Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 2/1/17 by Dave Cameron February 1, 2017 12:01 Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday, everyone. 12:01 Dave Cameron: We’re a few weeks away from the start of spring training, so we’re nearing the end of winter. 12:01 Dave Cameron: Of course, it’s snowing at my house right now, so it doesn’t feel like it. 12:02 Dave Cameron: Let’s get this party started. 12:04 Not a scout: Bernie Pleskoff thinks Ian Happ is overrated. Only explanation was that he had a bad fall. He OPS’d over .800 in his first full season as a pro even with a bad finish. What are your thoughts on Happ? 12:04 Dave Cameron: Overrated is such a loaded term, because you don’t know what the baseline is. Overrated compared to what? How is he being rated? 12:05 Dave Cameron: Eric put a 55 FV on him in his Cubs list. That doesn’t seem outlandish to me. 12:06 ChiSox2020: Who has more trade value: Nate Jones or David Robertson? 12:06 Dave Cameron: Jones 12:06 Dave Cameron: Robertson is mostly a salary dump, though you’d get some kind of prospect for him if you picked up a little bit of the contract. 12:07 Dave Cameron: Jones has a ton of value. Not quite as the Giles level, but he’d get a big return. 12:07 biffyclyro: With the amount of political screaming and crap that permeates my newsfeed, I’m thinking of dropping Facebook entirely. Can you think of any reason I could possibly regret this decision? It seems like everyone’s so busy shouting that no one is listening. 12:08 Dave Cameron: I endorse your decision. Just because someone has been given access to a platform doesn’t mean you have to stand there and listen to them yell. 12:09 Jack: What would a potential trade look like between the Rangers and Rays including Profar. 12:09 Dave Cameron: Would have to think Rangers would look for pitching, since TB has lots and TEX does not. But Rays probably better off just moving Miller to 2B and signing a first baseman. 12:09 Dan: Would you rather have Benintendi or G Sanchez as your franchise player? 12:10 Dave Cameron: That’s a fun question 12:10 Dave Cameron: I might write a post about that. 12:10 Matt: What do you think is the more egregious (for lack of a better word) part of the punishment levied on the Cards – the fact that the hit to the Cards was relatively light, or the fact that the Astros – through no action of their own – have benefited and are awarded those picks. (Point of the latter being that other teams gotta be a bit peeved, no?) 12:11 Dave Cameron: The Astros didn’t benefit; they get a couple of lower-value picks and some mostly meaningless cash in exchange for some pretty seriously negative PR. Given the amount teams spend on their image, Houston came out in the red here. 12:12 AbnerDoubleday: Is a farm system more valuable if the talent is top heavy, or if the system is deep? 12:12 Dave Cameron: You generally would rather have potential stars than a lot of useful parts. 12:13 email@example.com: Dave,does being the best defensive catcher of his generation,make Yadi Molina,a strong HOF,candidate. 12:13 Dave Cameron: I don’t know if he hit enough for long enough to be a strong candidate, but he’ll get in. 12:13 Dave Cameron: Omar Vizquel is going to get a lot of support next year, and there’s almost no way to argue that Vizquel > Molina. 12:14 Ozzie: Is Rick Hahn right to hold on to Quintana at this point based on the rumored offers from the Astros, Pirates, and Yankees? Does Rick still have the leverage at this point? 12:15 Dave Cameron: It’s a risk-reward calculation. By keeping Quintana until the deadline, you’re taking on the risk that he gets hurt or devalues himself Sonny Gray style, but if he stays healthy, the price at the deadline should be higher, given the scarcity of other options. 12:15 Dave Cameron: In their case, I’d probably be a bit risk-averse, because you don’t want Quintana’s value to go to zero. 12:15 Dave Cameron: But keeping him isn’t some obvious disaster. 12:16 JC: Hey Dave. I have a hypothesis I’d like to get your take on. With the rise of analytics, we’ve seen fewer and fewer players get prominent front office jobs over the last 15 years. However, it seems that current players are much more receptive to those numbers than the previous generation. I’m wondering if you think we’ll eventually reach a point, 15 or 20 years down the road, where front office trends swing back in the opposite direction and more often than not, a team’s GM is a former player. Or do you think that the current era of Ivy League MBAs is going to be how things are run for the foreseeable future? 12:17 Dave Cameron: I don’t know that we’ve seen fewer players get front office jobs; they’re just different kinds of jobs. I think the Brian Bannister/Gabe Kapler type of role is only going to grow, as we’ve seen with the Diamondbacks bringing in Dan Haren and Burke Badenhop this off-season. 12:18 Dave Cameron: So I think we’re going to see curious former players moving more quickly into roles where they can help the front offices communicate with the field staff, and the guys who stand out in those roles will quickly set themselves up for promotion. 12:18 Carl: Do you think Harper was hurt? What are you expecting in 2017? 12:19 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I don’t think he was 100% last year. I still think he’s in the discussion for best non-Trout hitter in baseball. 12:19 Danny : Bryce Harper playing 81 games at Yankee Stadium compared to a neutral park would add _____ WAR? 12:19 Dave Cameron: 0 to +0.25. Most of the bump he’d get from the RF wall would be taken care of in the park effects part of the calculation. 12:20 Andrew: Think the Mets regret the Jay Bruce trade? Think the Mets regret giving up Dilson Herrera? 12:20 Dave Cameron: Not sure they were all that high on Dilson Herrera, but I think they wish they didn’t have Bruce and his $13M on the books right now. 12:21 Bill G: It is snowing here in Bend again! We never had this much snow until you moved here. Cause and effect? 12:21 Dave Cameron: Clearly, I’m a snow wizard. 12:21 Will: The Rangers are missing a golden opportunity with Napoli from the standpoint of resigning Darvish. Why not give Napoli that extra year (or two even if they can get the money down…) if he can help convince Yu to sign an extension rather than hit the market? 12:22 Dave Cameron: If it was that clear that Darvish would re-sign because the team added Napoli, it would have happened by now. More likely, Darvish is going to make the best decision for him, and not leave money on the table. 12:22 Marshall: reasonable wRC+ for Heyward in 2017? 12:22 Dave Cameron: 100-110. I don’t think he’s broken forever. 12:23 Marshall: In an age of increased usage of saber-metric principles and (mostly) sound FOs, what should small market teams be doing to avoid falling behind the larger clubs? Should the league to doing more to increase parity? 12:23 Dave Cameron: MLB already has more parity than any other sport. 12:24 RABBINICAL COLLEGE GUY: Which division winner will win their division by the most games? 12:24 Dave Cameron: The Cubs are the safest bet. 12:25 Ian Connor: Apparently the Dodgers were considering trading Alex Wood to Seattle for prospects(most likely Gohara+), then flipping them with De Leon for Dozier. Would you have done this or the 1 for 1 Forsythe deal? 12:25 Dave Cameron: The Forsythe deal. 12:25 Dave Cameron: Well, I probably wouldn’t have done either, but given those options, the one they did. 12:25 Al Avila: I really should have sold off what pieces I had this winter right? Was my asking price just too high? 12:25 Dave Cameron: It wasn’t a great winter to be a seller. 12:26 Eric: Does Addison Russell take that next step as a consistent offensive player this year? 12:27 Dave Cameron: Low contact/moderate power guys are always going to be streaky. 12:27 Hump Day: The FG article about the Sox and Cards pairing up on a Q deal was literally days after I mentioned them to friends… however, I thought the deal on FG was extremely light. A Cards blogger’s offer was even lighter. Wouldn’t any deal almost have to include Perez, Kelly and two more out of their top 10/15, like Flaherty and maybe Alvarez or Sierra? 12:27 Dave Cameron: I don’t even think that gets it done. If I’m the White Sox, I want Weaver, Wacha, one of Perez/Kelly, and some other stuff. 12:28 comanse: If shohei otani is a prospect, where would he rank on the top 100? 12:28 Dave Cameron: 1. 12:28 Pat: Steamer (or other FG projection-I forget which one) projects the Yankees as the fourth best team in the AL… could they really be looking at a home WC game? 12:28 Dave Cameron: Well, really, our forecasts say that there are three good teams in the AL, than a six or seven team pileup behind them. 12:29 Dave Cameron: So, sure, the Yankees could host a WC game, or they could finish fourth in the AL East. 12:29 Hawk: If Robertson has an excellent first half, could he bring back a top 50 prospect in July? 12:29 Dave Cameron: Probably not unless they pick up money. 12:29 Mark: I can’t help but think moncada has more value in cf plus speed plus arm he’s built like andruw jones what say you? 12:29 Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think the same. At this point, with how much shifting teams do, I think you want your best athletes in the outfield. 12:30 Dave Cameron: IF defense is now more about positioning, hands, reaction time, and footwork, and those are the things Moncada struggles with. 12:30 Guest: If you’re the Astros…is there any thought to trying to trade for Grienke? Seems like he’d be due for some positive regression if he left AZ, and would cost less in terms of prospects depending on how much of his contract they’d eat 12:30 Dave Cameron: I would imagine they would rather not take on that kind of commitment. 12:30 Dave Cameron: But if AZ pays it way down, maybe. 12:31 Weston: Where do you stand on the Robert Gsellman being good vs Robert Gsellman not being good argument? 12:31 Dave Cameron: Can I think he’s okay? 12:31 Dave Cameron: Is that an option? 12:31 Steve L: Is a Steve Matz + for Springer or Bregman something that could ever make sense? 12:31 Dave Cameron: Yes, if the + is Syndergaard. 12:32 Erik: The Cubs’ starting pitching depth seems like a glaring hole which they haven’t properly addressed…but Theo Epstein knows a lot more about baseball than I do. So what’s going on there? Is he planning something big that hasn’t worked out yet? Or are they actually in a fine place? 12:32 Dave Cameron: I think they’ll probably go get someone else in ST. My guess is they wanted to leave their options open for a guy like Ross. 12:33 Dave Cameron: Anderson is Ross-lite, but they’ll still find someone else to help eat those starts. 12:33 Logan Davis: Which do you think is likelier: Tyler O’Neill taking a starting corner outfield spot in Seattle before the end of the year, or Tyler O’Neill getting traded for a midseason upgrade? 12:33 Dave Cameron: The latter. 12:33 D: How do you think the last rotation spot for the Dodgers works out? 12:34 Dave Cameron: I would guess Kazmir gets it out of ST, with McCarthy, Ryu, and Stripling around as depth. 12:34 Matt: Not sure I follow- how did Houston get negative PR from having been violated. 12:34 Dave Cameron: They got crushed when the trade transcripts were leaked to Deadspin. 12:34 Dave Cameron: Crushed. 12:35 D: What kind of stat line would you expect this year from Mitch Haniger? Seems like most are either very high on him or think he might not be all that great 12:35 Dave Cameron: Well, again, I think it’s perfectly fine to think he’s in between those extremes. I think he looks like a league average hitter with potentially a very good glove in RF. 12:36 Sonny: Any insight into the conversations rebuilding GMs have with ownership? There has to be extraordinary trust to watch your team be sold off (Miami excluded) 12:37 Dave Cameron: Well, most owners realize things are cyclical, and sometimes they have to have down periods where they won’t win. Plus, they like spending less money, and that’s usually what teams do during rebuilds. 12:37 Tom: Is Quintana’s trade value directly related to the number of remaining starts he could make over the life of his contract? For example, if he could be expected to make 130 starts over the next four years, barring injury, would be lose 1/130th of his value with each start he makes this year? 12:37 Dave Cameron: No, it’s not quite that linear. 12:38 Dave Cameron: It’s more like he’d lose minimal value from going from 130-115 starts, because of the price hikes at the deadline, but he’d lose a lot of value once he below 110 or so, because then it drops to ~100 and there’s an entire postseason lost. 12:39 Andy: Re: Jones and Robertson… How should the White Sox handle who saves/pitches more high-leverage spots? I feel like Jones is a secret around the league and wouldn’t yield the same return as his skillset might warrant — especially since he hasn’t really closed. 12:39 Dave Cameron: I’d probably dump Robertson now, make Jones the closer, trade him in July. 12:40 RJS: I asked this in another chat but would like your opinion: when someone refers to 1 WAR = $8mn that is a linear approximation. Shouldn’t a WAR “curve” be more logarithmic given the number of 2 Win players and a paucity of 6 Win players? 12:40 Dave Cameron: I’ve written a lot about this in the past. Here’s one piece, for instance. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/linear-dollars-per-win-again/ 12:41 Dave Cameron: The short answer is that while consolidating value into one player creates more upside, it also increases risk, as one injury can wipe out a greater portion of your team’s playoff chances. So higher risk and higher reward doesn’t necessarily equal higher prices. 12:41 Bort: If both Harper and Machado were FAs right now, who gets the bigger payday? 12:41 Dave Cameron: Harper 12:42 Manu: Are you high on Foltynewicza. 12:42 Dave Cameron: That sounds like a hidden verse in the Chanukah song. 12:42 Dave Cameron: (Not really, no) 12:42 v2micca: It seems that a major factor depressing Major League salaries is the number of teams that correctly identify their young stars and convince them to sign away their free agency years at a discount price. Will we start seeing increased push back from agents any time soon? 12:43 Dave Cameron: I think we’re starting to already. 12:43 Dave Cameron: That Wil Myers extension was not cheap at all, for instance. 12:43 Adge: Out of the box idea. Jays sign Utley to play LF vs RHP. He gets more PA this way than any 2B platoon i see and can play for a playoff threat. 12:44 Dave Cameron: I don’t think an aging Chase Utley would be a very good outfielder. 12:44 Ned Ghost: Cubs just traded for Eddie Butler, any thoughts? 12:44 Dave Cameron: He’s always struck me as a guy who probably needed to move to the bullpen. 12:44 Dave Cameron: If they convert him, maybe it works. 12:45 DTH: Rays move Brad Miller to 2B, trade Odorizzi to the Cubs for Candelario, Almora, and Donnie Dewees. fair and helpful to both sides or am I a big dumb idiot? 12:45 Dave Cameron: Don’t the Rays have enough center fielders? 12:45 v2micca: If Heyward can’t fix his swing and start producing value with his Offense, how much longer will he be able to rely on his defense to provide value as a player? 12:45 Dave Cameron: He was roughly league average last year, and he’s going to hit better than he did last year. 12:46 M: What does Pedroia need to do to get into the hall of fame? Already has about 50 war through age 32 season. Does he just need to stick around for a while or does he need a lot more star caliber seasons ? 12:46 Dave Cameron: He needs to age really well. 12:46 Dave Cameron: I doubt he gets there. 12:47 Bart: Who is the best catcher after Buster? Lucroy? The Kraken? 12:47 Dave Cameron: I’d probably go with Sanchez. 12:47 Brett W: Javier Baez the best non-catcher defensive player in MLB now? 12:48 Dave Cameron: Andrelton Simmons. 12:48 JT: So the Cardinals definitely signed Fowler on purpose? 12:48 Dave Cameron: Well, I don’t think they signed him on accident. 12:48 Dave Cameron: But in hindsight, too much was made of the timing of these things. 12:49 Dave Cameron: If they had been penalized earlier, and lost their first two picks to Houston, they would have just given up their third pick to sign Fowler; same result. 12:49 Dave Cameron: Houston would have gotten a better draft pick, but end result for STL would have been the same. 12:50 Natitude Adjuster: When will ZiPS be added to the player pages (and to the Projections pages)? Thanks! 12:50 Dave Cameron: Dan usually updates the full spreadsheet and sends it to Appelman in February. 12:50 E: You think Omar has a lot of support? I thought it was the opposite. 12:51 Dave Cameron: I don’t think he’s getting in, but I bet he gets 40-50% 12:51 Ian: If your name was Cameron David, how do you think your life would have been different? 12:51 Dave Cameron: Carson would actually call me David 12:52 Erik: In your article on first baseman, you noted that there simply aren’t many top players who play there right now. Is that a trend caused by something in the way the game is currently played which should continue or a just a random fluctuation? 12:52 Dave Cameron: Probably some of both. Shifts have hurt guys who have 1B skills more than most. 12:52 Dave Cameron: But positions are cyclical, and we could very well get another run of great young 1Bs in a few years. 12:53 Andrew: Shouldn’t teams weight the $/win they are willing to spend based on where they are on the win curve? For example, shouldn’t a 88-win team be willing to spend more to acquire a 2-WAR player than would a 78-win team? Do teams operate this way? 12:53 Dave Cameron: Yes, they should and they do. 12:55 Brendon: Current HOF players according to the “best player at their position” argument. C: Posey, 1B: Pujols, Cabrera, 2B: Cano, SS: Rollins? Tulo? 3B: Beltre, OF: Beltran, Ichiro, Trout, SP: Kershaw, Verlander, RP: Kimbrell. Some of these were the best a couple years ago but are still active. Thoughts? 12:55 Dave Cameron: Don’t think Rollins or Tulo have much of a shot. 12:55 Dave Cameron: Think Beltran is probably going to be a bubble guy for a lot of voters. 12:55 Dave Cameron: Verlander definitely not a lock 12:56 Top 1st Baseman: Rizzo, Votto, Freeman, Cabrera, Goldie, Abreu…I can keep going. 1st base is quite loaded. What choo talkin’ bout Dave? 12:57 Dave Cameron: Actually, you can’t keep going, because you just named all the good first baseman, and Abreu is more okay than great. 12:57 v2micca: I agree with you regarding the absurd standards that the current BBWAA has for starting pitchers getting into the hall of fame. So, what does Verlander have to do to win enough of these guys over at this point? 12:57 Dave Cameron: Probably needs another ~5 years of high-level pitching. 12:57 Dave Cameron: And even then, he wouldn’t be Mussina or Schilling. 12:58 PR: how many GMs would recognize you on the street and say hello 12:58 Dave Cameron: ~5, maybe? 12:59 Dave Cameron: A few might recognize me and say something other than hello. 12:59 Adge: how many GM’s would recognize you on the street and not say hello? 12:59 Dave Cameron: >5 12:59 Kenny: Do you think Eric Hosmer can have a great season (30HR,.375OBP) if he makes minor tweaks to his swing? 12:59 Dave Cameron: No. 1:00 Dave Cameron: If he could, he would have. 1:01 Slew: Yeah, but Verlander has the narrative. And MVP, spent a few years as the ‘best pitcher in baseball’, and dates Kate Upton (which should not, but I think does earn him a few votes). I think he’ll sail in. 1:01 Dave Cameron: He’s at 173 wins in 2,400 innings; both of those would be very near the bottom of totals for HOF starters. 1:02 Dave Cameron: Even with the voters getting smarter, the standards for what a HOF starter look like remain insanely high 1:02 Dave Cameron: He probably needs to throw something close to another 1,000 innings to have a real shot. 1:03 Dave Cameron: Alright, that’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for hanging out, everyone. 1:03 Dave Cameron: Szym will be here in an hour. 1:03 Dave Cameron: I’ll be back next Wednesday.