The third and final segment.
Pinstripe Alley: Will you support Barry Bonds with your Hall of Fame vote? What about Roger Clemens and A-Rod?
Rob Neyer: I don't get to vote until (I think) 2019. But yes, I plan to vote for all three of them if they're still on the ballot. Does anybody want to argue that they wouldn't have posted Hall of Fame numbers without steroids?
PA: Which Yankee minor leaguer will surprise us the most this season?
PA: What is the biggest misconception that baseball fans have about the way the game is played/managed?
RN: Hmmm. Tough one. I think a lot of fans don't really understand how hard the game is, at this level. Or what kind of pressure these guys face, almost every day for seven or eight months.
PA: What do you think will be the next breakthrough in terms of statistical analysis?
RN: I know what the next breakthrough's going to be. When all the teams have access to comprehensive FIELDf/x data, the analysis of defensive performance will be revolutionized. It's not at all certain that any of us will be privy to that data, and if if not there will be some inexplicable moves made, based largely on information that's invisible to us.
PA: How does the statistical data that is available to the average fan differ from the data available to professionals?
RN: There's some proprietary stuff out there; Triple-A fielding metrics, for example. Generally, though, I think we've got most of the important stuff. Just in terms of raw data, I mean. Some of the teams are certainly using that data in ways that aren't available to the rest of us. But frankly, I think most of whatever extra they're doing is playing around at the margins. Have you noticed any teams that are regularly beating their projections, or turning good players into great players? I haven't. Nor do I expect to.
PA: Waffles or pancakes?
RN: My preference is waffles.