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Chat: Sam Miller

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday November 12, 2013 1:00 PM ET chat session with Sam Miller.


Noted podcast co-host Sam Miller answers, or attempts to answer, your questions about baseball.

Sam Miller: Some days you sneak up on a chat, and some days the chat sneaks up on you. Tell me what you want to talk about and that's what we'll talk about.

Mike (Ri): Hi Sam Thanks for the chat always enjoy your truth and a Analysis. Real quick if u were starting a fantasy baseball team who would be top 5-10 guys u would build around??

Sam Miller: 1. Mike Trout
2. Bryce Harper
3. Andrew McCutchen
4. Miguel Cabrera
5. Robinson Cano

But those are boring answers. If you want to know which players I might target at some point in a draft or auction, I seem to like Harper, Choo, Yan Gomes, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager a bit more than the average person.

This chat is off to a slow start!

Reed (Texas): What's the best "Yo Mama so fat" joke you have ever used?

Sam Miller: Hmmm have to think on it but the best JOKE I ever used, not a Yo Mama joke, goes like this:

George Bush and Dick Cheney (the politics don't matter; I just heard it when they were in power) are hunting. They hear rustling in the bushes and raise their guns. A man jumps out and says "don't shoot, don't shoot, I'm not a deer!"

Bush shoots him.

"Hey George," Cheney asks, "why'd you shoot him? He said he wasn't a deer."

"Oh," Bush says. "I thought he said he was a deer."

Bubba (St. Louis): Who's articles require the most editing?

Sam Miller: Whose

Broke (In College): What major do you think would be the most beneficial to a career in baseball?

Sam Miller: Hm. I've had smart people in many professions tell me that the major that is most beneficial to *any* career is engineering. I totally understand why. If you want to be a lawyer-- major in engineering. If you want to be a businessman -- major in engineering. I don't see an immediate application for engineering in baseball, but in five years I can.

Basically, though, if you want to be a front office smart guy you need to know how to do advanced database work. That's the skill set in demand. If you want to be a front office Baseball Guy, it's more work ethic, passion, people skills than a major.

dianagram (VORGville): 1. Have you ever eaten a McRib, and if so, did a little part of your soul (or stomach) die? 2. Is 20 years the new "obsolete" timeframe for major league stadia?

Sam Miller: We used to look forward to McRib season when I was a kid. Also Monopoly season. One by one, fast food restaurants gross me out and I can never go back. I enjoy a few fast food restaurants still (I'll still eat Taco Bell!) but I haven't been to a McDonalds in 10 years.

The thing about Turner Field is that it was never really state of the art as it was. It wasn't obsolete or anything, but my guess is that they would have gladly taken a new stadium three years after it opened and they realized it was just a so-so new stadium. AT&T is 14 years old, I believe, and nobody will talk about replacing it for a very long time. Petco is 10 or 11 and still feels new. Etc.

Matt (Fargo): Joe Mauer is a top 3 first basemen next year and hits 20 home runs in 155 games. Odds?

Sam Miller: Votto clearly no. 1, at least as long as Miguel Cabrera is playing 3B (which conceivably he might not be). I tend to think that Pujols is going to have a very strong recovery now that his foot is unhurt, but he'll either be much better than Mauer or much worse. Mauer or Goldschmidt next. He's John Olerud, right? Olerud was only very briefly a top-3 1B, but over the course of more than a decade he was a top-5.

ssimon (Pelham, NY): What is at stake when you and Ben do a draft on the podcast?

Sam Miller: Getting through 25 minutes without saying something stupid or wrong or offensive

Tim (NYC ): How do we know this is actually Sam Miller listening questions and not Ben Lindbergh?

Sam Miller: To answer the previous question, really: no stakes. Not necessary. We care about winning enough to get past our otherwise knee-jerk You Can't Predict Baseball reluctance.

I genuinely don't know how you know that is actually me and not him (or him and not me). Figure out a way to test it, smart guy.

BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): I bought Dollar Sign on the Muscle as an E-book and am having second thoughts about that. Can I get it switched to a real book version?

Sam Miller: I was delighted to see the day that it came out that the market for older copies of the book had collapsed. It was like $80 new and $16 used on Amazon, which is something like a third or so of what I believed they cost a week earlier. It's too good a book not to be widely available. Best book.

Marlin Byrd (Philly): If the Dodgers acquire Price, wouldn't they have the best rotation we've seen? Or would you still rank the old Braves or Phillies rotations higher?

Sam Miller: Kershaw:Halladay:Maddux

Eyeballing, I'd take the Dodgers last of the three. Clearly, in my mind, though I'm extremely open to the idea that Price is the second-best pitcher in baseball a year from now. Price+Tanaka gets it done, though.

Matt (Fargo): Is 2015 a realistic expectation for the Twins to compete? What are the chances of both Buxton and Sano turning into all-star players?

Sam Miller: No. I know there's talent in the system, but I wouldn't bet on the Twins to compete ever at this point. They will, of course. But I won't bet on it. The chances of Buxton and Sano both turning into All-Star players (where All-Star = 1 appearance) are incredibly high. The chances of both turning into Hall of Famers is probably 1 in 84, based on my extremely quick actuarial look at BA's historic prospect rankings.

Sloppy Joe (Manwich ): Hey Sam, thanks for the chat. Really enjoy Ben and Jason's work. Any chance BP can get another old timey book, like Prophets of the Sandlot (I think that's it) republished?

Sam Miller: There's not nearly the demand out there for Prophet of the Sandlot, but it's really, really, really good, and the obvious book to read next once you've devoured Dollar Sign. It's a top-10 baseball book for me.

Stephen (Jackson): What baseball podcasts do you partake? What are your primary sources (outside of BP) for baseball-related news?

Sam Miller: the only sports podcast I listen to is Hang Up and Listen. I mostly get baseball news from skimming Hardball Talk; I get a deeper perspective on baseball news from R.J.'s Transaction Analyses; and I get good writing by reading Grant Brisbee and otherwise following the recommendations of the 117 people I follow on Twitter.

Steve (Los Angeles): Do you know of any peer reviewed articles studying team chemistry in baseball?

Sam Miller: There is an article studying team chemistry in baseball that is currently undergoing peer review. Peers, in this case, are others in the field of group dynamics, which strikes me as somewhat problematic. The work that is going to get to something true will probably be done by academics hired by teams, or somehow working directly with baseball-knowledgable smart people.

Cal Guy (Cal): Sam, who would you rather have in a dynasty league, T. Walker or Gausman?

Sam Miller: Walker

Mike (Chi-town): Shark & Castro - if & what can they bring in return to the Cubs?

Sam Miller: Hate it when I click on a question before I realize just how complicated an answer would be.

With Castro, there are guys who are change-of-scenery candidates and there are guys who, with just a little twist of the knob, are instead cast as headaches. I think headache is almost always the right way to think of it. Not that players who have had issues with coaching or motivation are irredeemable, but problems tend to travel. I'd take Castro for six years and $48 million, but I wouldn't be dying to.

I like Samardzija a lot. I don't think there's a huge difference between him and where Gio Gonzalez was when Gio was traded. Service time was a big difference, though. I'd think a lower-100 prospect, an on-the-rise, and a Factor on the Farm for him.

whjohnson37 (Houston): If instantaneous teleports existed, would there be MLB franchises in Latin America, Europe, and Asia?

Sam Miller: I don't think there's the money in Latin America to support a franchise. The fan interest, but not the fan willing to pay $9 for beer from a craft beer station.

No interest in Europe.

Asia, yes. Four teams.

Stephen (Jackson): The most impactful transaction(s) the Cardinals should make this offseason would be...

Sam Miller: I'd try to get Jed Lowrie.

(I just checked and Ben scooped that answer by including Lowrie in his article today. Dang. I shouldn't have suggested Lowrie to him yesterday.)

Joshua (Toronto): Given the silly quirk in Lackey's contract that has him making the league minimum in 2015, doesn't he have rather enormous trade value coming off this season?

Sam Miller: I think you could make the case he's as valuable in trade as James Shields was last year, which isn't the same as saying he could bring back as much as James Shields did last year.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Sam, What are the odds Y. Ventura remains a starter?

Sam Miller: If he were, say, a Dodger or a Cardinal, I might say very slim. As a Royal, I'd guess an 85 percent chance he stays a starter for at least the next three years, and a 45 percent chance for at least the next seven years, but a 0 percent chance for at least the next 60 years.

Boner (right here): Who's your favorite actor to portray JFK? I'm always partial to Martin Sheen. At this point race shouldn't even matter so I hope to see Don Cheadle get a chance.

Sam Miller: Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan once!

Robert (California): So who's gone from the Angels this offseason? Trumbo, Kendrick, and Bourjos?

Sam Miller: I guess Kendrick, because it's easier to imagine Grant Green sticking at second (to replace Kendrick) than at short (to replace Aybar).

Robert (California): Were you as depressed as I was reading the Angels Top 10 Prospects?

Sam Miller: Oh gosh, no, I only get depressed over things that matter, like when I miss a green light by a half second because the guy in front of me was looking at his phone. I've never been big on Cowart, but he's the only guy on there I'd say has better than a 5 percent chance of producing 15 WARP in his career.

Dylan (AFL): I continue to be curious of the origin and identity of @based_balled

Sam Miller: The origin was just that I was in Target with my phone waiting for my wife to do something and I sent out that tweet suggesting it. The identity isn't as important as you'd think. Whoever it is has completely created his/her own character/voice with it. It's a total joy.

Spam (The Canned Meat) (Hormel): My friend Joe said when he was a kid he played third base during kickball games because he idolized Bill Mueller. Is their anything more sad?

Sam Miller: There is nothing more sad because Kickball should only be two bases. Home, and The Base. And you should have to score on your kick, or else you're out. There should be baserunners in a properly played game of kickball. So, so sad.

Brewin (Gasthaus): Will Khris Davis get a starting job this spring? If so, Milwaukee or elsewhere? Lastly, what kind of numbers is he likely to put up? Cheers...

Sam Miller: Yes, in Milwaukee, and .234/.311/.477. He's going to be your favorite player at some point.

Frank (LA): The Dodgers will spend "x" amount on free agents this summer. What is x?

Sam Miller: Not counting the $28 million they spent on Guerrero, I'll say another $28 million.

whjohnson37 (Houston): Whose front office would you most want running your club if your resources were held constant?

Sam Miller: It just seems impossible that anybody can answer anything other than the Rays. I could imagine a Dream Team front office involving plenty of non-Rays, but if it's the whole front office, as is? The Rays. Easily the Rays.

ray6072 (Lousiana): been in a debate with a friend...who would you rather have over the next 5-7 years, Freddie Freeman or Will Meyers? How close is the decision, and what is the deciding factor for you?

Sam Miller: Freeman, it's not that close, and because there's no chance of failure for Freeman at this point. His floor is average. Myers' floor is still very much Delmon Young.

Stephen (Jackson): Were you satisfied with the finale of Breaking Bad? Have you found an alternative to fill that void?

Sam Miller: Very satisfied. The Shield.

The Shoe (Marvin Gardens): What kind of weirdo kickball are you playing?

Sam Miller: Apparently, something called One Old Cat.

Christopher (TN): Your kickball game pretty closely described One Old Cat, if I'm not mistaken.

Sam Miller: Alternate name: Weirdo Kickball.

Greased Lightning (The 70s): Why should I preorder the new BP annual?

Sam Miller: I don't think there's any reason to, besides your natural forgetfulness. We keep telling you to just because ABC, man. ABC.

nrf2001 (New York City): Which 2013 playoff team will have the longest wait to return to the postseason? And how many years?

Sam Miller: Pirates, 14 years.

LoyalRoyal (Kansas): What's your best guess on the Royals rotation: Shields, Duffy, Guthrie, ???, & ??? opening day? In Aug/Sept playoff push? Thanks...

Sam Miller: That plus Ventura and Davis. It's not exciting. Duffy's cool though.

Spam Miller (Tangerine County): Considering what bros like Bowden & Heyman are suggesting mid-level FAs are gonna fetch (Sup Mar-Byrd) are team going to think a little bit harder about non-tendering some borderline cases?

Sam Miller: Well it just changes where the border is, right?

Nick (Houston): Hi Same thanks for the chat! Do you think Jason Castro can build off of his 2013 success?

Sam Miller: No! I think he can regress not that much, though.

Wesley (Utah): Ben Lindbergh doesn't think you'll make it to 100 posts in your re-reading Nate Silver series. What do you have to say about that

Sam Miller: I don't know. I mean, he managed to keep his monthly This Week In Catcher Framing series going through the whole season. Wait, this *week*? hmmm

Larry (Sacramento): The LA Angels farm system is so bad that....

Sam Miller: ...Albert Pujols qualifies as the Angels' "young talent"

David (Montreal): Thoughts on a skills competition during all star week(best arm, speed etc)? Similar to NHL.

Sam Miller: Nah. Good arms are only fun in context -- when they're racing a runner, when they're off-balance throws, etc. Fast running outside of game action is the boringest thing in the world. The world's 10 fastest runners race each other practically every week and nobody watches.

nrf2001 (NYC): Which is more likely -- your moving to New York or Ben moving to California?

Sam Miller: Well I have a kid and you can't raise kids in New York unless you don't care how they turn out.

Marty (Fairfield, CT): Are you guys able to work with ESPN talent? Mark Simon would be a fantastic guest, and he's pretty much been shut out of the ESPN Podcasting since they cancelled their top baseball show.

Sam Miller: That sounded like I was saying something mean about New York kids. I wasn't! Many turn out to be amazing and awesome. You just have no friggin control over it, if you're the parent. You just get lucky or you don't.

Yeah we can work with ESPN talent. Mark's great. Thanks for the suggestion.

Matt (Fargo): Do you lark about their never competing due to a complete and utter mistrust of their being conceptually capable of contriving a concept of pitching that portends the picking of pitchers who are perilous to opposing players?

Sam Miller: This is about my Twins pessimism. And you said it!

The Wolf (Noggin): Same, which of Friedman's trade looks the best now out of Kazmir, Garza, Jackson, and Shields? Has to be Kazmir right? Shed money and got Rodriguez and Torres.

Sam Miller: Probably, though it's worth remembering that Kazmir was really good for two months with the Angels. He got broke after; he wasn't necessarily or predictably broke at the time. I still like the Shields trade most from the Rays perspective, regardless of the final math on the results.

Bubba Spammell (Durham): In the spirit of Benjamin's fine piece today, who are your top five candidates to start at catcher for the Rays next season?

Sam Miller: That's a really good question that I'm going to suggest Benjamin do!

Bubba Spammell (Durham): In the spirit of Benjamin's fine piece today, who are your top five candidates to start at catcher for the Rays next season?

Sam Miller: And he'll think I came up with the suggestion all by myself!

Ed (Cranford, NJ): What are your thoughts about Roman Quinn's potential?

Sam Miller: Nil. I hate pure speed guys as prospects. Hate 'em.

Sam Miller: That's the chat! See you next chat!

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