Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 2/11/15

11:43
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday, so let’s have some fun.

11:43
Dave Cameron: The queue is now open.

12:01
Comment From Bret
LOL fun on a Wednesday! This guy! ^^^

12:02
Dave Cameron: “More fun than you normally have on a Wednesday”

12:02
Comment From mtsw
Are sentences like “Before we move on to 2015, one more thought on the O’s-Rays conundrum. It might be tough to accept at face value that one club that finished 19 games behind another might actually have been a better club than the other” explicitly written in order to get Orioles fans riled up?

12:03
Dave Cameron: Nope. If the idea that single season team record is not a perfect model of a team’s true talent level offends you, perhaps you need to do more research on the variations in team record in a 162 game sample.

12:03
Comment From Pale Hose
For which teams can you not construct a reasonable playoff argument?

12:03
Dave Cameron: The only path to the playoffs for the Phillies is one in which the Nationals are contracted before opening day.

12:04
Comment From Curtis
Which off season signing do you think will offer the most value compared to cost?

12:04
Dave Cameron: Writing about that tomorrow, in fact.

12:04
Comment From Andrew G.
What % chance is there of Cole Hamels’ trade value dropping between now and the deadline?

12:04
Dave Cameron: Whatever chance of injury any given 31 year old pitcher has, probably. ~30%, maybe?

12:05
Comment From Snid
Snow shoveling is not fun. Take it from me!

12:05
Dave Cameron: Winston-Salem hasn’t had snow all year. Also, it’s really cheap to live here. Just saying.

12:05
Comment From Tony the Tiger
How concerned should we be with Victor Martinez right now?

12:06
Dave Cameron: An aging former catcher who just blew his knee out a couple of years ago is having knee surgery: what could possibly go wrong? Seriously, this seems like the kind of thing that can linger.

12:06
Comment From Maxamuz
Baseball Prospectus projects the Padres to go 88-77 as of Feb 9th. If they land Cole Hamels, do you think they could make a viable run at the division or are the Dodgers to far ahead for it to really matter?

12:07
Dave Cameron: No they don’t. http://www.baseballprospect…

12:07
Dave Cameron: Pretty much every projection system has the Padres as .500ish.

12:07
Dave Cameron: The Dodgers are >10 games better by almost every single model.

12:07
Comment From Curtis
If, by many peoples’ opinions, the Padres infield leaves much to be desired, what is one more trade/signing they could work to yet again improve their team?

12:07
Dave Cameron: Wil Myers for Jurickson Profar and stuff.

12:08
Dave Cameron: Assuming Profar is healthy.

12:08
Comment From Pat
Just a quick comment from the pod, if LAD lands Moncada, those with agreements in place won’t be knocking on NYY’s door. They already can’t sign over $300k next two years even without Moncada.

12:09
Dave Cameron: Good point. But there is some team out there with money to spend next July 2 who would happily take the players the Dodgers have already committed to.

12:09
Comment From Anthony
From a player development standpoint, how awkward are PTBNL arrangements? For instance, do the Pirates have any say in how the Orioles use the PTBNL in the Snider deal until he actually changes hands, either as a term of the trade or professional courtesy?

12:09
Dave Cameron: If the player is predetermined, and is only a PTBNL for bending-the-rule reasons, then yes, the acquiring team has some say in where he’s assigned, what position he plays, etc…

12:10
Dave Cameron: Sometimes, though, PTBNL’s really aren’t decided until later.

12:10
Comment From Maxamuz
Are you buying into the White Sox being contenders? I’m not. Nor am I buying into the BTTF2 prophecy of the Cubbies this year. ChiTown is a no-go for the playoffs.

12:10
Dave Cameron: I think the Cubs have a legit shot at the postseason this year. The White Sox, a bit less so.

12:10
Comment From george
Why does fangraphs/steamer projections keep changing every day? Padres were projected for 79 wins before the Shields signing, then 80 the day after, then 81 the day after that, then back to 80 now 82?

12:12
Dave Cameron: Playing time on the depth charts have likely been updated, perhaps reflecting changes in expected roles for some of the pitchers previously projected as starters. Also, the projected standings page is based on running 10,000 simulations, but there can still be some small fluctuations in outcome in a sample that size, so some days, the winning percentage might move a few points just based on randomness.

12:12
Comment From greg
How do the Reds view Eugenio Suarez long term? ZiPS likes him more than Zack Cozart this year but there doesn’t seem to be any thought given by the team to anything but Cozart being the every day guy at SS.

12:12
Dave Cameron: My guess is they view him more as Phillips replacement for when the rebuild begins.

12:13
Comment From Larry Bernandez
You used to play baseball, right? How far did you make it playing ball? How good were you?

12:13
Dave Cameron: I played through high school. I was good relative to my teammates, but my teammates were terrible.

12:13
Comment From Eminor3rd
Regarding your latest draft removal proposal: It seems like you’d be incentivizing bad teams to continue NOT investing in their product until they were ready to just go bananas and break the bank. I’m not sure that;s any better than the W-L record system.

12:14
Dave Cameron: People are vastly overstating the impact of a six to one tradeoff between MLB spending an increase in the player acquisition pool. Teams would not cut $40 million off their payroll in order to get an extra $7 million in domestic spending. It just wouldn’t happen.

12:15
Dave Cameron: And the fun part about tying the pools to the deviation from league average is that even if a couple of teams tried to do that, the system has diminishing returns built in, as they’d lower the average their difference is being calculated against.

12:16
Comment From Anthony
With numerous projection systems being released over the past few weeks is there a historical analysis that compares their accuracy year to year? I assume if there were any significant variances those factors would be included in the next year’s projection.

12:16
Dave Cameron: Yeah, there have been a ton of pieces studying how projection systems fare. Google “testing the projections” and “hardball times” and you’ll find a recent one. Conclusions are basically always that most of them are about the same.

12:17
Comment From someGuy
Expectations of the Padres at this point? Is this team a playoff contender?

12:18
Dave Cameron: I see a .500ish team with some upside if either Johnson/Morrow stay healthy and turn in a high quality season as their #5 starter. But it’s also a very easy team to match up with, and they’re going to have a very hard time in late-inning situations with their all-RH line-up, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they significantly underperformed in close games either.

12:19
Comment From Phillies113
How are the total bonus pools for drafts and international FAs determined before being divided among the teams? Is it based on revenue sharing?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Prior season record. So this summer, teams like Boston and Philadelphia get a lot of money to spend while the A’s get almost nothing.

12:19
Dave Cameron: And I just realized I read your question wrong.

12:20
Dave Cameron: MLB sets the pool limits each year. I believe the CBA has some information about how those calculations are done, but I don’t remember them off hand.

12:20
Comment From Guest
Is it common for you to write most of an article, only to realize someone just posted an article on the exact same topic and forced to scrap it?

12:21
Dave Cameron: I’m not going to scrap something I wrote because someone on some other site published their own version of the same piece. And we generally communicate with our own writers about who is writing what, so internally, that doesn’t happen.

12:21
Comment From Anon21
Why don’t we see any teams accelerating payment on albatross contracts during noncompetitive years when their payroll is below the budget set by ownership? E.g., Braves and B.J. Upton–why not pay him $30 million this year and nothing in 2017?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Most owners prefer to run their businesses out of the cash flows of the business rather than writing checks out of their own accounts.

12:22
Comment From Seymour
you see any further player movement occurring once ST opens, like a Zimmerman deal or another A’s or Pads trade? Seems like the Pads really need to find a taker for Quentin. The Phils need to find a deal for Papelbon. The Cubs need to find a taker for Welington Castillo, etc. Seems a very incomplete winter despite all the activity, no?

12:23
Dave Cameron: Yeah, there will be some more moves. The Cubs will trade Travis Wood and Castillo. The Padres will trade Quentin and maybe Maybin. The Red Sox probably trade an OF.

12:23
Comment From Joe
If the Reds decide to trade Chapman either at the deadline or offseason, what kind of package could they grab? A. Miller gave the Sox a pretty nice return for only 3 months, so I would expect something substantially better.

12:23
Dave Cameron: Especially because Chapman isn’t entering his FA year. Yeah, he’d command a real return.

12:23
Comment From Seymour
Top 3 off-seasons: ChiSox, Braves, Pads? Am I missing anyone?

12:24
Dave Cameron: I don’t think I’d have any of those teams in my top three.

12:24
Comment From Joe
what are some beginning steps for creating your own projection system assuming one has a decent background in statistics?

12:25
Dave Cameron: The primary decision you have to make is what components you’re going to use. Pretty much all the main systems are going to weight older data basically the same, so if you want to not just recreate the wheel, you need to find something that isn’t factored into ZIPS or Steamer yet. Steamer actually made its name by incorporating pitcher velocity before anyone else, for instance.

12:25
Comment From Curtis
Is Mookie Betts the best example EVER of an ideal Fangraphs prospect? Seems like all the writers here are in full support of an extremely positive projection/career. I don’t recall that ever happening before, to this degree… even Trout?

12:26
Dave Cameron: I think it’s more a matter of relativity. We loved Trout, but everyone loved Trout, so we didn’t stand out. We just like Betts more than other prospect types, so our opinion stands out more.

12:26
Dave Cameron: And by “our opinion”, I should note that there’s been zero collective discussion about a uniform Mookie Betts opinion. Our writers get to have their own ideas. We just have a lot of people who agree on this one.

12:26
Comment From Tom
If the Phillies come down slightly on their asking price, would Carlos Martinez and Peter Bourjos plus a low A prospect or two be enough for Cole Hamels?

12:27
Dave Cameron: I’m not a huge Martinez fan, but that’s probably in right range, yes.

12:27
Comment From David
Mike Rizzo cited WAR in an interview the other day. I thought he was an old school scout type?

12:27
Dave Cameron: He is, but he has smart people working for him, and he’s smart enough to listen to them.

12:27
Comment From Bret
Are you fine with the Jays going with the “try to hold it together with a bunch of nothing until Devon Travis is ready” strategy at second base?

12:28
Dave Cameron: Seems like there were better options this winter, but they passed on them all. At this point, not a lot of useful MIs left.

12:28
Comment From Nelson
Do you invest int he stock market?

12:28
Dave Cameron: I don’t buy individual stocks. I’m a low cost index fund guy.

12:28
Comment From Mike
Seen lots of the demise of V-Mart talk. He’s a DH, don’t we think he’ll still hit? Even if it is 85% of last year’s career year.

12:29
Dave Cameron: Why should we expect a 37 year old to sustain 85% of his career year?

12:29
Comment From Jason
Are the Diamondbacks a better team in 2015 from a talent perspective?

12:29
Dave Cameron: No. They’re a disaster.

12:29
Comment From Josh I
What’s keeping Mookie Betts and all of his hype from doing what Xander Bogaerts and all his hype did last year? I like Mookie a lot, but this same thing happened with Xander last year.

12:29
Dave Cameron: Every player has a wide range of outcomes. I could ask you that same question about any player in the major leagues.

12:30
Dave Cameron: You try to isolate the most likely, or the mean around which the most likely congegrate.

12:30
Comment From RyanW
Good reports on Profar so far. Do you like him or Addison Russell more?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Russell

12:30
Comment From Eric
Why must contract incentives be only based on playing time or awards voting? Why can’t they be based on production

12:31
Dave Cameron: There’d be a bit of a moral hazard at play if players had to choose between swinging away to try and make another $50K or bunting like the manager asked.

12:31
Comment From John
How much does Jason Heyward get in free agency next offseason?

12:31
Dave Cameron: I’ll guess 10/$200M, but that’s assuming he has a very good year.

12:32
Comment From Chef Jim
How long would the regular season need to be to show enough signal that we could reasonably state the team with the best record is the best, second best record is second best, and so on?

12:32
Dave Cameron: I’m picking a number out of a hat rather than basing this on a rigorous statistical test, but I’d say 500ish.

12:32
Comment From greg
Will we see a MLB team based in Havana in the next 50 years?

12:32
Dave Cameron: I’ll say yes.

12:33
Comment From Henry
This is not a fantasy question – although it will seem like one. I’m trying to convince a friend that Carlos Carrasco will be a better pitcher for the Indians than Matt Harvey for the Mets. He believes that Harvey was ready to pitch even before his TJ, and because of that confidence + his lengthy rehab process he should be back to normal. I believe Carrasco has figured it out and will be a top 5 pitcher in the AL this year. I am going to bet him $50 on this. Am I nuts?

12:34
Dave Cameron: You’re nuts to think that you have enough information to make that a high percentage play, but if you have $50 to burn and it’s fun for you to bet with your friend, go for it.

12:34
Dave Cameron: Said another way: maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not, I’m not sure. But I’d bet it’s probably no more than 55/45 in either direction. So you’re putting $50 up on a coin flip, basically.

12:34
Comment From Jason
Is valentine’s day a pointless holiday?

12:35
Dave Cameron: It has the most obvious and direct point possible: dramatically increase profits for florists, Hallmark, and restaurants. Those are just goals I don’t want to serve.

12:35
Comment From Dave
Do you think that most predictions about the reds are overly pessimistic? Basically everything that could go wrong wen wrong last year, if they just have a normal year shouldn’t they be a legit wild card contender?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Nope. They have a .500 team if things go their way, and a disaster if any of their key players get hurt.

12:36
Comment From Jimbo
Who do you envision being the Jays 5th starter between Estrada/Sanchez/Norris? Who would you personally go with?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Estrada.

12:36
Comment From frustrated fantasy guy
Dave: I love your columns and fangraphs. But I play in an AL only league and I like to click on your park factors (especially the part of LH and RH power) for quick references on AL parks. But the Astros continue to be listed with the NL teams. Nitpicking probably, but it would be more convenient for AL only league players to have this corrected. Thanks.

12:37
Dave Cameron: I’ll mention it to the boss.

12:37
Comment From L. Scott
Can you see Cliff Lee being traded to Boston if he’s fully healthy in ST? How much less of a package would PHI accept as compared to Hamels?

12:37
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that’s the direct BOS went instead. Doubt it happens in ST, but if he’s healthy in July, I could see them just taking the contract and keeping their talent instead.

12:38
Dave Cameron: Lee’s basically a salary dump. If the Phils won’t pay down any of his deal, they won’t get anything back.

12:38
Comment From Conor
Thoughts on Charles Barkley saying analytics “are crap” and “don’t work”?

12:38
Dave Cameron: Why would I care what Charles Barkley thinks?

12:39
Comment From Al
Does Jeff deserve a vacation?

12:39
Dave Cameron: He’s taking a long one in March.

12:39
Comment From Harry Porter and the Voldemalts
warthogs vs dash, who’s side are you on?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Dash is an incredibly dumb name.

12:39
Dave Cameron: for the team, I mean. It’s an okay name for a kid, maybe.

12:40
Comment From Dave Yadlairedunegrossepiledemarde
The bast player in the game right now who wasnt a top prospect has to be Cano right? Why were scouts so wrong about him?

12:40
Dave Cameron: Cano was a legit prospect.

12:40
Dave Cameron: It’s probably someone like Corey Kluber.

12:41
Comment From Drew
Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Padres to Move Kemp to 1B, Myers to RF, and platoon Maybin/Venable in CF? No drop in offense, and definite improvement in defense.

12:41
Dave Cameron: You think Maybin/Venable hit as well as Alonso? That seems dubious.

12:42
Dave Cameron: But it might be the right move anyway.

12:42
Comment From Curtis
Will Bryce Harper ever hit .300+ or play in 160 games?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Yes.

12:43
Comment From Cole
What position did you play?

12:43
Dave Cameron: Catcher/3rd base.

12:43
Comment From Guest
When teams hire Tom Tango how do they pay him? Do they know his real name? Do you know his real name?

12:43
Dave Cameron: Yes, they know his real name. I don’t, but I know a bunch of people who do.

12:43
Comment From John
Do you ever see yourself as a sociologist who can do math?

12:44
Dave Cameron: I see myself primarily as a writer with an okay grasp on math-based concepts. Basically, I think I’m mostly a teacher who just got lucky that I teach in a non-school setting.

12:45
Comment From Catoblepas
w/r/t your draft removal idea: how do you feel about rolling over a portion of remaining pool each year, say 80%? It would allow teams spending a lot to still make runs at the top prospects once every 3-5 years, but still discourage everyone from going into boom-bust cycles of saving and spending.

12:45
Dave Cameron: It’s an interesting thought.

12:45
Comment From Seymour
If “projection systems” are so relatively devoid of value (due to the wide variances in real results), then why is so much time spent discussing them not to mention, reliance on them…?

12:45
Dave Cameron: The premise of your entire question is wrong.

12:46
Comment From bucs_lose_again
Any logical guesses as to why when watching old games on MLB.tv, they leave the “Commercial Break in Progress” gaps in between innings?

12:47
Dave Cameron: They negotiated the broadcast rights to the games with the networks, but not the advertising rights. They retain the rights to sell their own ads at some point in the future, and I’d expect they will eventually.

12:48
Comment From Cole
Do you see the Marlins as a true wildcard contenders? Or still a year or two away?

12:48
Dave Cameron: They’re on the fringes of WC contention. There are only four really good NL teams.

12:49
Comment From Ed
Would the loser in the Brad Miller vs Chris Taylor shortstop competition be better served playing every day in AAA or by staying in the majors in a utility/backup role? I’d much rather have one of them on the bench than someone like Jesus Montero.

12:49
Dave Cameron: I’d imagine both will play and it will end up as a job share.

12:49
Comment From Anon21
Not sure I understood your answer re: accelerating payment on albatross contracts. Is the idea that in a noncompetitive year, the team’s ownership-imposed payroll cap will be lower because they’re not going to sell as many tickets and jerseys?

12:50
Dave Cameron: You’re essentially asking the owner to take a $15 million future liability and pay it off with cash today. Where is that cash coming from?

12:50
Comment From Who is a player you could see breaking out this year?
Dave, what did you think of dbacks offseason?

12:50
Dave Cameron: Probably the worst of any team’s this winter.

12:50
Comment From j
Your guess on where Moncada lands?

12:50
Dave Cameron: Dodgers.

12:51
Comment From Jeff
Over/under: 500 Mookie Betts plate appearances

12:51
Dave Cameron: Over.

12:51
Comment From Someone Elses Display Name
Which of these players is most likely to get moved before the deadline, and who gets the biggest return: Papelbon, Hamels, Kimbrel, Chapman, Cueto

12:51
Dave Cameron: Papelbon is basically a lock to get traded, and probably before Opening Day.

12:51
Dave Cameron: Biggest return would be Hamels if the Phils paid down some salary.

12:51
Dave Cameron: If they won’t, maybe Chapman.

12:52
Comment From Who is a player you could see breaking out this year?
There is mookie betts as the fg favorite position prospect. Who is his pitching prospect equivalent?

12:53
Dave Cameron: I think we’re just going to keep riding Corey Kluber.

12:53
Comment From Dylan
If Mookie Betts fails, will Fangraphs shut down? Or at least for a couple days for a moment of silence/to avoid the hate.

12:53
Dave Cameron: The Betts talk is kind of fun, but in reality, no one at FG thinks success is a clear guarantee. It’s not like we’d be shocked if he ended up becoming a mediocre player.

12:54
Dave Cameron: We deal in probabilities. We tend to think the likelihood of Betts becoming a good player are higher than other people do. That doesn’t mean we don’t know that there are negative outcomes in his range.

12:54
Comment From Guest
have you ever been to a restaurant where you cook meat yourself on a little grill in front of you

12:54
Dave Cameron: Yes. I call that “my deck”

12:55
Comment From Catoblepas
Do you agree with Mike Petriello about Porcello getting a substantial contract this offseason? What’s your best guess? And any chance the Red Sox lock him up?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Yeah, he’s going to get paid next winter. Doubt BOS is the team that pays him.

12:56
Comment From Alex
Saw the piece here on Jung-ho Kang today that pegged him as a potential 25-homer, .280 average, reasonable OBP guy. Are you buying in on him?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Dan Farnsworth knows more about swings than I do.

12:57
Comment From Curtis
Does the Commissioner have the authority to change the draft/international signing process by himself? Who else would HAVE to be involved? MLBPA might want some input but it doesn’t really directly affect them (more or less) right?

12:57
Dave Cameron: It has to be collectively bargained.

12:57
Comment From Bryan G.
From Chef Jim’s question before, it looks like it would be about, oh, 20,000 games before talent beats chance as far as regular-season results. http://www.beyondtheboxscor…

12:59
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Cano was never ranked in the top 100 prospects by Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus

1:00
Dave Cameron: That often is just a function of when a player is called up. Guys who get promoted during their breakout season lose prospect status and don’t get a chance to make it to the next Top 100.

1:00
Comment From Tommy Lasordid
Kemp at first base? He pouted for a week about being moved from center to right.

1:00
Dave Cameron: Another reason not to trade for him.

1:01
Comment From Troy
I’m relatively new to fangraphs, but what is it that makes tom tango such a special guest?

1:01
Dave Cameron: He’s the guy who created a lot of the metrics we host on FG, and probably the most influential sabermetric guy since Bill James.

1:01
Comment From Guest
For now during commercial breaks mlbtv should show a grainy feed of the dugout steps

1:02
Dave Cameron: It used to be that operators would forget to kill the feed and you could hear the announcers mid-inning conversations. Especially fun when they killed the team/players thinking they were off the air.

1:03
Comment From Ray
Any idea why you seem to attract more questions who’s premise is “You are wrong and you should feel bad and are a waste of time” or do you just publish more of them for our amusement?

1:03
Dave Cameron: I’m very likely the most polarizing writer on the site. People like Jeff more than they like me.

1:03
Comment From Ed
Does your wife share your views on Valentine’s Day? Most men feel the same way you do, but women not so much!

1:04
Dave Cameron: We’re apparently spending Saturday night hanging out with her parents and her aunt and uncle, so if she wanted it to be a special night, she has a very weird way of showing it.

1:04
Comment From Tommy Lasordid
Four really good NL teams? Dodgers, Nationals Cards and Pirates?

1:04
Dave Cameron: Yep.

1:05
Comment From L. Scott
Why is there no love for Dee Gordon? He’s 26, provides premium speed. and is coming off a career year.

1:05
Dave Cameron: Because speed is the least valuable skill a baseball player can have.

1:05
Dave Cameron: And he does nothing else.

1:06
Comment From Guest
re: polarizing, doesn’t help that your response is rarely patient/empathetic; nothing wrong with taking that approach (one of my favorite professors taught this way) but it certainly elicits more hardline response

1:07
Dave Cameron: Yeah. I wouldn’t put patience among my strong suits.

1:07
Dave Cameron: Okay, the kid is throwing a fit and the wife needs to eat lunch.

1:07
Dave Cameron: Off to go hold a screaming baby.

1:07
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out, everyone





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Larry Bernandez
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Larry Bernandez

it’s not getting me a feed at all.