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Chat: Dave Pease

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday January 24, 2005 6:00 PM ET chat session with Dave Pease.

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Dave Pease is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

Dave Pease: Hi everyone. Let's talk some baseball.

dave (Huntington Beach, CA): I've seen a photo of the changes they're making at Dodger Stadium, and it seems like a significant amount of foul territory has turned into Seating For The Stars. Are you guys on this? Maybe Chavez Ravine will no longer be where offenses to go die. Wondering if anyone has tried to calculate the effects of the changes, and I wondered also whether this was factored into PECOTA (or are those numbers park neutral?)

Dave Pease: I've gotten a few questions on this one. It's really pretty astounding the difference the amount of foul territory available makes to scoring in a park--just ask Scott Cooper.

I can imagine a system that could use the park's old and new dimensions to come up with an estimate of the change in scoring a park might see following a structural change like this, but we don't have one. Nate did eyeball a change in the park factor for Chavez Ravine when generating the PECOTAs in Baseball Prospectus 2005, though, and I agree with his estimate: it'll elevate scoring, but not enough to change Dodger Stadium's status as one of the most extreme pitchers' parks in the majors.

sanott (Norfolk, VA): Who should play CF for the Mets, contract aside. Cameron is supposed to be one of the best, but their range seems to be similar. Does the new face of the Mets get center? Do they trade Cameron- or would his range be good for RF with Beltran cheating toward LF, and presumably, a hobbled Floyd.

Dave Pease: Contracts etc. aside, I'd continue to play Mike Cameron in center. His numbers are better, which is nice, but beyond that he's got a stellar reputation and just looks great out there. Beltran's no slouch either, of course. (Disclaimer: I've seen both of them several times over the last couple of seasons, which is no basis to make a decision like this on.)

It's never that simple, though. Beltran's a game-breaking talent presumably just entering his prime, and Cameron--well, Cameron's a nice player, and I sure wish he were my team's center fielder, but he doesn't have that status.

During Frank Thomas' formidable prime, I remember him barking about playing the field more, even though the team would obviously have been better off with a level of competence defensively from their first baseman. But when the 800 lb elephant wants to play a particular position, I think you've got have a really good reason to deny him, and the Mets don't have that with Beltran.

Bob (Chicago, IL): Will BP send out Excel files with PECOTA predictions this year? If so, when might that be?

Dave Pease: Absolutely! I'll be posting the Excel spreadsheet today or tomorrow for all Baseball Prospectus Premium subscribers. Check the front page or the newsletter for more info.

dukeandduke (Chicago, IL): Dave, I know your role at BP includes the Hacking Mass competition which I plan to take part in for 2005. A question about the book - You were listed as one of the contributors last year and I assume this year as well - Do you each take a few teams or how is the book split up amongst the various contributors? Can't wait to get the 2005 copy in (hopefully) a few more weeks. Thanks

Dave Pease: Got a couple of questions about attributions, so I'll field this one.

We've got a long-standing policy of not bylining the individual team chapters in our books which we will be continuing with this year's model. Beyond promoting a team atmosphere (our long-time readers will be well-aware of our stance on the importance of team chemistry), the very limited time we have to produce all the team writeups and player comments and stats and have everything ready for publication in time for the book to be out in February just makes it impossible for us to have anything approaching a standard team chapter process. It's not all that common that single writer rides solo on the chapter, with minimal assistance; more often, you'll have 3, 4, 5 people or more contributing to a single chapter (writer, co-writer, maybe a different player comments writer, editor, prospects guy, injury guy, another writer with good contacts, etc.).

It becomes kind of disingenuous to credit only one person for any given piece of work in the book (unlike on the Web site, where things are usually done in a more streamlined way, or the research pieces in the back of the annuals, which are generally shepherded by one person).

If you made it through that, here's the good news: the book is done, and it should be arriving sometime around Feb 22. (Amazon.com hasn't updated their release date yet.)

Edward Smith (San Francisco, CA): If no younger, faster outfielder is signed by the Giants, do you expect the geriatric troika of Alou, Grissom and Bonds to be a defensive nightmare?

Dave Pease: Oh, yeah, they're going to be fun to watch. I have visions of a Pitching Fear Factor when Joe Rogan brings an in-his-prime Edgar Martinez out of a time machine and makes the contestants pitch to him with this trio behind him.

Any outfield where Kevin Reimer could be a defensive sub... well, they're going to have to hit a lot to offset that. Which, with Bonds, they'll do.

sf dude (sf): Billy Beane recently gave an exclusive interview to an A's blog (Athletics Nation) in which he states: "Understand that attendance percentage is basically based on winning...When you put together back to back to back losing seasons, then you've created a very apathetic situation that's very difficult to recover from." Sounds like the A's have an attendance model and incorporate this into their moves. Do you think they incorporate such things as player marketability into their roster decisions? Case in point, while all of the Big 3 are highly marketable, they happened to keep the one who famously plays guitar, appears on JAG and the Chris Isaak Show, and is dating Alyssa Milano...

Dave Pease: Lots of San Franciscians here today.

It's fairly well-established that, with very few exceptions, winning creates attendance in the majors. I can see letting their respective popularity (as measured by celeb girlfriends who did black-and-white "artistic" photosets for an obscure travel mag in their rebellious period, or guest appearances on bad TV shows, or whatever) be a tiebreaker when you're deciding whether to move Player A versus Player B, but I can't believe it makes much sense to do anything beyond that.

Contract status and trade value certainly had a lot more to do with the A's trading who they did.

Wallace McAlexander (Memphis, TN): I am intrigued by the dominant performance by Mike Gonzalez as a reliever in 2004 for the Pirates. Is he another example of a late blooming lefty? He is just as effective against righthanded batters as against lefthanded batters. Could he be the Pirate closer if Mesa stumbles?

Dave Pease: Sure, I'd be happy with giving that a try. Of course, I'd also have ditched Jose Mesa last year, when his trade value was presumably at its highest, and picked up someone that might have been a contributor to the next good Pittsburgh team in return. So I'm not approaching bullpen construction the same way the Pirates are, I guess.

dangor (New York): I'm a huge Prospectus fan. I'm also a Fantasy Baseball fanatic. I therefore find that I sometimes have to read between the lines to find out whether or not the Prospectus would draft so-and-so. Do you wrestle with this when writing? Let's cut to the chase, give me 5 players that will significantly outperform their projected draft day salaries!!

Dave Pease: We'd like our product to be of value to every reader, definitely, but part of the problem is that we aren't all big fantasy baseball guys. I've never played anything but Scoresheet myself, for example.

We'll have Fantasy-specific content for subscribers this year, like we did last year.

There are a couple guys I'd take a chance on if I did do fantasy. Good chance of comeback from Josh Phelps. I expect Ryan Klesko to be much better this year than he was last year (when he wasn't that bad, if you overlook defense and home runs).

Jon (Montana): Bigger sabremetric letdown - Kevin Towers and the late 90s Padres or JP Riccardi and the Jays?

Dave Pease: Hmm... frankly, I've got no idea why the Jays are making the moves they are this offseason, but since it's still a work in progress, who knows? It could work out well (or as well as anything can work in that division.)

I was hoping for more from the Padres up to and including this year, as were several other BP staffers. I do generally like the moves the team makes, but I wish Towers had more cash to work with, especially after the successful first season at Petco.

I'll say the Jays, provisionally--they ran into a lot of bad luck last season, and that won't happen twice.

llewdor (Vancouver, BC): I'm not really sure what we're supposed to ask you, Dave. All you've written about in the past 2 years is HACKING MASS. If I want to read your last 10 articles, I'm reaching back to November, 2000. So, given that you only write annually, what do you do the rest of the time?

Dave Pease: I mainly do web stuff at this point. If something's broken at bp.com, I'm to blame.

I've got a pretty short attention span, but I do like doing chats, so perhaps I can make this more of a regular thing.

Dave Pease: OK, folks, thanks for all the good questions, and I'm sorry I couldn't get to everyone. Stay warm if you're on the East Coast.


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