Kevin Goldstein FanGraphs Chat – 12/27/2021


12:00
Kevin Goldstein: Hi everyone. Hope you had/are having a good holiday season. It’s my last chat of the year, so let’s end what’s been a rough year with some fun.
12:00
Howard: How long until the HOF creates a wing for the Hall of Very Good? Maybe they just get a highlight reel and no speech at the introductions?
12:01
Kevin Goldstein: Or maybe, must maybe, and hear me out here . . . we don’t have any wings or any plaques and it’s just a museum celebrating the history of the game and we don’t have these arguments every year. Let’s do that after Jay Jaffe retires.
12:01
Tilly: What are the weirdest claus’ (see what I did there? hehe) you’ve seen added into a contract?
12:03
Kevin Goldstein: Lots of weird travel stuff in terms of private flights for family and specific hotel rooms (or things in hotel rooms). I think my favorite clause is a few guys have an awards package that includes a bonus for winning Division Series MVP honors, when there is no MVP of Division Series . . . maybe it’s there in case they change that or something.
12:03
Kg the OG: Did the signing of Yuli reallly influenced cuban kids to sign with Houston from 2016 up until Now?
12:05
Kevin Goldstein: Just a TON. I don’t think most people understand what Yuli is to Cuban players. He’s their Ruth, Mantle, Robinson, etc. He was quite active at times in helping sign players.
12:05
Meaty: Why don’t home NL teams open a reliever and bat him leadoff?
12:06
Kevin Goldstein: What if he gets the side out on three ground balls on three pitches and you want to send the reliever out for a second inning?
12:06
Joe: If you’re the Mets would you rather pursue Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, or Matt Chapman for their open third base position?
12:07
Kevin Goldstein: I’d do Bryant. I don’t think the A’s are going to be too aggressive with Chapman and hope for a higher price in July if they can get an offensive bounce back from him. Donaldson would not be a priority for me.
12:07
Strohs: Will Abraham Toro ever be an above average major leaguer?
12:07
Kevin Goldstein: Maybe here are there. Mostly average, and that’s still awfully valuable.
12:07
John Ryan: Recently moved to Japan for work and having a tough time deciding which NPB team to root for. Fell in love with Yoshinobu Yamamoto during the Olympics so leaning Orix, but also grew up in Trenton and fell in love with Chris Gittens during his 2019 Eastern League MVP campaign so also considering Rakuten. Help!
12:08
Kevin Goldstein: Give it time, it will come to you. I’m also VERY JEALOUS of you. I would live there in a second.
12:08
Gritty: Is Alex Cora the best manager in baseball?
12:08
Kevin Goldstein: He’s one of ’em….
12:09
Chris: You have stated a few times you are not optimistic about Evan White becoming an everyday performer. Curious why his profile (besides being awesome at defense at the wrong position) is something you don’t believe in? He’s a super athlete, with massive power who can’t hit. How is that different than someone like Jo Adell?
12:10
Kevin Goldstein: He’s a first baseman. Hitting is the most important thing one can do as a first baseman, and I don’t have any reason to think he’s going to do that.
12:10
Juicy: Why doesn’t Derek Jeter get the credit he deserves as an exec? He’s 100% invested and has actually made some solid moves
12:11
Kevin Goldstein: Who’s said he’s not? I don’t see anyone saying he’s not.
12:12
Kevin Goldstein: I’m just not a comic book guy or a comic book movie guy. I’ve seen like none of them. I saw Joker once on TV and boy was that bad. That’s really it. Just not for me.
12:12
Hopeful: Do you have an opinion on the MLB readiness of Pedro Leon?
12:12
Kevin Goldstein: He’s not ready. He’s close, but not ready. I worry about the hit tool.
12:12
TooDamnTall: At what point do organizational strengths start to influence draft/int signings? For example, x org is pretty good at developing pitching, so maybe they should lean in that direction.
12:13
Kevin Goldstein: Oh, it’s a huge part. Teams definitely are considering a player’s development path and what PD is good out when looking at players.
12:13
Allen: Any reason to be concerned about Gerrit Cole after how his season finished? Feels like in 2021 he wasn’t quite the untouchable ace he was in 2019 with Houston.
12:14
Kevin Goldstein: I think he’ll be one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. I think holding him to 2019, which was a remarkable season, is setting yourself up for disappointment. I think he’ll be great, but that year was amazing.
12:16
Piso Mojado: You’ve probably answered this before, but to what extent do teams care about public player evals on FG, in the BP annual, etc?
12:16
Kevin Goldstein: Lots of models do incorporate third-party rankings in various areas.
12:17
Dave: I’ve been listening to a lot of Bad Bad Hats since they were mentioned in your chat a couple weeks ago. Any other similar bands you can recommend?
12:17
Kevin Goldstein: You might like Bad Moves?
12:17
Kevin Silverstein: I think we’d be better off arguing on HOF stuff than whatever BS I have to hear during family gatherings.
12:17
Kevin Goldstein: I’m not convinced that’s true.
12:17
Kevin Silverstein: Do you enjoy slugfests or pitcher duels more?
12:18
Kevin Goldstein: Pitcher duels. For me, baseball is a stress game, and I like a game where every runner on base creates stress.
12:18
NotAA: Who do you think has the most frequent flyer miles in the industry
12:18
Kevin Goldstein: I’m guessing it’s an international director.
12:19
Young Skywalker: Do teams have area scouts in Asia? Heck of a lot of space on that continent to cover
12:19
Kevin Goldstein: Some do. It’s big geographically, but really it’s just Korea/Japan with a little bit of Taiwan here and there. Some have part-time guys in Australia.
12:19
Al Avila’s Left Nut: which of these guys will have the most impact in Detroit: Mize, Tork, Greene
12:20
Big Odo Guy: What are your thoughts on the status of Odorizzi and the Astros? Are they (Astros) thinking of going to a 6 man rotation? I’ve seen some talks about them potentially moving him but why subtract from starting pitcher depth/strength?
12:20
Kevin Goldstein: I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Every team needs depth.
12:20
Philip: Do you do mangoes on pizza? If not would you try?
12:21
Kevin Goldstein: I do not. I’ll try anything, but I wouldn’t be optimistic on that one.
12:21
pickleoclock: Hi Kevin, I’m fascinated by the process of a free agent signing, and then how/when that signing is leaked to the media. You’ve mentioned that term sheets are exchanged prior to a contract being signed and officialize; at the point the point that a term sheet is exchanged and under review, is that when insiders might report that team Y is “gaining momentum” towards a deal with player X? When the term sheet is then signed by player, is that when an insider might report team and player are in agreement on a deal? Thank you!
12:22
Kevin Goldstein: It’s a weird world. I’m not in the news breaking business and when I worked for a team, I wasn’t in the business of helping those in the news-breaking business. I think a lot of it comes from agents.
12:23
NotAA: How do internal promotions work within the FO
12:23
Kevin Goldstein: Kinda like they do at your job, to be honest. The one different is people getting promoted (or just raised/title changed) in order to keep them from going elsewhere.
12:25
Michelle: KG – What would you do with Jake Burger if you are Rick Hahn?
12:25
Kevin Goldstein: Kind of no room at the inn right now. I’m sure he’ll be needed at some point during the year, so enjoy that depth.
12:25
Shodai: Aside from the time bombs attached to his knees, what keeps Terunofuji from winning 4 basho next yea? (Aside from my rise of course)
12:26
Kevin Goldstein: I mean . . . nothing? Like who is coming to get him? Certainly not Shodai. Here’s the question, who’s going to win a bash that is NOT Terunofuji? Takakeisho? Mitakeumi?
12:27
Joshua: Thoughts on Victor Robles as a change of scenery candidate? If so, what type of return could he bring back to the Nats? Thanks.
12:27
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think he’s generate much, and is seen as more of a fourth outfielder.
12:28
Dave: What should we expect for year 2 of Jarred Kelenic?
12:28
Kevin Goldstein: Some ups, some downs, a good year, but not an amazing year.
12:29
Alex: How long does it take for changes in a team’s front office in player development lead to significant changes in the big league team?
12:29
Kevin Goldstein: A lot of that depends on what the starting point is and how big the changes are. Getting consistent players development across your entire system, can take years, really.
12:30
Bobby Chase: Hi Kevin, do you believe the Yankees, or even Boras, sent Mr. Cole to media training courses this offseason? Golly he had some rough days with the mediar. Thank you for your service. I hope you have a great rest of your 2021. I love you.
12:30
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t know, I mean, he’s getting paid to pitch and that’s what he’s good at.
12:31
James: When front office guys watch their team play together, do they critique in-game managerial moves the same way normal fans do?
12:31
Kevin Goldstein: It happens…
12:33
doug: do you think is more important as a manager to be emotionally or tactically intelligent
12:34
Kevin Goldstein: Emotionally by a wide range.
12:34
Mitch: Do teams really operate under the idea that there are ‘untouchable’ players? For instance, did you ever make a call to a team inquiring on a player and they immediately shot you down?
12:34
Kevin Goldstein: Sure. I’ve definitely been told a player is off limits.
12:34
Renner: do clubs keep stats on their scouts? Have to imagine they know some of the old timers strengths and weaknesses at this point
12:35
Kevin Goldstein: They try, but it’s really challenging to do it right.
12:35
Phil: Could Nick Yorke be playing a significant role on the major league level in the shortish- to medium-term future?
12:35
Kevin Goldstein: Medium, yes.
12:35
Bunny: What are the odds Kumar debuts this season if the players strike?
12:35
Kevin Goldstein: A. The players are locked out, there is no strike. B. 0%.
12:36
Kendall: Is Hal Steinbrenner good for baseball?
12:36
Kevin Goldstein: He’d be better for baseball if he spent like his dad.
12:36
asnbrv: Who in the organization has access to eBIS? is it something like every front office employee have read only access and GMs and AGMs that has the final say gets to input transactions?
12:36
Kevin Goldstein: Not everyone, and there are different levels of access.  Usually director level and above can get in.
12:38
Drew: If someone is going to leave a FO job, is there an expectation they wait until the season is over?
12:38
Kevin Goldstein: Well, most of them do have contracts, so yes.
12:39
Mitch: How do teams select players in the really late rounds of the draft? Do they stick to a structured approach with tiered targets or is it more of a bunch of different people trying to convince the decisions makers in the room to pick ‘their guys’? I’d imagine it could get hectic
12:40
Kevin Goldstein: It gets hectic, but not as much with it just 20 rounds now. Rounds 31-40 you might be picking someone because one of your area scouts is getting shut out and you don’t want that to happen. You might just be picking a 2B because you need one at Low-A…
12:40
Bob: Tyler O’Neil in ’22 will be closer to (1) a slightly above average OFer with big power, but an anemic OBP due to too many Ks, or (2) a 40-20 threat and top 3 MVP finish?
12:41
Kevin Goldstein: I actually don’t think he’ll be either of that. I think he made real approach changes and will be a pretty good player at least.
12:41
Teddy: Seems like Houston continues to churn out competent-or-better players who tend not to be highly rated (top 100) prospects (e.g., McCormick, Luis Garcia).

Is that a testament to the Astros coaching/development staff, luck, or the industry mis-valuing people (or all three)?

12:41
Kevin Goldstein: All of the above, as well as some really good drafting.
12:41
Charcandrick: As a young African American baseball fan how excited should I be for this upcoming draft?
12:41
Kevin Goldstein: Pretty damn excited.
12:41
Drew: Do FOs use the 5 tools when evaluating players or have we moved past that as our understanding of skill values change?
12:42
Kevin Goldstein: They definitely do still use them, but they use plenty of other things as well.
12:43
doug: do you think a sumo wrestler could have decent pop given 6-8 months of hitting coaching
12:43
Kevin Goldstein: Like raw? Sure. In-game? No way.
12:43
Elias: Are you good at playing baseball?
12:44
Kevin Goldstein: Not really!
12:45
Caesar: Who would be the best duo to do a Manningcast style broadcast for MLB? Or would it be best to just have Peyton and Eli do it?
12:45
Kevin Goldstein: Colin McHugh and . . . gotta find the right catcher….
12:45
Jason Giambi’s Thong: Have lower level front office staff members ever been dangled in trade talks?
12:45
Kevin Goldstein: Ummm . . . you can’t just trade front office people like players. They don’t have assignable contracts like that.
12:46
Alex: Whenever a team makes a mistake in a trade, fans always portray the losing team as incompetent or moronic. Is there actually significant incompetence in front offices (aside from the Rockies) or is it more that one really smart front office just outsmarted another?
12:46
Kevin Goldstein: It’s the latter, but there’s also tremendously unappreciated variance in player futures.
12:47
Quiggles: Saw relegation speculated on Reddit as an option for the new CBA. Is it possible the Atlantic League could be an option for this? Would love to see the Long Island Ducks get their chance
12:47
Kevin Goldstein: Fun idea, and NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.
12:47
Kevin Goldstein: Just jumping in to say hi! We share a name and that’s led to some weird Twitter interactions. Thanks for being a positive reflection for us – could be worse!
12:47
Kevin Goldstein: You’re not that person who owns the domain name, are you?
12:48
Guest: I know you’ve said team FO members will follow FG chats but not ask questions. Is that cuz they’d get in trouble ? What if they asked a question about Sumo?
12:48
Kevin Goldstein: I’d be all for it. Next sumo tourney starts in less than two weeks!
12:48
Guest: If you like the Bad Bad Hats, check out The Beths!
12:48
Kevin Goldstein: Just passing it along….
12:48
NotAA: Why do teams select HS players who will not sign in late rounds of the draft. Seems almost like a wasted pick imo.
12:49
Kevin Goldstein: You take them as insurance policies, so if something goes sideways with the first or second round pick, you have a backup plan to spend the money on.
12:49
Bailey: My son is a knuckleballer finding a lot of success in little league and has travel ball coaches calling wanting him to come in for tournaments this spring. Is this a good idea?
12:49
Uncle Spike: Are you going to be helping with the Top 100 Prospects list this year? Any names on that list that will come as a shock?
12:50
Kevin Goldstein: Yes; Yes.
12:50
Chief: Are ice cream sandwiches popular in big league clubhouses?
12:50
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve never seen sandwiches, but I have seen a soft serve machine….
12:50
Nicole: If you were going to get one or two pieces of baseball technology for your son (that are affordable of course) what would it/they be?
12:50
Kevin Goldstein: Is a pitching machine affordable?
12:51
Potty Trained: What do you got on Get Back?
12:52
Kevin Goldstein: Didn’t see it. I don’t have Disney+. I had it free for like six months and then when it came time to pay I realized that I pretty much never watched it. I’m also not really a Beatles fan , so . . . . I did like the Velvet Underground documentary quite a bit. I have The Sparks documentary in my queue and need to see that still.
12:53
Grundle: What’s your favorite nut? I love me a good shelled stachio myself.
12:53
Kevin Goldstein: Those are good. Have you had those shelled lime and chili ones? They had those in the spring training snack baskets in West Palm and I ate too many of them.
12:54
bettsbellingercaruso: Do MLB FO people ever play OOTP
12:54
Kevin Goldstein: Never seen it . . . Lot’s of teams do have sims they use for things…
12:54
Harris Allen: Tried to read The Book but it’s honestly a bit of a snore. Have you ever considered doing an audio version for interested folks like me that just can’t stay focused enough to get through it
12:54
Kevin Goldstein: Well, I didn’t write it, but it’s good!
12:55
Officer: What seems to be the problem here?
12:55
Kevin Goldstein: I’m not speaking to you without an attorney present.
12:55
Tim Livingston: Did you get to any 2021 games or were you stuck in the backlog? What was your favorite either way?
12:56
Kevin Goldstein: So many. I got an XBox Series X for Xmas with Game Pass and I’m honestly pretty thrilled with it. My wife and I just finished Unpacking and really love it. I’m close to finishing The Gunk (it’s fine) and have tons in my queue now.
12:56
M.A.P: How much do I need to pay to get my non-binary (singular they) an internship with a club? Who do I pay? They have struggled since graduating school (Mercer- Harvard of South) to lend anything more than interviews. They feel a little discriminated against. Thanks Kevin. Keep up the great work!
12:57
Kevin Goldstein: You shouldn’t have to pay anything. I think there are many teams where their gender wouldn’t matter at all. There are a few where it unfortunately would, but you might be surprised! Feel free to get in touch privately as well, if you want to discuss.
12:57
bettsbellingercaruso: How open is marijuana use in the MLB? Do you know of any players that toke up after games or is it still more of a don’t ask don’t tell kinda think
12:58
Kevin Goldstein: It’s more don’t ask/don’t tell, but usage is pretty common.
12:58
Tiger Fan: Is it easier to teach a hard-throwing wildarm to throw strikes or a soft-tossing control artist to throw harder? Which should clubs prioritize when looking for “projects”?
12:59
Kevin Goldstein: They’re both VERY hard.
12:59
Buehrle: What is the best way to reach out to a player and not come across as crazy? My parents were big White Sox fans and named me after Mark Buehrle after being born as Alexei fielded the final out of his Perfect Game. Would love to chat with him
12:59
Kevin Goldstein: It’s very player to player.
12:59
Regis: How many players still smoke heaters? Left a Chattanooga Lookouts game last year after fireworks and saw half the infield chaining a pack of American Spirit Yellows outside the clubhouse. By the way, beautiful yard right on the river. Would recommend
1:00
Kevin Goldstein: It is a lovely park. It’s not 0%, but it’s rare. At least rare in terms of everyday smokers. They’re out there, but few and far between.
1:00
Cobie: What are some of the best underlying metrics to look at to determine which way a player could positively or negatively regress to the mean?
1:00
Kevin Goldstein: Contact rate, chase rate, BABIP.
1:01
Vinny Gambini: Is Nancy Reagan on your Mt. Rushmore of First Lady’s?
1:01
Tiger Fan: How far have the Tigers progressed on a coaching/development standpoint since 2017? Are they close to the top tier (LAD, TBR, HOU) or more middle ground?
1:01
Kevin Goldstein: I wouldn’t put them in the elite group yet, but certainly on a most improved list.
1:02
Jts19: Is it just me, or do we as a collective spend way too much time talking about tanking? It seems like capped spending on the draft and international free agents along with increased prospect-hugging in the trade market have made this a much less effective strategy than it used to be, and teams have taken note. By my count, only the Pirates and Orioles are actively tanking. This is a problem that’s largely already solved. What am I missing?
1:03
Kevin Goldstein: I don’t disagree with your main point, which is that some things have happened organically that have made it more difficult. I think what the industry has to fix is a rule set that still incentivizes it.
1:05
Kevin Goldstein: Sorry for the delay there. Puppy went to the door and had to do things that puppies do when they go to the door….
1:07
Ron Stallworth: Do teams hold chapel for all religions each Sunday?
1:07
Kevin Goldstein: As far as I know, yes. MLB Chapel is still very much a thing.
1:07
Minnesota Fats: Think Ting ever gets another managerial gig? Jayce is a wonderful man and a better father. Really hope he does. Thank you Kevy!
1:07
Kevin Goldstein: I could see it happen.
1:07
NotAa: How much do personal relationships factor into hiring decisions?
1:07
Kevin Goldstein: Again, and I say this a lot, it’s very team by team.
1:10
NotAA: Do you think you will ever return to a Front Office role, or want to if given the opportunity?
1:10
Kevin Goldstein: My honest and crappy answer is A. I don’t know and B. It would have to be REALLY RIGHT.
1:10
Guest: what letter grade do you give the showalter hire?
1:10
Kevin Goldstein: Ask me in November.
1:11
Julius: Have you seen Don’t Look Up? Adam McKay really did it this time!
1:11
Kevin Goldstein: Watched it on Saturday. It was fine. Not bad, but not great. 50.
1:12
NotAA: would being a special assistant move the needle?
1:12
Kevin Goldstein: Nah. It’s not about title, it’s about the role/job.
1:13
NotAA: Best places to eat during ST?
1:14
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve had plenty of really good meals during spring training, but I do miss the text chain that I had with some other scouts where we just shared photos of the Panda Express we just bought.
1:14
Pippen: How many Trouble With The Curve like Clint’s are still out there? I’d love to just listen to the mitt and swing and know. It fascinates me.
1:16
Kevin Goldstein: Nobody can actually just listen to the miss and swing and know.
1:16
Deuce: What is the best GIF you’ve used in trade talks?
1:16
Kevin Goldstein: I have a variety of people shaking their heads no.
1:17
Kevin Goldstein: Ok, folks, final moments. Get your final questions of the year in!
1:18
Sabey Sabes: Think the NCAA NIL rules will help push Rocker toward another year at Vandy? Can get some of the bag and familiar settings.
1:18
Kevin Goldstein: He’s not going back to Vandy.
1:18
MarQueef: Has a trade negotiation ever changed how you thought about a peer?
1:18
Kevin Goldstein: No. I’ve never had one get acrimonious….
1:19
Private Pyle: full metal jacket first half is elite
1:19
Kevin Goldstein: I agree. Second half ain’t exactly chopped liver.
1:19
Tiger Fan: What player in all of baseball has the best RAW speed? Just absolutely blazing fast, minors or majors?
1:19
Kevin Goldstein: Billy Hamilton sill up there . . .
1:20
Tiger Fan: Are you the gamer? How’s SMT5? Looking for a post XMAS gift to myself.
1:20
Kevin Goldstein: SMT5 is kind of wonderful, but loses steam in the second half. Yes, I’m the gamer. I’m also far from the only one.
1:20
Jacoby: How long is acceptable to still be wishing someone a happy new year?
1:20
Kevin Goldstein: As long as you want?
1:21
Guest: Why do so many HOF writers act like they are obligated to hold their noses and vote for certain players they don’t like, simply because their performance was good? Having a ballot means they have a choice, and they are either abdicating their power for no good reason or trying to create cover. Either way, it’s annoying to read.
1:21
Kevin Goldstein: I think the overwhelming majority of voters are very thoughtful, and we focus on the loud and attention-seeking minority who aren’t.
1:21
Dirty D: Happy New Year Kev! (For 2021)
1:21
Kevin Goldstein: See, that’s fine.
1:21
Joey Caltrain: Could Evan White make the jump to center fielder like Bellinger has?
1:22
Veronica: I love baseball pants. Do front office members wear them too?
1:22
Kevin Goldstein: They do not. Sometimes it feels like quarter-zips are a uniform though!
1:22
Sundance: Can we stop trying to make Evan White happen?
1:22
Kevin Goldstein: Seemingly not, based on the questions I’m getting.
1:23
JR: What are the odds Amed Rosario takes a Tim Anderson like jump next season?
1:23
Kevin Goldstein: Very low.
1:23
JTF: What’s your Jake Meyers over next 5 years? Could he be an all-star?
1:23
Kevin Goldstein: I think he could be a solid CF but All-Star would really surprise me.
1:23
Howard Ratner: How much fun is it to bet on baseball now that you’re not working in it?
1:24
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve never done it. The last time I bet on anything baseball related was in a bar in the early 1990s when I bet on what Kal Daniels’ full first name is (I won).
1:26
Hidenoumi: How much fun is it to bet on Sumo now? Asking for a friend.
1:27
Kevin Goldstein: Also never done it! I just don’t bet on sports. I can be a degenerate gambler when cards are involved, but sports betting doesn’t appeal to me. I want to have some agency (or pretend I do) in the outcome.
1:27
Cosmo: Does anybody like Rob Manfred?
1:27
Kevin Goldstein: The owners.
1:27
Ringo: What’s the best Lord of the Rings?
1:27
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve never seen any of them.
1:27
Kevin Goldstein: I’ve seen that! It’s great! It’s something I’ve seen!
1:28
Mike Hunt: Happy and a healthy New Year to you and yours!
1:29
Kevin Goldstein: And to all of you as well. It’s a weird week, and to be totally honest with you, I have no idea if Ben is chatting in 30 minutes or not, but I think he’s traveling, so you might be (or have been) stuck with just me today. I hope everyone has a safe New Year’s celebration and thanks for making my 2021 much more entertaining by showing up for these and entertaining my BS.


 

Kevin Goldstein is a National Writer at FanGraphs.



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