Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 10/26/16 by Dave Cameron October 26, 2016 12:02 Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday, everyone. Probably a happier one if you’re a Cleveland fan. 12:03 Dave Cameron: Let’s talk some World Series, or if your team is already out of it, we can work in some offseason stuff too. 12:03 Guest: What are your thoughts on last nights game? As a Cubs fan, even with a loss I saw a lot of optimism there, more specifically vs Miller. Obviously upset with a loss, but I was more mad in the LA shutouts. 12:04 Dave Cameron: Yeah, if you’re the Cubs, I think you’re fine with last night. Miller is spent, Schwarber looked good, and you’re not going to keep giving bombs to Roberto Perez all series. You just look at that one, say they needed it more, and realize you’re now in a great position to take the next two. 12:04 Baller Status: The Coghlan/Heyward decision got me thinking about hot streaks/slumps. This doesn’t really exactly apply here, because Coughlan wasn’t hitting that great. But if a guy like Heyward has looked lost recently, and if another player seemed to be really locked in, would that sway your decision on who to play? Even if their projections were similar or even slightly lower for the player who was on a hot streak? 12:05 Dave Cameron: Hot streaks have been extensively studied, and they basically have no real predictive value. Which is to say we can’t identify ahead of time when a hot streak is over. 12:06 Danny Almonte: What is the one thing you most wished we could quantify about baseball that we currently don’t have the means to? 12:06 Dave Cameron: Probably game by game park effects. 12:07 Dave Cameron: It would be really useful to say “because of the current weather, the way the wind is blowing, and where the shadows will be for this duration because of the position of the sun, the park is going to suppress offense by X% today.” We can’t do that. 12:08 Erik: Small sample size of course, but it felt significant that the only hitter to do well off of Kluber was Zobrist, who had spent several years in the AL. Similarly, it felt significant that the Indians did fairly well against Lester, who himself had spent many years in the AL. Does that have a noticeable affect? 12:09 Dave Cameron: I think you’re seeing patterns where none exist. And I wouldn’t say that Cleveland hit well against Lester. Ramirez’s RBI single was a swinging bunt. Their second run came on an HBP from a guy who is only in the league because he’s perfected HBPs. Roberto Perez crushed a bad pitch, but other than that, they didn’t really do much against Lester. 12:09 Disco Dan: if miller was a free agent, would he get more then Chapman this offseason? 12:09 Dave Cameron: Yes. 12:10 Outta my way, Gyorkass: Andrew Miller is getting leaned on quite heavily in this postseason…is there a point in this WS that he’s just not going to be available? Seems like that’s got to be coming with him having appeared in all but two of CLE’s postseason games, and going multiple innings in every single appearance. 12:10 Dave Cameron: I would think if he pitches today, it will be just for one batter. 12:10 Dave Cameron: But if they can avoid using him today, plus off day tomorrow, he’ll be right back to full strength on Friday. 12:10 Erik: Does Maddon have sound logic behind starting Coghlan and not pinch-hitting for Ross, but we’re just not seeing it? Or were those objectively, unarguably incorrect (if largely insignificant) moves? 12:11 Dave Cameron: He obviously has access to more and better data than we do, so there’s no way to say that he’s objectively wrong. But we also shouldn’t just appeal to authority every time a manager with access to good data does something odd. Smart people aren’t infallible. 12:12 mryashin: Kluber threw only 88 pitches in Gm.1. Can we assume the Indians’ plan the rest of the way is: 3-man rotation and work the living heck out of the bullpen? 12:12 Dave Cameron: Yeah, probably. 12:12 James: Why is everyone so down on Bauer’s chances in game two? I’m not saying it’s a toss up. Clearly Arrieta should be favored. BUT, Arrieta has struggled. Bauer has a ton of talent. Yes he walks guys. But he strikes them out too. He’s had some really dominant performances this year, and he’s only going to be asked to go through the lineup what two times? 12:13 Dave Cameron: Trevor Bauer is a ~league average pitcher. Jake Arrieta is one of the best pitchers in baseball. 12:13 Erik: Were the Cubs uniquely poorly set up to deal with Kluber? Or did they just have a bad game against a great pitcher? 12:13 Dave Cameron: I don’t think anyone would have hit Kluber last night. 12:13 Dave Cameron: What are you supposed to do with a 94 mph two-seamer that breaks like that? 12:14 Kiermaier’s Piercing Blue Eyes: Not a WS question. I’m in my early 20s submitting economics PhD applications and am considering submitting a few baseball analytics jobs for fun. Don’t have baseball experience, do have statistical and programming experience. What’s the day to do and career prospects of these sorts of jobs? 12:16 Dave Cameron: Depending on your level of baseball knowledge, odds are you’d probably end up starting as an intern, making a few thousand bucks a month and working ~80 hours a week. You’d do that for six months, and if they liked you, you’d be in line for an analyst position that will pay ~$50K per year (essentially required after the new overtime rules kick in at the end of the year) for ~80 hours of work per week. After a couple of years, if you work your tail off and do good work, you might make it to a managerial level, and get up to ~$75K. If you put in 10-20 years, you might make it to AGM, which gets you into the six figures. 12:17 Dave Cameron: But if you have any kind of real programming skills, you can probably make $100K working for a tech company right now. 12:17 Dave Cameron: So, I hope you really like baseball! 12:18 Hal: Do you think Francona pulled Kluber too early? I get wanting him available for two more starts, but he worked Miller pretty hard to do so. 12:18 Dave Cameron: I think he pulled him too late; I wouldn’t have let Kluber face Zobrist. 12:19 Runs Allowed Dickey: If Carrasco and Salazar are healthy, are the Indians favoured? 12:19 Dave Cameron: No. 12:19 Mike Trout: People are saying that Clint Frazier could be as good as me, do you think there is a shot he could do as much damage as I have done, or are they just saying he is a 5 tool guy? 12:20 Dave Cameron: No one is as good as you. 12:20 Dave Cameron: Anyone comparing Clint Frazier to you should go join a Bad Comps Anonymous group with the people who thought Byron Buxton was better than you. 12:20 Bojack Horseman: Keep hearing comparisons of Hendricks to Maddux, but wouldnt he be on more of a Mark Buerhle career path than Maddux? 12:21 Dave Cameron: Yeah, that’s a lazy comparison; Maddux threw hard when he was younger. Hendricks lack of velocity leaves him without the room to shift gears as the stuff erodes. He’s more of a Doug Fister. 12:22 Nelson: A lot of people arguing with you recently about expected performances in an at-bat. So is your theory that someone “in a slump” is as likely to get a hit at someone “hot” if they have the same previous 3 year averages? 12:22 Dave Cameron: My “theory” is that slumps and hot streaks are predictively useless. 12:22 Andrew: Given all the reliever-mania this October, I’ve seen one or two writers suggest the Mets go after Jansen to pair with Familia and Reed. What do you think about that idea? 12:23 Dave Cameron: It didn’t work for the Yankees. 12:23 ColoradoDude: If the Rockies can trade Cargo for salary relief, should they enter the closer sweepstakes? Bid for EE? Build depth? They’ve got a bunch of money coming off books in coming years. 12:24 Dave Cameron: I continue to not see a team all that close to contending in the NL West, so why the Rockies seem to be still pushing in on winning now is beyond me. 12:25 Adge: assuming EE/Jose are leaving Toronto, who can you see as potential targets? I love me Fowler 12:25 Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be surprised if they went with short contracts for older guys to make one more run while they still have Martin/Tulo/Estrada. So maybe Holliday/Beltran, then spend some money on a younger OF like Reddick? 12:26 Brian: Can you explain why a 6 PA sample size of Ross v Miller is meaningless? Nevermind that the 6 PAs occured in 2010 when Miller was a terrible starter. 12:26 Dave Cameron: All batter vs pitcher data is useless. 12:27 KC: Can the royals get a cornerstone piece like torres for chapman when/if they trade davis? 12:27 Dave Cameron: No. The Cubs paid a crazy high price for a rental at the deadline, and the Royals won’t have that kind of market this winter. Davis’ health is also a real problem. 12:27 Nick S: Not being able to predict when a hot streak is over is not the same thing as understanding Heyward is completely lost at the plate now, and almost anyone would be better than him offensively. 12:28 Dave Cameron: Except baseball is full of examples of guys who were “completely lost” and then they just weren’t. 12:29 aj: Nice article by Fagestrom regarding Kluber’s use of the 2-seamer. The 2-seamer is my favorite pitch, whats yours? 12:29 Dave Cameron: I will always be in the tank for a good change-up. 12:30 Doug: I think Jose Bautista will probably wind up being overpaid by somebody, but what would be a fair contract for him? Where would he make sense besides Toronto? 12:30 Dave Cameron: I think he’s worth something like 3/$60M. 12:30 Dave Cameron: I could see him in Houston. 12:30 Zihuatenejo: The Dodgers have four of the offseason’s most interesting free agents in Jansen, Turner, Hill, and Reddick. Which if any do you expect to re-sign with the team? 12:30 Dave Cameron: I would imagine they’ll make the most serious runs at Hill and Turner. 12:31 Erik: *We* can’t identify when a hot streak is over, just looking at data, but can’t a manager have a decent idea, seeing his guys up close in the cage very day, and just talking to them to get some idea of where their mindset is at? 12:31 Dave Cameron: There’s no evidence that they can. 12:32 Skuggs: MGL said on twitter that essentially Heyward is going to look worse running a .280 wOBA because of his size, and that if someone smaller was hitting like him, despite being a career better hitter, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. Any thoughts? 12:33 Dave Cameron: I think it’s mostly confirmation bias. There’s been a vocal anti-Heyward crowd for years because they didn’t like the idea that a corner outfielder with average power could be an elite player. So now that he’s struggling, they’re just saying “I told you so” rather than looking at his performance objectively. 12:33 steve: The weather right now in Chicago would probably cancel a World Series game. This system is supposed to hit Cleveland this afternoon. How big would it be for CLE if game 2 is pushed back a day? 12:33 Dave Cameron: I think it would actually help Chicago more. Could then throw Hendricks in the game in Cleveland, and save Arrieta for Game 3 in the NL park, letting him hit. 12:34 GSon: Trevor Bauer is a ~league average pitcher. Jake Arrieta is one of the best pitchers in baseball… but not when Arrieta faced Cleveland at any time in his career. “Being average” would be an improvement for Arrieta. dontcha think? especially with Cleveland at home? 12:34 Dave Cameron: Player vs team stats are also worthless. 12:35 Kiermaier’s Piercing Blue Eyes: Thanks for the detailed analytics jobs answer. Think I’ll take the “easy” route and just stick to PhD applications! 12:36 Dave Cameron: I probably made it sound a little worse than it is now, since every team is expanding their R+D departments, so there’s more competition for talent and more positions available these days. But yeah, you’ll take a huge paycut to work for an MLB team. 12:37 Matt : In the last three years Coghlan has been a better hitter then Heyward, so from an offensive standpoint wasn’t Maddons decision fine? 12:37 Dave Cameron: If the game was only about offense, then just start Schwarber at SS. 12:38 Dave Cameron: He’s a better hitter than Russell. 12:38 Drew: Do you think that, with a good enough roster, the bullpen trio concept can work more effectively than it did with the Yankees? Also, seeing that Miller and Chapman both happened to make the World Series after being traded from NY, have relievers become even MORE valuable ($ wise) than they already are? 12:39 Dave Cameron: My point was that there are diminishing returns to having three guys like this. There are only so many high leverage innings to go around in the regular season. 12:39 Dave Cameron: The Mets already have two really good relievers. Spending $20 million a year to get a third probably isn’t a good idea. 12:40 Disco Dan: People want to identify good Andrew Miller types and i know it isn’t as easy as looking at someone as Velaquez and say he has electric stuff but won’t hold up. Why not turn him into this ace reliever? 12:41 Dave Cameron: I think his future probably is in the bullpen. 12:42 Hunny buns: Comparing ss d to corner outfield d? 12:42 Dave Cameron: Defense matters at every position. 12:42 Willie hears ya,Willie dont care: Outlook on the Dodgers for next year? 12:43 Dave Cameron: Excellent. They’ll lose some good players in FA, but they’ll also get a bunch of injured guys back, and they’ll get something like a full year of Urias next year. DeLeon could also be a huge impact arm for them. 12:45 Rob: Most logical landing spots for Sale and Quintana (if traded)?? 12:46 Dave Cameron: Well, the people with enough sense to talk Dombrowski out of making silly trades have all left, so you can pencil Boston in for some ridiculous overpays in an attempt to win now. 12:47 End The Drought: What are some of the factors in the success or failure of someone adding that nasty change up to the repertoire? So many examples of guys who would be unhittable if hitters couldn’t sit on their heater? 12:47 Dave Cameron: Learning how to throw a change-up is hard. 12:47 Dave Cameron: A lot of guys just can’t get the feel for it. 12:48 Garrett Richards: What is the track record of people like me successfully rehabbing through Tommy John? 12:48 Dave Cameron: Not very good. Masahiro Tanaka did it. Ervin Santana. That’s about it. 12:48 v2micca: If those same people had left Dombrowski a year earlier, it is likely that Benintindi would currently be wearing a Braves uniform and Teheran would be wearing a Boston Uniform? 12:49 Dave Cameron: Not sure Teheran is Dombrowski’s kind of guy. He likes velocity. 12:49 Disco Dan: should Bos be scared of all the old brain trust leaving? 12:49 Dave Cameron: The fact that so many highly respected front office people don’t want to work under Dombrowski is clearly a bad sign. 12:50 Dave Cameron: Especially letting Sawdaye leave because DD didn’t think he had enough experience to be a GM yet. That’s just silly. 12:51 Andy: Re: Dombrowski’s overpayments, which as a Sox fan I am also scared of, one silver lining is that Moncada seems destined for either 3B or a crowded OF, and Devers seems destined for 3B — so trading one of them for the right return not so crazy? 12:52 Dave Cameron: There’s nothing wrong with trading prospects if you’re getting a fair deal for them. This isn’t about trading prospects or not. It’s just that deals like the Kimbrel trade will wreck your franchise if you do them too many times. 12:53 Brian: A lot of people seem to bash your reliance on projections (myself included at times, when the numbers are out to get my favorite team). What if next year FanGraphs hosted a sort of prediction forum? Maybe every game FG populates the Steamer projected winner and us commenter-tough-guys can actually log our predictions, based off of whatever we want, and see as we go along how quickly we fall behind the projections? 12:54 Dave Cameron: I don’t really see it as reliance on projections; I think I’m just more skeptical than most that humans have a very good way of processing information, and I think most of the things that people convince themselves are true based on watching games on TV (“Heyward is broken”) are mostly BS. 12:55 Dave Cameron: In terms of the projection test, Sam Miller did that at BP last year, and surprise surprise, people sucked at beating the projections. 12:56 Adge: Ross Atkins mentioned being prepared to give 3 years to a RP. Assuming the Jays wont be in on the big 3 RP, which others could yield a multi year deal like that? 12:56 Dave Cameron: Well 3 years is basically now the standard for any decent middle reliever. 12:57 Charlie: Is the difference between the hitting of the two pitching that significant? 12:57 Dave Cameron: Arrieta is one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball. Hendricks is lousy. 12:57 Dave Cameron: At hitting, I mean. 12:58 Dooduh: Well, you could either look at it as “confirmation bias” wrt what some were saying about Heyward or maybe some of what was said is kinda true – that he was not the hitter that many expected he would be and he was unlikely to maintain elite defense for more than the first few yrs of his deal. I’ll have to maintain that he has a profile better fit for CF even tho his body may not hold up there. But CF is really where the Cubs will have to extract value in that contract. 12:59 Dave Cameron: Nope. Thinking that an elite defender with a 120 wRC+ — which is what Heyward was prior to this year — is not a great player is simply an incorrect valuation of performance. No one said Heyward was going to crater like he did this year; they just thought what he was wasn’t that valuable because they didn’t value his skills. 1:00 JavyTime: Does it hurt the Cubs more to have Montero in the lineup rather than Contreras, or to have Arrieta throwing to a guy that’s “not his catcher?” 1:00 Dave Cameron: It’s fine in this series, since Cleveland just throws RHPs in every start. Last start, when they had him in against Rich Hill… that was a problem. 1:00 RMR: Re: “all batter vs pitcher data is useless”, is that referring to player vs. player matchups only or would you extend that to player performance vs. certain types of pitchers (e.g. this batter struggles again hard sliders, such as the one thrown by this pitcher)? 1:01 Dave Cameron: Player vs player. There are definitely types of pitches or types of pitchers that some batters can do better or worse against. But X is 6-10 against Y? That’s useless. 1:01 Dave Cameron: Alright, off to get some work done before Game 2. 1:02 Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out today, everyone.