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Chat: Sam Miller

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday December 11, 2012 1:00 PM ET chat session with Sam Miller.


Newly minted Baseball Writers' Association of America member Sam Miller writes answers to your questions about baseball (in America).

Sam Miller: OK It's time to chat about baseball because this is a "chat" on a website about baseball with the word baseball in the title. We literally have no other option. Let's chat!

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Newly-minted BBWAA member, huh? So hypothetically, if they were to let you vote already, yes or no to Jeff Bagwell in the Hall of Fame?

Sam Miller: Yes of course I would. For one thing, I have roughly one trillion Jeff Bagwell rookie cards that would benefit from his (very deserving) induction. I'm not sure anybody has thought through the conflict of interest inherent in giving a vote to the baseball card generation.

carligula (Oakland): Would you rather a) see Tim Raines and Jack Morris go into the Hall of Fame together this year or b) see neither of them ever go in?

Sam Miller: I feel sort of like a jerk for saying this, but probably neither. I don't really like that that's my answer; it seems really petty, and certainly there's more happiness in the world if more people feel special than if fewer do. I just think Morris is further below the standard than Raines is above it. I also think undeserved praise has a way of backfiring, and makes people bat down that praise with greater ferocity. If Morris makes it, he makes it and he'll be happy. He'll also be a punchline/negative example for a long time.

Bryan (Missouri): If the Royals are done for the offseason how many wins do you expect from them in 2013?

Sam Miller: Round about 81, but I suspect I'm underselling them more than the opposite, so maybe 82. There's a tendency to focus on the guys who are added rather than those who are subtracted, and the Royals certainly subtracted well by getting rid of Sanchez last year. On the other hand, Sanchez and an out-of-his-mind Guthrie combined for a 4.75 ERA, and I'm not totally sure Guthrie is *that* much better than that.

Matt (Oregon): What is your favorite article you ever wrote?

Sam Miller: Hm. Probably this one:
For BP maybe this one but nobody else seemed all that into it,
or perhaps this one,

I once wrote about a trip to Baja California that a high school class took and I really liked that one, too! It only lives on some strange message board now but it does live on that strange message board!

Read all those later, not now because now we're chatting.

Squidwai (San Francisco): Any chance Tommy Hanson rebounds to the pitcher he was a few years ago.

Sam Miller: There's a chance in the same way that there's a chance that Scott Kazmir does and in the same way there was always a chance that Ryan Vogelsong would be an All-Star in his mid-30s, but I would imagine it would take a couple surgeries or an almost unimaginable shift in technique.

J3FFR3Y (work): 2 proven ML pitchers for 4 prospects with a grand total of 2 ML games. This was NOT a bad deal at all for the Royals, right?

Sam Miller: Well, I think it is, but other reasonable people think it isn't. But I have a real quibble with the framing that you use, and that a lot of people use, to defend this move for the Royals. "Two proven for four unproven" means that, what, no trade of prospects for a veteran can ever be bad? If the Royals had acquired Ervin Santana and Dan Haren for Myers, Starling, Odorizzi and Zimmer a month ago, would it be defensible because prospects fail? Of course not. Obviously, prospects fail. It's part of the math. But the key thing is that there is math and doing the math is enlightening and doing the math suggests this isn't a great move for the Royals, in a vacuum. (It's not a vacuum is maybe a stronger argument.)

dipotonotdipoto (brooklyn): A season later: Moyer, Kazmir, or Prior?

Sam Miller: That refers to this article I wrote, wondering who would win more games going forward of the three: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16291

Moyer got his one (actually two) and the other two seem to be in worse position this year, though maybe Kazmir isn't simply by having shown some desire to not retire. Kazmir didn't have a bad Dominican Winter League, 21 strikeouts and six walks in 19 innings (though no win). I'm tempted to pick him because two wins just isn't that many but for now I'll stick with Moyer.

Harley (Philadelphia): What are you listening to?

Sam Miller: Thanks for asking! Nearing the end of D'Angelo's Voodoo, Willie Nelson's Red-Headed Stranger about to start.

Leaping Lanny Poffo (Downer's Grove, ILL): If you could change any rule in baseball...which one?

Sam Miller: I would make one day game mandatory for every weekday.

Mike Z (Seattle): Would you rather a) see Tim Raines and Miguel Olivo go into the Hall of Fame together or b) see neither of them ever go in?

Sam Miller: Yes. Thank you. Putting it this way makes me feel not as bad for choosing to exclude in the previous iteration of this question. There have to be standards!

Alex (Anaheim): Does Dayton Moore have any right to be so defensive after trading possibly the best prospect in the game?

Sam Miller: Yes! He has access to so much more relevant information than we do that he has the right to wonder where we get off criticizing him, and he has earned the right to be defensive by being promoted to one of the highest positions in the sport. That said, I'm not sure how much of an information edge a team's GM has over BA when it comes to high-profile and high-minors prospects. Some. I'm not sure it's that much, though. We live in an information age, and I'm 70 percent certain that there are currently teams who, for instance, draft worse than a BA-generated bot would, at least in the first couple rounds.

Matt (NJ): Hey Sam, any idea why the phillies aren't interested in Nick Swisher? seems to fit their budget & lineup pretty well. Any guess what his final contract will be?

Sam Miller: I think their priority of adding a center fielder put them on a different part of the free agent market. Now that they have Revere, it wouldn't surprise me if they're in the mix for Swisher, but it wouldn't surprise me even more if they have to stop spending money because they're really top-heavy and inflexible, salary wise.

2 percent (Tampa): Is "do it like the Rays do it" really a strategy that can be replicated?

Sam Miller: A huge part of the Rays' success is execution, and you can't copy execution. That part can't be replicated. Being smart/getting lucky isn't a template. But the Rays have shown a certain amount of lie to the idea that there's no choice but to give free agents long deals. Obviously, the Rays haven't been adding guys like John Lackey and Mark Teixeira, but their discipline and patience in waiting for the right short-term deals has been tremendous and can be replicate.

I heard the Rockets' GM (or whatever title he has) talking recently and he said their goal is to make lots and lots of gambles where they think they have a small edge. This way, they aren't quite as exposed if one or two of their bets go wrong. I think this works with the Rays, too. That's what all those extensions and one-year deals are, after all: Small bets that combined to a good profit without putting a lot of risk on them.

Bill (San Diego): Which of the top arms in last year's draft do you feel will experience the most success at the big league level? Max Fried, Kevin Gausman, or Kyle Zimmer? Thanks for the chat!

Sam Miller: Bill, nobody can know! There is no value added in my opinion. I am sorry to give such a lousy answer to this question, but there is absolutely no information that is publicly available that could ever answer this question in a satisfactory way, and even the very smartest people can't predict much. Brandon Beachy wasn't drafted.

keithlrader (Kansas City): How much time do you think Jeff Francouer will see next season. See the Royals adding another small contract for a corner outfielder?

Sam Miller: I'd guess not much. I know Moore gets mocked for loving Frenchy, but I don't think he's blind or anything. I think if he thought that he had a clear Francoeur or Myers choice for 2013, he wouldn't have been so entirely eager to trade Myers. So I suspect he plans to have somebody else in right field a lot of the time. A free agent or something.

Ian (Vegania): Let's say you can't pick "Call Me Maybe" as the best song of the year (which it very obviously is). What's your alternate #1 single on oh-12?

Sam Miller: Probably Hands on the Wheel, by Schoolboy Q

I listened to the new Kowloon Walled City for the

Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Trading the Royals farm system for an over-thirty #2 starter; was it either a.) pressure from meddlesome ownership, b.) insanity from the GM and front office, or c.) a brilliant stroke based on top-secret information that we mere plebeians can't comprehend yet?

Sam Miller: I'm not exactly going to answer this, but one more thing: The idea out there that Moore made this trade because he has to look good in the next two years so he won't lose his job seems exceptionally cynical to me. That sort of calculation has probably been made by a GM before, but man oh man I'd be awfully cautious about assigning such selfish motives to a guy, especially one who does his job in public. I really trust that Moore made this move for the Royals, not for himself.

Jeff (Miami): What are your thoughts on Adeiny Hechavarria? Is he the starting SS for Miami on opening day? Do you think he is a sleeper candidate for fantasy teams? What kind of line can we expect from him? Thanks for the chat!

Sam Miller: Yes, no, .264/.289/.359

Brian K (Missouri): What current MLB manager operates most reliably under the Earl Weaver school of game management?

Sam Miller: John Gibbons maybe?

Tury (Palm Springs): Do you want to come to my birthday party?

Sam Miller: Only if you get Kanye to DJ

Eric (Costa Mesa): After Mark Trumbo's jekyll/hyde 2012 should I be terrified or comfortable?

Sam Miller: Comfortable. I don't think his second half is more informative than his first half.

BruceSchwindt (Virginia): Should the Phillies consider going all in for Hamilton or focus more on Ross? How about alternative of going with current OFs and adding another pitcher such as Anibal Sanchez?

Sam Miller: I don't think teams should go all in. If the Phillies go all in for Hamilton, they will have gone all in and been unlikely to win. You know what happens when you go all in and you don't win? You have to go sit in the parking lot and read the New Yorker for two hours while your friend keeps playing.

stewbies (Rochester, NY): Fantasy purposes, who do you prefer for next year, Hosmer or Salvador Perez? Pedroia or J. Bruce? Thanks.

Sam Miller: Perez, Pedroia

Will D (Dallas): Re: Moore "Do not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"

Sam Miller: "Yeah. Hey wait!" -- Dayton Moore.

Mark68 (A Mile High): Joe Blanton, really? Is Dipoto done overhauling the pitching staff or is there an Anibal Sanchez in the Angels' future?

Sam Miller: Guessing a Shaun Marcum in the Angels' future. Dipoto's tastes are getting sort of predictable (in I would say a good way).

blue911 (DC): Is Will Myers really the best prospect? Seems Profar or Bundy would be ranked higher.

Sam Miller: I have seen Myers referred to vaguely this week as "the best prospect in baseball" but I don't believe I've ever seen any actual person actually rank him over Jurickson Profar and I don't expect to.

Cory (Philadelphia): What do you think about Boy Meets World coming back?

Sam Miller: I suspect it won't be made for nostalgists like me, so I don't see the point. The Onion did a piece on the revived show focusing on super-heavy dramatic elements like raising a child with autism. But the thing is, I would watch that show! If the guy who does Parenthood did a grownup Boy Meets World with the Boy Meets World cast, I'd completely watch it. For like two episodes maybe.

JJ (KS): RA Dickey! Speculate on those extension numbers, please (what you'd give him v. what he gets from the Mets).

Sam Miller: Would give him three and $60 million if it came to that, expect he'll sign for three and $45 million or he won't sign.

Wil Myers (In Between Kansas City and Tampa Bay): Where will I be in the batting order on opening day?

Sam Miller: You will be batting third, for Durham

Jurickson (Arlington): Trout or Harper or somebody else, career?

Sam Miller: Gosh. I guess despite everything I saw last year I think Harper is the better player, but the further out you go the more makeup matters and I like Mike Trout's makeup more than I've ever liked makeup.

Sam Miller: I'm sorry, I have to go even though there are still really good questions left :( Come back and chat another time.

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