Playoff time is here, and Eric Seidman's taking the time to check the numbers and share the results, answer your questions, and perhaps ask a few of his own.
Eric Seidman: A bit before 4 PM but I am home from the office and ready to get chatting. But please, only questions about mid-90s football, so Stan Humphries, Neil O'Donnell. Wait, what's that? OK, fine, we'll stick to baseball.
David (Boston): Harden or Bedard?
Eric Seidman: Three words but a very intricate question. I'm not going to add in the generic "When healthy, X is dominating" because we know that. The issue to me here is money. With a relatively full season under his belt in 2009, and his past record of success, Harden is probably going to get a fairly lucrative deal. Sure, incentives will be tossed in to safeguard against his health history, but he isn't going to get a 2-yr, $8 mil deal with incentives. Bedard might be able to be had for less money given the injury struggles over the past two years. I would take the chance on Harden, personally, because I just think he's a better pitcher than Bedard, but the latter may come cheaper and, with injury potential, provide equal production.
George (Atlanta): Just curious what kind of stuff you have planned for the off-season.
Eric Seidman: I definitely plan on continuing the research dealing with perceived velocity and the batter-pitcher matchup. I'm also in the process of outlining a book that teaches MS Excel and some MS Access through baseball analysis which should take up a lot of time. Otherwise, I'm probably just going to go back to the old notebook and review past ideas that never came to fruition and see if they pique my interest bone nowadays.
jlarsen (Anywhere but here..): How disappointed are you that Dunn didn't hit 40 homers? Did you break anything in your house when you learned that the 2009 season ended without him reaching 40?
Eric Seidman: Incredibly, incredibly disappointed. And I'm not joking either.
big mac (big d): Your thoughts on Shin-soo Choo's fine season? He's #2 in vorp for a.l. right fielder's. Is he for real?
Eric Seidman: I know it seems like I can answer questions with questions in chats, but what do you mean by for real? If you're asking if I think Choo is going to continue to be a .300/.400/.550 hitter, probably not. If you're asking if I think he, at 26 years old, is going to continue walking and developing patience, remaining a great hitter for years to come then yep, he is for real. BABIPs in the .370s are unlikely to be sustained year-in year-out but I see no reason why he cannot average a .280/.375/.480 over the next five years.
JoshEngleman (Wilmington, NC): What is the purpose of having a one game playoff between two teams from the same division? Wouldn't head to head or divisional record be better served here?
Eric Seidman: If this were, say, the Red Sox and Yankees then the divisional or head to head might make some sense given that both teams were going to make the playoffs but in the case of the Tigers and Twins where the loser goes home, I'm fully in favor of the one-game playoff. What I do take issue with is the Yankees not making their decision yet. These teams have a right to know when they are playing.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Is Ian Desmond a future starting SS? By that I mean a decent one, because I suppose I could start if management was stupid enough.
Eric Seidman: If I'm the Nationals he's my opening day SS next year, or goes into spring training with the job to lose. They'll be in a position to give Desmond a shot, and they really need to given that his 21 games this season is by no means a large enough sample to derive anything from. If Kevin Goldstein says he has the tools and could be a solid SS, I have no reason to think otherwise.
CJ (SF): Eric, where do you see Derek Holland in six months - bullpen or back of the rotation?
Eric Seidman: Rotation. The Rangers wanted to bring their young guns like Holland and Feliz up and start them out in the bullpen. Make no mistake, both are going to be starting pitchers.
Nick (Yonkers): Cano or Pedroia going forward?
Eric Seidman: Toughy. Cano has more power and a frame that makes it seem like he should sustain his hitting ability longer while Pedroia has a much better glove and a better eye. And both are similar in age. I'll take Pedroia but I wouldn't be surprised if his offense declines much quicker than Cano's.
jlarsen (Chicagoland): Would a Milton Bradley + 16 MIL for Pat Burrell trade be feesible? The Rays Front Office is always looking for improvements and getting a player for 2 yrs and only costing them 2.5 Per makes a ton of sense for them.
Eric Seidman: So the Cubs would be paying 80% of Bradley's remaining salary AND giving him up in exchange for an awful fielding outfielder who constantly needs defensive replacements late in the game. If the Rays pull this off, Hendry should be fired and Friedman becomes the new Billy Beane.
spf (chicago): any thoughts on what Geovany Soto's future looks like? he had injuries this year and there's plenty of talk that he was out of shape coming into the season. his batting average was way down and his slugging down accordingly, but he still walked a lot.
Eric Seidman: He had a .218 BA and .321 OBP. The .321 is low from an absolute standpoint but yeah, definitely high relative to the BA, and a promising sign given that we would assume his .251 would rise next season. He would be the perfect guinea pig for HITf/x data given that his balls in play rates are similar to a year ago. The only difference is a 3% shift in LD (21 to 18) and GB (37 to 40). If that data were available we could see if was hitting the ball similarly as well which could better answer this question. Unfortunately it isn't available so I'll speculate he is somewhere between last year and this year.
Sam (Columbia, SC): Whose pure stuff would you rather have: Verlander or Lincecum?
Eric Seidman: If stuff included height and less fear regarding an injury, Verlander. Otherwise, Timmy Lince.
pizzacutter (Cleveland): Are we doomed to yet another Sawx-Yanks 42-hour (7 games, all 6 hours long) ALCS, or can the Angels (or more of a stretch, whoever survives the Twins/Tigers thing) pull it out in the ALDS?
Eric Seidman: I don't see why the Angels couldn't beat the Red Sox. Twins/Tigers will have plenty of trouble against the Yanks and I'd bet on your being doomed, old friend, but I can certainly see Yanks-Angels.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): No need to post this, just for your own entertainment, I thought you might enjoy this article:
Eric Seidman: Hilarious and very creative. Certainly worthy of a re-post in this forum.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Was Joba's season in the range of likely possibilities or do expectations need to be substantially re-scaled for him? Thanks!
Eric Seidman: Joba is a 180 IP, 3.50 ERA type pitcher. I completely agreed with Joe Sheehan's take on him. Expectations need not be rescaled unless the Yankees are going to handle him in the future as poorly as they did this year.
Jay (Philly): How would you handle the Phils OF post-2009 with 3 all star outfielders and two premium prospects close to ready?
Eric Seidman: Next year = same as this year. After next season, Werth will get a bigger deal somewhere else and Michael Taylor will slide in. After 2011, Ibanez will be gone and Dom Brown will slide in. All the while Victorino stays in all likelihood. At least that is how I am envisioning they have things drawn up.
David (New York): Rank them in order: Brett Anderson, Clay Buccholz, Joba, Hughes, Porcello
Eric Seidman: Anderson, Joba, Hughes, Buchholz, Porcello. I really like Anderson, much more than these others, but 2-5 are fairly close in my estimation. I know I've been bearish on Porcello in the past in not seeing him really becoming a perennial all star and award candidate but that doesn't make him a bad pitcher and at 20 yrs old he has a lot to look forward to.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): What would you do with Phil Hughes next season? Did the arguments that worked for Joba not apply to him? Is this an easy one? Thanks!
Eric Seidman: Any good pitcher is going to be worth much more to a team in the starting rotation as opposed to the bullpen, even with the crucialness of the late inning situations taken into account. Hughes came up as a 21-yr old in 2007 and put up a 4.46 ERA and 2.00 K/BB in the AL and was unjustly given up on after 8 starts last year as a 22-yr old. He's now 23 and just finished a season in which he posted a K/9 approaching 11.0, a K/BB approaching 3.50, and a 3.03 ERA. The guy deserves another shot in the rotation. I guess that comes at Pettitte's expense?
David (New York): Do you like Anderson like I do? I think he'll be a CY Young candidate next year.
Eric Seidman: Yes, I am VERY high on Brett Anderson. 21 yrs old with a 93 mph fastball, a GB rate above 50% and a 3.33 K/BB. Literally, what's not to like?
don (MI): who would you rather have, rick porcello or jose lima?
Eric Seidman: Porcello.
TGisriel (Baltimore): Who should be the O's regular left fielder next year, Reimold or Pie? Should they be platooned, or should Pie be used as a 4th outfielder giving all 3 outfielders an occassional rest?
Eric Seidman: I don't know if it's that BP has a lot of Oriole fan subscribers or if Pie is just that popular but I've had 4 chats I think and at least 18-20 questions asked about him, haha. I'd probably platoon he and Reimold next year or see if any team is willing to pay a relatively serious price for either in a trade.
Franzeim (Wyoming): Which Josh Beckett shows up in LA after his cortisone shot, the 07 version or the 08 version?
Eric Seidman: I'm envisioning a big post-season for Beckett.
TGisriel (Baltimore): The O's have said they are looking for a right handed clean-up hitter who plays one of the infield corner positions. Does this person exist? Is he likely to be available this off-season?
Eric Seidman: Not really. I mean Troy Glaus is the closest to fit that bill but color me skeptical that he's still a cleanup hitter and that he can play a corner infield position. There are lefties like Branyan and LaRoche, but few 1B/3B righties along those lines.
Joe V. (Washington, DC): Eric: Are you predicting a Yanks/Bosox ALCS? And, if so, which team comes out on top?
Eric Seidman: I said in the last chat that I'm taking the Yankees to win the world series and I'm sticking to that. I'm about 70/30 leaning towards Yanks/Sox with the other 30 pointed at the Angels.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): AdvancedNFLstats.com or FootballOutsiders.com? Personal Preference?
Eric Seidman: Whichever one comes closer to showing me that Todd Heap is the best tight-end in the history of the NFL.
Bill (New Mexico): Where does Holliday wind up? If not St. Louis, what do they do to replace him?
Eric Seidman: Giants will probably make a big push. But I say he ends up in StL long term. If he goes elsewhere it's a bit tricky because there is Bay and then the rest. You have aging outfielders better suited to DH duty and then the complementary parts like Marlon Byrd. Maybe they can work out a deal for Carl Crawford if Holliday leaves.
copperfield (Atlanta, GA): Any possibility of postseason previews including a breakdown of umpires as well? We all know we should dread them, I just want my dread quantified.
Eric Seidman: We will certainly have postseason previews though I would doubt umpires will be factored in anywhere. Way too much noise there.
Christopher (Nashville): That last question, you can leave out my email address in the location field. Thanks....
Eric Seidman: What are you even talking about?
JOESAV (ny): When Porcello wins Tuesday i want him ahead of anyone of those pitchers tthhxx.
Eric Seidman: So if he pitches well on Tuesday it means that, without a shadow of a doubt he will have a better career and has better stuff than Anderson, Joba, Buchholz and Hughes?
Jay (Philly): I can't take radio talkshows anymore with their discussions about how hard of a decision it is between Lidge and Madson for closer.
Quite literally, wouldn't ANY P the 40 man roster be a better option than Lidge in a tight game for the Phils?
Eric Seidman: The Phils bullpen is in a weird place right now because Park and Romero are done, and Myers and Eyre are monitored so closely that neither can pitch back to back or even really warm up twice in the same game, so Lidge will certainly be used. He has had an awful, awful season but I'm not sure I'd go for Condrey, Walker or Durbin before him still.
Franzeim (Wyoming): Which, young or lesser known players do you see emerging as stars this postseason?
Eric Seidman: I don't know if you can consider him lesser known given his outstanding rookie season but I think Troy Tulowitzki will begin to be properly valued in the eyes of fans.
Tony (Brooklyn, NY): In what year do you think HOF voting will be "correct" in terms of who gets in (i.e. 98 of 100 or so of the inductees are actually deserving)? Will it have to wait for the fan base to be better versed in statistics?
Eric Seidman: The first thing that needs to happen is for people who won't vote based on dumb principles like players not ratting on others who took steroids to not have their votes anymore. Or for people who forget to vote for deserving players or neglect to include them because "they'll get in anyway" to lose their voting rights. If Greg Maddux is not a 100% unanimous choice... if Pedro Martinez is not 100%... if Randy Johnson is not 100%... etc.
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): What are your thoughts on Bobby V in DC? Good fit? Seems perfect to me, but I like fake mustaches.
Eric Seidman: Bobby V is a good fit anywhere. He needs to be back in the MLB.
Browning Nagle (Cinti): The Reds dumped the pitching coach, Dick Pole. Next I'm sure they'll finish rearanging the deck chairs. AFTER THAT, what are the 3 things they should do this offseason?
Eric Seidman: Willy Taveras needs to go, big time. Or at least only be used as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement. A push for a legit cleanup bat--Phillips is good but if he is your cleanup hitter...--would be good but I can ultimately see them only getting someone like Jermaine Dye, which wouldn't be awful but is certainly not a franchise changing signing. And lastly, let Stubbs, Bruce, Bailey, et al play the whole year.
JoshEngleman (Wilmington, NC): I was surprised about your answer to the one game playoff earlier. To me, 18 h2h games in the regular season seems like a better way to determine the division's representative than a one game playoff.
Eric Seidman: Well, we have a difference in opinion. No harm no foul. I just personally like the idea of a one game playoff. Maybe it comes from years of being a Phillies fan who saw his teams finish 1-3 games out of first or the wild card, where a tie would have created another day of pressure-packed baseball with a chance for the post-season.
don (MI): You may not know this, but it's always lima-time.
Eric Seidman: Believe it!
CJ (SF): Has Denard Span hit his ceiling already?
Eric Seidman: He is 25 and coming off of his second straight .385+ OBP season. He probably won't develop the power to develop into an all-star but .380/.415 from a solid defensive outfielder is pretty darn-tootin good.
James282 (nj): Has the luster come off Max Scherzer at all? Would you rather have him or Jurrjens?
Eric Seidman: Not in the slightest. I'd still take him over Jurrjens even though I love Jair simply because Max's skillset portends improvement moving forward and more of an ability to sustain that improvement.
Frug (UIUC): How did you not mention firing Dusty Baker as the number one thing the Reds need to do this off season. Seriously why do people keep hiring a guy whose only skill is ruining the careers quality pitchers?
Eric Seidman: Well he is also addicted to Corey Patterson/Taveras types. It wasn't as big of a priority for me as the other aspects mentioned unless it goes hand in hand. If he insists on Taveras playing and limiting the time of Bailey, Stubbs, Bruce, then yeah he should go. But even if he does go it isn't as if someone else is going to come and magically turn them into a 95-67 team. They have holes that need to be filled before replacing a manager who MAYBE results in 1-3 extra wins or losses in a year.
Ira (North Texas): Do you think that Marlon Byrd will be resigned by the Rangers for 2 years $9 million, or do you think that he'll get 3-4 years $15-$20 million and go elsewhere? which do you think would be better for the Rangers?
Eric Seidman: Byrd, while the owner of some decent pop, is certainly replaceable in the outfield, and I have a feeling he ends up in San Francisco for around 3-15 after they whiff on Bay and Holliday.
Bill (New Mexico): I think you miss Frug's point. The Reds shouldn't fire Dusty to give them three more wins next year; they fire him to keep him from slagging more fine young pitchers and costing them 10 wins a year for the next five years or so.
Eric Seidman: No, I understood it, and I even mentioned that if Dusty stands in the way of getting rid of Taveras and preventing the youngsters from playing all year long, and that certainly extends into ruining young pitchers or pitchers in general, then he needs to go. My point is that even before you get into what Dusty does or doesn't do, there are holes that need some fixing.
mafrth77 (Boston): I assume you would start Daisuke over Buccholz in game 3? even with his abbhorent walk rate?
Eric Seidman: I'd actually go with Buchholz. I hate nothing more than walks for pitchers, and while Buchholz isn't Maddux in terms of free pass stinginess, why not give him a shot in Game 3?
Ira (North Texas): Will you buy the Texas Rangers? Is there anyone out there who reads BP regularly who happens to have a half a billion dollars available? There are about 300,000 people here in North Texas who would love to have the Rangers ownership situation resolved quickly, cleanly, and without drama. The other 6.7 million people here in North Texas are still staring dumbfoundedly at the shiny new monitors in the new Cowboys Stadium. grrrrrr.....
Eric Seidman: I don't have enough money, sorry.
Rob (Alaska): Got a gut feeling on B.J. Upton for next year?
Eric Seidman: I'm really stumped. His career has been rather atypical so far. But I do know, per a commercial I see every 10 minutes on the MLB Network, that he and Justin will be sure to continue being each other's biggest fan.
Eric Seidman: Alright everyone, as always I enjoyed chatting and remember you can always e-mail me with any questions or ideas and such. Can't believe the reg season is over!