Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com MLB Insider Rob Neyer will drop by to chat some baseball.
Neyer's book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Send your questions now and join Neyer on Tuesday at noon ET!
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
Welcome to the Future, my Brothers and Sisters. Everything's going to be different now...
alan (salt lake city)
Rob- When a switch hitter like Granderson has such awful results when hitting left handed, what would it take for him to just give it up and become a left-handed hitter. Do you think he actually would do much worse batting from the left side against left handed pitching than his .210/ .270/ .344 hitting right-handed?
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
He's not a switch-hitter. So maybe he just shouldn't play against lefties at all.
Matt Williams (Florida)
Do the 2010 Yankees have the potential to be a top 10 team of all time?
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
Sure, anything's possible. But a lot of things would have to go well, and few things wrong. You really can't predict something like that.
K. Floyd (Boredatwork)
Can the Giants win the NL West with their current roster?
Rob Neyer (12:07 PM)
Last year was wonderful, but it won't happen again. Not with that lineup.
Rob, do you think the Sox are putting too many eggs in the UZR basket? They've improved their defense, but from a distance it also looks like they've added mediocre bats to 1/3 of their lineup. Are we really so confident in the relative value of defense to offense that these "WAR" numbers are gospel? I guess we'll find out, but I personally find the Sox a lot less scary than in previous seasons.
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
Cameron has been an above-average hitter in each of the last 11 seasons; Beltre has been above average in four of the last six seasons. So, no.
Joe (Orlando, FL)
Tim Raines was a better player than Jim Rice, but should I really be ridiculed for not believing that Raines is a Hall of Famer?
Rob Neyer (12:12 PM)
That depends on what sort of Hall of Fame you want, Joe. But roughly 75 percent of the current voting population does believe that Rice belongs in the Hall of Fame, so it's hard to understand how they justify keeping Raines (and Dale Murphy and Alan Trammell and for that matter Jimmy Wynn and Bobby Grich) out.
Using your crystal ball......who joins Herzog and Harvey into the class of 2010?
Rob Neyer (12:13 PM)
Alomar and Dawson, probably, with Blyleven falling just short and Larkin laying the groundwork for election in 2012.
Rob Neyer (12:15 PM)
What do you think of the idea of guys gaining votes over time? I mean, it's not like their statistics change during the 15 years they are available to be voted on.
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
Frankly, I think it's a little weird. But most of the voters like to vote for a lot of candidates and like to see someone elected every year and are happy to jump on bandwagons.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Didn't like the Hangover? I thought there were 4-5 solid laugh out loud parts.
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
I liked it. It just wasn't as funny as I thought it would be, considering how much money it made (and yes, I know there's often no connection between profitability and worthiness).
Do you see Orlando Hudson being a good fit with the Twins? They need a #2 hitter and a 2nd baseman. Hitting in front of Mauer would be a nice spot.
Rob Neyer (12:22 PM)
Hey, makes sense to me. Even if his defense has slipped some.
Larkin a HOF? Concepcion was by far the greatest SS during the decade of the 70's. He should be in if Rizzuto, Reese, Aparicio are in
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
I don't go in much for the "best X of the decade" argument, Ross. Was Larkin really the best shortstop of the 1970s? But does that make him a Hall of Famer, or an accident of history? I'm not saying you're wrong about Concepcion, but I'd have to be real sure about his defense. And I'm not there yet.
What is your "go to" defensive metric?
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
I like UZR (at FanGraphs) because I do trust the method and also because it's so easily accessible.
Looking (way) forward, do you think there is a case for Omar Vizquel in the Hall? In my opinion he is one of the best defensive SS in history, and he has compiled some solid offensive stats as well.
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
Well, he does not have "solid" offensive stats. I mean, they're OK for a shortstop, but that's the best you can say. And I would vote for Concepcion before Vizquel. Basically, unless you believe there should be more shortstops in the Hall of Fame than first basemen because it's harder to play shortstop, I don't get the argument for Vizquel.
Rob Neyer (12:34 PM)
Yes, I do. And for a couple of reasons (well, more than a couple but here are two good ones): WAR is more accessible, and Bill James has -- in his efforts to figure Loss Shares -- essentially disavowed the use of Win Shares alone. It's getting better all the time...
Why does Jacoby Ellsbury have such a bad UZR?
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
He doesn't. Career-wise his UZR is roughly neutral. So what you really want to know is, 1) how could it be neutral when he looks so good out there, and 2) why was his UZR so awful in 2009. My answers are, 1) he might not be quite as good as he looks, and one-year UZR's can play tricks on us, thanks to the nature of the sample.
What do you make of the quote from Dan Shaughnessy, "The stat geeks, those get-a-lifers who are sucking all the joy out of our national pastime, no doubt will be able to demonstrate that Edgar was better than Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby. I'm not buying. Stats don't tell the whole story. A man can drown in three feet of water." Sucking the joy out of our national past time Rob?
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
After I read that, I felt like maybe killing myself. Because, you know, I'm such a terrible person. More on this later maybe, in the blog. If I can cheer up a little.
My head hurts - WAR, UZR, etc. etc. Do you ever long for the day when all that mattered was ERA, batting average, RBI's and how far a player could spit tobacco?
Rob Neyer (12:42 PM)
No, not really. No more than I long for the days of four channels on my television and waiting until this afternoon for last night's box scores. I feel awful about the polar bears, but for most of us this is a far better time.
Wayne (Raleigh, NC)
Sum it up. Do the yankees repeat in 2010? Your opinion Yankees or Red Sox, who has the better team?
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
I think the Yankees are better, but the difference is within the margin of error (or very close), so luck will play a big part in who wins the East.
19 walks in 470 PA's for Beltre last year. Can't blame that on the park can you?
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Sure, a little bit. Hitting background is a characteristic, too. Not that Beltre's ever going to walk a ton. But he's draw 40-50 this year.
Zac (San Diego)
How exactly does one fracture a testicle? I'd just like to know so I can make certain to never do that.
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
My advice for you: Don't play third base without a protective cup.
Has Seattle done enough to dethrone the Angels?
Rob Neyer (12:48 PM)
To this point, I'm willing to name the M's as co-favorites in the West, pending resolution of their current question about who's going to play first base.
Do you think plus-minus will ever be as accessible as UZR?
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Yes, because otherwise it will be consigned to the dustbin of sabermetric history.
Brian (Vancouver, WA)
What would you do with 1st base if you were the Mariners GM?
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
I'd probably try to re-sign Branyan for one year and hope he's not the new Jack Cust. But right now there aren't a lot of attractive options. And the M's need a DH, too.
Matt (Douglas, WY)
Do you think Buster Posey should be the opening day starter or do you think the Giants need a stop-gap guy to let Posey get a bit more experience? Should Sabean have been in on Miguel Olivo?
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
Olivo's not good enough to play regularly, Matt. I think they should throw Posey out there and see what he can do. If he's mentally tough enough to handle a little failure, anyway.
a D u B (Newport Beach, CA)
You want a stat? You're question/answering metrics show you are AL-biased with a total of one question relating to the NL. Writers won't like those splits come HoF voting time. Now, Rockies the favorites in the NL West? Co-favorites?
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
Nah, gotta go with the Dodgers, if not by a lot. I'm also thinking the D'backs might wind up getting into this thing. Still a lotta talent there.
Mike (San Diego)
Based on how much of a joke the gold glove is, how can someone use the number of gold gloves a person has won as a Hall of Fame metric?
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
You just wait until Vizquel is eligible, my friend.
Regarding your trust of UZR, does it not bother you that these zone ratings are based on human observation and that each observer's physical location is different from stadium to stadium (THT had a great illustration about how ones position in a ballpark could impact how one determines a zone).
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
Everything bothers me, Will ... and nothing does. But, yes: we can't have as much "confidence" in UZR as we might have in, say, OPS+. You just have to know that going in. No statistic is perfect.
Do the M's really need a DH, Rob? Doesn't Saunders/Bradley/Griffey provide an adequate LF/DH platoon?
Rob Neyer (1:01 PM)
Well, Griffey's not going to play any outfield (to speak of). Bradley shouldn't play much outfield. And I don't know that the M's are sold on Saunders yet. But yeah, you're right: There are enough bodies there to come up with decent production from the DH's. Still need a first baseman.
Jon (Grand Rapids, MI)
Wow. I just picked myself up off the floor after I read a response, which you said, "No statistic is perfect."
Rob Neyer (1:03 PM)
Ha! Good one! Until next time, don't forget: "Pavilions near the water receive the most moonlight."
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