Dave Cameron FanGraphs Chat
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Dave Cameron
12:01
Happy Wednesday, everyone. I'm off to Boston for the Sloan conference this weekend, so if you've got a ticket, come say hi at some point this weekend. The baseball panel features Mike Petriello, Harry Pavlidis, the guy behind the eBIS software MLB teams use, Brian Kenny, and myself, so it should be a lively discussion.
Erik
12:02
Is the Warthen slider real or myth? If it's real, how? It's not like he can copy the pitch, and it can't be that he's the only person to know how to throw a hard slider, right? Why isn't everyone doing it?
Dave Cameron
12:03
Pitching coaches can emphasize different aspects of pitches or grips, and it seems pretty clear that Warthen encourages his pitchers to throw hard breaking stuff. Everyone else probably doesn't agree that the emphasis is necessary, just as everyone didn't agree with Dave Duncan about sinkers down or Leo Mazzone about fastballs away.
Just because one guy has success with one approach with one group of pitchers doesn't mean that everyone should or will copy it.
The Average Sports Fan
12:03
Is Eric Hosmer good? What does his next contract look like?
Dave Cameron
12:05
I think it's difficult to defend the idea that, to this point, Eric Hosmer has been a good MLB player. He just hasn't hit well enough to be a good first baseman, and there isn't enough evidence to support the idea that he's made up for it with his glove.

That said, the Statcast numbers suggest that he could be a good hitter with a different launch angle, and scouts obviously love the swing, so that combination probably makes him more likely than most meh players to become a good player in the future. I don't think it would be all that weird if he finally figured out how to stop hitting groundballs at some point and became the guy the Royals apparently think he is already.
12:06
If he signs an extension with the Royals this spring, he's probably looking at 7/$120M or something. If he gets to FA, whether he gets more or less depends on what he does in 2017. I wouldn't be interested at that price.
J
12:07
Will we see more velocity and Ks in the future? What's the limit? Maybe hitters try to adapt by hitting more flies? Not sure what else they can do.
Dave Cameron
12:08
The march to higher velocity isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Until someone can show definitively that throwing harder leads to a significant and predictable increase in injuries, people are going to want to throw harder. And there's a pretty clear link between velocity and contact rate, so the strikeouts aren't going anywhere unless MLB changes the strike zone or lowers the mound or something.
Ross
12:08
What 3 players that realistically could have a career year this year on the Mariners would give them the best chance of playoff baseball?
Dave Cameron
12:09
Haniger, Smyly, Seager. If they get monster All-Star type seasons from the first two, or Seager goes from good player to great player, that would go a long way.
Erik
12:09
KATOH hates strikeouts, but absolutely loves Dylan Cozens. I would think he'd be the kind of guy who is overhyped by prospect lists due to his loud tools, but who KATOH keeps us realistic about by reminding us that he strikes out too much. If KATOH can get over his strikeouts, why haven't scouts? If scouts fear his strikeouts, why doesn't KATOH?
Dave Cameron
12:10
I think it's more true that KATOH hates strikeouts from guys who don't hit for power. Strikeouts are okay if the contact quality is high enough, but when it's suspicious about how well you'll drive the ball and you don't make a lot of contact, then it gets worried.
It is worth noting that KATOH is even the outlier on Cozens when it comes to algorithms, though. ZIPS and Steamer aren't big fans.
Gord
12:11
Is the change in strike zone likely to take affect this season or is it too late? I'd imagine pitchers would want this ironed out before spring training.
Dave Cameron
12:11
It's dead in the water. The MLBPA didn't agree to the change.
CaptainPeanutbutter
12:11
There have been a few posts about projections vs. fans mostly in regard to younger players. Is there any chance we could get an article looking at fan projections vs. what actually happened? I'm curious to see if there is more of an over rating by fans or an under rating by projection systems.
Dave Cameron
12:11
We've looked at this before, and the FANS projections are way too optimistic. Every forecast is basically the best possible outcome.
Zonk
12:12
With Blanton off the board, it looks like the top FA remaining are Doug Fister, Pedro Alvarez, Pagan, and maybe Coco Crisp. How many of them do you think will sign a ML contract? Or are all now looking for NRI?
Dave Cameron
12:12
I bet Fister and Alvarez get big league deals once someone gets hurt.
Q-Ball
12:12
What is your take on Kyle Schwarber batting leadoff?
Dave Cameron
12:13
I don't see the point. Zobrist is a perfect leadoff option, doesn't need to be PH for against tough LHPs, and doesn't waste Schwarber's power by having him hit solo HRs.
Julio Pepper
12:14
If you're the Cardinals shouldn't you offer Alex Reyes something like 10/35 right now? The Cardinals get tremendous upside, and Reyes has probably never been more risk averse. In a vacuum seems to make sense for both sides.
Dave Cameron
12:14
No agent would let their guy sign that.
Zonk
12:15
How much should we care about the World Baseball Classic?
Dave Cameron
12:15
It's a great event, and a lot of fun. It's meaningful baseball in March. Why wouldn't we care?
I think there are ways it could be improved, but I don't understand people who want it to go away.
Erik
12:15
True or False: despite having a pretty good system, the Phillies lack the impact pieces at the top to give them any hope of competing before the 2018-19 free agency spending spree.
Dave Cameron
12:16
Any kind of definitive statement about a team not being able to win for the next few years is false.
The Padres are probably the farthest away from being contenders, and even there, you only need a few of these guys to turn out much better than expected and get lucky on a few buy-low guys before you have a .500 team and some hope.
J. Peterman
12:17
Is the Blanton an indication that even simpler contracts are headed toward more complicated deferrals and incentive tiers, or is team Rizzo just being silly?
Dave Cameron
12:17
It's not Rizzo, it's ownership.
The Nats will backload every deal they can until this MASN thing gets resolved.
O Dizzle
12:17
Which pitcher will perform the best this season: Tyler Glasnow, Rich Hill, or Tanner Roark.
Dave Cameron
12:17
Hill
Ben
12:18
Do 10/5 "trade veto" rights transfer to the acquiring team if the veteran player agrees to be traded? Does someone like Victor Martinez who doesn't have a no-trade clause retain his 10/5 veto rights with the new team? Additionally, is it generally considered scummy to trade a player right before their 10/5 rights kick in, thus resetting them?
Dave Cameron
12:18
10/5 is 10 years of service and 5 with the same consecutive team, so by definition, it goes away when you change teams.
12:19
And players don't have a right to achieving 10/5 status, so there's nothing really scummy about trading a guy before he has that protection.
12:20
A player can be miffed that he didn't get it, but teams have no obligation to let them get there.
Zonk
12:20
What teams do you think have a contention window that is closing in 2017? KC for sure, who else?
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