Kevin Goldstein FanGraphs Chat – 8/16/2021 by Kevin Goldstein August 16, 2021 12:01 Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. It’s been way too long. Let’s get right into it. 12:01 James: At this point all Tatis needs to do in order to wrap up the NL MVP award is stay on the field, yeah? 12:02 Kevin Goldstein: That seems more than a little strong to me. I don’t think he’s a lock at all, but I’m far from the award voting expert . . . 12:02 Matt Damon: What do you think is Reid Detmers’ ceiling? Also, Saving Private Ryan is a great film 12:03 Kevin Goldstein: I think it’s going to be interesting to watch how he adjusts to life in the big leagues. I think the off-speed stuff is off high quality, but the fastball seems to get hit . . . a lot. Going to be some usage and sequencing challenges along the way. 12:03 Dave: Will Jake Arrieta ever pitch in the majors again? 12:04 Kevin Goldstein: I think that’s up to Jake. I’m sure he could get an NRI next spring if he wanted one. 12:04 Snit: Please alleviate my worries and tell me that Freddie will resign with the Braves 12:04 Kevin Goldstein: He probably will. Nothing is 100% until the contract is done obviously, but he probably will. 12:04 >this guy<: Contreras and Hendricks are moving this winter, right? Cubs farm is like 2 years at least from bearing real fruit 12:05 Kevin Goldstein: I mean, they have to field a team, right? I think they should listen on both. The notion that Contreras is someone you can build around is a weird narrative in the Chicago media. 12:06 Greg: What do you think of Austin Riley going forward? Is the 135 wRC+ sustainable for him? 12:06 Kevin Goldstein: Certainly plenty of arrows moving in the right direction. There’s no reason to rule it out. 12:06 ML: Is Andrew Vaughn a future star? 12:07 Kevin Goldstein: I certainly think he’s going to be a very good hitter. 12:07 ML: Who would your rather have for the next decade-Spencer Torkelson or Andrew Vaughn? 12:08 Kevin Goldstein: Like them both, and think there are some similarities in their skillsets, but I think Tork is a tic better across the board. 12:08 Chris: Why is AJ Hinch getting so much manager of the year love from the national media but Scott servais isn’t? Shouldn’t servais be the favorite for the award? 12:10 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t know, Chris. I thought the Mariners were a sneaky good team heading into the year, like a real .500 team. I thought the Tigers were a 90+ loss team. I don’t like how the manager of the year award tends to go to how exceeded expectations the most, but if that’s how it is, it’s A.J. At the same time, it’s an award. It doesn’t really matter in any real way. 12:10 Zirinsky: Hi Kevin, love these chats. Question: the Yankees offense has underperformed all season, pretty much, with a team mostly full of players in their primes. When you’re in the front office, how do you approach trying to “fix” something like that, and do you ever just say: “Well, our analytics show that this is mostly bad luck (like hitting with RISP) and…we have to ride it out”? 12:11 Kevin Goldstein: Sure, sometimes you say that, but you say that only if that is actually the case. People are assuredly spending days on some of these players in an attempt to figure out what is going on, and while usually there’s a reason, sometimes it really is just a bad dice roll. 12:12 Arby’s: When a player has a season like Braden Shewmake, where they’re just awful for a few weeks and then more or less as expected going forward, what do you make of it? Do you just think about the season line as a whole? 12:12 Kevin Goldstein: I think with all of the weirdness of the last 18 months, it’s pretty easy to just write off a slow start. 12:13 Guest: Do teams have organizational philosophies like “we value contact skills above all else,” are team differences mostly noise, or are teams typically more flexible and just operate under “value is value” 12:14 Kevin Goldstein: There certainly is a lot of overlap. Runs are runs. I believe that. If some guys is worth five runs with the bat or five runs with his glove or five runs on the basepaths, those five runs are five runs and runs are runs. 12:14 TP in ME: Seen lots of grousing on Twitter from reporters about the sorry state of the Orioles over the past several years, which has me wondering about what an upward trajectory looks like. Given that lots of place now have them as the #1 or 2 farm system, is now the time for them to start buying even though all those pieces might not be ready yet? 12:15 Kevin Goldstein: It’s certainly time to start seeing what you have and figuring out what this team is going to look like if/when they are good. 12:15 Bob Dole: Can the Cardinals make a run at the wild card? 12:15 Kevin Goldstein: It’s unlikely, but not out of the question. 12:15 Guest: do front offices stick around on home game days because that’s a perk of the job to sit and watch the big league product? or is there actual work that can only be done in person and watching the team play? 12:17 Kevin Goldstein: Front offices are a LOT of people. Some stay for the games, some go home after a full day’s work. Some stay a few innings and go. Some need to stay because of game-day duties. Lots of variation. 12:17 Guest: What was the internal projection for Hader at the time of that trade? And a related question, what traits signal potential for big gains when moving a SP prospect to the bullpen? 12:17 Kevin Goldstein: I thought he was a reliever and not a starter, but I didn’t think he’d be any kind of dominant closer. Players change, often dramatically… 12:18 Guest: In your view, what level of impact does a baseball manager have? I’ve always thought a manager will often lose more games than win them while providing stability in the locker room and dugout primarily. And some are perfect fits, like Counsell, for the demeanor of the team. But to what effect? It may be too narrow a view but am open to seeing a bigger window. 12:19 Kevin Goldstein: I think it’s a very large impact and goes well beyond some sort of strategy-to-run measurements. You talk about the stability, but I think one of the manager’s primary jobs is to get the best possible performance out of players. 12:20 Birdman Bassett: Generic q, but your thoughts on Bobby Witt Jr? 12:20 Kevin Goldstein: Generic a, he’s really good. 12:20 JD: Are there still pop-up prospects surprising scouts in the complex leagues, or at this point does the community have a handle on which prospects made developmental leaps over the past months-to-year behind the scenes? 12:21 Kevin Goldstein: Definitely pop-ups in the complex leagues, as so many of these players are making their stateside debut after spending the beginning of their careers at complexes in the DR. 12:22 5ToolFun: Im an aspiring scout. been In Arizona watching rookie league games the last week as a stop off in the middle of my move to Friendswood, TX. Taken an online course through SMWW w/ Dan Evans and Hank Jones, Ive been using what Ive learned out here, but you being familiar with the Houston area, any tips for me once I get down there? Thanks Kevin. 12:23 Kevin Goldstein: Not really . . . I never lived in Houston, so I was always just visiting and by the ballpark. I have recommendations for about a 3-4 block radius from MMP, but that’s about it. 12:23 Guest: Do you like the cardinal’s recent draft strategy? Gorman/Walker,Winn/Baez? 12:24 Kevin Goldstein: I’m not sure it’s a strategy is my answer. Just taking players they like. 12:24 Danny: Do you have a favorite Yankee breakout pitcher? Thinking of someone we really haven’t heard much about this year- Tyrone Yulie, Randy Vasquez, Nicio Rodriguez, etc? 12:25 Kevin Goldstein: I looked at Vasquez a bit when it was thought he might be in the Gallo deal, and I really liked what I saw. Almost elite spin rates and just rarely gets squared up. 12:26 AJ: any thoughts on bradley zimmer so far? Seems to be hitting enough. Getthing on base. Think he has a shot to be a starter next year? I never sold off my zimmer stock from 4 years ago…. Long term investor. 12:26 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t see any reason to think he’s an everyday OF… 12:27 Mitch Meluskey: When a team nontenders then resigns a younger player to a minor league deal, is this typically a year long agreement and then the player is exposed again the next offseason? Thinking of a situation like the Royals/Jeison Guzman had 12:27 Kevin Goldstein: It depends. It’s usually a one year deal for a player like that. Sometimes it’s longer if you’re signing a minor league FA who isn’t as close… 12:28 Quincy: What have you heard as to how the cab talks are going. 12:28 Kevin Goldstein: I assume you mean CBA, and I still have no reason to think that the CBA won’t expire. 12:29 Tony Plush: Thanks for the chat, Kevin! Is Carlos Hernandez good? He seems like he might be good. 12:29 Kevin Goldstein: He might be! Raw stuff is really impressive and now he’s gotta harness it. 12:29 Seam-Shifted Finnegan’s Wake: What do the Cubs do with both Hoerner and Madrigal? And I assume you take Madrigal over Hoerner going forward? 12:31 Kevin Goldstein: I’m guessing they’ll either put Hoerner in the outfield, try to turn him into some kind of Zobrist every day utility guy or let him play a 40-45 SS. Let’s see what the do this off-season — plenty of options. 12:31 Justin: Do you think Jackson Kowar will be successful if called up down the stretch here? 12:31 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t know what successful means to you. I think all of these young Royals pitchers are kinda a big bag of No. 4 types, not that it’s a bad thing. 12:31 Jugdish: kumar rocker- headed down the carter stewart highway?and if not, why not go back to Vanderbilt and try and cash in on the nil money? 12:32 Kevin Goldstein: Is there really going to be a bunch of NIL money for college baseball players? I don’t see it. There are plenty of reasons for him to not go back to school, but all of them are speculative. 12:33 KB: Do pitchers like having defined roles or do they not care? Or does that depend on the pitcher and the situation? 12:34 Kevin Goldstein: Definitely depends. Some REALLY care, and some don’t as much. Players in general do like to know and have some kind of assurance of what/where is expected of them so they can think about when to physically and mentally prepare for coming into a game. 12:36 D Back fan: Drey Jameson chances of sticking as a starter? 12:36 Kevin Goldstein: Not a slam dunk, but a real chance. He’s obviously on the small side, but when stuck me from seeing him in person was how damn athletic he was. 12:36 glworld: kevin kopps seems to talented for his current level. you see him on any fast-track to the majors? lights out in college but any thoughts on his potential in the majors? 12:37 Kevin Goldstein: He’s really tough to figure out because he’s so unique. It’s not closer stuff, but gets closer results off deception and command and then there’s the age. All you can do is keep moving him up and see if it keeps working, 12:38 A big dumb idiot: How does a front office make decisions on unmeasurable characteristics? You talked on CM about guys like Josh Harrison and George Springer making the guys around them better. Do teams try and operationalize this? How do they add that to the “value” they put on a player? 12:39 Kevin Goldstein: I’ve never seen a team try to operationalize this by putting a number on it and feeding it into the model, but I’ve never seen a team ignore it either. I think either of those things would likely be a mistake. 12:40 Gray: Nick Pratto just continues to rake. Do you now see a league average 1B there? 12:41 Kevin Goldstein: I think so. I like the power and the patience quite a bit, but it’s still a power > hit type of bat. 12:42 Guest: Would you begin making plans to move Tatis off of shortstop permanently or is it too early? 12:43 Kevin Goldstein: He’s lined up for likely off-season surgery on that shoulder, and I’d wait to talk to medical staff after that…. 12:44 Mitch: Are there times (thinking frantic situations like the trade deadline) where teams are needing to evaluate another team’s prospect very quickly and just simply scroll through their FanGraphs page for a few minutes and maybe call a scout who’s seem him and then pull the trigger on a deal? Or is there always a more robust process digging through the internal team metrics, reports, etc. 12:44 Kevin Goldstein: Sure, but most teams have their own internal servers with player pages and all of the metrics (external and internal) that they care about… 12:45 Biff: How often is a gm held accountable/stigmatized by an incompetent/ meddlesome owner. If an owner blocks a gm from making a move that would be best for the organization long term does the word get around that it wasn’t the gm but rather the owner tying his hands? 12:45 Kevin Goldstein: Happens all of the time. GMs often take heat for owner’s decisions. 12:45 Cueto’s Shimmy: Watching baseball on TV (center field cam), is there anything I can discern as to whether a batter’s swing “looks good or bad” i.e evaluate batters? Or do you need open side looks? 12:46 Kevin Goldstein: Side looks (open and closed) are WAY better for that. Really hard to see stride size, timing and connection from a straight on CF camera. 12:47 Keith: Jonathan India for real? 12:47 Kevin Goldstein: If by ‘real’ you mean and above-average bat-first 2B, then yes. 12:48 GBS42: I recall you said something in a chat a few months ago about Gremlins 2 being a “great” movie and/or one of your top 100. Were you being serious or just checking to see who was actually reading your comments? 12:48 Kevin Goldstein: Gremlins 2 is a low-key great movie and biting satire. 12:48 Veronica: I think one of the tougher gigs must be driving a player from the Dominican to the airport after being released.does the club pay their fare or is the kid on his own? 12:49 Kevin Goldstein: Yes. When a player is released, their travel home is covered. 12:49 Mitch: Do MLB teams use wRC+? Or have they all developed their own versions of an all-encompassing offensive production stat 12:49 Kevin Goldstein: Most have their own metrics, but only most, not all. 12:49 BenB: Thoughts on Jose Barrero ? Is he the starting SS for the Reds next year ? 12:49 Kevin Goldstein: He certainly should be. 12:50 Guest: What do you think Kumar Rocker will do? Will he sit out or pitch in an Indy League? 12:50 Kevin Goldstein: I think it all defends on how healthy he is or is not. 12:50 Kevin Goldstein: I would be surprised if he pitched again this year. 12:51 Dave: Rosenthal- Padres close to signing Jake Arrieta, sources tell @TheAthletic. Expect to finalize deal soon. 12:51 Kevin Goldstein: There you go, I guess he’ll pitch again. 12:51 guest 20: what are the best stats to try to predict homeruns for batters? 12:51 Kevin Goldstein: FB%, EVs 12:53 Vern: What are some of the game-day duties that would keep an FO employee around during the baseball game? 12:54 Kevin Goldstein: Advance stuff. Player eval stuff, GM or an AGM usually goes and talks to the manager after a game. 12:55 Jeb: Is baseball ops analytical work separated / divided by specialty? For example, one analyst would focus solely on players on her/his 40 man, another would do the same but for other teams, then another would do prospect work? Or if you’re an analyst, would you work on all the above? 12:57 Kevin Goldstein: Not really. Kind of depends on a skillset. If you are a quant, it’s kind of project to project. Some projects might take six hours, and some might take six months. There are more specialized people in some groups (3-D modelers, neural network experts, etc) with more specific roles. 12:58 Todd: Would Mondesi have trade value? Royals infield suddenly looks stacked for ‘22 12:58 Kevin Goldstein: Nothing is stacked anywhere. Something always changes. The Padres rotation looked stacked this spring and just signed Jake Arrietta. 12:58 Guest: Who in your opinion will be the 2nd wild card in the NL? 12:59 Kevin Goldstein: I still think the most likely scenario is three playoff teams coming out of the West. 12:59 Jonathan: Thoughts on why the padres are moving tatis to rf? Is there really a difference in injury risk rf vs ss 1:00 Kevin Goldstein: Ben Clemens and I talked about this on last Friday’s podcast. I think it’s easier to have him NOT dive for balls in RF than SS. 1:01 twinmh: Jonathan Bermudez – a bit old for AA, but the stat line looks impressive. Where does he fit in the Houston pitching pipeline? 1:01 Kevin Goldstein: I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get to the big leagues, but would be a bit surprised if he stuck. 1:02 Sammy Sosa’s cork: What are the odds that Trevor Story accepts a 1-year pillow contract, given all the circumstances involved? 1:03 Kevin Goldstein: Very low. I think that’s more likely for someone like Javy Baez. 1:05 Ranger fan: Quick thoughts on Spencer Howard? 1:05 Kevin Goldstein: Really good stuff and frustrating results due to command issues. 1:06 Bill: Do you see either of George Kirby or Emerson Hancock becoming ace caliber? 1:07 Kevin Goldstein: It’s not a zero percent chance, but probably not. I don’t think there’s a pitching prospect in baseball you’d put ‘probable ace’ on. 1:07 Vern: Are front offices flooded with applications from people who want jobs? What % of applicants are recognizably unqualified? 1:07 Kevin Goldstein: FLOODED. You always find some good ones in the mix though. 1:07 Guest: When you say “I don’t see any reason to think he’s an everyday OF”, what percentage of everyday players on a given day are not “everyday” players? 1:08 Kevin Goldstein: This is a very fun question that I’m just going to keep thinking about today… 1:08 Aaron: Any thoughts on Arrieta to the Padres? I’m concerned about his anti-vax stance and clubhouse reputation. Will he be any good for them or is it a Hail Mary that will fail for this rotation/team? 1:09 Kevin Goldstein: Looks to me like they’re just going to grasp at some straws with the hope of covering some innings down the stretch. 1:11 Dave: When a team like the Orioles is said to be heavily “model based” in their draft approach, what exactly does that mean? What sort of data points are built into these models? 1:13 Kevin Goldstein: The models are for the most part VERY complex. Statistical performance, strength of competition, data when available (Trackman, Statcast, etc from D1 schools, summer leagues, showcases) and many other things all involved. 1:14 Guest: Do you think Brent Suter is best utilized in his current role or could he be stretched out as a starter? Seems to get better as he throws more pitches. 1:14 Kevin Goldstein: I like how he is currently used. 1:14 Lorenzo: How do you think the Trevor Bauer situation plays out? 1:15 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think he pitches again this year. 1:15 Guest: Do you think the multi-inning reliever is moving toward extinction or will it have more value going forward with the advent of shorter starting stints? 1:15 Kevin Goldstein: Absolutely the latter. 1:16 resumeman: So not to say this is the case in any particular instance like Laureano, but are there really no such things as false positives with these PED tests? Is it a rock solid fact that everyone who got popped had taken these substances (whether intentionally or not)? 1:16 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think any system is 100%. 1:17 Joe: Do GMs ever take publicly available metrics like WAR or wRC+ into account? 1:17 Kevin Goldstein: Sure. 1:17 Rays Attendance: What is the most important ‘makeup’ trait in a ballplayer? And which teams value makeup/character the most, you’ve found? 1:18 Kevin Goldstein: I know it’s a cliche, but love of the game is big for me. Even more important is that drive to improve and knowing that there’s always something to work on. 1:18 Don: How do you think fans (who feel this way, at least) rationalize siding with owners over players while also constantly saying that Manfred is ruining the game? As if Manfred is anything more than a figurehead and mouthpiece for those owners? 1:19 Kevin Goldstein: Um . . . without getting too political, on a cultural level this country has turned bosses/busines owners into heroes and workers into less than that. 1:19 Dude: How did Jake Meyers go from non-prospect to mashing AAA and now a nice debut in the MLB? 1:19 Kevin Goldstein: By working his ass off. 1:20 Fitz: Quick thoughts on Nick Yorke? Seems a lot of the backlash from the draft pick may be a little silly now. 1:20 Kevin Goldstein: Sure does. Another reason why analyzing a draft the day after is a silly (but I guess necessary) exercise. 1:20 diadem: The Cubs are fielding a dismal lineup and going nowhere. How does that affect a SP like Hendricks? Motivated because of lack of run support or demotivated by general bummerdom? 1:21 Kevin Goldstein: I’m sure he still gives all of the effort and wants to pitch very well, but yeah, I’ve talked to players, and being on a bad team can be a real bummer down the stretch. 1:22 Guest: are teams’ versions of wRC+ ACTUALLY much better than just the version we all have access to? If so, how much better? If not, would teams be better served just using fangraphs/BP’s metrics and investing that money elsewhere (like, for instance, feeding minor leaguers)? 1:24 Kevin Goldstein: Some are a bit better, and some are a bit worse, but I don’t know of any, that on a full season-level, are dramatically different from the most respected public sites. I don’t think there are any situations where FanGraphs has a player at 1.3 WAR and some team has that same player as a six win type or anything. 1:26 Contract Curious: I know when a player with a guaranteed contract gets released a new team can sign him for the minimum and his old team is on the hook for the difference remaining on the contract. If the player has a vesting option or a player option at the end of their contract and the option vests, which team pays the money? 1:27 Kevin Goldstein: Likely nobody. Often the statistical aspect of a vesting option are public, but the option also likely needs the player to be healthy and available on the signing team’s roster at the end of the year. 1:27 Taylor: Has Austin Martin’s potential ceiling dropped? He doesn’t seem like he’ll stick at the premium positions. 1:27 Kevin Goldstein: Yeah, at least a little. 1:28 Guest: With the Darvish injury, the Padres are down to 2 experienced starters + Ryan Weathers. If you are their FO, is Arrieta really your best option to eat innings? Are there other outside the box options you look at? 1:28 Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think they signed Arrieta and said to themsleves “Great! Problem solved!” — more likely just trying to create options. 1:29 Eddie Waitkus: Do scouts/teams seek out certain physical features when projecting players? For example – does finger length play a role into whether a pitcher can “learn” a particular pitch? 1:30 Kevin Goldstein: Lots of teams doing this kind of bio-mechanical stuff. Findings so far are all over the board. 1:30 Ghost of Marvin Miller: Likelihood of a work stoppage next Spring? 1:30 Kevin Goldstein: 50.1% 1:32 Joe: Is it difficult to square any potential political leanings one might have about workers (say, they should be paid for their labor) and being in a front office? It seems sort of impossible not to treat players like commodities to some extent. 1:33 Kevin Goldstein: Yes, it can be difficult, and I personally believe players should never be referred to in commodified language, like ‘assets’ for example. 1:34 Kevin Goldstein: Ok, just a few more before Ben (chatting soon!) yells at me. 1:35 Kate: Does Greg Jones have a path to regular PT in Tampa? Or does he need to get traded? 1:35 Kevin Goldstein: He has several paths. He’s still a ways away and plenty will change between now and then. 1:36 Ben Cherington: Do people really not know about Gremlins 2 and Joe Dante, a true king? 1:36 Kevin Goldstein: I know, right? 1:36 Mac: Do you think they’ll move the draft up? This summer is/was an absolute mess. 1:36 Kevin Goldstein: Man, I hope so, but it did well in terms of in a public facing way. 1:37 JB: From your experience (writing, scouting, FO, etc.), is there a logical fix for service time? Seems like a good opportunity for MLB to also enhance its brand by getting young upcoming stars going earlier/without controversy. 1:37 Kevin Goldstein: I’ve always liked the concept of just starting service time at signing date. 1:38 Kevin Goldstein: Ok folks, it’s been a blast and I’ll see you again soon. You can hit up Ben Clemens in like 20 minutes!