Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 4/29/15

11:30
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday, so let’s do some chatting.

11:30
Dave Cameron: I’ve opened up the queue a bit earlier than normal, but we’ll still start around noon.

12:01
Dave Cameron: Alright, off we go.

12:01
Comment From Brandon
So is Hutchison officially bad yet

12:01
Dave Cameron: No, but he should be a contender’s #4 or #5 starter, not their #2.

12:02
Dave Cameron: One minute break…

12:03
Comment From joe
does Baileys injury make a Cueto trade happen sooner?

12:04
Dave Cameron: From a logical perspective, the Reds should be more willing to sell earlier, but the All-Star Game is going to hold them back, I think. I just don’t think they want Cueto and Chapman coming to GABP as visitors in July.

12:04
Comment From Jason
How do you fix the issues with Toronto’s bullpen??

12:04
Dave Cameron: Estrada to the rotation, Sanchez to the bullpen with a quick ascension to the closer role, and Castro to the minors.

12:05
Comment From Butch
What is the deal with Teheran? He is killing me on a weekly basis

12:05
Dave Cameron: The weak contact game is a dangerous one to play. He’s better than he’s shown, but not as good as his numbers from the last few years.

12:06
Comment From HappyFunBall
Anthony Rizzo tied his career high in steals last night. Still in April. 6 to the good and not yet caught. Is there anything he CAN’T do?

12:06
Dave Cameron: I would have said “play center field”, but the Cubs put Bryant there, so maybe not…

12:06
Comment From Cubbie
When do you think Javier Baez makes it back to Chicago?

12:06
Dave Cameron: I’d guess he’s traded before he makes it back to Wrigley.

12:07
Comment From Chris H
Hello Dave – What’s your take on Starling Marte’s April thus far? He seems to be selling out for power (and it’s working). I know the pop was always in his bat but does this feel like a legitimate breakout – or are you concerned with the K% and BB%?

12:08
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t call a change in approach a breakout. He’s roughly as effective, just differently so. I don’t think this is a better path forward, though, and would think he’d be best off trying to incrementally improve rather than overhaul.

12:08
Comment From Brett W
What would the return for Carlos Gomez look like?

12:08
Dave Cameron: Strong, but maybe not as strong as one would think; only another year on his deal after this one, and not a lot of contenders looking for CFs.

12:09
Comment From Trent
How strongly-correlated is P/PA with OBP? There’s clear value in working counts to draw walks, get more hittable pitches and getting to the pen faster, but an excess of patience has a price too, doesn’t it?

12:10
Dave Cameron: P/PA is more a function of low contact rates (at-bats last longer) than batter quality. Taking balls is good; taking strikes is mostly bad.

12:10
Dave Cameron: And there is no benefit in getting to the pen faster, really. RPs perform better than SPs.

12:10
Comment From Matt
What are your thoughts on BP’s DRA?

12:11
Dave Cameron: I’m a fan of Jonathan Judge’s work, and Harry and Dan T. have done a great job of helping push forward our understanding of the game. So, just from that standpoint, I’m excited to see these guys tackling the issue of dividing run prevention responsibility.

12:12
Dave Cameron: Pretending that I could offer a substantive critique of their model after reading it over a few times is silly, though. It’s the kind of thing that needs thorough investigation. It looks potentially quite promising. How well it works is in the details, which I’m sure they’ll help unpack over the next few months.

12:14
Comment From Andy
If I could read only one book on baseball analytics, which would you suggest to read?

12:14
Dave Cameron: The Book, by Tango/Lichtman/Dolphin.

12:14
Comment From joe
only 1 month can lead to many surprising things but what is something that has surprised you that might continue to impact the season? i.e. breakout player, a new contending team or a team not contending, etc

12:15
Dave Cameron: The Mets probably aren’t going to go away, which makes the NL Wild Card race more fun.

12:15
Comment From Marcus Banks
Michael Pineda is the best pitcher in New York City.

12:15
Dave Cameron: That is probably true when the Mets are on the road.

12:15
Comment From Nick
I know lineup construction doesn’t matter much in baseball, but for my terrible work softball team with a much larger disparity in talent (3 guys with ~.700 OBP, and 3 guys and 6 girls with ~.100 OBP), I should stack the 3 good players together, right?

12:15
Dave Cameron: Absolutely.

12:15
Comment From zach
Thoughts on Tanaka’s “very mild” forearm strain?

12:16
Dave Cameron: The success rate of pitching through elbow injuries is insanely low. Maybe it’s related, maybe it’s not, but I still figure he’s in line for TJS at some point in the not too distant future.

12:17
Comment From Trevor
Comps for Alex Guerrero?

12:17
Dave Cameron: Todd Frazier with bad defense?

12:17
Comment From Ben
How do you see this Rusney Castillo situation playing out this season, now that he appears to be healthy?

12:17
Dave Cameron: If he hits well in the minors over the next few weeks, I’d imagine he’ll displace Victorino.

12:18
Comment From thoros of myr
which uniform do you think Cole Hamels will be wearing on August 1st?

12:18
Dave Cameron: Red Sox.

12:19
Dave Cameron: The Phillies will eat some money and get a nice package of guys from the Margot/Devers/Rodriguez tier, plus some MLB pieces like Bradley and Kelly.

12:20
Comment From _David_
Am I correct that there is no bonus cap after the first ten rounds? What if a top HS talent let it be known that he would only sign for $20M in round 11 or go to college?

12:20
Dave Cameron: If you sign a player for more than $100K after the top 10 rounds, he counts against your pool.

12:21
Comment From Dave
Dave, people seem to be using SIERAs through 4 starts as predictors of end of the season ERAs. That’s a mistake, right? How big of a sample does that stat need to take on predictive qualities?

12:22
Dave Cameron: You don’t want to use any 2015 number to predict ROS results. Use a projection system, like ZIPS or Steamer ROS.

12:22
Comment From Zock
So, these Astros: looking pretty good even with Springer, Gattis, and Carter toting sub-.200 averages. Obviously that won’t last. So when those guys heat up, what’s holding them back from competing now?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Their pitching is bad.

12:23
Comment From _David_
What do you think of the Mariners playing Cruz in RF nearly every game?

12:23
Dave Cameron: Unsurprising.

12:23
Comment From Mike Honcho
Say something about Matt Carpenter, please.

12:23
Dave Cameron: He’s exactly the kind of player who destroys the notion of evaluating prospects by their ceiling.

12:24
Comment From Nick
The Dodgers constant roster manipulation made me think about different rotation construction options. What would the downside be to having 4 established starters on the 25 man roster and 3 guys who you felt comfortable with as a fifth starter in Triple A? You could call up one of the 3 when you need a fifth starter and option him the next day for a reliever so your bullpen is always stocked with rested guys. Having 3 guys who could start would get around the 10 day rule as well.

12:24
Dave Cameron: Guys who are good enough to start in the big leagues generally won’t go for spending 2/3 of their season in the minors.

12:24
Dave Cameron: And you don’t want to jerk around real prospects like that.

12:27
Comment From Grant
With an international draft seeming inevitable, wouldn’t it be a bit unfair to have the worst team have the #1 overall pick in both the domestic and international drafts? That team would basically be able to add two top 25 prospects overnight. Imagine if in the NBA draft the worst team got to draft LeBron and Carmelo, or if in the NFL the worst team drafted Luck and RGIII

12:27
Dave Cameron: There are no LeBrons in either MLB talent market.

12:28
Dave Cameron: The distance from the big leagues, and the much smaller marginal differences in prospects, makes that scenario basically impossible in MLB.

12:28
Comment From Hypo
If you were a current MLB player, who would you most resemble in terms of personality and style of play?

12:29
Dave Cameron: In high school, I was a high-OBP/low power catcher. So Ryan Hanigan, maybe?

12:29
Comment From L. Scott
If MLB truly wants to speed up the game, eliminate the commercial break during pitching changes. Just jog to the mound and go. They shouldn’t need more than 2-3 warmup pitches after throwing in the pen. This would be enough to single-handedly speed up the pace of just about every game.

12:30
Dave Cameron: Well, yeah, and revenues would fall by ~75%.

12:30
Comment From KG
What’s your over/under on the DH coming to the NL? 3 years? 5 years?

12:30
Dave Cameron: I think it happens in the next CBA.

12:31
Comment From Guest
How long until the Brewers have a fire sale?

12:31
Dave Cameron: They already did.

12:31
Comment From Daniel
What’s gotten into the Royals? Is there something to be said for an above average team experiencing success and then using that to springboard to even greater heights?

12:31
Dave Cameron: They have a .340 BABIP as a team. I don’t think that’s experience.

12:32
Comment From Guest
How dumb is it for the MLB to have blackout restrictions on a game where the public isn’t allowed in the stadium?

12:32
Dave Cameron: MLB’s primary financier right now are television networks; they don’t want to poke the bear.

12:32
Comment From Steve
Should Pittsburgh be worried about McCutchen’s knee?

12:33
Dave Cameron: Yep. Knees linger, and even if you can play through them, they sap power. See Votto, Joey.

12:33
Comment From Bruce
I heard that the Korean Army doesnt even want Choo anymore.

12:33
Dave Cameron: I laughed.

12:33
Comment From Cincinnati Kid
What kind of trade package can the Reds get at the deadline for Cueto? Chapman? Any trade partners that stick out?

12:33
Dave Cameron: I’d package them together and shoot for the moon. If Boston doesn’t go for Hamels, that’s the first place you call.

12:34
Comment From Forsyth
Looking at the Sox rotation, specifically Kelly and Buchholz, their peripherals are virtually polar opposite from their results. Is this something we just need to have patience and trust the results will follow, or is there something else causing the poor results in spite of the huge K rates and strong Bb rates?

12:35
Dave Cameron: It can be both. They could have (and probably did) throw pitches in hittable locations that caused their BABIPs to be inflated early on, so it doesn’t have had to just be bad luck on balls falling in. At the same time, though, history says guys who can pitch in the big leagues won’t keep throwing pitches in those hittable spots, so this likely won’t last. When choosing between betting on ERA and FIP in small samples, bet on FIP.

12:35
Comment From Job
Maybe being “too passive” is the wrong term, but would you be okay, as a manager/owner/fan/whatever, with your team swinging at a lot of first and second pitches in the PA if they were good. I’ve been watching one particular player, who’s normally a good hitter, take just easy and hittable strikes in 1-0/0-1 counts.

12:36
Dave Cameron: Yeah, you want guys to swing at pitches in the middle of the plate regardless of count.

12:36
Dave Cameron: Taking strike one over and over is a bad plan.

12:36
Comment From Reggie+C.
Is Hanley Ramirez your MVP of the AL at the end of April?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Defense and baserunning matter. He’s probably not in the top 50.

12:36
Comment From L. Scott
The Indians and Nationals are in similar boats, big things expected, but both in last place today. Who gets back to .500 first?

12:37
Dave Cameron: The Nationals. I was never really in on Cleveland as much as everyone else.

12:37
Comment From _David_
When should we start caring about UZR, and does the extremity of a number affect this? Like how many more weeks of Nelson Cruz at -48 UZR/150 would it take to tell a story?

12:38
Dave Cameron: You should always care about the number in the right context. We already knew Cruz was a bad defender, so while he’s not a -50 UZR/150 guy, it’s fair to say that he shouldn’t be playing the field.

12:39
Comment From Martha
Everyone’s been screaming for more playing time for A. Guerrero, but isn’t Scott Van Slyke just as, if not more deserving? Lefty masher who has also been crushing righties going back to the spring.

12:39
Dave Cameron: Yep. I’d play Van Slyke as much as possible if I was LAD.

12:40
Comment From Sir Nerdlington
Where do you see the next area of investment for clubs? Not inefficiency, per se, but area where additional funds would make a bigger difference than applying to the major league roster?

12:40
Dave Cameron: Training/health.

12:40
Comment From Snarfle
Good morning Dave Cameron! Actually, it’s just past noon for you, isn’t it. Now the question: do the Angels have the pitching to contend? I’m not seeing a ton there after Richards. Pinning contention on Weaver and Wilson getting good again seems like a dicey strategy.

12:40
Dave Cameron: Yeah, besides Mike Trout, that team is pretty bad.

12:40
Dave Cameron: That he makes them a contender by himself speaks to how great he is.

12:41
Comment From Mike P.
A Cole Hamels non-trade question: Which current stat is closer to his final number at the end of the season – his HR/FB rate or his strand rate (for reference, they are 25.9 and 91.9, respectively, right now)?

12:42
Dave Cameron: HR/FB probably comes down to 11-12% by end of the year, and LOB% probably comes down to ~78% by end of year, so LOB% is slightly closer.

12:42
Comment From Josh G
Any chance the Brewers seriously consider trading Lucroy?

12:42
Dave Cameron: I doubt it.

12:43
Comment From The Boat
So Boston’s rotation…can they overcome it?

12:43
Dave Cameron: Yep. You don’t have to finish the year with the rotation you started with. They took a bunch of flyers, and if they don’t work, they’ll replace those guys with new guys.

12:43
Comment From Grand Admiral Braun
The Cubs should be in all-in mode this season, right? And by that I mean maybe grabbing one more top-notch starter (ala Hamels)

12:44
Dave Cameron: No; they have a strong future and a nice window to be good for 5+ years. No reason to act like this is their only chance.

12:45
Comment From Guest
Your Little Mookie Betts is having a lot of trouble with pitches down and away.. The hype was out of control.. He wont end up with an avg above 270.

12:45
Dave Cameron: I’d happily make you a friendly wager on that. .270 is a very low bar for a high-contact guy with good speed.

12:45
Comment From Grand Admiral Braun
Alcantara and Gleyber Torres for Cueto. Who says no? Is Torres alone too much for a few months of Cueto?

12:45
Dave Cameron: The Reds would laugh at that.

12:46
Comment From Troy
what is the most concerning thing about the Nationals?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Their bullpen is kind of meh.

12:47
Comment From Nicholas
Hey Dave! I’m just trying to learn more regarding FIP and xFIP. I have always preferred FIP mainly because I have felt that allowing/not allowing HR is a skill, but i am questioning that because it seems hard to prove if that is a skill or not. Could you please provide an argument on why/when it would be better to use xFIP?

12:48
Dave Cameron: There is some skill involved with keeping fly balls in the yard, but the range is narrow; maybe 8-12% from best to worst. So if you see a guy at 5% or 15%, you can be pretty sure that he’s going to regress back towards that 8-12% range. xFIP over-regresses some guys, but that’s usually a better mistake when making projections than not regressing at all.

12:48
Comment From Troy
Who is your least favorite player in baseball

12:48
Dave Cameron: Carlos Peguero.

12:49
Comment From Barney Stinson
Think the Dodgers can piece together enough pitching to ride out the injuries? I would assume now that most teams know they have serious needs that the asking price is increasing.

12:49
Dave Cameron: Yeah, they are good enough to survive without getting a lot from their #4/#5 starters.

12:50
Comment From Sammy
Thoughts on Choo? Is he done? Injured? Or just babip driven SSS start to the season that will normalize?

12:50
Dave Cameron: I’d imagine he’s probably still not healthy.

12:51
Comment From roberto
Any chance Urias winds up in McCarthy’s rotation spot this year?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Not 0%, but close to it.

12:51
Comment From Financials
If I invest 2500 in a Roth IRA and end up needin 1000 2 years from now can I pull it from the Roth IRA without penalty if I don’t touch my interest?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Yep. You can always withdraw your contributions to a Roth IRA, but you can’t withdraw the gains.

12:52
Comment From Chuqui
Can you elaborate on your Matt Carpenter comment?

12:52
Dave Cameron: He was a no-tools/low-ceiling org player who then turned into a utility bench piece, then a second division starter, and is now maybe the best third baseman in the National League.

12:53
Comment From Troy
Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have the Orioles just play in DC?

12:53
Dave Cameron: The O’s/Nats just had a pretty nasty legal fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lerners weren’t particularly eager to help the O’s.

12:54
Comment From Eric Weinstein
With the Dodgers infield logjam do you think it would be worth it to the Dodgers to send Corey Seager to Philly if the Phillies ate say 1/3 to 1/2 of Hamels salary?

12:54
Dave Cameron: No.

12:55
Comment From Schiraldi
Given the Brewers start and roster/org, how likely is it that Segura gets traded this summer? And — asking as a partisan Mets fan — how eager would you be to acquire him?

12:55
Dave Cameron: I think he’s one of the most likely guys to get moved, though SD makes more sense than NY to me. I’m not a huge fan.

12:55
Comment From Dave Veuxunegraine
Why would the Phillies even want JBJ at this point? He has proven that he cant hit a lick.

12:55
Dave Cameron: Giving up on a player after 500 ABs is silly.

12:56
Comment From mtsw
In some ways it’d be a bigger break from tradition, but why not do 8-man lineups if pitchers don’t have to bat in the NL? The DH seems like it’s just an affirmative action program for 3-true-outcome lard-asses that no one seems to like and isn’t truly necessary to eliminate pitcher batting.

12:56
Dave Cameron: Yeah, you’re right, no one likes David Ortiz. He’s not popular at all.

12:57
Comment From Guest
How would the DH be instituted in the NL fairly? It seemingly give advantages to some teams over others right away.

12:57
Dave Cameron: Teams will be privy to negotiations. Once it becomes clear that the NL adopting the DH is on the table, they’ll have time to plan for it.

12:58
Comment From MM
Is Giolito a reasonable offer for Chapman?

12:58
Dave Cameron: I would imagine the Reds would love to get Giolito for Chapman. Doubt WAS makes that offer.

12:59
Comment From Chuqui
Devon Travis = April AL MVP… Sorry east coasters.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Adam Jones has a strong case.

12:59
Comment From Guest
Don’t you have to swing at the first pitch sometimes for game theory reasons?

12:59
Dave Cameron: Yes, if you’re never swinging 0-0, you’re doing it wrong.

1:00
Comment From an Angel fan
The FG playoff odds place the Angels near 50%. Would say that’s about right, high, low?

1:00
Dave Cameron: I think it’s a little high.

1:00
Dave Cameron: but the AL West is meh.

1:01
Comment From Steve
Can Betts produce as a less rich man’s McCutchen?

1:01
Dave Cameron: I don’t really buy into that as a realistic comparison. He’s a fast Matt Carpenter, or Ben Zobrist with more athleticism.

1:04
Comment From Kris
Jose Valverde to Nats. Surprised he got signed before Soriano?

1:04
Dave Cameron: Valverde probably signed for nothing.

1:04
Dave Cameron: Soriano won’t.

1:05
Comment From How many wins better is the rest of the AL Wests 3-5 vs the Astros 3-5 SPs? And to what extent is that offset by S/C/G collectively raising their OPS 150 pts vs YTD?
To to what extent is the Astros “bad” pitching offset by S/C/G collectively raising their OPS 150 pts vs YTD?

1:05
Dave Cameron: You can’t just positively regress the underperformers without doing the opposite for guys who are overperforming.

1:05
Comment From Reginald Denton III
Why Peguero?

1:05
Dave Cameron: He’s everything I hate in a player.

1:06
Comment From michael t
If the Brewers were to trade Lucroy and /or Gomez what could they really get for them?

1:06
Dave Cameron: A healthy Lucroy would bring back a monster package.

1:07
Comment From Dave Veuxunegraine
“Giving up on a player after 500 AB is silly” His probability of becoming a good hitter is almost nil at this point.. I would understand if he had some power, or speed, or anything really, but what is his likely ceiling at this point? an empty 250 avg?

1:07
Dave Cameron: He’s an elite defensive CF; if he was a “good hitter”, he’d be an MVP candidate. He only needs to get to not-terrible offensive levels, and that’s an easily attainable goal.

1:08
Comment From Art Vandelay
When Chapman sets up his fastball with a ton of 88 mph sliders and changeups, then climbs the ladder with his fastball like he did last night, is he the most unhittable pitcher in baseball? Or is he already the most unhittable based purely on his stuff?

1:08
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I don’t know how anyone ever gets a hit off him.

1:08
Comment From DudeMonster
Proposition: Replace DH / the 9 hole with a “Power Hitter” (PH) position. PH is exempt from drug testing and may be freely subbed in/out on the base paths. Discuss.

1:09
Dave Cameron: A-Rod plays until he’s 50, fulfilling Julio Franco’s dream.

1:09
Dave Cameron: And on that note, I’m off to get some lunch.

1:09
Dave Cameron: Thanks for hanging out everyone.

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JG
Guest
JG

Dave, thanks for the chat. It seems to me that the GWRBI is one of the dumber stats we’ve had over the years, but it was done away with in 1988, long before the more recent development of analytics stats. Any idea what the thinking was at the time that made that one go away comparitively easily? Is it just that it was a relatively new stat and didn’t have 100+ years of history behind it?

Adam Stein
Guest
Adam Stein

There were a lot of cheap GWRBI — batter drives in the first run of a 7-4 game with an out and gets a GWRBI. For that and other reasons, people decided it was dumb — it didn’t really represent the hit that won the game — and it got killed.