Kevin Goldstein FanGraphs Chat – 4/20/2021

12:00
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. Sorry for missing yesterday’s chat window but I hope to make it up to you today. You keep asking questions, and I’ll keep answering them, so let’s get going.

12:01
Royal Flush: Hey KG – how bout them Royals!? Tell me that Soler and Benny are just small sample sizes and that I shouldn’t be worried about them long term?

12:03
Kevin Goldstein: Royals are a fun team to watch right now. Not a good team necessarily, but not a bad one either. As for your two players of concern. I feel ok about Soler as long as you see 2019 as an outlier and reasonably expect a .240-.250 hitter with a .475 SLG. Benintendi I’m less optimistic on. Something is very wrong here and I don’t know how he gets back to what he once was.

12:03
Jackson: Does Hiura never recover his stellar minor league hit tool?

12:04
Kevin Goldstein: Another one I’m really concerned about. I think in some ways last year’s power surge was the worst thing to happen for him. It’s a slugger approach and he’s stopped being a hitter.

12:04
Dave: In the instance of a player being out of options and both player and team agreeing that the player needs more time in the minors, is there any way to restructure the contract to keep the player within the organization without the player first going through waivers?

12:05
Kevin Goldstein: If he’s out of options, he’s out of options. If he doesn’t get claimed (and the rest of the league therefore agrees he needs more time in the minors) he can always re-sign with his original team, which happens quite often.

12:05
Lucas: Are you seeing anything more in Luis Garcia on HOU that makes you think there’s mid rotation upside there?

12:06
Kevin Goldstein: I think it’s more 4-5 starter than 2-3 starter, but 4-5 starters are incredibly valuable pieces than get eight-figure deals in free agency….

12:06
Dave: Similar question to what I just asked, can an additional option year be included when signing a free agent to a contract, whether that’s a major league or minor league deal?

12:06
Kevin Goldstein: You don’t have to do an option even, you can just flat out sign a guy to a multi-year minor league contract.

12:06
45 blows billygoats: You have a one hour and twenty minute drive today. What Podcast are you listening to?

12:07
Kevin Goldstein: Q Anon Anonymous, Giant Bomb, The Boogie Monster, No Cartridge and Bad Faith all in the rotation.

12:08
Chris: Thoughts on george kirby’s velo spike?

12:08
Kevin Goldstein: Be excited if he’s throwing that hard and maintaining his plus command….

12:08
Chris: You ready for the mariners vs dodgers round 2 today?

12:08
Kevin Goldstein: I am. The Mariners are a sneaky good team. Like not title ready, but could stick around in the AL West for a while.

12:08
Scotty: When analyzing pitchers, how do you weigh FIP vs xFIP? I sometimes struggle to find a balance there

12:09
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t? Not trying to be a jerk here, but I’m looking at other things. I do glance at both to see if he’s above or below his skis, but I want to look at pitch data to figure out why.

12:10
Leites: Hi Kevin!  Does Joe Ross have enough left to survive as a starter?  Last night was hard to watch . . .

12:10
Kevin Goldstein: I mean, he threw 11 shutout innings in his first two starts, so of course he can survive. the truth is somewhere in between the first two starts and the third and he’s a fine back-end starter.

12:11
BringBackDeSpanielHair: Lucas Giolito got LIT yesterday, but his velo was fine. Guys were just all over his changeup. What’s the internal reaction of a team when that happens to their ace? Is it something to worry about psychologically? Or just kinda shrug and move on?

12:12
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t know any front office that just shrugs over . . . . well, anything. I’m sure they are digging through video and pitch data to see if there is anything there. Sometimes AFTER doing that it’s time to shrug and move on, but you gotta make sure.

12:12
Leites: Thoughts on the upside of rookie relievers Camilo Doval and Joely Rodriguez?

12:12
Kevin Goldstein: Both are very interesting. I liked Rodriguez since his time in Japan and thought he was an excellent signing. I thought he’d be better than he has been and still haven’t given up there.

12:13
Dave: Asking the questions about the possibility of additional options because it seems like there’s a certain level of player who’s value to a team is greatly increased by the ability to move up and down, and I’m curious if there’s ways to make that a possibility for more than just 3 years of a player’s career

12:13
Kevin Goldstein: Sure, but that player also earns the right to see if there is a team that sees him as more than that, no?

12:13
The Ghost of Bobby Thigpen: The White Sox have/will graduate almost all of their top prospects. While this obviously strengthens the Major League roster, how do they rebuild the farm system while competing and (most likely) not having high draft picks in the coming years? The Dodgers seem to have mastered this, but most teams fall off a cliff once their initial competitive window closes.

12:14
Kevin Goldstein: It’s the biggest challenge in baseball. Staying good while keeping a consistent pipeline of young talent flowing. Takes great scouting, great drafting, great international work and great player development. The Dodgers are very good at all of these things.

12:14
Guest: Anderson piece was great. Braves have an issue developing pitchers and refuse to use any applicable tech. I’ve broken down Toussaint and Wright’s struggles and how they can right the ship.

12:15
Kevin Goldstein: The Braves use an INCREDIBLE amount of technology. They are on the forefront of it, actually…..

12:15
Dante Bichette: Sell Justin Turner while he’s healthy and at his peak? Looking at a return like Kyle Tucker.

12:15
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t understand this thinking . . . why the hell would the Dodgers want to jettison Turner?

12:16
Daniel: Curious for your thoughts on Shane Bieber’s swing/miss and k-rates. It’s consistent with last year’s shortened season. Do you buy that these numbers are his floor?

12:16
Kevin Goldstein: I mean, the rates are insane and you’re hoping for improvement? Just enjoy the show. That breaker is RIDICULOUS.

12:16
CardsOps: Who is the NL ROTY frontrunner and why is it Justin Williams?

12:16
Kevin Goldstein: The guy with the .718 OPS?

12:18
Adam: So is Jake Cronenworth basically Jeff McNeil?

12:18
Kevin Goldstein: Underrated ‘fun to watch’ guy. Such a good HITTER.

12:18
CardsOps: As of now what teams do you see making the NL Playoffs?

12:19
Kevin Goldstein: Our playoffs Odds favor Mets, Brewers, Dodgers with Braves/Pads as wild card teams. Feels right to me.

12:19
Forever Royal: If you’re GM and we are still in it in July… what do you do?

12:19
Kevin Goldstein: Don’t mortgage the future, but maybe try to find some bats, maybe platoon options.

12:19
KG: Are you related to Craig Goldstein?

12:20
Kevin Goldstein: I love chork, but no, we are not related. You need to realize that in some areas of the country, Goldstein is similar to Smith.

12:20
James: The Padres have had 16 players in the IL (most in MLB) and at times have been without or playing an injured Tatis, Grisham, Lamet, Nola, Johnson, Adams. They still clawed their way to the league’s 5th best record but are they still too deep down the hole to overtake the Dodgers?

12:20
Kevin Goldstein: Healthy they still weren’t going to catch the Dodgers. They’re still VERY good.

12:21
mookie magic: so the nationals are basically doomed, yeah?

12:21
Kevin Goldstein: Did you have high expectations for them? If you did, that’s on YOU.

12:21
Lastings Milledge: What are your expectations for Logan Gilbert? Any comps?

12:22
Kevin Goldstein: Man did I miss on that one. I was sent to Stetson to see him during his draft year, and he was like 87-90 and just didn’t see it. I think there’s mid-rotation upside now.

12:23
onomatopoeia: What do you make of Garrett Whitlock? And would you try to stretch him out and have him start, or keep him in bullpen?

12:23
Kevin Goldstein: He’s looked really good, but I’d keep him in the pen.

12:23
Jake: Why didn’t Nestor Muriel make it out of rookie ball?

12:24
Kevin Goldstein: I think the 40% K rate kinda answers your question, no?

12:24
Jake: What kind of prospect is Carlos Correa’s little brother?

12:25
Kevin Goldstein: Not much of one. Nice org piece.

12:25
Brian: Gleybar Torres has a career 119 wRC+. It you remove games against the Orioles it drops to 106. Which is closer to his true talent level?

12:26
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows, but I’m left wondering if playing out of position effects him at the plate…

12:26
onomatopoeia: What’s your favorite minor league ballpark to visit? (in non-Covid times)

12:26
Kevin Goldstein: That new park in Fayettville is the nicest A-ball park I’ve seen….

12:26
Jake: Why aren’t more decent bat, great arm, bad range prospects tried at catcher?

12:27
Kevin Goldstein: Because it’s the most difficult position in baseball.

12:27
Mike E P: SPs’ J Ross or Yona ROS?

12:27
Kevin Goldstein: I know Ynoa got hit around last time out, but I’ve always been a big fan of his raw stuff.

12:27
Josh: In practice, do teams see value in sports psychology?  e.g. do they have psychologists on staff, do teams try to incorporate personality psychology into player development/forecasting, is mental health a consideration when trying to help players improve performance, etc.

12:28
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. Every team has a sports psychology group or mental skills group or whatever they call it. It’s not one person, it’s a staff, and it’s very important.

12:28
Baseball fan: How good is Yuli Gurriel? Any thoughts on what he would have done if he played his 20s in the MLB?

12:29
Kevin Goldstein: If Yuli was able to come over much earlier and have a full major league career, I honestly believe that Jay Jaffe would be writing pieces about him being a lock for the Hall of Fame.

12:29
Vinny Merlot: The Yankees are a poorly constructed roster and won’t make the playoffs. True or false?

12:30
Kevin Goldstein: False. It’s a good team playing poorly and it’s only in focus because it’s the entirety of their season as opposed to a 5-10 run in July or something.

12:30
Gest: I am wondering about José Urquidy, last year he didn’t seem that interesting because his K% was insanely low for a 2020 pitcher, but he seems to have good “stuff” and his strikeout rates were actually good in the minors. What are your expectations for him going forward?

12:31
Kevin Goldstein: I think he is what he is and what he is is a pretty good 3-4 starter.

12:31
Guest: Hoe many wins do you think. a really really good pitching coach is worth?

12:31
Kevin Goldstein: A lot?

12:32
Old Prospector: How do you feel about Nick Madrigal’s long-term potential his unusual skill set? What about Luis Arraez?

12:33
Kevin Goldstein: I really struggle with Madrigal and think he’s quite overrated by most prospect folks. He’s hitting .300 right now (which is real) and his OPS is just 737. Feels like he  need to hit .330 to get to .800 and he’s just such an empty average hitter. Unique player, but not as valuable as some might think.

12:34
Mets fan: Obviously Degrom has been incredible and his fastball is a bit flatter this year. Any concern with the drop in groundball rate, or is it too early to draw any conclusions?

12:34
Kevin Goldstein: He’s at 20 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 35 K. I see no reason to wonder if something is wrong with Jacob DeGrom….

12:35
Vince L.: KG, would you like to work for an MLB team again, or does writing/media more fit the bill for you?

12:36
Kevin Goldstein: I’m having a BLAST at Fangraphs. Just a whale of a good time. I’m enjoying writing about baseball, and I’m enjoying podcasting. I don’t rule anything out in terms of the future, but I’m not looking for any kind of change. In a good place mentally right now in terms of my work.

12:37
Moose_Bolton: Hello Kevin. Any early season hot takes you have that you actually believe in? How about ones you don’t believe in?

12:38
Kevin Goldstein: Yankees will be fine. Mariners are low-key kinda good. NL Central race is going to be WILD.

12:38
Dungeon Master: With their solid young core I think the Mariners should swing big for a free agent in next year’s class to lead the youngsters. Who would you prioritize if you were advising Dipoto?

12:38
Kevin Goldstein: They need a starter who scares people.

12:38
Tommy: at what point can we take contact rates seriously in terms of SSS. Have we reached that point yet?

12:38
Kevin Goldstein: We have not.

12:39
Guest: any idea on Alex Reyes’s future?

12:39
Kevin Goldstein: I’m not even sure the Cardinals have any idea. Still a wide wide wide range of potential outcomes.

12:39
Matt: What are your thoughts on the Redsox start? Are they a legit playoff caliber team?

12:40
Kevin Goldstein: I think they’re better than last year, but a post-season appearance would really surprise me.

12:40
j: Do you think it is time to be concerned about Brandon Lowe? Finished 2020 bad, including playoffs, was pretty slow in spring, and now he still looks lost with bad timing.

12:41
Kevin Goldstein: The level of swing and miss was always a concern, and I wonder where the power has gone….

12:41
Daro: Is Triston Casas our next 1b or q rade chip to get a SP?

12:41
Kevin Goldstein: I’m one of his biggest believers. He can HIT.

12:41
Nat: Euro super league: is it more or less cynical than MLB’s reorg/takeover of the minors?

12:42
Kevin Goldstein: I’ll be honest with you. I’m kind of fascinated by the story, but I’m not a soccer fan and don’t totally understand it, either. Been looking for a good primer on the situation, so if you have one, send it along.

12:42
Jazz chisholm: You missed on me

12:42
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe.

12:48
Sdz: Henry Davis has helium underneath him. How far will he soar in the FG prospect ranking and might he make into the top 5 picks this summer? Thanks

12:49
Kevin Goldstein: Eric and I are talking about updating the big board live on Twitch, so stay tuned.

12:49
Guest: If you had a guy who hit .4oo with only singles would he bat cleanup?

12:50
Kevin Goldstein: There’s an argument to be made for 1-2-3-4 and I don’t think any of them are necessarily wrong.

12:50
45 blows billygoats: I read where people think the potential of Nick Gonzalez is that of a 15/15 ceiling. The bat and speed combo has to play better than that don’t you think?

12:50
Kevin Goldstein: He’s not a big power guy and not a burner, so that feels right, but that’s not everything. Feels like a plus bat and that’s where the value is.

12:52
Bort: Eric has made his thoughts on Akil Baddoo known, but curious if you’ve seen anything this year that moves the needle on him being more than a 4th OF?

12:52
Kevin Goldstein: He will be in tomorrow’s scouting notebook.

12:52
Old Prospector: What is the most common misperception you see in chat questions that you wish you could clear up?

12:53
Kevin Goldstein: That I really don’t understand fantasy baseball? I’m happy to help fantasy players out, but my answer is going to be based on real value, so fantasy players need to make whatever adjustments they feel are necessary.

12:54
Gil: Brandon Nimmo is obviously likely to come down from his current line but he’s looked awfully good out there this year. Is this is year for him where 900+ ops is out of the question? He’s gotten close but it feels like maybe this is a leap year and he feels underrated as hell.

12:54
Kevin Goldstein: I like Nimmo a lot. 900 feels a bit heady, can we say 850 is still really good?

12:54
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: Worried about Devin Williams or do you think it’s just rust from lack of spring training?

12:55
Kevin Goldstein: He’ll be fine. Just realize that 2020 was absolutely insane and not a realistic baseball expectation.

12:55
Ian: If you were a GM would you ever take a pitcher in round one or would you avoid that type of risk?

12:55
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutes are always a mistake.

12:56
CFH: Hey – you mentioned in the fastball shape piece that a sinking/tailing pitch stays along the swing path of an opposite handed hitter; isn’t this also true of changeups? What makes changeups effective at getting opposite-handed hitters out?

12:57
Kevin Goldstein: Changeups are funny things, and I didn’t include them in the pitch shape article for a reason. The shape tell us just a TINY piece of changeups. So much of it is deception and selling through arm action. For example, Cole Hamels didn’t have any kind of outstanding shape on his changeup, but it was obviously an outstanding pitch.

12:58
Tommy: Baez cost himself how much money turning down reportedly 180 million ?

12:58
Kevin Goldstein: 100+ million? Still, he bet on himself and I’ll always like a player who bets on himself.

12:58
Kevin Goldstein: Lots of people have sent primers on the super league stuff, and thanks!

12:59
Luke: Hey Kevin – what 3 books would you recommend for someone wanting to get into baseball? Could be on scouting, PD, behavioral econ, anything you think is important! Thanks

1:00
Kevin Goldstein: There is no guide. I think you’d get more from reading good analysis like the kind you get at Fangraphs. This is good time to remind everyone that we are having a membership drive, so if you like this chat, or all the amazing articles, or the Twitch streams, or the podcasts, or whatever we do, PLEASE SUPPORT US.

1:00
JT: Is the regression from Baez and Torres the warning for fans of prospects like Taylor Trammell, Jazz Chisholm, and the like, who share high K rates?

1:01
Kevin Goldstein: Big K rates, low BB rates are always a warning sign. It’s a extremely difficult combo to have consistent success with.

1:01
Hecubot: From your last chat: “but would you be shocked if [Oakland] were over .500 in a couple of weeks? ”

I want to give you full credit for prescience, and ask for another unsurprising plot twist that will happen in the next two weeks…

1:02
Kevin Goldstein: The Yankees will be over .500 three weeks from now.

1:02
Whatup Whatup: Taillon dropped in my keeper league. I claimed off waivers. Good move short/long terms or… ?

1:02
Kevin Goldstein: Meh. I haven’t been super impressed.

1:03
True Submariners: if you were a closer, what would your walk up song be to instill fear?

1:03
Kevin Goldstein:

1:03
Nolan: Is Kendall Graveman a legit high leverage reliever? The stuff seems crazy.

1:03
Kevin Goldstein: Sure looked good last night!

1:03
Freddie: What are your thoughts on Corey Kluber?  A slow start (typical for him) or has his stuff diminished significantly over the past few years?

1:04
Kevin Goldstein: Stuff has diminished. It was always silly to expect some kind of return to stardom, but could be an acceptable rotation piece.

1:04
45 blows billygoats: Eddie Collins was the best 2B ever. Who was #2?

1:04
Kevin Goldstein: I should leave this to Jay Jaffe, but I’ll say that Joe Morgan is actually No. 1.

1:04
Mike: When do the Kris Bryant rumors start heating up again? Where do you see him playing in August?

1:05
Kevin Goldstein: Impossible to say on April 20, but smart money would at least say somewhere other than Wrigley.

1:05
Phillip Jeffries: What does a Javy Baez contract look like this winter if he never really pulls out of it? Is he clearly a different talent/pay tier than the rest of the big FA SS this year?

1:06
Kevin Goldstein: I think if he doesn’t pull out, he’d be looking for a one-year make good deal to re-establish value.

1:06
Sean: Hey Kevin – your chats are must read.. so good to have you here! What are your thoughts on Ty France? He continues to have the best at-bats on the team game after game to my untrained eyes.

1:06
Kevin Goldstein: Big fan. Dude can hit. There’s something real there.

1:07
joziah: Out of Lawlar, Rocker, or Lieter who are you taking at #1?

1:07
Kevin Goldstein: Jack.

1:07
Guest: Anthony Gose is in a weird spot because he’s out of options from his time as an outfielder, made the switch to pitching, and probably could have made the OD roster, but the inability to option him if he struggles is causing his org to be extra cautious about calling him up (at least, that is the reporting). If situations like these become more common, might the league/MLBPA consider letting teams apply for an extra option year in exchange for paying the player at a major league rate for the full season if the option is granted? That way teams get flexibility and some offset of risk and players get paid.

1:07
Kevin Goldstein: Gose has earned his status. Period.

1:08
Casey: Hey Kevin. I was wondering what if you have seen Seattle Mariners righty Ljay Newsome throw, and what your thoughts are. His quiet approach and extreme strike0thrtowing ability make him one to root for. Have a good one, thank you.

1:08
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think he’s a star or anything, but I think there’s a big leaguer in there.

1:08
45 blows billygoats: I rarely see any love for Nick Lodolo, but I think he has 2/3 upside if he can harness control. Why do you think he’s being overlooked?

1:09
Kevin Goldstein: Because it’s not sexy stuff. It’s a 2sm guy, but I’m with you. Feels like a pretty safe 3 starter bet.

1:09
Eugene: Foreign substance use on balls for pitchers: What’s your hot take on it? Care, don’t care?

1:09
Kevin Goldstein: Don’t really care that much. I think MLB needs to fix the damn balls so it’s not an issue.

1:09
brad penny for your thoughts: are you anticipating jethro tull puns in the ian anderson comments?

1:10
Kevin Goldstein: If by ‘anticipating’, you mean ‘dreading’, then yes.

1:10
David: Thoughts on Taylor Trammell? Seems to be better in the field than some reports had him and bat may be coming around.

1:10
Kevin Goldstein: Not as high on him as most are. So much swing and miss.

1:10
BringBackDeSpanielHair: Wait… Baseball Savant statcast leaderboard says Ohtani has 96th percentile sprint speed?!?!

1:10
Kevin Goldstein: It does. And it’s not an error.

1:11
Guest: Hey, I’ve been combing over your article on Ian Anderson, where do you get your releasepoint data from- it it on baseballsavant somewhere?

1:11
Kevin Goldstein: Right here at Fangraphs!

1:11
DJ: What’s a team you’ve found yourself watching more than you anticipated going into the year?

1:11
Kevin Goldstein: Mariners.

1:11
SlightlyOff: The Giants have had a really interesting start to the year, 10-6 behind great starting pitching and an anemic offense. Is there anything significantly different about their season outlook that you see from this, or just another odd product of SSS?

1:12
Kevin Goldstein: I think they have some real pitching and could be pretty decent.

1:12
Jason N: How does a team determine who gets championship rings?  I saw Vin Scully received one from the Dodgers… he didn’t work for the team during the championship season.

1:13
Kevin Goldstein: In general, if you worked for the team, you get a ring. Little known fact, there are actually different grades of rings and while even the lowest grade is still an awfully nice thing, the ring a groundkeeper might get isn’t of the same quality a player or exec might get. That said, if anyone deserves a Dodgers ring despite not being with the team last year, it’s Vin Scully, no?

1:13
Birds Fan: Did you get to see Oscar Taveras before he passed? Impressions?

1:14
Kevin Goldstein: I did. Thought he’d be a star-level player, like .280-.300 with 20-25 HR.

1:14
B: In your opinion, what is wrong with the balls?

1:14
Kevin Goldstein: They’re trying to provide balls that are pre-tacked so players won’t tack up, and pitchers don’t like them.

1:15
Goldylox: do teams generated advance scouting reports with the same grade scales as prospects? Consumers live and project through those prospect numbers and have always been curious what say, a DeGrom profile *now* would be graded at…

1:15
Kevin Goldstein: No. Advance reports are NOTHING like player evaluations. Advance reports are how to hit this pitcher, or how to get this hitter out.

1:15
John: What do you do with a pitcher who is excelling in a long relief role – leave him where he’s excelling or move him to the rotation? Antone is a current example.

1:16
Kevin Goldstein: Depends on the pitcher, every individual is different. In Antone’s case, I think he should start.

1:16
GOYANKS: Ever watch much pro wrestling?

1:16
Kevin Goldstein: Not since a kid.

1:16
I used to be Mel Clark: What are your thoughts no Oscar Colas?

1:16
Kevin Goldstein: Think he’s a bit of a power goof. 80 raw, 40 or lower bat.

1:18
Chamaco: Do you feel that your time working for a team has given you a greater appreciation for the things that supposedly exist but can’t be captured with publicly available stats, like chemistry and make-up?

1:18
Kevin Goldstein: ABSOLUTELY. No question about it.

1:18
45 blows billygoats: The Casty suspension is a joke. They shoud have just let the cards dot him next AB and be done with it…right?

1:18
Kevin Goldstein: I watched that whole thing live, and yes, I thought him being singled out was harsh.

1:18
Josh R: Please tell me that that Q-anon podcast is debunking Q-anon theory and not touting them.

1:20
Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely. Highly recommend Q Anon Anonymous. Great podcast that has been covering the weirdness and disturbing aspects of that movement with smarts and humor well before it was a well-known thing.

1:20
Chamaco: To follow up, any plans to write a longer piece on chemistry, make-up, etc.? Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

1:20
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve thought about it, but struggled with how to without coming off as some kind of “back in my day” kinda person.

1:22
Jonny: Is Stroman pitching his way to a big contract this off season?  Does his lack of Ks limit his upside as a top of the rotation starter?

1:23
Kevin Goldstein: I mean, top of the rotation starters are super rare. Saying a player is NOT a top rotation starter is not any kind of insult. I don’t think Stroman is a top rotation guy, and I also believe he’ll get a big deal in the off-season . . . if we even have an offseason. Remember the CBA. If that expires without a deal (very likely), there is not ability to sign players.

1:26
Kenny S: Thoughts on the treatment of Andrew Vaughn in the early going? Sporadic ABs doing the youngster a disservice or agree with TLR that he’s gotta earn it?

1:26
Kevin Goldstein: Play him or put him somewhere where he can play. How do you earn it without playing?

1:26
CBA: What happens if it expires without a deal?

1:27
Kevin Goldstein: Then there is no CBA and technically the players are locked out and nobody can makes trades or sign anyone.

1:27
Jim: Do you think Verlander can still be a Cy Young contender at 39+?

1:27
Kevin Goldstein: I actually think it would be interesting to turn him into a late-career closer a la John Smotlz. I will add than I’m the LAST PERSON who would want to make that suggestion to Verlander in person.

1:28
Antoine Kelly: Does the TOS concern you with an arm like Kelly? I read Stearns said he was MVP of the alt site

1:29
Kevin Goldstein: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome always concerns me.

1:30
Goldylox: How does a front office go about weighting and projecting player production from overseas leagues like KOR/JPN?

1:30
Kevin Goldstein: It’s a huge challenge. I’ve yet to see a projection/translation system for foreign league that I really trust.

1:31
Devil’s Advocate: Why are people so surprised by the Yankee’s slow start?  On paper, they went into this season with what I feel could be considered one of the most unreliable starting fives in recent history.  Outside of Cole, they had four guys who together had probably pitched 150 innings combined over the last two seasons.  I think their record accurately represents their team’s talent.  Am I crazy?

1:32
Kevin Goldstein: You’re not crazy in terms of your thoughts on their rotation, but you’re crazy if you think a .333 winning percentage accurately represents the team’s overall talent.

1:32
Solitaire: How much do front office folks attribute hot/cold streaks to a player actually being better/worse at that time and how much to luck?

1:33
Kevin Goldstein: They don’t automatically attribute them to either. You research. You look at all the data and all the video and use all the tools to see if this is just good/bad RNG or if something real is going on.

1:34
Appa Yip Yip: Any early thoughts of Vlad’s defense at first?

1:34
Kevin Goldstein: I mean . . . he’s ok there, certainly better than having him at third. Just enjoy the bat.

1:34
Jim: You proved there were no great Matt Damon movies.  But what about Ben Affleck?

1:34
Kevin Goldstein: Not a single one I can think of.

1:35
Sharp: The Braves are having to go pretty deep in the well to find outfielders right now. Does Drew Waters get a shot soon or is he simply not ready?

1:35
Kevin Goldstein: Not ready. Has to refine that approach.

1:35
asnbrv: Is Statcast/Hawkeye capable to putting out a swing speed stat?

1:36
Kevin Goldstein: No.

1:36
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: great Damon movies: Dogma, Talented Mr. Ripley, Rounders, Euro Trip

1:36
Kevin Goldstein: Talented Mr. Ripley is the best of that bunch, but great? Nah.

1:36
Guest: do people waste time in a front office? like, every other office has people visiting fangraphs or whatever, what do FO people do when they’re slacking off?

1:37
Kevin Goldstein: Even slacking off probably just means watching or talking about baseball. Sometimes you get goofy with a video tool or something and watch the worst defensive plays of a particular fielder, or find the lowest xSLG that went for hits or something.

1:37
BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: School Ties, Syrianna

1:38
Kevin Goldstein: Nope. Great? C’mon. Great is great. Good is not great. Stop trying.

1:38
45 blows billygoats: Thanks for the chat. Gotta get back to work before anyone gets wise!

1:38
Kevin Goldstein: You’re fine. Boss will never know.

1:39
B: How valuable is baseball IQ?  Is it the kind of thing where baseball players get so many reps that it doesn’t really matter by the time they’re in MLB?  When dealing with young kids, it seems more important than athleticism.  When does that change?

1:40
Kevin Goldstein: It’s very valuable, and no, not every player is the same. Some have high aptitude and some don’t, just like anything else. It’s the kind of thing that can make a good player great, but it can’t make a bad player good, or even average. It’s a sweetener more than a definer.

1:40
Guest: let’s say two identical GMs are in exactly identical situations in a parallel universe or something. One has access to fangraphs and public statcast, the other has all MLB/team proprietary data in addition to the public stuff. How many more wins does the latter GM get?

1:41
Kevin Goldstein: You are putting too much pressure on the data, and not enough pressure on the people interpreting the data.

1:41
Kretin: Saving Private Ryan??

1:41
Kevin Goldstein: No. After Jaws, all of Speilberg is crazy over-rated.

1:41
Solitaire: Your answer makes sense, so lemme try asking a different way – after looking at all the data/video for a player’s hot/cold streak, how often is the conclusion, “that’s just some good/bad luck”?

1:42
Kevin Goldstein: It depends a lot on how long the streak is.

1:42
SlightlyOff: The disrespect for Good Will Hunting that’s being implied by this chat is blasphemous. Robin Williams’ performance alone elevates that movie to great, before you even get to how everyone else in that film is also doing their best work

1:42
Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, it’s really not that good a movie.

1:42
Jordan: What about movies Damon is in but not the main attraction, such as the Ocean’s series?

1:42
Kevin Goldstein: Great? Great is a high bar.

1:42
Bb: A 4.50 ERA is bad, but in today’s world a quality start is a decent outcome for most pitchers. True or false?

1:44
Kevin Goldstein: True. Though exercise if there was a free agent pitcher who could guarantee you 32 quality starts, so 6 IP, 3 R every time out. 192 IP, 4.50 ERA. No dominant starts, and no disasters. What could he command?

1:44
Tommy: Departed?

1:44
Kevin Goldstein: Mid-range Scorcese.

1:44
The Snuggler: Does Yermin don the tools of ignorance this season?

1:45
Kevin Goldstein: Would surprise me. Wouldn’t stun me, but would surprise me. Catchers get banged up a lot, and weird things can happen in individual games. 18.48234% chance. Maybe 18.48235% now that I think about it more.

1:45
SlightlyOff: Alright Mr. Goldstein, we’re gonna need an example of a “great movie” by your definition then if winning multiple Academy Awards doesn’t qualify a movie for that descriptor.

1:47
Kevin Goldstein: Do you judge music by how many Grammys someone wins? Great movies, off-hand: Wings of Desire, Battle for Algiers, Barton Fink, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, Parasite, Repo Man, I could go on and on.

1:48
Kevin Goldstein: We’re closing in on two hours. If you have rapid fire questions, get ’em in now….

1:49
Marc: how is it that prospects jumped in FV between the draft last year and the release of the top 100 prospects list, given the absence of most scouting and minor league games in that span? Thinking along the lines of Tork being 60 FV in January as opposed to 50 FV at draft time

1:50
Kevin Goldstein: This is more a question for Eric, and he’s going to get mad at me, but I’m not a fan of FVs or OFP or any single scouting number for players.

1:51
Guest: I mourn the demise of the starting pitcher. Any hope this trend will reverse with rule changes?

1:52
Kevin Goldstein: I would be shocked if the DH-hook rule ever got implemented at the big league level. SHOCKED.

1:52
Dave: Are you able to watch minor leaguers at practice facilites or is everything right now through sources?

1:52
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve not traveling or gathering anywhere until two weeks after shot No. 2 is in my arm. Lots of texting with folks these days.

1:53
BrokenFantasy: If Cubs deal KB what’s a reasonable package? Top 100 prospect?

1:53
Kevin Goldstein: It’s a pure rental, so it won’t be much.

1:53
Guest: re: the identical GM situation- the GMs are IDENTICAL! Basically, how much better is the team/MLB proprietary stuff than what an average GM can do from public sources? 10% or like 100% better?

1:53
Kevin Goldstein: 33% better is gut feel answer.

1:53
Luhnow: Why was Appel a bust?

1:54
Kevin Goldstein: If we knew then what we know about pitch shapes now . . . .

1:55
SlightlyOff: You’re Farhan Zaidi and you’ve decided whoever’s playing shortstop for you in ’21 is gonna be making a lot of money. Who’s at the top of your wish list between, Seager, Correa, Story, et. al?

1:55
Kevin Goldstein: That would be my order.

1:55
Sean: Kyle Lewis is back finally!  Regular, Star, or All Star?

1:55
Kevin Goldstein: Somewhere between A and B.

1:56
The Chicken Runs at Midnight: Who has most impressed you to start the season? Hitter? Pitcher?

1:56
Kevin Goldstein: Acuña/Burnes.

1:56
Jim: Do you think Yordan Alvarez can put up video game #s over a whole season in MLB?

1:56
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. The question now is can he stay healthy for a whole season.

1:56
Mike E P: OK to drop V Robles?

1:56
Kevin Goldstein: ok

1:56
Odor: I like my Fangraphs mug, but I will buy a membership if the Yankees are “above .500 in three weeks”

1:57
Kevin Goldstein: Buy one anyway. That goes for all of you lot.

1:57
Guest: WAIT ! Ben Affleck, Dazed & Confused

1:57
Kevin Goldstein: I mean, I get it’s 4/20 and everything, but are you really calling that a great movie?

1:57
James: Any reason you think Aiken didnt pan out besides the pre draft medical issues>

1:57
Kevin Goldstein: Nope. That’s the reason.

1:58
Guest: Are you also a small HOF guy?

1:59
Kevin Goldstein: I’m a different Hall of Fame guy. I think it should be based on Fame and not performance. Straw and Gooden would be in my Hall Of Fame, for example.

2:00
Jim: Who had the best walk up song with the Astros?

2:00
Kevin Goldstein: Springer mixed it up but was always good. Marisnick and Marwin also tended to bring good stuff to the table.

2:00
SlightlyOff: No more questions but just wanted to say thanks for the chat and humoring all of us amateur film critics.

2:01
Kevin Goldstein: Thanks for keeping me entertained with all of the great questions! I’ll see you next week and you can fill my queue with more bad movies you think are good. Thanks everyone! Support Fangraphs! Listen to Chin Music! All of that stuff!





Kevin Goldstein is a National Writer at FanGraphs.

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Gonna be honest, Corbin Burnes is winning the Cy Young.