Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 9/17/20

12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Happy playoff expansion day!

12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hmm, happy wasn’t the right word choice

12:06
Chris: Ok I get that luis Robert is phenomenal. And his defense is great. And his team is fun. But why is he the favorite for the rookie of the year over Kyle Lewis? Lewis leads him in the majority of hitting stats and has the same war because of defense. This would be the first time a hitter wins a major award because of their defense right, when did voters start caring about that stuff?

12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, if two players are playing similarly — and they are — I’m going to choose the player whose success looks more real.

12:08
Daniel: With Tatis slumping, has Freeman overtaken him as the NLMVP favorite?

12:08
T: Now that Tatis is slumping a bit, everyone’s calling Betts the MVP favorite. Will Freeman ever get the nationwide respect he deserves?

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think there *is* a favorite right now. Betts/Freeman/Tatis are all close in both the old timey stats and the new fangled ones

12:09
Josh: Is it crazy to think that with the emergence of Frazier, Stanton will be relegated to DH duties for the rest of his contract? Hopefully it’ll help keep him healthy, but man thats an expensive DH (and one who fields quite well).

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think it’s a problem.

12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Remember, I’m on record (and so is mgl) as thinking WAR penalty for DHs is too high.

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No matter what kind of filter you use to weed out players near an injured list appearance and stuff like that, there’s strong evidence players hit worse as a DH than they when they’re in the field.

12:10
El Problema: Fangraphs currently lists Khris Davis’ 2018 batting average as .246!!!! D:

12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OH NO

12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hang on gang, I’m going to text Apples *right now*. This is actually a site emergency.

12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK, message sent. Hopefully we’ll fix this website disaster!

12:13
Spawn of Morbo: Start the chat Dan. Any father that feeds his toddler Sky Line Chili slopped over anything deserves what he gets…and he does when he changes my diaper. TO THE CHAT!

12:13
LFC Mike: Good chat to you Dan. Could Sixto Sanchez with just 7 starts for the year ( 2 remaining) sneak in and win N L R.O.Y or is that just too little work even in a 60 game season?

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think it’s likely to be too little since there are good candidates

12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But it might be enough to get some votes or even get into top 3.

12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: By the way LFC Mike, you came up in a blog entry one of the Wikipedia weirdos wrote about me.

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:16
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The moron thought you were interviewing me and because of my bad language, you had to censor my response.

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Among the active Wikipedia editors, there are a *lot* of weirdos.

12:17
Champdo: What do you think an extension looks like for Candelario in the offseason? Also what do you think of Skubal and Mize so far?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Something I may tackle in a piece.

12:17
Skinny Pete yo: The only thing that would make me happier than the Mariners passing the Astros in the standings, is an Astros-Rays first round matchup. Both of those teams are insufferable.

12:17
Gest: In WAR, is the replacement level different for position players  and pitchers?

12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No

12:17
Jason: Do you want to post your (accurate) rant on the expanded playoffs all at once at the beginning or in fits and spurts throughout the chat?

12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh god no. Some of the people here are follow me on Twitter too and I’d hate for them to have to deal with a flood of Really Annoyed Szym for a second time.

12:18
Jefferson: LouBob has been doing everything you could ask for in his debut, but still posting some scary plate discipline and swstr numbers. Is major league pitching going to adjust and tear him apart? Or can he be one of the few major league hitters that succeed with a 30%+ k-rate?

12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: How pitchers adjust is really the X factor for anyone.

12:19
Inaccessible Rail: Dan, I’m depressed about the thought of baseball switching to a 16-team playoff for now on. And also that the Mets are so bad and now deGrom may be hurt. Not that it’s your job to do this, but can you cheer me up?

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you’ve seen my Twitter for the last day, I think you’d know the answer is no!

12:20
Jefferson: I was drunk the other night and had left over chilli. I heated it up and poured Doritos all over it. Can I have your blessing/forgiveness for such an act?

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: As long as no beans.

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Actually have a fun neural network thing lately.

12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Worst Doritos Flavors!

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Wow, that didn’t work

12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh well

12:21
CeddyBReady: THE TRUTH IS A LIE!
Why don’t people know or understand what populism is?  Like for reals, the populist movement in America equates to people crying out that “real chili is all beans!”

Also, Curacao is nice at any time of year and I kinda want to move there. BEISBOL!

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If populists want all bean chili, call me an elitist technocrat

12:22
Tatis Jr’s BABIP: Where am I?

12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: High BABIP are the wings of Icarus!

12:23
Bill: Chances voit finished in T2 of MVP voting?

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s likely to lead in HRs now, so he has a good shot.

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: HR titles do get you votes still!

12:23
TooDamnTall: Nice work on the Conigliaro time warp, I really enjoyed it, even if it was a sad one

12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks! A lot of people seem to have liked this one.

12:23
DAN’s MUDDA: DAN, IT’s YOUR MUDDA! I’M FURIOUS!

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My mom would never refer to herself as Allan Sherman saying muddah. She gets annoyed because anytime I’m quoting somethign she says, I will say it in a ridiculous old Jewish mom voice.

12:25
DAN’s MUDDA: I’M FURIOUS ABOUT YOUR BAD LANGUAGE

12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Again, definitely not my mom, who is an expletive dropper.

12:25
Sharp: Freddie Freeman is a free agent after next season. What does a contract for him look like? I know first basemen over 30 aren’t a popular group for teams to offer big money to, but it feels like the Braves will want to keep him around.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I expect he’ll come to an agreement with the Braves before hitting FA.

12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think the lack of excitement for paying over-30 first basemen just makes it even easier for Braves to keep him around.

12:28
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I suspect an extension for him looks a bit like Goldy’s

12:30
Guest: In predicting DJ LeMahieu’s next team, would you take the Yankees or the field?

12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: A player the team likes and has money for and a job for? I’ll always take the team over the field.

12:30
C: Who throws the best pitch in baseball currently?

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think from just a value standpoint, Lamet’s slider was on top for 2020

12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: for a nasty factor, maybe Morton’s curveball or deGrom’s fastball?

12:31
pss: Have you rerun ZiPS with the no off day postseason? Does it hurt or help particular teams?

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably not a large enough effect, but it does make a deeper rotation slightly more valuable.

12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No off days means you have to go depeer into the rotation.

12:32
Guest: If you were forced to accept a 16-team playoff field, how would you design the playoffs to try to minimize all the competitive downsides?

12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: To win the first round, you have to *sweep* the better teams. Two games for the five seed, three games for the six seed, four games for the seven seed, five games for the eight seed.

12:34
Gunther Centralperk: Can you estimate how ZiPS projects Kershaw going forward with his rebounded velocity?

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, yeah, that’s what the 2021 projection will be!

12:34
TooDamnTall: Dan, I had a dream last night that we were drinking hot chocolate together. It had lots of marshmallows. I had a nice time, thanks.

12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m glad we had fun! But shouldn’t I be getting hot chocolate? WHERE IS MY HOT CHOCOLATE

12:35
LFC Mike: My work here is done. I can achieve nothing greater in life than being in wiki post concerning you. Thank You Dan

12:35
Guest: Can we get a poll on how people find players’ FG pages? Some people type “(player name) fangraphs,” some use “(player name) fang,” some go to fangraphs and then use the search bar. I’m curious.

12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

How Do You Find Players on FanGraphs?

Google (25.0% | 13 votes)
 
FanGraphs Search Box (53.8% | 28 votes)
 
Clicking on Team and then Player (3.8% | 2 votes)
 
Clicking on Leaders and then Player (0% | 0 votes)
 
I Have a Manservant Who Does it For Me (5.7% | 3 votes)
 
Bing? Is That Still a Thing? (1.9% | 1 vote)
 
Infoseek/Ask Jeeves (9.6% | 5 votes)
 

Total Votes: 52
12:37
Gil: Do you cook much? Is there anything that you’d make to impress people?

12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I do cook a lot, I don’t know if I cook anything to impress.

12:38
Trent Hauser: Will we ever get a British player? I feel like those guys really class a place up

12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Danny Cox

12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Also, did you know that the all-time win leader from Scotland has more wins than the all-time win leader from the Dominican Republic?

12:40
Steve O: If we went to a 16 game format, does Gerritt Cole get 300M? I’m gonna say no

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He might still.

12:40
Inaccessible Rail: Dan, I’m an old person, even compared to someone like you, and I have very little experience with Twitter outside of embedded tweets in articles. I didn’t realize that your chats with us gave you a chance to…take a break from your Twitter chats with the whole world?

12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I am very talkative.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And one of my character flaws is that I’m unable to simply not respond to dumb tweets.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Most of my colleagues can do that. It keeps them from going crazy.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But not I! I am the physical manifestation of that xkcd strip.

12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski:

12:41
Dan’s Close Relative: Listen to your mudda, Dan

12:42
Bigfoot Erotica: I read an article purportedly by you, that had statlines into the 1980’s for Tony Conigliaro. I have alerted your nearest sanitarium. Why can’t you just do your job and report baseball facts?

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: heh

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (This is a reference to someone angrily DMing me that I’m a reporter and my job is to report the news not offer opinions)

12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Which is odd since I’ve never worked as a reporter! Since I haven’t done any reporting, if I was supposed to be, I would have thought a boss somewhere would have noted this to me.

12:43
Overbearing Padre: What do the Padres need to be on The Dodgers’ level next year? They’ve already got young pitching in Morejon, Patino, and Gore on the way.

12:43
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Really just need another breakout or two and a little bad luck from the Dodgers. It’s hard to be at parity, but they’ll be close enough that they have a really good shot.

12:43
Blue Morpho: Who is Bieber’s closest challenger to the AL Cy Young at this point? Maeda?

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Maeda, Lynn, Keuchel, Maybe Gio?

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: lito

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I think Bieber has it easy unless something crazy happens.

12:44
Moose_Bolton: If you had to pick one of the 2020 rules changes to carry over into future seasons, which one would it be?

12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Larger rosters

12:45
Aaron Judge: What happens in October if I stay healthy?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think the timeline mostly stays intact.

12:45
LFC Mike: Could M Gore make an appearance out of the bullpen for the Padres as a new arm not seen before in the playoffs..or is he not unwrapped until 2021?

12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: From a pure analytics standpoint, I’d say at this point there woudl be no Gore, but the Padres FO has a gamblin’ instinct.

12:45
CeddyBReady: “Siri, Google Dan Szymborski Fang… OH GAWD!  SIRI!  NOOOO!”

12:46
Gil: Really? There’s no dish that you can pull out and leave guests wanting more? I find that hard to believe.

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t really cook for other people. I just cook crap I like.

12:46
WayTooShort: Dan, I also had a dream we all had hot chocolate. But we didn’t have a nice time. There was a lot of silence. And I think we were all on fire? Anyway, thank you.

12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Gotta stop wearing so many flammables.

12:46
Elliot: I’m just as excited as anybody about Freddie Freeman getting top 3 MVP buzz, but more importantly, is he the friendliest player in baseball?

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I dunno, haven’t spoken with him much.

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I probably talk to more agents/FO than players.

12:47
Elliot: In a 16 game format, I’d assume the game would be weekly like the NFL, so one starter per team. It’d be like a quarterback. A guy like Cole could definitely get $300 million in that format

12:47
Pinstripe Perry: Who is the real Clint Frazier defensively? He had never shown being as bad as he was last year in MiLB, do we just chalk it up to post concussion issues? He’s been surprisingly solid this year.

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Like most things, somewhere in the middle.

12:47
Hire Joe Morgan?: I am tired of the constant politicization of chili and sandwiches in sports.  Thank you for providing a forum free of such disagreements.  Knowing that chili is chili and sandwiches are sandwiches, we can move on and be at peace.

12:47
Hire Joe Morgan?: Since we’re moving beyond leagues and divisions, could we have a thirty-team field with playoffs determined by regional weighting?  It would be a sort of playoff electoral college.

12:47
Hire Joe Morgan?: If we fully embrace the postmodern competitive landscape in which records and team quality have little bearing on postseason prospects, what other criteria could be used to determine entry to the tournament?

12:47
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Handsomeness

12:48
Ezra: What baseball books have you been into lately?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I am so far behind in reading that it isn’t even funny. My COVID brain is slow and dumb.

12:48
Kyler: Adam Duvall isn’t a free agent until 2023. He’s kind of in a weird place because of his age and mixed track record of success but has he shown enough this season to make him a useful piece for the Braves the next couple of seasons?

12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: He’s worth keeping around, I think.

12:48
Guest: Between expanded playoffs, the NL DH, and extra-inning runners at 2nd, which is the most and least likely to return next year?

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think DH very very likely

12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably 25/75 against ghost runners staying

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure about he playoffs. It depends how clearly the case is presented to the players that making success more random disincentivizes investing in talent.

12:50
Bigfoot Erotica: For the record, why did you poison Navalny? Me and 5,000 other interviewers want to know.

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It was chili-related.

12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Those Russians are always putting beets in the chili.

12:50
v2micca: Assuming Freeman/Tatis/Betts all remain knotted up stats wise, which one do you think has the narrative edge with the voters this year?

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think Tatis/Betts probably have the best narrative.

12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Freeman’s been around forever.

12:51
Thank you for the chat!: If you are the Yanks, what position do you prioritize this offseason? I’ve heard speculation of SS, if so, would you prefer a pursuit of Story or Lindor?

12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s closer than I would have expected a year or two ago. But I’d still say Lindor

12:52
Overbearing Padre: Have you Watched Tatis during his slump? Something seems very wrong. Could be hiding an injury but, what should they do to get him right?

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The thing is, players rarely look good in a bad slump.

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: One thing I’ve learned over the years, hoepfully, is not to react too much to slumps. They happen.

12:53
btownfritz: There has been a lot of talk about the Mariners going for it and calling up Kelenic and Gilbert. Is there any kind of consensus that they are even ready?

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The thing is, I’d want to see Kelenic even if the M’s *werent’* going for it.

12:53
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: Ben Clemens wrote an article documenting Dylan Cease’s Effective Spin issues.  There was actually another article on another site a few months ago that noticed the same thing.  If 2 outside sources see it, what are the chances that Cease recognizes his issues and actually addresses them this offseason? Especially since his teammate went through something similar…

12:53
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It always varies depending on the player, team, and yes, the agent.

12:54
Guest: Wins are stupid, so no

12:54
Hire Joe Morgan?: If we’re keeping this playoff format, is there a reason to keep a long season?

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not really.

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You play 162 games so you can figure out how the awesome teams are and who the average teams are.

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you don’t actually care who the awesome teams are anymore, there’s no need for 162 games to do that.

12:54
Manny Hustle: If you HAD to pick a team, who would you pick to win multiple WS over the next decade

12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Dodgers

12:54
CeddyBReady: I have to disagree.  Chili is not just chili.  And for the love of all that is good, a sandwich just isn’t a sandwich without the tangy zip of Miracle Whip!

12:55
Elliot: Freeman having COVID literally a week before the season starts and performing this well is a narrative too

12:55
Dan’s Mom: Danny! Lunchtime! It’s borscht, your favorite!

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You guys are doing an AWFUL job imitating my mom.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My mom hates beets. And she always would tell stories of how gross my grandfather’s borscht was.

12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Because he’d put a massive amount of sour cream in it and caviar, and then mix it so that the whole thing looked like pepto-bismol with flies in it.

12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you want to imitate mom, you have to be really passive-aggressive and also ask technology questions that involves a lot of technical descriptions that you really really dont’ quite get.

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My mom called me yesterday to help her setting up something for her in her office.

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: for work

12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And she described her problem for 5 minutes. After that description, because she uses the words router, modem, and ethernet interchangeably, I still had no idea what she was talking about and I was incredibly frustrated that I almost blew my top.

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: “I need to hardwire the ethernet into the wireless so that I can dial into the office using my router, but I’m not sure how to connect the modem to the wireless or if I need a telephone line.”

12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That is almost an exact quote.

12:58
Elliot: Do you think Dansby Swanson’s breakout season is real? I’ve been defending him for years that if he was healthy he would rake.

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Cautiously optimistic.

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But I’m biased because he was on my breakout list!

12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Jimenez, Lamet, Swanson, Bundy working out

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Buxton, Anderson on the fence.

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Keller an incomplete.

1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Robles, Houser, Urias not at all

1:01
DAN’s MUDDA: DAN, IT’S YOUR MUDDA! I HATE BEATS! AND I HATE YOUR DAMN GRANDFATHER’S BORSCHT! HELP MY COMPUTER BLEW UP! I’M FURIOUS!

1:02
CeddyBReady: Dan, was I on your breakout list?  I THINK NOT!  Traitor!

1:02
CeddyBReady: Can you really over-cream your borscht, though?  That’s like saying you can over-stuff your cabbage rolls!

Why am I aroused?

1:02
Marty: What team do you think is hurt the most by the no off days during the playoffs?

1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably a top-heavy pitching staff team.

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Liek a slightly lower percentage of starts from Max Fried and the non-Friedans have been awful.

1:03
Elliot: I think the Braves having two starters, one of them having only made 4 major league starts, may be in trouble

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I did answer Braves before I saw this comment.

1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But you also made the comment before I gave my answer!

1:03
Guest: If the season was shortened to say 81 games, would there be 81 games over 6 months or would there be 81 games over 3 months? The former would be kind of wacky because it would make teams only need like 2 or 3 starters, unless I’m missing something.

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I would imagine it would be 81 over 4 months if they went that route.

1:04
LFC Mike: If I ever get a dog can I name him Zips?  Easier name than wOBA or xFip when you call him…

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Sure

1:04
Inaccessible Rail: I had no idea there were discussion sites for Wikipedia editors like that. Weird. Does BBRef’s “bullpen” have something similar?

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The big wikipedia discussion sight is probably wikipediocracy

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: sight?

1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Grrr

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: OK, let’s end on a question I answer without using the wrong word.

1:05
Guest: On a scale of 1-10, how worried should I be about the Dodgers’ LH bats who’ve been slumping all season (Bellinger, Muncy, Pederson)?

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Three. You shouldn’t be worry-free, but it’s been a very odd year.

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And on that note, it is time for me to depart.

1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone and I’ll see you next week!

1:12
bosoxforlife: Ian Anderson has not been awful. Much closer to sensational.

1:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I mean as a group

1:12
Guest: Wait. You don’t put beans in your chili? Like, for real you don’t? I don’t get it…

1:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No.

1:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s beef-and-bean stew. Which is fine. Just not chili.





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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CeddyBReady: Can you really over-cream your borscht, though? That’s like saying you can over-stuff your cabbage rolls!
Why am I aroused?

THIS IS THE CONTENT I AM HERE FOR!!!! Bravo Dan, and your weird ass chat partners!