Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/16/15

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to baseball chat

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: As expected since February, today’s ALCS Game 1 will be started by Marco Estrada and Edinson Volquez.

9:10
Comment From Guest
Can we appreciate for a moment that literally 1/3 of Canada watched game 5 of the ALDS?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I love that one team unites a whole country, that a few weeks from now will revert to a sort of hockey-based tribalism

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: The other day, in Toronto, I heard the “ole” chant. The Montreal Canadiens chant. The Blue Jays allow for all of Canada to temporarily set aside its many differences

9:13
Comment From Bonzo
Was really puzzled yesterday by the decision to let Familia hit with a runner on second and the fact that Puig was on the bench at the end of the game. That is all.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like Puig just wasn’t feeling healthy enough to be competitive. And while pinch-hitting for Familia might’ve statistically been the right call, no manager in the game does that. Not with the rest of the Mets’ pitching options

9:16
Comment From Ben
The Cubs are favored to win the NLCS, which seems optimistic. Aren’t they at an even greater disadvantage in a 7-game series than the Dodgers were in a 5-game series given the Mets’ length and quality of rotation (plus Bartolo)?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Bartolo is really much of a factor, but my own impression doesn’t agree with what the playoff odds say right now. I’d say it’s at least 50/50, more likely with the Mets as slight favorites. When the chat is over I’ll dive into the depth charts to see if anything might need to be adjusted

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not the one who’s supposed to be in charge of those teams but I’ll take a look anyway!

9:17
Comment From @RationalMLBfan
If the MLB season were a long game of Color War, they could stop now, because Blue has won.

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: And blue is my favorite color. I’m going to win a championship!

9:17
Comment From MSW
You don’t have to provide me with content, I’m quite content with the Mets win last night as it is!

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: In general, it’s been such an awesome playoffs to this point. The Astros/Yankees game was sort of a bust, and the Cubs/Pirates didn’t reach a dramatic climax, but what an LDS round

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I love how fresh all the teams feel, even if that means there won’t be so many fresh teams to choose from a year from now

9:19
Comment From Guest
Why pinch hit Utley for Pederson against Familia?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Pederson has sucked for a while and I think they prioritized contact. As it happened, Utley just missed the tying homer — the pitch he sent to the outfield was a godawful hanger

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Utley with his legs might’ve hit that one out

9:20
Comment From Sal
Hi Jeff, any indication that Mattingly’s job my be in danger? My non data driven gut tells me while not on Matt Williams’ level, Mattingly could be part of what is keeping the Dodgers from getting over the hump. This is a few consecutive years of falling short of expectations.

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: If you listen to the rumors, Mattingly’s job is constantly in danger. It’ll never be a surprise if we wake up one day to see he’s been dismissed

9:21
Comment From Guest
What are your LCS predictions?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Jays and Mets

9:21
Comment From Will
What are the odds Migguel Cabrera gets traded this offseason. How high would the price be? Think Astros might be a fit?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Cabrera’s going nowhere

9:22
Comment From dprat
Unlikely to make a difference on a play in the 4th inning like last night, but is there any chance that the current high K environment changes the calculus on the decision to catch a 7th inning or later foul fly that allows the tying run to score? How about if the pitcher K’s 30% of batters (there were 22 with 50 IP this year)? No? How about 40% (three this year)?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know exactly where the break-even points are. Obviously, the better the pitcher and the worse the hitter, the more likely you are to want to just let the ball drop. But as a consideration, how often do outfielders really know when they’re crossing into foul territory, especially if the fly is more of a low liner that gets there in a relative hurry?

9:24
Comment From Art Vandelay
I thought it was absurd to to bring in Familia to pitch the eighth after Syndergaard looked so great the inning prior. I thought they would surely regret it when Familia’s spot came up in the order with 2 on 2 out in the ninth and left them unable to pinch hit and extend their lead. I thought for sure Familia would give up the lead with one swing when the Dodgers started emptying their bench. I really thought all those things. Translation: I am dumb, and baseball is the best.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: You’re not dumb, you’ve just been conditioned by experience. That’s actually the opposite of dumb! You’re teachable!

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Cynical, perhaps, but teachable! It’s always a psychological challenge when laughingstock teams turn good. Fans mentally adjust slower than the players do. Right now your brain is working to make sense of something that runs contrary to almost all of its recent training

9:25
Comment From Guest
thank you for joining us

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: No, thank *you*

9:26
Comment From mtsw
Who wins the game of Qualifying Offer Chicken between Scott Boras/Matt Wieters and the Orioles? It’s been reported that the Orioles only plan on offering him the QO if they know he won’t take it. Obviously from Boras/Wieters perspective they don’t want it offered and hurt his FA value. How does this play out?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Every free-agent catcher but Wieters sucks. He should get a QO

9:27
Comment From Art Vandelay
O/U 7 Ks a game for the Mets pitchers against this Cubs lineup?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: 7? More like 9 or 10

9:27
Comment From Joel
So what went on with Andre Ethier and Donny?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Apparently that was about the umpire, not Mattingly. Just looked bad on TV

9:28
Comment From Robert
Do you find what Arte Moreno has done with the team payroll odd? Not really just making bad signings, but doing so until he pushes the limits of the luxury tax, and then telling his GM going over a $1 more is unacceptable?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I have found it a little strange when the Angels have argued they’re out of money. But every team has its own budgeting ideas and I guess Moreno might just not be programmed to allow much wiggle room. Payroll’s been fairly consistent five years in a row. There hasn’t been much in the way of playoff revenue for a while

9:30
Comment From Gabe
Obviously it all worked out, but why wouldn’t TC have left Syndergaard in for the 8th? Managing to preserve him for Game 2 of the NLCS seems awfully risky/dumb.

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I wasn’t entirely sure why they took him out, but maybe they told him before the game he’d get only one inning. Not going to complain *too* much about taking it easier on a starter like that

9:32
Comment From MSW
So Murphy getting the QO seems like a pretty safe bet at this point. Does he accept it? And if not, aren’t the Yankees the best bet to sign him? He won’t cost too much in terms of dollars or contract length and he can probably hit 30 homers with that right field porch.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s that safe a bet — the Mets won’t make this decision just based on the NLDS. Previously they’ve looked for every reason possible to trade him. As for the Yankees, I think they want to give an extended look at Dustin Ackley who they also think is perfect for the park

9:33
Comment From Phillies113
What did we do to deserve these LCS matchups? I feel unjustly rewarded somehow

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: There had to be something at the other end of the Cardinals reign of terror

9:33
Comment From S
How difficult do you think it was for Ron Darling to remain unbiased?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Ehhh, he’s done this long enough. He can just channel whatever bias he might feel into an information bias, instead of an opinion bias.

9:34
Comment From mtsw
Marco Estrada and Edinson Volquez are like Cy Young compared to the guys the Royals had start Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: god the Royals are weird

9:34
Comment From Phineas J. Whoopie
Went camping last week in a remote quarter of Nevada. How great are baby wipes?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: very great

9:35
Comment From Joey Bat Flips
Can we replace the World Series with a bat flip contest between Schwarber and Bautista? The Cubs fan in me says Schwarber can force a game 7 but Bautista is too good to not win it all.

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I’d personally rather watch the baseball games but in your hypothetical I think Bautista wins from experience

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Although, does he feel as emotional in a bat-flip contest? Without the emotion, I don’t think his heart would really be in it

9:39
Comment From L. Scott
Hey Jeff! I have a question about Grandal/Grienke’s pitch call on the 3-2 count to Murphy in the 6th. Out of his three awesome plus pitches, were you surprised they called for a fastball in? I would think if you do choose fastball, that’s the last place you want that pitch for a lefty pull hitter who likes the ball down and in.

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I just went back and looked at this for a few minutes

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Firstly just to confirm that was the call. Indeed, it was a fastball, and Grandal set up low and inside

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: It wasn’t that much of a failure to execute. I think Greinke was trying to front-door the fastball but it ran a little too far up and out

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: As always it’s impossible to evaluate one single pitch because *every* pitch makes sense some percentage of the time. To that point in the game Murphy hadn’t yet seen a low inside fastball. But then, the low inside fastball to a lefty pull hitter is a dangerous pitch. I’m sure Greinke isn’t too happy to get burned on it

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: (I have not read any post-game quotes)

9:43
Comment From Canuck
To be fair, I know plenty of folks outside of Ontario who will root for anyone but the Jays since they’re tired of Toronto always being the talk of the town.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, there are also these people. Nothing literally unites *everyone*. But my personal frame of reference is how Blue Jays fans take over Safeco Field whenever Toronto visits Seattle. Those people are coming from the Canadian west

9:44
Comment From Guest
As fans, 100 mph is an awesome pitch, but does 100 look much different from 98 to a batter? Or is it the opposite and that every .1 of a mph is a bigger deal once you’re talking about speeds that high

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Batters notice, but they don’t notice like we do, because we see the velocity numbers and we’re biased in favor of the third digit. It gets harder to hit with every additional mile per hour, but we as observers exaggerate the significance of the 99 – 100 gap. In our defense, we can’t help it

9:48
Comment From Blerg
Too soon to talk about the offseason? Do you think the Braves make a play for Matt Wieters, Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir, or Dexter Fowler in the offseason? Maybe the better question is whether it’s advisable to sign these sorts of players at this point in the team’s life cycle.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Wieters is tough; the Braves could use a catcher, but Wieters blocks Bethancourt, and it’s not like you can then move Wieters to first. Zobrist is more likely to go to a contender, and the Braves might just want to build from within as far as the rotation is concerned. That’s what they’ve been stock-piling. Fowler could make them better but if he gets four years, they wouldn’t want to pair that with Markakis

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe that’s an overall discouraging answer. But free agency isn’t where the Braves will find their offensive salvation

9:50
Comment From Jonny Gomes #1 Fan
Do you have any advice for me, who is very likely the only person who lives in downtown Toronto cheering for the Kansas City Royals?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Wear blue and keep quiet in crowds

9:50
Comment From J
Nah they’ve used the “Jose, Jose, Jose” chant for years in Toronto.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Then I misheard! Stand down

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: General point remains though, I think

9:51
Comment From Dave
Dodgers starting IF next season: AGonz at 1B , Kendrick at 2B, Seager at SS & Justin Turner at 3B? Is that what you see as well or will there be changes?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: That is what’s most likely

9:52
Comment From Avi
Many Cub fans believe that the weaker team won last night and they will have an easy walk into the World Series. Do you agree with this slightly misguided belief?

9:52
9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I liked the Dodgers a tiny bit more than the Mets, but the Mets are also really good. They’re probably a little better than the Cubs

9:53
Comment From Hank G.
Maybe I am wrong, but I feel like Bautista has received more criticism for flipping his bat than Utley did for flipping Tejada. Is this your impression?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s hard to separate Bautista criticism from Bautista discussion, of which there has been plenty. Bautista has also gotten lots of support. But you’re talking about two different issues. Bautista’s is perceived as a matter of sportsmanship. Utley’s is perceived as a matter of playing the game too hard. Utley has more than a century of baseball as precedent. Bautista simply annoyed people who are already prone to annoyance

9:55
Comment From Blerg
Now that Kiley is w the Braves we can expect Fangraphs to have all the juicy inside info. about what the Braves front office is going to do, right? Riiiight?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Trade hitters for hard-throwing young pitchers

9:56
Comment From Guest
What does the Mets rotation look like going into the NLCS? Am I right to be a little nervous that Cubs have Lester and Arrieta on full rest while deGrom and Thor threw last night?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Harvey and Matz are good too, better than the Cubs’ other options. You’re right to be nervous, period. Because it’s the LCS. But both teams have strengths and weaknesses and there’s no point in trying to figure out who has more of either

9:57
Comment From Ryan
Does it make more sense for the Astros to go after a bat (Heyward, Gordon, Cespedes) or an ace (Price, Cueto) in the offseason? Luhnow has said they have the necessary resources to do either.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: A guy like Heyward or Gordon could end up more cost-effective. But they’re also all free agents and there’s no telling who wants to go where. Houston still might have a bit of a reputation. So it’s perhaps more likely the Astros explore the trade market, where people can’t as easily say no to their overtures

9:59
Comment From Guesto
How long do I have to be respectful to Dan Farnsworth before I can start INTERNET YELLING at him about undervaluing my favorite team’s top prospects?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: At least wait until he rates your favorite team’s top prospects

9:59
Comment From Cashmere+Taco
Terry Collins rolled the dice 4 times yesterday putting Degrom back out on the mound, had his other starting pitcher warm up 4 times when he’s never relieved before in his life and then pulled him to have his best reliever get six outs (which he’s never done before) which means he had to pinch hit with a runner on base. And yet Terry Collins out managed Don Mattingly.

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: We will never fully be able to separate results from process. After the fact, we’ll forever be biased by how things turned out

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: But deGrom, at least, is an interesting example of how pitchers don’t stay the same inning to inning. Early success or struggles aren’t very predictive and you shouldn’t overreact to them as a manager

10:03
Comment From mtsw
Any truth to the idea the Cubs are at a comparative disadvantage in the playoffs due to their high K%? High K% batters do worse against high K% pitchers, and the pool of innings in the playoffs is full of significantly stronger pitchers than the regular season. Does this work the other way for the contact-heavy Royals?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: If there really is any effect, it’s very small. It’s not nearly as easy as “contact = good, strikeouts = bad” come playoff time. The game isn’t *that* different from the regular season. And of course to this point there’s no reason to think the Cubs are in trouble in the playoffs given what they’ve already done

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: It could be the Cubs are vulnerable to certain pitcher types. I don’t know. Maybe they’re weaker against hard fastballs up. But I doubt any of this is a huge factor

10:06
Comment From Blerg
With the Dodgers eliminated, do you now see the Mets as the most likely World Series champions? Man, it feels weird saying that.

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Blue Jays, to me

10:07
Comment From JKD
Favorites to land Cespedes this winter?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: No clue. Tigers? The Mets will have the most emotional reason to try to stay connected

10:08
Comment From Art Vandelay
So this Jays/Royals series has a legit chance to be one of the highest scoring series of all time, right?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: The Royals offense isn’t that good

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I should say, it isn’t *that* good. The two read differently

10:09
Comment From T
What do the Dodgers do to retool and get over the hump? Or just stay the course?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Get McCarthy and Ryu back, get Puig back, probably trade Puig, add to the bullpen

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t need to do anything real dramatic

10:11
Comment From Blerg
What’s more likely — another baseball hits the Schwarber ball some time in the next 100 years or the Phillies win the World Series in 2016?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: The first one. There’s daily batting practice!

10:11
Comment From Dan
You gotta like the Mets chances right? I have them having a significant edge in pitching matchups for 5 out of the 7 games (all the one Arrieta doesn’t pitch).

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets are good and the Cubs are good

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets, as built, are probably a little bit better than the Cubs

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Just like how the Dodgers, as built, were probably a little bit better than the Mets. Means only so much! Sit back and enjoy the unpredictability

10:12
Comment From NH
What are the chances Kansas throws “inside” and “mistakenly” hits a Blue Jays batter. Bets on who they’ll hit first?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: The funny thing about the playoffs is how teams stop giving a shit about retaliation because all of a sudden things actually matter

10:13
Comment From Norrin Radd
How much of a drop off is Russell/Castro to Castro/Baez?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: It’s real, but if Baez runs into two homers, it’s a hard thing to notice

10:14
Comment From Ken
Surprised that Dipoto kept McNamara et al. around?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: One reading might be that Dipoto sees the problem as having been one with player development instead of player scouting

10:16
Comment From Q-Ball
I wonder if the NLCS result will hinge on the respective bullpens. What are your thoughts on the Cub and Met bullpens?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I like the Cubs bullpen a little bit more, but it’s slight, and the Mets are more likely to not have to use their bullpen as much.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets, though, might end up exposed from not having a good late-innings lefty

10:20
Comment From Guest
What would a team need to offer the Reds for Votto that the Reds would actually accept?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Off the top of my head, one or two close-to-ready players and a willingness to eat most of the salary. But Votto is 32 years old, so the Reds are in a strange and difficult position

10:21
Comment From Mets Fan
If the Mets win the world series do you think Wilpon will open up that cheque book?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: A World Series win would be worth tens of millions of dollars in extra revenue. So, yeah. Bigger question is, would the money be spent well?

10:22
Comment From MarinersGuru
Doesn’t it make sense for the Reds to trade Votto for pieces that could help and sign Davis since they have a protected first round pick, so they still get good production, while speeding up the rebuild. Also Davis could split time in the OF and 1B, creating time for Mesoraco to get in the lineup when not able to catch.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think a rebuilding team trades a first baseman in his 30s only to sign a first baseman about to enter his 30s

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: And let’s be real — Chris Davis is going to have options better than Cincinnati

10:24
Comment From Zonk
How do you rate Kyle Schwarber as a LF? If he keeps hitting the tops of scoreboards he doesn’t need to be gold glove or anything, but is he passable in your opinion?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no real good reason to think Schwarber would be a good defensive outfielder, but when the Cubs are starting, say, Arrieta, the outfield doesn’t make a huge difference, given all the strikeouts and grounders. So that gives Maddon flexibility

10:25
Comment From Cashmere+Taco
Going into last night, which would you have found more entertaining: the Dodgers vs. Cubs, with the 3 Cy Young contenders all in one series, or the Mets vs. Cubs, with the young power arms against the young power bats

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: On the team level, I’d take the Mets, because I find them more generally fresh, but if I’d been left having to settle for Kershaw/Greinke/Arrieta, that’s still something beautiful

10:26
Comment From Jimmy
Dipoto says that he wants to make use of Safeco and target athletic, defensive-minded players. Cruz obviously had an incredible year at the plate, but doesn’t fit into the athletic, defensive model. Should Dipoto look to sell high on him, or would he risk making an unhappy fan base even unhappier?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: A bold GM would look to move Cruz now while his value is highest, but given how hard it’s been to find righties who’ve proven they can hit in Seattle, I assume you’re just going to see Cruz become the permanent DH

10:27
Comment From Aron
What’s your favorite moment of the playoffs so far? Joey Bat Flip? Syndergaard as a reliever? 8th inning comeback? Baseball!

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: My reaction was strongest to Bautista’s home run, but if it hadn’t been that, it might’ve been the preceding three consecutive errors, just because, what? That was the most gripping hour of baseball I think I might’ve ever watched.

10:30
Comment From bill
Any thoughts on trying to double-steal with familia up and 2 outs? Seems like just as good a shot of them succeeding or making dodgers make an error as there was familia driving in a run.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Ultimately, I doubt it changes anything — Dodgers might not even attempt a throw, figuring extremely high odds of just striking Familia out

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, what are the strikeout odds there? 75%? 85%?

10:32
Comment From Matt Wieter
And meanwhile my 4.5 WAR since 2013…doesn’t suck?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: You’re probably not having Tommy John surgery again

10:32
Comment From Guest
Being from the Pacific Northwest, have you yet covered your bicycle in bumper stickers supporting Bernie Sanders’ bid for president?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how to ride a bicycle

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I used to, but it turns out riding a bicycle is not like riding a bicycle

10:34
Comment From mtsw
You arrive in hell after a life of sin. You can watch baseball, but half the week the announcer booth is Joe Buck and Harold Reynolds and the other half the booth is Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Which half of the week is your least favorite?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t mind bad announcers because I can tune them out. You should try it, it’s really easy

10:34
Comment From Q-Ball
How much incremental revenue do teams get from going to the playoffs, anyway? Is it just the gate for the home games, or alot more than that?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Actually ticket revenue is split but if I recall a deep run can be worth upwards of $40 – 50 million

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Really tough to put a figure on it given longer-term considerations

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Considerations like, hey, now the Royals are a relevant baseball team

10:36
Comment From Aunt Jessie
Which Texas team feels worse? The one that wasn’t even supposed to be there, or the one that wasn’t supposed to be there?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Which is worse: blowing a four-run lead with six outs left, or blowing a 2-0 series advantage going home?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I think overall the Astros feel worse. Going to be hard for them to have the right perspective for a while

10:40
Comment From mtsw
In the history of the baseball management video game OOTP16, zero people have started an Orioles franchise and not had their first move be extending Manny Machado with a big ticket, long-term deal. Why have the real-life Orioles not taken this obvious step?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: This is probably the offseason. At least, it should be. Machado is about to start costing real money. The Angels’ Trout extension started in his fourth year of service. Machado’s coming up on his

10:42
Comment From bill
Dominant Greinke switching to/from stretch during at bats felt like a behind the back pass when a chest pass would do fine

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: It’s always easy to recommend that people simplify after they lose. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the guy with the sub-2 ERA

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know exactly what was going through his head, but when it comes to keeping hitters under control, I’ll trust Zack Greinke

10:43
Comment From bill
Any more liveblog plans? Considered reading yours+carson’s after the game but then realized that would make me 100% insane

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I was a little surprised we weren’t asked to live-blog the last few elimination games, but they’ll come back at some point. At the very least, I assume we’ll live-blog through the World Series

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Couldn’t possibly be more thankful I wasn’t live-blogging the Rangers/Jays Game 5

10:45
Comment From Snarfle
Do you think Maddon goes 1-4-7 with Arrieta? Does it matter how the first three games go?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he goes twice on short rest, not with where his innings are

10:46
Comment From Julio Pepper
I like that Daniel Murphy described himself after the game as “not the fleetest of foot.”

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: And he had that one year recently when he went crazy stealing bases, just by being heads-up. 40 speed, 90 awareness

10:47
Comment From Ampersand
The Cubs and Mets had the same record in games where they didn’t play each other (90-65). The Cubs went 7-0 against the Mets. The Mets have home-field advantage because they won the NL East. It’s an interesting set of circumstances. Do you think it might make some momentum toward changing playoff seeding somehow?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: As long as there are divisions, this is how they’re likely to incentivize winning the division. This year, in the bigger picture, looks like something of an anomaly

10:48
Comment From Don Battingly
Knowing that the Mets were down to a shaky Reed, Clippard, or Bartolo, should they have head hunted Familia?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: jesus

10:49
Comment From T
You don’t think the Dodgers FO would rather get the pick from Kendrick leaving and play Peraza?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Peraza just finished with a sub-.700 OPS in Triple-A

10:51
Comment From Rick
How will the Braves find “offensive salvation” without making a play for a Cespedes, Upton, Heyward or Gordon? With no bats in the upper levels of their minor league system, they will need to rely on trades if they wish to compete by 2017. Going to be rather difficult since it will depend on other teams’ available players and needs.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Well, they could always try the cheaper route — Span’s market will be depressed. Parra would be an interesting buy

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: But right now it’s not about 2016 and the best free agents are unlikely to want to join the Braves in the immediate future given the wealth of other options

10:53
Comment From Gabe
I’m a diehard Mets fan but I don’t really think they can beat the Nationals again next year. What would they have to do to earn my (and possibly your) confidence?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Keep the pitchers healthy

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Do that and you have an incredible foundation

10:54
Comment From MarinersGuru
If the Mariners are going to give Iwakuma $39M/3 years, why not try to sign Greinke for $125M/5 years? Wouldn’t the difference of draft pick and $12M be worth the overall talent gain? Especially since he’s younger and the M’s could strill offer arbitration to Iwakuma, right?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers will just re-sign Greinke, and the Mariners will just re-sign Iwakuma, as both players seem to want to remain where they are

10:54
Comment From mtsw
Would Bautista have been criticized to the same degree if it had been a walk-off HR?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Similar degree

10:55
Comment From Nathan
The fangraphs playoff odds still favors the Cubs. What do you see that makes you think the Mets are better?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I just don’t see where the Mets are meaningfully worse, and they have home field

10:56
Comment From mtsw
Let’s say KC and CHC both advance. Do you start Terrence Gore versus Lester to take advantage of his pickoff yips?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: No, because he’d never reach base

10:56
Comment From Q-Ball
Is the matchup of Matz and Harvey to Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel as bad as it looks?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so, because that makes it easier for Maddon to go to the bullpen early, and fresh relievers are effective

10:57
Comment From ZachA
Thoughts on the rise of dingers this postseason? Already passed the total number from last year, and the LCSs haven’t begun. Hitter-friendly ballparks? More slugging teams? Friendly-winds? Worse pitching? ‘Roids? (I know it’s not that one.)

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Slugging teams, and the wind was blowing out like crazy in Chicago, and also home runs were up overall this season compared to seasons past, especially down the stretch. So this isn’t a completely new pattern

10:58
Comment From Dan Fransworth
Guesto’s favorite team’s prospects aren’t very good!

10:59
Comment From MSW
Per Chipper Jones, Utley’s rolling block was not how people are taught to break up double plays, and he’s been outspoken about how dirty the play was. Isn’t that a bit more than “playing the game too hard”?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Well, Utley’s long had a reputation of going just a little too far, but the overall consensus from players after the fact seemed to be that Utley was within a reasonable margin of the precedent, and what most needs to be changed is the rule

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: The game moves fast. Slow motion makes everything look more deliberate than it is

11:01
Comment From Q-Ball
The Mets don’t really have a reliable lefty in their bullpen. Do you think this will prove decisive at some point in the NLCS? What will the Mets do to neutralize Cubs left handed power?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I keep waiting to see if they add Gilmartin

11:02
Comment From That Guy
I feel like more managers should be giving their best relievers the Mariano treatment in the playoffs and putting them out there for 6+ outs, so I thought putting Familia out in the 8th was a great move. Is there data that suggests otherwise?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I think you’re right. Familia with the six-out save. Davis had a six-out save. Osuna had a five-out save. Now’s the time to do it

11:02
Comment From Walt Jocketty
I think with a few moves and a little luck, the Reds can make some noise next year in the NL Central. Do you agree?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: No

11:04
Comment From Luke
Is Yoenis Cespedes particularly “streaky?” His at bats can be tough to watch sometimes. Greinke and Jansen, who are obviously excellent, made him look like a September call-up.

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: He’s an aggressive mistake hitter. Stands to reason that better pitchers will be more able to take advantage of his mediocre discipline. Cespedes’ whole game is blasting pitches that catch a bit too much of the lower zone. If you can comfortably pitch to the edges, you can get him out

11:05
Comment From Dave G.
If Schwarber turns on a Syndergaard FB, could he rip a hole in the space time continuum?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: No, but he could hit a dinger

11:06
Comment From Nathan
Blue Jays’ one weakness is probably vulnerability to good Right handed pitching. Mets have that in spades

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: This year the Blue Jays had the best offense in baseball against righties

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Not saying you wouldn’t still rather pitch a righty against them than a lefty, but for a righty that lineup is still nothing short of pure terror

11:08
Comment From L. Scott
Which one player, if they became injured, would be the biggest blow to the remaining playoff teams? Would it be Price? Arrieta?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta, then Price, I think

11:08
Comment From Buddy Biancalana
I like the Cubs over the Mets in 5. I’ll take the hitting over the pitching.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: In the second half the Mets had the highest wRC+ in the National League

11:10
Comment From groug
Why are so many pitchers being used in relief right now? Is it because so many teams have weak bullpens? Or are there just a lot of managers desperate for the next Bumgarner?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Weak bullpens are a part of it. And then managers figure, if a guy is going to be throwing a bullpen session, why not move that into a game, if it can help? October encourages more radical thinking. I think it’s a delight

11:12
Comment From MSW
Am I wrong to think the Mets’ bullpen might get exposed in a seven game series? After Familia, the duo of Clippard and Reed does little to inspire confidence. Other than the one solo shot, Bartolo has been solid, but relying on him to be the second best reliever makes me nervous too. And still nobody who can strike out a tough lefty.

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: It’ll be a concern. They need innings from their starters, and their starters are all pushing their own limits

11:13
Comment From ZachA
Where does “unwanted butt touching” rank among the most ridiculous reasons benches have cleared in baseball history?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: It’s about tied with the other bench-clearing incident from the same half-inning

11:14
Comment From Guest
I’m not his biggest stan, but what is it about Lester that everyone seems to undervalue him? By FIP he was the best no. 2 pitcher for a playoff team not named the Dodgers, and would have been the no. 1 in Tex, KC, and NYY.

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: stan. solid accidental Eminem reference

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Part of it is just the majesty of Arrieta. He’s the hot new thing. But you also get the running-game issues, leading to Lester underperforming his peripherals

11:15
Comment From Johnson
Navarro is a FA this off season? does he suck?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not much of a catcher

11:16
Comment From mtsw
More likely 2016 occurrence: “Trump elected President” or “Phillies win World Series”

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Phillies World Series

11:18
Comment From The Maddness
Clippard is their late-innings lefty. Career vs LHB .257 wOBA. Better than his .285 wOBA vs RHB.

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Actually, that’ll be interesting — extreme fly-ball pitcher against fly-ball-hitting lefties. Gives Clippard a tiny bit of an advantage

11:18
Comment From Guest
is the human race most likely to end by 1)nuclear war 2)global warming/ice caps melting 3)some crazy virus that nobody sees coming

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Drug-resistant superbug probably

11:20
Comment From Vance
Are we being unfair with Harold Reynolds a bit? He was the one that knew the ball was live after it went off Choo in the TEX-TOR game.

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: And Tim McCarver called the shallow flare that beat Mariano Rivera in 2001

11:21
Comment From mtsw
Did you see the Hamilton Nolan piece on Mets fans in Gawker? Most brutal thing I’ve seen about a fanbase in years. http://gawker.com/wow-you-l…

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine being less interested in a baseball article

11:22
Comment From Pirates Gatorade Cooler
What should the Cards do this offseason? Given their outfield depth, is it wise to enter a bidding war over Heyward?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: They’re in a good position to re-sign him, I think

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Good guy to build around in the outfield for a long time

11:23
Comment From Vance
Where is Puig on Opening Day?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: No idea at all, so, let’s give him to the Phillies!

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to wrap this up

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/16/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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