Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 8/6/20

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And begun, the chat has!

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Once it starts, it can’t stop.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Until 1 PM!

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well I guess it could.

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If I have a stroke or something, I’m calling 911, not chilling with you guys.

12:06
Chris: Kyle Lewis is awesome still!!

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: August.

12:07
Enlightening Round: What’s the deal with Benintendi?

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s reallyworrying that his contact numbers haven’t gotten back up to 2018 levels and in fact, seem to be getting worse in a small sample size.

12:07
Ben: Buying or selling the back of the cubs rotation of Chatwood, Lester & Mills.

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Optimistic about chatwood, cautiously so with the other two

12:08
Guest: How did the best rotations end up in Ohio?

12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Maybe the secret to good pitching was always bad chili?

12:08
Thank you for the chat!: Is there additional player compensation tied to the expanded playoffs? Could this be a consideration as an incentive in trying to keep players from opting out through the season if their team remains competitive?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s why the playoffs expanded! Owners made a new revenue agreement for the players.

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They’ll now get a $50 million pool.

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hopefully — and not because I hate the format — players are less willing if offered a similar deal next year.

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Making 85 wins the target win total — which it is, the advantages of winning more in this playoff system are miniscule — will be a further drag on player salaries in the market.

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The less valuable being a good team is, the less valuable are added wins.

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And I firmly believe that more playoff spots has been a long-term drag on salaries.

12:11
caesar_solid: Between 2019 and 2020, the two top bullpens according to fWAR are the Rays and the A’s – is it a coincidence these are also two of the smallest budget teams, or is this the result of a strategy to maximize value in a place where they still can?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Bullpens tend to give heartburn and big spending teams like spending big on bullpens, even many large market ones.

12:12
Bauer: Does WAR  take into account strength of opponent?

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It does not.

12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ve looked at the issue with an adjustment for team before and found little value.

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The difference of strength of opponents is just too small in baseball for players playing a full slate of games.

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And the WAR magnitude is just too small in players with only a few games.

12:13
Grizzly Man: Is this it for Josh James as a starter? Is there any hope he’ll develop enough control to be more than a 1- or 2-inning power guy?

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It feels that way, though I still think that’s short-stighted

12:13
o’s: Alex Cobb had another strong start, if the Orioles were willing to eat the majority of Alex Cobb’s contract would they be able to get anything exciting back either at the deadline or in the winter

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe so.

12:13
Swing and Miss DoubleStuf: What would one do with a $50 million pool if the Olympics were to be cancelled?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m sure the Japanese can think up a wonderfully horrifying game show

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:14
Panda Sandoval: Is it possible to evaluate a batter’s swing during TV broadcasts? I feel like I can evaluate pitching (velocity, movement, command), but, other than results/reputation, I have no idea if a hitter is good by watching them on TV. People talk about bat head speed and long/short strokes, leaving the barrel in the zone, but I have no idea how to identify that on TV.

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s even hard to evaluate on TV because all camera angles are slightly misleading.

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (Pitching)

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d say no generally, unless something’s extreme

12:15
Jon: Does wRC+ reflect the poor offense to start the season? I see that Acuna’s wRC+ is 120 despite his pretty rocky start.

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: wRC+ has a neutral league context

12:16
Filthy Pitching: Is there a team with a better starting pitching core than Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Julio Urias?  For bonus points, which of the three do you think will turn out the best?

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think this is still speculative.

12:16
Bill: The Red Sox look awful. Good thing they sold high on Betts to focus on the future 👀

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: heh

12:16
Will: It looked like at times the Reds had figured out Shane Bieber’s pitch sequences. Do you think he’ll sustain this level of pitching for much longer?

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think so. Falling into patterns is something people need to watch for.

12:16
Slapshot: If Yu Darvish loses his glorious Covid inspired mop of hair, does he lose his pitching powers?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think that there should be a positive correlation between the quality of stuff and hair wildness.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like Jered Weaver should look like he was auditioning for Michael J. Fox’s role in Family Ties

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I need to re-date that reference.

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Young Sheldon? I hate referencing Big Bang Theory since I hate that IP

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And degrom is awesome, but the hair is all wrong

12:19
Joe: How will the truncated season effect zips going forward? Will 2021 projections weight the 2020 season any different than normal?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS will naturally weigh 2020 lighter than previous previous seasons

12:19
LFC Mike: Thoughts on Turnbull, Voth or Bassitt? My original pitching line up has been decimated…Soroka the latest…. I hope he can overcome that injury. Liked watching him pitch.

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Spencer Turnbull

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: plus, he sounds like a British general from the US revolution

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: SPENCER TURNBULL AND HIS MAJESTY’S ROYAL FUSILLI JERRYS

12:20
Fangraph’s Lurker: Lance McCullers Jr….Yikes

12:20
Bud Light Jesus: Stats don’t matter yet, Trout isn’t leading WAR

12:21
paneotto: Do you think Framber is coming around?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m optimistic

12:21
o’s: Chances we see the new extra innings rule in 2021?

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 10%

12:22
Bud Light Jesus: Will league wide BABIP get back to .300 by the end of the season? What about K and BB percentages?

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I dunno. It’s crazy low right now

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Which is interesting as it does tell us something about long layoffs

12:22
Sanchez being Sanchez: Is there anything wrong with Gary Sanchez, or is this just his usual streakiness? 60% K rate. His ABs just don’t look good.

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: His contact has definitely been concerning, but I’m less concerned in an oddball year like this than in a normal one

12:23
caesar_solid: Tyler Chatwood and Zach Plesac – which one of these pitchers 2020 is more representative of their true and current powers?

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I like both. It’s ahrd to fake strikeouts.

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though it *might* be a bit easier than normal given the dynamics of league hitters this year

12:24
Bauer: Urias has been in the MLB for five years and is only 23

12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Jon Garland only recently turned 40!

12:25
Guest: The Braves are off to a fast start.. but with the latest injury to Soroka.. their starting depth and available MiLB’ers is scarce. Do the Braves make a deal with a team with excess SP’ing (like the Indians?)

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I suspect they don’t

12:25
ResumeMan: The complaint about Joe Kelly’s suspension being too long are off-base. Not everything is proportional to season length. If Bregman ends up in the hospital with a broken skull, he wouldn’t care what the “equivalent in a 162 game season” his injury was.

Are players on PED suspensions getting their suspensions reduced by 2/3 because that’s the ‘equivalent of 162 games’? Kelly broke a rule, and a rule that was clearly reinforced by the commissioner, that put people in danger. Yes, he was venting a lot of peoples’ frustrations but it doesn’t change that he was reckless and he wasn’t 6/162 reckless

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think this will be in interesting argument in front of an arbitrator since it hasn’t come up before.

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There have been shortened seasons, but not *scheduled* shortened seasons like this.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It does strike me that suspensions should be numbers of games rather than percentages of a season.

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like Quentin vs. Greinke. Why should Quentin’s sentence have gotten smaller today? Greinke’s collarbone doesn’t heal in 60/162% the time.

12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If the season had been canceled after the Marlins, would we be happy with German’s time served?

12:27
Tel: Dan, please do something about the virtual fans on the Fox broadcast. It is an abomination. This should be your first priority (after this chat of course.)

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sadly, the technology is not farther along. MLB the Show has better crowds, but it’s not as dynamic for changes like Fox’s is.

12:29
Atheist Yelich: Is it true that Atheist Yelich is holding Christian Yelich captive?

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Could be!@

12:29
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though given hsi season so far, I’d suspect Satanic Dismemberment Yelich

12:30
LFC Mike: My Kingdom to see MacKenzie Gore soon. Dan can you make it happen… please….

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I basically have control over my house and somewhat with a few cats. No matter how many times I shake my fist at the sun and threaten it, I’m effectively powerless.

12:30
I’m unCronenworthy: Buying Jake Cronenworth as a legitimate piece at all? Seems to have had atleast a somewhat interesting 2019 with the Rays affiliate.

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s very interesting. He kinda feels like he shoudl be a Ray

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Though the Padres have a number of feels-like-a-Ray dudes.

12:31
Guest: What’s your favorite non-universal-DH 2020 rule change?

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, my favorite result is NO WAVES

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I do prefer the batter minimum

12:31
Jon: What are some slow starts you’re ready to be concerned about?

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Doing a piece on this next week

12:32
Mac: FYI. On the team pages, the playoff odds displayed are from 2019. The records next to them are OK though.

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: hmm

12:34
Eric the Red: Are you worried about Joey Votto’s quality of contact? Or is late career Tony Gwynn the best outcome for late career Joey Votto?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not sure if Gwynn is the right comp.

12:34
Guest: After Shun Yamaguchi had logged just 1 IP, he had a -0.9 bWAR – how is it possible for a pitcher to be worth positive or negative nearly 1 whole WAR in just a single inning?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: WAR doesn’t work amazingly in very small slices

12:35
LoneStar: Noticed that Carson Kelly is having a rough start to the year. His hard hit % and exit velo are down significantly. I know it’s a small sample size, but is he a drop in 12 team dynasty leagues? Other available options are Kiner-Falefa from Texas and Nola from Mariners.

12:36
Tom: Who do you like most (and least) out of Pearson, May, Gore Luzardo, Mize? and Why?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think May, simply because the fact that he has some significant chunk of MLB experience with success is huge.

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t dislike any of these guys

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You’re making me choose taco flavors

12:37
Moose_Bolton: Do you listen to any non-baseball podcasts? I’m always looking for new recommendations.

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: A few. Right now, I’m listening through The Greatest Generation

12:38
caesar_solid: What is your favorite taco flavor?

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: al pastor, but I can only answer because I’ve worked out the answer in my head before

12:38
LFC Mike: How devastated would you be if somehow a bowl of Skyline Chili got in front of your cats and they devoured it and wanted more?

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I understand that cats make poor decisions sometimes.

12:38
greg: Cat update please.

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Last I saw, Mercutio was sleeping in one of the hallway bedrooms nestled in one of those big back and arm cushion pillows.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Cassiopeia and Justinian were in the far corner bedroom glaring at each other – Justinian was playing with his anchor toy that dangles from the door frame and Cassie was pissed off because it makes noise.

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Constantine was fighting with the cat toy that looks like him that came in his june kitnipbox.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Freud would probably say some things about a black cat with a yellow collar beating up a toy that’s a black cat with a yellow collar.

12:41
Trivial Trivia: Who is your favorite player of all-time? Just in terms of existing.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s actually a really hard question

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s probably Ripken

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: followed by all submarine pitchers

12:41
Panda Sandoval: During broadcasts, what do you watch for in player performance? Things you can’t pick up from the stat page. I’m trying to watch with a more discerning eye.

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It depends. I don’t go into games with some specific set of rules, though I might be looking *something* specific based on a stat or something that caught my eye.

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But if something becomes too much like work, I tend to lose interest quickly. I’m not well disciplined.

12:42
Bighen: Is there a way to run various simulations with

12:42
Bighen: Curious what the best defensive alignment for the Mets might be but using the same players – Davis at 3b with McNeil in LF or vice versa.  Dom smith in LF, McNeil at 3b, Davis DH.  Davis at 3b, McNeil in LF, Smith at 1B, Alonso DH etc.  seeing the Mets actually make plays in the if and of last night was glorious.  But it’s hard to keep Hamilton, gimenez and guillomre in the lineup

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS doesn’t explicitly do anything like that, but it might be interesting. I suspect it’s McNeil at third though long-term, though defense is triciky

12:43
Cool Papa Bell: Which player would you rather have?  Aaron Hicks, Oscar Mercado or Brian Reynolds?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Reynolds

12:43
El Presidente: will either the Orioles or Pirates end up in Nashville if their rebuild is a flop?   Just can’t see how a city in the south doesn’t grab one of the teams that is struggling in the near future

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No

12:43
Justin Returner: I asked you during the opening day chat what exactly was making ZIPS so optimistic about David Peterson. You said that his WAR projection of 0.8 in 45ish innings seemed off. After two solid Peterson starts against two good lineups, do you still think the projection’s overvaluing him?

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, that projection was 3.2 per 180 innings!

12:44
Justin Returner: Yeah, I know. That’s why I was suspicious!

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s been good but he hasn’t blown me away or anything

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And this year is so weird that I’m more skeptical of anything I see in the short term

12:45
What is up: with Lance McCullers?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He IS a dude coming off a serious injury in a really odd season

12:46
John Smith: Who is the best long reliever who needs a spot start to prove he’s better than most of us realize?

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I should say Julio Urias just to annoy

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I can understand why they won’t, but I’d still like to see Matzek get a start at some point

12:48
Ole Smitty: Génesis Cabrera is up to relieve or start?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Remains to be seen

12:48
Your Name: If the Mets have a demonstrated tendency to lose games that deGrom starts, regardless of his performance, is he that irreplaceable to the Mets? Or are they just providing proof that any estimation of value ascribed to him is purely theoretical?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The Mets break reality.

12:49
Guest: What are you doing with these 7 inning double headers in leagues with games played caps? Sit everyone except top 50ish players to maximize at bats?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure honestly. It’s the most significant rule change ever awkwardly negotiated in-season

12:49
caesar_solid: What’s worse? Being traded to the Marlins this week or being released from the Marlins?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you’re released from the Marlins, you probably have short-term COVID immunity!

12:49
LoneStar: saw you posted my question, but didn’t see an answer

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oops. I’m not crazy about Kelly’s fantasy value, but I’d take him over the alternatives

12:50
Human Rain Delay: Worst, best, and most interesting management of 30 player roster?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Work in progress!

12:50
YardGoat: What happens first: The Dodger and Yankees miss the playoffs in the same year OR The Pirates and Orioles make the playoffs in the same year?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Latter probably

12:50
Rodney: Do you think Cristian Pache hit enough to be an asset in fantasy as well as real life? Seems like his floor might be Kiermaier. Ceiling might be… young Andruw Jones?

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s going to get a lot of his value in things fantasy doesn’t really reward

12:52
Mike Hunt: Is Dylan Moore going to hold a spot on that weak Seattle offense?

12:52
Chris: This is the first time you’ve answered my Kyle Lewis statement different. Usually you just say July. Glad to see you’ve come around to saying August

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Moore, probably not long-term

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Haniger will eventually be back and I don’t feel 2020 is as new baseline for him

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and there are other fringey guys for the M’s to cycle through

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and I don’t even see him as that good

12:53
Human Rain Delay: How do you feel about future seasons with more double headers but 7 innings each?

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Meh. Seven inning games feels wrong in the majors

12:54
caesar_solid: does time on the 30 man for the first 2 weeks count as normal service time? Because Ashton Goudeau was apparently on the 30 man until today but didn’t get a PA and shows no service time

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe it should be. These aren’t very accurate in-season

12:54
Mike Hawk: My Altuve for his Pearson…in dynasty….have Huira.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not crazya bout this trade. Pearson has a ton of upside, but ALtuve’s already among the best few 2B and there’s a great deal of risk with Perason

12:55
Guest: Oh Dannnnnn…. It’s Mr. Belvedere time!

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh yeah, I said I’d do Mr. Belvedere. Hang on

12:59
Human Rain Delay: How many teams will finish with under 60 games played?

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ll say 10

12:59
Human Rain Delay: Think mlb will limit teams to 55 games for others to catch up?

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably no

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’ll see how deep it gets

1:00
Guest: let’s say Ohtani and the Angels decide starting isn’t an option anymore. would the new rules prevent him from playing RF, and then coming in as the closer in home games when the angels are ahead in the 9th?

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Eventually they would

1:00
Your Name: You took my deGrom comment in jest, but really- I think he’s the perfect embodiment of the idea that player value, while interesting and useful to calculate, can easily be entirely wasted in actual games. Is there any easy way to separate out the value players generate in games their teams win, vs games they lose, to see who creates the most useful/useless value? Am curious about Trout, too.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: WPA attempts to do these things

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: but it’s a hard thing to extricate

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think what you depends on exactly what you’re trying to do

1:00
Jeremy: Do you have any idea how teams have historically performed in terms of winning percentage as the away team in their home ballpark? How does this compare to the winning percentage for home teams and away teams in traditional games? The sample size of such games should be very limited before this year, but I think this would be worth revisiting as a potential article after this season ends as we’re getting a lot more of these games than in past years.

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think the sample size will still be quite limited

1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Home field advantage is already tiny

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Mr. Belvedere

1:02
caesar_solid: Cubs are #2 in fWAR as a team for starters, and yet Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, and Alec Mills have 3 of the slowest FBs in baseball right now, so velo is a SHAM, right? right?

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Velocity is important but it’s not everything

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But that doesn’t make it unimportant

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like a billionaire being seriously depressed doesn’t “prove” that having billions of dollar sucks.

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And if you disagree, please send me your money in an envelope!

1:04
The Final Boss: Re: Velocity… Kimbrel has elite velocity which directly translates into elite hitter exit velocity…

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And on that note, time for me to head out for another week!

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks for joining me everyone and I’ll see you next time!

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We might just make it through the season!

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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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