Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 9/2/21 by Dan Szymborski September 2, 2021 12:04 Who’s Fabio?: Hey Dan – can the neural network simulate what the CBA talks are going to look like? In it’s own unique way of course. 12:04 Dan Szymborski: Hits too close to home! 12:04 Dan Szymborski: Morninternoon everyone! 12:04 Dan Szymborski: A few minutes late, I was grabbing Wander Franco comps. 12:05 Dan Szymborski: Reyes is up there, but so are a number of the triple guys – Vaughan, Lazzeri, Frisch, Furcal, Fernandez 12:05 Matt: Bryce Harper: Under/Accurately/Over rated? Also at what point do you think NL East is decided? 12:06 Dan Szymborski: I think he’s about rated now. 12:06 Dan Szymborski: He’s a star, but not a star on the level where he’s a default preseason MVP pick 12:06 James: Did the Padres fix Snell? August stats: 6 GS, 36.2 IP (6 IP/GS!), 13.25 K/9, 2.95 BB/9, 1.72 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 2.93. FIP 12:06 Dan Szymborski: That’s certainly the hope! I haven’t dug super deep into Snell lately, may be worth taking a more specific look 12:06 Tacoby Bellsbury: Is the Yankees’ jumbo outfield a sandwich? Why or why not? 12:07 Dan Szymborski: Walls are not bread 12:07 Doc Daneeka: are there any historical comps for a SS who posts an .800 OPS over his first 350 ABs at age 20? SHOW ME THE MONEY! 12:08 Dan Szymborski: John McGraw. And now he’s dead! 12:09 zurzles: Is Ryan Mountcastle good for good now? He’s walking!!!!! 12:09 Dan Szymborski: I think Mountcastle has joined the Jared Walsh zone: Better than a guy, worse than a star 12:09 Dave: If you could change the N in you first name to any other consenant, which would you choose? 12:09 Dan Szymborski: z 12:09 Dan Szymborski: Daz Szymborski 12:09 Dan Szymborski: either that or Dab Szymborski since it’s one of my common typos 12:10 Dan Szymborski: Mom wanted to name me Alexander, but dad didn’t like it. He wanted to name me Vincent after his dad, who died a few years before I was born, but mom hated that name. Nobody hated Daniel. 12:10 Dan Szymborski: Alexander would have been cool, but I could have been Xander Szymborski, which I naturally would have spelled Zander. 12:10 YardGoat: Do you think the playoff teams now will be the same by the end? Only close race to get in seems to be the NL Wild Card. 12:11 Dan Szymborski: I *still* think the Padres can pull it off 12:11 Dan Szymborski: I think most of the current playoff teams are going to be the playoff teams 12:11 Towson Center Floor Fries: Next year the Royals have Lopez, Merrifield, Mondesi, and Witt for 2B, SS, and 3B. Who moves to OF or gets moved? 12:12 Dan Szymborski: I would guess Merrifield since they’ve done it before 12:12 Guest: Your opinion on the owners CBA proposals to lower the luxury tax ceiling to $180M and allow free agency to begin at age 29.5? Both seem likely to be rejected by the MLBPA. 12:12 Dan Szymborski: I don’t see the benefit of either. 12:12 Dan Szymborski: By a rough count, I had more money being lost in reductions to $180 million luxury tax number than increases to the minimum 12:13 Dan Szymborski: And 29.5 age just makes prospects even *more* valuable relative to veterans 12:13 Dan Szymborski: Because your teenage phenom you can now keep for a decade. 12:13 Dan Szymborski: And it’ll push down bonuses of college players too 12:13 Dan Szymborski: Under this system, they’re almost no justification to drafting a college player over an equally desirable high school player 12:13 Dan Szymborski: THERE’S 12:14 Towson Center Floor Fries: How many hobos will Cleveland start in the OF next year? 12:14 Dan Szymborski: 2.5 12:14 Analog Andy: Just getting into computer programming. What advice do you have for a complete noob? 12:14 Dan Szymborski: Hey, I’m a math guy much, much more than a programming guy 12:14 Lorenzo: According to the Playoff Odds, the Reds have a 56.3% chance to win the wild card, while the Padres have a 26.0% chance. Why the discrepancy? 12:14 Dan Szymborski: Look at that roster strength! 12:15 Dan Szymborski: The average Reds opponent is nearly *100 points* easier than the average Padres opponent 12:16 Dan Szymborski: The average Reds opponent strength for the rest of the year, on a 162-game basis, is a 74-win team and the average Padre opponent and 89-win team. 12:16 Dan Szymborski: Basically, the Reds play the Marlins for a month 12:17 Dan Szymborski: and the Padres play a month of playoff games 12:17 Analog Andy: Analog Andy and the Digital Dandy, worst Ambiguously Gay Duo rip off ever? 12:17 Dan Szymborski: And Towson *Town* Center floor fries is a reference to an old photo I post every few years 12:18 Dan Szymborski: 12:19 Javy being Javy: Does the “thumbs down” saga have any bearing on Javy re: free agency? Also, do you have an updated ZIPS contract estimate for Baez in FA? Does he break $100 million? Sounds like there was not a lot of interest in him at the deadline 12:19 Dan Szymborski: I don’t think that it has an affect on free agency 12:19 Dan Szymborski: Deadline was an asking price thing 12:19 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS remains optimistic, but I think he falls short of $100 million 12:20 G4: What one season-ending injury on any NL contender would most sink his team’s World Series chances. A Brewers ace? A Giants bat? I would have thought Acuna’s absence would break Atlanta but not so much. 12:20 Dan Szymborski: I think the Padres need Tatis all month to catch Reds 12:20 zurzles: How does Wander Franco compare to the legend Wander Javier 12:20 Dan Szymborski: SLIGHTLY better 12:22 Philly Phantasmic: What was your worst or most awkward in-person encounter with a fan (who knew who you were, not just some drunken rando sitting behind you at a game)? 12:22 Dan Szymborski: Haven’t had anything too bad. I’m not instantly recognizable 12:22 Dan Szymborski: You basically have to hear my name, I’ve only been on TV a few times 12:22 Dan Szymborski: I did have someone who knew my name, but thought I was the PECOTA guy and said it was way better than ZiPS 12:23 Houzer: Is Carlos Correa really going to be worth the 30M+ he’s going to get? Trevor Story seems like the better get this off-season .. for my Tigers 12:23 Dan Szymborski: Eh, Correa’s having a much better year and is two years younger, which is a big deal for FA signings 12:23 Greg: Do you think there could be merit to using different peripheral ERA estimators for different pitcher types? I.e. use FIP to project ERA for hard throwers and xWOBA against for low velo & strikeout, still effective types like a Mark Buerhle? 12:24 Dan Szymborski: I’ve actually looked at this but except for knuckleballer being weird, I haven’t found anything to differentiate these 12:24 Guest: Have there been efforts (either successful or unsuccessful) to improve xWOBA by using spray angle? I assume someone must have tried this by now 12:24 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS actually uses it in a few of its z measures 12:24 Dan Szymborski: And it’s helpful 12:24 Dan Szymborski: but I can’t tell you what the MLB guys are doing 12:24 Houzer: Y or N .. Tigers offer JV a 2 year / 44M contract, with a performance option that triggers a 3rd year. Sign him to start, but let him close if it comes to that 12:24 Dan Szymborski: That kind of thing wouldn’t shock me. 12:25 Dan Szymborski: But it’s too bad he’s not the Justin Verlander of hitting. Still the biggest problem looking forward 12:26 Tyler Dearden: I know you saw my other post don’t ignore me this week like the Red Sox have 12:26 Tyler Dearden: Lets talk about Tyler Dearden one time Dan c’mon 12:26 Dan Szymborski: Like, what about? Specific questions are easy to answer 12:26 Dan Szymborski: I’m honeslty not sure why he hasn’t been promoted 12:27 Dan Szymborski: I haven’t seen him this year, does he still REALLY need some sandwiches? 12:27 Dan’s Mom: To me you will always be Alexander Mephistopheles Szymborski, Esquire 12:27 Dan Szymborski: My middle name’s John! 12:28 Dan Szymborski: My nephews are Jacob Joseph after my sister and her husband’s grandparents and Jonas Max after Salk and my grandfather’s brother Max 12:28 Dan Szymborski: (Uncle Max was actually Mordecai, but nobody called him that and my sister wasn’t going to name a kid that) 12:28 Dan Szymborski: My mom is referring to the younger one as J-Max, which is really pissing off my sister 12:28 Dave: Will you eat Skyline if the Reds win it all? 12:29 Dan Szymborski: No. I never made such a bet! 12:29 Eric: Would RnProd – RC be a good way to tell if a player’s teammates are pulling their weight. And if so, would Joey Votto be the most wasted HOFer ever? 12:29 Dan Szymborski: I guess, though I haven’t given it much thought 12:29 Guest: What’s the change in Bellinger’s ZiPs from his post 2019 MVP numbers to now? It’s crazy how bad he’s been. Robles was optioned to AAA this week b/c of his struggles, yet he’s had a higher wRC+ than Belli 12:29 Dan Szymborski: His velocity numbers have been distinctively meh 12:30 Dan Szymborski: I DO write stuff from time to time! 12:30 Dan Szymborski: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-2020s-have-been-rough-for-cody-belling… 12:30 Dan Szymborski: Dude just doens’t turn on fastballs anymore, like he’s 35 12:30 Analog Andy: Any good book recs? Need something motivational and educational. 12:30 Dan Szymborski: Not sure I have a good rec along those lines 12:31 Dan Szymborski: Though since we’re heading into CBA fights, a read (or re-read) of Helyar’s Lords of the Realm is recommended 12:31 Dan Szymborski: Same kind of dark economic comedy along the lines of Barbarians at the Gate 12:31 Matt VW: Follow up on the playoff slate: the Red Sox look pretty shaky for the second AL wild card, esp. given the impact of their covid outbreak. Do you really see them hanging on/ getting in? 12:32 Dan Szymborski: Getting Sale back was huge 12:32 Dan Szymborski: The biggest problem with the team was zero rotation depth and a whole lot of guys with long injury histories 12:32 Dan Szymborski: But their depth has improved now. 12:32 Dan Szymborski: That’s why ZiPS hated the Red Sox 12:33 Dan Szymborski: plenty of scenarios where they were good, but it only took the random number generator to injure a few pitchers and the bottom fell out in a strong division 12:33 Dave: Not sure if this is too Inside Projections, but when you project a player, are you projecting all stats for a player or only projecting some stats and filling in the rest based on player profile? 12:33 Dan Szymborski: All the stats 12:33 Dave: Which of the Crew’s big 3 starters does ZIPS believe in the most from 2022 moving forward? 12:34 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS like all three, but it loves it some C. Milwaukee Burnes 12:37 Dan Szymborski: Put it this way: before 2019, ZiPS had Burnes with an ERA+ of 108. The mess of 2019 reduced his 2020 projection to an ERA+ of…107 12:37 Tacoby Bellsbury: What MLB player would you dunk into a vat of Cincinnati chili? 12:37 Dan Szymborski: If I answered, they may take away my BBWAA card for threats! 12:37 Dan Szymborski: Because making someone interact with Cincinnati chili is literally violence! 12:37 Key Flaw: How does ZiPS deal with position changes? Like, would simulating Robin Yount if he didn’t switch to CF from SS change anything about his projections? 12:38 Dan Szymborski: ZiPS looks for similar position players because it works slightly better with at approach. So change would be some but not HUGE 12:38 Dan Szymborski: except for catchers to something else 12:38 Brett: Is there a specific cutoff you/ZiPS uses when determining which minor leaguers get projections for any given year? 12:38 Dan Szymborski: No, it’s somewhat arbitrary 12:38 Gashouse Gorilla: Do you think the MLBPA has a competent negotiating team this time around? 12:38 Dan Szymborski: From talking with people, I believe so. 12:38 Philly Phantasmic: I was saying C. Milwaukee Boo-urnes 12:39 Philly Phantasmic: What would Robin Yount’s 2022 ZiPS projection look like? 12:39 Dan Szymborski: Don’t make me murder you. 12:39 Philly Phantasmic: Under the current CBA, 172 days on active roster = 1 year of service time, even though the season is always 180+ days. To reduce service time manipulation (e.g. keeping prospects down for 2-3 weeks to game “extra” year), where would you set the line for number of days = 1 year of service time? 12:39 Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t set a specific line because every specific line will result in a gain around the line. 12:39 Dan Szymborski: Owners would never go for this without negotiating the penalties down, but what I would do is treat all service time a player accrues every 6 years for a team as a “loan” for the team. 12:40 Dan Szymborski: So if a player has 6.115 days when he hits free agency, the team then cuts him a check for 115/172th of his AAV in his next deal. 12:40 Dan Szymborski: So if Kris Bryant gets a deal with an AAV of $21 million 12:41 Dan Szymborski: The Cubs have to cut him a check for $20.9 million 12:41 Dan Szymborski: So instead of excess service time over six years being a jackpot, it’s only a loan. 12:42 Dan Szymborski: If teams have to pay market value for every day of 6.000, there’s less incentive to monkey around with service time 12:42 Dan Szymborski: Now, owners wouldn’t agree to that 12:42 Dan Szymborski: But maybe they agree to a PERCENTAGE of that AAV 12:43 Dan Szymborski: like maybe Bryant gets a check for 171/172th of 50% of his AAV. or 70% or 30%. 12:43 Dan Szymborski: An awkward, arbitrary series of bright lines is a messy way to reduce gamesmanship. You get behaviors by *incentivizing* behaviors 12:43 Greg: Do you have plans to make ZiPS more useful for fantasy purposes for 2022? I know it’s not specifically geared towards it and also has performed as the worst projection system against Ariel Cohen’s grading. 12:44 Dan Szymborski: Making it more fantasy useful is a priority, but not the top priority 12:44 Dan Szymborski: The biggest issue is simply playing time 12:45 Dan Szymborski: We do have a version of ZiPS Depth Chart at the start of the year now. 12:45 Dan Szymborski: https://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&type=zips… 12:45 Dan Szymborski: And I can probably improve RBI/R model 12:45 Dan Szymborski: But what happens is that my ZiPS Wishlist is a million items long and I tend to get the things that interest me first. 12:45 Dan Szymborski: And my job isn’t just to tinker with various models, I write toO! 12:46 Towson Town Center Floor Fries: Which team in each league is best set up for a 7-game playoff series? 12:46 Dan Szymborski: Dodgers 12:46 Dan Szymborski: They basically have 6 or 7 guys you’re not afraid to start 12:46 The New Sports Illustrated: Which Marvel character is most like each MLB team? (Please do all 30, and include one snarky sentence half-heartedly explaining why) 12:46 Dan Szymborski: Wait, you want me to write an ENTIRE ARTICLE right now? 12:46 Dan Szymborski: Maybe I can get the neural network to do it. 12:49 Dan Szymborski: Holy crap, I thought I would have to train it with a custom generator 12:49 Dan Szymborski: But it’s working on its own. 12:49 Dan Szymborski: 12:50 Someguy: What do you think of Kyle Schwarber’s performance this year? Do you think it is sustainable? Specifically batting average? 12:50 Dan Szymborski: I think a LOT of it is real, probably most of it. 12:50 Dan Szymborski: He’s crushing *everything* 12:51 Dan Szymborski: I checked it a few days ago and ZiPS actually think his slugging percentage should be like 10 points HIGHER than it is 12:51 Fangraph’s Lurker: Dan! your fears have came true! Cleveland will no longer be the “Cleveland Guardians” now they’re going to be the “Cleveland Emotional Intimacy” 12:51 Dan Szymborski: Ha, one of my favorite tweets of all time 12:52 Dan Szymborski: Dan Szymborski @DSzymborski I know that Cleveland Spiders has a history, but I just personally prefer mascots that aren’t my fears. So ideally, I’d prefer no Cleveland Spiders, Cleveland Heights, or Cleveland Emotional Intimacy. 4 Jul 2020 12:52 Mr. Cat: If I had a job tinkering with various models, I wouldn’t have time to write. 12:52 Dan Szymborski: I *really* enjoy writing. 12:52 Dan Szymborski: And I think over the last 15 years, I’ve become a decent writer. 12:53 Dan Szymborski: If my dream was still to work for a team, that’s where I would be. But this is what I want to do. 12:53 Greg: Dan – can you talk with the powers that be at Fangraphs to have them customize the Auction Calculation so that we can use different projection systems for playing time versus talent projections? For example, I’d like to use Depth Charts for PAs but ZiPS for HR/PA, R/PA, RBI/PA, etc. 12:53 Dan Szymborski: I could bring it up 12:53 Dave: No one tell the network that most of those guys aren’t on the Cubs anymore 12:54 Dan Szymborski: Markakis on O’s toO! 12:54 Analog Andy: Do you enjoy being, how do I say this, a larger human being? 12:54 Dan Szymborski: Every Jasper needs a Horace! 12:54 Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t say I *enjoy* it, but I *enjoy* it more than never drinking beer or eating tacos. 12:55 Dan Szymborski: The incentives likely change if/when my measurables change. Cholesterol/blood sugar/BP are average for my age. 12:56 Dan Szymborski: And I’m not the degree of fatness where it becomes inconvenient. I’m a one-seat, stock seatbelt on airplane level of fat rather than TV Reality Show fat. 12:56 A Tribe Called Kipnis: I think Mr. Cat meant “tinkering” and “models” in a different way 12:56 Dan Szymborski: ah 12:57 YOKOZUNA: How many games do the Dodgers win the divison by? 12:57 Dan Szymborski: 3 12:57 A Tribe Called Kipnis: Which catchers make the HOF among Martin, Mauer, McCann, Molina, and Posey? 12:57 Dan Szymborski: Molina, Mauer, Buster 12:57 Dayton Moore Talking Head: Which young(er) Royals starter do you have the most faith in? 12:57 Dan Szymborski: Singer 12:58 Jasper and Horace: Did you enjoy Cruella? 12:58 Dan Szymborski: I thought it was a lot of fun! 12:58 jj: The deGrom loss seems to have helped bury the Mets 12:58 Dan Szymborski: Certianly not helping! 12:58 Josh: if MLB bans the shift at some point, how difficult will it be to adjust zips? 12:58 Dan Szymborski: It would likely be a bit more inaccurate for a year or two 12:58 Dan Szymborski: I’d have to consider an approach if/when it happens 12:59 Dan Szymborski: Perhaps consider shift stats separately 12:59 Guest: 6 years of service or age 29.5, whichever comes first, seems like a fair solution. I’d like to think that we’re all just misreading the report because it lacks details and we’re conditioned to think that MLB doesn’t negotiate in good faith, but that would be too optimistic, wouldn’t it? 1:00 Dan Szymborski: I’ve lived in places where putting your hand on the stove burns for the last 43 years. If someone’s going to tell me that OK, this stove doesn’t get hot, I’m gonna need to see stronger evidence first 1:00 Dan Szymborski: and yes, induction cooking yada yada 1:00 Joseph: Hey Dan, do you think Wander Franco has any chance to win the Rookie of the Year award, especially if he keeps his on-base streak going? 1:00 Dan Szymborski: SOME chance 1:01 Dan Szymborski: I’m an NL RoY voter, not AL, but if season ended today, he would merit serious consideration 1:01 Dan Szymborski: But it depends on the voters 1:01 Jesse: Will the Mets ever live up to their talent? 1:01 Dan Szymborski: If they did, would they REALLY be the Mets? 1:02 David: How much of Cody Bellinger’s struggles can be attributed to off-season shoulder surgery (and subsequent leg injury) vs. pitch selection, etc.? He sure seems to be swinging through center cut fastballs pretty regularly. 1:02 Dan Szymborski: It’s hard to say because some of those issues predate the recent shoulder issue 1:03 Laffy Tuffy: If you’re running baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles would you consider offering Scott McGough a one year deal for $2 million after this season? 1:03 Dan Szymborski: I certainly would 1:03 Santos: What kind of contract is Robbie Ray due for this winter? Is he gonna get 100 million? 1:03 Dan Szymborski: I think ZiPS had him at 90 million the other day 1:03 Brian: It’s been great watching the Rays really clean up over the last few months. Are you optimistic on them going far in the post-season or are you more down on their chances? 1:03 Dan Szymborski: I’m as optimistic about them as any team 1:04 Dan Szymborski: Possibly a little more so 1:04 Dan Szymborski: Fewer starting pitchers needed plays into their strengths 1:04 Dan Szymborski: And with teams using relievers aggressively, deeper teams can do better at matchups on the emargins 1:05 Jasper and Horace: Which MLB fan base would win the sad-off: Mets, Rockies, or Mariners? 1:05 Dan Szymborski: Mets for sure 1:05 Dan Szymborski: Mariners fans don’t strike me as all that beat down in this era 1:05 Dan Szymborski: Like in the Smulyan days 1:05 Dan Szymborski: And Rockies fans aren’t really sad. They still pack the stadium. It’s a beautiful city and a beautiful place to play 1:06 Dan Szymborski: There’s frustration among the diehards of course, but I don’t think more than any bad team 1:06 Dan Szymborski: I actually talk a bit about the mindset of Mets fans in my FanGraphs Audio segment with Jay tomorrow 1:07 Dan Szymborski: Mets fans have this very Russian kind of fatalism 1:09 Dan Szymborski: судба 1:09 Reds Fan Dude: Hi Mr. Analytics. No question, just hope you have a good day 1:09 Dan Szymborski: YOU TOO 1:10 Spike Owen Wilson: Worse owner: Smulyan or Argyros? 1:10 Dan Szymborski: Probably Smulyan 1:10 Dan Szymborski: Smulyan *never* really had the capital to pull it off 1:10 Jimothy: How risky is it to sign Robbie Ray to a long term big money deal? Is his performance sustainable? 1:10 Dan Szymborski: Depends if he has a constantly supply of tight pants. 1:10 Brian: Thanks for the response. Yours are always my favorite FG chats. 1:11 Dan Szymborski: I appreciate it! 1:11 Dan Szymborski: And finding the one person not wishing me any *specific* harm seems like a good point to wrap things up. 1:11 Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone, hope to see you all next week!