Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 3/31/22


12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Welcome to SzymChat! Now, we should have had baseball this week, but at least we’ll have it next Thursday instead of , say, nothing until 2023!
12:04
Fish: What’s for lunch?
12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probalby some leftover pizza.
12:04
Biscuit Barn: Daaaan !!!
How worried are you about Bellinger not being able to hit ?
12:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Quite. There were already reasons to be worried
12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And while spring training doesn’t mean a LOT, Rosenheck showed some years ago that it means a LITTLE of something
12:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and Bellinger did not have a good spring training
12:05
James: Do you know if the fan projections will be happening this year on Fangraphs?
12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have no specific info, but I don’t believe so.
12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not sure
12:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The lockout stuff has made the schedule a nightmare
12:06
Quarantino Martinez: Does Shane Baz go to the mlb or milb IL? He’s on the 40 man but could get optioned first?
12:07
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Injured players aren’t supposed to be option
12:08
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I believe — but do not have the language in front of me — that to option a player to have to have no service time the previous year and not be a Rule 5 pick, and then there’s only a window at the start of the season to do that
12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There are too many ways to manipulate service time and salary with injuries by allowing options
12:09
TomBruno23: Over/Under on Pujols’ HR total for 2022? 9.5?
12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’d probably take the under because I think he’s more likely to be a 150-200 PA special
12:09
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think the Cards are going to play him aggressively
12:10
Ari: Have you locked in and over/under RSWs yet?
12:10
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No. This spring has been a frantic one and I just don’t have the bandwidth right now to site down and evaluate bets.
12:11
baycommuter: Do you buy that Alex Bregman will never return to his ’18-’19 numbers because his power was based on launch angle instead of velocity and he needed the juiced baseball?
12:11
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Now, it’s quite possible that he just peaked — 24/25 year olds hit their peaks more often than people think
12:12
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But the evidence since then is so mixed and you have externalities like COVID year screwing things up and injury
12:12
Chuck: What are your expectations for Alejando Kirk’s playing time?
12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think he may end up with the most total PA of the catchers, simply because you can justify using him some at DH.
12:13
Avatar Dan Szymborski: My guess is that the Jays are hoping for one of their catchers to finally CLEARLY look a superior option to the others.
12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s not a lot of time to figure out who these guys are before Gabriel Moreno starts pounding on the door
12:14
Erik: Do you know what’s up with Seiya Suzuki’s ZiPS projection? Your article on him in February included a pretty encouraging line, but his ZiPS DC projection has him at a 68.
12:14
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The ZiPS DC projeciton is all messed up
12:15
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There isn’t actually ZiPS in the system yet (though there ought to be as early as today) for Suzuki, by an oversight (I didn’t send David players without an MLBAM ID at the time.). So the method David uses messed things up with Suzuki and ZiPS. You’ll notice that only Steamer is used for the projection itself!
12:16
Bilbo Baggins: No sleeper columns this year? I was looking forward to them
12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They’re going to be first week of the season content – I’m locking in the names before opening day and it’s not like a few games would put people on or off a list
12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Again, a product of the schedule
12:17
Erik: There’s an idea out there that teams with tons of depth and relatively flat rosters (i.e. a smaller gap between their best and worst players) can reliably outpace projections, as they’re more adaptable to in-season misfortune. If true, is that something that could be accounted for somehow?
12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It depends on the approach.
12:17
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS tries to take this approach – it doesn’t assume a roster will be healthy. I talk about this in the ZiPS Intro!
12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: either to the projections themselves or to the lockout standings
12:18
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The hardest thing is *in-season* changes
12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not surprisingly, the teams that ZiPS has underrated the most in 17 seasons are the teams that have made the most in-season moves to add talent
12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: (The Yankees and Astros are at the top of underrated)
12:19
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That doesn’t mean ZiPS is PERFECT, beacuse you can always improve a model
12:20
Avatar Dan Szymborski: One thing I’m very happy about is there no year-to-year correlation for individual teams on miss.
12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And if you just look at individual teams, that still holds true (though 17 is a little light for pearson)
12:21
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think the Mariners had the highest year-to-year in miss correlation and the r^2 there was like 0.04
12:21
RUKIDDING: Saw Burnes had 17 starts on 5 days rest and 9 on 6 days…was that a luxury for Milwaukee or will most teams have 1 or 2 guys they  will try to use similarly going forward?
12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think teams were extra careful last year coming off a shortened season!
12:22
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Especially when they have the luxury of depth
12:22
FLOP: Nightengale is reporting that Preller is dangling his “pitching depth” (Weathers and/or Paddack) in trade talks. Am I crazy or is the team that resorted to signing Jake Arrieta last year still not very deep? How much stock can you put in a guy returning from TJ and 9 good innings of spring ball from Mackenzie Gore?
12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They added Nick Martinez too and he’s really interesting given his improvements in Japan (including a better fastball(
12:23
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No, the padres don’t ahve perfect depth because nobody does
12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But the question is: is the pitching depth such that you can’t trade any for a player at positions with considerably *less* depth?
12:24
Avatar Dan Szymborski: So yeah, you’d prefer not seeing a pitcher traded. But if it gets you a replacement at 1B/LF/RF, can you really justify hanging onto, say, your 8th best starter?
12:24
The Stranger: When will ZiPS be updated for players on new teams?
12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I sent David an update at 2 AM last night! He’s got a ton on his plate to take care of, so I don’t know exactly when it will be in the system
12:25
Jon: How long does it take for comments on articles to be approved?  And why is there wait?
12:25
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It depends. Comments with link have to be approved generally.
12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And some changes were made  so that a person’s first ever comment had to pass through moderation. We’ve had a lot of increase in spam
12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There was a problem a couple weeks ago in which everyone was going through moderation
12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We also have a handful of bad actors who just aren’t allowed to comment.
12:26
Kyle: Do you think the league will ever take any hard action against teams tanking for pure profit like the Reds did this offseason? I feel like they’ve made it pretty clear that they don’t care unless it affects the value of the team, like when McCourt broke the Dodgers into multiple companies to take out loans against each of them. Even then they only stepped in because his divorce threatened to split up those companies.
12:26
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No.
12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Without the divorce, McCourt might still own the team
12:27
Rick Dugo: Do you think projected standings fail to account for a manager’s impact? (if there is one) Specifically in tightly-projected divisions like the AL and NL easts, is there a world in which the difference between say, Cora and Boone, or Snit and somebody else makes up a projected-WAR gap?
12:27
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They do, but it’s very tricky. Evaluating a manager is a very difficult thing to do because data for it generally sucks.
12:29
Bighen: im assuming there are rules that prohibit this but could Mets, another team and conforto do a sign and trade to reduce or eliminate the QO penalty I assume he’s struggling with?   The LF list alone shows how much teams could use him. He’s better than 90% of that list if not the entire list.  Even coming off a down season. That seems ridiculous but that list is oof.
12:30
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It sucks for Conforto, but MLB is quite strict about shenanigans here
12:31
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There are rules again QO “understandings” and the commish has wide authority to punish teams playing games
12:31
Schwejk: What’s more likely: Marlins boom or bust?
12:32
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Possibly a boom if they can get enough offense somehow
12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I really like their rotation’s potential
12:33
Larry: With all the Rookies appearing to be making the opening day rosters, who does this change the super two date?
12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not going to venture a guess until we can actually estimate
12:33
Kyle: Have the Yankees officially turned a corner on their budget? It feels like after the Braves snagged Olsen they had no plan B to improve the offense, even with a lot of good free agents available.
12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I honestly don’t know where the Yankees thinking stands right now
12:33
B’Ryce Hammer’s Luscious Locks: Zimbobski! It’s back! Draft day is Saturday. The sun is in the sky. Mike Trout is healthy! And I should really skip pitchers for the first two rounds of my shallow H2H points league, right? right?
12:33
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I try to unless there are some crazy good values
12:34
Moog Powell: I’ve heard it said that while defensive metrics are improving, they are still imperfect. What do you think are the biggest inefficiencies with guys like OOA, UZR and DRS?
12:34
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think there’s any SPECIFIC inefficiency, it’s just that the basic challenge is so hard
12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The basic problem is that you’re not counting events, but events something someone PREVENTED from happening.
12:35
Leland: Sure I could just check the ZiPS but…are you personally high or low on Jarred Kelenic this season?
12:35
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m personally higher than ZiPS
12:35
SEA: over/under Julio Rodriguez HR 9.5 for 2022 ?
12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’ll take over. I think he’s making it really hard for them to keep him down long
12:36
Jim Leyland Palmer: I know in the past you’ve mentioned you’ve gotten some not so nice comps, like Shrek or Herman Goering. I know who I would be calling when they cast the lead of the inevitable Ridley Scott directed ZiPs biopic: Michael Chernus
12:36
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s not a bad choice!
12:37
Avatar Dan Szymborski: It’s not one I thought of. It might be the closest one yet
12:37
Kyle: I’m pickling vegetables later for a camping trip. Red onion, cucumber, and jalepenos are guaranteed. Should I try celery just for the hell of it?
12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I guess you could. But why? It’s not such a great veggie!
12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Pickle some eggs!
12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Want some out of the box things that are really good to pickle?
12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Cherries
12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: radishes
12:38
Avatar Dan Szymborski: make some kimchee!
12:39
Guest: What age do sports writers peak?
12:39
Avatar Dan Szymborski: 50 I hope
12:39
Cynthia: Is a positional adjustment and valuing offensive runs above average better than no positional adjustment and valuing offense runs above the position’s average? Doesn’t the latter provide a more fluid adjustment that would be more accurate season-to-season rather than a static adjustment that can become less accurate over time?
12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m not QUITE following – if I’m reading correctly (and I may not be, I didn’t get much sleep and i’ve got a headache), it’s mostly an accounting difference that you can deal with in either scenario
12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Oh, you mean have a more dynamic positional adjustment?
12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: We’ve actually had discussions about going toward that approach
12:40
SEA: who hits more HR this year, Kelenic or Julio ?
12:40
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Probably Kelenic
12:41
A 24 year old: Your comment about 24 year olds being at their peak is troubling
12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Hey, I’m going to be *44* in June!
12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I’m still trying to figure out HTF that happened.
12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Cameron and I were once the young guys in the sabermetric community
12:41
Guest: Do you have special post-Coors effects built into ZIPS for ex-Rockies?
12:41
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No. The Coors Hangover is real, but it’s SMALL and real.
12:42
Guest: “The ZiPS DC projeciton is all messed up”  Is that the techinal term?
12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And some of it is people being over-obsessed with a player’s individual home/road splits rather than the overall seasonal line adjusted for park effects.
12:42
Cody F. Schmidt: What would you put on a FanGraphs city connect jersey?
12:42
Avatar Dan Szymborski: we’re officially a northern virginia company!
12:43
B’Ryce Hammer’s Luscious Locks: So wait, is Zips DC messed up for all players?
12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Nope, just Suzuki
12:44
Shave those damn sideburns!: You can’t always improve a model. Kate Upton is already an 11.
12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There’s 12
12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and 13.
12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Now, if she was a 24, 24 is the highest number.
12:44
Avatar Dan Szymborski:
12:45
Jeff in Jersey: Hi Dan. Thanks for the great work & for managing to always include something funny. I’m wondering whether–in addition to in-season player acquisitions–ZIPS more commonly misfires with very old or very young teams. There’s been a lot of talk that the Yankees’ age makes their projections shaky; same with a young team like the Royals or Tigers, with a bunch of players who could pop. Any truth to this? That young or old teams are more likely to skew projections?
12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I wish this kind of calibration was a problem! It provides an avenue for improvement.
12:45
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Now, there’s naturally more *variance* in certain teams.
12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But we’ve ironed out the kinks!
12:46
Morbo: Guess that this is something you might not be able answer but is everything alright at fangraphs? The the pace of articles this spring seems to be…muted vs past years with essentially zero spring training coverage
12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The problem is that the timing of the lockout has messed up the schedules for everything.
12:46
Avatar Dan Szymborski: For example, you’d normally have four articles from me this week on breakouts and busts.
12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But the late free agency and the timing of the season – and a number of ZiPS-related tasks that cannot simply be done until a certain part of the spring – has thrown everything into chaos
12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The changing of timing and less knowledge from what teams are doing with prospects causes problems for Eric and the prospect bunch
12:48
Avatar Dan Szymborski: And the lack of knowledge about what team WILL actually look like has hurt general preview type stuff
12:49
Guest: does zips take into account draft status for young prospects? you wrote in the zips top 100 introduction that those rankings are only based on pro ball results. I have a hard time believing Marcelo Mayer’s FCL performance alone was enough to get him to #23?
12:49
Avatar Dan Szymborski: ZiPS does not.
12:49
Lonnie: Blue Jays C with the most ABs this year even if some come as DH?
12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The question is – is the label of a player more static or dynamic?
12:50
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If I say which Yankees great has the most home runs, does not mmean career homers of a player who WAS a yankees great, or only WHILE he was with the Yankees?
12:50
Cynthia: Recently, it seems like the best position players from Japan have struggled more than expected (i.e. Yoshi Tsutsugo, Shogo Akiyama). Since ZiPS uses player comparisons for its projections and given the small number of position players from Japan, do they make a material difference in future projections?
12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Not so much simply because there’s also a lot of incoming and outgoing on the minor league level
12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Some players have done better too!
12:51
Avatar Dan Szymborski: But the failures look worse because the general variance is higher
12:52
Erik: A follow-up to my question on flat rosters: part of the idea there involves not just injury but performance. Projections assume an average number of PAs for everybody and an average level of performance. In reality, the guys who outperform their projections get more PAs and the guys who underperform theirs get less, if you have the depth to do that. That strikes me as harder to account for than injuries.
12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That *is* a problem, of course.
12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: There are a lot of soruces for error that you can’t do much about
12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Minor league being a thing helps.
12:52
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Since the full-timers that struggle will frequently get more time at a lower level
12:52
Morbo: “Evaluating a manager is a very difficult thing to do because data for it generally sucks.” Unless it’s Mike Matheny, then you just subtract 5 wins ±2 and you’re good to go.
12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: One of my favorite quips is that Matheny’s bullpen management is basically throwing a hundred spiders into a kindergarten class
12:54
Kyle: Have you taken a look at the article by Jacob Herlin on FantasyPros about the most accruate projection systems for 2021? ZiPS was 14th out of 17.
12:54
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I have not, but I’m surprised it would be *THAT* high. ZiPS is specifically not a playing time predictor, while fantasy projections absolutely *ARE* playing time dependent.
12:55
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Ariel Cohen’s done work on this with ZiPS which you can see here on this very website!
12:56
Avatar Dan Szymborski:
12:57
Avatar Dan Szymborski: If you draft, say, Langeliers high based on his projection in fantasy, you’re not using ZiPS correctly!
12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: That’s why we started offering a ZiPS version that matched DC playing time
12:58
Sirras: A friend of mine described skyline chili as “an acquired taste but good actually.” What is the appropriate way to end this friendship?
12:58
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think you should help stricken friends rather than abandon them!
12:59
Morbo: Personally I think Dan’s closest comp is a young Brad Pitt (if this doesn’t get my comment posted nothing will)
12:59
Big Fan: Why do ZIPS offensive projections change based on a player being at different positions?  I noticed this with Trevor Story as a 2B versus as a SS.
12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Slightly different group of comps. Not using positional comps *has* made projections worse.
12:59
Guest: The LF rankings suggest that Dom Smith is blocked at DH by Cano. Is that just guesswork at this point?
12:59
Avatar Dan Szymborski: You’d have to ask Jason, but I’d guess yes
12:59
Philip: What’s a team that you are confident beats the ZIPS win total and a team you are confident loses more than ZIPS projects? Don’t count tanking teams as obviously they will sell off parts at deadline
1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I don’t think they’ll match last season or come close, but I think the Giants will be create inseason and beat their ZiPS
1:00
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think Reds fall short – it’s likely they’re disappointing any resume dumping this summer
1:00
Dan: Do elite athletes age differently than the rest of us or is it more a difference in how closely their aging is watched?
1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Well, they train better so I would imagine their peak is longer and later
1:01
Kyle: We actually already made Kimchee (2 kinds), but I’ll try the pickled cherries for sure. Fox Sports picked the Mariners to win the AL West this year. It sounded silly to me at first but the more I thought about it I couldn’t dismiss it entirely. Do you think the Mariners have improved that much?
1:01
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think they’ve improved, but I think the Astros are still better even without correa
1:01
Jason: I noticed the ZiPS projections used in the player positional ranks are not the same as the ZiPS DC ones accessible in the Projections tab.  Altuve for one has the same number of PA but his overall WAR is 4.0 in the player projections and only 3.7 WAR in the ZiPS DC tab.  Are we to assume the player positional rankings info is more up to date and will makes it way into the system with this most recent update you sent in?
1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: The positional ranks are ZiPS *and* Steamer!
1:02
Guest: More importantly, what is the best lunch to reheat and why is it leftover chili?
1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: chili is a good lunch to reheat because cold chili is weird
1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I mostly like meat leftovers cold
1:02
Avatar Dan Szymborski: pasta too, I dont’ want cold pasta
1:03
Tacoby Bellsbury: Were you surprised at how low the Rockies’ left field protection was?
1:03
Avatar Dan Szymborski: No
1:03
Romulus: I understand why you’re holding off on publishing the sleepers, but please share a nugget or two! Need to know who is in that 2020 Shane Bieber/2021 Kyle Schwarber zone of “identified by Szym as a likely star but I can still get him cheap in my draft”. Waiting until after the games start is too late!
1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: I think Brendan Rodgers could have that HUGE breakout with the Rockies no longer messing with him it appears
1:04
Avatar Dan Szymborski: though rockies go early in drafts for obvious reasons
1:05
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Kikuchi’s on my breakout list for sure
1:06
Morbo: Would the Rockies be better off if they were run by Inspector Clouseau? And why is the answer yes?
1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: They’d be better off run by Inspector Gadget.
1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: and that’s WITHOUT Penny and that weird computer book.
1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: On that note, it’s time for me to head out for another week!
1:06
Avatar Dan Szymborski: Thanks for coming everyone.
1:07
Kyle: Bye Dan, enjoy another week of being the foremost digital dandy


 

Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.



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