Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 1/7/15 by Dave Cameron January 7, 2015 11:45 Dave Cameron: Hey everyone. Sorry for my absence on the site over the last couple of weeks, but I have a good excuse. 11:45 : 11:46 Dave Cameron: That said, we’re going to try and chat today, and I’ll ramp up work again probably starting next week. 11:46 Dave Cameron: So, get your questions in now, and we’ll start chatting in 15 minutes or so. 12:01 Comment From STiVoPuig’s top comp in ZiPS is Al Kaline, and Kershaw’s is Sandy Koufax. ZiPS is awesome. 12:02 Dave Cameron: Keep in mind that the top comparison is mostly just for fun, and ZIPS sees a wide range of outcomes for almost every player. But yeah, ZIPS *loves* the Dodgers. 12:02 Dave Cameron: Which maybe says something about the state of baseball reporting right now. Both ZIPS and Steamer look at the Dodgers and see very clearly the best team in baseball, but the media narrative has been that they’re taking a step back because they traded Matt Kemp. 12:03 Comment From VslykeDo you think the Braves are stockpiling former closers (namely Jim Johnson & Grili) with the intent of trading them at the deadline? 12:03 Dave Cameron: My guess is they’re signing guys who are available pretty cheap and have some upside. 12:03 Comment From JasonWith so many teams looking to contend, do you expect an increase in GM firings this year? 12:03 Dave Cameron: We just had a lot of front office turnover. I would imagine Ruben Amaro will get the axe at some point, but I don’t see anyone else in imminent danger. 12:04 Comment From STiVoCongrats on the baby! Do you think the Nats would consider shipping Zimmermann and Giolito together if they could get a near-MLB high-level hitting prospect? (And could they get such a return with that package?) 12:04 Dave Cameron: I think you’d have to be talking about a pretty nifty prospect at that point. I don’t know that there’s a team out there looking for that kind of deal. 12:04 Comment From BJ BirdieDrew Hutchison had a 26% k rate and 7% walk rate in second half of 2014 after changing his slider (slower, more vertical movement), what do you think his chances of a major break out are in 2015? 12:05 Dave Cameron: I think the research has shown that trying to use second half performance to predict future breakouts is a fool’s errand. 12:05 Comment From Pig.PenWhat are the chances we ever get a second HOF that’s within travel distance for a greater percentage of the population? 12:05 Dave Cameron: Not unless the village of Cooperstown is destroyed by a flood or something. 12:06 Comment From WalterSo, Smoltz – 82.9% of the vote on his first try, Mussina – 24.6% of the vote on his second, Shilling 39.2% of the vote on his third. What the heck? Can anyone explain this? Can you? 12:06 Dave Cameron: He got a big rub from pitching next to Maddux and Glavine. Voters lumped them together as “the big three” and didn’t given it much thought after that. 12:07 Comment From PatWhy is 2-1 considered a hitter’s count? Both a walk and strikeout are 2 pitches away; I imagine it would be pretty neutral 12:07 Dave Cameron: You start an at-bat closer to a strikeout than a walk. 12:07 Dave Cameron: So by the time you get to 2-1 or 3-2, the hitter has a larger advantage than he did at first. 12:08 Comment From JasonAssuming MLB.tv’s blackout policy was unchanged 10 years from now, your kid would be a fan of which team? 12:09 Dave Cameron: I’m going to let him pick his own team, but the odds of him being a fan of a west coast team with 10 pm start times seems unlikely… 12:09 Comment From Natitude AdjusterBabies are challenging, but so rewarding. Congratulations! Who will have more regular season wins in 2015: The Nats or the Dodgers? 12:09 Dave Cameron: Nats have a much easier division, so I’ll give them the better record. 12:09 Comment From Art VandelayCongratulations Dave! What are the odds that Shields actually has a 5/110 offer? Seems like most teams are saying they won’t pay that much. Could it be….a mystery team? 12:10 Dave Cameron: I think if he had that he would have signed by now. 12:10 Comment From BradHow is Liberty handling the new arrival? Congratulations! 12:11 Dave Cameron: She isn’t really sure what to do with him. She kind of likes smelling him, but she kind of doesn’t like that we have less time for her. She’s doing pretty well overall, but they’re not best friends or anything. I would imagine she’ll like him more once he can start throwing food on the ground. 12:11 Comment From ShawnCongrats, Dave! As the father on a 1 month old myself, it’s tiring but awesome isn’t it? 12:11 Dave Cameron: I think the first week is more tiring than awesome. I’m assuming it’s all downhill from here. 12:11 Comment From AllanWebsterStillCouldBeSomeoneFeature request for the Dark Lorde: SF, SH, and HBP components on projection pages, please! Thanks! 12:12 Dave Cameron: That’s more a request for Jared Cross and Dan Szymborski. 12:12 Comment From JCCongrats! Is Mussina the new Blyleven? Is he more deserving than Blyleven, given era/league/division? 12:13 Dave Cameron: Not sure he’s more deserving, but yeah, I think he’s basically Blyleven 2.0. 12:13 Comment From PeteCongratulations Dave! My first-born(and only so far) son turns One next Monday! Cherish every moment you can; you’re going to be shocked at how quickly your boy starts to move around and grow attached to you and his mother! 12:13 Dave Cameron: His attachment to me lasted about 24 hours. 12:13 Comment From The Oriole BirdMussina’s War is 82.5 and RA9-WAR is 82.8. Wow. Seems a little silly that he can’t make it in the Hall of Fame, right? 12:13 Dave Cameron: The standard voters are holding starting pitchers to is absurd. 12:14 Comment From mtswYes, I get that Ryan Howard is a useless and bad player, even as a DH, but does the fact he seemed to have bad BABIP luck vs RHP (and upside-down splits as a result last season) indicate he could still be worth more than $0 as half a DH platoon for someone (say, combined with Delmon Young in Baltimore?) 12:14 Dave Cameron: It’s not necessarily all bad BABIP luck. He’s the easiest overshift guy in the game, and thus very few of his GBs will ever go for hits. 12:14 Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t roster him even if he was free. 12:14 Comment From NickBaside from the puzzling Markakis deal, how do you grade Hart’s offseason work totally revamping the Braves 12:14 Dave Cameron: Not very well. 12:15 Comment From CurtisIs Susac valuable enough for SF to consider a Posey transition? or more valuable as a trade chip? (or not much value?) 12:15 Dave Cameron: You don’t move Posey for a guy like Susac. 12:15 Comment From Big Joe MufferawAre all HOF ballots made public? If not not they should, just to see who left RJ off their ballots, and ask them to explain why 12:16 Dave Cameron: No, ballots are not made public unless the voters choose to make them public. And until there’s some leadership change at the BBWAA/HOF, they probably never will be. 12:16 Comment From MattCongrats! Do you think Kendrick is a one-year rental, or someone the Dodgers extend, freeing up Seager for the trade market? 12:16 Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept Kendrick. Seager is more likely to shift to 3B than 2B if he doesn’t stick at short. 12:17 Comment From GuestJust go take a nap, Cameron. We like you, but there’s not much exciting happening and you need a nap more than we need this lunchtime engagement. 12:17 Dave Cameron: Rather than forcing the wife to go from having me around all the time to having me around not at all, we figured we’d try ramping it up more slowly. So chat today, maybe write something Friday, etc… 12:18 Comment From WilsonIs STL done? Do you believe CMart will establish himself as a starter? Plenty of cheap SP depth options still out there. 12:18 Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be shocked if they ended up in on Scherzer if his price comes down. 12:18 Comment From BrianShould HOF voters be required to reveal their ballots? 12:18 Dave Cameron: Yes. 12:19 Comment From Brian (NJ)Stephen Drew to the Yankeez? Do you think this is a move for security or maybe moving Didi for a Sp? 12:19 Dave Cameron: Depth. Now they have the option of not rolling with both Didi/Refsnyder if one flops. And one probably will. 12:20 Comment From AntonIt seems that a good 8th inning guy (like Betanaces) should be a good closer, but many old school baseball people usually disagree. Is there any evidence in favor of one of these opinions? 12:21 Dave Cameron: There are good setup guys who would make less effective closers, but they’re usually guys with big platoon splits. Octavio Dotel was always a pretty decent example of this. He was better as a right-on-right guy than a pitch-to-whoever-is-coming-up guy. 12:21 Comment From SamThoughts on Jedd Gyorko? I like him to bounce back in a big way. 12:21 Dave Cameron: I’ve never been a big fan. 12:21 Comment From NelsonSerious question: Did you plan to have a baby during the offseason? 12:22 Dave Cameron: The timing was on purpose, yes. 12:22 Comment From TomWould you put the Cardinals in the same tier as the Dodgers and Nationals when it comes to NL teams? Or are the Cardinals more on the level of, say, the Pirates and Giants? 12:22 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think they’re a step behind the top two. 12:22 Comment From TomDodgers and Nationals seem to be tops in the NL. Who would you say are the top two or three teams in the AL? Red Sox and someone else? 12:22 Dave Cameron: I like the Blue Jays too. 12:23 Comment From Mike OCongrats on your new arrival! Do you think Cole Hamels gets moved before Opening Day? 12:23 Dave Cameron: No. If the Phillies are dead set on getting a big return for him, they need to wait until the deadline. Of course, that risks that he gets hurt and they get nothing, but it’s the only way they’re going to get the crazy package they seem to think he’s worth. 12:24 Comment From AntonHow important is it that a lineup has L/R versatility? If one lineup has 5 RH, and 4 LH, and another is all RH, but both lineups total 30 WAR, would the 5RH 4LH lineup be expected to score more runs? 12:24 Dave Cameron: Yes. Teams would be able to exploit the all RH line-up with specialist relievers and the team would underperform. 12:25 Comment From Q-BallWhere do you think Javier Baez’s career will head? Are you optimistic that he can make enough contact to be productive, and what do you think his line might look like? 12:25 Dave Cameron: I could see something in between Tony Batista and Alfonso Soriano. 12:25 Comment From PeterRemember — this is the hall of *fame* not the hall of high WAR. Smoltzy was a legend, the flashiest of SPs in Atlanta’s amazing 90s rotation and playoff run. Then, he made a second career as a lights-out closer with countless memorable things. Mussina played well, sure, but so have a lot of guys not in the hall. 12:26 Dave Cameron: Mussina’s postseason numbers are also excellent. You’re just choosing to remember somethings and not others. 12:26 Comment From mtswA friend of mine’s theory on the Smoltz/Mussina divergence in votes is that Smoltz was gregarious and beloved by the press whereas Mussina was withdrawn and kind of a jerk. Do BBWA voters care about that sort of stuff? 12:26 Dave Cameron: They say they don’t, but they clearly do. 12:27 Comment From FloHitters counts by woba: http://www.fangraphs.com/co… 12:27 Dave Cameron: I had forgotten about this one. Neat. 12:28 Comment From BruceI know Ill be derided here, but Iike the 10-vote limit for the hall. Id rather see some borderline players not get in than have something like the NFL where everyone makes it in. I mean are there any no-doubters who got cheated by the 10-vote limit? I dont think edgar or mussina would be in even with no limits 12:28 Dave Cameron: Bagwell, Piazza, Mussina, and Schilling are absolute no-doubters. 12:29 Dave Cameron: But the limit isn’t even about big hall/small hall. It’s about whether or not a voter should have the right to answer the simple question “is this guy a HOFer?” That’s the entire point of the ballot, and the 10 man limit makes it fail that simple test. It’s an insane rule. 12:30 Comment From frankDrew to Yanks: Prudent depth move, or pointless blocking of prospects with potential? 12:30 Dave Cameron: Depth is very useful. No one is blocked. 12:31 Comment From AARONDodgers still have too many outfielders, but where can you trade a guy like Ethier? 12:31 Dave Cameron: Baltimore? 12:31 Comment From MattDo you think we can look forward to a full season from Jesse Hahn? 12:31 Dave Cameron: If you can predict pitcher health, you will be very rich. I don’t think anyone knows. 12:32 Comment From GuestWould it be ok to nudge a child away from being a traditional fan of a team and towards being a fan of the game and players? I’m always hoped my child will be more interested in watching say Kershaw pitch than their favorite team play 12:32 Dave Cameron: It’s an interesting thought, but I can’t imagine it would have worked with me as a kid. So many of my positive memories come from the intense thrill of “your team” winning. 12:33 Comment From JCA CPA CAHow about a 3 team trade between TB, BOS and WAS, Boston gets Zimmermann, Washington gets Zobrist and TB gets prospects. With some noise around around there 12:33 Dave Cameron: Makes some sense. 12:33 Comment From ShuboxCongrats Dave! On the Padres, even given their high-profile moves this offseason, Dodgers are still easily the team to beat in the NL west right? 12:33 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I don’t think the Padres are even particularly close to LA. 12:33 Comment From GuestShould there be less voters for the Hof and maybe be more selective in who gets to vote? 12:35 Dave Cameron: Absolutely. I would favor something like ~50 voters, and would pick people who specialize in understanding baseball’s history. I don’t see any real reason, besides the fact that they’ve always held the vote, that beat writers should still be the ones selecting HOFers in this day and age. 12:35 Comment From TomWhat sort of realistic chance do Adrian Beltre and Yadier Molina have of getting into the HOF? Seems like aura is upgraded and defense is downgraded among voters. 12:36 Dave Cameron: I think Beltre is going to have a tougher time than Molina, unless he gets to 3,000 hits. 12:36 Comment From JasonHow is Lester’s deal viewed by GMs with the 30mil signing bonus…is it 6/155 or 6/125? If so, does that eventually hurt Scherzer’s quest for 200mil if GMs view Lester’s deal at 125mil (140mil with option)? 12:36 Dave Cameron: It’s 6/155. The way they allocated the money doesn’t matter. 12:37 Comment From RyanOnly 5 starting pitchers since 1900 have a better FIP- than Curt Schilling. It’s when not if for the HOF for him, right? 12:37 Dave Cameron: Yeah, there’s no way he’s kept out forever. 12:37 Dave Cameron: He’s a clear example of writers not voting for someone they don’t like. 12:38 Comment From PrichMore value in a trade: Zimm or Zobrist? 12:38 Dave Cameron: Probably Zobrist. $10M cheaper, and positional flexibility means he fits for more teams. 12:38 Comment From GuestEveryone realizes that if we forced everyone to reveal their ballots we would just become more angry at their (lack of) logic than we are at the presumptions we can make based on results, right? Let’s let our blood pressure stay at least somewhat in check. 12:38 Dave Cameron: The people who don’t reveal their ballots are the voters with the most embarrassing ones. They’re the guys who haven’t covered baseball in 20 years. 12:40 Comment From JC“All downhill from here” Not at all. Gets better until age 7, then substantially worse, then substantially better. Dual peaks. 12:40 Dave Cameron: Okay, right. Downhill for a long while… 12:40 Comment From CurtisOf all the prospects yet to debut in MLB, who has the highest bust probability in your eyes? Best chance to succeed? 12:41 Dave Cameron: Baez seems to have a very high chance of being nothing. Mookie Betts will be a solid player unless he dies. 12:41 Comment From GuestWhy is everyone so bearish on the Rays? Steamer still sees them as the 8th best team and it doesn’t like their pitching staff one bit. 12:41 Dave Cameron: People dramatically overreact to teams making slight downgrades. Same thing with the A’s; they make a few moves that make them a little bit worse and everyone says they’re terrible. 12:42 Comment From JohnA lot of Cubs fans think it’s still too soon to go out and trade prospects for a player like Zobrist. But given their Steamer projection (83 wins; tied for 5th best in the NL), aren’t they in the position where they should be willing to give up the most for him? 12:42 Dave Cameron: I think it always depends on price. If you can get more short-term value from Zobrist than what you have to give up to get him, it’s worth it. 12:43 Comment From GuestBut re: L/R distribution in lineups, wouldn’t 30 WAR assume they weren’t so exploited? Or to say: if those same players were R/L they’d likely get more WAR because they weren’t able to be exploited. But either way, 30 WAR has been achieved. 12:44 Dave Cameron: The 30 WAR projection is based on a normal distribution of RHPs/LHPs faced. If you make a RHB face RHP more often, he won’t match his forecast WAR. 12:44 Comment From BusterBrownso you’re saying that the 500+ HOF voters were swayed to such an extreme (82% to 39% and 24%) because of a narrative (“the big three”)? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but that’s an incredibly superficial thing to vote on. I had been assuming it was the 3 yrs as a dominant closer which seemed to impress voters (as if Schilling or Mussina couldn’t have been highly effective closers). The disparity in the support for these 3 is mind-boggling. 12:44 Dave Cameron: I think a significant population of the voters don’t actually look at things that closely. 12:45 Dave Cameron: They just vote with their memories, and they remember Atlanta’s dominant rotation in the 1990s. 12:45 Comment From GeorgeEthier and 25 mil to the Orioles for Matusz, who says no? 12:45 Dave Cameron: Ethier and $25 million doesn’t get you anything. 12:46 Comment From Good dayIs Mookie Betts ceiling a Victorino type or better? 12:46 Dave Cameron: His ceiling is definitely higher than that. 12:47 Comment From RickWhat are your thoughts on Souza? There seems to be a divide a how some people project him, The Rays and other sabermetric minded people seem to think he could be a future star while the traditional scouts don’t see him as much more than a borderline regular. 12:47 Dave Cameron: I’m not sure they project him as a future star, but they might see him as something closer to an above average big leaguer right now. 12:47 Dave Cameron: And I don’t think that’s crazy at all. 12:48 Dave Cameron: People focus way too much on upside in prospects. Having significant present value is also something to be coveted. 12:48 Comment From GuestHave you noticed your jokes getting worse now that you’re a dad? Do you now feel an urge to listen to Tom Petty? Has your attire become actively out of fashion? 12:48 Dave Cameron: You thought I ever dressed in fashion? 12:49 Comment From mtswLet’s say you grew up in New York as a Mets fan, still root for them, but live in Philly. Do you try to indoctrinate your kid as a Mets fan, or let him root for your division rivals? Would suck to have your kid root for a different team than you, but as a kid myself I always found friends who rooted for an out-of-state team because “my dad grew up there” to be huge phonies. 12:49 Dave Cameron: If I lived in a town with an MLB team, I’d think I’d want the kid to root for that team. So much more fun to be able to go to the local stadium to watch “your team” rather than have to only watch them on TV. 12:50 Comment From Mike E.Dave, if Jeff Samardzja were a free agent this offseason, where would he fall in this group of FA starters? 12:50 Dave Cameron: Between Shields and Lester. 12:50 Comment From Skippy NordquistWhat was your happiest childhood baseball memory rooting for the Mariners? 12:51 Dave Cameron: 1995 was about as good as it gets. Game 5 of the ALDS was insane. 12:51 Comment From NsetevWRT Lester’s deal, money now is worth more than money later. Teams should have their own financial projections to show a front loaded $155mil costs more than a back loaded $155mil 12:51 Dave Cameron: Of course, but signing bonuses aren’t paid in full up front. You can spread those out too. 12:52 Comment From MikeZobrist’s trade value is about equal, maybe a little higher, than Heyward or Kendrick’s right? Regardless of what you think of Heaney, that’s about what the Rays should be looking for Zobrist (top 50ish prospect or a 2-3 WAR guy with 4-5 years of service time left). 12:52 Dave Cameron: Yeah, somewhere in there. 12:52 Comment From BossSettle an argument….how much would trading Zobrist right now versus at the deadline decrease his value? The one advantage of trading at the deadline, because of the new playoff system, is having increased leverage. At the deadline, you lose the compensation pick and half a season of value, plus I can’t imagine the market being any better than it is now. So safe to say he would lose roughly half of his surplus value? 12:53 Dave Cameron: Costs are higher at the deadline because of decreased supply, but I think his value would be about the same or maybe less. It goes up for pitchers, but probably less so for position players. 12:54 Comment From JohnI feel like a guy who hasn’t covered baseball in 20 years isn’t going to really care if his revealed ballot gets mocked. The real problem is those guys just shouldn’t have a vote. 12:54 Dave Cameron: Yeah, the cronyism of allowing people who don’t even know who some of these guys are to retain their votes is amazing. 12:55 Dave Cameron: True story: on the BBWAA forum a couple of years ago, a voter asked for a packet of information about the eligible players to be snail mailed to him for research purposes, because he didn’t recognize all the names on the ballot. When someone simply responded with baseball-reference.com, he said it would be easier for him if it was on paper. 12:56 Dave Cameron: But Bill James and Jay Jaffe don’t have votes. 12:56 Dave Cameron: It’s so dumb. 12:56 Comment From SantosI would disagree with “it’s all downhill”. Right now your baby is just a blob. Wait until they develop a personality. My son is almost 2 and the best part of my day is just hanging out with him and talking to him and experiencing him react to things. It’s going to get really cool in just a littl bit. 12:56 Dave Cameron: Downhill = easier, at least in my terminology. 12:56 Comment From MikeNot to be a…let’s go with Richard…but if Mookie Betts is so certain to be a lock, how did he last to the 5th round in the draft (and only spent 3 seasons in the minors coming out of high school)? I get the talent – but if he’s such a certainty, how did that many people miss that many times? 12:57 Dave Cameron: Projecting the bat is remarkably hard, and guys get better. Betts was a little guy who wasn’t obviously going to hit. Now that he’s shown that he’s probably at least going to make a lot of contact, his floor is pretty high, even if the power goes away. And the power probably won’t go away entirely. 12:58 Comment From ThePuckYou mentioned Piazza, Schilling, Bagwell and Mussina are no-brainer HOF players. What about Raines? 12:58 Dave Cameron: Him too. 12:58 Comment From JimmersWhy are people talking about the Red Sox as if they are a “Very Good” Team? They are coming off a last place finish, they have a big question marks at C, SS, CF (3 super key positions), Ortiz and Pedroia are not heading in the right direction, Sandoval is simply not a very good player, Hanley is a question mark (where will he play and can he stay heatlhy). The rotation lacks upside and depth and the BP seems avg to me. 12:59 Dave Cameron: Because your evaluations of their talent is mostly incorrect? 1:00 Comment From PeterAgain, this is the hall of *fame* — there’s a fine argument to be made that we shouldn’t have to “look at things closely” to determine who is famously good. No one’s taking the WAR leaderboards away from us. 1:00 Dave Cameron: It’s a museum of baseball history. What’s the point of only telling tiny slices of that history? 1:01 Comment From Steve LiddWhat second half performance research are you referring to? John Benson demonstrated over 25 years ago that second half performance was highly correlated with future periormance. 1:01 Dave Cameron: His research was wrong, then. Second half performance has been repeatedly shown to have very little predictive value. 1:02 Comment From NsetevGrew up in Cincinnati, dad from St. Louis, I’ve been a huge Cards fan my whole life, and it had nothing to do with success. Even through those dark years in the 90’s I was still obsessed. It’s nice to have something in common with your dad. 1:02 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I can see this side too. 1:03 Dave Cameron: Of course, this assumes the kid will even like baseball. Maybe my boy is going to be a hipster who is into skinny jeans and craft beer. 1:03 Comment From Andy5How about the Official Historian of Baseball John Thorn not even having a vote? Pretty ridiculous. 1:04 Dave Cameron: Yeah. 1:04 Dave Cameron: So many really great potential voters kept out by the BBWAA. 1:05 Comment From Guest…your boy is going to be Eno? 1:05 Dave Cameron: Eno isn’t a hipster. He’s a drunk. 1:06 Dave Cameron: (Okay, not really a drunk. He just likes beer a lot.) 1:06 Comment From GuestWhat about using second half performance when there is a meaningful change? As the other commenter noted, there was very real change with Hutichson’s slider. The projections don’t know this, but we do. And we should take this into account. 1:06 Dave Cameron: You can make up a post-hoc explanation for every player who had a big second half. 1:07 Comment From STiVoAs a parent of a young kid, I think it’s going to be cool to watch him develop his own interests and skills. I’ll try to teach good habits and foster growth, but the “what” aspect of interests will mostly be up to him. This will I hope be more rewarding than trying to force him to be a fan of my favorite baseball team. 1:07 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think I’m kind of there too. It would be great if my kid likes baseball, and I’ll certainly take him to games and explain it to him and play catch, but if he doesn’t like it, okay. My dad was a car mechanic who loved to fix things. I don’t care about cars at all and I can’t fix anything. 1:08 Comment From Your Display NameCould someone write an article about pitch frameing? I get it conceptually but I couldn’t recognize it when watching a game. 1:08 Dave Cameron: http://grantland.com/featur… 1:09 Dave Cameron: Alright, going to call it a day. Thanks for hanging out and all the congratulations. I’ll be back next week, and will hopefully be writing by then too.