Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 8/23/17 by Dave Cameron August 23, 2017 12:01 Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday, everyone. 12:01 Dave Cameron: Let’s chat for an hour or so. 12:02 Nicky Delmonico: There’s been a lot of hype and analysis of hot starting call ups on fangraphs lately… my name has made me a bit of a cult hero in Chicago. Do I have a chance of keeping this up and being a very good MLB hitter? 12:02 Dave Cameron: Travis Sawchik is writing about you on these pages very soon. 12:02 Free Clay Zavada: How high would Yoan Moncada’s strikeout rate have to be in a full season next year for you to become very concerned about his status as a future star? 12:02 Dave Cameron: I’m already concerned. 12:03 Dave Cameron: The Byron Buxton comparisons are too easy to make, but they are also easy for a reason. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Moncada required a Buxton-style path that involved a trip back to the minors at some point. And unfortunately, Moncada doesn’t have Buxton’s defense to keep him in the lineup. 12:04 Keith Hernandez: How much of a step back did the Phillies rebuild take this year? For example, you have a guy like Franco who was supposed to be a nice building block playing at below replacement level. 12:05 Dave Cameron: I don’t think they took a step back. Altherr came out of nowhere and is a better piece than Franco ever as. Hoskins looks awesome. Crawford bounced back. Hernandez kept most of last year’s gains. 12:05 Dave Cameron: Franco was always overrated. That he’s not that good shouldn’t be news. 12:06 Craig in CHI: What are your thoughts about Donaldson at SS? 12:06 Dave Cameron: Infield defense isn’t as important as it used to be, so teams are pushing the envelope a bit. Rizzo, a left-hander, played third last night. Freeman played third for a month. The penalty for sacrificing IF defense isn’t as large now that strikeouts and shifts are the name of the game. 12:07 Hannah Hochevar: Seems like everyone’s in on the Buxton Byronaissance. Do you think he beats his ROS projections? 12:07 Dave Cameron: Everyone did this last year too. 12:08 Dave Cameron: Right now, he’s still more Billy Hamilton than anything else. I’ll remain reserved about his prospects for stardom until he sustains power or improves contact. 12:08 Bryan: You’ve mentioned that you don’t think the Reds should offer Cozart a QO because he would accept it. Why do you think he isn’t worth it? 12:10 Dave Cameron: How does spending $18 million on Cozart help the Reds? He’s not part of their future. He isn’t valued highly enough around the league to be a prime trade chip, even if they planned on eating a good chunk of that salary at the deadline. If the organization wants to spend $18 million on something next year, it should be on something that can still be valuable when they get good. 12:10 Travis: Will Kimbrel be a hall of famer? 12:10 Dave Cameron: Yeah, he’s already one of the best relievers of all time. 12:11 Warrior: Dave, not to promote your competitor’s work, but BP’s playoff odds have the Red Sox as 77% to win the Division (compared to 22% for the Yankees), but the Yankees have the higher odds to win the WS (8.0% to 6.9%). Given that the respective run differentials for the two teams are close, and the Red Sox would avoid the 1-game WC, this seems strange, no? 12:11 Dave Cameron: Yeah, that has to be an error of some kind. No team that has to play a winner-take-all Wild Card game can really have higher WS odds than a team that goes right to the division series. 12:12 Jay: If you’re the Blue Jays, do you A) Sign Donaldson to an extension this offseason, B) Trade him for prospects this offseason, or C) Go to arbitration and try to deal him at next years deadline if you are out of contention? 12:12 Dave Cameron: I’d trade him. Especially now that it doesn’t look entirely unreasonable that Vlad Jr. could be big league ready next summer. 12:13 JD15: If dodgers played their AAA team the rest of the season how many games would they win the division by? 12:13 Dave Cameron: They’re up 21 games at the moment. Maybe 17? 12:14 adam: Best way to resolve the upcoming Phillies infield logjam? 12:15 Dave Cameron: Trade Galvis, hand SS to Crawford. At 2B, I’d probably experiment with Kingery at third to try and keep Hernandez around. 12:16 Mookie Betts: 10/300. Who says no? The Sox or Betts? 12:18 Dave Cameron: Let’s say Mookie’s going to get ~$30M in arbitration, so that would buy out seven FA years at $270M. That’s a $38M AAV. I don’t know that Boston does that this far out. 12:18 Dave Cameron: I don’t think it’s that far off, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to get closer to $35M AAV on the FA years. 12:19 Joel: Over under 50% chance of Mike Trout winning the MVP over Altuve? 12:19 Dave Cameron: Actually winning it? Under. 12:19 Dave Cameron: Have a hard time seeing voters hand the award to a guy who missed 40 games. 12:20 Dom: Is the PBEO Job Fair at the winter meetings worth going to as a college student to get a feel for the positions available? 12:20 Dave Cameron: If you want to work for a minor league team, sure. But MLB teams aren’t setting up shop there. The jobs available there are usually things like selling tickets for a low-A affiliate. 12:21 Marissa: Hello, I’m curious on who you think has a brighter future, Conforto or Rosario. Thanks!! 12:21 Dave Cameron: Conforto 12:22 Firesale: Rusney Castillo, Hanley Ramirez, David Price, Jay Groome, and Michael Chavis for Stanton. Who says no? 12:22 Dave Cameron: Why would the Marlins do that? 12:23 Wes: When it comes to making opinions on prospects do you tend to lean more towards analysis from guys like Longenhagen or more towards KATOH/KATOH+? 12:24 Dave Cameron: Both is the obvious copout answer. I think KATOH is really helpful for guys like Hoskins where the industry is just slow to react to performance without tools. 12:24 Dave Cameron: But you’d be crazy to take KATOH over the scouting consensus. It’s a useful tool, but it also thought Dylan Cozens was the best prospect in baseball. 12:24 Troutmaggedon: If Your Angels GM and Trout says he’ll sign for the next 10 years if the offer is right, how high would you go? 12:25 Dave Cameron: Depends on how much money Arte wants to give me. 12:25 Dave Cameron: He’s probably worth $60 to $70 million per year, so I can’t imagine a price at which I’d say no. 12:26 Dooduh: Think Matt Harvey for Profar is a swap that makes some sense for both sides? Both need change of scenery. 12:26 Dave Cameron: Profar has no trade value. None. 12:26 Dave Cameron: Harvey might not either, but it’s amazing to me that Texas fans still talk about trading Profar for something. 12:27 bleepbloop: I’ve seen a lot of fun optimistic comps for Rhys Hoskins from you and others but haven’t seen one in particular, how similar do you see Hoskins to Anthony Rizzo? Do you think his peak season is O/U Rizzo’s 2014 (.286/.386/.527 32HR)? 12:28 Dave Cameron: I’d take the under on that average. If he’s an extreme FB guy, hard to hit .286. 12:28 Dave Cameron: The current iteration of Matt Carpenter is about right, I think. 12:29 Dave Cameron: Or maybe not-quite-peak Jose Bautista. 12:29 Eric Weinstein: Why do you think Verlander went unclaimed? Is it really because his market value is less than his contract value? I have trouble believing that he couldn’t command at least the $78 million remaining (including picking up the option) with a really thin pitching market this winter. So am I wrong that he wouldn’t get that on the open market? Or was he unclaimed because (1) teams operate on inflexible budgets mid season, or (2) the tigers told teams if they wanted a shot at Verlander they had to let him clear waivers or else they’d be blackballed? 12:29 Dave Cameron: He’s not worth $78M. 12:30 Dave Cameron: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/getting-the-tigers-a-real-prospect-for-… 12:30 Kris Shaw: I follow a lot of sports. I can probably name a dozen or more MLB umpires, but I doubt I could name one official from any other sport. That kind of says it all, doesn’t it? 12:30 Dave Cameron: There’s the NFL ref with bodybuilder biceps. 12:31 Dave Cameron: Is Steve Javy still in the NBA? 12:32 Dave Cameron: I get what you’re saying, but the analogy doesn’t entirely work; there’s no equivalent position in other sports where the referee has to make a call on every single pitch. 12:32 Dave Cameron: The HP umpire is just more involved in a baseball game than any other referee in any other sport, by design. 12:33 Bret: Are the Phillies closer to contention than people think? They have a strong OF (Altherr, Herrera, Williams), and their infield looks promising in hopefully short order. Should they be a team to watch for some of the big pitchers on the market this offseason? 12:34 Dave Cameron: I’m not sold on Nick Williams yet, they don’t have a 3B at the moment, and Crawford might take a while to become a good big leaguer instead of a guy who can just hold his own. I think they have some pieces in place, but 2018 is probably too optimistic. 12:34 connor: Senzel hit another HR yesterday. Bring him up? 12:35 Dave Cameron: And play him where? With Suarez’s defensive improvement at 3B, might have to turn Senzel back into a second baseman, and that will take some time. 12:35 Reginald Denton III: Who’s in the driver’s seat for NL Cy Young? 12:35 Dave Cameron: Scherzer. He’s actually the only car on the track. 12:36 Tyler: The Rockies’ and DBacks’ lead in the NL Wild Card is down to three games. Think the Cubs/Brewers/Cards can catch them? 12:36 Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t be shocked if one of them passed the Rockies. 12:36 JTT: Re: Trout MVP – Josh Hamilton won his MVP with only 133 games played. 12:37 Dave Cameron: Right, but he put up +8 WAR and then just shut it down for September because the Rangers already had the division locked up. Different situation. 12:38 Tom: Most likely MOTO bat for the Cardinals next season: Josh Donaldson? JD Martinez? Or Tommy Pham? 12:39 Dave Cameron: If the Jays decide to trade him, Donaldson. STL has some interesting big league OFs they could trade, so it wouldn’t have to be a prospects deal, and TOR could keep trying to contend instead of rebuilding. 12:39 Sam: So what would your suggestion be for a college student who wants to work for an MLB front office 12:39 Dave Cameron: Learn to code. 12:39 Dave Cameron: If you want to maximize your chances, specialize in machine learning. 12:40 Joe Douglas: Regarding Buxton and Moncada: Eric made a similar comparison in his chat, basically saying that Buxton turning it around this year is similar to what he expects for Moncada (where concerns seem overblown because of a poor start). He cited Buxton being good since July. While I certainly think that expectations can be too high for prospect on debut, I don’t know that I would be looking at Buxton as a desired career path for Moncada, no? 12:41 Dave Cameron: Right. The lesson of Buxton shouldn’t be “just wait, we’ll be proven right eventually”, but that these tooled-up guys with swing and approach issues probably come with more risk than is usually acknowledged. 12:42 Sad Mr Met: Amed Rosario swung and missed at 6 pitches in the time it took me to submit this 12:42 Dave Cameron: If he turned out to be Orlando Arcia, would you be happy with that? 12:43 Dave Cameron: He might be better in the field, but I think that might be a realistic outcome, and it feels like Mets fans would see him as a huge bust if that’s what he turned into. 12:45 Gibby: 54 HR Bautista? That is high praise for one Rhys Hoskins. 12:45 Dave Cameron: No, that’s peak Bautista. 12:45 Dave Cameron: I’d think more like 2013 Bautista. 12:46 Dave Cameron: .259/.358/.498, 135 wRC+. 12:46 bleepbloop: What player have you been wrong about for the longest time (i.e. they over or underperformed your expectations for years)? What type of player do you tend to get wrong most often (e.g. I am incapable of giving good projections to low BB% hitters)? 12:46 Dave Cameron: Matt Cain drove me insane for a long time. 12:47 Dave Cameron: I’m often skeptical of good-stuff/bad-command prospects, so I’m usually down on guys like Newcomb. But then sometimes, they figure out how to throw strikes and make me look stupid. 12:48 Matt: Re BP Yanks/Sox playoff odds – Not sure how they’re calculated, but is it fair to think that while the remaining schedules think that the Sox are mostly likely to retain the lead they have on the Yanks, the Yanks are better built for the type of play and have better odds against the likely opponents in the post season, to give them higher odds of making it *through* the playoffs? 12:49 Dave Cameron: No matter how heavily you weight roster construction, it’s not feasible to think that there’s a large enough difference between good teams that a team that has to play an elimination game has better odds than a team that doesn’t. 12:50 Dave Cameron: If we were talking the Dodgers vs the Phillies, and the Dodgers had to play the play-in game, okay. But at the level of teams that are in contention, the spread is too small to overcome a lose-and-you’re-out game. 12:50 Jon G: What do you think the chances are of Walker Buehler not only making the postseason roster but playing a key role? 12:50 Dave Cameron: Less than it looked like when he got promoted to Triple-A. He hasn’t been very good there. 12:51 Sad Mr Met: How should Braves fans view this year at the big league level? Swanson and Teahran have taken steps back, none of the veterans were able to bring back a decent return via trades and the team will win 73 games. Or is the answer be thankful for the enxt 6+ years of Acuna? 12:51 Dave Cameron: Yeah, the development of Acuna is the saving grace for what has otherwise been a terrible year for ATL. 12:52 King T: Who do you think will be the #1 prospect overall going into next season? 12:52 Dave Cameron: Vlad Jr. 12:53 Dave Cameron: Acuna is making a pretty legit case, but I’d bet Vlad ends up on top in most every ranking. 12:53 Seattle206: Can Trout catch up to Altuve in WAR, or is there too little time left? 12:53 Dave Cameron: He’s only a half-win behind. He probably will catch him. 12:54 Nick: Thoughts on Lucas Giolito moving forward? I’ve seen some prominent baseball writers blame the Nationals changing his mechanics as the explanation for his struggles, but how long can that be used as a justification for mediocre results? 12:55 Dave Cameron: Yeah, don’t think the Nationals ruined him. I think the stuff has just gone backwards and he’s never had great command. 12:56 Roy: How come quality of competition is almost never looked at in a player’s stats? Is it just inconvenient or does it not make that much of a difference in a large sample? 12:56 Dave Cameron: In general, it doesn’t matter a lot. 12:56 Dave Cameron: It matters a little bit, and it’s something we should do a better job of accounting for, but it’s nowhere near park factors or something. 12:56 This Old House: I’m building a fire pit in my backyard, what kind of mortar/adhesive would you suggest I use with the stone? 12:57 Dave Cameron: I read that as motor and was going to advise all your neighbors to move ASAP. 12:57 Dave Cameron: When it comes to home repair projects, I’m very good at one thing; finding someone to hire. 12:58 Alex: If you had to nitpick, what do you think the Dodgers’ biggest weakness is? 12:58 Dave Cameron: Middle relief. 12:58 B: The Phillies as contenders narrative completely overlooks their lack of pitching. Nola is good, but he’s more of 2/3 than an ace, and they have a pile of hot garbage behind Nola. 12:59 Dave Cameron: Pitching comes out of nowhere a lot more often than hitting. Be honest; did you know who Zack Godley was a year ago? 1:00 Sandy: Assume I prioritize 3B this offseason in Flushing, is it better for me to go after Moose or see if I can trade for one of Machado or Donaldson for Rosario +? 1:01 Dave Cameron: Well, Wright played in a rehab game last night, I believe, so they probably can’t go get a full-time replacement for him as long as he keeps trying to come back. 1:01 Dave Cameron: I’d think they’d look more for a guy who can handle 3B everyday but doesn’t block Wright entirely if he gets healthy somehow. 1:01 Dooduh: I’d be pretty ecstatic if AmRo turned into Orlando Arcia, and btw that is more or less what I’m expecting. 1:02 Dave Cameron: That’s good to hear. I fear he’s going to turn into a nice solid player and be labeled a bust because expectations are just too high. 1:03 Ray: Does baseball ever reach football levels of specialization that we’d have a whole different batch of players playing defense and run the bases than the ones who hit? 1:03 Dave Cameron: I doubt it. 1:03 Dave Cameron: Alright, off to get some writing done. Thanks for hanging out everyone.