closer

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’d likely have to struggle

12:41
Joe: Not that there’s much competition, but John Means threw the best start I’ve ever seen an Oriole throw.

12:41
Guest:

12:41
Guest: Is there a current player who looks like he crawled out of my ’86 Topps set more than Andrew Chafin?

12:42
Chris: Your worthy fansgraphs constituent seems to fancy himself a film expert.  Do you watch movies and, if so, have any favorites in particular?

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not a film expert

12:42
Bob Loblaw: Is Mike Trout the best player ever?

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I won’t say that, but he’s certainly the best player of the 21st century so far

12:43
A Tribe Called Kipnis: For which player do you see the biggest disconnect between how fans rate him and how valuable he actually is playing baseball?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Charlie Blackmon?

12:43
Guest: Is a meat and bean burrito wrapped chili?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No. There are beans

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And they’re not reqlly constructed of the same ingredients otherwise

12:44
Rando: What is your take on Justin Dunn?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think that he doesn’t, as of yet, cause enough swings-and-misses to be worth the command issues

12:45
Concerned in Indiana: I make chili like a civilized person, but I dunk peanut butter sandwiches in it.  Please tell me you do the same

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: eww

12:45
Appa Yip Yip: Reclaim your stolen L’s Dalan Szymborskilli

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Szymborskilli sounds like a horrible sandwich condiment

12:45
Guest: Is Andrew Benitendi back to being the Andrew Benitendi we know and love?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s certainly played better of late!

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He was a really solid pickup by the Royals

12:46
Angelus Novus: You buying Means as a top 25 starter?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: At the back end, yes

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: More so than ZiPS, obviously

12:46
Bring Back Mookie (and Jeff): This Goldstein fella says there are no great Matt Damon movies. Time to run him out of town?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: YOu’re pretty much arguing a taste issue

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I thought the Talented Mr. Ripley was a great movie

12:47
Johnny5Alive: I think dropped third strike is like any throw to complete an out, it needs to be caught. First baseman can’t not catch the ball and the runner is out just because the throw was there on time in the appropriate vicinity. I mean, sure it sucks in this instance, but you literally need to catch outs.  It’s a baseball rule.

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I guess you can say it’s consistent in that vein

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but it feels weird

12:48
Guest: Did Ernie Shore throw a perfect game?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I feel like he did, but I’m more flexible at these definitions than Manfred

12:49
Steve: Any idea as to how Luis Roberts’ injury will affect him long term?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, but we should be wary.

12:49
A Tribe Called Kipnis: The dropped third strike rule is the greatest terror of little league catchers’ parents.

12:49
Joe: Chances that the league sets the all time worst BA mark this year?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d say a good 70% or so

12:50
Sharps: Szymborskilli is just the part of your family that moved into the Caucasus

12:50
Jacques Pederson: Mr. Concerned in Indiana, that took me back to my rural Indiana elementary cafeteria school days

12:50
Numpty: Baked beans on toast is underrated. Thoughts?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t like toppings on toast

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: just give me toast with butter or cream cheese

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: my girlfriend LOVES toast with butter and marmite

12:50
Jacques Pederson: I don’t think the dropped third strike rule is much different than going to extra innings when the score is tied. Both rules are somewhat esoteric and part of what makes baseball special.

12:51
Appa Yip Yip: Robbie Ray hasn’t walked a batter in his last three starts. How long of a stretch should we wait for until we start to think he’s improved his command?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: YOU WERE CLOSE TO SAYING GHOST RUNNER ON SECOND IN WHICH CASE YOU’D BE HEARING FROM MY LAWYERS

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Walk rate changes are significant VERY quickly

12:51
Jacques Pederson: Where I grew up there were two options: chili (normal style) and chili soup (normal chili plus macaroni and beans, plus it was a bit thinner)

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: dahell?

12:51
Patience: Why is the answer not APRIL for the league-wide batting slump?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’ve had five gamedays in May!

12:51
Guest: More likely to sustain their breakout? Vlad Jr or Buxton?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Vlad probably

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Buxton is an injury risk

12:52
Sharp: Does anyone give Javy Baez a multi-year contract this year or does he have to take a one year?

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he’ll get multi-year OFFERS, but I think it’s more likely as of this moment that he takes a one-year because those might be very undwhelming

12:52
Kyler: I know you don’t know the inner workings of Steamer but is there a reason that ZiPS is generally more conservative on pitchers than Steamer is?

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Unfortunately, you answered your own question!

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t necessarily think that’s true either, though I don’t have the data in front of me to prove that

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hang on a sec

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Bah, can’t get it quickly

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but I THINK ZiPS has slightly higher variance among pitchers

12:54
Isolated Thinker: Lots of IBB being issued in extras it seems.  Do they count towards BB/9 for pitchers?  Not really fair and quite misleading if they do.

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They do. Kinda dumb, but they’re randomly distributed among pitchers enough that it usually hasn’t been a big enough deal to care about

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but there’s an issue now

12:54
Al Gone Quinn: Looking to travel somewhere in June. Thinking about NYC, Puerto Rico or Anchorage? Where would you go?

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Anchorage

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If I’m traveling in summer, I go somewhere cooler

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Unless it’s a work/social visit of course

12:55
Mike Trout: Ohtani is amazing but the walks are not. Would the Angels be better off making him an OF and closer? Don’t say he shouldn’t be a two-way player that’s no fun.

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think given his upside, the Angels should stick him with him in the rotation until he proves he can’d hack it

12:56
(not that) James: Ronald Acuna just decided to stop striking out without sacrificing any power, and I think that’s swell.

12:56
Vote Dan: Is Elvis Andrus done?

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he is

12:57
Ben: When the Angels forgo the DH and have Ohtani bat, does he get the DH penalty or the pitcher-hitter bonus in his WAR?

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not actually sure how it’s done

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But in a DH league, since he’s literally replacing a DH rather than a pitcher, it should be the DH pnealty

12:58
Cheesesteak: Carlos Carrasco to 60-day IL? Any info on that?

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t believe there’s anything new injury-wise, just that the Mets don’t anticipate activating him until the end of May

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: In which case, it’s just an accounting move to get the option of an extra 40-man spot

12:59
Jeff: Dalton Wilcox has many beans and toast recipes in his book, You Must Buy Your Horse At Least as Much Jewelry as Your Wife and other Poems and Observations from Life on the Range by Dalton Wilcox

12:59
Jacques Pederson: Dan this is what happens when german immigrants land in rural southern Indiana.

12:59
Dalton Wilcox: Did you know Kris Bryant will be 30 next year? Boogity boogity

12:59
Dalton Wilcox: I suspect that Kris Bryant is one of the undead, perhaps a gd vampire. Is there any other explanation for his season so far? It’s not like a global pandemic delaying and reducing last season, plus a forced week off during that season, could have any impact on how people perform right? That’s crazy to think seeing as they make money

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: On that note, I have to head out for another week! Thanks for joining me erveryone





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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I was not aware of this Dalton Wilcox fellow, Poet Laureate of the West, so many thanks to Jeff for the reference. This is exactly why I attend Dan chats.