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Chat: Harry Pavlidis

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Friday March 15, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Harry Pavlidis.


PITCHf/x expert Harry Pavlidis drops by for his inaugural BP chat.

Harry Pavlidis: Happy Friday. Let's talk about baseball ... send in your questions, and I'll start up with the early submissions.

sergeantegnew (NYC): 5x5 10 team keeper league. Lineup is 14 Sticks, 9 Arms, have 4 Bench Spots, no DL. I am keeping Encarnacion at 1B, and have to decide between keeping of the 3: Starlin Castro, Eric Hosmer and Paul Goldschmidt. If I go all 1B, then my 1B, CI and Util are filled before the draft starts. So maybe the question is... Hosmer or Goldy?

Harry Pavlidis: The question should be Hos or Goldy, I agree. Goldy seems like more of 'sure thing' but I think you could argue Hosmer based on upside. I guess it will come down to the relative cost and if you need production now or in 2-3 years.

Ernie (Boston): Harry, What kind of years are you expecting out of Shane Victorino and Mike Morse ?

Harry Pavlidis: Declining. Morse is on the wrong side 30 heading into Safeco. Victorino is this year's Marlon Byrd

Todd (Denver): Hi Harry, What do you think of J. Chacin's chances of bouncing back off a horrible year ?

Harry Pavlidis: His velocity didn't fully come back even after he came off the DL. His, whiffs, ground balls and velocity have been trending down since 2010. So I expect he'll put up more innings and better numbers than last year, but we may have already seen his peak. I do like his stuff, though.

Angelo (Philly): Harry, Do you think Dominic Brown breaks out this year or is it more of the same ? Your predictions for him please.

Harry Pavlidis: He puzzles me. When the Soriano/Brown trade rumors were floating around Chicago this winter I gave this some thought. I don't give this answer with a strong degree of confidence, but I don't expect much. Second division starter, or a fourth OF. He has (or had) higher upside so that can't be totally discounted. Here's a more optimistic take http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130315&content_id=42781670

SixToolPlayer (Wershington): How useful do today's pitching coaches think PITCHf/x data is? Do they "trust" it to give them useful information? Also, when are the Cubs going to win their next World Series?

Harry Pavlidis: That is a good question, but I don't know. Pretty sure you'll get a range of answers, caveated like crazy. That said, they are professional observers and communicators, so some may be interested in leveraging the data/visuals. The Cubs next World Series will be sometime this week in someone's hacked up Strat-o-Matic set. It's a big world, someone's out there. Chill the cardboard champagne.

Rice Cube (Chicago): Who is the best current pitching coach and why?

Harry Pavlidis: Greg Maddux, Team USA. Because he's Greg Maddux.

cowsarecool220 (Chicago): Why have some organizations had such bad luck with the health of their pitching prospects? (Indians and Padres come to mind.) Is it bad luck or is there something in their development program?

Harry Pavlidis: Great question, and, again, I have no good answer to match. Doug Thornburn's latest got me thinking about this topic, check it out if you are a BP subscriber http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19895 in a nutshell, Doug compares Tampa and Milwaukee pitchers and finds a striking pattern

Jeff (Manahawkin, NJ): In a 5X5 Roto Auction Keeper League, would you keep Jay Bruce at $32 and or Jon Niese at $9. (Some HUGE Mets fans in the league who'd pay 15-17 for Niese.)

Harry Pavlidis: Then couldn't you trade Niese to someone who thinks he's a bargain? That might be best value for what you get in return. Exploit the market!

padremurph (San Diego): Is the Max Fried comparison to Kershaw legit or is that just because they were both prep lefty's? How do their curveball's compare?

Harry Pavlidis: It's probably the tall lefty prep thing. Comps are often based on silly stuff (and way too many are race/nationality based) Reports on Fried's curveball are excellent. I'm yet to see him myself so I can't really compare him to Kershaw.

Tyler Drenon (TheDoubleday.com): Bruce Chen is weird. He was much better in 2011 than 2012 on the tangible surface, but some of his metrics point to an improvement. 5% increase in IFFB%, SIERA went down, K% up, BB% down...his pitch F/X values are all down save his change up. He's known for his pastiche of arm slots as well. How does all of this gel? Which is the genuine Chen?

Harry Pavlidis: It's a fine line for guys like Chen. He's going to hang around like a Doug Davis or something, effective enough often enough to keep getting work.

Tyler Drenon (TheDoubleday.com): Luke Hochevar is in the bullpen. One step closer to the stands or is he the Judd Apatow of pitching? (Only good in small doses.) Does his stuff get better or worse?

Harry Pavlidis: Another Royals question for Tyler :) Pitchers usually do better in relief (see Tom Tango's Rule of 17) with the assumption they learn how to get ready for a game quickly, instead of having all sorts of time to get ready before a start. His stuff is his stuff, but he may add a couple MPH if he adapts physically to the role change (and you should expect him to).

lorecore (phila): Change ups are commonly known to be more effective vs opp handed batters. Does pitch fx show if its stronger for rhp v lhb or lhp v rhb, or neutral?

Harry Pavlidis: This is the type of question that I can--and should--turn into an article. There's a platoon difference in whiffs (32% v 29%) and grounders (52% v 49%) that really doesn't vary if it's RHP or LHP

Jimmy (PA): Would you rather have S.Santos or M.Harvey? Santos seemingly now has the leg up on closing in Toronto, but I would like to acquire another starting pitcher.

Harry Pavlidis: Harvey. This is a no-brainer. You can find saves on the waiver wire, while Matt Harvey is a valuable asset.

Miggy (Detroit): What's your projection for L.Berkman in 2013? Arlington seems like a perfect fit with the ability for him to get plenty of DH time to assist in keeping him healthy.

Harry Pavlidis: I'm with you, I think he'll do well. PECOTA has him at 269/379/474, so we have a three-way match here.
Go Puma.

Stan (MI): Do you think C.Rasmus can be an under the radar fantasy success in 2013? Better line up, less pressure? What say you?

Harry Pavlidis: Meh, not really. I guess if you're hunting for runs and rbi you can hope that the better lineup helps him, but that's probably not a solid approach

The Shoe (Marvin Gardens): Hi, thanks for the chat. Who have you seen that may not have the best "stuff" but finds success because of really good at sequencing?

Harry Pavlidis: Ted Lilly pops to mind. You can even point to late career Greg Maddux. I suspect it's a common trait with veteran guys, and a good research idea. We'll touch on this point a couple more times based on the questions in the queue.

Alex (Anaheim): Do you think Nova can hold down the #5 starter's job in New York?

Harry Pavlidis: Sure, and I'd take him over Phelps. Actually, they'll need both guys. I'd expect Nova to show improvement from his 2012 stat line, while Phelps may be due to regress in the other direction. I'll take the power arm.

Dave (Boston): Do you think Ubaldo Jimenez has a chance to rebound in '13?

Harry Pavlidis: not really. His velocity has been downward since 2007. PECOTA likes his chances a heckuva lot more than I do FWIW. He's one of those guys who will need to learn how to pitch with command and finesse.

Bob (Oakland): Which levels do you see Gustavo Cabrera starting and finishing the season?

Harry Pavlidis: He's 17 or so, right? Probably in DSL and maybe short season ball if he forces his way up.

mdtz (chicago): what's your take on the notion that tommy john survivors come back strong and then tail off faster than other pitchers? for example, some speculate that this will be strasburg's peak because of the attrition rates on new ligaments.

Harry Pavlidis: I don't know, the surgical technique and rehab programs are constantly advancing so what the data says now may not tell us what things will be like in a few years. It's a moving target. How much of the post-surgery attrition is age/stuff related when you control for TJS? I suspect there are answers out there on this

Paul (DC): Any thoughts on pitchers in the WBC being at a higher risk for injury during the regular season?

Harry Pavlidis: I don't buy it. The clubs have their pitching coaches dictating the workloads from afar, and the rules protect the guys anyway.

Tim (Coomer Bay): Who are your favorite college hitters right now?

Harry Pavlidis: I just started watching college ball recently, and mostly I'm watching the pitchers. Any good names I should keep an eye out for?

Greg36 (At work): Thoughts on Adam Laroche this year? Think he can put up similar numbers to last year?

Harry Pavlidis: I don't think a 33 year old will repeat the career year he had at 32. He'll be good but I'll be surprised if he can repeat that performance. That's not a knock, just a high bar to reach again. His defense is a plus, and there's plenty of pop around him. So not a problem.

seanlahman (Rochester, NY): Do you think analysis of the Pitch F/X data has given us any insight the relationship between injuries and workload? Might there be differences based on pitch selection?

Harry Pavlidis: I don't think you need PFX data to answer the first question. We may have enough historical data now to start looking at the second question without having to cull scouting data, so that's a nice thing. We are at the point where we have so many years of data that we can look at these topics with a little more confidence in our results. Even more so for some teams who have had minor league data coming for 3 or 4 years now. Out here we've got a good pile of information. So I didn't answer your question, Sean :-)

Phil (Cleveland): Has Ubaldo increased his veloicty compared to last year?

Harry Pavlidis: haven't heard, and he hasn't had a PITCHf/x game (only Peoria and Surprise have systems for Spring). Based on his history, and I mentioned his earlier, I'm guessing the answer we're going to find is "no".

Steve (S.F.): What are the scouts saying/projecting for Lincecum for 2013? How hard has he been throwing?

Harry Pavlidis: I don't know how hard he's throwing, but his World Series relief appearances haven't been forgotten. He could benefit from coming out of the bullpen, but they should ride him as a starter until they can't. He's one of those guys who I don't expect to be the same guy again. His delivery requires so much effort and coordination that it never looked like it would age well. And he had back issues early on, which not everyone has forgotten about. There's no consensus as far as I can tell, but I feel like his rotation days are numbered. That said, Long Live The Freak.

Sexy Rexy (New York): Harry... welcome to your inaugural chat! Who are three hitters and three pitchers you expect to breakout this year (or really build on last year's performance).

Harry Pavlidis: that's a tough question, I haven't prepped for my fantasy drafts yet....Samardzija and Matusz where my picks last year, and I was 1 for 2. I think both will progress again. Mike Leake is this year's new pick. I'm hearing good stuff about Max Scherzer FWIW. At the plate, wow, let's see. Starlin Castro although I may be biased is one. Cespedes could be a superstar this year.

Jeff (Davenport): Which prospects will everyone know about by the end of the year?

Harry Pavlidis: Oscar Tavares. Zach Wheeler. Wily Peralta (who should be on my breakout list)

Corey (Milwaukee): Harry, welcome! Enjoyed your piece about a month ago on the Brewers' Rotation. Now a month later, besides Gallardo and Estrada, how do you see the rotation shaping up? From the last 3 spots, anyone you would target this year?

Harry Pavlidis: as I just noted I like Peralta. Fiers seems to be locking in. I liked what I saw out of Burgos in the WBC (wrote a bit about him today, free article here at BP) so I won't be surprised if he gets the spot. Put it this way, i'm feeling better now that I did when I wrote it.

Kyle (Tacoma): What early impressions do you take from Taijuan Walker's big league camp?

Harry Pavlidis: he's awfully impressive. Huge, great stuff. He could be very close.

phin (Mke, WI): what are you thoughts on the brewers starting rotation this year? i'm excited that, for the first time in a long time, we aren't overpaying an average vet.

Harry Pavlidis: I like that thinking. There are enough question marks but, yes, they're not blowing cash on guys which is nice. I just wonder how much offense they'll get. Losing Gamel hurt, Ramirez is hobbled (hope that doesn't linger). But, yes, the pitching is alright. PS I dig Axford

Paul (Santa Fe): Watch DJ Peterson 3B from New Mexico

Harry Pavlidis: there you go folks, a college bat to watch from an apparently nearby observer

Roman (Bloomington): True or False. Mark Melancon will be the Pirates closer by the end of the year. Do you like how he's been throwing?

Harry Pavlidis: I'll say he'll get some saves but I won't say he'll be named closer. Haven't seen him this spring, but I like his stuff. He's got a great breaking ball and cuts his fastball (can sink it, too).

Ernie (Chicago): Should we expect much from Carlos Carrasco this year as a starting pitcher?

Harry Pavlidis: No. But he does have a chance to 'put it all together'. But I wouldn't put much more than 150 innings of replacement level work in my expectation bucket (that's not a bad thing). So, don't get your hopes up but don't be totally surprised if he's one of those 'it clicked' guys.

Paul (St. Paul): Harry, Do you think Aaron Hicks will initially struggle and get sent back down or does he have a good year and stay up for good ?

Harry Pavlidis: For sure he'll struggle at times but eventually stick. How the Twins handle him is another question.

phin (Mke, WI): you wonder how much offense the brewers will get?? hart won't be out that long and weeks has to be better than he was last year. people forget the brewers led the NL in runs, HRs & SBs. the offense is the only thing i'm not worried about.

Harry Pavlidis: Hart and Ramirez are dinged, so that's a reason to go into the season with concern. I can see them repeating last year's output but they're also an additional injury or a lingering existing injury away from trouble.

Chesty (New Bern NC): Picking 4th in 12 team head to head with r,RBI,hr,ave,xbh,sb.who do you pick? Thanks Harry

Harry Pavlidis: Mike Trout, after ensuring the other 3 teams ahead of me take closers.

Chris (KC): For Steve in San Fran, Keith Law reported the other day that Lincecum's fastball is sitting 90-91.

Harry Pavlidis: thanks, Chris.

Matt (Chicago): How many minor league parks have PITCHf/x? Is that data made available to anyone other than the home team?

Harry Pavlidis: about 40. And yes, the data providers have a data sharing program. The more parks you install in, the more data you get from other clubs (it's a lot, more than MLB)

Matt (Chicago): Pedro Strop's fastball had great armside movement last night. Who has the best tail on their fastball in the majors?

Harry Pavlidis: I think Chris Sale. Fernando Rodney for the relievers. Check out our leader board tool, use the HMOV sort (keep in mind Tampa's PFX system is a little off so their lefties seem to get extra tail) http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pitchfx/leaderboards/

dhorrell1956 (Winston-Salem, NC): Hey Harry, What are your thoughts on the long term prospects for Starling Marte and Zack Cozart.

Harry Pavlidis: solid but not stars

Paul (Oakland): Harry, I read where Oakland signed 23 year old Antonio Lamas from Mexico as a SS. I read that the A's are not so high on Nakajima so do you think this kid has a shot later in the year ?

Harry Pavlidis: He's old enough where he could get a look. But he's small and hasn't played against much competition yet.

Harry Pavlidis: and that's it. I think I got all the questions done, too. Thanks everyone. Let's do this again some time. Have a great weekend.

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