FanGraphs Chat – 2/26/14

11:48
Dave Cameron: It’s Wednesday, so let’s talk baseball. The queue is now open.

12:01
Comment From David Ortiz
What do you project for me in 2014? Am I still mashing?

12:01
Dave Cameron: No reason to expect a huge decline. I’d imagine you have a few more good years left.

12:01
Comment From Matt
Whats the expectation for games played from my Miami Man Crush Stanton this year? Same as the past?

12:02
Dave Cameron: Probably 140-150. For guys on non-contenders, there’s also a higher likelihood that they get shut down in September.

12:02
Comment From Bret
Who do you think will be the Jays Opening Day second baseman?

12:02
Dave Cameron: Someone not currently in the organization.

12:02
Comment From Mariner
If TB traded for N. Franklin who would they give up?

12:03
Dave Cameron: Mariners need outfielders and pitchers. Some combination of that.

12:03
Comment From Burt Blylevens Socks
What’re your favorite and least favorite MLB ballparks you’ve been to?

12:03
Dave Cameron: I love Camden Yards, but not Baltimore’s in the summer. AT&T was pretty great. I remember thinking that US Cellular was as boring as it gets.

12:04
Comment From Yan Gomes
Do you see me progressing or regressing in 2014?

12:04
Dave Cameron: There’s only down from last year.

12:05
Dave Cameron: FYI, Alden Gonzalez is reporting that the Angels and Mike Trout have agreed to a one year contract. For luxury tax reasons, the Angels need to make 2014 not part of the extension, so this gives them the freedom to announce a six year deal starting in 2015 in a few weeks, and not have it count against their current luxury tax number.

12:06
Comment From Rick
Dave, the Pirates went from -25 to +68 in Defensive Runs Saved from 2012 to ’13, but their team BABIP/Defensive Efficiency was virtually identical… What gives?

12:06
Dave Cameron: BABIP/Defensive Efficiency aren’t a great measure of team defense.

12:06
Comment From CW
What do think the Trout extension ultimately looks like?

12:07
Dave Cameron: I’d guess seven years, starting in 2015, so it buys out three FA years. $170M with incentives that push it higher.

12:07
Comment From RK
Do you think that waiting until after April 1 really precludes a QO the following year?

12:08
Dave Cameron: The CBA does say that a player has to be with a team for the “entire season” to receive a QO the next year. It will be interesting to see if anyone tries to make MLB clarify.

12:08
Comment From Brad (Lancaster, PA)
Hearing the Mets linked to Nick Franklin. Would he “play” SS in Queens, or precursor to a Daniel Murphy trade?

12:08
Dave Cameron: Guess is they’d try him at SS for 2014, move him to 2B next year.

12:09
Comment From Christian
Are the Mariners really done before opening day? Seems weird for them to add Cano, then just kinda shuffle their feet with Rodney and two lottery tickets in Morrison and Hart. I liked the Cano signing but it definitely makes less sense if they spend all that money then just leave a disaster in the outfield and back of rotation. Especially with Guti being done for the year it seems insane to me that they don’t add an outfielder.

12:09
Dave Cameron: They’ll trade Franklin for either an SP or an OF.

12:09
Dave Cameron: Or maybe both, if they’re of lower quality.

12:09
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
if you were a GM w/ a clean slate to start a franchise would you prefer to target lots of WAR in several star level players or would you look to minimize risk by spreading WAR around the roster in a more evently distributed fashion? Is it more risky to count on a bunch of 1-2 WAR guys not being 0 WAR guys than it is to count on several 4-5 WAR guys putting up at least 3+?

12:10
Dave Cameron: Depends on how much money I have and what kind of access to talent I’m given. If it’s a from scratch league and I can build a contender in year one, I probably go for balance. If I’m an expansion team and am going to be terrible for a few years, I shoot for upside.

12:11
Comment From Prich
Beautiful day in Seattle, like, the kind of beautiful that can only be found in Seattle… Do you miss those days, or does the year-round sun make it irrelevant?

12:11
Dave Cameron: Year round sun? I’d like to introduce you to the east coast afternoon thunderstorm. I do miss Seattle’s weather, especially in the summer.

12:11
Comment From jocephus
do you think the new/younger managers (matheny, ausmus, weiss, price) etc (along w/ GMs/management) will be putting the final nails in small ball? or do the washingtons, scioscias, (“old school” managers) still have sway?

12:12
Dave Cameron: I think the culture of the on field management is going to be a lot harder to change than the culture of the front office was.

12:12
Comment From RK
Would the Rays just use Franlin as Zobrist 2.0 all over the place or where is his spot on their team?

12:12
Dave Cameron: He doesn’t have Zobrist’s defensive skills. I’d think they’d use Frankin at 2B to open up Zobrist to move everywhere.

12:13
Comment From Timothy
What are the positional depth chart projections based off of? Just wondering because Justin Upton’s depth chart projection (2.6) is less than his ZiPS (3.0), Steamer (3.1), or Oliver (3.9) projection.

12:14
Dave Cameron: The depth charts are a 50/50 combination of the rate stat projections from ZIPS and Steamer combined with the playing time estimates from our manual efforts. Any time you see WAR differences between the depth charts and player page, the first column you should look at is PA, to see how much of it is driven by playing time.

12:14
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
would a sudden career ending/altering injury to one of the recent pre-arb extendees change MLB’s tune on pursuing the current “sign ’em young for long years to avoid FA” strategy we’ve seen pop up?

12:14
Dave Cameron: Nope, because it’s a good strategy overall.

12:14
Comment From Steve
Hey Dave! In one of your recent articles (10 worst offseason contracts) you ranked Tanaka being worse than Granderson’s. How is a guy making $15 million with one tool (power) any so many negatives a “better” contract than a potential #1/#2 starter?

12:15
Dave Cameron: Because 4/60 isn’t 4/108?

12:15
Comment From gareth
If there was an expansion in baseball, do you think the Carolinas would be top for possible baseball team locations?

12:16
Dave Cameron: I think Raleigh or Charlotte could make sense. Probably not as high up on the list as Portland or even San Antonio.

12:16
Comment From Guest
Is Marcus Semien a starter in June?

12:16
Dave Cameron: Not unless the White Sox trade him.

12:16
Comment From GSon
At the outset of the hot stove, it was pretty certain that Jeff Samardzija was going to be traded. The braintrust that comprises the Cubs FO has asked for the moon and have been rebuffed. Do Samardzija end up going down the path of Ubaldo and Ervin Santana w/r to desperation setting in?

12:17
Dave Cameron: No reason for desperation, they’ll just trade him in July.

12:17
Comment From KJ
Hi Dave, I think you touched on this in your QO piece, but I kind of like/find it interesting how signing one QO-decliner makes a greater incentive to sign others. Thoughts?

12:18
Dave Cameron: I think it was intentionally designed that way, to incentivize teams to make pushes in years they are competitive without taking on as large a penalty. The problem is that the teams that are most hurt by losing draft picks can’t afford to sign multiple qualified free agents, so it ends up just helping the rich teams again.

12:18
Comment From Teddy
Why can’t we take on a system where the ideal rotation would be as defined by WAR 5,4,3,2,1? so when we talk about a pitcher that is a number 1 that would be a pitcher that produces 5+ WAR and when we talk about a 3/4 we talk about a 2.5 WAR pitcher? So many people throw around things like potential number 1 or a 1/2 or a 3 pitcher yet i feel like the concept of a “1” pitcher or a “2” pitcher etc is very abstract and confusing and there is really no baseline to go off of to use to define a pitcher of what they are or what potential they have. So why hasn’t a linear system like this taken hold yet?

12:19
Dave Cameron: To be honest, that’s actually pretty close to reality right now. The best pitchers in the game project for about +5 WAR. Maybe I’ll make a post out of that.

12:19
Comment From nolan
If you’re the yanks GM who would you target in a trade to strengthen 3b?

12:20
Dave Cameron: I think Kelly Johnson is fine as the strong half of a 3B platoon. I’d look for a 2B instead.

12:20
Comment From Guest
Does a database exist with projections from previous seasons?

12:20
Dave Cameron: You can find historical Marcel projections on Jeff Zimmerman’s site, at baseballheatmaps.com.

12:20
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
Do elite players age at a different rate/have a different aging curve than “the average player”?

12:21
Comment From Slack Schmeinke
what do you think about a system where teams can gain a supplemental round pick (prior to 2nd rd) by not spending over a certain amount in free agency or by not signing a certain “type A” sort of FA (by some newly determined criteria) rather than the current system of penalizing teams for signing FAs who receive QOs. So, rather than teams lose a pick as a penalty, they wouldn’t be eligible to gain a pick instead. It would become a sort of reward system instead of penalty system. That still retains some of the disincentive to spend on big FAs but also reduces the penalty and probably unclogs the movement of FAs we’ve seen.

12:21
Dave Cameron: I don’t think we want to reward teams for not signing players.

12:22
Comment From Slack Schmeinke
Lagares falls into the “not quite enough” category for Franklin?

12:22
Dave Cameron: Probably close to fair.

12:23
Comment From Tony
Going into 2013, the top tier of AL starters was probably something like JV, Felix, CC, Weaver, and Price… What would you say is the top tier, now? CC/Weaver our, Yu/Scherzer in?

12:23
Dave Cameron: Yeah, seems about right.

12:23
Dave Cameron: Sale is in that mix too.

12:23
Comment From Guest
Over/under on how many players ACCEPT the QO next winter: 1.5

12:24
Dave Cameron: Zero. I think this was maybe the last year that teams will try to offer QO to marginal players.

12:24
Comment From Buster Olney
Do you buy the “since they gave up their first pick for a QO free agent, they might as well give up their second pick for one as well” that many writers espouse?

12:24
Dave Cameron: If the price is right, sure. The cost of giving up a 2nd round pick is far smaller than giving up a first.

12:25
Comment From CMR
Of the Dodgers, Cardinals, Braves, and Nationals, which team is the deepest and can best weather injuries?

12:25
Dave Cameron: Probably the Dodgers.

12:25
Comment From HeaterRickey
How do you see the Yankees bullpen shaking out this year? Do you have faith that Robertson can close?

12:25
Dave Cameron: He’s one of the best relievers in baseball. He’ll be fine.

12:25
Comment From Dave
Thanks for the chat, DC. % chance that Kimbrel ends up in the Hall of Fame?

12:25
Dave Cameron: 25%.

12:26
Dave Cameron: And yes, that’s a wild gues.

12:26
Comment From 5 Tools
Could you rate Carson on the 20-80 scale in the 5 tools: writing skill, podcast skill, Saber knowledge, prospect knowledge and hot stove/business understudying.

12:26
Dave Cameron: 80, 60, 60, 70, 20.

12:27
Comment From Catoblepas
Dave, you’ve talked before about wanting to change the draft system to something that allows for more market freedom. Is the advantage smart, small-market teams gain from developing their young, cost-controlled talent and then using it well a reason to keep the system as it is?

12:27
Dave Cameron: I don’t think the current system gives small market teams enough of a chance to acquire and produce young cost controlled talent. That’s why I’d want to improve it.

12:28
Comment From A. Lane
Under the More Batted Ball section for hitters, if you add LD+GB+FB, does this include homeruns?

12:28
Dave Cameron: Yes.

12:28
Comment From Rick
Would you elaborate on your BABIP/Def. Efficiency claim, Dave? Curious to know how metrics like that could be a poor indication of team defense when it literally measures exactly what a team’s defense sets out to do– convert balls in play into outs.

12:29
Dave Cameron: Not all batted balls are created equal. It’s akin to using batting average to evaluate a hitter, and ignoring the fact that a guy who gets two singles and a home run is better than a guy who gets four singles.

12:29
Comment From TB
Do you expect more teams to shift this year, given the data we all saw yesterday? If so, when do we start to see LH hitters change their approach? Will this whole thing oscillate somewhat?

12:30
Dave Cameron: Shifts will continue to become more popular until players get better at bunting, and then we’ll have a stretch where the shift loses popularity as its flaw is exploited.

12:30
Comment From j6takish
The players union frowns upon it…but considering it is almost march is it possible for Stephen Drew to sign a minor league contract but with ridiculous incentives, like 10mm for reaching 10 PA?

12:31
Dave Cameron: No, the CBA specifically prohibits a team from signing a player to a minor league deal with the promise that it is actually a major league deal.

12:31
Comment From Loren
Why don’t we see batters go into an exaggerated Rickey Henderson style crouch to reduce their strike zone on 3-0 pitches when it’s obvious they’re taking all the way?

12:31
Dave Cameron: Because the umpire won’t shrink the top of the zone just because they bent over further.

12:32
Comment From Guest
Any chance the Mariners get Desmond Jennings?

12:32
Dave Cameron: Yes. All they’d have to do is include Iwakuma. And maybe Zunino.

12:32
Comment From TigersFan
Robbie Ray K’d 5/6 batters he faced yesterday. Can he make people forget about Doug Fister?

12:33
Dave Cameron: You just quoted the performance of a professional pitcher in an exhibition game against college players. To the penalty box with you.

12:33
Comment From Bobby J
When do you think Joc Pederson will get a shot in the bigs and how will he perform?

12:34
Dave Cameron: Seems like he’s probably going to need to get traded.

12:34
Comment From Bobby J
If the reports are true and Bauer has really figured it out with his delivery, how good do you think he can be?

12:34
Dave Cameron: This happens every spring. Don’t buy into it.

12:34
Comment From Rick
Maybe a better way to phrase my question: what specifically are the shortcomings of a measure like Team Defensive Efficiency? Seems totally straightforward, measures something that actually, definitely happened.

12:34
Dave Cameron: There are plenty of measures of what actually, definitely happened that don’t really tell us anything about the value of the person doing that thing.

12:35
Comment From j6takish
Fans love bunting because it looks easy. People don’t like to be reminded that baseball is hard they want to believe with a little bit of luck they could have made the bigs

12:36
Dave Cameron: I don’t think that’s it. I think fans love “trick plays”, and bunting seems like a little guy outsmarting the big bad evil dude. It’s the same reason they like flea flickers and reverses in football.

12:36
Comment From gareth
How’s that fister trade looking now that there’s some distance from the time of the trade?

12:36
Dave Cameron: Still terrible.

12:37
Comment From john
NC needs baseball. I am 8 hours from DC and Atlanta. Its not fair!

12:37
Dave Cameron: You must live in the western mountains, then, in which case, you’re probably only ~5 from Cincinnati.

12:38
Comment From TB
Re: the shifts (sorry for asking multiple questions)…does there come a point at which shifting affects the value of LH pull hitters in a “real” way? Or has that already happened (e.g. Howard)?

12:38
Dave Cameron: There’s no question that LH pull hitters who can’t adjust are being harmed by the shift right now. That’s why they need to learn to bunt.

12:39
Comment From Steve
Why not just create an article that says “Anything the Rays or Red Sox do is smart, and whatever the Yankees do is overpaying.” It would save you a lot of typing.

12:39
Dave Cameron: Brian McCann’s signing appeared on my list of best off-season transactions. I don’t think either the Rays or Red Sox had a single move on that list.

12:40
Comment From JH
Are you planning a post on the Atlantis over/unders again this year? Always one of my favorite things to read.

12:40
Dave Cameron: Carson’s got a post in the queue for this afternoon comparing our playoff odds against a sportsbook.

12:41
Comment From woods
Is there any evidence supporting the assumption that “Catcher X should see his hitting improve with a move away from catching to a less taxing defensive position”? Or is that just an assumption based on the likelihood they should be less tired?

12:41
Dave Cameron: There’s evidence behind it.

12:41
Comment From Slack Schmeinke
but rewarding teams for *not signing* players (or maybe not spending over x amount) is still better than penalizing teams for signing players which seems to be what’s clogging the system now.

12:41
Dave Cameron: The current system is basically a sales tax. Everyone in life deals with sales taxes.

12:42
Dave Cameron: The players on the market aren’t still on the market because of the QO; they’re on the market because their asking prices are too high.

12:43
Comment From Rich
So many fans talk about a salary cap, but few mention a salary floor. Which one – if you had to pick one – would you be more in favor of, if implemented?

12:43
Dave Cameron: A salary floor isn’t particularly helpful.

12:43
Comment From Eminor3rd
Wait a minute Cistulli is an 80 writer?

12:43
Dave Cameron: He’s an actual published poet. If he wasn’t so obsessed with marginally talented baseball players, he’d probably be cranking out ridiculously entertaining books.

12:44
Dave Cameron: He’s really wasting his life, is what I’m saying.

12:44
Comment From Slack Schmeinke
the 800 lb gorilla in the room wrt the FA compensation system is that the draft pick penalty widely varies depending on where the team falls in the draft order. Teams picking in the 11-15 range get penalized much more than teams at the bottom of the 1st rd (the better teams).

12:44
Dave Cameron: Correct.

12:44
Comment From Eminor3rd
80 writers are like, Keates and F. Scott Fitzgerald and such

12:45
Dave Cameron: I was comparing him to other baseball writers, not everyone who has ever picked up a pen.

12:45
Comment From Christian
How come the unions for other pro sports don’t fight to get the same level of salaries as MLB? Seems crazy how much more money Arod will get in salary over his career over say like Peyton Manning or LeBron James.

12:46
Dave Cameron: I would imagine, including endorsement deals, LeBron makes more than any MLB player.

12:46
Comment From Tyler
Have you ever been offered, or considered, a job with a MLB team?

12:47
Dave Cameron: I’ve had teams express interest in talking to me about a position, but the reality is that I love working for FG, and my situation is very hard to beat. I set my own hours, get weekends off, work from home, take vacations… it’s a pretty sweet gig.

12:47
Comment From Jake
What are the top player priorities in the 2016 CBA negotiations? Top league priorities?

12:48
Dave Cameron: Players will probably push for some kind of minimum distribution of revenue in salaries, so that the league’s increasing cash flows don’t end up as owner profits. That could be a nasty fight. League probably pushes for harsher PED penalties.

12:49
Comment From Dalen
What happens with the Dodgers’ OF? With Kemp doubtful for their opening series, do they hang onto Ethier for a couple months, let Kemp prove his health, then move Ethier?

12:49
Dave Cameron: Yeah, it seems like they’ll let this play itself out, but I can’t imagine that any of the four will be happy as part-timers if they all get healthy.

12:50
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
my nitpick with defensive efficiency: you’ll look bad if you have a GB staff and you’ll look great if you have a FB staff since the babip for those batted ball types are very disparate

12:50
Dave Cameron: Yep.

12:50
Comment From A. Lane
Did you see/read this piece,where Dombrowski claims the Tigers couldn’t get anything better for Fister? Robbie Ray was ranked at the 16th best LHP, isn’t this claim hard to believe? http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/tigers-might-get-short-end-of-fister-trade-but-they-thought-it-through-022014

12:51
Dave Cameron: Saw it, and think its an example of the Tigers boxing themselves in to making a bad deal. No reason they had to get an SP prospect back for Fister. Just trade him for best available offer, regardless of whether you’re getting an SP or not.

12:52
Comment From Jake
Uribe and Drew had, pretty much, the same 2014, unusually high wRC+ and defensive value. Why is there so much more optimism around Uribe than Drew, even though Drew is younger with a similar track record?

12:52
Dave Cameron: Is there a Juan Uribe Optimism Party that I didn’t get invited to?

12:53
Comment From Ed
Dave, are you going to make it down to Charlotte to see the new Knights AAA stadium this year? Looks pretty nice from the outside.

12:53
Dave Cameron: Yeah, I’ll probably make a trip down.

12:53
Comment From Steve
Why are people high on Porcello this yr? Please make me understand

12:53
Dave Cameron: Big spike in K rate last year, still young, peripherals suggest far better pitcher than ERA.

12:54
Comment From Mark
How about Rickie Weeks for the Yankees with Milwaukee eating some salary?

12:54
Dave Cameron: I could see that, if Milwaukee ate almost all of it.

12:55
Comment From Daniel Stone
How does the defensive value of a player vary based on the type of pitchers on his team? For instance, if Player A has 100 ground balls hit to him and converts 98 of them into outs, how does his defensive WAR change if next season he has 200 GB hit to him and converts them to outs at the same percentage (196/200, or 98%)? I’m on a quest to figure out how Darwin Barney went from a 4.8 WAR season in 2012 to a -0.5 WAR season in 2013 (3.6 dWAR in 2012, 1.5 dWAR in 2013).

12:55
Dave Cameron: What’s more valuable, a guy who hits .300 in 100 at-bats or a guy who hits .300 in 600 at-bats? Same deal on defense. If you’re making plays at a rate that is above average for your position, more opportunities = more value.

12:56
Comment From Tom
TO your point, it does seem that the current system is working. Big market teams that spend a ton on free agents don’t get to have high draft picks, and cannot overpay later round picks now either. The only thing that is not working is the players that rejected the QO when they should have taken it.

12:57
Dave Cameron: Working depends on what your goal is. My goal would be to ensure that lower revenue teams could spend far more on player development than high revenue teams.

12:57
Dave Cameron: Under this system, that’s not the case, unless the low revenue team wants to suck on purpose to get better draft picks.

12:59
Comment From Jim
Rotographs is really raising the bar this month with their strategy articles. Rankings and player articles are great and all but the writers have been doing a great job explaining their approach and thought process. Thanks.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Tell Eno this tomorrow. He’ll appreciate it.

12:59
Comment From STiVo
How does UZR deal with defensive shifts?

12:59
Dave Cameron: It ignores them, which is somewhat problematic.

12:59
Dave Cameron: Especially at the team level.

1:00
Dave Cameron: To clarify: by ignore, I mean it doesn’t reward a player for a play made when the shift is on. It doesn’t just pretend like the shift isn’t happening.

1:01
Comment From Pork Sale
What is a higher probability event going forward. A 60 homer season, or a team winning 110 regular season games in a season?

1:01
Dave Cameron: Probably 60 homers.

1:02
Comment From Guest
Why do you think Franklin can’t play SS. Comments from scout? Stats? Your own eyes?

1:02
Dave Cameron: All of the above.

1:02
Comment From Rob
How many different MLB employees do you speak with in a given week?

1:03
Dave Cameron: A few.

1:03
Comment From Beattie
Are extension just exchanging risks? Player risk losing out on money in FA in exchange for security if the get injured/decline. Teams risk paying to much in exchange for the chance that they get a good player?

1:03
Dave Cameron: Yeah, basically, it’s just flattening things. Instead of having 6 underpaid guys and 1 way overpaid guy, teams are now going to have four fairly paid guys, two slightly overpaid, and one slightly underpaid guy.

1:04
Dave Cameron: All numbers made up.

1:04
Comment From chuckb
Assuming that a lefthanded pull hitter works on his bunting during the spring to be a competent enough bunter, about how often should a guy like Beltran, Howard, or Ortiz bunt to beat the shift? 25%?

1:04
Dave Cameron: Depends on his success rate. If he can get it past the pitcher for an easy hit more than 50% of the time, then he should bunt every time he’s shifted until they stop shifting him.

1:05
Comment From jocephus
eno seems wacky…in a good way

1:05
Dave Cameron: This is entirely correct.

1:06
Comment From Slack Schmeinke
well, regarding young pitching being difficult to acquire, I think young position players may be even harder to acquire now.

1:06
Dave Cameron: I’ve talked with a bunch of teams that all swear they would have destroyed the Nats offer for Fister if given a chance.

1:06
Dave Cameron: There’s just no way that the deal they took was the best deal they could get.

1:07
Comment From Mark
Supposedly the Mets turned down Joyce-for-Davis swap in the winter. Why?

1:08
Dave Cameron: Joyce is the same kind of player and an FA at year’s end?

1:08
Dave Cameron: Okay, lunch is calling. Thanks for hanging out everyone.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted
Buck_Turgitson
Guest
Buck_Turgitson

I know he’s old/chunky, but I’m surprised by the lack of interest in Colon this year (no DH, pitcher friendly park)…reasonable to expect 90% of last year’s stats?