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!
Steve (Middletown, CT)
Hey Rob, who are your choices for CY Young as of right now? I'd go with Lee and Halladay your thoughts?
Rob Neyer (12:02 PM)
Without actually looking them up, those would be my choices as well.
Wolf 1 (San Francisco)
Rob, I've been looking online all morning and can't find a list, so I'll see if you know: Who are the biggest unsigned prospects from last night's deadline? Which team screwed up most by not inking someone?
Rob Neyer (12:03 PM)
I was looking, too. Last night, anyway. Haven't seen a good list yet. So I'm afraid I can't help you. I'm sure there will be some great coverage today (and probably is already).
Mike (New York)
Rob, assuming the Mets keep K-Rod and that he is healthy next year, are the contractually obligated to use him as a closer? That $17.5 million option is terrifying and seems pretty achievable at this point. Could they just pitch him in the 8th inning if he gets close to finishing the required 55 games (assuming they aren't in contention at that point, which seems pretty likely) or is that not allowed?
Rob Neyer (12:04 PM)
My guess: If he's pitching well and the Mets remove him from the closer role, he'll file a grievance and he'll win. What a silly, silly contract.
John (Lexington, KY)
Keith Law's newest article has the three unsigned 1st round picks listed.
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
Thanks, John. Figured Klaw was on top of things.
Are the White Sox really that desparate that they would claim Manny Ramirez?
Rob Neyer (12:05 PM)
Two words for you, Bill: Mark Kotsay.
What does Halladay have over Wainwright? Wainwright leads Halladay in ERA, Wins, WHIP, OBA, and BABIP.
Rob Neyer (12:06 PM)
Yeah, he's been awesome. But Halladay has park effects over Wainwright, I'll bet. And (guessing here) SO/BB.
Steve (Middletown, CT)
Can a case be made that Ted Williams is the 2nd best player that ever lived behind Babe Ruth? I think if you try to project the numbers he would've put up during the years he missed to WWII and Korea he would end up with the career lead in Runs and RBI, he would've finished with at least 600 home runs and he would've ended up with 3,000+ hits. He also would've had a shot at 700 doubles and might've ended up with more walks than Barry Bonds. Am I completely off base here?
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
I'm hesitant to just fill in numbers for all those years Williams missed, as he might well have been injured (as he was, quite often, during the seasons in which he *did* play). Also, the American League in the late 1950s was not real strong. But yes, Williams career would probably look quite a bit better if not for the stupid wars.
Beauracrat (Dept. of Clarification)
Halladay has a lower FIP and xFIP. Higher K/9 and a 7.95 K/BB to Wainwright's 3.76. So, that's what he has over Wainwright.
Hey Rob, Halladay's WAR is 6.3 (leads NL), while Wainwright's is 4.7 (4th). Johnson and Jimenez are 2nd and 3rd
Rob Neyer (12:10 PM)
Mike Savino (Philadelphia)
Please tell me you're finally on the Padres bandwagon. Tell me something good about the Padres. I had to watch a recent SportsCenter where JP Ricciardi said that the Padres were going to miss the playoffs. In the NL. Where they have the best record and run differential and lead their division by 4 games. You know, I used to like Ricciardi when the only exposure I had to him was moneyball...
Rob Neyer (12:12 PM)
I won't speak to what Ricciardi might (or might not) have said because I wasn't there. But while the Giants might catch the Padres, considering the last 12 calendar months I have to think San Diego's more than a fluke.
I know he doesn't have the wins or strikeout numbers, but doesn't Tim Hudson deserve at least a mention for Cy Young?
Rob Neyer (12:13 PM)
Well, for me the question is whether you can make a reasonable argument for him *winning* the award. And I think that's really tough case to make, for Hudson. Especially considering how lucky he's been on balls in play.
Thoughts on NL MVP? Votto or Pujols or something cool I haven't even thought of?
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
Right now they're the guys. I'd love to see Ryan Zimmerman and Andres Torres get some MVP Love, but that's not going to happen.
Doesn't the average on balls in play sort of go out the window with a good sinker ball pitcher, such as Hudson. I mean, that's what he is actively trying to do. Now, if a strikeout pitcher like, say Tim Lincecum has a lot of luck on balls in play, then I understand. Am I wrong?
Rob Neyer (12:17 PM)
I'm not a big fan of throwing things "out the window," Harry. Hudson's BABiP is far, far, far lower than anything you can explain with "what he is actively trying to do."
Tony (Cincinnati, OH)
Does Josh Hamilton derserve the AL MVP?
Rob Neyer (12:19 PM)
Yes, he does. I don't get the impression that the voters are leaning his way, but then again there doesn't seem to be a better candidate. I suppose Cano's going to be seriously considered (as he should be) ...
Wainwright has 63.9 VORP (tops in all baseball, even position players) and 8.2 WARP. Halladay has 63.3 VORP & 7.4 WARP.
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
Don't you love it when smart metrics devised by smart people disagree? Keeps life interesting...
Hey Rob, is there a typical number that BABIP hovers around for pitchers across the board? Would you expect to have a lower BABIP with a sinkerballer, since they're going for weak contact when compared to a strikeout guy?
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
Yeah, the great majority of pitchers hover in the .290-.300 range, given enough innings. Some pitchers are able to consistently get that number slightly lower ... but nowhere NEAR Hudson's this season. I'm sorry, but it's just not a skill. Not that low.
Santana in his four + years as a starter w/Twins had a .268 babip. Was that luck or skill?
Rob Neyer (12:26 PM)
A little luck and a lot of skill. So let's round up a couple of points (for luck) and say, generously, that Santana's true skill was .270 BABiP.He was the best pitcher in the American League! Probably the best pitcher on Earth! Hudson's BABiP is .235 this season.
Do you think Mat Latos deserves consideration for Cy? His numbers as is are deserving, he's gotten better just about every month, and he's certainly the best pitcher on the team with the best record in the National League
Rob Neyer (12:27 PM)
If you could remove April from the record books, sure. But you can't.
Roy Rothschild (Chicago)
Tim Hudson has the second lowest BABIP and second highest LOB% to date in 2010. Smoke and mirrors...
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
And there it is. (He's real good, too.)
Starlin Castro is challenging for the batting title. I know this isn't as prestigious as it used to be but that would be pretty impressive for a 20 year old rookie don't you think?
Rob Neyer (12:28 PM)
Umm, speaking of luck ... No, seriously. Castro's a fantastic prospect and I'd love to see him with the crown. But he's been a little lucky, too. In all honesty.
18K in Tampa last night for Lee and Price ..... at what point do teams like the Rays lose their right to be subsidized. Ostensibly, one of the goals of revenue sharing is to make teams competitive so they don't NEED public assitance. Tampa continues to prove otherwise.
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
Monday's always a tough draw. But are the Rays, in a lousy ballpark, drawing significantly fewer fans than the Padres? What's more, the TV ratings in the Tampa Bay area are outstanding. It's the ballpark, not the market.
Speaking of luck, should we believe in Neil Walker?
Rob Neyer (12:30 PM)
I don't, yet.
Hi Rob, Jose Bautista changed his stance last September...and since then he hasn't stop hitting home runs. When does a fluke stop being a fluke?
Rob Neyer (12:31 PM)
Was thinking about him the other day ... I'd love to see a list of players who suddenly became power hitters, along with 1) how they (supposedly) did it, and 2) whether they were able to maintain it.
Oh knats (Wash DC)
Let's say Strasburg & Zimmermann develop as a 1-2 punch, Zimmerman settles into some nice peak years, Dunn re-signs for some power in the middle of the lineup, Harper arrives at the end of 2012...Nats may *gulp!* actually be contenders within a few years??
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
Yeah. They've got the organizational talent, just as the Rays did a few years ago. But is their front office smart enough to make the requisite canny trades and low-profile FA signings? I don't know.
Two one-hitters in a week. Will the Jays have the best rotation in baseball in 2 years?
Rob Neyer (12:37 PM)
I don't know about that, but between the Jays' starters and the Orioles' new manager, the AL East is looking more loaded than ever.
If the season ended today, do you think the Yankees offer Vazquez arbitration? Do you think they will at the end of the season?
Rob Neyer (12:38 PM)
Uh, no. The moment Vazquez's current deal expires, there's going to be a party in the Bronx and ...
Mike (San Diego)
Well the Nats just flipped Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos, so they have to be SOMEWHAT smart...
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
Good point, Mike. That was a fantastic move.
Andrew Randolph (Ventura CA)
Bud Black: Manager of the Year??
Rob Neyer (12:40 PM)
Let's see how the season plays out. Bruce Bochy and Bobby Cox have had to do some managing, too. Though Black obviously wins the "vs. Expectations" category.
Considering Caastro being lucky, are you referring to his BABip? I thought when I looked at it it was kind of high, but how does one have a high batting average without a high babip? And how do we know the norm for a 20 year old kid?
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
Good question, Johnny. Castro's got a .355 BABiP with Cubs this season. I just don't see anything in his minor-league record to suggest that .355 is more skill- than luck-based. But maybe he's just now maturing. It happens.
Paddy (St. Louis)
Rob, Great piece on head trauma/concussions today. I think Zimmer made bad decisions based on how his own injuries were handled, and I also remember reading in Drysdale's book that he thought Zimmer was one of those people who couldn't get out of the way (as opposed to Mays). Head injuries need to be taken more seriously, so good job. And right now, being a Dodger fan feels like a head injury.
Rob Neyer (12:45 PM)
Thanks. And nice punch line.
Christian (Washington, DC)
No mention of Josh Johnson in Cy Young chat above. Has his recent slide put him out of contention?
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
Realistically, yes. There are going to be other guys with similarly brilliant ERAs but more wins.
There was just an article saying that Gehrig didn't have ALS. have you read it yet, if so, thoughts?
Rob Neyer (12:47 PM)
My last blog post was on this very subject, Ben. Don't you RSS me? (Kidding. I'm just happy that you're here with me now.)
Sean Penn and Robert DeNiro both have birthdays today. Who has had the better career?
Rob Neyer (12:50 PM)
At the risk of getting killed by you guys, I'm going to say DeNiro and it's not close, if only because of Scorsese. I mean, just looking at Mean Streets and Taxi Driver and Raging Bull ...
Rob,What's the best website for stats like BABIP?Thanks!
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com both have most (all?) of the juicy stuff.
Nick D (New York)
Is there a historical basis for the "if the catcher drops the ball on the thrid strike the batter can run to first" rule?
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Sure. The people who designed the rules wanted every out to end with, essentially, a clean catch. That's why the catcher still gets, oddly enough, a putout on a strikeout caught in the air.
Pop quiz Rob, why can't a runner get a running start on a tag play and touch the base right as the fielder is catching the ball?
Rob Neyer (12:54 PM)
Because there's a rule against it, added when some smart-aleck like you thought of doing it.
Will we ever see instant replay like in football where each manager gets 1 challenge a game?
Rob Neyer (12:58 PM)
I don't know exactly how it'll work. But we'll see it, probably within a year after the current Commissioner leaves his post.Thanks for all the questions today. Until next time, don't forget that everyone's your brother until the rent comes due.