Chat with Rob Neyer
Neyer's latest book Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders is now available.
Send in your questions now and join Rob in The Show on Thursday at noon ET!
Rob Neyer (12:01 PM)
Let the cartoons . . . BEGIN.
Tad (Bakersfield, CA)
Jeff Francis for 2007 NL Cy Young?!
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
Oh! That's such an odd notion that I must take it seriously . . . With 13 wins, I guess he's a candidate. But that 4.06 ERA will hurt, especially as the perception is that Coors Field isn't as hitter-friendly as it once was.
Why isn't Greg Anderson and his relationship to Bonds (and the fact he is in jail for not testifying) discussed more in the media (specifically ESPN)?
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
I'm not sure what you mean, Andrew. I watched as many of the Giants games on ESPNs 1 and 2 as I could, and I know I heard Anderson mentioned multiple times. Maybe I'm not completely objective, but I thought our guys did a pretty good job, especially considering the complex issues involved.
Rob, I think it is time we all admit we were wrong about Melky Cabrera, right? The kid is 22 and is hitting line drives left and right. Is he not a legit starting outfeilder now, in your mind?
Rob Neyer (12:08 PM)
His OPS this year is roughly 50 points higher than last year, well within the range of what we'd expect considering 1) his extra year of experience, and 2) random probability. When a player this young -- he turns 23 on Saturday -- is able to hold his own in the majors, he's got a real chance to be an excellent player in his prime years. Short answer: Yes, I probably was wrong about him; he's going to be better than I thought.
Rob, where can I find statistics that will show me how good of a baserunner (not base-stealer) a player is?
Rob Neyer (12:09 PM)
I'm not sure about InterWeb sources, but if you don't mind dead trees, there were metrics for non-SB baserunning in the 2007 editions of both Baseball Prospectus and The Bill James Handbook.
Sarge (Lee's Summit, MO)
I never saw your take on the Dotel/Davies trade that you promised. Did I miss it in one of your blogs?
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
I was surprised the Royals couldn't get more for Dotel.
Willie (Portland, OR)
Braun is now the clear cut favorite for NL ROY, don't you think?
Rob Neyer (12:11 PM)
Sure. He's the clear-cut choice. Probably unanimous, especially if he finishes with enough plate appearances to win the batting title.
Why can't Bill James subscribe to the theory that players of today are better? Isn't it safe to say that it was probably easier to accumulate "Win Shares" in the 20's when there were less great players?
Rob Neyer (12:14 PM)
Why do you think he doesn't, Joe? In his New Historical Baseball Abstract, James included a "timeline adjustment" to account for the improving quality of play. But that adjustment is somewhat balanced by the 162-game schedule introduced in the early '60s.
Turs out there was some truth in Zambrano's declaration that he'd win the Cy Young this year, eh?
Rob Neyer (12:17 PM)
I'm not sure if "truth" is the right word, exactly. Non-lunacy, though? Sure. He's not the No. 1 candidate, but since June 1 he's 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA, so he's trending well.
I caught a bit of Bronx is Burning and wasn't too impressed. Can you share your opinion?
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
How old are you, Geoff? I'm old enough to remember all these guys, and I'm getting a big kick out of seeing them played by actors. That said, I've just caught snippets, as I've been traveling and forgot to set my DVR before I left. I'll probably pick up the DVD when it comes out.
Rob, I have to respectfully disagree with your conclusion regarding eric byrnes's contract. For ex: if I was the Mets GM, with Alou and Green's contracts expiring, and with a definate 2-3 year transitional period before one can fully determine if Milledge, Martinez and Gomez are going to be stars, I would jump at the chance to sign Byrnes for $10 million a year, esp considering his positional flexibility. Arent the D-Backs doing basically the same thing?
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Well, my conclusion wasn't that they D'backs shouldn't have signed Byrnes. My conclusion was that Carlos Quentin will be the better player, over the next three seasons. Those two conclusions are related, but not the same.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY)
Edwar Ramirez seems to be dear to your heart (or at least how he was found). Any thoughts on having Karstens and Brower promoted before him?
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
It's pretty obvious that Torre has no confidence in Ramirez, who's continued to absolutely dominate minor leaguers since being returned to Scranton two weeks ago. If Torre's going to be around next season, some team should try to trade for the guy, because he's going to be good.
David (Overland Park, KS)
What do you make of Brian Bannister? Is he pitching out of his mind or is it his mind that's allowing him to pitch so well? Do you see it continuing not just this year but in future years as well?
Rob Neyer (12:29 PM)
The other day somebody told me that Bannister pitched well in Class A, he pitched well in Class AA, and he pitched well in Class AAA. And now he's pitching well in the majors. So why shouldn't he continue to pitch well? The problem with that line of thinking is that when Bannister was in the minors, he actually had a pretty solid strikeout rate. As a major leaguer, though, Bannister's struck out 4.5 batters per nine innings. I'm not saying he can't pitch in the majors. But I'm not yet convinced he can maintain a 3.50 ERA.
Bob New York
Torre needs to go. Your thoughts?
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
Gee, I dunno. The Yankees now have the best run differential in the majors, and only the Red Sox are close to them. We certainly can quibble with Torre's bullpen management, but by most objective measures he's doing a great job otherwise.
Carl (Ft lauderdale)
If your were to pick one team over the next 10 years that has a chance of winning multiple championships who would it be ?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
The non-interesting (but best) answer is 1. Yankees, 2. Red Sox. Beyond those big boys, though? I'll go with the Indians in the American League, and the D'backs in the National.
Every time I've seen Hank Aaron in an interview, or any other appearance, the guy seems genuinely disinterested in other people, the game, etc. So, my question is this: If Bonds was totally clean (or at least never suspected of using), do you think Aaron's reaction would have been much different? I honestly think he would have done the same thing, and people are overrating his "class."
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
I don't want to attempt to read Aaron's mind, particularly in this space. However, I've noticed lately that a lot of commentators attribute to Aaron qualities they would like him to have, whether he seems to have to have them or not.
Rob, How do you go with Yankees as #1 to win more championships. When the Sox have more proven, young Pitching and a deeper farm system??
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
One, the Yankees have rebuilt their farm system. Two, the Yankees are always going to be able to outspend the Red Sox. Three, 10 years is a long time.
Ankiel's coming up today. This is all the Cards need to leapfrog the Cubs and Brewers, right??
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
You bet! Seriously, the Cardinals of course are on life support, at best. But you have to enjoy Ankiel's success in the minors, and we can only hope he pops a few homers with the big club.
Brandon (Los Angeles)
How about a left coast question?! What about the Angels? They have a young core as good as anyone. Possibly better considering their pitching is pretty yong, and good. Also they spend loot.
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
Yeah, the Angels probably belong in that discussion, and perhaps ahead of the Indians, if only because of their financial advantage.
Dwight (Liberty, MO)
Rob, should Frank White be in the Hall of Fame? His numbers are very similar to Bill Mazeroski's.
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
They are similar, you're right. The "problem" with Frank's candidacy -- and I love the guy -- is that Mazeroski was an incredibly marginal candidate. And while White's offensive value is *very* similar, his defensive value doesn't quite match Mazeroski's. I'm afraid I could not support his candidacy.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Why do you think people are so willing and eager to overlook amphetamine use during Aaron's era. Aren't they "performance-enhancing?"
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
Are they? Everybody said that performances would suffer last year, with the introduction of amphetamine testing. Performance did not suffer, which makes me skeptical about the enhancement part of the equation.
Geoff (Washington, D.C.)
Better Hall of Fame candidacy - Jim Rice or Dale Murphy?
Rob Neyer (12:49 PM)
If somebody wants to argue that neither player belongs in the Hall of Fame, I can understand. But a LOT of voters think Rice belongs, but Murphy doesn't. Which is, quite frankly, unsupportable. It's like putting a big sign on your back that says, "No, I do NOT believe in defense or park effects. Kick me."
Hey Rob--I read all the ESPN chats, and yours are the best. Haven't had a question answered yet, so hopefully this is my lucky day...I understand the reasoning behind run differential as a predictor, but can't it be misleading? A team that wins one game by 10 runs, but loses the next 5 by one will still have a positive differential. What are your thoughts?
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
Every statistic can be misleading, if you choose to be misled. For every argument against run differential as a predictor, I can make an argument against ERA, wins, RBIs, batting average . . . Run differential isn't perfect, but generally it's a useful predictor.
Can you name a centerfielder better than Andre Dawson that is not in the hall of fame?
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
Dale Murphy. Jimmy Wynn. Wally Berger. Fred Lynn. That's one (multi-part) answer to your question. The other answer is that Dawson actually played more right field than center. If he'd actually been a center fielder for most of his career, he'd have a better Hall of Fame case.
Doug (New Rochelle, NY)
I think Ravi's misinterpretation of run differencial is this: Yes, based on winning one game by 10 and losing the next one by 5 doesn't show much. However, if you win 80 games by 10, you probably won't lose another 80 games by 5...big picture, folks!!
Rob Neyer (12:56 PM)
Right. Mr. Sample Size is our friend.
Freddie (Juno, Montreal)
Rob, Why does MLB get a say in whether Mark Cuban, or anybody else, gets to buy a team?
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
Because MLB is generally not subject to anti-trust laws -- a ridiculous condition, by the way -- the owners can do whatever they want, as long as unions aren't involved.
Jason (Scarsdale NY)
speaking of the Unions and the HOF, how come Marvin Miller isn't memorialized in Cooperstown? He's done more for this game than any man never to throw a pitch or swing a bat.
Rob Neyer (1:01 PM)
Has he? I know he's done a great deal for the wealth and the power of the players in the union. Is that also good for "the game"? Perhaps. But I haven't seen anybody make that case lately. Which isn't to say Miller doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. There are owners in the Hall who probably were bad for the game. Miller probably belongs, if only as an historical figure.
Now that Cano is actually hitting again (ridiculously hot as of late), is he back in the discussion as one of the best current second baseman?
Rob Neyer (1:04 PM)
Sure. I don't think he ever should have left the discussion. Cano got off to a lousy start, but every player's capable of playing lousy for a month or two.
$$ Bill (NYC)
Big George Steinbrenner to the Hall????
Rob Neyer (1:05 PM)
That'd be a tough one to swallow. But given the historical standards for owners -- not to mention his contributions to "Seinfeld" -- he really should be a candidate. Ditto for Walter O'Malley.
Jon (Fresno CA)
Big news. The Dodgers actually scored a run (1). Classic. They needed the bases looaded with no one out to do it. Hold on.... they just scored another, both on sacrifice flies. What's up with their offense?
Rob Neyer (1:08 PM)
I was pessimistic about the Dodgers' hitting before the season. I seemed foolish for the first half, but now they're simply playing to their abilities. Thanks for all the questions. Until next week, be good to yourself, and be good to Buffalo.
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