Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 7/30/20

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Greetings and hello!

12:04
Chris: Are you on the Kyle Lewis hype train yet?

12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: July.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: More seriously, he’s been a lot of fun so far, but the threshold for me greatly changing my view of a player in a positive direction is quite high when just the season before, they struggled against Double-A pitchers. At least relative to how prospects typically fare.

12:06
Peter Thomas: Dan. How should we evaluate catcher defense? And if a team has one of the few top catchers, and they should be considered MVP candidates for their defense, doesn’t that automatically downgrade the value of the pitchers on his staff?

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s tricky. We do try to assign framing credit to the pitcher and hitter. And there’s stuff like passed balls, errors, stolen bases, etc.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But there are likely some things that are hard to capture.

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And that’s from an overall evaluation standpoint too, not just stats. Catching defense is tricky.

12:07
Friend: Good morning (where I live) Dan!

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Dzień dobry!

12:07
LFC Mike: Great effort on the opening day chats Dan.

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: BUT NOT GREAT RESULTS?

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I hope you all enjoyed our Opening Day chats last Thursday and Friday.

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I tried to tone down the weirdness a bit, to make it easier for my colleagues to deal with me.

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It wouldn’t have been appreciated if I turned the chat into a whole SzymChat Wacky Shack.

12:10
Josh: What’s the plan for the “Fangraphs Live!“ streams? Are they done? If so, are the results of that season known?

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe we’re still doing them!

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’re doing the Home Run Derby next.

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though I’m supposed to take my mom downtown for a COVID test at some point in the next few days, as ordered by her doctor.

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (She’s only 65, but she has the sense of direction of Jeff Francoeur facing a slider)

12:12
Sodo Mojo: So as a Mariners fan I’m mostly looking at development this year.  I know Kyle Lewis can’t keep this up and only has 100 MLB at bats but is it reasonable to say that he is a little better than his projections peg him at going forward?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, naturally! One should only think of a projection as the center point of an array of possibilities, captured a specific moment of time.

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Every good and bad at-bat subtly moves the mass to the left or the right

12:12
Chris: As fans should we commend the royals for playing singer and now bubic or should we call them idiots for not using service time rules correctly

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think in a year like this, you can’t worry about service time. Even with the team’s obvious interest in illegally manipulating service clocks, there are no minor leagues this year, so service time is the only way you’re going to actually have these guys playing baseball.

12:14
It’s July: In early March, I drafted Syndergaard, Verlander, Kopech, Alex Wolf, and Stroman to name few for my fantasy team. Other than changing my team name to “Skyline Chili with Extra Beans”..any recommendations?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: WHY HAVE YOU, MAD SCIENTIST, COMPRESSED ALEX WOOD AND RANDY WOLF INTO ONE HORRIFYING AMALGAM?

12:14
Morbo: Hi Dan

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yo

12:14
Friend: Last night showed that the man-on-second rule doesn’t always work.  Any thoughts, besides the correct opinion that you hate the rule?

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s certainly exciting and can lead to some interesting decision.

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I still feel it goes against one of the basic, foundational concepts of baseball the game: you don’t get bases for free unless the defense allows them.

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So there are a lot of wacky rules I’d be interested in, but this is a foundational thing, and should remain constant.

12:16
Guest: Nate Pearson looked pretty good last night. What do you think he’ll be like for the rest of the season?

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he’ll be solid, though I don’t expect him to go deep in to many (if any) games.

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Plus, it appears that the extra time he needed to sit and watch people playing baseball was precisely the amount of time he needed to become a real major leaguer! How fortunate for the Blue Jays!

12:17
Jim Leyland Palmer: The most shocking thing to me about your Marlins twitter spat, is that there is even a “Marlins twitter” at all to begin with. Figured it would be a few dozen enthusiasts, not the full knee jerk reactions for the bottom of the bucket that fill the twitter comment section of most teams posts

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They finally had a common enemy!

12:18
BeefLoaf108: What Arby’s sandwich has the highest fWAR?

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Plain Jane roast beef. Go with the classic.

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I haven’t had Arby’s in nearly a year. My association of Arby’s with Galileo the cat makes me feel sad when I see an Arby’s now, not hungry.

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And he was deprived of one final last roast beef. 24 hours before he died, when the vet thought he was recovering fast enough that surgery wouldn’t be necessary, I skipped going to Arby’s as we usually do post-vet since his jaw was sore. But he didn’t get better and he never got his belated sandwich.

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He had an abscess in his jaw line that was quite deep and the vet was reluctant to put a 20-year-old cat under unless it was absolutely necessary. Since his fever went down from the Thursday to Friday and the swelling went down, the vet thought it was safer to send him home to recover.

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But he deteriorated very quickly over a 12-hour-period early Saturday morning.

12:22
James: What number is higher at the end of the season: number of Marlins wins or number of Marlins positive COVID tests?

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s going to be close, I think. The positives should slow down, but there’s a very good chance that a bunch of Marlins games just don’t happen.

12:23
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Reminder: it is allowed to believe both that Manfred’s punishment for the Astros was too light and that headhunting is wrong. (However, you are not allowed to be opposed to making faces at teams you don’t like. That is great.)

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Manfred’s punishment for the Astros wasn’t too light because it was precisely the punishment he was allowed to give out without consulting the players first: none.

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So giving the players immunity cost MLB precisely nothing.

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: For the same reason Fay Vincent’s steroid memo meant nothing.

12:24
James: Let’s pretend for a moment that Eric Hosmer’s newfound launch angle is intentional and repeatable. How much would this change affect the Padres’ moving forward?

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s hard to say, but Hos walking the walk when it comes to launch angle is a very positive development. ZiPS already projected the Padres to do well while getting nearly nothing from first base, so anything more than nearly nothing is just a yummy cherry

12:26
Friend: Did you watch Pearson’s start yesterday?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Only parts. Unfortunately, I kind of forgot he was starting and it was the fifth before I realized it.

12:27
RMR: Should the White Sox be worried about the back end of their rotation (Cease, Rodon and Gonzalez with Lopez going down)?  Or is this just July?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t be worried yet.

12:27
RMR: I know it hasn’t happened yet, but how quickly do things like plate discipline stats stabilize (i.e. O-Swing, whiff rate, etc.)?

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s hard to give an answer other than “quickly” because it’s not a binary thing you can easily apply.

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The larger the change in something, the fewer PA/BF you need to believe there’s some change.

12:28
Isolated Thinker: I was stunned but not shocked that the majority of Marlins wanted to keep playing.  I understand Rojas is the clubhouse leader but isn’t this the kind of thing the manager should be handling?  I was surprised to see Mattingly practically take a back seat trying to explain what’s going on with his team.  I think an important question is were there any consequences outlined or enforced for players going out and partying by management?  Although it’s not exposed to the media, I’d be surprised if Jeter is not around the team providing leadership and advice regularly.  I understand the investigation is still pending, but is it premature to shine Mattingly and Jeter in a dark light during this “crisis”?

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I certainly did on Twitter!

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And got all the Marlins fans mad at me.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m of the belief that any Marlin front office member/manager who knew about the tests and had the power to prevent the team from taking the field ought to be suspended for the rest of the season. People who can’t be trusted to aggressively contain COVID-19 spread endanger the entire 2020 season (and possibly, lives!)

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: People said to me — well, yelled at me — that it’s not the job of the manager to protect against COVID-19, just get ready for the game.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Which is exactly the reason the country is in this mess. It’s EVERYONE’s job to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You’re not a human resources manager, for now you’re a human resources manager/virus mitigator

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not a baseball writer, for now, I’m a baseball writer/virus mitigator

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and so on for every job

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (No, I don’t know your job, it’s the general you)(

12:31
BLT: Don’t know all the ins & outs, but if Soto’s situation happens in playoffs, will the home team’s city have to clear the player to play?  If so, that could lead to some interesting timing on decisions

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think this is a very fluid situation.

12:32
John: What do you make out of Dylan Carlson? Do you think he can cement him self in the CF role for the Cardinals given the struggle of Harrison Bader both last and this season? Not necessarily writing Bader off, he’s still young, but i assume productivity has to matter more in the short season.

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not on the Bader panic train yet.

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think realistically, O’Neill/Fowler are more at risk

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: With defense included, Bader was hardly *lousy* last year!

12:33
RMR: Is Benintendi broken?  Obviously early, but last year was concerning and it’s looking like he’s still kind of lost.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It kinda feels like he’s in the wrong era.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s not Desmond/Hosmer or anything

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he’ll be fine, but I don’t think his ceiling is *super* high

12:34
RMR: Are the Rays going to ramp up their starters more as the season goes on?  I wouldn’t be as nervous with most teams, but with them I’m kind of wondering if this is going to be a season long strategy of pulling guys very early.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Rays are a mystery to all who predict things.

12:34
RMR: Obviously only one start, but Zac Gallen had a moderately high BB rate last year once he came up too (much higher than his MiLB stats would hint at).  Is this just small sample still or is he a guy that kind of needs to nibble at the ML level because he’s not an overwhelming stuff guy?

12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not worried yet.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He *is* going to be more nibbler than power pitcher with his stuff, of course

12:36
Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: My reaction when I serve Dan my award winning black bean Skyline chili:

12:36
Sean: How high do you think Gleyber Torres’ ceiling is?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sistine Chapel

12:36
NotGraphs Revivalist: Gerrit Cole had a 10.8% SwStr versus Baltimore yesterday and his fastball velo is down almost 1 mph, so who should I drop him for in my fantasy league – Merrill Kelly or Chris Bassitt?

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: heh

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: This is a weird year in terms of offseason and preparation, so I’m not sure some of the things that would worry us in prior years should worry us with the same brow furrowment this time

12:40
Slapshot: If I set the over/under on the number of teams who don’t play 60 games this season at 10, do you take the over or the under?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Over

12:40
….: Rob Manfred is by far and away the worst commissioner in N. American sports

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s a lot of competition

12:42
Daniel: So given David Fletcher’s contact skills, his hot start and the short season, you got to think he could really make a push to finish at .400, no?

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s certainly a chance! I might do an update if anyone’s still surging in another week.

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He finished just out of the top 25 in my piece last week on the subject.

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: His rest-of-season ZiPS BA is up a whole 12 points from preseason!

12:43
Matt: Corey Seager’s batted ball results are absurdly great so far. How much of a resurgence do you expect?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he’s fine. Nothing too new here.

12:44
RMR: ETA on Nick Madrigal?  Sox could really use him right now with Mazara hurt (no star, but when him being out puts Delmonico in the lineup you’ve got problems).

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The White Sox have said he’s close

12:44
RMR: Errr probable COVID for Mazara, not hurt.

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: WE DON”T KNOW ANY OF THIS IT’S A SECRET, HE”S OUT WITH TOTALLY-NOT-COVID

12:45
RMR: How much stock do you put in hitters switching leagues as a cause of struggles?  Thinking Mookie, Grandal, etc.  Obviously way early, but is there any data that backs this up as a common cause of early struggles?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not much.

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: What it comes down is that it’s not 1951

12:46
Szan Dymborski: I opted out of my home league this year because I figured something like the Marlins was gonna happen. “I told you so” doesn’t feel so good in this case 🙁

12:46
Friend: Javier looked incredible last night for the Astros.  It was reminiscent of Freddy Peralta’s first major league start.  Small sample or is there something there?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: More time, though it was a great start

12:46
Morbo: Can I request a poll? I’m going to put the offensive numbers of two players over approximately the first 9 years of their careers. I’d like to see which player everyone would choose. Guesses as to the player identities are welcome too

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK, this might look garbagey

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

Who Would You Choose?

G PA HR R RBI SB 1202 5286 286. 904 756 200 BB% K% ISO BABIP 15.2% 21.2% .276. .348 AVG OBP SLG wOBA. wR (19.0% | 4 votes)
 
G PA HR R RBI SB 1399 6082 366 1071 1112 61 BB% K% ISO BABIP 13.3% 9.4% .294 .317 AVG OBP SLG wOBA. wR (80.9% | 17 votes)
 

Total Votes: 21
12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: oh god

12:47
COVID Ball: Article idea: have there been more pitcher injuries early this year? Anecdotally, it feels like there have been, but who trusts hunches when there is data available?!

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s tricky given how everything’s being treated differently

12:48
sportznut: When do the Tigers call up Casey Mize?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s soon if they know what they’re doing

12:48
Jimmy2Times: TylerChatwood. Tyler. Chatwood. Does he think he might be good at pitching this year?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Maybe? He seemed to be mildly aware of home plate for a change first start

12:49
Stu: how is this possible

12:49
sportznut: Will ZiPs treat any player who opted out, as missing the 2020 season completely?  Will there be other factors that you might consider during this unprecedented time?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Filling in projections was the best approach for 1982 and 1995 when going back retroactively.

12:49
Mac: Not sure how common it is around the league, but why are mascots considered essential enough to have at games?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They’re avatars of the gods and without the mascots, the gods will punish baseball with COVID-20.

12:50
sportznut: Did you jump into a time machine before posting this chat (dated last week)?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Crap on a bicycle!

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It should update soon.

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I hope Meg doesn’t notice I found yet another new way to cause her a headache.

12:51
Ajay: Which Vlad Guerrero is a better hitter right now?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Still Jr.

12:51
Guest: My coworker likes chewy bacon, I didn’t even realize people like that existed

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: eww

12:51
Morbo: I will post identities of the players after I figure out why I’m feeding my toddler for lunch

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I read this as feeding your toddler as lunch

12:51
Matt: sandwichgraphs subscriptions should be sold as an over-the-top product.

12:51
Them: Dunno about Alex Wolf, but Randy Wood is maybe a good nom de screen for a performer in baseball-centered adult films, right?

12:52
Fluffy-Uranus: Gonna have to see if my cats would enjoy Arby’s

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Only Galileo did of my cats. He was a gourmand.

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Among the meats he feasted on in his life was duck, quail, venison, elk, bison, sea urchin, rabbit.

12:53
Daron: Some managers have mentioned the lack of fans causing teams and umpires to have more heated dugout commentary/exchanges than normal. Do you think it’s a case of the fans normally drowning out much of that same dugout chatter, or are players and coaches now feeling more freedom to shout at each other without having to worry about being overheard by fans?

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I tend to think it’s more things are less drowned out

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though I’m not *in* dugouts, even in a normal year

12:53
druidiful: With regards to the Kelly incident, I think it would have been better received if the suspension was just for throwing at the Astros and not also for taunting them.

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yes

12:54
Ted Williams: I liked your article on using ZIPS to project what Ted Williams might have done if he hadn’t missed time due to serving in the military.  I saw the blurb about Sam Rice only getting 1.3 WAR from ages 24-26, on his way to 50.3 for his career.  Edgar Martinez got 0.8 from ages 24-26, on his way to 65.5 for his career!

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hmm, does FG not have the HOF tag for Edgar yet?

12:54
druidiful: I’m disappointed with how few of the answers so far are “July”

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: People are asking me questions I can’t simply answer with July.

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Also, questions are way up this week! I’m glad baseball Qs came back with baseball!

12:54
Jordan: He could have punished the Astro’s players, he wanted an easy quiet investigation and didn’t want to deal with the avalanche of appeals he was sure to lose. He’s also tone def to his audience, proven by a lot of his decisions and his characterization of The Commissioner’s Trophy as a “piece of medal”.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I can also rob a bank. That doesn’t mean I’m not totally getting caught.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The MLBPA would have an easy win here. And I can tell you from conversations not-for-attribution, that there are lawyers for MLB who felt the same at the time.

12:55
LenFuego: “Manipulating” service time is not “illegal” as you stated, not even close.  It is well within the law, the CBA and the rules of the game.  Please stop with that unhelpful rhetoric.  I agree the rules should be changed to align incentives to call up players so they are not held down artificially due to service and contract concerns, but the misleading rhetoric does not help anybody.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, it’s is a factual matter.

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It has been ruled in arbitration repeatedly that teams must act in good faith in terms of demoting players for “skill and ability.”

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Kris Bryant didn’t lose his grievance case because the Cubs were allowed to manipulate his service time clock

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He lost his grievance case as he did not have sufficient evidence to overcome the assumption of good faith that teams are given.

1:01
Marlins fans: “And got all the Marlins fans mad at me.”
So, 5 people yelled at you?

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hey, I said 15!

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Marlins were bad enough that I brought out the limerick.

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

There once was a Marlin named Don
Who insisted the game must go on
Too bad for the fact,
that science he lacked,
and you can’t bluff a virus with brawn
28 Jul 2020
1:02
Frank Sobotka: The general you’s occupation is Human Resources Manager?!? We used to build [things] in this country. We used to make [things].

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It was the first job that popped into my head.

1:02
Daniel: Phillies have some COVID per Matt Gelb (trainer and clubhouse person), so … Marlins!

1:02
koogs4S: It’s July for Dan too

1:03
Service time: If the league stands by their ruling that it’s ok to leave players down a few games, doesn’t that precedent set the rule?

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s no such ruling that removes the good faith requirement that it’s based on skill and ability.

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Again, Bryant didn’t win because he couldn’t *prove* it.

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you eat my sandwich and I don’t have any proof, you’ll be found not guilty in a court of culinary law.

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But that doesn’t set the precedent that you can just come into my house and eat my sandwich.

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It just means that I’m locking my doors and getting gun, you dirty sandwich thief!

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: BUY YOUR OWN CHEESE, GOLDDIGGER

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK then

1:04
Service time: If I eat your sandwich every single day and you always say it’s ok, haven’t we established a rule?

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Bryant didn’t say it was OK.

1:04
Bueller: The proof is in the pudding.

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The proof of the pudding *is in the eating*

1:05
Friend: The pudding is in the proof

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: IT’S NOT LITERALLY IN THE PUDDING

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK, 1 PM and I have radio and podcasts to do.

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming y’all!

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The question velocity is way up, so I sadly wasn’t able to answer as many as during the sadly baseball-less April-June.

We hoped you liked reading Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 7/30/20 by Dan Szymborski!

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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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MorboTheAnnihilator
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MorboTheAnnihilator

In answer to the poll:
Player A (Mike Trout’s career number through Sunday)
G     PA    HR     R     RBI    SB
1202 5286 286   904  756  200
BB%        K%      ISO     BABIP
15.2%    21.2%  .276   .348
AVG   OBP   SLG   wOBA.   wRC+
.305 .419  .581  .419      172
BsR   Off
59.3  511.9

Player B (Albert Pujols the first 9 years of his career)
G        PA      HR    R      RBI    SB
1399 6082   366 1071  1112    61
BB%       K%      ISO     BABIP
13.3%    9.4%   .294      .317
AVG   OBP   SLG   wOBA.   wRC+
.334   .427    .628  .437        169
BsR    Off
8.9     546.3