Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/21/16

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Well geez everybody

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s Friday baseball chat

9:09
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:10
TBJESE: Jon Lester is so weird!

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: In entirely unusual ways he has to be the most awesome player in baseball to overanalyze

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure we’ll talk about this an awful lot in the hours ahead

9:10
Dan: A-Rod is the absolute best part of the Fox / FS1 / TBS coverage this year.

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I recall that being true last year, too. I don’t know exactly when in his life he decided to be a real person but the version of Alex Rodriguez we’ve been able to see for the last while has been…humble and charming?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Like, a couple years ago, Alex Rodriguez might’ve been the most hated player in professional sports. At least professional baseball. And now he’s practically beloved! Maybe I’m exaggerating things but it’s been an improbable turn

9:12
Zonk: Kershaw, Hill, Jansen in NLCS: 16.1 IP, 5 H, 18K, 0.00 ERA

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Say this for the Dodgers: they have the guys they’d want. Say this for the Cubs: they just about do too.

9:13
Bork: Since the Cubs ratings are beating the Bears, should they not trade names?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I like it as an ownership wager

9:14
Erik: I’ve seen runners many times against Lester this season take a huge primary lead (since they aren’t scared of Lester) but then a negative secondary lead (since they’re so scared of being back-picked. Is it possible Lester’s yips actually end up having a positive effect for him? He’s completely thrown runners off their game plan and has them going backwards as the pitch is thrown.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: This is one of the things that’s so fun about it. With Lester, as a runner you start thinking, and then you start overthinking, and then that’s when you get yourself in some trouble

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: It’s very clear that David Ross makes an excellent back-pick! Gotta be on the lookout for one of those

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: But here’s the thing about back-picks: they don’t do shit if you’re already running to second base. I don’t know *why* you don’t see more running toward second base. I get that Lester isn’t slow to the plate. I get that Ross averages an excellent pop time. A steal isn’t automatic, but runners aren’t pushing this as far as it seems like they could

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: You only worry about the back-pick if you’re staying around. Why stay around? Make Lester prove he’ll do something. Even if it costs you an out, it’s one out, and then at least you know

9:18
Sean P : How would you manage the Cubs’ outfield situation next year?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: So we’ve got Schwarber, Soler, Heyward, Zobrist, and Almora, basically. There’s no trading Zobrist. Heyward’s contract is underwater but you can’t write him off so quick. Soler hasn’t broken out yet, and Schwarber obviously has his question marks.

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think you can still open the season with the first four and have Almora try to do more in Triple-A than he did. All four of those players could get semi-regular playing time in a rotation and then you see what you get from the unknowns. I’d plan to think about trading one of Schwarber/Soler, but that’s nothing you have to assume, because it could turn out the Cubs need them both

9:24
Dock Ellis: I’ve never been more perplexed than why Kikè didn’t take 2nd and 3rd base….Lesters yips isn’t a ruse that he’s waiting for the right moment to pick someone off. RUN KIKÈ RUN!!!!!

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, *maybe* he just wanted to dance around and make himself visible to try to knock Lester off his game? But even still I feel like the best way to knock a pitcher off his game is to just take free bases if they’re available to you

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Set the tone early. Don’t just make yourself .giffable

9:26
JMaddonGlasses>HCarayGlasses: Hi, Jeff. I’m starting to not like Aroldis Chapman. Yes, he throws crazy fast, but it seems like guys are figuring him out, and he’s given up a lot of runs this October. Is this just tough playoff hitters combined with recency bias on my part, or is there actually something quantifiable behind this (perhaps related to August’s article from last week about his missing locations)?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: One very much true thing: it’s a small sample of playoff games, and there’s every reason to believe Chapman is still one of the three or so best relievers in the world

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Another very much true thing: Chapman in the playoffs has thrown something like 90% fastballs. He hasn’t commanded his slider when he’s thrown it and his fastball location has never been precise. You can stand a chance against Chapman if you eliminate everything but his heater. It’s the best heater in the game, but it can be hit

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: From a performance standpoint, Chapman suffers from the highest possible expectations. It doesn’t feel like it should make sense for him to allow any runs. He’s not immune to his ruts, and Chapman is only *Chapman* when hitters have to believe in his breaking ball

9:30
CamdenWarehouse: Have you heard of any good baseball books out recently or coming out? The offseason is always a good baseball book time.

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I heard that after Sam and Ben’s book they’re just shutting the genre down. No more baseball books

9:31
Jeff: Al Avila is hinting at winter trades for Detroit and says no extension plans exist for JD Martinez. If he’s a trade candidate, what could he return?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: So you’d be talking about one year of a prime-aged corner outfielder

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Martinez is 29 and over the past three years he has something like a 145 wRC+

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t run so well, and he doesn’t defend so well, but he’s kind of like what people think Carlos Gonzalez is. On a one-year deal, Martinez might get $25 – 30 million

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Tigers could move him for someone who’s about major-league ready. You’re not getting an elite prospect, but you’re getting someone pretty good at Triple-A, probably

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry about that, there was a knock at the door

9:38
Mike M: Russell, Soler, Contreras, Montgomery and Edwards for Trout. Who says no? Do the Cubs have to throw in some prospects, too? Clears up the logjam in the outfield and settles on who starts in center. Gives the Angels guys at two key spots.

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: All right, so let’s just do this

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: For as long as we’ve been fielding these questions, I’ve been conditioned to reply that, no, that’s not enough for Mike Trout. So that’s the starting point

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Trout is and remains one of the greatest young players in baseball history. That being said — at this point, Trout has another four years left. His salaries are about to take off after 2017. His trade value is extraordinary, but it’s the lowest it’s been. Russell is an established player now and Contreras is one of the top young catchers

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: I *still* think the Angels would say no. They might figure there’s too much to lose, and too little guaranteed. (For the purposes of this question I’m ignoring the presence of Andrelton Simmons)

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: On paper though, I see how that exchange could be justifiable. You have to believe in Russell and you have to believe in Contreras, but, I mean, they’re pretty easy players to believe in

9:42
Elton: Who would have guessed three years ago that Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta would (potentially) be facing off in a Game 7?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: God

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: probably God

9:43
Zonk: Kershaw, Jansen, Hill NLCS: 16.1 IP, 5 H, 18K, 0.00 ERA Everyone Else in Dodger Blue: 18.2 IP, 23 H, 16K, 5.63 ERA…..I would be shocked if Roberts didn’t try and pitch JUST those top three guys from here on out. Thoughts?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw, of course, will go as deep as possible. If that works out, Hill’s a great guy to have available for Game 7, but he’s less efficient. He’s less likely to get so far into the game, given how the Cubs are so patient, and then that could force you into the middle relief. Jansen should and would be used aggressively but if Hill has to come out in, say, the sixth, I have to think Roberts hasn’t completely lost his faith in Joe Blanton

9:44
Dock Ellis: How’s the Best Coast treating you?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been here for years. Dave moved last month. So I don’t know if you’re confused? But in any case, it’s still the best coast, and it’ll remain that way until we’re all destroyed by an earthquake

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Even then, it’ll still be beautiful. We’ll be lucky to die in such a heavenly setting

9:46
Stevil: We know Cozart would likely be a great fit for Seattle next season, but who might be a good alternative to address their need at SS? Could someone like Mercer make sense?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly — I don’t want to say it’s Cozart or bust, but that’s kind of how it feels. If they can’t do that, I’m not convinced any of the realistic alternatives are worthwhile

9:47
Erik: Are the Cubs and Dodgers set to meet in the NLCS something like 3 of the next 5 years? They sure seem to be the two healthiest organizations right now, with excellent rosters, tons of money, decent youth, and more prospects still on the way. Are we seeing the first of many clashes between two emerging dynasties?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: You can’t really be set up any better than the Cubs or the Dodgers. They have the best blends of everything you’d want in an organization. So then it’s just left up to the vagaries of how baseball will proceed. The Nationals have a decent setup. The Mets might have all their pitchers back next year. The Giants still have a solid core. Nothing’s going to be a cakewalk

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: But if you asked me today to pick the next five NL pennants, I’d see no reason to go away from LA/Chicago

9:49
Justin: Has anyone at FG tracked Kershaw’s results pitching in cold weather? Just curious if the Cubs have any built-in advantage, since tomorrow night is supposed to be COLD in Chicago.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: If anything, cold weather causes offense to be further suppressed. Expect the game to finish like 2-1

9:50
Erik: How much more do Lester’s yips hurt him next year when he doesn’t have Ross to protect him?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: A certain extent more, but even last year, when Lester’s running control was worse, he was still good. No matter what, the most important thing will remain how good Lester is at keeping guys off base in the first place

9:52
Bernard: Hi Jeff, is there a win expectancy chart for the postseason alone? If so, how does it differ from the regular season? I’m guessing that each run added would lead to a higher WPA

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: To my knowledge, no, the math is all the same. And realistically, that’s how it should be, but there’s no question that the run environment in the playoffs is lower. So if you were to fold that in, every lead would be more “stable”. Runs would have slightly bigger effects, since they’ve become so hard to come by

9:55
Brett W: Easiest park to homer to right center?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Hard to say for certain off the top of my head, but Cincinnati is at least a strong contender

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, wait, no, it’s Yankee Stadium

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Yankee Stadium is the answer

9:57
Zonk: Jon Lester is actually not one of the worst hitters ever anymore. 24% K-rate this season, he hit 3 2B, drove in 6 runs, and even walked 6 times. Had 10 SH. His swings last night were decent. I’m not saying he’s Bumgarner or anything, but he isn’t hopeless like August alluded to in his article.

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s true that Lester has gotten better at the plate, and Statcast does like his contact. But he still blows

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not me being mean. Pitchers just blow

9:58
J: Home field advantage – is it because teams are built to their home park or do players really just do better at home?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: All kinds of things. Park familiarity. Sleeping at home. Psychological crap. And subconscious umpire bias. Umpires appear to favor home teams by a slight degree, and subtle effects add up

10:00
Erik: Who’s the most expensive free agent a team like the Phillies, who won’t plan on competing next year, but have every intention to compete in 2018 and beyond, should sign this offseason?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: The hell with it. Sign Eric Thames!

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Convince him to take two years and see what in the hell it is that he does

10:03
Stevil: How might the Marlins address their seemingly desperate situation for starting pitching now? If trading from the major league level is their best bet, who might make a good trade partner?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: The Marlins, obviously, have wound up in a challenging situation, and there’s nothing that’s likely to help them from the farm

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: So as they try to contend it’s hard not to see someone like Derek Dietrich as a potential trade asset. Now, Dietrich probably has only modest trade value, but I do wonder if, say, the Marlins could try to convince the Padres to sell Tyson Ross now

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Probably, the Padres would prefer to wait and let Ross try to reestablish himself. Dietrich wouldn’t be enough of an upside get to sway them. But the Marlins don’t have a lot of flexibility

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they become the team that takes a shot at Ivan Nova

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: (That is not sexy)

10:07
Elton: I am still trying to figure out how the Indians got such stellar pitching in their playoff games with three starters out. That’s the kind of sorcery I’d expect from Cardinals devil magic or EvenYear BS. Francona Run Prevention Alchemy doesn’t have the same ring.

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: The one thing that gives me pause about praising their bullpen too much is the fact that they got such good performances out of Josh Tomlin and Ryan freaking Merritt

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Now, with Tomlin, it’s easy to look at his numbers and say, well, he’s good as long as he doesn’t give up any dingers. As for Merritt, maybe there really was a benefit from his being a total unknown

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: It’s still insane, but this is why we love-hate the playoffs!

10:09
Q-Ball: Interesting post-game interview with Javy Baez. He talked about his plan on that AB where he hit a double. Earlier in his career, he definitely did not have a plan beyond “swing hard”. Is he finally approaching his ceiling as a hitter?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, he finished with a 94 wRC+. That’s not exactly Gary Sheffield. But he’s very clearly a more complete player than he had been to this point

10:09
2-D: Do you think you could steal a base off Lester?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: No, but I’m not a professional athlete

10:09
CamdenWarehouse: What were you guys doing talking baseball in the podcast?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Experimenting

10:11
Matt: Ender to Oakland for a few of their young starters?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Inciarte for Manaea might work straight-up

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Inciarte will never be better than he is, but he’s good now and he has four years of control. Manaea has the upside, and the pitcher risk

10:12
Colby: What type of return could the Tigers expect for JD Martinez? Any chance JV or Miggy are playing for another team in 2017?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Tigers would *ever* move Verlander or Cabrera

10:12
Python-r: Is there enough demand for CF this winter that NYY could move Ellsbury, if they ate enough cash?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Eat enough money and everyone has a market

10:13
Baller Status: Trying to find an answer, how bad does a hitter have to be for it to make mathematical sense for them to sacrifice the runner over to 2nd?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty bad, but, commonly bad. I don’t have an exact true-talent level in mind but picture, say, a seventh- or eight-place hitter, who’s up there with the platoon disadvantage

10:14
Erik: Which will have a greater effect on the Cubs’ chances to score runs off Kershaw tomorrow: 1) They’ve just seen him a few days ago, or 2) They’ve “found their groove again” the past two games, whatever that means.

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Wind

10:15
Willie hears ya,Willie dont care: Give it to me straight, what are the Dodgers chances this weekend of winning 2 straight? (I understand this might be moot, as anything can happen in October)

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs have home field. The Dodgers are probably slight favorites with Kershaw going. Hill isn’t Kershaw, but maybe he’s good enough to cancel out the home-field effect. Realistically, just from a mathematical perspective, it’s probably right around a clean 25%. Chase Utley this year hit .252. The Dodgers’ chances are approximately Chase Utley’s chances of getting a hit (assuming he doesn’t draw a walk)

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: If you prefer, Kenta Maeda’s strikeout rate this year was exactly 25%.

10:17
Q-Ball: How many innings will Jansen throw Saturday? Do you think Roberts will ride Kershaw all the way to Jansen, and leave everyone else in the bullpen?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I assume the plan is to use nobody else at all. In the ideal, it’s all Kershaw/Jansen and then you deal with Sunday on Sunday. Obviously, things change if Kershaw does worse than they assume

10:19
Elton: Jeff! I like Jason Heyward but his struggles at the plate would be a huge elephant in the room if the Cubs weren’t so good everywhere else. If he keeps hitting like a shortstop from the 1960’s next year, don’t the Cubs need to reclaim his roster spot/lineup spot and eat some contract to let another team try to fix him?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: It helps Heyward that he’s still just 27. And every so often he hits a ball so hard you remember what teams have seem in him in the first place. But he just used up his bad year. He’s going to get less and less benefit of the doubt, and as the Cubs plan for 2017, they’re going to need to have some Almora-shaped insurance. And if Heyward *continues* to struggle out of the gate, then his role will ultimately be diminished. He’ll become a platoon guy or a defensive specialist

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Melvin Upton got two mostly full years with Atlanta before they gave up. That’s a good reference point

10:22
CamdenWarehouse: Javy Baez is pretty much the man right now.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: If the Cubs were *extremely* bold they might go into the offseason looking to capitalize on this. But that’s not going to happen

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Still, I’d love to know where his market value is today

10:22
Q-Ball: I think the last two days of Addison Russell and Rizzo hitting, after a 2 for 49 playoff start, just show that a) you have to be patient with good hitters, and b) hitting the playoffs can just be tough. No need to bench guys or monkey with orders too much. Agree?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I don’t think you *over*think. You go with the players that work. If you have visual evidence that a player is, like, crying in the shower because he can’t handle the spotlight, that’s a thing, but if you just have good players who aren’t producing, well, playoff samples are usually about 10-15 games. You can and should ignore those slumps

10:24
Eduardo: As a long suffering Dbacks fan, I am thrilled by Hazen’s hire. But I am also tortured by the likelihood of trading Paul Goldschmidt, the best homegrown talent the organization ever produced. What would he fetch in return? It would have to be massive, no?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, Goldschmidt is still enormously valuable. I don’t think they’re going to sell right away — I think there’s enough there for them to try to succeed with a whole roster out of the gate. Worry if the team is still lousy at the All-Star break

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Getting Pollock back will be enormous

10:26
Baller Status: Assuming most pitchers get less effective in a series do to repetition, but is this more the case for guys like Chapman who rely on 1 non-deceptive pitch? Mariano maybe didn’t experience this because his cutter was deceptive, while Chapman relies on just throwing harder, and that might be easier to adjust to? (Not that these 2 closers are equal, just examples)

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: I’m skeptical this is much of a thing. I think you could definitely adjust to Chapman if you saw him for 100 pitches in a row, but he’s always coming out of the bullpen, relieving someone who threw a great deal slower. That previous guy will be the reference point.

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: So with Chapman, I doubt there’s much carryover effect

10:27
Kevin: So the Cubs have a 3-2 NLCS lead going back home with two Cy Young candidate pitchers in tow. What could go wrong?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: The planet could be irreversibly warming

10:28
chris: The Indians didn’t run on Jays pitching as much as predicted (having second lowest OBP among LCS teams might cause that), but is it a good bet they use their baserunning skills more vs. Dodgers/Cubs?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: There were times where the Indians ran aggressively in non-steal situations. Their baserunning skill isn’t about stealing alone; only a handful of them routinely try to take second base. They will continue to try to push it in the World Series, provided they have actual baserunners. In the ALCS, they didn’t have baserunners

10:30
Catoblepas: What’s your general view of the rules? I ask because of the Javy Baez infield “fly” thing. I thought it was awesome, but isn’t that what we should argue about, not whether it fits into the current form of the rulebook?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Two parts, right? 1) Was it an infield fly? 2) Should it have been? I think it was a really smart play, because for Baez there wasn’t much downside to doing what he did. But in an identical future scenario, my own preference would be for the umpire to use his discretion and say that’s a perfectly catchable baseball

10:32
Matt: If the Indians had a healthy Salazar/Carrasco and didn’t have the Lucroy trade fall through, would they be favored in the WS over CHI/LAD?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’d be at least even; it depends on what you want to make of the AL/NL talent difference.

10:33
Erik: Are coaches not telling players to steal often enough against Lester? Are they telling them to steal, but players aren’t getting the jumps so are refusing to go? Are they being given the green light but always choosing to ignore it? Where does the blame lie here?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I really feel like it’s on the players for not realizing how aggressive they can truly afford to be

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: No one wants to be the one guy Jon Lester actually throws out. It’s a small sacrifice for knowledge

10:34
Mark Varley: Could the Jays acquire Blackmon? :^)

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:35
Justin: Not really the point of this chat, but as a Cubs fan, I’ve found the FS1 coverage to be very pointedly west-coast centric. In both rounds, the love shown the Dodgers and Giants comes off as very uneven. If other Cubs’ fans are like me, FS1 really missed an opportunity this offseason to pick up some new markets.

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Fan perspectives always fascinate me, to no end

10:36
Zonk: Lester threw 8 curveballs last night. All 100 other pitches were FB variations; 4-seam, cutter, sinker. Nothing off-speed at all! Unusual, huh?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: According to Brooks Baseball, he did throw two changeups. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know the changeup is relatively rare for him. So it kind of makes sense

10:36
Erik: Are there reliable stats on secondary leads out there? I would love to see how bad the secondary leads off Lester are.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Statcast has that stuff but it isn’t made publicly available often. I think the primary leads yesterday were basically the normal primary + secondary leads

10:37
J: If you had to guess each stat’s impact on wOBA what would it be? Maybe something like 20% BB%, 20% K%, 25% BABIP and 35% ISO?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: No need to guess! http://www.fangraphs.com/guts.aspx?type=cn

10:39
Travis: Cashman wants Foltynewicz and Inciarte for McCann. What would be a more realistic return for McCann?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Signed Foltynewicz and Inciarte jerseys

10:39
Me: Do you see the cubs winning 100 again next year?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: No, but only because I basically never predict a team to win 100+. I do imagine I’ll see the Cubs as one of the two or three best teams in baseball

10:40
Matt: What should be the strategy against Kershaw for the Cubs?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: There is no strategy to have. Have the best at-bats you can have and hope to get lucky

10:40
Catoblepas: How much have the post-retirement public acts of Alex Rodriguez and Curt Schilling changed their respective odds of making the HoF?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I’m inclined to say very little. Schilling was underrated from his first time on the ballot and Rodriguez has that big giant steroid thing hanging over him. I think every voter has some altered opinions on these people as people, but at the end of the day, voters do take these ballots seriously and they focus almost exclusively on the numbers and the steroids

10:42
Magdal: Dear Jeff, do you hate the DH?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I grew up rooting for Edgar Martinez. I love the DH

10:43
Pennsy: Why are there no openly gay players in Major League Baseball?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Because there are tremendously few openly gay players in any sport anywhere

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Give it 10-20 years. The times are changing and there’s no going back

10:44
Crash : Do you get emotionally attached to your favorite team?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Not really. At this point I get more emotionally attached to players, or to storylines I like

10:45
Dan: I think stealing is overrated and outs are precious.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Stealing *is* overrated except when it’s easy

10:47
Nate: There are three “closers” available in the FA market, but more than three teams that need one. Who is a trade candidate no one is talking about for those teams?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Tyler Thornburg?

10:48
Matt: Off the wall trade… Braves trade Ender Inciarte to the Astros for Colin McHugh + some smaller pieces. Thoughts? Seems it could help both teams quite a bit.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Braves would probably like someone younger, with higher upside

10:48
Cubs Fan: Who would you rather be right now, Roberts or Maddon? Kershaw and Hill on the road, or Hendricks and Arrieta at home?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take the guy who has to win one game instead of two

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, Roberts is 44 and Maddon is 62, so given that I’d rather be the guy who has more remaining time to be alive

10:50
Ccc: As a casual-ish baseball fan, how do I stop feeling sad after the inevitable change/collapse of my favorite team?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Sit outside and watch a bird or a squirrel. Allow your mind to get even briefly lost in nature and you’re going to find yourself smiling without even knowing why

10:51
Brett W: With all respect, the easiest base to steal against Lester is 1st. If you can bunt to the third base side of the mound, it’s a single. I can’t find video, but Peter Bourjos mastered this move in a Cubs-Phillies game in June. If the bunt is good, there’s nothing his teammates can do to help him.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: The only problem is that bunting is super hard. If it weren’t, we’d see a lot more of it

10:52
mike: Blue Jay bullpen gave up fewer runs (zero) than the Cleveland bullpen. But narrative is that Francona managed the heck out of his pitching staff. isn’t true narrative that the blue jays bats went cold at the worst time…

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Both teams’ bats went identically cold. Look at the numbers. Everyone sucked!

10:52
Tanner: I know you and Dave rag on Harold Reynolds quite a bit, but at the risk of sounding dumb, I don’t think I can quite target a *bad* broadcaster/color commentator vs a *good* one (I can spot the difference between Vin Scully and Reynolds, but that’s about it). In your opinion, what attributes does a good broadcaster/CC have, and who do you think are a couple great ones in the game today?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I always try to give announcers the benefit of the doubt because it’s insanely difficult to talk about a baseball game for three or four hours in a row. I don’t mind people who express their opinions and I don’t mind analysis that I disagree with. The thing that puts me off with Reynolds is that too often he says things that are just plain stupid.

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Like at one point — I think it was Joc Pederson, and Reynolds said the Dodgers were probably disappointed by an RBI hit-by-pitch, because Pederson had been taking some good swings. No team would be disappointed by a free base and run! That’s a great result!

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: All I want is for an announcer to avoid saying things that are very clearly dumb. That’s it. Reynolds too often fails that test

10:55
Joe: You think Schwarber will catch much next year?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t

10:55
Cole: With the astros superb young core of players, what do you think they should do to ensure another season is not wasted. I’d like to see a deal for a Eaton/Calhoun type of player

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: As Dave has mentioned, it’s possible to see them as a strong bidder for Cespedes

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: But even right now, I think they’re probably the favorites in the AL West. They don’t need to go crazy

10:57
Dan: Can I convert BsR into runs? i.e., 30 BSR = 3 wins (roughly)?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, it’s the same as usual, where it’s like 9 or 10 runs to a win

10:57
Erik: I’ve seen research that says a threat to steal negatively effects the pitcher, but actually stealing negatively effects the batter. Any chance teams are deliberately not stealing because they think they get more value from distracting Lester? Not sure if it is working, but at least there would be a logic behind it.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I think a problem is that when a runner takes off, the hitter sees that and takes a pitch, and that pitch is often a strike. Hitters infrequently swing at first pitches of at-bats. Run on the first pitch!

10:58
Dan: So I’m assuming Fowler is gone next year?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I sure think so

10:58
Colin: Am I the only one who wants nothing more out of baseball than to see the Shohei Otani experiment in the Major leagues?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: You are far from being alone

10:59
Dan: Idea: if a pitchers average time between pitches exceeds X fine the club 50k. It’s not annoying, and would encourage faster pace.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why you’d penalize the team instead of the offender

11:00
ljc: More frustrating: Cubs fans watching Lester not throw over, or Dodgers fans watching their runners with huge leads not steal?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Dodgers fans. Cubs fans keep watching Lester get wins

11:00
T: Even at full strength the Indians feel like a big underdog vs either NL team. If they win how do you think it happens?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Similar to what we’ve seen. Extremely aggressive bullpen use, with a surprisingly good start or two. If you assume the AL is better than the NL, as usual, then the gap is closer than it might appear

11:01
Sonny: Industry wide did FO’s think Miller was capable of his current role more than maybe Chapman would be? Chapman more of a trad 3 out 9th only closer his entire career to this point while Miller has had different roles

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, Miller has been perceived as being more flexible

11:02
Bucket List: Why is the narrative around this series whether or not the Cubs can hit the Dodgers? No one is talking about the fact that the Dodgers need to score off of Hendricks on Saturday. In Game 2, the Dodgers scored one run on a cheap home run and Baez lost a 2-run home run to the wind. The wind easily could have changed the story of game 2.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I think that *was* the narrative when the Cubs weren’t scoring. Now the Cubs have scored a lot!

11:02
jon: There is very little evidence that the AL would be more difficult for the 2016 Cubs.

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Except that the American League overall was once again better than the National League

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: So of *course* that matters. It’s not huge, but it’s something

11:03
Jason: Why will no one (yet) make a serious attempt at having an “opener” instead of a “closer”?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: because the first plate appearances are lower leverage than the last ones

11:03
Brett W: If you think steroids are a serious Hall of fame factor, why all the love for David Ortiz?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Timing of the offenses

11:04
Dago: Can the Royals get a light package of the “Chapman” deal for Wade Davis? Or is it too late now and the ship has sailed?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s too late — it helped them to have him come back. I expect he’s going to be featured in an awful lot of rumors

11:04
Andrew: What’s the single most lopsided trade of the past few years (non-Shelby Miller division)?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Matt Kemp to San Diego?

11:05
jon: Cubs hitting got the big press when they were slumping, but wasn’t the Indians offense just worse?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, but more is expected of the Cubs offense. Also people just pay more attention to the Cubs in general

11:05
Spicy Boy: How does the long layoff in between the ALCS and the World Series impact the Indians chances at winning? Seems like it would be hard to come back and play at a high level after nearly a week of not playing

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: There’s never been any evidence this is true. I figure it should only help them to heal up their various aches and pains and bleedy fingers

11:06
CamdenWarehouse: I want announcers who don’t have a shtick and talk to say something rather than spew nonsense.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Tom Verducci is *almost* really good. I can’t quite put my finger on what I don’t like but he does check off most of the boxes

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I like John Smoltz, too. And Matt Vasgersian!

11:07
Python-r: Think there could ever be a FG-level announcer – one who knows saberstats as well as your staff, and can translate that to plain English on air? (I do this for my dad all the time.)

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’d be a big market for that. And broadcasts don’t *need* advanced stats. They just need people who aren’t dumb, and who know when to be quiet

11:08
jon: How many PA would Maddon give Otani, were he on the 2017 Cubs?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no freaking room!

11:08
T: You answer a ridiculous amount of questions and always apologize for not getting to them all. You rock Jeff

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: There are so many questions 🙁

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I feel so guilty for not even being able to read them all

11:08
jon: The Cubs were 15-5 vs the AL with +55 run differential. They won every series besides a 2-2 split with the White Sox (Technically 0-2 at the Cell, 2-0 at Wrigley). They would get to deploy their depth to even greater affect with a DH. “The AL is better” doesn’t mean that the “AL is harder for the 2016 Cubs”.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: The AL is better. The Cubs mostly played the NL. If the Cubs played the better league all year, instead of for a small amount of the year, their record would be worse by a few games.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: That doesn’t mean the Cubs weren’t still the best team in baseball. They were! No. 1! But the league effect is legitimate

11:10
Zonk: That Scott Feldman for Arrieta and Strop trade was pretty one-sided…

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: lol whoops

11:10
CamdenWarehouse: Might that be a problem with how we are defining leverage? There were more runs scored in the first than any other inning this year. and in the first inning you could argue each runs means more…

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: If you figure pitchers can only handle what they can handle, then overall good relievers are going to throw more “effective” innings pitching at the end than at the beginning

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Now, in time, I do think we’re going to see things shift. Starting assignments will get shorter and shorter, to the point where almost *everyone* is basically a reliever

11:11
Andrew: Thoughts about the Mets’ TV announcers?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets’ TV broadcast is awesome. I don’t know what happens to Ron Darling’s brain when he gets a national assignment

11:12
99: I think there should always be an ex-pitcher in the broadcast booth, they have many more interesting things to say about what we spend most of the game looking at: the pitcher/batter game. Was definitely enjoying Smoltz last night.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Agreed, but I’m an admitted pitcher dork

11:12
Undecided: I know you don’t like comps but is Mookie a reincarnated version of Kirby Puckett?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t yet see any reason to go away from the Andrew McCutchen thing

11:12
Hather: does a wheeler/matz for inciarte trade make sense for both clubs?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Doubt the Mets would want to give up two arms in a move like that

11:13
lopsided trades: Hello, Trea Turner & Joe Ross

11:13
Carter Capps: Am I the most underrated relief pitcher?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: You haven’t been healthy for a while 🙁

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: And people are always going to be a little bit biased because they feel like you’re cheating

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Brad Brach might be the most underrated relief pitcher

11:14
Dan: Cubs with DH has to be advantageous for the Cubs, right? DH Heyward or pitcher, and we already know guys like Arrieta and T. Wood are better hitting pitchers than most.

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs are definitely a better “AL” team than most NL teams

11:14
Andrew: Do you think Ron Darling intentionally dumbs it down for national TV? If so, is it possible that national TV producers have a say-some-trite-and-probably-dumb-stuff strategy?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably just that he doesn’t have the same chemistry as he does in New York. That’s what I choose to believe, anyway

11:15
Zach: Pretend the Dodgers score 6 runs in the first inning tomorrow. Would it be a good move to take Kershaw out before he pitches and start him on Sunday or would you have him pitch the rest of the game because it’s a must win

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I get what you’re going for, in theory, and it’s a fun thought exercise, but in practice that would be way too extreme a disruption. And, like, Rich Hill or whoever wouldn’t be prepared

11:16
Matt: Do u think Javier Baez in the future bring his K rate to league average?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: He’s most of the way there. I think he’ll always float a little above

11:17
HappyFunBall: I wonder if maybe ARod always wasn’t a douche. Like, maybe he was just kind of socially awkward and never really knew how to handle the bright lights. Then when everyone started calling him an asshole he threw up some walls and conformed to expectations. But when he’s behind a mic and free from the pressure of playing or explaining his play, he’s just himself. Maybe?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I think for a long time he was one of those people who tried to please everyone, and those people never come off as sincere. So then he felt attacked, and the contract and expectations and stuff didn’t help. He was like a cornered animal. A good amount of it he brought on himself

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what caused him to turn things around. Maybe it was the year off. Maybe there was a mid-life crisis. I can only now think about the missed opportunity to have Alex Rodriguez’s career with Alex Rodriguez’s current personality

11:19
weezy: what is your fav broadcasting tandem, in the non-Vin category?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: I enjoy Giants games and Mets games

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: And, obviously, Cubs games

11:20
Evan: What percent of Jason heyward starting in the playoffs right now has to do with 184 million

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: I think the answer is very little. I suspect it’s defense and track record

11:21
A. Reitz: Oakland would never trade Manaea for Inciarte. Stop it. Manaea is just scratching the surface. Ender, is what he is…a light hitting CF who plays solid defense in CF.

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Inciarte is a league-average hitter who is one of the best defensive outfielders on the planet

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not saying Oakland would do it tomorrow, but you can’t consider one guy’s ceiling and another guy’s 40th-percentile reality

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:22
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 — 10/21/16 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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bigjimblue
Member
bigjimblue

How could you like Matt Vasgersian? He is the worst announcer in the business. His grammar, especially his misuse of pronouns is horrible!