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Chat: Ian Miller

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday February 08, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Ian Miller.


Get baseball answers from the only BP author who has a new album out.

Ian Miller: all right, people. i'm hypercaffeinated and i've got a belly full of vegan scones. let's do this.

lpunkari (Fort Frances, Ontario): Any truth to the rumour that you will be matching the Professor's six and half-hour monolith chat from Tuesday by having Craig Goldstein discuss the San Diego Padres America's Cup team in full detail?

Ian Miller: Not a chance in Hell. Parks makes even the best among us feel #slack. Although getting Craig to do my chat for free is a pretty great idea. I'm gonna file that one away for later.

lpunkari (Fort Frances, Ontario): Any truth to the rumour that you will be matching the Professor's six and half-hour monolith chat from Tuesday by having Craig Goldstein discuss the San Diego Padres America's Cup team in full detail?

Ian Miller: Not a chance in Hell. Parks makes even the best among us feel #slack. Although getting Craig to do my chat for free is a pretty great idea. I'm gonna file that one away for later.

wcmartin (Philadelphia): Hi Ian: First time, long time. I'm interested in building a pedal board and am wondering if you have a favorite method. There are thousands of threads on the 'Net about homemade boards, but I'm curious if you have a favorite. Nothing fancy, but big enough to accommodate a power brick and 6-10 pedals. Thanks!

Ian Miller: Gosh, I haven't built a pedalboard in ages, but when I did, I was a fan of just screwing the pedals to a thin piece of plywood. If I routinely used more than, say 5 pedals, I'd seriously consider buying something though. Maybe a small Pedaltrain? Good luck!

Erix (Brooklyn): Ian, your chat has the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?

Ian Miller: Your premise, sir, is false. However, what popularity I do have I attribute to my clean living, strong jaw line, and general #want.

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): .240/.350/.500, 600 PA, 30 HR - realistic possibility from Chris Carter in the Astros' lineup this year?

Ian Miller: Certainly possible, but I'd say 30 bombs is a bit optimistic. That said, I LOVE his power, and MMP is a great fit for him, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. I'm a huge fan!

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Between Alex White and Brad Peacock, whom the Astros acquired this off-season, which do you like more to figure out their problems and become a solid mid-rotation starter?

Ian Miller: I have to admit to now knowing much about White, but I do like what I've seen and heard about Peacock. Looking at our projections for '13, we give White a slight edge, but beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. Flip a coin, I guess? :/

Derek (KC): Thanks for the chat! Pick your breakout candidate this year out of the following: Todd Frazier, Brandon Belt, Mike Moustakas, and Kyle Seager.

Ian Miller: I like this question. I feel like Frazier and Belt are closest to their ceilings; Belt, especially, has some fundamental mechanical stuff to address if he ever wants to reach his power ceiling. I like the little power boost Seager displayed last year, but I can't help but feel like Moose is the only superstar in the bunch. Yeah, he's scuffled some the past two years, but he's going to be 24 for the entire '13 season. He's still CRAZY young. Gotta go with him. And even if he doesn't figure it out this year, he'll definitely be the guy over the long haul.

Jim (Tennessee): Who you like better Jason Kubel or Josh Reddick?

Ian Miller: Hard to say w/o any context -- if we were talking solely about '13 I guess you could make an argument for Kubel, but I'd still pick Reddick. He flashes some elite tools (arm, footspeed) and is poised to see some positive regression this season. Big fan, and he's entering his age-26 season. We should see continued improvement for at least the next 2 seasons.

mike (Rhode Island): What's your take on Josh Johnson? Can he succeed in the AL East? What do you project for him?

Ian Miller: Tough assignment, man. First of all, he'll be pitching for the Jays, which assures that he'll sustain a horrible injury at some point. (OK, I'm kidding, but that's a legitimate concern.) And that division is no joke. NYY and BOS were 1st and 9th in MLB in runs scored last year, and BAL is vastly improved, so playing an unbalanced schedule in the AL East is a tall order.

That said, our projections for him are pretty rosy: 174 IP with a 3.51 ERA and 3.4 WARP. Hell, I'd take that in a minute!

Fletch (Tierra Del Fuego): I'm in a 5x5 12 team keeper league (keep 7). Keepers are Holliday, cliff lee, Chris sale, Aramis Ramirez, Billy Butler, Jose Bautista and Allen Craig. Been offered a trade: Craig for Matt Cain. Should I accept and why?

Ian Miller: With the caveat that fantasy is absolutely not my thing, I would do that deal for sure. You should be able to replace Craig's offense at 1B fairly easily, and Cain is an elite starter who will almost certainly give you 220 innings a year for the next couple of seasons. So yeah, pull the trigger!

DetroitDale (Florida (eternal spring training)): Who will have the better career going forward Anibal Sanchez or Jacob Turner?

Ian Miller: Gosh, that's a tough comp. Anibal is theoretically in the peak of his career, while Turner will turn 22 this year and has thrown less than 70 big-league innings. I don't know that to make of Turner yet, frankly. If I were a GM trying to decide between the 2 players, it would really depend on where my team was and what I felt my competition window looked like. If I needed a front of the rotation guy for 2013, I go Sanchez; if I'm looking beyond this season, I might go Turner. Tough call.

Jon (Seattle): What do you make of Danny Hultzen's late-season struggles last year? Just tired after a long year, or a bad sign for his future? How good do you think he'll be at his peak?

Ian Miller: One thing that jumps out at me immediately is a .351 BABIP in 2012. Some of that could be him, some is likely the lively PCL parks, but you have to feel that some is just bad luck. Fatigue could also be a factor. Also have to factor in the age-for-level. He was 22 for the entire '12 season.

Overall, I still believe he can be a legit front-line guy.

harjitsgill (Oakland. ): new vegan treats in the east bay? anything blowing your mind?

Ian Miller: Lessee here... I've only done Victory Burger once (the time I saw you) and didn't love it, but people are saying they've stepped their game up since they opened. So I need to get back there and check it out.

Other than that, not really. Timeless has raised the bar for all vegan sweets, and it looks like they'll be roasting their own beans there soon. I'm legitimately excited.

Ian Drury (London): In general punk rock has kind of an anti-sports thing going, yet baseball seems to be the exception to the rule. As a rock guy, why do you think this is?

Ian Miller: That's a good question, and something I've thought about a good bit. Early punk and hardcore definitely had an anti-team-sports "stance" (to the extent that punk had a stance about anything). I certainly subscribed to it back in the day.

I don't know that baseball is *the* exception -- I have lots of punk friends who are into soccer, American football (handegg), and other sports, but baseball does seem to appeal to punk people in a way that those other sports don't. Maybe it's the pace? The lack of contact? I'm not really sure. But I think about this quite a bit.

VeganRyan (Oakland, Ca): Feliz grabando, Ian! Any must-visit vegan restaurants in Phoenix for Spring Training? And what's the most vegan-friendly ballpark you've been to (any level)?

Ian Miller: Estamos hello, Ryan! You have GOT to go to Green New American Vegetarian in Tempe. It friggin' rules. There's also a Loving Hut (in Tempe, I think?) and an Udupi Palace. Other than that, most of your other options are chain-y and kind of unappealing.

Most vegan-friendly ballpark was probably O.co a few years ago, when they had a Black Muslim Bakery kiosk. That was the best! But now, it's probably AT&T/Mays Field.

Alex (Anaheim): Can the Yankees acquire a decent catcher (aside from undoing the Montero trade)? Or can Romine work out for them?

Ian Miller: Romine is definitely not the long-term solution, in my mind. NYY *can* acquire a catcher, but at what cost? Are they just trying to build a bridge to get to Gary Sanchez? What if he crashes and burns? Frankly i was really surprised they didn't acquire a first-division catcher this winter. Chris Stewart sure as hell ain't the answer.

Brady Childs (Ruston, Louisiana): What's the most metal thing you've ever heard of? I think it's Varg Vikernes stabbed Mayhem's guitarist Euronymous at his apartment for no reason, then made this face at court when getting the maximum sentence. http://www.metalarmyamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/VargVikernesSmile.png The other nominee Euronymous taking an arranged picture of his band's lead singer after he blew his head off with a shotgun and using it as an album cover.

Ian Miller: Sure, the Euronymous photo is probably the most overtly metal thing ever, but what about Rob Halford and Dug Pinnick coming out as gay? That's way cooler and more metal to me.

lpunkari (Fort Frances, Ontario): Maybe it's me, but I feel like the Red Sox might be underrated heading into this year, especially with the Jays hype through the off-season. Perhaps they won't win the AL East, but they certainly won't be cellar-dwellings will they?

Ian Miller: Man, I have no idea. I agree that they are potentially underrated -- there's still a helluva lot of talent on that roster. As mentioned earlier, they scored a ton of runs last season, even while being terrible. However, there are some gaping holes (pitching, anyone?). I think they're due for some teamwide regression, but how much can they reasonably expect?

OTOH, the Orioles aren't the AL East punching bag anymore, even though they're unlikely to repeat their 2012 feats. Yankees will score a shitload of runs. Jays have to get some breaks in '13, esp w regard to injuries. And the Rays always seem to be hanging around. So it's conceivable that Boston could end up in 5th. But it's equally likely they could end up in 3rd, or even 2nd (if absolutely everything broke their way).

dianagram (VORGville): Greetings Ian: Could you see any realm in which you and Professor Parks could do an album together. Your respective musical tastes are quite disparate, but sometimes that can create magic.

Ian Miller: I can absolutely envision that, and would jump at the chance to collab with the Professor. And I actually don't think our tastes are as different as you might imagine.

LoyalRoyal (Kansas): What are your thoughts on the mess in OF for the Mets? Does Jordany Valdespin have a real chance at close to 400 AB's? And, if so, what will his production look like? Thanks...

Ian Miller: BP is only projecting 280-something ABs for Valdespin right now, and that's without accounting for this potential Michael Bourn craziness. We're also projecting a .241 TAv, which is simply not good enough for a corner OF spot. I see him strictly as a utility guy on a very poor ballclub.

Chopper (Indy): Thanks for the chat, Ian! A. Hill just signed an extension, and I wondered what you thought his productivity would resemble this year. Also, what typoe of pitcher do you think Archie Bradley will be in the majors?

Ian Miller: My pleasure, Chopper. Aaron Hill is one of those guys who absolutely fascinates me. His career WAP(P) numbers are crazy: he's put up 4.5, 5.2, and 5.9 WARP in various seasons, but he's also posted -2.0 WARP. So I would expect some pretty dramatic regression this year, and the BP computer seems to agree with me: we've got him at .262 TAv and 2.7 WARP for 2013.

I'm a HUGE Archie Bradley fan. I've yet to see him in person, but I hope that changes this season -- I assume he'll be assigned to Visalia.

Paul Sporer (Austin): You recommended trading Allen Craig???????? Blocked, reported for spam, told Anonymous hacker syndicate that you punched a woman so they'll chase you down, window x'd, punched self in throat just for having read it.

Ian Miller: Too many first names, pass

70Glove (DC): With which Major Leaguer would you most like to spend a weekend with at a B&B in the Pennsylvania Countryside?

Ian Miller: Mike Morse, man. No question. (Can we do it in the Poconos, though?)

Mike (Miami): What team most embodies Kai's spirit?

Ian Miller: Excellent question. That team would have to be scrappy, committed to justice, and absolutely batshit crazy. If that doesn't describe the Pittsburgh Pirates, then I don't know what does.

Kai (Outside Your Office): Need to do this chat bandito-style, brotha.

Ian Miller: Of course, man! Whatever you want. (ties bandana over own face)

jon (Alabama): Willie Bloomquist on the WBC roster.....great move or best move?

Ian Miller: Tough call. Gonna hafta go with "grest."

cdgarosi (Maryland): Which team are you most excited to see this year? The Astros moving to the AL? The new look Dodger$$$$? Hamilton, Pujols and crew? The unbeatable Nats? Some other squad? Who holds the most intrigue for you entering Spring Training?

Ian Miller: Ooh, good one. Let's see... I guess I'm intrigued by the entire AL West, actually. I see the Angels improving while the Rangers dip a little. There's the Houston wrinkle, and can the A's re-create what they did last year? Also, the Mariners, uhh.... well, you get to see Felix every 5th day.

Also very intrigued by the prospect of the Nats and the Orioles building on their big 2012s (or regressing). Honestly, I just can't wait for the damn season to start.

VeganRyan (Oakland, Ca): Among the A's "surprise" breakouts (Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson's second half), who do you think has the best chance to maintain their performance in 2013?

Ian Miller: Gotta go with Reddick. Elite-level tools, and still super young. I feel like both Moss and Donaldson could build on their 2012 performances, but Reddick is uniquely poised to bounce back from a poor year and really show people what he can do in his age-26 season.

Mike (Miami): So you get to redesign a team with a metal/hardcore typeface. What team would you choose and what design?

Ian Miller: Not including the Tigers Olde English? OK...

let's go with the Miami Marlins in the Iron Maiden font http://www.dafont.com/iron-maiden.font
I mean, it can't be any worse than what they have now, right?

LoyalRoyal (General KC area): Ian, do we, as Royals fans, have a reason to be excited this season? On paper, that is the best rotation we've had since the glory days. Is that just a testament to how bad the rotation has been in recent years, or does this staff have a chance to be above average (especially in 2nd half when Duffy and Paulino possibly return)?

Ian Miller: Man, I wish I had something for you, but no. There are just too many holes. I feel like an incremental improvement is possible and even likely, but I'd stop short of "getting excited."

harjitsgill (Oakland, CA. ): What will the Giants do this year? It seems like the 'bring the old gang back' thing for now, but I assume Gary Brown gets *some* play this year after the hype? We pine (like a Cusack movie) for him...

Ian Miller: I think the hype has quieted significantly after last year in Richmond. His numbers were WAY off his inflated Cal League stats from the previous year. The jump to AA is considered the most significant and challenging, and maybe Brown held his own, but he didn't excel.

My sense right now is that he'll get a call-up in September, but, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, he won't see meaningful major-league time this year.

Mike (Rhode Island): Does Addison Reed improve on last year? What's his upside for this year?

Ian Miller: I'm not sure there's much room for him to improve in 2013. I mean, he'll likely get more saves now that he's the official closer, but I'd expect his peripherals to stay the same. His 2012 BABIP was a little high, so maybe he shows some improvement in hits/runs/ERA.

RTG (Grey Cubicle, DC): Dude, do you think the Nats will be better or worse than last year? We might get a full season of Strasburg, Denard Span is a nice addition, and Bryce Harper could get even better, which is sooo metal. But then again I feel like the whole infield could regress, as could Gio. What do you think?

Ian Miller: I was as shocked as anyone by Gio's performance last year. I predicted regression, and dude just absolutely dismantled the NL. So hell, you got me when it comes to Gio.

Harper will continue to get better for a LONG time, which is almost scary. 200+ innings from Strasburg, plus you've got Matt Purke lurking back there too... plus there aren't many holes in the lineup. I like them a LOT and wouldn't be surprised to see them not just win the NL East but go deep into the playoffs.

Jake Mintz (Maryland): Which major leaguer wins an episode of Chopped?

Ian Miller: Can John Axford cook? I feel like he can. Maybe it's just the mustache. I bet Pablo Sandoval can whip up a pretty decent spread too.

lpunkari (Fort Frances, Ontario): I just saw the latest photos of Timmy without the hippie hair. I can't go on. How shall I deal with such a traumatic event?

Ian Miller: Go to your happy place and don't come out until pitchers and catchers report.

Ian Miller: Thanks for everyone who participated! As always, this was a blast. If I didn't get to your question, or if you didn't get a chance to ask one, hit me up on twitter or email! <3 -ian

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