Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 8/4/22

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hello people!

12:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And maybe some bots.

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Or cats or alien lifeforms.

12:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But probably people.

12:04
Wiz: Is there a team set up better than the Os over the next decade? I mean, WOW

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I mean, O’s won’t have Dodgers money but the should have a nice rest of 2020s!

12:05
Wiz: Will we see Gunnar Henderson this year? Odor for Henderson seems like one of the clearest ways to add like a win and a half the rest of the way.

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I suspect no since he’s not on the 40-man

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t know if the O’s necessarily want to add him right now.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (not to mention the usual service time games)

12:06
Big Al: Mike Elias stated that this off season the Orioles will be much more willing to spend on FA’s, do you have any idea who might fit? I assume some arms.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I can see the O’s looking at arms

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though the market isn’t *great*

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS had Musgrove far better than the rest of the likely FAs

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (You can see that in Musgrove ZiPS piece)

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I can see them picking up some inning-eaters

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Note that I am expected DeGrom to actually take the option given his injury

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: deGrom

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I could see midrange pitcher options like Eovaldi or Taillon

12:09
Tacoby Bellsbury: If you were a GM who got to choose which rebuild you are inheriting between the Nats, Reds or A’s, which would you pick and why? (Baseball reasons only — the “chili” vs. proximity to your house should make Cincinnati a wash.)

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Dangit, can’t use driving distance?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Then probably DC, because there I can *envision* the team spending money again

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I mean, they *did* offer Soto more than $400 million

12:09
Bob: Why do you think Willson Contreras is still a Cub?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I suspect they try to extend him

12:09
HornsUp: I can defend the Cubs not trading Contreras or Happ if they did not like the offers, but shouldn’t they have been happy to get a Circuit City gift card for Smyly?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Maybe they didn’t get a gift card!

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Happ I can understand since Happ isn’t a FA

12:10
Jason N: That Brandon Drury pickup was HUGE

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t go that far, but he’s useful

12:10
Oakland Ass: Hey White Sox did something at the deadline — not firing Sleepy Eyes LaRussa

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I mean, Reinsdorf didn’t sell

12:10
Anon21: Speak comfort to me, Dan. Why has Ronald Acuña’s 5-year projection collapsed between last year’s trade value list and this year’s? Is it mostly playing time (which is inherently more uncertain)?

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Injury not fully baked in until return and his play is WAY down overall

12:11
Oakland Ass: Can Angels do anything in next 2-3 years to become good?

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Nothing realistic, no

12:11
asnbrv: How does ZiPS have any idea how good a fielder is that hasnt had any mlb playing time?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have a total zone-esque minor league system

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have the location data for every ball hit in every minor league game going back to 2008

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and a probabilistic measure for every ball hit

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sorry, was looking for a graphic

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: For example, here are grounder rates by vector

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:17
Perry Minasian: Do I trade Ohtani this offseason? And if so, what % of the Soto return should I expect to get?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, becuase you’d probably only get half.

12:17
Biscuit: Think Barrero can eventually impact a major league roster? That K rate looks pretty scary.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I am increasingly pessimistic. His plate discipline numbers have collapsed in the minors this year, along with everything else

12:18
Dansby SwanSong: I still don’t understand why the Yankees traded Montgomery for a great defensive CFer who is on the IL with plantar fasciitis.  Please offer your take.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He should be back. Cards are being careful.

12:18
Oakland Ass: Which fan base should have less hope: Rockies or Royals?

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Rockies

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Royals have a craptacular plan that needs everything to go right, but sometimes they land on free parking

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And when they’re good, they have the understanding to augment that

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: when the royals had their moment, they DID make trades to add talent

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Rockies just shuffle along randomly.

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Gimme a crappy plan combined with boldness than no plan combined with indolence

12:20
KIDZERO: Long time Rockies fan who is totally disillusioned by Rockies front office.  Iglesias, Colome, Kuhl, Estevez all soon to be free agents, but not moved for any future players…put me out of my misery!

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not allowed to murder people, I think.

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But here’s my collection of Hearthstone-Rockies images.

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: For those who don’t get the last reference, the Rockies held a pizza party at the trade deadline instead of doing anything

12:24
James: People are sleeping on Profar this season, dude’s rockin a 126 wRC+ and projected to finish with ~3.7 fWAR. He’s probably opting out this winter, right?

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s likely

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He can probably beat 1/7.5 with a 10 mutual option, which is what he has if he doesn’t opt out

12:24
Oakland Ass: Let’s play make believe — Hosmer opts out. How much does he get as a free agent?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS would offer him one-year, $2.3 million.

12:26
Oakland Ass: I get the A’s moving but is Las Vegas really a good market for baseball or just an easy mark to get stadium funding?

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Latter

12:26
M’s Fan: Who could/should the M’s target in the offseason to add a bat?  The farm is pretty gutted to make a trade now.

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: This isnt one of the more exciting FA years

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Abreu as DH would be fun

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you can settle who plays where without any disasters, Swanson or, assuming opt-out happens, Bogaerts

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (I’d try to move JP to 2B for Swanson, not for Bogaerts, so who knows who would get pissed)

12:29
Didace: What team has a better record in 2025 – Padres or Nationals? (Please say Nationals, I need to feel good about this situation.)

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Nationals BUT YOU MADE ME

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s really hard to tell with so much uncertainty

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Padres could go doomsday clock for end of 2024

12:30
Rob: Rutschman is already top 10 in catcher WAR in half the games but would love more than 5 homers in 50+ games!

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: DONT BE GREEDY

12:30
JasonM: From your Article on Aug 2nd “Padres Push In All Their Chips, Agree to Deal for Juan Soto and Josh Bell” you stated that “(Year-by-year projections for Wood and Susana are unfortunately beyond ZiPS’ scope at this stage of their careers.)”  What is the tipping point where ZiPS is able to do year-by-year projections on players? Wood has only has a couple hundred PAs at low-A so far, is it a matter of just having a larger sample at low-A (or below) or would he need to have played at A+? or AA?

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s mostly where I’m comfortable

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t like projecting hitters until a full season of high A and pitchers until they have at least SOME AA time

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: at least, not enough to do year by year readouts

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: because the volatility is MASSIVE for those guys

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Just comfortable enough with the mean WAR totals for the prospect rankings

12:31
John: How wide do you believe the gap is between the top and bottom teams when it comes to developing and applying analytical tools and models?

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Certainly smaller than 20 years ago

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: A bad front office now — let’s say the Royals — would be in the top tier in 1995

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Rockies are poorly run no matter the era

12:32
Frank Thomas the Tank Engine: Did the Dodgers make a mistake in not adding another high leverage reliever?

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s a possibility

12:34
Fanny: Hello Dan, it seems like some players were just in the right place at the right time, such as Jose Altuve and how he ended up getting signed by the Astros. Who do you think the best player(s) is who never had the opportunity? Not someone like Grady Sizemore for example, who was derailed by injuries; and not someone who was a hyped prospect but then just never produced, like Mark Appel (though he currently he has 1.74 ERA with the Phillies?!?). But someone who seemed like they could have been really good but just never got the chance to either get called up or get a full-time job. Anyone come to mind?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: All time? That’s hard, it depends on what you consider too much of an opportunity.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Roberto Petagine never really got consistent playign time

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Greg LaRocca had a much smaller window

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Scott McClain has to be on that list

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Karl Pagel

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Brian Dopirak

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: sorry, just thinking of names here

12:39
Cat Latos: What do my cat friends do?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Last I saw them, Constantine was sitting on the kitchen counter because he was getting hungry, Cassiopeia was on a blanket in a guest bedroom, and Mercutio was bullying Justinian over the fishing pole that is a long fluffy yellow measuring tape with a bell at the end

12:40
Frank Thomas the Tank Engine: The Rays would be in trouble for doing little at the deadline if not for the Red Sox, White Sox, and Guardians doing (net) nothing to help themselves right?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Yeah, it wasn’t the most exciting deadline for the Rays

12:41
Romorr: Considering the return the Reds got fir Mahle, would you have liked to have seen Mike Elias beat that? Under control for next year as well made him attractive in my eyes.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Meh

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d rather the O’s give up money in FA than prospects

12:41
Giant Gonzales: How do you view Bloom as a GM so far? I thought this would be more of a retool while rebuilding the farm system, but the returns on the Betts trade are below cromulent, the Renfroe swap is a meh, and the “big” money Story signing isn’t looking too hot. Is this a case where it’s 5 years in before he’s done shedding all the previous contracts/players? If Devers doesn’t get extended, it’s a tough pill to swallow watching the amount of young talent that’s left over the past couple years.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s hard to say so far; I think he’s also under a lot of ownership constraints

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: call it an incompelte

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: For example, I have a good faith basis to believe that ownership insisted on a player who could contribute now for Betts

12:42
Romorr: With just 93 games above A+ for Gunnar, are you comfortable with the service time assetments? For me, I can kind of see both sides to this.

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Here’s what it comes down to for me

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

  1. What is he going to do against AAA pitchers that he isn’t already to be more ready?
  2. Is he better than who he would replace?
12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If the answer is shrug and yes, then it’s service time

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s a 21-year-old who can play shortstop and a .939 OPS at AAA. What exact skill will he develop AAA now outside of simply beating the pitchers up even more?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s the question one has to answer

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not necessarily saying YOU have to answer it

12:46
Dan: What is your opinion on the Ruf trade? Have seen reactions ranging from what are the Mets doing to this trade isn’t great for either team

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s fine

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Mets want to win now and now they have a platoon of large adult son and large adult uncle

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If Davis hits better, he can just be a starting DH next year for Giants maybe

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and while three prospects went to Giants, it’s not like these were PROSPECTS

12:47
Urban Shocker’s Jockstrap: Important simulation request: Can you run a WWE tag team of Juan Soto and Scott Boras vs. the Lerner family?

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I could. I already have Juan Soto handy!

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Will have to make him a new uni of course

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Gratuitous

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:49
Joelskil: Why are sunsets prettier than sunrises?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Because you’re probably not going to work after the former

12:49
Paul: Thoughts on the Brewers’ DFAing Lamet?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m surprised that they did it so quickly

12:50
Nolan: deGrom says he wont take the option tho, and if continues to look like deGrom I don’t see how he’s not gonna get a better deal

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh, I missed that he said that!

12:50
JC: Clint Frazier’s page is missing.

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He started going by his middle name, Jackson, a few months ago

12:52
Facing Your Old Team: I’ve always been interested by cases of players facing their old team for the first time.  For example, Jordan Montgomery’s first STL start is against NYY this weekend.  In cases like that, does either team gain an inherent advantage over the other?  Does Montgomery have a good feel for what his former teammates can’t hit so he can tell his new rotation-mates?  Do Yankee catchers tell other Yankee hitters what Montgomery likes to throw in certain situations?

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Honestly, I’ve never actually researched that particular issue

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It would be fun to look at though

12:52
Sad Nats Fan: Why do the Braves continually sign their players to relative bargains?! IT’S NOT FAIR! I’m not crying you are!

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: At least this was a fair deal!

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That Albies deal…

12:53
Guest: Christian Encarnacion-Strand not much of a prospect per the scouting report, but he has done nothing but hit. Is a scouting update on the way?

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There was a midseason one!

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’ll certainly get a ZiPS this year

12:53
Guest: when Zips runs extension analyses, does it use a sliding scale of dollars per war or is it a 1:1 ratio? For example, a player with a high chance of providing less than one WAR would have value closer to replacement level for those seasons but a much higher $ per WAR for seasons of 3+ projected WAR?

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The thing is that after the first win, $/win is *still* sorta working

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: the thing is, it ALWAYS should have been non-linear

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but it’s always acted linear, more or less

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: that seems to be changing, most for mediocre players

12:54
TKDC: The Nats would have been ecstatic if Soto would have agreed to that under market deal, but don’t you think it was designed to shift blame? “Hey, we tried?” $440 million seems more appropriate for 10 years, not 15. If Soto turned *that* down, then they could legitimately say they tried.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They probably should have just offered 10 because years 11-15 for ANYONE is really low value because of uncertainty

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure you offer half-a-billion bucks for PR

12:55
Cito: Where can fans find public defensive metrics for Minor Leaguers beyond the simple assists, errors, plays, etc? I know of Clay Davenport’s site, but any others?

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s actually kind of hard

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: there isn’t much out there

12:55
Juan Soto: How long were organizations using deeper analytics before general baseball fandom realized how crucial they had become?

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not that long really

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: you go back to the 80s, whiel there were always a couple numbers guys hanging around

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: like Eddie Epstein

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but the analytics *were* rudimentary

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and honestly, the 90s sabermetric community was ahead of teams

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: at the time

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Moneyball really *did* help to more quickly modernize front offices than they would have otherwise

12:57
Guest: does Rodon opt out this off season, if so, are Cardinals, Rangers…anyone else top destinations?

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he does, but I kinda expect the Giants to drop a big extension offer before end of season

12:58
Sad Nats Fan: To be fair–half the Soto return is still significant. That’s how big it was.

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I think the Angels have the idea that Ohtani is AS valuable

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s not. You get half the time

12:58
Guest: Does MJ Melendez offer more value as an OF or catcher?

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: c

1:00
Service Time Impingement Syndrome: Do you have a take on what’s going on with Luis Robert and why the White Sox comments on the situation are so convoluted? Is it just HIPAA compliance? Or something more?

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The problem is that MLB’s CBA, at last check, only allows team’s to disclose *employment-related* injuries

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: so there’s this weird kabuki where they can’t really SAY that a player is out with COVID or something unless the player’s cool with it

1:01
Cito: Ronny Mauricio ranked #17 on your pre-season ZiPS 100. How much do you expect him to fall with the poor walk rate and contact issues this season?

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: a bunch

1:01
Will: What are your Qualifying Offer predictions?

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not leaking an article I haven’t even thought about yet! lol

1:02
Colton: Do you think the Cardinals did right by not including Carlson in a trade to get Soto or do you believe they made a mistake in doing so?

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think where the Cardinals were unwilling was Carlson AND a huge package

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The thing is, the Cardinals are not gamblers.

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They’re the steady, careful types.

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Cardinals calmly and coolly calculate their pot odds

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: While the Padres see JTs and a couple people limping in and aggressively raise

1:04
Dick Monfort Windmill High-Five: Am I so wrong for desperately wanting a Cardinals/Jays WS just for the takes?

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, chaos is always an option

1:04
HornsUp: More likely to fall off a cliff after 2024: Padres or Brewers?

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Padres honestly

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Simply based on what they have now, not future decisions

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Four of their five starters are FA this year or next

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and one of the most likely replacements for one, Gore, is a Nat

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: On that note, I have a busy afternoon, so I have to keep this to an hour today.

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

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Remember, you can always hit me up with stuff on Twitter!

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t bite unless you’re Murray Chass





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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Websmember
11 days ago

My all-time favourite guy who never got his proper chance: Ken Phelps.