Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat – 9/24/14

11:31
Dave Cameron: It’s the final Wednesday of the regular season, so we can look forward to the postseason, talk about the awards races, speculate about winter moves, or just talk about my dog. Fire away.

12:04
Comment From DoffBHoya
what do you think happened to BJ Upton? why the major collapse?

12:05
Dave Cameron: He stopped hitting for power. The rest of his game is basically the same, but he had to drive the ball when he made contact to make the skillset work, and he doesn’t do that anymore. Why? I don’t think anyone knows.

12:05
Comment From Jake
Did you expec the Brandon Moss/Eno Sarris transcript to end with them getting coffee sometime, maybe seeing a movie?

12:05
Dave Cameron: We’re going to have a regular weekly series now called Eno Hanging With Brandon Moss.

12:05
Dave Cameron: (We’re not. But that would be fun.)

12:06
Comment From Apple
Any chance Kemp or Jose Bautista gets moved this offseason?

12:06
Dave Cameron: I’d see Kemp as more likely than Bautista.

12:06
Comment From Sad Mets Fan
Should the Mets look to trade for an outfielder this offseason? If so, how much would it take to pry Desmond Jennings out of Tampa?

12:07
Dave Cameron: Like nearly every team, the Mets should just make as many upgrades as possible without worrying too much about how to do it. Overpaying to try and extract a player from a team who isn’t looking to move him is probably not a great idea.

12:08
Comment From Kris
New Braves GM have control over Fredi’s future, or you think a pre-req for the job will be to keep Fredi for at least another year? Sounds like Wren was pushed out partially because he wanted Fredi out and Cox and co. did not.

12:08
Dave Cameron: Sounds like, new GM or not, John Hart is going to be the one with final say. So it’s up to him, most likely, and since he was already around when decision to keep Fredi for now was made, I’d guess he’s going to keep him around for next year.

12:09
Comment From Puigs Translator
It seems that the World Series is usually simpl won by the team that gets hot. But is ther any data to indicate what “type” of team has the greatest chance of winning? Seems like a lot of people believe that Starting Pitching is King in the Postseason.

12:09
Dave Cameron: There’s no secret formula that works better than others. It’s basically random.

12:10
Comment From Bill
St. Louis is being hindered in the stretch drive by some kind of GI bug passing through (so to speak) the team. Reports have as many as 15 guys down with it at once. That seems a lot, but given the way a baseball clubhouse works, my question is why don’t we see more of that? Answering that baseball players are fanatically interested in sanitation and hygiene ain’t gonna cut it, I don’t think…

12:10
Dave Cameron: They have access to a lot of drugs.

12:10
Comment From AL
Dave, who would you have more concerns about next season, Oscar Taveras, or Gregory Polanco? Who do you think has the better career?

12:10
Dave Cameron: I’ll take Polanco for 2015 and the future. I remain somewhat unconvinced that Taveras is actually a star in the making.

12:11
Comment From _David_
Any reason to be worried about Felix, or are these command issues within the bounds of normalcy? They seem to date back to a timeout being called mid-wind-up in Detroit, but that could be a coincidence.

12:11
Dave Cameron: Prior to last night, he had a sub-1.00 ERA in September.

12:11
Comment From JD (Cleveland)
Think Kluber actually has a shot at this thing? Or are BWAA voters that set in their ways?

12:12
Dave Cameron: I think he’ll get a few first place votes from the Cleveland writers, and maybe one or two others, but Felix has the narrative and the ERA title, and that’s enough for most voters.

12:12
Dave Cameron: So Liberty just climbed up in my lap and shoved my computer out of the way so she could snuggle.

12:13
Dave Cameron: I will now be chatting with my neck angled to the side, apparently.

12:13
Comment From THE average sports fan
What are your feelings about Wren getting fired? IF his resume is eligible to be fired, fair to want same thing for Jocketty?

12:14
Dave Cameron: His resume didn’t get him fired; he was the fall guy for a team that felt like they couldn’t maintain the status quo. But in regards to Jocketty, I do think there’s an argument to be made that Cincy might need to change course in the not too distant future.

12:15
Comment From David
Nats should totally go after Mookie Betts right? Zimm to first, rendon to 3rd, Cabrera will sign else where..they need a 2nd baseman…AJ Cole for Betts?

12:16
Dave Cameron: By AJ Cole, did you mean “Stephen Strasburg”? Because Stras for Betts would make the Red Sox at least ponder it, while Cole for Betts would make them want to punch you in the face.

12:16
Comment From jocephus
dave stewart appears to be new Dbacks GM, how many years till world series dominance

12:16
Dave Cameron: x+5, where x is when Stewart and LaRussa get fired.

12:17
Comment From Rams
what is wrong with CJ Wilson? does he make the playoff roatation and or 2015 5 man?

12:17
Dave Cameron: They don’t have anyone else better, so yes.

12:18
Comment From Dan
Is there any reason to think that, during the playoffs, Anibal Sanchez could turn into the 2 inning, utility shutdown reliever that stats guys have been arguing for?

12:18
Dave Cameron: It probably depends on his health. If he’s up to pitching back-to-back days, probably not, but if he has to rest between appearances, maybe.

12:19
Comment From Art Vandelay
One of my coworkers started bringing her dog to work. Being covered in dog hair is the new normal.

12:19
Dave Cameron: We used to have hardwood floors. Now we have a thin layer of carpet, care of the dog.

12:19
Comment From Stephen
As someone whos never owned a dog but always has wanted to, whats your first bit of advice?

12:20
Dave Cameron: Evaluate how much time you realistically have available. Liberty requires ~2-4 hours of exercise/play every day. She’s awesome, but also a huge time sink.

12:20
Dave Cameron: If you work ~50 hours per week and don’t have someone around to play with your dog during the day, then you better be willing to spend every evening taking her for very long walks.

12:21
Comment From El Rey
Noticed that you mentioned Strasburg in today’s Betts article as potential trade targets for the Red Sox. I haven’t heard this anywhere else… even though he will likely hit the open market when the time comes, why would the Nationals trade him now?

12:21
Dave Cameron: I was throwing out the names of pitchers who would be worth it for the Red Sox to even consider trading Betts for. The usual names, like Cole Hamels, don’t even come close to the kind of value Boston would need to consider doing it.

12:23
Comment From Bruce
Any chance the Cardinals would save Waino for game 2, to avoid Kershaw? Do teams ever run up a white flag like that?

12:23
Dave Cameron: No, because then you’re also taking him out of a potential Game 5 start.

12:24
Comment From Matt
Hart as GM of the Braves–kicking the can down the road, right?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Hart has a long track record of doing a good job. He’s not your usual retread hire.

12:24
Comment From Hank G.
Will your criteria for FanGraphs Player of the Year be any different than your criteria for NL MVP (other than having candidates from both leagues)?

12:24
Dave Cameron: Not really, no.

12:25
Comment From Daniel
James Shields vs. Jon Lester. Royals vs Oakland in Kansas city. Who would you pick in that scenario?

12:25
Dave Cameron: A’s are the better team, would have home field, and the better pitcher on the mound. Pretty easy to say Oak is favorite, probably something like 60/40.

12:26
Comment From Eric
Is this the least exciting final week of the season in the wild card era?

12:26
Dave Cameron: It sure feels like it.

12:26
Comment From Sean
What do you think would be a fair contract for Russ Martin, and how much does he get overpaid this off-season?

12:26
Dave Cameron: I think he’s going to get a low years/high AAV deal, so maybe something like 4/56.

12:27
Comment From Sandy
Why are the Mets shutting down DeGrom now? Do they really think one late-season start will break his arm?

12:27
Dave Cameron: It could, and there’s no benefit to letting him pitch in a meaningless game.

12:28
Comment From PR
Dave Stewart as the new Az GM? really? really?

12:29
Dave Cameron: There wasn’t even really a competition; this was Stewart’s job the minute LaRussa got hired.

12:29
Comment From ralph
Once defensive stats take into account shifted plays, do you think it’s worth considering giving some WAR credit to the team instead of an individual player? With the rise of defensive coordinators on the bench, it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

12:29
Dave Cameron: We’ve talked about it. It might be something that we end up doing.

12:30
Comment From neal
what should the braves be doing, at this point? What moves should they be making?

12:31
Dave Cameron: They should try to upgrade at second base and center field if possible. It won’t be an easy fix, though.

12:31
Comment From Brad
As Phillies fan, I hope Cherington doesn’t read your jabo column on Betts. i really want betts in philly. he’s quite impressive.

12:31
Dave Cameron: You don’t have enough valuable pieces to get him.

12:31
Dave Cameron: And by you, I mean the Phillies.

12:32
Comment From Walt Whitman
I know that a team’s performance heading into the playoffs has little to no predictive value as to how likely it is to advance far they’ll advance, but the A’s have looked really, really, bad for two months now. Are they a fundamentally different team than they were for the first 3 months of the year?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Nope.

12:32
Comment From Kevin
% chance the Cubs win the division in the next 3 years?

12:32
Dave Cameron: 80%.

12:33
Comment From Jeff
I was surprised hear you talk about Jose Altuve and sort of characterize him as an infield hits guys (podcast). Yes, he hits a lot of them because of his contact skills and speed but he does have 56 extra base hits. He is far from being just a singles hitter. I don’t think he is a top 10 MVP type guy but, has your opinion of him changed since you published your Top 50 trade value list?

12:34
Dave Cameron: I was explaining why his context-neutral numbers and his RE24 don’t match up. Infield hits don’t advance/score runners at the same rate as outfield hits, so guys who get a lot of infield hits won’t produce as many runs as a guy who gets an equivalent number of hits but to the outfield. It doesn’t make Altuve bad, just a little less valuable than his WAR suggests.

12:35
Comment From semperty
Re: postseason success Do you think there’s an credibility in Silver’s work on postseason success hinging on closer performance, fielding, and pitcher strikeout rates? Or has that been disproven since that book came out?

12:35
Dave Cameron: Debunked.

12:35
Comment From fats
Do people not like defensive metrics because they think a 60 defender should always have a 60 defensive year? Isn’t that like not like batting average because a 60 hitter hits .250 one year?

12:35
Dave Cameron: People don’t like defensive metrics because they challenge preconceived ideas. People don’t like to change.

12:36
Comment From Guest
if you are the Reds, what pitcher/s do you trade and what do you hope for in return

12:36
Dave Cameron: I’d probably decide its time to rebuild and trade Cueto, Latos, and Simon.

12:36
Comment From Guest
So, how many first place votes does Trout not get? I think the Detroit and Chicago writers will be the stingiest

12:37
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I think Martinez will get 4-6 votes. He’s exactly what writers want to vote for, and they’ll make any excuse they can to keep propping up hitters like this.

12:37
Comment From Chuck
Why didn’t the braves wait to fire Wren till after the season, there were like 8 games left?

12:38
Dave Cameron: It became public knowledge that they were going to do it, so no point leaving him twisting in the wind.

12:38
Comment From Rated Rookie
How likely is a Coppolella departure if anyone other than him is named Braves GM?

12:39
Dave Cameron: My guess is that they’re going to structure any change in a way that incentivizes him to stick around. So either he gets named GM and Hart is VP of baseball ops (or something), or he gets a title/pay bump and the promise that he’s the guy to take over in 2-3 years when Hart retires again.

12:39
Comment From Randy
You seem awfully high on Betts. Being a West Coast fan I don’t know a lot about him. Can you give a brief description of what he’s projected to be with maybe a player comp?

12:39
12:41
Comment From hscer
And no, they would not be desperate enough for a second baseman that they would need to trade Strasburg for one.

12:42
Dave Cameron: You think two years of Strasburg, at roughly $20 million in arb payouts, is clearly worth more than six years of Betts, including two league minimum years, when Steamer has Betts as a +3.3 WAR player right now? You might want to rethink that.

12:42
Comment From SomeSay
If this chat were taking place in 2024, do you think “randomness” will be mostly gone from your answers and we will know why most things happen in this game?

12:42
Dave Cameron: Randomness is not code for “we don’t know”. Randomness is part of life.

12:43
Comment From Guest
If Jhonny Peralta were a FA after this year, what contract would he get?

12:43
Dave Cameron: 5/75, maybe?

12:44
Comment From Brad
If sox don’t trade betts, do you see 140 starts out of betts next year with that crowded outfield and pedroia healthy?

12:44
Dave Cameron: No reason you can’t play Betts everyday between 2B/CF/RF.

12:44
Comment From Richie
No one’s going to trade an ace for Mookie, regardless of his being worth it. You sure the Red Sox won’t break down and trade him for less? Unless you have some inside scoop on Red Sox thinking, I’d heavily wager they do so.

12:45
Dave Cameron: An ace just got traded for Drew Smyly and Nick Franklin two months ago. You sure about that?

12:46
Dave Cameron: Good young MLB players with 0-3 years of control are the most valuable assets in baseball. More valuable than “aces”, even.

12:47
Comment From Cave Dameron
Despite getting homefield advantage, do you think the Angels’ rotation limits them to maybe a 55/45 chance at best to win a given game?

12:47
Dave Cameron: Well, considering they’ve won 60% of their games with this rotation, I’ll say no.

12:48
Comment From Ted
What is your reason for not using salary as a consideration for MVP? (I’m merely curious)

12:48
Dave Cameron: The award is for on field performance.

12:49
Comment From Steven
What if KC has home field? Royals favorite, or about even?

12:49
Dave Cameron: A’s still favored. Clearly a better team.

12:49
Comment From Hank G.
Is the issue with Mookie Betts and power really his height or his body type? After all, Hack Wilson was only 5’6″ (and Jim Wynn was 5’10”).

12:49
Dave Cameron: Modern baseball is a little different.

12:50
Comment From Guest
My advice to the person who wants a dog: puppies are great, but if time is going to be a huge issue go to the shelter and pick out an older dog. She will be a lot mellower, still needs attention but not constant attention, and she will be really really grateful to have a home.

12:50
Dave Cameron: Agree. I don’t regret getting Liberty as a puppy, but I’ll be much more open to adopting an older dog in the future. Puppies are adorable, but also a ridiculous amount of work.

12:51
Comment From Bruce
Can an older vet on a non-playoff team, like Ortiz, for example file a grievance if the redsox choose to play young guys instead of him at the end of the season

12:51
Dave Cameron: Not unless the team is clearly doing it to avoid a contract incentive.

12:51
Dave Cameron: And that’s very difficult to prove.

12:52
Comment From Ryan
I loved the xRun Differential piece you put out midyear. Any chance we will get another one of those for the end of the year?

12:52
Dave Cameron: We essentially coded that calculation into our BaseRuns standings page, which can be found here. http://www.fangraphs.com/de…

12:52
Comment From AJ
Do you really think that Betts is enough to get Sale straight up? As a White Sox fan, that seems light considering Sale’s contract, age and performance…

12:55
Dave Cameron: I don’t think the White Sox would trade Sale for Betts straight up, but it probably at least makes them think about it.

12:55
Comment From a boblowblalawbomb
in retrospect, is the Shields for meyers trade still terrible? is the cespedes for lester trade still wise?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Yes to both.

12:55
Comment From Jack
how would you comprise your post season roster? 13 bats/12 arms?

12:55
Dave Cameron: Probably 14/11.

12:56
Comment From semperty
Can you link (or tweet) study that debunked Silver’s work, or is it just a general consensus that it was wrong?

12:57
Dave Cameron: BP published a piece a few years back where they re-tesetd it and found that it didn’t work. You can search their archives for “special sauce” and it should come up. Nate even admitted on the podcast with Ben and Sam that it was probably a gimmick model that only worked because he didn’t test it enough.

12:57
Comment From Jordan
Hey Dave – just to clarify, you’re saying Mookie Betts has made a jump from not even being mentioned in the July 2014 trade value column to being a top 25 guy? Or is it structured differently that he wouldn’t be top 25 despite you floating Strasburg/Sale as fair?

12:57
Dave Cameron: He’s made a big jump.

12:58
Comment From Bruce
What about Kluber for Betts?

12:58
Dave Cameron: That would be a fascinating trade, but I don’t think Cleveland would do it.

12:59
Comment From Robert
Michael Brantley is going to finish in like 7th place for MVP right? :/

12:59
Dave Cameron: Maybe lower.

12:59
Comment From Jack
The Nats do have to make a decision with Zimmermann and Fister next season. Maybe one of them for Betts?

12:59
Dave Cameron: Betts isn’t going to get traded for a one year guy.

12:59
Comment From a boblowblalawbomb
would betts for cueto be fair?

12:59
Dave Cameron: See above.

1:00
Comment From Brad
The twitter critics, including me, of your analysis of Rays trade haul for price, are muted now. Good call Dave.

1:00
Dave Cameron: A few good starts from Drew Smyly shouldn’t change your opinion much.

1:01
Dave Cameron: I’m happy to let you agree with me, of course, but don’t shift gears just because Smyly threw well down the stretch.

1:01
Comment From semperty
Not that this applies to any team in this postseason (I honestly don’t know), but do you think success against good teams in the regular season should be weighed? Like last year, Cleveland made the postseason by basically destroying weak competition and player pretty meh against everyone else – do you think those performances could be a hint at postseason success/failure?

1:01
Dave Cameron: That’s been studied and is basically irrelevant. Good teams destroy weak competition; it’s what they do.

1:03
Comment From Guest
Jayson Werth’s contract isn’t looking to bad now. Due to a lot of money flowing into the league, would it make sense for a star player to take a one year pillow contract and let inflation happen as long as they are confident in their abilities?

1:03
Dave Cameron: Going year to year would be the way to maximize total dollars in a perfect scenario, but the risk of missing out on a big guarantee isn’t worth the reward of making a few million extra each year.

1:03
Comment From Brob
While La Russa’s foibles are well known, is it a bit much to assume they can’t succeed in Arizona? St. Louis did win the Series with him at coach. Is it possible that La Russa has developed enough of a scouting eye over his years in baseball that might compensate for his lack in other areas?

1:05
Dave Cameron: The primary job of being a good GM is to be able to hire and retain great people to surround you, because there’s way too much work for one person to do. I’ve talked with a bunch of people in baseball who have zero interest in working for Tony LaRussa. I think he’s going to struggle to lure the right kind of front office people there.

1:06
Comment From Richie
If the Rays had traded Price for that package prior to the season, there would’ve been heck to pay in the local media, and yes that matters a lot to teams. Of recent off-season ‘ace’ trades, how similar have they looked to a Price-Betts swap? Shields (+ a then-kinda-valueless Wade Davis) brought back 4 prospects, with Myers being valued similarly to Betts.

1:07
Dave Cameron: The Shields trade is the huge outlier. I could just as easily cite the Fister trade as an example of a quality starter getting traded for nothing.

1:07
Comment From hscer
I was just saying the Nats aren’t looking to trade Strasburg. Nothing about Betts specifically.

1:08
Dave Cameron: And I’m not looking to sell my house, but if you offer me a million dollars, I’ll agree tomorrow.

1:08
Comment From Rated Rookie
Betts for Alex Wood!

1:08
Dave Cameron: That’s kind of fun.

1:09
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Your Betts valuation seems to be in conflict with reality where we saw 1 1/2 years of Samardzija net Addison Russell, at least the equivalent of Betts in value.

1:09
Dave Cameron: That was a deadline trade. Prices are higher at the deadline.

1:10
Comment From Jake deBomb
why should Russell Martin get considerably less than McCann got this past winter??

1:10
Dave Cameron: OBP doesn’t pay like SLG.

1:10
Comment From Anton
Should the Red Sox trade Cespedes, given that his profile is generally overrated by other teams (high RBI/HR)? Could they get a good starter for him? Maybe Hamels? They would have him for his age 31-34 seasons, which is better than signing Scherzer until he’s 38. Do you think that they would do this?

1:10
Dave Cameron: Cespedes for Hamels would be interesting, and perhaps fair.

1:13
Comment From nik
Wny would the Phillies want Cespedes? 1 year on a team not expected to contend?

1:13
Dave Cameron: You think Ruben Amaro knows how to rebuild?

1:13
Comment From Bomok
“Cespedes for Hamels would be interesting, and perhaps fair” Ruben asked for the Dodgers big 3!!!

1:14
Dave Cameron: Ruben doesn’t understand how to value baseball players.

1:14
Dave Cameron: Alright, off to do some writing. Thanks for the questions today.

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Kevin
Guest
Kevin

% chance the Cubs win the division in the next 3 years?

IsIt2015Yet?
Guest
IsIt2015Yet?

I thought 80% odds the Cubs would win the NLC in the next 3 years sounded a bit crazy. Bryant and Baez could strike out 1500 times over the next three years. The pitching is still an unknown. 60%, maybe. Cards and Pirates aren’t old.

Anon
Guest
Anon

It is worth noting even if the Cubs make some good FA moves and their prospects produce good value, the Cardinals and Pirates are still significant competition.

80% seems crazy to me as well. To get that number the odds in individual seasons needs to be 20%-50%-50%. The Pirates have a couple players up for FA after this season but should still be a formidable team, and the Cardinals are not losing any big contributors. The Reds and the Brewers could possibly make a push with their current core players (more likely next year than later). If the season odds were 5%-30%-40%, that would be ~60%. 5%-25%-30% would be ~50%.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

5% is way too low for 2015, for starters. (Not saying it’s a sure thing, or even likely, but even a demonstrably worse team like Arizona or the ChiSox would be above 5% division odds.)