Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 9/10/14

11:42
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday, so let’s chat. Final few weeks of the regular season are upon us, so we can talk pennant races, playoff expectations, postseason awards, offseason speculation, or about how awesome my dog is. Up to you.

11:43
Dave Cameron: Queue is now open and we’ll start chatting in 15 minutes.

11:43
Dave Cameron: I will note that I’m going to have to leave right at 1:00 today, as I’m doing a segment on MLB Now at 2:15, and have to actually look presentable. Tune in and count the blinks.

12:01
Comment From THE average sports fan
Straight to the point, should Jocketty be fired?

12:01
Dave Cameron: I think he’s done more good than bad, but it depends on what the organization’s plans are. If they try to win in 2015, then keep him around and let him finish the job. If they’re going to blow it up, maybe it is time to let someone else do that job.

12:02
Comment From Tyler
Are Trout’s increased K rate and decreased BB rate a serious concern?

12:02
Dave Cameron: The declining contact rate is a bigger issue. Concern is too strong, but he’s going to have to make adjustments.

12:03
Comment From Tyler
Could Cano take the AL MVP with a strong finish? Or would he split too many votes with King Felix?

12:03
Dave Cameron: He’s going to have a tough time winning with numbers that are based on ignoring home runs and adjusting for his home park.

12:03
Comment From LaLoosh
if the Fish and Stanton agree to a deal, what do you think that looks like? 7 yrs with opt out after 4? back loaded so the Marlins don’t get stuck with the heavy part? 7/135M total do it?

12:03
Dave Cameron: Writing about this tomorrow, actually.

12:04
Comment From Gabe
How do teams who fancy themselves contenders rationalize going into the season with an unproven quantity in the starting lineup? For example, the Mets have Flores at SS and/or Herrera at 2B–you want to give them the chance to prove themselves, but if you do so at the expense of signing FAs/making impact trades then you’re kind of out of luck, right?

12:04
Dave Cameron: Depends on the quality of the player you could acquire to displace them. If it’s just a utility-type who probably shouldn’t be starting anyway, you can always trade for that kind of guy mid-season.

12:05
Comment From Chris Davis
What’s my next contract look like in terms of years and dollars?

12:05
Dave Cameron: Depends almost entirely on your 2015 season. If you have a bounceback, I’d guess 5/80 or something, or maybe pushing over $100 million if you have another big year. If you’re closer to 2014 levels, maybe 4/60.

12:06
Comment From Nelson Cruz
Do I accept the Qualifying Offer?

12:06
Dave Cameron: Probably not.

12:06
Comment From Jake deBomb
Think O’s pick up Markakis 17M option?

12:07
Dave Cameron: Zero.

12:07
Comment From Tony G.
With Pedroia out ROS, do you think the Red Sox could slot Betts at 2B when Castillo arrives, just to get both in the lineup?

12:08
Dave Cameron: I think they’re evaluating him as an OF this year. They know he can play second. That said, I still wouldn’t be surprised if Betts was their prime trade chip this winter and ended up playing 2B for someone else next year.

12:08
Comment From Ringtone Composer
The biggest beneficiary of the Royals’ winning the AL Central (assuming it happens) would be the Orioles, given that they’d likely host the ALDS with KC, instead of the WC winner, who’s likely to be much more talented than KC. Who’d have thought that would be the case?

12:09
Dave Cameron: Wild Card winner might very well have burned a top starter in the WC game, however, so you have to adjust for that as well.

12:09
Comment From Christian
If somehow you had the ability to hire any current or former MLB player to write for Fangraphs who would you pick?

12:09
Dave Cameron: I would think Babe Ruth’s articles would be very highly read.

12:09
Dave Cameron: At least, for a while, until the novelty wore off.

12:09
Comment From Jimbo
If ESPN came to you asking to buy Fangraphs, have you thought of a selling price?

12:10
Dave Cameron: It’s not mine to sell.

12:10
Comment From Guest
Gun to your head: how long until MLB moves to an automated strike zone?

12:10
Dave Cameron: 100 or more years.

12:10
Comment From Andrew
Is any kind of spin data available to the public?

12:11
Dave Cameron: Not for MLB players. Trackman releases some data from amateur events like the Area Code games.

12:11
Comment From swamp witch
Is there a link/download for all fangraphs player ids?

12:11
Dave Cameron: If you do the export function on the leaderboards, the playerID is a column.

12:12
Comment From Player Development Nerd
This is a follow-up to a question I asked several weeks ago. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights; I really appreciate it. Previously I asked if more sensible contracts for older free agents in their declining years would shift money from the players to the owners. You thought that the shift would simply move money to younger players who were signing extensions. And it’s true that they will get more money, but will it make up for all of the reduced spending on older free agents? It seems like most extensions are signed at below market rates. The team doesn’t have any competitors to drive up the price, and the players are driven by injury concerns to take a lower price now in exchange for security. You’ve argued that more of the players should take out insurance policies instead, which suggests that they are in fact taking below market rates on extensions. Even Mike Trout signed for a far lower price than you thought he was worth. So if more and more players are cost controlled or signed to team-friendly extensions, where does the rest of the money go? It’s possible that it could be spread around more evenly among the players, but it certainly seems like an opportunity for the owners to pocket a larger percentage than before. What do you think? Thanks.

12:13
Dave Cameron: Not every team friendly deal is the same. Let’s say that, when teams were spending money on older free agents more aggressively, that younger players were taking 70% of what they should have held out for. Now, with more money going their direction and contracts like Freeman, Simmons,][‘

12:14
Dave Cameron: Sorry, the dog decided to hit enter.

12:14
Dave Cameron: Freeman, Simmons, etc… setting

12:14
Dave Cameron: high

12:14
Dave Cameron: Liberty really wants to chat, apparently/

12:14
Dave Cameron: Okay, I’m now at the standing desk, so we should be dog free until she figures out how to use a chair to get up here.

12:15
Dave Cameron: Freeman, Simmons, etc… setting higher baselines for extensions, maybe young players will now get 80-90% of what they should hold out for. Still team friendly, but still more money flowing their direction.

12:16
Comment From Vslyke
Do you see the Bucs resigning Martin? Do they at least offer him a QO?

12:16
Dave Cameron: I think they’ll give him the QO, but he’ll get a three or four year deal from someone.

12:16
Comment From Pennsy
I’ve run out of actual questions to have answered about Anthony Rendon so I’ll just say this instead: I hope the Nationals extend him for 20 years, then we fall in love and marry and together raise surrogate children together to take care of us in our infirm years. Also if he wants to win the Nats a World Series or two that’s cool.

12:16
Dave Cameron: Scott Boras client. Sorry.

12:16
Comment From Bubba
Your picks for NL/AL ROY? (AL is probably a bit easier with Abreu)

12:16
Dave Cameron: Yeah, it’s Abreu and deGrom/Hamilton, basically.

12:17
Comment From NL Wild Cards
Who wins them?

12:17
Dave Cameron: Pirates/Giants.

12:18
Comment From Guest
If pitchers don’t generally control HR/fly ball rates, why does FIP punish them so harshly for HRs?

12:18
Dave Cameron: There’s a difference between “this probably won’t continue in the future” and “it wasn’t your fault.” A HR is the pitcher’s fault, and can’t really be blamed on anyone else. That doesn’t mean he’ll keep throwing HR balls in the future.

12:19
Comment From David
So the Nationals might have closer issues. Would you trust Storen? Are they better off bringing Soriano back in a setup role when he’s rested or does that risk damaging the always elusive “team chemistry”? I can’t imagine they’d let the big contract dictate post-season roles, but is it possible?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Storen should be fine there, and if he’s not, Clippard is a good option. Soriano is a righty specialist and should be used that way.

12:21
Comment From Theo/Ben
We really should have signed one of Victor Martinez or Adrian Beltre.

12:21
Dave Cameron: What would the Red Sox have done with Victor Martinez? 1B/DH is not exactly an opening there.

12:21
Dave Cameron: And it’s not like 2014 was something anyone should have seen coming. He was mediocre and injured for most of his contract before this year.

12:22
Comment From Vin
Outside of General Manager, are there any front office positions that have overlap between scouting and data analysis?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Plenty of them. The player development department absolutely has to blend the two.

12:23
Comment From Corry
I feel that injuries are largely to blame for the Reds struggles, not Jocketty. You think Reds look into Rasmus this offseason? Big power in small park may spark him.

12:23
Dave Cameron: They don’t need “big power” – they need guys who can hit. That’s not Rasmus.

12:23
Comment From Billy Beane
How bummed out am I now? My gambits totally flopped.

12:23
Dave Cameron: Good news, Mr. Beane; the season isn’t over yet!

12:23
Comment From TorontoSportsFan
Jose Bautista going to get serious MVP consideration?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Nope. He’s on a non-contending team. If voters want a slugging candidate, they’ll pick Victor Martinez.

12:24
Comment From Pennsy
Just give us your top five for each league’s MVP now, why not?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Because I have an NL MVP ballot and am not allowed to give out my picks before they are announced.

12:25
Dave Cameron: AL would be something like Trout, Felix, Gordon, Brantley, and one Kluber/Lester/Donaldson probably.

12:27
Comment From Tristan
How does UZR account for the shift?

12:27
Dave Cameron: It throws out shifted plays and does not count them. This makes team UZR a little wonky, since there are runs saved by the shift not being counted, but for individuals, it makes it so they don’t get credit for a play because they were lined up in a weird spot.

12:28
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
How is this for a way to “fix” WAR. Using bases saved on defence and bases earned on offense? It would take out a lot of the hypothetical “runs” factor. Right now, FG has Heyward as valuable on D as Kyle Seager is on Offense. Yet I doubt Heyward has saved 249 TB on D.

12:28
Dave Cameron: There’s nothing hypothetical about the “runs” factor. You might doubt that Heyward’s bases saved are as valuable as Seager’s bases created, but that doesn’t make you correct.

12:29
Comment From GSon
Paul Washington posted a 3 team trade that could happen at SB Nation.. Stanton & RP to the Cards.. Taveras, Chisenhall, and PTBNL (Luke Weaver) to the Marlins and Carlos Martinez and Stephen Piscotty to the Indians.. Does this make sense?

12:29
Dave Cameron: Marlins wouldn’t even consider it.

12:30
Comment From Kirk Gibson
Where are you on the MVP award as “best player in the league” vs. “most valuable to making the playoffs” spectrum? I personally would prefer splitting it into “Best Player Award” and “Most Impactful Player Award,” with the former being position players only and the latter being any player who has the most impact on their team making the playoffs.

12:30
Dave Cameron: I don’t think a team’s performance has much to do with the MVP voting at all.

12:30
Comment From Guest
7/135 for Stanton? Not even close.

12:31
Dave Cameron: Double that, maybe.

12:31
Comment From Jake deBomb
re: Markakis – $2M buyout plus QO that has fair chance of him accepting (since we know his market value takes big hit with compensation) and the O’s are right back to 17M…

12:31
Dave Cameron: No reason to offer him QO either.

12:32
Comment From Oren
Is the fact that he’s pitching in relief enough of an explanation for Aaron Sanchez managing to limit his walks? Or is it safe to assume there’s been an actual improvement that would transfer when he returns to starting next year?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Guys like Wade Davis suggest you shouldn’t get too excited about his bullpen performance translating.

12:33
Comment From EthanB
In 10 years, what general changes do you think will have been implemented in WAR?

12:33
Dave Cameron: A lot of them. Hopefully then we’ll have better park factors, better positional adjustments, and more understanding of how to separate pitching from fielding.

12:34
Comment From Jake
Are teams slated around draft picks 7-13 more wiling to play scrubs to try and get better/protected picks? Or is it just a matter of worse teams not having obviously better options than the replacement level 40 man guys

12:34
Dave Cameron: The marginal difference in draft position isn’t going to drive any decisions at the field level.

12:34
Comment From Sure miss Richards
Can the Angels win the World Series with a rotation of #3-types Weaver, Santiago, and Shoemaker, and the crappy version of Wilson as backup?

12:35
Dave Cameron: Yep. Rotations don’t matter as much as people think in October.

12:35
Comment From sk
could you briefly explain the difference between FG’s postseason odds and the BP odds that MLB.com uses?

12:36
Dave Cameron: The calculations are probably very similar, but the inputs are different. We have different measures of team quality, so those will drive different odds.

12:36
Comment From Matt
What are your thoughts thoughts on sports leagues disciplining players for criminal/moral activity? Isn’t that what the legal system is for? Wouldn’t suspending a player for a accusation that they were found not guilty or there wasn’t enough evidence for the legal system be a huge problem?

12:38
Dave Cameron: If you’re in a position where your value is derived from convincing someone else to pay to watch you perform, your reputation is just as valuable as your performance. Athletes get paid a lot of money for positive brand association, and if they do something that harms their own ability to be marketable, then the teams and leagues have every right to not want to be associated with them anymore.

12:38
Comment From sk
Given the Royals are outperforming their BaseRuns record by 9 wins, can we assume they’re the contender most likely to collapse? Or are collapses just random?

12:39
Dave Cameron: They’re the worst team of the contenders, so that makes them the most likely to have a bad stretch. But we shouldn’t expect them to collapse either; that’s not how regression works.

12:39
Comment From Tim
Who do you personally think is the best overall team in baseball?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Probably the A’s or the Nationals.

12:39
Comment From Matt
Broadly speaking, what are 2-3 things Epstoyer could/should do this offseason to vault them into wild card contention?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Get a catcher, a starting pitcher, and an outfielder.

12:40
Dave Cameron: If they want to throw money around, Russell Martin/Max Scherzer/swap Jackson for Upton and go into 2015 with some real hope of contending.

12:41
Comment From Greg
Who wins the bare-knuckle boxing match for the future of defense in WAR, you or Passen?

12:41
Dave Cameron: We’re recording a podcast in two hours, so we’ll find out later today.

12:41
Comment From Randy
What kind of contract do you think Hanley Ramirez deserves/will get?

12:42
Dave Cameron: I’ll guess 7/140.

12:42
Comment From Bret
Dave – what is it that FanGraphs does that has allowed it to be successful as an independent online content business, when so many others have failed in that area?

12:44
Dave Cameron: I think we’ve done a pretty decent job of appealing to a wide audience. While we’re always going to have a core audience of people who are drawn to sabermetric writing, I think we’ve been able to grow beyond just the preaching-to-the-choir size.

12:44
Comment From Gabe
Why do you have an NL MVP ballot? Which city do you qualify for?

12:44
Dave Cameron: I’m in the Atlanta chapter.

12:45
Comment From Dave M
Is there an easy way to explain to someone why strikeouts can be so important for pitchers, but not necessarily a big deal for hitters? I’m lost on how to explain this idea to a chick.

12:46
Dave Cameron: Strikeouts are correlated with hitting for power for hitters, but are not correlated with allowing power for pitchers. In other words, strikeout hitters who are good enough to get to the big leagues can probably make up for their whiffs by hitting the ball really far when they do make contact, but pitchers do not have to allow hard contact in order to get strikeouts.

12:47
Dave Cameron: Or, maybe put it this way; strikeouts are bad, but hitters who don’t make up for those bad strikeouts in other ways never get to the big leagues.

12:47
Comment From Guest
Have you talked to a scout about Trout’s speed and defense? Seemingly they have declined, but a stopwatch and a good trained eye could probably tell us a bit more than our metrics considering the limited sample

12:47
Dave Cameron: Sullivan just did a post on Trout’s stopwatch speed like two weeks ago, and yes, it has declined.

12:48
Comment From Sirras One
GMDM: Bad process, good results re: Myers/Shields?

12:48
Dave Cameron: Bad process, bad results. Odorizzi has been nearly as good as Shields this year.

12:49
Comment From dom
Someone on MLB Tonight last night said we’d see a $100 million closer someday. How nuts is that?

12:50
Dave Cameron: Well, he’s not wrong. Assuming baseball salaries keep inflating as the sport grows, closers will be worth $30 million per year in a few more decades, and there will still be 3 or 4 year deals even at those AAVs.

12:51
Comment From Guest
3 years 35 million for Shields. Too light?

12:51
Dave Cameron: Yeah, that’s way too low.

12:52
Comment From Exar Kunn
IS there a way to have WAR per game pitched or in the splits? Say I was hypothetically trying to figure out if Kershaw could have approached 2000 Pedro territory if he threw 230 innings and started 33 games assuming similar rate.

12:52
Dave Cameron: Divide current WAR by current IP, then multiply that by 230.

12:53
Comment From Dan
Who is your top 3 candidates for NL rookie of the year (in order please)?

12:53
Dave Cameron: I haven’t looked too closely, but probably something like deGrom, Hamilton, and pick-a-random-name.

12:53
Comment From Justin
Do players take into account state income tax and other taxes when negotiating contracts?

12:53
Dave Cameron: The agents do, yes.

12:54
Comment From Nick
How aggressive do you expect the Cubs to be in the FA pitching market? Are the kids close enough to being big league ready to justify a run at Scherzer and/or Lester?

12:54
Dave Cameron: Yeah, the Cubs aren’t far off from being contenders. That said, they don’t need to take a sign-at-any-cost approach. If a top pitcher can be had on a reasonable deal, do it. If the price gets crazy, walk away.

12:55
Comment From Darth Stout
Holy cow – do you mean Edwin Jackson for B.J. Upton? Upton is awful and he’s owed more money for more years!

12:56
Dave Cameron: You’d equalize the cash in the deal, most likely.

12:56
Comment From Rated Rookie
Now that the “power pitcher with limited secondary pitches and command is the most overrated prospect” thing is out (here, at least), what do you need to see from these prospects to change your evaluation of them? Any examples of guys who have made this transition? Carlos Carrasco, maybe?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Carraso’s always had a plus change-up, so I don’t know that he fits the bill. Generally, the main thing these guys need to do to improve is develop a pitch that works against opposite handed hitters.

12:57
Comment From Billy
I propose MLB change rules such that all at bats start with a 1-1 count (or 3 balls for a walk and 2 strikes for a strikeout). Games speed up. Less wear on pitchers. More innings thrown by the best pitchers. Everyone wins. What’s the downside?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Offense goes down even further. Do you like 1-0 games? Because that’s how you get a bunch of them.

12:58
Comment From Semperty
Will it take a new owner in Kansas City before the finally become a legitimate threat?

12:58
Dave Cameron: Jeffrey Loria has two WS titles, and he’s the worst, so no.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Okay, have to go get ready for my MLB Now gig in an hour. Tune in and count the blinks.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Jason
Guest

Most interesting non playoff contender?