Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 9/21/16

12:00
Dave Cameron: Happy Wednesday. It’s my first 9 am chat. This is weird.

12:00
Dave Cameron: But I made to Oregon, and so this is the new normal.

12:01
Dave Cameron: Let’s talk some baseball.

12:01
Bork: Do you think Porcello and (moreso) Happ will get Cy Young votes based on their high win count? Or is the BBWAA past that by now? I’m not saying that they don’t deserve the Cy Young, but wondering how many of the voters will use W/L as their reasoning.

12:02
Dave Cameron: I think the days of W-L record being the primary factor in the voting are over. ERA is now the #1 thing voters look at. But I do think, since there’s no clear cut #1 candidate, Porcello will get votes that he wouldn’t have gotten otherwise if he didn’t have such a sparkly record.

12:02
mike sixel: welcome to OR. It’s great out here…..What kind of package could Dozier gather for the Twins, who if it weren’t for the Reds might have the worst SP right now?

12:03
Dave Cameron: It’s hard to tell. He’s an excellent player, but he’s so unusual that I’m not sure that teams will project this level of production to continue.

12:03
benj: Are you in Bend yet? All settled in?

12:04
Dave Cameron: I got her over the weekend. Given the number of unpacked boxes still around the house, I wouldn’t say I’m settled in, but I’ve got enough stuff to make it through while unpacking.

12:04
ballsandgutters: do you think the skills of Fangraphs/sabermetric folks could be transferred to an industry easily? If so what industry?

12:04
Dave Cameron: I think the primary skill of the sabermetrician is logical thought processes and the desire for evidence before forming a conclusion, so theoretically, it should apply to every industry except maybe psychic readings.

12:04
Milton: Hey Dave, thanks for the chat. Who do you think ends up the Wild Card winners in the AL and NL?

12:04
Dave Cameron: Toronto/Detroit, New York/St. Louis

12:05
Erik: Should the Phillies start buying the pieces of their next good team this offseason, or should they spend another year waiting for a few more propsects to reach the majors before adding veterans?

12:05
Dave Cameron: Given the success rate of free agents lately, I don’t know why we’d think the Phillies could sign a free agent this winter who would still be worth his contract by the time they’re ready to win.

12:06
lunch: when you look at the last 30 days, the braves position players have put up the 2nd most WAR, right behind the red sox. that’s 6.3 WAR over the last 30 days, while they’ve put up a total of 9.9 WAR for the year. yeesh.
is there anything to be excited about there? are they actually better? or are they just having a good month?

12:06
Dave Cameron: Well, adding Swanson certainly helped shore up a very weak position, though he’s probably not going to keep this up unless he adds more power. But Inciarte is legitimately a terrific player, and getting him to play at that level helps.

12:07
Erik: Maikel Franco is turning in a basically full season with a wRC+ of 85 (as a bat-only player) and only 0.9 WAR. Have we seen enough to call him a bust? Or might he still possibly put up a 4+ WAR season or two at his peak?

12:07
Dave Cameron: Way too early to call him a bust, but the hype on him last year was never justified. He’s not that different from Yasmany Tomas.

12:08
J: I’m not expecting a high OBP from Gary Sanchez in the short term because he pops up, pulls the ball a ton, is slow and strikes out more than average. Am I being realistic or am I overlooking this 1/4 of the season stretch where he’s crushed the ball?

12:09
Dave Cameron: I think the perception of big power/not much else guys swings too quickly, and you’re right to have some skepticism of Sanchez’s ability to keep hitting at this level. Think of first-half Mark Trumbo; he looked like a monster hitting bombs, but when they tailed off, there wasn’t anything to fall back on.

12:10
TKDC: If you’re a young player like Dansby Swanson, with 95 At bats at this point in the season, of course you want to play everyday, but do you want to cross the rookie threshold so that you are a “second year player” in 2017, or come up just short so you maybe can win the ROY?

12:10
Dave Cameron: You don’t care about that.

12:10
Erik: I’ve seen some articles claim that Preller didn’t actually break any rules, though he did break some very strong unwritten rules and came across as very unsportsmanlike in his attempts to gain an advantage within the rules. Is that true?

12:10
Dave Cameron: If that was true, he wouldn’t have accepted the suspension.

12:11
Josh: Is there any way trout gets MVP this year with a few first place votes, a ton of second place, and some vote splitting between Donaldson, Betts, Machado?

12:12
Dave Cameron: I’m more optimistic than Rosenthal that Trout could win. I obviously love Mookie Betts, but he’s not your traditional MVP candidate, and I could see voters seeing Ortiz as the real cog in that offense. If they can’t make the case that Mookie was the team’s best hitter, they might not put him ahead of Trout on their ballot either, given how heavily offense is weighed in the voting.

12:12
Dave Cameron: I think it’s going to be close. But I think Trout might win.

12:14
Coppy’s long lost hair : Based on the Trout logic, Freddie Freeman should finish in the top 5 in NL MVP voting, correct?

12:14
Dave Cameron: There’s a top 2 in the NL, and then a bunch of others. You can argue for him anywhere from 3-10 and be fine.

12:15
Preller: Following up on your column that Preller’s punishment was too light, what do you think the appropriate punishment should have been?

12:15
Dave Cameron: I would have sent Espinoza back to Boston and forced SD to accept a reduced prospect in exchange. I would have also forced them to pick up a larger portion of the Shields contract.

12:16
CORNDOG90: I’m 26 and have been saving a bit of money the past few years. I’ve maxed out my employers 401k match and am saving about 20% of my income after taxes and contributions. I’ve now got a bit of money in my savings account I want to start investing. Do you have any good recommendations on books for someone my age who wants to start investing for the long haul? I’m not looking to get rich quick.

12:17
Ben: Say a player his .400 over 600 PA and they’re all singles. He doesn’t walk once, and plays average defense. What kind of value does he have?

12:18
Dave Cameron: A .400/.400/.400 hitter with average defensive value would be a ~5 WAR player

12:18
David: Great chatting with you in line at PitchTalks in SF! What’s the optimal playoff rotation for LA given their injuries?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Kershaw-Hill-Maeda-Urias. I know they want to limit his innings, but they have a shot to win the WS this year, and having Urias make one start per series won’t kill him.

12:19
jjdouglas: Did you buy a house in advance of the move?

12:19
Dave Cameron: Yep. Nothing like purchasing a home you’ve been in for ~2 hours.

12:20
Dave Cameron: But the rental market here is bananas, so it wasn’t really much of a choice.

12:21
Colin: Safe to assume the main reason the Red Sox have jumped the Cubs in FG WS odds is due to a potentially easier path in AL playoffs compared to Cubs having to go thru the Dodgers or Nats?

12:21
Dave Cameron: Yep.

12:22
Colin: Daniel Murphy was the best free agent signing this past offseason, correct?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Rich Hill and Ian Desmond in that mix too, but probably.

12:23
Mike Rizzo: What’s more likely? 1) Bryce is hurt; 2) Bryce’s 2015 was a fluke; 3) Bryce’s 2016 is a fluke.

12:23
Dave Cameron: Bryce is hurt

12:24
Stupendous Man: Any thoughts on the phenomena Mike describes here?

“It’s just difficult for me to reconcile the fact that a pitcher’s stuff could be good enough to miss bats, but not good enough to drive positive outcomes when the ball is put into play.” – Podhorzer

I have a few intuitions as to how this happens, but I’d gladly trade those for empirical evidence. Thanks!

12:24
Dave Cameron: I think location, not quality of stuff, drives quality of contact.

12:26
Dominik: do you think Betts can be a consistent around 30 hr hitter? or is he more like ellsbury who was a good overall hitter but only had one of those big power seasons and otherwise is more a 15-20 hr guy.

12:26
Dave Cameron: I doubt he’s going to hit 30 every year. I’d guess 15-20 is more likely.

12:26
Kolten: Should Preller be a big league GM?

12:26
Dave Cameron: If I ran a team, I wouldn’t be interested in having him in charge.

12:26
Snorlax: Does the absurdly weak punishment of Preller (my opinion that it’s absurdly weak, without my team even being involved) give GMs any reason at all to be honest in the future?

12:26
Dave Cameron: Most of them are more ethical.

12:28
Tim: Did you and your wife purchase a “starter house,” or one that you, the wife, and kid(s) plan to occupy for the next 20+ years?

12:28
Dave Cameron: This is my third home purchase, so we’re past the starter house phase. We could definitely stay here 20 years if we decided to stay in Bend that long.

12:29
facilitating connectedness: Welcome to Oregon. Forget everything you learned about driving and just drive like either a grandma or a jackass.

12:29
Dave Cameron: Can I just drive like a jackass grandma?

12:29
Dan: Can we call that tension the Michael Pineda Effect?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Pineda used to be a weak contact guy when he got a million infield flies. Strasburg has been the general go-to example of great stuff/bad contact management.

12:30
@OutfieldGrass24: Now that you’re in OR, any chance we get a PDX meetup at some point?

12:31
Dave Cameron: I’d say that’s pretty likely.

12:31
gimp: how is an 800 OPS with average defense – 5 WAR?

12:31
Dave Cameron: That was supposed to be a + sign

12:32
Dave Cameron: Or maybe I used a ~

12:32
Dave Cameron: And it just looks like a –

12:33
X: Buying a “starter home” is usually a bad idea. Transaction costs on real estate are enormous. You’re almost always better off waiting until you can afford your (semi) permanent home. Use that period of time to save for a larger down payment. IMHO of course.

12:33
Dave Cameron: It depends on market conditions; sometimes rents can get so out of control that buying makes sense. But I generally agree that you don’t want to be constantly buying/selling real estate if you’re not a real estate investor. The frictional costs are quite high.

12:35
NYTT: Do you think that the White Sox could trade a piece or two to stock their farm system a little bit, yet still be competitive next year by keeping Sale/Quintana? Thinking a Rodon to Braves scenario where the Sox get some of their good prospects may make sense. What say you?

12:36
Dave Cameron: They aren’t good enough now; removing MLB talent won’t make them better.

12:36
Erik: Will the playoffs continue to trend to be more and more inclusive? 5 teams doesn’t seem be to a very stable equilibrium. Would you expect to see 6 teams per league within 10 years or so?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think playoff expansion is inevitable.

12:36
Ed in Iowa: Can UZR tell the difference between fielders with great range and fielders that are well positioned? Like if a team had some actual devil magic where fielder positioning was concerned would UZR overrate the ability of the fielder himself?

12:37
Dave Cameron: The presumption is that you want UZR to measure talent, not production, which I think is false. This is like asking if batting average can tell you the difference between bat speed and launch angle, as if bat speed is somehow the thing we want to measure.

12:38
Dave Cameron: There’s definitely value in measuring the components of defensive performance, and Statcast will do that for us, but there’s also value in just knowing how many runs a guy saved.

12:38
I am the walrus: Playoff expansion means eventually a snowed out WS. Do you think they ever move it to a nuetral site. I thnk that’s a dumb idea.

12:38
Dave Cameron: Or it could mean a reduced regular season schedule.

12:39
Greg: Are there any metrics out there to quantify a manager’s contribution to team defense via shifting?

12:39
Dave Cameron: Managers usually aren’t the ones deciding where to position the fielders.

12:40
ThomasP: I argued against Sanchez as ROY in August, saying he just won’t have played enough games. Yet now I’m beginning to have doubts. At what point does the sheer brillance of what Sanchez is doing outweigh the other players who have been here all year. Are we there yet?

12:40
Dave Cameron: I think we’re close.

12:40
Mack: Why isn’t Machado getting any MVP consideration?

12:40
Dave Cameron: He’s not having as good a season as Betts and his team is behind him in the race.

12:41
Jeff: Dave, if there is ever a team that should employee the bullpen game approach in the playoffs, its the 2016 Indians, right? Aside from Kluber, no starters in which you have confidence, but several very good relievers (Otero, Miller, Allen). Shouldn’t the Indians just tell Mike Clevinger “see if you can get us through the order once” and then head to the pen?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Yeah, the Indians should basically just try to Royals their way through.

12:42
E: what is the most irrational decision you’ve ever made?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Getting a dog.

12:43
Richie: Playoff expansion just means starting the season a half-week earlier, and reducing spring training by that much. No way they shorten the revenue-generating regular season. So snow games in late-March then, tho’.

12:44
Dave Cameron: I think they could potentially promise the TV partners a bigger boost in ratings by eliminating 8 low-watched regular season games per team (likely Mondays, especially during MNF season) and TV contracts are the main determinant in team revenues now.

12:45
Kenny: Matz for Puig. Who says no?

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

12:46
Bochy: Suggestions for what to do with the Giants bullpen?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Use Will Smith as a high-leverage reliever, not a LOOGY.

12:47
Cowdisciple: Would shortening the regular season be possible in light of the teams’ contracts with the cable companies? I would guess those must specify number of games… Aren’t the playoffs usually covered by different networks under different contracts? I mean, I’m sure it’s all negotiable, but it seems really complicated.

12:48
Dave Cameron: Sure, it’s complicated, but I think it’s possible. I don’t know that it’s likely, but if we get to 32 teams in the next few years — and I think that’s going to happen — then I don’t see MLB sticking with the current divisions, and if they’re re-aligning the divisions, I think they’ll re-do the postseason too.

12:48
Raindog: Dave, which award gets the most different first place votes – AL MVP or NL CY? I could easily see both getting to 6, maybe even 7

12:49
Dave Cameron: I can’t see 6 or 7 AL MVP candidates. There’s Trout as the obvious guy for people who don’t care about winning team thing, and then there’s Betts/Donaldson/Machado for those who do. Maybe Beltre gets a vote from a Texas voter or something, but even that’s a stretch. Cleveland doesn’t have a real candidate.

12:49
The Lure of the Animal: What makes you think MLB will add two teams?

12:50
Dave Cameron: Owners like money. Adding two more teams would make the owners a lot of money.

12:50
Richie: If they’re going to expand within “the next few years” shouldn’t we be hearing more rumblings about such? Potential ownership groups forming, and the like?

12:50
Dave Cameron: I’m not talking 2019 or something, but I think there are two new franchises in baseball by the end of the 2020s.

12:51
Dave Cameron: And probably earlier than that.

12:51
Brett W: Which two cities get new teams now?

12:53
Dave Cameron: There will be a team in NC eventually; Charlotte is getting too big to keep getting passed over. The second one is probably trickier, but I continue to believe that NY could and probably should have a third team.

12:53
Matt: How does adding teams make existing owners more money? Isn’t the (addmitedly flawed) theory that two teams added to a baseball-less market ctake fanhood away from existing teams…and thus revenue?

12:54
Dave Cameron: Owners of expansion teams have to pay huge franchise fee rights, which get paid out to the other 29 owners.

12:54
@OutfieldGrass24: If baseball does expand to a 32-team league, is there realignment to create four divisions within the AL and NL, kind of like we see in the NFL? Or is there just a division in each the AL and NL with an extra team?

12:54
Dave Cameron: I think they probably go four divisions in each league

12:56
Aladdin Sane: With 4 divisions per league, each with four teams, how are the playoffs organized?

12:56
Dave Cameron: Top 2 division winners get byes, next 2 division winners play two wild card teams Wild Card series.

12:57
Matt: Obviously hypothetical, but if expansion leads to 4 divisions per league, I assume it’d be NE, SE, NW, SW – as opposed to current East, Middle, West split. 1) Would you expect that divisional realignment to include movement between AL/NL? 2) Assuming no to #1, TB is the obvious exclusion from current ALE, right?

12:57
Dave Cameron: Yeah, though I could see them going with names instead of directions. Who wouldn’t want to win the AL Heartland division?

12:58
Matt: What should I expect at this Pitch Talks event tomorrow?

12:58
Dave Cameron: A lot of fun, a bunch of laughs, and a good time. I’ve really enjoyed the three I’ve been at this year.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Okay, on that note, I’m off to do some work. Thanks for hanging out with me for my first morning chat.

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Bat
Member
Bat

I’m a Mets fan and I’m really surprised to see Dave say that the Mets would laugh at an offer of Puig for Matz.

Matz is only 25 years old but he’s suffered so many injuries already…the most innings he’s ever thrown in a year is 132, and that’s this year…and he may be shut down before the end of the year due to a bone spur and/or shoulder tightness.

The second most innings he’s ever thrown is 106.

Puig seemingly needs to grow up, but he’s still only 6 months older than Matz and can hit when he’s engaged. I really think that recent demotion to the minors might be a turning point in his career.

Factor in the Mets OF problems for next year – uncertain if Cespedes will return, Bruce has been awful in a Mets uniform and reportedly did not want to play in New York and therefore may be an exercise option and trade candidate, and the question marks of an aging Granderson as well as it’s still uncertain what they have in Conforto and Lagares may have peaked 2 years ago, and I don’t think the Mets laugh at this offer.

Maybe the Mets decline after some thought – I’m not saying they’d definitely accept – but the offer of Puig for Matz is not so ridiculous as to be laughed at, even after the contract / control status of each is considered.

cornflake5000
Member
cornflake5000

As an outsider, with the way their arms are dropping like flies, I don’t think they can afford to trade Matz… And the way Collins in jerking around Conforto, how do you think he’s going to react to Puig?

RonnieDobbs
Member
RonnieDobbs

#warthenSlider

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh

No one is “jerking around” Conforto. His benching is all his own fault. He’s been brutal this year once the calendar hit May. And there is no reason to sugar-coat that.

Dooduh
Member
Dooduh

uh… down votes for..? He most certainly did not get jerked around this year. Collins and the FO stayed with him for 2 solid months while he was completely useless (148/217/303 May & June combined).

They gave him a short breather in AAA for 2 weeks then brought him right back and put him back into the lineup and he sucked again (10-50 with 15 Ks) before sending him back out to AAA.

Surprised there is still a narrative out there that he somehow he was wronged by the team – it isn’t what happened.

Owen Poindexter
Member
Member

A big part of it is that Matz has way more team control for less money. Puig has a ton of talent, but you’d be making a huge bet that the talent shows itself in the next two years.

Bat
Member
Bat

Snarf, I know part of it is the money / team control issue – I tried to indicate in the post above that I had taken that into account saying “..after the contract / control status of each is considered.”

Here’s the thing though:

How much more is Matz’s extra years of control worth when he can’t stay on the field?

He hasn’t had one injury but rather injuries up and down his left (pitching) arm including TJS and shoulder problems. He is the furthest thing from durable, and there’s a good possibility that he ends up as a reliever because of that lack of durability although then that poses other problems w/r/t ability to bounce back and pitch one or more consecutive days.

Again, maybe the Mets turn down that offer. But I think they’d seriously consider it much more than Dave indicated, which was that they wouldn’t consider it at all.

Matz’s lack of durability + Mets considerable 2017 OF issues = this is something the Mets would consider, in my opinion.

jpg
Member
jpg

Puig’s value is on the uptick since his recall but it’s in the shitter relative to where it was a few years ago. I mean, we’re talking about a guy running a sub-100 wRC+ with makeup/maturity issues that the Dodgers already tried , in vain, to trade at the deadline. And as others have mentioned he’s running out of team controlled years. Matz has his own issue with durability but we’re talking about a mid rotation starter with upside making peanuts. Also, where is Puig playing? With Cespedes, Bruce, Granderson, Conforto and Lagares, they’re already crowded out there.