Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 10/5/16 by Dave Cameron October 5, 2016 11:56 Dave Cameron: So, today’s chat will start a little bit late; still only have one car in Oregon at the moment and wife and kid need a ride. 11:56 Dave Cameron: We will aim to start around 12:15. 12:15 Dave Cameron: Alright, Dave’s Uber Service has been completed. Let’s do this thing. 12:15 Matt (Denver): Should Buck Showalter be fired for not using Britton last night? 12:17 Dave Cameron: No. In-game decisions are probably a minority of the ways that managers can impact a team, and by most accounts, Showalter is excellent at the other stuff. No one is perfect. That said, if I’m Dan Duquette, I’m sitting down with Showalter and walking through the thought process of this decision, and trying to help him see why he should do it differently next time. If, after some reasonable conversations, he maintains he wouldn’t do anything differently, then I might make a change. 12:17 Dave Cameron: You don’t want to overrate in-game strategy as a part of the job, but intellectual curiosity has to be part of the process, and if Showalter refuses to believe that his decision was a mistake, then he might not be the right guy going forward. 12:18 Bork: Along with Buck saving Britton for a save situation, do you think he left Tillman in too long just to try to get him the win? I know it sounds bizarre, but there was no reason to leave Tillman in as long as he did. 12:18 Dave Cameron: He entered the fifth inning having allowed just one hit. I don’t think the win had anything to do with it. 12:19 Matt (Toronto): How do you see the Toronto-Texas series playing out? Texas won 95 games to Toronto’s 89 . But Toronto had a run differential of +93 to Texas’ +8. 12:19 Dave Cameron: Toronto is a better team than Texas, but in a short series, the difference hardly matters. Anything could happen. 12:19 Andrew: After watching Buck Showalter (not) manage last night, Terry Collins looks pretty good, huh? 12:20 Dave Cameron: Managers covet the ability to be the one making the call without interference from the front office, but it’s still mind-boggling to me that stuff like this isn’t worked through in offseason simulations. That people with the sole power to make decisions like this don’t grasp pretty simple concepts is a problem. 12:21 Andrew: Last manager screw up as big as Showalter’s last night? 12:21 Dave Cameron: I don’t think I’ve seen one. People point to Grady Little, but there’s a huge difference between “overreliance on one of the best pitchers ever” and “overreliance on Ubaldo Jimenez” 12:22 Zach Britton: What was preventing me from just running out on to the mound anyway? 12:22 Dave Cameron: That would have been pretty funny if he just took Duensing’s spot. 12:22 Dave Cameron: I wonder what Showalter would have done if he had called for a lefty and gotten Britton… 12:23 Rog: Some fans are calling for Showalter to be fired, but 24 hours ago we were giving him much of the credit for the O’s beating their projections. How does it all balance in your mind? 12:23 Dave Cameron: Showalter can be both a good manager and a guy who made a huge mistake. 12:23 Dave Cameron: They are not mutually exclusive. 12:25 Brad: Who would you pick for AL and NL Cy Youngs and who do you think will win? I would pick Verlander and Scherzer, but I think Porcello and Lester will win. 12:25 Dave Cameron: I cast my NL Cy Young ballot on Monday night, and it was brutal. So close at so many spots. 12:25 Dave Cameron: In the AL, I’d probably go with Verlander. 12:26 Gtrope87: Are you as surprised as I am that not only is Duda not starting; but he’s not even on the roster for tonight? 12:26 Dave Cameron: They know more about his health than we do. 12:26 Thatguy: Would it be a bad idea on the Brewers end if they were to try and trade for Quintana this off season? 12:26 Dave Cameron: I don’t think they’re quite ready to be making win-now moves yet. 12:26 ConfusedRangersFan: Everyone’s focused on Britton, but why didn’t the Orioles intentionally walk Encarnacion to load the bases? 12:27 Dave Cameron: Because Ubaldo Jimenez is not exactly a strike thrower. 12:28 Jaime: Ideally, what should the phillies course of action be this offseason? 12:28 Dave Cameron: Do what the Brewers did last winter. 12:29 Dave Cameron: Collect interesting guys who need playing time to find out what they are. 12:29 Sirras: What is the most Cistulli sentence you can say with a straight face? 12:29 Dave Cameron: “Hey, gents, if I order this here bottle of fine red wine, would anyone else like to partake with me?” 12:29 Dave Cameron: I’m fairly certain I’ve heard him utter that exact sentence. 12:30 Fire Kevin Cash: Last night I felt like Ben and Sam in “The Only Rule Is It Has To Work.” Was there a room full of Orioles statisticians somewhere screaming at a TV? Buck has earned a lot of freedom from his success, but I can’t picture any of the stats people sitting calmly with full faith in Buck while watching Britton stay in the pen. 12:30 Dave Cameron: I know a few of the guys who work in the O’s analytics department. I can’t imagine they were on board with what was going on. 12:31 Dave Cameron: (Guys is poor phrasing there. The Orioles also employ Sarah Gelles, one of the few females working in analytics for a team. Sorry for leaving you out, Sarah!) 12:32 Matt: Hey Dave – Longtime reader, first time caller, er … i mean…. Anyway, I just want to make one quick point. As a lifelong O’s fan who basically watched most games this season, I think that all of the attention on Buck’s call last night is a little misguided. Yes, it was absolutely the wrong decision. However, the reason the O’s lost last night, in my opinion, is their abysmal OBP. It’s the thing that killed them all year. Bullpen was good, defense was good, Buck (up til that point) called a good game. The O’s simply couldn’t work a count this year or draw a walk. Killed them in the season and killed them last night. Not Buck’s call. 12:33 Dave Cameron: This type of singular focus on one thing is odd. I hear people do this all the time in all walks of life, and it just doesn’t make any sense. The Orioles lost the game for lots of reasons last night. The offense struggling was one of them. So was Showalter’s bullpen usage. 12:34 Buck Showalter: Dave, I realize you have a car and need to take your family somewhere, but why don’t you just pull them in a rickshaw? Something could go wrong if you drive them, and this way you get to save the car for when you really need it later. 12:34 Dave Cameron: I laughed. 12:35 Dustin: Dave, do you actually see this high-profile gaff of Showalter altering the way that managers use their closers in high-leverage situations like this moving forward? Or is this just yet another blip towards slow, glacial evolution? 12:36 Dave Cameron: I would bet every front office in baseball right now is figuring out how to have a conversation with their manager before spring training starts about this very topic. You’re probably not going to see entrenched guys change their mind, but I would be surprised if there wasn’t some effort in most organizations to get their managers to not repeat this mistake. 12:37 Dustin: To those calling for Buck Showalter’s head today, it’s important to note: Nobody would ever want to be (nor should be) defined by their worst mistake. 12:38 Dave Cameron: Correct. Everybody in baseball has made big mistakes. Showalter’s just happened to come on a huge stage. 12:39 Dave Cameron: Two minute pause. 12:42 Conner: Dave Stewart’s parting comments that he has “better things to do” left me with the impression that there were a lot of issues between the front office and ownership behind the scenes. Any thoughts? 12:43 Dave Cameron: Read the comment in context; he was saying he had better things to do than criticize ownership. The people who put that quote out there without context should be embarrassed. 12:43 Dave Cameron: It was really unfair to Stewart. 12:43 Steve: Why is Showalter taking so much heat when his team only got 4 hits over 11 innings? 12:44 Dave Cameron: Because even with a stagnant offense, they still had a good chance to win. 12:44 Gabriel: Can Liriano start game 2 against Rangers after pitching last night? 12:45 Dave Cameron: He probably could, but I’d keep using him in relief. 12:45 The Oriole Bird: Thanks for your Britton article! I am totally with you. When people started going crazy on Twitter, I thought it was totally reasonable for Showalter to leave in Brach, O’Day, et al. But when it was Jimenez vs. Encarnacion, that was just crazy pants. 12:45 Dave Cameron: I think it was a bad call to go with the other guys too, but the 11th inning was off the charts insanity. 12:46 Bend It Like Cameron: How is Bend treating you? 12:46 Dave Cameron: So far, so good. Tonight will be interesting, though; I’m doing the live blog of the NL Wild Card game, which starts at 5 pacific, rather than the 8 pm starts I’m used to on the east coast. So instead of having a kid in bed and a dog that’s ready to call it a night, I have to figure out how to live blog while everyone wants my attention. This should be interesting. 12:48 Anthony: I’ve seen reports that Britton was frustrated by not getting in the game last night. To me, it seems like a pitcher as good as Britton should have some input over when he gets the ball. To your knowledge, are there any managers who involve their star relievers in those kind of decisions? 12:48 Dave Cameron: No. 12:49 Nick: Let’s say hypothetically Ubaldo doesn’t blow the game, and gets out of the inning. Since he’s a normally a starter and can stay in, how many more scoreless innings do you conceivably think it would have taken for Showalter to finally go to Britton? 12:49 Dave Cameron: He clearly wasn’t going to Britton until they had a lead. 12:50 Sonny: Tony La Russa still employed… 12:50 Dave Cameron: Only kind of. Sounds like he’s being demoted and won’t have much of a say if he sticks around. 12:51 Ryon Healy: Did I deserve Rookie of the Month? Am I truly one of the games exciting young talents now? 12:51 Dave Cameron: I cannot imagine having an opinion on who should win Rookie of the Month. 12:52 Hi Dave: Who is on for the chat tonight? 12:52 Dave Cameron: August and myself. 12:53 Sirras: To get past the gender sterotypes/skewing in both analytic fields and professional sports, Sarah Gelles sounds like a boss 12:53 Dave Cameron: She’s the team’s director of analytics and research, so she is literally a boss. 12:54 dudeOfTheWorld: In what possible pre-game prep mtg would you not try to make a plan around ensuring those 2-3-4 hitters with the game on the line would have Britton to face? Boggles my mind. Anyone who plays Toronto dreads that part of the order. They aren’t coming around again until the 13th or 14th inning. 12:54 Dave Cameron: This is the other thing that’s so weird about the 11th inning decision. You know the big guys are coming up; why not stick Britton in there, and then save Jimenez for the Upton/Pillar/Carrera part of the lineup? 12:56 Matt: On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think the average American would do at their job if every decision were broadcast on prime-time television that a large portion of the nation was watching? 12:56 Dave Cameron: 4 12:57 Zonk: The NL Cy Young candidates seemed to have something for everyone, didn’t it? ERA (Hendricks), Strikeouts (Scherzer), Dominance (Kershaw), Win-Loss (Lester), and sentimentality (Fernandez). Not sure how you chose! Not a question since you can’t tell us…. 12:57 Dave Cameron: You didn’t even mention Syndergaard, Cueto, or Bumgarner. Picking five was so hard. 12:58 CamdenWarehouse: do you wish you were chatting last night instead of tonight? 12:59 Dave Cameron: No, the kid is still adjusting to the new time zone, so the wife needed help last night. Plus, it was our anniversary. I picked a lousy day to get married 8 years ago. 1:00 Frank: Buck has been beaten to death. What dis you think of Gibbons’ pitching decisions? Obviously they worked but Stroman seemed to work at the start, pulled him appropriately, mixed pitchers well in the middle and then had Liriano ready to long at the end. Agree? 1:00 Dave Cameron: I wasn’t super high on using Biagini as long as he did, but yeah, mostly I thought he did a good job. 1:01 CamdenWarehouse: Wow – every anniversary has a good chance at being during the playoffs. Poor planning. 1:01 Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s basically always during one of the Wild Card games now. 1:02 jon: Giants up 1 in the 9th, who are you giving the ball to? Romo? Casilla? 1:02 Dave Cameron: I still think Will Smith is good, so maybe him. 1:02 Dave Cameron: Apparently Bochy doesn’t agree with me on that, though. 1:03 Richie: So TLR is being demoted rather than let go? What, they hoping he quits in reaction and then they get to save a few $$$ on a negotiated buyout rather than covering his whole contract as in the case of a firing? 1:03 Dave Cameron: His contract is up, so it’s not a money thing. They did the same thing with Kevin Towers, so it seems like they prefer to keep former executives around on consultant contracts for some reason. 1:03 Dave Cameron: The Diamondbacks are weird. 1:04 Bob from Accounting: So, when was the optimal time to use Britton? The highest leverage spot point-in-time (i.e. starting the bottom of the 9th)? 1:04 Dave Cameron: I would have put him in starting in the 8th inning, probably, and let him pitch 8/9. Then you still have Brach/O’Day for 10/11/12. 1:05 Q-Ball: Who is your NL MVP? Bryant? 1:05 Dave Cameron: Yeah, pretty easily. 1:05 Q-Ball: Looking back at your “Worst Transactions List”, you did a great job on that. The only blemish was Jean Segura; his power surge proved you wrong, and it was a good deal for the D-Backs. Are you a believer in him now? 1:05 Dave Cameron: Well, lots of guys had power spikes this year. Hard to know if it was the ball or what. Not sure how to predict the future of these guys who suddenly figured out how to hit 20 bombs a year. 1:06 Elton: How is Oregon so far? 1:06 Dave Cameron: Been here for three weeks and it rained for the first time today. So that’s fun. 1:06 Sonny: TLR as consultant, I had a job where the former head of the company whose decisions led to our demise was kept on as a consultant by the new owners, it was awkward. ‘what are you working on today?’ ‘trying to uneff that thing you made us do last year.’ 1:06 Dave Cameron: Well, I’d imagine he wouldn’t be in the office. 1:07 Dave Cameron: But yeah, it’s a weird idea. 1:07 Mike Oxynurass: Sanchez ROY yes or no? 1:07 Dave Cameron: I’d vote for him, yes. 1:07 Snowflake: That was such a great game last night up until the inexplicable end. I didn’t care who won. Just disappointing to see it end on such a bad decision. 1:07 Dave Cameron: It was still a great game. 1:08 Dave Cameron: Okay, I know we’re not quite making it an hour today, since I started late, but I’m doing the live blog tonight and thus need to get some stuff done this afternoon. 1:08 Dave Cameron: Come back in 4 hours and hang out with August and I as we watch Bumgarner and Syndergaard. 1:08 Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out, everyone. And sorry about last night, Orioles fans.