Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 7/22/21 by Dan Szymborski July 22, 2021 12:00 Dan Szymborski: Take off every ‘ZIG’!! 12:01 Dan Szymborski: It’s chat time! 12:01 Dan Szymborski: uh oh 12:03 Jon G: There’s been debate on Cubs twitter about how attractive Kimbrel’s 2022 option is in trade. Does ZiPS say anything about how much surplus value that option provides? What would a reliever like Kimbrel expect to get on a one year deal on the market if he limited himself to that structure? 12:03 Dan Szymborski: Relievers are always tricky! From my piece today, I think I’m valuing Kimbrel more highly than most of our readers. 12:03 Dan Szymborski: I think at the level Kimbrel’s returned to, it does have value. 12:04 Dan Szymborski: Chat may be slow until people filter in. For some reason it wasn’t appearing on the front page. 12:04 Dan Szymborski: So there’s no question queue! 12:04 Jay: It feels like, at least fans, are over valuing prospects. Would you say that’s right? 12:05 Dan Szymborski: Fans *generally* probably not. But I think very tuned-in fans, as this group would be, might be overvaluing in *some* situations. 12:05 Dan Szymborski: Or possibly underestimating in some situations just how a contending team views high-leverage wins. 12:05 Dan Szymborski: And sometimes *I’m* just the one who is dumb and wrong! 12:07 Billy Beane: Hey Dan, do you have any idea how long it’s safe to run a water loop with just distilled water? I am going to replace it with coolant at some point but I don’t have a GPU yet and it seems like a waste to dump my coolant in a month. 12:07 Dan Szymborski: You’re probably OK for a month, though naturally I’d prefer a biocide! 12:07 Dan Szymborski: Do be prepared to do a good flush when you’re replacing. 12:07 Dan Szymborski: There *could* be some slimy areas in there in a month. 12:08 Dan Szymborski: Depends on luck of the draw. 12:08 Billy Beane: Dan, do you think Jerome Powell should remain in the head job at the Federal Reserve? 12:09 Dan Szymborski: I’d probably keep him. This is a good time for stability, really. It’s a tricky job because you’re caught between a few things. 12:09 Evan: First base is the biggest spot for upgrade on the Padres roster. Surely the team is looking to move Hosmer, though his 10/5 rights kick in soon. Do you see him moving, and what sort of package gets him out of SD? 12:09 Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure the Padres have the will (yet) to bench him. 12:09 Dan Szymborski: They’ll rpobably sit him a little more often than he has been historically 12:10 Dan Szymborski: Doubleheaders, especially tough lefties, etc. 12:10 Chef Boyardee: I’m here! 12:10 Dan Szymborski: Ha! 12:10 Dan Szymborski: There’s a reference here. 12:10 Dan Szymborski: Before I kept a laptop on my nightstand, I used to have a notepad on my nightstand. 12:10 Dan Szymborski: And one morning, I woke up, and saw that I had written this sometime during the night 12:11 Dan Szymborski: 12:12 AD: why did the Yankees pick up the 2021 option on Zach Britton? Looks awful in hindsight 12:13 Dan Szymborski: It’s actually the 2022 option! 12:13 Dan Szymborski: They were required to pick it up after the 2020 World Series or not 12:13 Dan Szymborski: Was pretty risky for a reliever with a recent injury 12:14 Chef Boyardee: Should the Yankees be buyers or sellers at the deadline? Does it ultimately come down to what happens against Boston this weekend? 12:15 Dan Szymborski: I think a slight retool. 12:15 Dan Szymborski: Sellers, but the Yankees don’t do fire sales 12:15 Dan Szymborski: I think they’re teetering on the edge of falling out of the wild card 12:16 John: What are your thoughts on a potential trade package of Kumar Rocker as PTBNL for Jose Berrios 12:16 Dan Szymborski: Unless I misse dsomething, MLB closed that loophole awhile ago 12:16 Dan Szymborski: That you could trade prospects after the World Series instead of after a year 12:16 Dan Szymborski: but PTBNL had to be eligible at the time the trade was initially made 12:16 Jimbo Richards: PS: Josh Hamilton is younger than Nelson Cruz. 12:17 Jimbo Richards: Are Stanton and Sano going hitting the Josh Hamilton wall? Neither seems to be able to hit a fastball anymore (although Hamilton’s curse was the slider). 12:17 Dan Szymborski: Stanton’s slugging like .600 against fastballs last I checked! 12:17 Dan Szymborski: But I’m very worried about Sano. 12:17 Red Foreman: Those White Sox fans last night….just crazy they don’t understand how a manager (at any company) should act. 12:18 Dan Szymborski: It was such a mild take that I was quite surprised how mad some people were. 12:18 Dan Szymborski: Dan Szymborski @DSzymborski While it’s hard to blame decline in performance — correlation and causation and all that — one can’t help but think a discouraged player like Mercedes might have felt differently if, during his first big success in the majors, he wasn’t humiliated in public by his manager. 22 Jul 2021 12:18 Dan Szymborski: That’s pretty vanilla and has like three hedges in it! 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Contrast that with something like this, which is more explicitly trollish. 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Dan Szymborski @DSzymborski Well, technically speaking, by opting out of 2021, Desmond finishes his Rockies career on a high note, matching his previous Rockies-high for WAR, at 0.0. 21 Feb 2021 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Or this. 12:20 Dan Szymborski: Dan Szymborski @DSzymborski Baseball crossovers are best. Reggie Jackson/Naked Gun, Noah Syndergaard/Game of Thrones, Cody Bellinger/Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. At this rate maybe someday we’ll get a Colorado Rockies/People Who Can Run a Baseball Team crossover. 11 Feb 2021 12:20 erghammer: I’m a native Cincinnatian, love Skyline. Can you please explain your fetish for chili and why you hate the Cinci stuff so much? 12:21 Dan Szymborski: I enjoy chili. 12:21 Dan Szymborski: But I like the purity of beef and chili peppers! 12:21 Dan Szymborski: The Cincy stuff tastes like pumpkin pie filling. 12:21 Dan Szymborski: And why is it on spaghetti? 12:21 Dan Szymborski: Or served with a “coney” that looks like a gray dog penis? 12:22 Greg: Your Scherzer deal to Houston got me thinking. Houston knows Morton well, if Atlanta deals him, would Morton for Pena work? Atlanta needs a long term SS option. 12:22 Dan Szymborski: That would be fun 12:22 aok: What’s the deal with Yermin Mercedes? Is it a lie to say he has a future with the team? 12:23 Dan Szymborski: The truth is, his lack of ability to play catcher hurts his utility on a team. 12:23 Dan Szymborski: I think he could stick around baseball as a role player for the right roster. 12:24 JT: Were you surprised the Jays 3B wasn’t in the replacement killers series after all? I sure as tootin’ was! 12:24 Dan Szymborski: Not really. Biggio’s probably better than this, though probably stretched at third offensively. 12:25 Dan Szymborski: And his defense shoudl be better than his UZR 12:25 JT: Overall, what’s your personal threshold for K% and BB% for hitters for getting nervous up in herre about their long-term viability? We need to name this like the Mendoza line. The Juan Samuel line? 12:25 Dan Szymborski: I’ve never set a line. 12:26 Michael: Are Jake Burger and Gavin Sheets more valuable now than anyone the White Sox have in the minors? Which one do you think would bring back more in a trade? 12:26 Dan Szymborski: Definitely wouldn’t say that! 12:26 Dan Szymborski: If you had the opportunity to trade Burger or Sheets for Jared Kelley, you do it 12:26 Dan Szymborski: I don’t think either have a huge amount of trade value. 12:26 Network Card: Do you have any recommendations on WIFI cards? I’ve been using a Linksys usb device but I’m not super happy with the performance. Thanks in advance. 12:26 Dan Szymborski: In this case, I actually do not. I’ve never purchased a wifi card for a desktop. 12:27 Fat Spielberg: Mets announcers were ragging on Skyline Chili this week. Monday, I think. Just thought you should note. 12:27 Billy: You don’t draw me pictures, anymore 12:27 Dan Szymborski: I had a White Sox one this year! 12:29 Dan Szymborski: 12:29 Guest: Building off your earlier answer about Hosmer. In cases where contending teams have a highly paid underperforming player. Why are they so hesitant to bench them. Is it simply sunk cost fallicy? 12:30 Dan Szymborski: In some cases, yes. 12:30 Dan Szymborski: In others, there’s a sense of job preservation and PR, I think. 12:30 Guest: Cody Bellinger: fun in a video game, sure, and still a phenomenal runner and defender. Will he make solid contact ever again? And at a high enough rate to, say, crack 3 WAR at least? 12:30 Dan Szymborski: I remain optimistic 12:31 bk: Dan, I’m curious to learn more about how ZiPS views Kevin Smith long term after seeing your Jays/Cubs trade proposal. 12:31 Dan Szymborski: Sees him with a really good shot at peaking as a 3 WAR guy. He’s a bit old of a prospect at this tpoint. 12:31 Dan Szymborski: I think people are slightly *too* excited 12:32 Dan Szymborski: He’s been awesome this year in half a year and I’d be very happy with him on the team 12:32 Fat Spielberg: Why do so many people think the Mets need to trade for Josh Donaldson? If you look at the player position by team rankings on the FG leaders pages, you see that the Mets have the 12th most WAR at 3B of any team, which is actually their BEST ranking this year (tied with Catcher.) 12:33 Dan Szymborski: There’s a difference between what happened before and what comes next. 12:33 Dan Szymborski: And the reason I like Bryant is because he’s a LF option as well 12:33 jaysfan9293: any thoughts on how the rule-5 draft affects the jays’ strategy at the deadline? you mentioned in your trades article that the jays’ middle-infield depth could push them to trade from that strength, but in a macro-sense how do you think they handle pending rule-5 eligibility for several of their better ifa signings (as well as minor league breakouts like kevin smith and samad taylor) while balancing the thinness of their system outside of the top7-8 prospects? (for what it’s worth, I still think smith + groshans + hiraldo is way too high for kimbrel unless the cubs are paying for his option year, but I don’t see why the jays can’t just pay him themselves, or why they’re forking over so much when their window hasn’t really opened up yet) 12:34 Dan Szymborski: Honestly, I haven’t given much thought to rule 5 strategy in this case, but perhaps I should. 12:34 Dan Szymborski: (and it’s OK to disagree with me, of course) 12:34 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS is more on your side than mine I think; it loves Groshans 12:34 Dan Szymborski: I do see the Jays doing *something* at the deadline that improves the team in 2022. 12:34 Dan Szymborski: As opposed to a rental. 12:35 Cool Papa Bell: So many questions about that picture. Why is Santa pooping and basically larger than his body? 12:35 Dan Szymborski: THATS HIS BAG OF WHITE SOX 12:35 ZacktoZackWalks: Did you pick anything up on the steam summer sale? 12:35 Dan Szymborski: I didn’t, actually! 12:35 Dan Szymborski: I’m trying to make a conscious effort to not inflate my Steam library TOO much 12:36 Dan Szymborski: Since I already need to live longer than I am going to actually live in order to play everything 12:36 Dan Szymborski: Look at this horror ratio. 12:36 Dan Szymborski: https://steamdb.info/calculator/76561197999587301/?cc=us 12:37 Chamaco: The mobile site has been pretty buggy these days. Help? 12:37 Dan Szymborski: I know there have been some reports. 12:37 Dan Szymborski: But I don’t know the current status as I’m not a programming dude. 12:37 Re: Nats: The return on your proposed Scherzer return seemed a little light. Nats org is generally reluctant to sell (even moreso for a player as significant to the franchise), and the team seems to target upside in the minors 12:37 Dan Szymborski: Which is why I don’t think he’ll get traded. 12:38 Dan Szymborski: There’s a big difference between two months and two months with a whole extra contending year kicker 12:38 Appa Yip Yip: I think the issue with Kimbrel is a combination of his contract and his more recent struggles, so while yes he is an elite reliever he’s also being paid like an elite reliever with a chance he’ll turn into an 18 million dollar pumpkin next year if his option vests, which it likely will. There’s just not much surplus value there and a decent helping of risk, and teams love them some payroll flexibility. I think cubs fans will be very disappointed in the return and we’re all still treating the Chapman deal like it wasn’t a unicorn. 12:39 Dan Szymborski: I’m just more confident than most, it appears. 12:39 Dan Szymborski: He’s not having just a great year, he’s basically having a vintage Kimbrel year. 12:41 Dan Szymborski: 13th best contact rate for pitcher with 20 IP since 2002 12:41 Thunderclap Jackson: As a dejected ATL fan, what team should I adopt to maximize fun for the rest of the season now that my sweet daddy Ron has been lost? Leaning Blue Jays right now 12:41 Dan Szymborski: The Brewers are a lot of fun 12:41 Dan Szymborski: And the Rays are always entertaining as the A-Team of baseball 12:42 Dan Szymborski: You lock the Rays in a warehouse and they’re going to piece together three relievers and a makeshift bazooka that will make your car go over a cliff and burst into flames. 12:42 brad penny for your thoughts: do you consider yourself a workaholic? i’m concerned you might be addicted to workahol 12:42 Dan Szymborski: heh 12:43 Dan Szymborski: I’m certainly not a workaholic 12:43 Invader ZiP: Inside Front Offices, do all teams use a model to project players’ performances? I imagine it would be more accurate than ZiPS due to better data. 12:43 Dan Szymborski: Most use *something*. I sell a ton of ZiPS data, but I can’t offer any advisory opinions. 12:44 Dan Szymborski: People do overrate — on the projection side — how much worth additional data is. 12:44 Dan Szymborski: The newest stuff only really nudges 12:44 Dan Szymborski: and teams don’t just have to project their own players 12:45 James: How does Zips handle a player like Posey who opted out last year and how is that different from how it would treat someone who missed a season due to an injury? 12:45 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS does have a generic non-injury layoff variable. 12:45 Dan Szymborski: That’s treated differently than injuries. 12:45 Dan Szymborski: But with a year like 2020, it’s a complete wild-ass guess 12:45 brad penny for your thoughts: larry david has a little notebook by his bed stand where he writes ideas he gets in the middle of the night too…just sayin 12:45 Dan Szymborski: His ideas are probably better. 12:48 Dan Szymborski: I *have* had the neural network write Seinfeld plots. 12:48 Dan Szymborski: 12:48 Burreaux: I know it won’t happen because it would require spending more than $7, but let’s say the Reds trade for Baez and Bryant to fill their two obvious offensive holes (SS and CF/3B to relieve Suarez). What does the package to CHI look like? 12:48 Burreaux: (It’s sometimes nice to speculate that the Reds will do anything productive) 12:49 Dan Szymborski: Now, we know that the Reds won’t do this! 12:49 Dan Szymborski: But to get both would have to be some significant prospectage 12:50 Dan Szymborski: Definitely saying goodbye to Lodolo to pull this off. 12:51 Money Matters: In your Scherzer-Astros trade idea, you didn’t mention how the money will work. I assume including Lee that the Nats would be paying the rest of Max’s 2021 salary? 12:51 Dan Szymborski: I expect the Nats pay something. 12:52 Cakes&Kakes: Dannnnnn, not sure if you’re familiar with this Baltimorean’s blog, but I feel like it’s right up your alley: Maryland food, obscure Maryland history, weird-ass recipes; I found it after seeing an article about it in the Washington Post: https://oldlineplate.com/ 12:52 Dan Szymborski: I had never seen that! 12:52 Dan Szymborski: There are definitely some weird maryland recipes 12:52 Dan Szymborski: I had to find an old recipe for coddies to make mom for mother’s day 12:53 Dan Szymborski: I had neve rseen one before, but apparently they were big in Baltimore still 50 years ago 12:53 Dan Szymborski: (like a crab cake, but using salt cod, and served between saltine crackers for some reason) 12:53 Matt (Oceanside): I get Dave Roberts sticking up for his guy Jansen after last nights meltdown of “le plus parfait,” however, I can’t remember Jansen ever eliciting the confidence that he was going to shut down the 9th night after night. The Dodgers have to be in on Kimbrel right? 12:54 Dan Szymborski: Yeah, he’s still not the Jansen of days of yore 12:54 Dan Szymborski: ThougH ie xpect the Dodgers to get a starter more aggressively 12:54 David: Why would the Mets give up two of their top ten top prospects for a rental in Bryant when they need pitching? Also Dom Smith had a good June and is having a big a huge July. Not big on JD Davis at third base but you can live with a split between him and Villar. 12:54 Dan Szymborski: You can do multiple things! THere’s a lot of offensive risk here given the injuries 12:55 Mooseknuckle Curves: Luis Patino is getting his shot in Tampa and I know he throws upper 90’s. Do you expect that he is ready to be a frontline starter in the bigs? 12:55 Dan Szymborski: I think there’s a good shot at that. The Rays didn’t give Snell away for free! 12:55 Cool Papa Bell: Will Fangraphs ever do football? I’d love to see the analytics on that side. 12:56 Dan Szymborski: I’m not David, so I can’t make too accurate a guess 12:56 Dan Szymborski: I think it would require market need and having the people to do it. 12:57 Dan Szymborski: Like, what could FG offer than Football Outsiders or PFF do not? 12:57 Dan Szymborski: And who can you grab to do it? 12:57 Re: Nats: Then why posit a trade you don’t think one of the teams would accept? In that case, let’s send Jacob DeGrom to the Rockie for Trevor Story and Zac Veen. I mean, what are we doing here? 12:58 Dan Szymborski: The idea is to construct what a fair trade *would* look like. 12:58 Dan Szymborski: Do you think DeGrom for Story and Veen is a fair trade? 12:58 Guest: Keith Richards came up with the riff to satisfaction in his sleep and recorded it, along with 45 minutes of snoring. 12:58 Guest: Just wanted to let someone know that I’ve been having an issue with reading Fangraphs articles in Safari on mobile–every article I’ve read for the past week has had to be reloaded at least once because of some error. Not sure if others are experiencing the same. 12:58 Morlock Jimenez: We, rightfully, rag on the HOF voting around here, but is it time to change the MVP voting? Why not let all the sportswriters vote? 12:59 Dan Szymborski: I think we’re getting better MVP/Cy results than the HoF vote has. 12:59 Dan Szymborski: With these, since they’re assigned by the chapter heads, you can ostensibly pick people that are likely to do a good job and take it seriously. 1:00 Dan Szymborski: That’s not foolproof of course; it’s absurd that Jay still hasn’t gotten to vote in a year-end award 1:00 Dan Szymborski: He’s been in BBWAA longer than me and I’m voting my fourth time this year (RoY NL) 1:00 Dave: What’s the best projection a complete non-prospect has ever received? 1:00 Dan Szymborski: Hmm 1:01 Dan Szymborski: I’m wondering if there’s a way to check this 1:01 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS loved Nelson Cruz even when he stopped being considered a prospect across baseball, but I’m not sure that’s the *best* 1:02 Dan Szymborski: (And I won’t try to be clever and use non-prospect to mean that established players count, making Mike Trout the best projection for a non prospect) 1:04 AJ Preller: Confidence in Hosmer is eroding, he might be nothing more than a PH or DH in the World Series. Would MacKenzie Gore for Freeman & Morton be fair? 1:04 Dan Szymborski: Honestly, there are so many questions around Gore right tnow that I’d say no 1:04 Thunderclap Jackson: Is there such a thing as too tall for a batter? Hypothetically assuming stable Mike Trout-level swing athleticism and bat control as you shoot a player with a GROW-RAY, where is the point where the player is just too tall to cover their strike zone? 1:04 Dan Szymborski: I think at extreme heights, arm extension and batters box become an issue 1:05 Dan Szymborski: make a player large enough and good pitches are all going to be in on their hands 1:05 Dan Szymborski: A wendigo would be an awful hitter 1:05 Johnny5Alive: Re: Donaldson to mets and past doesnt mean thats what will happen moving forward. In your mock you have Bryant to the Mets which would help because of the positional flexibility, even if the Mets offense has recently gotten going. But don’t they really need a pitcher? I don’t see that coming from the Cubs. Would you rather try to get Story + Gray? 1:06 Dan Szymborski: I’d love to see the Mets land Gray 1:06 Dan Szymborski: I’m not sayin gthese are the only trades out there! But if I write 20,000 words, Meg will murder me. 1:06 Dan Szymborski: And I don’t think I gave away anything for Bryant that would be necessary to land a pitcher 1:06 Dan Szymborski: (I expect a Mets pitcher trade to be more boring though) 1:07 dazed: how is it that the nats can have playoff odds lower than the mariners and cardinals, and yet buying still seems like a distinct possibility? 1:07 Dan Szymborski: The games behhind is a bit of a trap 1:07 Re: Nats: Likelihood Story or Baez is playing somewhere other than SS after the deadline? 1:07 Dan Szymborski: I’ll say 80% on Story, 60% on Baez 1:08 Dan Szymborski: The Rockies *should* be approaching 100% on Story, but I can’t have any confidence in the front office. 1:08 Dan Szymborski: They’re really known as a tough team to trade with 1:08 Dan Szymborski: Their valuations of players are just odd. 1:09 Dan Szymborski: I’ve had multiple FO people exasperated about that (not for attribution tho) 1:09 Oklahomabrave: You’re one of the few I’ve seen maintain Bryan Reynolds could be had in a trade. Wouldn’t he make a ton of sense for my Braves as a push this year and filling a hole next year(s)? 1:09 Dan Szymborski: I think the price will be steep though. 1:09 Dan Szymborski: Pirates strike me as more likely to move Frazier. 1:10 Dan Szymborski: But I think it’s *possible*. But you’d have to bowl them over. 1:10 Dan Szymborski: And the Braves farm system is not as deep as it was three years ago 1:10 Curious: Is there any research you know of looking at win % after the trade deadline of teams that are sellers? I would assume that their win % goes down as they deal off their best assets, but don’t have any hard evidence to back that up. 1:10 Dan Szymborski: Nothing specific, but that would be my hypothesis as well. 1:10 Guest: “Roguish band of Dickensian pickpockets.” You’re my favorite for a reason. If the Yankees were to retool, who would/ could they even trade for what? 1:11 Dan Szymborski: That’s kind of the tricky part – they don’t have an obvious FA candidate like Chapman 1:11 Dan Szymborski: There’s Corey Kluber, but given his health history… 1:11 Dan Szymborski: Retooling for the Yankees might be being a 2022 buyer 1:11 Josh Gibson: If you had the chance to add 1 pure rental relief pitcher on any bullpen, who would you target? 1:11 Dan Szymborski: Does Kimbrel count or do they have to be a FA? 1:12 Dan Szymborski: Probably Iglesias if it has to be two month rental 1:13 Guest: What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch? 1:13 Dan Szymborski: I love downhill skiing 1:13 Dan Szymborski: I mean as in the event downhill 1:13 Dan Szymborski: I know that there’s no uphill skiing 1:14 Dan Szymborski: Well, maybe cross country 1:14 Bryz: FWIW, Sano is hitting .255/.288/.491 (109 wRC+) since June 6th. Would be nice to see far more walks like he used to do, though. 1:14 Dan Szymborski: But that should be a DOWN period for him! 1:14 Dan Szymborski: On tha tnote, it’s time for me to head off for another week. 1:14 Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone!