Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 9/24/18

12:00
Joseph: Do you see the dodgers keeping Urias as a RP? How does May and White look based on #s

12:01
Dan Szymborski: I think the Dodgers are going to try to get him in the majors as a starter until he proves conclusively that it’s in their interests to not do do.

12:02
Dan Szymborski: They’re just being slow right now – if they were on the fence, I think they would have kept him totally relief in the minors until next year

12:02
Bo: Who are your two bets for home field in the NLDS?

12:03
Dan Szymborski: I think Cubs or the Brewers if they catch the Cubs have enough of a cushion to be a very good favorite.

12:03
Dbo: Both chicken tenders and boneless chicken wings are just different types of chicken nuggets

12:03
Dan Szymborski: Pretty much, yeah. Chicken consumability and what things are marketed as are mostly a social construct.

12:04
Dan Szymborski: Like wings are a real thing, but there’s no boneless wing in a chicken or a nugget or a tender or a fry (chicken fries!)

12:04
Dan Szymborski: And wings were considered garbage food until they got popular

12:04
stever20: The AL Cy Young race is pretty much over now right?  Snell looks like he’s going to lead the league in wins and ERA.  last 10 guys who did that won the award, and it’s 13/14 since divisional era began(only Boddicker in ’84 didn’t).

12:06
Dan Szymborski: I think he’s got it.

12:06
Dan Szymborski: He kinda got a perfect storm of injuries to the other contenders.

12:07
Bobby: Who do you think the Yankees should start in a WC game against the A’s? Is it a diff answer if they’re home v away?

12:07
Dan Szymborski: YOu can make legitimate arguments for several, still, but wins is still a damn important stat for the purposes of the CY, though if nothing else.

12:07
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think it actually makes a difference.

12:08
Dan Szymborski: Since if your’e smart, the WC is your best pitcher, since the WC is the only game you know going in at the start of the offseason *is* an elimination game.

12:08
Dan Szymborski: And switching based on home/road, you’re likely to cause more problems in rotation than you get in benefit.

12:08
Dan Szymborski: Now, if there’s a particular *matchup* there’s likely enough of a benefit there in some cases.

12:10
ColinNL: Who’s a young player that’s jumped out to you this year that maybe isn’t getting the attention he deserves with Soto, Acuna, and others setting the 2018 rookie bar so high?

12:10
Dan Szymborski: Jack Flaherty? Brad Keller?

12:10
Dan Szymborski: You can even argue that Walker Buehler still isn’t getting the attention he deservefs

12:10
Dan Szymborski: Jeff McNeil?

12:11
Dan Szymborski: Though I’m not sure how the public evaluates McNeil

12:11
Dbo: I’m starting to think that no team really wants to win the NL Central

12:11
Dan Szymborski: Hey, there’s an outside chance that all three of the top NL Central teams have better records than the Braves and the NL West winners.

12:12
Lilith: Of all the teams that are going to lose 90+ games this year, which of them is most likely to go to the playoffs next year? Is it crazy to think maybe it’s Cincinnati?

12:13
Dan Szymborski: Could be the Rangers.

12:13
Dan Szymborski: I think the Reds need a lot of fortune to piece together a rotation.

12:13
Adrian: What kind of market will there be for Markakis this offseason? Think the Braves will risk a Qualifying offer?

12:14
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure there will be a big one. He’s actually been fairly lousy in the second-half and nobody *really* believed he was an MVP candidate.

12:15
Dan Szymborski: I do think there’s a reasonable case to make a QO though.

12:15
LaLa: Did the Big Bopper bop?

12:15
Dan Szymborski: I believe that is the case.

12:15
tb.25: When you run your Szym’s, how often do you see outcomes you wouldn’t have predicted?

12:16
Dan Szymborski: That’s not an easy question to answer explicitly – but lots of stuff happens so I’m wrong a lot.

12:16
Kevin: Are you buying what Camargo has done this season?

12:16
Dan Szymborski: To this extent? No, but I think he’s a real player now.

12:17
Jross: Why don’t more teams trade prospect for prospect?

12:17
Dan Szymborski: Well, you see it occasionally, but it’s a challenge trade.

12:18
Dan Szymborski: It’s harder to do a surplus-for-surplus trade since you never *really* have a prospects surplus

12:18
Dan Szymborski: And I’d say the majority of trades that aren’t about money are about window, and you can argumen many of the former are actually teh latter

12:18
Alexa: Ohtani play Despacito

12:18
Logan: Do you think that Dansby Swanson will improve much with the bat over time? Also, can the Braves afford to wait for that?

12:18
Dan Szymborski: I think there’s time for improvement. He’s not a bad player, really.

12:19
Zonk: The Orioles are 59.5 games out of first place.  Has any team in the modern era finished so far out of first?  Even the ’03 Tigers were 47 games back

12:20
Dan Szymborski: They ought to finish around 5th or so since 1901. The Browns had a year of like 64 and NL Boston right around there, IIRC

12:21
Matt: Dan – I have meetings scheduled until 1 pm. No time for lunch. This is unconstitutional, isn’t it?

12:21
Dan Szymborski: That’s why you always carry around an emergency cheesesteak

12:21
Ray: Do you think Betts will ever be able to have another season anywhere close to this good? All his xstats support his season but I’m still skeptical that he can continue to be this good.

12:21
Dan Szymborski: There’s that cognitive dissonance when something crazy but justifiable lands right in front of you, which is kinda how we felt about Trout early on.

12:22
Dan Szymborski: We really haven’t had enough baseball history to rule out things like this.

12:22
Dan Szymborski: Maybe he’s not a “true” 10 WAR player, but he may very well be a true 8, which is still absurd.

12:23
Fat Matt: The other night I had a dream that seemed to have the full fangraphs staff, however none of you looked like your real selves.  I was in a giant futuristic building fighting aliens (sigourney weaver style) and velociraptors on the outside of a spiral staircase, when out of nowhere your cats appeared.  After not killing your cats, you helped me to safety while Jeff tried gunning me down.  I just wanted to say thank you.

12:23
Dan Szymborski: I wouldn’t let aliens kill my cats.

12:23
Dan Szymborski: Except maybe Mercutio who would run and hide and I couldn’t find him and then aliens would eat him

12:23
Greg: With all of the pitching Atlanta has now and on the way, do you think Newcomb could be an odd man out this offseason?

12:23
Dan Szymborski: I don’t think so

12:24
Dan Szymborski: I think the Juliotollah is, not The Duke.

12:24
Mitch: Do you think Albies continues to be around the same type of hitter going forward? Just seems like if he put more emphasis on line drives and showed more patience he’d be better even if he hit less homers. He’s got blazing speed, but it doesn’t help when you pop out over 10% of your contact…

12:24
Dan Szymborski: I think he’s sorta the type of player he’s going to be

12:24
Clippard_coupon: Is Dylan Bundy’s HR problem just bad luck and Camden?  His GB% will always leave him vulnerable, but put him in Tampa with a HR suppressing park and outfielders that can go get it, and he’s Garret Cole 2.0, right?

12:25
Dan Szymborski: That’s probably a bit of a stretch – the difference between parks isnt’ *that* crazy

12:25
randplaty: As you mentioned in your Elegy, the Padres don’t have any “build-around” type players yet. In an age when teams won’t give trade these type of players, what are the Padres chances of getting a “build-around” type player?

12:25
Dan Szymborski: Wait, did I say that? Because they sure have some prospects that are build-arounds.

12:25
Dan Szymborski: Ah! I said it around Reyes, Renfroe, Villanueva

12:25
Dan Szymborski: I just meant around those guys.

12:26
Dan Szymborski: Though I could be wrong about Reyes

12:26
Dan Szymborski: If his power is as crazy as it coudl be

12:26
Gub Gub: Where does Buck Showalter coach next?  Because you know some dipshit front office is going to hire the guy.

12:26
Dan Szymborski: I almost think at this point, this is his last managerial gig and he goes special assistant to a team like the Marlins

12:27
Acunami: Will the Phillies collapse allow the Rockies to sneak into the playoffs?

12:28
Dan Szymborski: Not really. The problem is that the Phillies haven’t really been a prime WC contender for a few weeks. The PHillies have to get past two of the NL Central teams or the DOdgers

12:28
Dan Szymborski: Err the Rockies do

12:28
Dan Szymborski: and the head-by-heads when you talk about them playing the Phillies still aren’t that much changed

12:29
Dan Szymborski: Vs. a 450 instead of a 550 team in a four game series is less than a win

12:29
Jake Junis Priest: Looks like Buck will be out and Duquette likely back, perhaps with enhanced powers. What’s you take on that mess?

12:29
Dan Szymborski: The best case scenario for the Orioles is that the organizational/ownership mess leaves nobody sure who is in charge and in that vacuum, Duquette’s left alone.

12:30
look it’s been a bad week: Seems like barstool is bad and fully of shitty people, even the least shitty ones are still pretty bad. It would be great if male writers who still give them a pass to stop. It sucks and, as a woman who just wants to enjoy baseball, is incredibly alienating. Good men need to stop giving shitty men a pass.

Dudes still feel the need to question me on if I know the lineup of my favorite team and I read fangraphs.

12:31
Dan Szymborski: (Sorry to edit, but an f-bomb is usually a little too much for me to push)

12:32
Dan Szymborski: I don’t like the general Barstool atmosphere. I think the best way to deal with the bad actors there is by simply ignoring them as meaningless – the thing about callouts is that it creates and us vs. them and many people will end up supporting those guys *because* they’re being called out.

12:32
Dan Szymborski: There are some good people there too, like Justin Havens, and we’ve all worked for companies that have done bad things before, unfortunately.

12:32
Dan Szymborski: For the same reason I don’t refrain from supporting a number of SBN bloggers simply because they work for a company that’s been too crappy to pay them for their work.

12:33
Harry: Does Tyler White get a full-time job next year?

12:33
Dan Szymborski: I think it’ll be tricky

12:33
Meg: Hunter Renfroe has a real shot at ending the year with a slugging above .500 and an OBP under .300. Is he a guy that’s going to figure it out or is his OBP gonna sink him?

12:33
Dan Szymborski: I suspect he’s going to be a low OBP guy, even in better casse scenarios

12:34
Frank: Some people continue to think the Braves need to go out and get a TOR starter, which is very expensive on the FA market or Trade market. In theory they built around pitching so that they wouldn’t have to go that route. Folty and Gausman seem like a fine combo atop the rotation to me. With so much young talent coming behind them

12:34
Dan Szymborski: I’m not quite sure they actually need to do that.

12:35
Acunami: What’s your take on DeGrom for MVP? Can’t see him actually winning, even with voters more friendly to advanced stats

12:35
Dan Szymborski: I think there’s a possibility, without an OBVIOUS NL MVP

12:36
Dan Szymborski: as opposed to the AL when he’d have no chance.

12:36
Dan Szymborski: Now, the AL MVP isn’t OBVIOUS, but that there are a few crazy guys at the top is

12:36
kevinthecomic: At what point can you conclude that someone is playing hurt?  For example, Eugenio Suarez, Nolan Arenado and Matt Carpenter have all been scuffling for about a month, is that enough time?  Especially with Arenado and Carpenter having a recent history of shoulder problems.

12:36
Dan Szymborski: I’ve actually tinkered with DL dummy variables and play in the months before the DL trip to do a probabilistic model, but it’s still in the works

12:37
Harry: Freeman’s lack of homers this year a fluke?

12:37
Dan Szymborski: No, he’s not really the big HR type of hitter

12:37
Dan Szymborski: It’s weird when he’s miscast as a traditional slugger, when he’s an all-around line drive guy

12:38
Dan Szymborski: What’s nice about him is that he hits a lot of liners *without* ending up with an insane number of grounders.

12:39
Dan Szymborski: Freeman is the player that overexcitable Royals fans erroneously thought Eric Hosmer was.

12:39
Willians A-su-su-studillo: Speaking of Orioles messes, what do you make of the Adam Jones situation? Seems like they got upset at him (quite fairly) blocking the Phillies trade and so have cut up his playing time, ostensibly to look at the youth, though that’s included Joey Rickard who is not part of the future. Is it as petty as it looks? Was hoping they’d bring Jones back as a vet presence, but bridges seem to be burning…

12:39
Dan Szymborski: I think they’re upset, but I don’t think they’re being petty.

12:40
Dan Szymborski: Rickard only has like four starts past the deadline or something like that

12:41
Dan Szymborski: And it’s smart to play Mullins over AJ at this point, it’d be crazy not to.

12:41
Dan Szymborski: And I don’t think “OK, you want to stay and that’s fine, but we’ve got things we need to do for the future.” is unreasonable.

12:42
Dan Szymborski: I’m not sure bringing him back is so crucial that you don’t look at a player you need to.

12:42
Dan Szymborski: If bringing back Jones means not starting Mullins centerfield for two months, I don’t think it’s worth bringing back Jones.

12:42
Shauncore: Dan, you’re an all around great guy who I like to tell is a good guy to get you to like me. Do you like me? Please like me. Anyway, can I get some love for Ryan O’Hearn, who I had ranked as the Royals best prospect even before he was born to prove that I was on him first.

12:42
Dan Szymborski: I like most people who aren’t Murray Chass.

12:42
Dan Szymborski: I’m a cheerful curmudgeon.

12:42
greg: Cat update please.

12:43
Dan Szymborski: I’m actually in Denver at the moment, so I’m not sure what the cats are doing outside my mom assuring me that nobody’s dead.

12:44
Dan Szymborski: Now, Galileo’s disappointed I’m sure without me cooking food.

12:44
Dan Szymborski: Since that means he’s mostly eating the food mom gives him on her way to work and on her way home from work.

12:44
Dan Szymborski: (He refuses to eat dry food and it’s not a tooth thing, he just had his checkup)

12:44
Eric: I know you’ve given Markakis alot of crap over the past few years (you were 100% correct regardless). But how do you see his offseason ending up? Does he get a qualifying offer? Will he get a multi-year deal?

12:44
Dan Szymborski: I think he’ll be looked at like most older players that hit 370/420. AN interesting bat, but not one to commit

12:44
Acunami: Acuna has cooled off – can Soto catch him for RoY?

12:45
Dan Szymborski: It’s been an amazing race.

12:45
Bort: Nomar Mazara: is he ever going to do anything other than bore us to death?

12:45
Dan Szymborski: At some point, I need to stop putting him in my yearly breakouts columns

12:45
Xberg: Does Báez have any legitimate case for MVPositionPlayer over Yelich at this point? If you put an extremely high importance on defense and base running, then Lorenzo Cain comes in the the picture. Not to mention Yelich is an elite baserunner as well.

12:46
Dan Szymborski: There’s enough uncertainty in our models that we can’t say Yelich is *obviously* better than Javy. And there is some hard-to-pin-down value of versatility

12:46
Dan the Mets Fan: How does ZIPS like Jeff McNeil these days?

12:47
Dan Szymborski: A lot, but like Hedberg to the wino eating grapes, dude, you gotta wait

12:47
Reggie: Do you think the Orioles would have interest in bringing back Markakis this offseason to help with the start of the rebuild, similar to how the Braves viewed him?

12:48
Dan Szymborski: They might, though I don’t see the point.

12:48
Dan Szymborski: Not so much if Duquette’s in charge

12:48
Clippard_coupon: Chance that Wendle finishes 1st or 2nd in ROY?

12:48
Dan Szymborski: Very low

12:49
Dan Szymborski: How many writers are going to put him over two of Ohtani, Andujar, Torres?

12:51
Dan Szymborski: Yes, he does well in fWAR, but I don’t think that they’re voting specifically on just fWAR

12:51
Phan: As a mildly disgruntled, but greatly optimistic Phillies fan i’ve heard some wild reactionary takes on the team. What should they do this offseason?

12:51
Dan Szymborski: $$$$ klentak gonna let it rain

12:52
Dan Szymborski: OK guys, I’m horribly behind in questions

12:52
Dan Szymborski: so I’m answering mostly short ones that I can do in time

12:53
James: Imagine you have the statistical knowledge of a 1995 sportswriter. Call the major award winners.

12:53
Dan Szymborski: JD Martinez, Javier Baez

12:53
Dan Szymborski: Snell, Scherzer

12:54
Pad Squad : If you were the Padres, what’s the maximum offer you’d be willing to extend to Machado? Harper?

12:54
Dan Szymborski: 300, 200

12:54
H8rproof82: Jeff, can you explain why your stupid zippies system hates the Royasl so much. Their a great team just about to bust through again cuz GMDM IS DA GAWD!

12:54
Matt: Boneless wings and tenders are way too long to be considered a “nugget” which would be a relatively squareish/cubeish shape. Facts, Dan. Facts.

12:55
Jonathan: The Royals have got to be selling on Merrfield this offseason right? dude’s stock can’t go much higher one would think.

12:55
Dan Szymborski: They ought to be for sure.

12:56
Zonk: Are you a believer or a skeptic on Ian Happ?  Scary K-rates, Z-Contact rates!

12:56
Dan Szymborski: Mild believer.

12:56
Guest: Your preseason projections for Acuña were just stupidly high, and Acuña made it look even dumber with his ridiculous season. Is he the best player in the NL next year?

12:56
Dan Szymborski: The argument is surprisingly not hard to make.

12:56
Dbo: Do you keep an emergency cheesesteak behind glass so you can break into it in case of emergency?

12:56
Dan Szymborski: No, but I’m irresponsible iwth safety

12:56
Shameless Cardinals Homer: Re: the chicken nuggets comment, isn’t the same true of french fries, home fries, potato wedges, hash browns, etc?  It’s all just a way to make fried potato seem sexy and delicious (which it is).

12:57
Matt: Emergency cheesesteak. This seems like a much better option than pocket dogs. I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

12:57
KVB: Don’t forget chicken rings…the tastiest part of the bird

12:57
A Fish Called Wonder: Is Mike Trout better at the blues than Walter Trout is at baseball?

12:57
Dan Szymborski: He probably has some blues about the ANgels

12:57
Ginny: one name I’d throw out for underappreciated young players this year: David Fletcher, who has 1.9 WAR in 80 games due to some excellent defense at second

12:57
kevinthecomic: Markakis is a FA this year.  Couldn’t the Padres build around him?

12:57
Matt: Have you ever thought about releasing ZiPS as a bunch of bounded randomly generated numbers and see if anyone notices?

12:57
Dan Szymborski: Would want to see Dave’s reaction to that in a meeting.

12:58
Dan Szymborski: I think about something like that to amuse myself, but all an analyst has is their credibility!

12:58
Dan Szymborski: SO I don’t play games with ZIPS

12:58
Wayne: IF the Braves offered Markakis a QO and he rejected it, would any team give up a draft pick to sign him? Seems like he’d be left hanging only to retire or return to Braves.

12:59
Matt: Have you ever thought about changing your last name to something less of a bore? Something like Szymexcitingski?

12:59
The Ghost of Dan’s Grandma: You may deny me, boy, but I am always watching, always waiting for the right time to steal that kiss.

1:00
Joe Don: Do you pronounce it mer-KYEW-tee-oh or mer-KYEW-show?

1:00
Dan Szymborski: Mer-COO-she-ow

1:00
Dan Szymborski: o

1:00
Dan Szymborski: not ow

1:00
Dan Szymborski: ow as in bow

1:00
Dan Szymborski: wait, that doesn’t work

1:00
Dan Szymborski: bow as in tying a bow, not bowing to the queen of siam

1:00
CamdenWarehouse: Rickard has started 13 games in September. They are definitely playing him over Jones.

1:00
Dan Szymborski: I’m talking in CF

1:00
Dan Szymborski: though I guess you could argue that a corner is still playing over AJ

1:00
Shameless Cardinals Homer: Do you ever get any “stick to sports” comments in response to the cat stuff?  I’m a dog person, but you do you.

1:01
Dan Szymborski: No, the internet likes cat!

1:01
carrotjuice: I still wonder: why didn’t the Pirates make any win now moves at the deadline from 2013-2015?

1:01
Dan Szymborski: I believe excess conservatism.

1:01
Dan Szymborski: They won a little before they expected and even fi you should, it’s something hard to change your horizon

1:01
Birdcage: Do you personally own any baseball memorabilia? Signed bats, cards or the like? I’m would imagine baseball being ones job numbs them to infatuation with otherwise inane objects

1:02
Dan Szymborski: I’m not really a memorabilia person.

1:02
Dbo: Matt is clearly wrong, are Dino shaped chicken nuggets not considered chicken nuggets because they aren’t square. WAKE UP!

1:03
Dan Szymborski: OK, I have to leave for another week. I’ll catch you all next week! As a reminder, you can now find my work full-time on FanGraphs and at DSzymborski on Twitter.

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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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Dave T
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Dave T

Dbo (at 12:11): “I’m starting to think that no team really wants to win the NL Central.”

That’s a pretty bizarre statement. The Cubs are 7-3 over their last 10 games, and the Cardinals and Brewers are each 6-4. Looking at a somewhat longer time period, namely September records, the Cubs are 12-9, the Brewers are 13-7, and the Cardinals are 11-10. The standings have remained relatively constant in September just because nobody’s collapsing and nobody’s running off 8 game winning streaks.