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Chat: Jonathan Judge

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday November 16, 2015 4:00 PM ET chat session with Jonathan Judge.

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Jonathan Judge: Good afternoon everyone! Let's talk about new stats.

Jonah (Redwood): When does BP start rolling out the Top 10s?

Jonathan Judge: Looking like this week.

rcon14 (WI): Do you think there is a real advantage to be gained by creating a sort of individualized park factor? For example, pull heavy LH hitters at Yankee Stadium vs a LH spray hitter, or a RH pull hitter in HOU vs a RH spray hitter.

Jonathan Judge: The answer probably depends on what question you are asking. For our purposes, we control for the identity of the batter with our new statistics, so if he has a special pull tendency that should reflect in his score. But we certainly could also publish combinations of hitter and park, which I think would basically do what you suggest. Might be interesting to see who plays best where.

Gil (98003): When do you expect completion of the "Advanced Catching Metrics"? The data seems to change almost daily.

Jonathan Judge: Fair question. We are in off-season mode, so now is when we tinker and update. We are going to be integrating our new framing and blocking statistics into defense (FRAA) and then into WARP, so we need to make sure they can play together nicely. If you need a particular stat on any players in the meantime, just flag us on Twitter and we'll try to help you out.

Chingy (Right Therr): Please settle this for me and my friend. Who would post a lower cFIP: a rat or a squirrel?

Jonathan Judge: The squirrel for sure. Squirrels are brilliant animals, as anybody who owns bird-feeders can attest, to their frustration.

Q-Ball (Chi Town): What changes to the QO system do you foresee with the next CBA?

Jonathan Judge: Very difficult to know as MLB and MLBPA tend to keep these things quiet (this is what happens when the two sides are generally getting along). My assumption is that the QO will continue to exist in some less punitive form, and that the owners will insist on getting something in return.

gilpdawg (OH): Any changes coming with the position player side of WARP like with the DRA for pitchers? Like rolling in framing for catchers or the like?

Jonathan Judge: Yes, framing is being rolled in. Batting statistics are a bit less sensitive to context than pitching statistics, because batters are much more important than pitchers in the outcome of the PA. Which is a long way of saying that's why batters have been a lower priority so far. But I do expect to offer a context-adjusted batter metric this off-season. Not sure we would integrate it right away into WARP though.

Ron (Texarkana): This is probably a bit out of scope, but with BBWAA changing its rules on voting eligibility, do you see guys like Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, etc, having an "easier" time getting votes?

Jonathan Judge: That's what I expect. And hopefully it comes to pass.

Zonk (Chicago): Javier Baez...are you a believer or skeptic? A couple projection systems are giving him 2-3 WAR next year.

Jonathan Judge: He is so volatile, but has had some tough stuff to deal with recently. I would tend to say believer, in part because talented interior infielders have lower expectations, and between his power and defense, I think those projections are reasonable.

evandav13 (NYC): Harry Pavlidis teased Game Calling Above Average (GCAA) on ESPN's site back in May. When will we see a rollout of that, and are there designs to integrate it along with CSAA and EPAA into catchers' FRAA and WARP?

Jonathan Judge: We don't have a roll-out date yet although we've got some prototypes. Game-calling is by far the most volatile (there's that word again) of the skills we capture through the value model. We're just being very cautious with it, in part because the value of a good game-caller is potentially very very high. I think we would probably give it a year or so after release before adding it into WARP.

Cole Whittier (Pasadena, CA): What's your take on Richie Shaffer?

Jonathan Judge: I think he is terrific and look forward to watching him play next season.

Rox Fan Dan (Rockie Mountains): As far as I can tell, the Rockies plan seems to be get more pitching, and play 162 baseball games. What exactly are they trying to do? If you trade Tulo, you might as well deal Car-Go, right? Do you see a strategy there?

Jonathan Judge: Well, I think we need to remember that you can still have a few stars and be, on balance, a bad enough team to rebuild. You don't want the product on the field to be absolutely putrid, or people will stop coming to the games even more. It's also possible that they were dissatisfied with the market for him. Car-Go obviously goes through some pretty hot streaks, so perhaps they are hoping he will stay healthy for a bit and have a particularly good one going next summer, which would make him an attractive option for others.

Ian Kennedy (San Diego (For Now)): Do you think I should have accepted the QO? How much money do you think I'll get, and will that be enough to pay my bills?

Jonathan Judge: Eh, I could go either way on this one. Another year in a pitcher's park would probably have made Kennedy look a bit better, but he isn't getting any younger. As a practical matter, I doubt anyone signs him unless they've already given up their first-round pick by signing somebody else. So, I would tend to think of Kennedy as the sidecar signing to some more high-profile deal.

Q-Ball (Chi Town): Of the top FA starting pitchers, Price, Grienke, Cueto, Zimmermann, who do you think will be the highest risk relative to the contract they eventually sign?

Jonathan Judge: Probably Cueto, although I like him a lot. He has generally played behind excellent defense in his career and has struggled to say healthy in the past. It's also rather curious that he struggled with Sal Perez, who appears to be an excellent game-caller. On the other hand, he won't cost a first-round pick to sign, so perhaps that offsets the risk a bit.

Dennis (LA): Do you think the Angels would be better off signing Heyward and moving Calhoun to LF, signing Alex Gordon to play LF, or signing Zobrist to play 2b and a lower cost LF like Aoki? Do you see Chris Davis as a possible fit for them at 3b or LF? Thank you!

Jonathan Judge: This is a great question. I think either of the first two options would be very helpful, particularly for their flyball pitchers. The third one doesn't strike me as a good idea. 2B really isn't a position that is generating much production these days, and Aoki may have declined for good. Chris Davis doesn't seem like a fit to me, although Josh Hamilton didn't either, so what do I know?

Zonk (Chicago): I can't put a number to it, but I still think clubs will pay more for offensive WAR than defensive WAR. It seems like everyone values Kiermaier's D, but when it comes to getting paid one-dimensional sluggers like Nelson Cruz still get all the $$$$. Has anyone put a pencil to this?

Jonathan Judge: If someone has, I haven't seen it. It would be interesting to see the league-average for both, although different teams also shop for different things. One of the most under-covered strategies in baseball is the Cardinals' approach of opting for run-prevention over run-scoring. And needless to say, it worked quite well for them this year.

Sox Fan (South Side): Chicago Tribune suggests trading Quintana to restock the roster. Good idea? We have some gaping holes, like the left side of the infield

Jonathan Judge: The White Sox are in quite an interesting prediction. Their offseason moves last year suggested they thought they were getting very close to contention. This season suggested that was not the case. I think last year's Royals fooled everybody into thinking "any team" could qualify for the post-season, when in fact the Royals just became very good toward the end of last season.

If they plan to try and contend this year, I don't see how they do that by trading away a competent starter. And I'm not sure how good of a prospect return Quintana would get. DRA saw his production this year as benefiting substantially from his home park, which for some reason has become very pitcher-friendly as of late.

Sox Fan (South Side): Chicago Tribune suggests trading Quintana to restock the roster. Good idea? We have some gaping holes, like the left side of the infield

Jonathan Judge: The White Sox are in quite an interesting prediction. Their offseason moves last year suggested they thought they were getting very close to contention. This season suggested that was not the case. I think last year's Royals fooled everybody into thinking "any team" could qualify for the post-season, when in fact the Royals just became very good toward the end of last season.

If they plan to try and contend this year, I don't see how they do that by trading away a competent starter. And I'm not sure how good of a prospect return Quintana would get. DRA saw his production this year as benefiting substantially from his home park, which for some reason has become very pitcher-friendly as of late.

Archie (IN): Moving forward, how would you compare the values of Arenado & Machado?

Jonathan Judge: To a team? They're both enormously valuable. I guess I would prefer Arenado only because he has an additional year of control, and an additional year of control over a premier player is worth a ton. I'd have no problem with someone preferring Machado, though, given his versatility and pedigree. He's terrific.

Friar Lover (San Diego): Padres have traded Kimbrel and Benoit, which are not win-now moves. Should we shift to full-rebuild mode? If so, who else should be on the move out of town?

Jonathan Judge: Well, I think that would be a bit drastic. The Padres tried something aggressive and it didn't work out, but that doesn't mean they can't have an ok team this year. Both Benoit and Kimbrel are ace relievers, and a team that will struggle to contend doesn't have much use for either. In other words, both pitchers had more value to other teams than they did to the Padres, and that is a classic reason to trade them. My sense is that Preller looks to use qualifying offers and other means to restock the farm system with guys he likes and simply wants to provide a competitive product on the field in the meantime.

kcboomer (KC): You just have to believe the electronic strike will be here in the next two years. Wouldn't that kill catcher framing value??

Jonathan Judge: I would certainly think so. But these trends naturally tend to run their course, and framing may be no different. Framing is also something that has spread across the league, so its disappearance, if that in fact is what ever happens, may not have as serious an effect as one might think.

ORWahoo (Tigard): Hi there. Any news on the publishing schedule for prospect top ten lists?

Jonathan Judge: see above!

jukes (around): Hey Jonathan, Ive written into cs w/no reply. I was wondering when bp plans on rolling out this offseasons minor league top such and such lists? Thanks

Jonathan Judge: see above!

Denard Span (Washington DC at the moment): What do you think is a fair offer for me? Who do you think is a fit?

Jonathan Judge: I liked R.J.'s suggestion of the Mets, although I think it will have to be for the right price. Span missed a lot of time last year, but his declining defense may be the bigger concern. I'll decline to put a price on him, but the Nationals were smart not to give him a QO.

Zonk (Chicago): Jorge Soler had an up and down rookie year. What do you foresee for him going forward? If you were another team looking for OF help, would you be targeting him in trade?

Jonathan Judge: Well, Steamer sees him as having above-average offense and below-average defense, which seems right. He's still a bit on the young side, so he has time to get better. And I certainly would enjoy having his cost-control if I were another team, although I don't know if he is the sort of trade you "target."

Matt (Virginia): Hey Jonathan, does a Baez-for-Teheran or Soler-for-Teheran trade work for both sides?

Jonathan Judge: That's actually a very interesting idea. Baez and Soler both fit the extended-control type the Braves may be interested in, and Baez and Soler both have struggled to be productive, despite considerable apparent ceilings. But Teheran also seemed to take a step backward last year, so it is unclear if the Cubs would view his three years of remaining control as a sufficient counter-balance to the risk that he is trending in the wrong direction.

That's all I have time for today. Thanks for all the questions.

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