Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 4/15/15

12:01
Dave Cameron: Happy Tax Day, everyone.

12:01
Dave Cameron: Let’s get this party started.

12:01
Comment From Brian
Will Melancon lose the closer job soon?

12:02
Dave Cameron: The piece I wrote about not overreacting to Dellin Betances’ slow start can apply to a lot of RPs right now.

12:02
Comment From Moop
A month ago we had a little talk about if Billy Butler would rebound in Oakland… you said “he’ll go back to being mediocre instead of terrible.” Would you like to revise?

12:02
Dave Cameron: Because he ran a .429 BABIP for a week?

12:03
Comment From JD
Shane Greene – 8 innings with no walks in both starts though low K total in each. Has he changed his approach? Trying to be like Fister?

12:03
Dave Cameron: Owen Watson is writing about that today, actually. Stay tuned.

12:04
Comment From Bret
Hey Dave! 1) Not trying to make tons out of one week, but Devon Travis’ line looks like something that would be reasonable to see out of him for the year, based on his peripherals, at least to me. Can you see him keeping this roughly up? 2) Any tips for staying calm and positive while waiting to hear back from a dream job interview?

12:04
Dave Cameron: This is probably slightly on the high side of what you should expect, but he’s got enough power/contact skills to be useful.

12:05
Dave Cameron: In terms of the job, I’d say just distract yourself. Do something besides sit around and wait.

12:05
Comment From Cincinnati Kid
How long until the Dodgers realize their mistake with putting Uribe out there instead of Guerrero? I’m shocked between OF & 3B they can’t find 5 starts for him every week going forward

12:05
Dave Cameron: Juan Uribe is good. Calm down.

12:06
Dave Cameron: Calm down is the answer to just about any question based on the first week’s results, by the way.

12:06
Comment From Pinch
There was a really interesting article published on the Community Blog this morning, where the author argued that there exists a pro-team (and implicit anti-player) viewpoint of analysts and fans. Do you feel like the goal of analytics is to make teams money, and do you think that filters into fan viewpoints? The point about “good contract” = team-friendly and “bad” = player-friendly was particularly interesting.

12:08
Dave Cameron: The idea that the goal of analytics is to make teams money is silly and agenda-driven. But yes, there’s a huge slant towards writing from a team perspective and not a player perspective because 99% of all baseball fans are fans of a particular team, not of particular players. We (and everyone else) are writing to our audience, who root for franchises, not people. If we were Nascar writers, we’d write about individuals, not franchises. But we’re not.

12:08
Dave Cameron: This isn’t some vast conspiracy to keep down the man and make money for the 1%. Baseball fans root for teams, so we write from a team perspective.

12:09
Dave Cameron: I will note that FanGraphs, probably more than anyone else, has been quite vocal in arguing for players to receive a larger share of revenues and advising against many of these team-friendly deals.

12:09
Comment From Shawn
How long is Fernando Rodney’s leash in the Seattle bullpen? Who do you think would replace him?

12:09
Dave Cameron: My guess would be Yoervis Medina, but Rodney will probably be okay. He’s never had command, so he’ll have these meltdowns from time to time.

12:10
Comment From Martin (Oman)
Go back to 1994, or 1995. Would Ryan Howard be the laughing stock that he is today. 23 HR and 95 RBI;s last year, that’s some good old fashioned production no?

12:11
Dave Cameron: If you follow the kinds of writers who still analyze like its 1995, you’ll still see them defending Howard on those very merits.

12:11
Dave Cameron: Jon Heyman still to this day argues that Howard is a useful big league player.

12:11
Comment From Joe W
Just from watching games through the first 2 weeks, do you feel that the strike zones have been made smaller so far this year?

12:11
Dave Cameron: It feels like the lefty strike is contracting. The bottom of the zone still feels big.

12:12
Comment From Michael
Hi Dave, on the podcast Monday you said there is no evidence that pitchers are worse from the stretch. I looked at all player-seasons from 2005 to 2014 with at least 20 GS, and the average dropoff in K%-BB% from bases empty to men on was 3.14%. That seems like an awful lot to just be a result of “distraction”, and K%-BB% is obviously unaffected by ground balls getting through the hole because of the 1B holding the runner on.

12:13
Dave Cameron: Men on base vs bases empty includes far more variables than stretch/not stretch.

12:13
Comment From adam
yimi garcia: a good start or real deal?

12:13
Dave Cameron: I like him. Minor league numbers were great, and he seems to pitch in that slice of the upper strike zone that is very tough to hit.

12:14
Comment From Gabriel
When should Ms fans start worrying? And Nats?

12:14
Dave Cameron: May.

12:14
Comment From Martha
True/false – Carlos Martinez takes a major leap forward this season?

12:14
Dave Cameron: I don’t thin so. Still a reliever for me.

12:15
Comment From Grant
What concept or statistical precept that you use here on fangraphs do you think is the toughest for readers to comprehend or come to grips with (i.e. people seem to constantly not believe the positional adjustments are accurate)?

12:15
Dave Cameron: People hate the idea of randomness.

12:15
Comment From Catoblepas
Thoughts on refunds? A lot of people like to talk about them as an interest-free loan to the gov’t (which it is), but for a lot of people, an automatic savings plan is very helpful too.

12:16
Dave Cameron: Yeah, for people who don’t have the discipline to not spend everything in their checking account, it’s not a terrible thing. Ideally, they’d get to the point where they could be more prudent with their cash and not let someone else have it for 12 months interest free, but if they really can’t control themselves, it’s one way to force them to save for big ticket items.

12:17
Comment From Cole
When can you look at a pitcher’s peripherals and glean any useful info? 25 IP? 50 IP? 100?

12:18
Dave Cameron: Depends entirely on which number you’re looking at. But you’ll always want to include past history, and not just switch over to current season data at some number.

12:18
Comment From Ericocc
Kevin Gregg…Why?

12:18
Dave Cameron: If he’s still on the Reds roster tonight, Walt Jocketty has failed.

12:18
Comment From Guest
Is Brian Price doing some kind of strange passive agressive trolling of Walt Jockety by continuing to pitch Kevin Gregg in situations that matter?

12:19
Dave Cameron: I don’t think Bryan Price has handled his bullpen particularly well, but it’s hard to make good decisions when you have one good reliever.

12:19
Comment From Chris
Still extremely early, but the Red Sox need some pitching right? 40 runs allowed in 8 games is not good, but I guess they can keep winning 8-7 games.

12:20
Dave Cameron: Porcello and Miley have looked good, and Kelly’s velo bump makes him worth keeping an eye on. Masterson and Buchholz are the ones that need to get thing squared away, or else they’ll need to make an acquisition.

12:21
Comment From Shawn
Anybody’s performance from the 1st week you think may be a sign of things to come and more than just SSS (good or bad)?

12:21
Dave Cameron: I never got on the Marlins bandwagon, and I think they’re in for a disappointing year.

12:22
Comment From Jeff
Is Brandon McCarthy out to simply destroy the concept of xFIP? Is he the best example we have of someone being too unwilling to throw balls/issue an occasional walk?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Did you just not watch the second half of last year? People had this same freakout 12 months ago, and MLB teams foolishly let him clear waivers because they had the same thoughts.

12:23
Comment From Pat
Say Adrian Gonzalez was projected to hit 26 HR this season. (One per week). The 1st week of the season he hit 5. Should the projection system change his expected total to 30? 1 per week for the remaining 25 weeks plus the 5 he already hit?

12:23
Dave Cameron: That’s what the Updated lines on the ZIPS/Steamer projections reflect. ROS is rest of season (so still the 1 per week, or 1.05 or something to reflect new data), plus what’s already happened.

12:24
Comment From Matt P
Before the April 13th game, according to Inside Edge Ian Desmond successfully converted only 9 of 12 routine plays and having no other chances. Two games later, despite making two errors and more bad plays, Inside Edge has Desmond as having converted 15 of 18 routine plays and also having converted an even chance meaning Inside Edge gave him credit for going 6 of 6 on routine plays and 1 of 1 on even plays. Given his questionable defensive performance over the past two days, how is this possible?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Inside Edge data runs behind, and is not reflecting the most recent performances when you look at it.

12:24
Dave Cameron: His errors and bad plays will show up in a few days.

12:24
Comment From Guest
FG’s playoff odds have gone from showing the Indians as AL Central favorites pre-season to now just a 19% chance of winning the division. Pretty drastic, no?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Losing Yan Gomes for two months and replacing him with a guy who can’t hit will do that to you.

12:26
Comment From MetFaithful5
Any concern with how a terrible Phillies team was able to hold their own against Harvey yesterday? Or just an off night for him?

12:26
Dave Cameron: The terrible Phillies didn’t hold their own; the good one did.

12:26
Comment From Pinch
Oh I don’t think the article was suggesting that — it was pushing for fans to try to root for players more, and less for teams, to encourage more player-perspective writing.

12:27
Dave Cameron: Yeah, okay, that response was probably too strong for the article. But there is definitely a segment of people who have a very strong pro-union/pro-worker political stance and have decided that FanGraphs/I am the enemy of good and righteousness because of how we cover baseball.

12:27
Dave Cameron: Which, as you can guess, I think is stupid.

12:29
Comment From Steve
No reason to worry about Beltre, right?

12:29
Dave Cameron: He’ll be fine.

12:29
Comment From jocephus
carter capps sounds like a superhero

12:30
Dave Cameron: I would have guessed pretentious trust fund kid, likely wearing khaki shorts, a button down shirt, and boat shoes.

12:30
Comment From Manny Margot
Next 5 years: Mookie or Bryce?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Harper.

12:31
Comment From Grand Admiral Braun
Who produces the most value for the next 6 seasons: Lester or Arrieta?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Arrieta.

12:31
Comment From You think JImenez can find the colorado magic again or is his delivery just to hard to repeat consistently
I have a 401k and a savings account. What do you recommend to invest in to help ensure my wife and children have the necessary means for a good life

12:32
Dave Cameron: Get a low-cost index fund and throw money at it for as long as you can.

12:32
Comment From Catoblepas
What percentage of questions today have taken the form of “It’s only been a week, but…”, followed by a conclusion drawn off that very week of data?

12:33
Dave Cameron: They aren’t even saying that. The queue is full of people who think Alex Guerrero is Babe Ruth reborn.

12:33
Comment From Billy
Why is BABIP higher now than it was back in the 1960s? I think the fields are smaller and shifts should be reducing BABIP more right? Are players just hitting the ball that much harder now? Do defenders have less range? What has changed?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Teams don’t carry worthless no-hit guys like they used to.

12:33
Dave Cameron: Also, the DH.

12:34
Comment From William
Theory on teams valuing RH power more: Right-handers are harder to shift against, power hitters tend to pull, teams are anticipating even more shifts. Thoughts?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I said a similar thing at the Sloan Conference.

12:34
Comment From Guest
If you’re the Angels, what would the odds be that you could actually terminate the rest of Hamilton’s contract for you to pursue it?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Probably 25%.

12:35
Comment From mtsw
What’s up with weekday 12PM/1PM starts? I’m glad to have something to watch at work but seems like teams are throwing money away. Looks like 1500 or so people are watching at the Jake today.

12:35
Dave Cameron: Makes travel easier on getaway days.

12:36
Comment From Guest
Re. Wife and Children: Get a term life insurance policy.

12:36
Dave Cameron: Yes, do this too.

12:36
Comment From Guest
Thoughts on how the Angels have handled the Josh Hamilton situation?

12:36
Dave Cameron: As poorly as possible.

12:38
Comment From Henry
Assuming the Angels can’t terminate Hamilton’s contract (and I hope that’s the case), how much money would they have to eat to get anyone of value?

12:38
Dave Cameron: All of it. He’s worthless right now.

12:39
Comment From Nck
Is the term life insurance policy different than what is usually offered from an employer? I’m not to verse on this stuff and have something to that affect.

12:40
Dave Cameron: Employers often will just give your spouse 1x your salary if you die, which is probably not enough coverage, especially if you have any debt/kids.

12:40
Comment From Pinstripe Wizard
Are you getting paid for this financial advice? I’m not aware of your finances, but financial advisors usually get paid more than sportswriters.

12:41
Dave Cameron: I’m not a financial advisor. I’m just a guy who has a middling interest in markets and believes there are some very basic principles everyone should know.

12:41
Comment From Rube
I’m here for Dave Ramsey-Cameron. I am trying to pay off debt (10k on car), save up for a down payment on a house, and save for retirment. I’m 25. What order should I prioritize those?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Depends entirely on what the interest rate on the debt is, and your timeline for buying the house. If the interest on the debt is >5%, I’d prioritize that. If it’s under 5%, then it becomes a bit of a gray area that depends on your other circumstances.

12:42
Comment From Sam
Better play of the past week: Simmons throw from the hole or Arenado catch into the stands?

12:42
Dave Cameron: The Arenado catch.

12:43
Comment From klof
how embarrassing is it for the cubs’ front office having olt and la stella both go down and they still have to come up with a lame excuse for why bryant isn’t up yet?

12:43
Dave Cameron: They’ve never pretended that those guys are better options. They’ve always said it’s about Bryant’s development, which Olt is irrelevant too.

12:43
Comment From STiVo
Thanks for your article on sample sizes and regression. (That should be on the “featured” list BTW.) Given that having a decent sense of numbers and an ability to estimate answers back-of-the-napkin style is so important in today’s world–where access to facts is ubiquitous–how do you plan to instill numeracy and guesstimating skills in your child?

12:43
Dave Cameron: His first word is going to be xFIP

12:44
Dave Cameron: (In reality, I have no idea. He’s three months old, so I’ve got time to figure it out.)

12:44
Comment From mtsw
Are players aware of the tendency for zone to shrink in 0-2 counts and grow in 3-0 counts?

12:44
Dave Cameron: Yep.

12:45
Comment From STS
I have been in the financial business for over 30 years. I find your advice to be spot on. Clearly you are a very intelligent man.

12:45
Dave Cameron: I’m publishing this just so I can have something to look back at in an hour when 100 people on Twitter have called me a moron.

12:45
Comment From Rags
How do you pronounce xFIP? “ex-fip”? “ex-ef-eye-pee”?

12:46
Dave Cameron: ex-fip. There’s a post I wrote a few years ago called “the language of fangraphs” that goes through all of my pronunciations versus spell-them-out decisions.

12:46
Comment From mtsw
Do you see yourself coaching your kid’s Little League team when the time comes?

12:46
Dave Cameron: I kinda hope not, to be honest. Little League coaching always seemed so miserable.

12:47
Comment From Rod Allen
What are your thoughts on Target Date Funds in a 401K vs. Index Funds for a younger person (27)?

12:47
Dave Cameron: Target Date funds are index funds, generally. As long as they have a low expense ratio, they’re a good pick for people who just want something super easy and don’t want to worry about it.

12:47
Comment From Catoblepas
Were the chimes in the background of this week’s podcast from your side or Cistulli’s? They were very pleasant

12:47
Dave Cameron: I own zero chimes.

12:47
Comment From Pinstripe Wizard
Little League coaching can be very rewarding if the parents will leave you alone.

12:48
Dave Cameron: Well, yes, but that’s like saying that pitching to Miguel Cabrera isn’t so bad as long as he doesn’t swing.

12:48
Comment From The Answer is Regression to the Mean
Extremely intelligent women tend to be married to men who are less intelligent. Why is this?

12:49
Dave Cameron: Wouldn’t extremely intelligent anything tend to marry down the IQ level simply for lack of supply? If you have someone who is at the very far right tail of a bell curve, there just won’t be many people to their right and there will be a huge population to their left.

12:49
Comment From Dave
Carson’s podcasts with other people generally last an hour. So I take it you can only stand to talk to Carson for 30 minutes at a time.

12:50
Dave Cameron: I think the reality is that I’m just not as good at casual conversation as most of his other guests. For better or worse, I’m kind of a stick-to-the-facts kind of guy, and suck at small talk.

12:50
Dave Cameron: Or just random musings.

12:50
Comment From jpg
Let’s say Billy Hamilton had a .350 OBP, how high would of an OBP would someone who ran like Bartolo Colon need in order to be a better leadoff hitting option?

12:51
Dave Cameron: .425, maybe?

12:51
Dave Cameron: That might be too high.

12:51
Dave Cameron: .400? Good question.

12:51
Comment From mtsw
How possible is it that Kevin Gausman kinda sucks? Are Orioles fans being blinded by his pedigree and velocity and not noticing his flaws?

12:51
Dave Cameron: I don’t think he sucks, but he’s definitely overrated.

12:51
Comment From BlueJayWay
If Aaron Sanchez struggles a as starter and moves to the pen, who is the next man up?

12:52
Dave Cameron: Marco Estrada, almost certainly.

12:52
Dave Cameron: The TOR bullpen situation is fascinating. Their best closer is starting, their actual closer is probably due for a big fall, and the 20 year old setup guy might be the best of the bunch.

12:53
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be surprised if the second half of the year had all the roles flipped, with Osuna starting, Castro pitching middle relief, and Sanchez closing.

12:53
Comment From MobBanfred
Time to get worried about Polanco ever approaching his prospect ceiling? 84 wRC+ through ~350 PAs

12:54
Dave Cameron: The lack of power is a problem. His pedigree was supposed to be average bat/good everything else, but so far it’s been bad bat/average everything else.

12:54
Comment From mtsw
Should leaf blowers be banned? Seems like leaf blower noise from landscaping crews is the number one complaint of everyone I know who works from home or in a leafy area during the day (college campuses mainly).

12:55
Dave Cameron: I work from home and have never once complained about leaf blowers.

12:55
Comment From Mr. Obvious
Bauer is at it again – 3 IP, 0 H, 4k, 2BB.

12:55
Dave Cameron: The walking definition of effectively wild. The .000 BABIP won’t last forever, of course.

12:55
Comment From Rube
If there was a SS with Andrelton defense who hit 100/100/600, would he be playable?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Yep. You’d hit him 8th in the NL.

12:56
Comment From Mark
I might argue that their best closer is pitching the 8th inning (Brett Cecil), but I agree Sanchez should be in the bullpen. And wouldn’t that be a neat combo, between Cecil, Castro and Sanchez. Unfortunately Osuna has never had more than 40-60 innings at any minor league level, and is coming off of TJ, so they’d have to be pretty damn careful with his arm. You think they could start him in the second half? That’d be a hell of a boost to the rotation.

12:57
Dave Cameron: They’ve already said they don’t care about innings limits, right?

12:57
Comment From Guest
Is it mathmatically possible to hit .100/.100/.600?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Good point.

12:58
Dave Cameron: It is not.

12:58
Comment From mtsw
If there was a guy who could get on first every time he was up with no one on, but struck out every time he batted with men on base, would he be worth playing?

12:58
Dave Cameron: Can he bunt? Because if so, sure, you hit him leadoff, then bunt him any time he’s up with men on.

12:59
Comment From Pinstripe Wizard
People complain about leaf blowers? I’m just excited people are maintaining their yard.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Alright, that seems like a good note to end on. Enjoy the day baseball today, everyone.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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TKDC
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TKDC

On the comment about getting on first if bases are empty and striking out if anyone is on base – Knowing this going in would allow the team to be strategic. If you are hitting with 2 outs and he is next, everyone just keep running. Obviously in a late/close situation you’d pinch hit for him, too. Especially in the NL, I’d guess this guy would have an OBP north of .500