Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/28/16

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s Friday baseball chat!

9:03
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:03
Q-Ball: Weather forecast tonight is for 30-40 mph gusts blowing out to left. Which team does that favor more, and why?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: So, yeah, this is expected to be a huge variable going in. Crazy wind blowing out, for two somewhat contact-oriented pitchers

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: My hunch — this is unstudied — is it slightly favors Cleveland? Tomlin, already, is homer-prone. Hendricks’ whole game is reducing quality contact. But if you’re allowed to succeed with worse contact against Hendricks tonight, then that could even things out. Even ordinary fly balls begin to look threatening

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Now, on the other hand, Hendricks gets a few more strikeouts, and a few more grounders. But then, I think Francona is already prepared to remove Tomlin earlier

9:06
Maikel: Does a Matz/Wheeler for Ender Inciarte trade make sense for both teams?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Do you mean both pitchers? Don’t think the Mets would give up both pitchers

9:07
Oneear: So Cleveland hits breaking balls. You think Hendricks limits how many he throws?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hendricks is already hardly a breaking-ball pitcher. You’re going to see a lot of his changeup, and that four-seamer in on lefties under the hands

9:08
CamdenWarehouse: Did you see the number of comments Dave’s article about the watchability of Game 2?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: There’s probably a little lesson in here. Dave was writing from the perspective of someone without a rooting interest. No fan of a team involved would pretty much ever be bored by a championship game. But for the more removed observers, that was pretty dull

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Think of how Devils fans felt about their quality hockey in the 90s, vs. how other people felt about the Devils

9:10
Q-Ball: Given Tomlin’s reverse splits and the projected wind out to LF, should the Cubs start Soler in RF instead of Heyward? What would you do?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I still like Heyward enough. I trust his defense more with an unpredictable wind environment, and in theory you could get some of his suboptimal contact to turn into productive results

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Interestingly, I just looked it up and Soler himself has no platoon split. Odd!

9:11
Five tool: Who are some recent pitchers that have had 80(or pretty close to) grade command? Cliff Lee is a guy who comes to mind,IMO.

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Cliff Lee, absolutely

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously Greg Maddux if you want to count him

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Hendricks might be a 70 who flashes 80 at his best

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Look for anyone who’s successful without clearly dominant weapons. It’s going to be because of command. Like, even Mark Buehrle probably had outstanding location, relative to his peers

9:12
Tim: Will the Twins be the AL Central team in the World Series next year?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: A big part of me hopes so, but, no, absolutely not, never under any circumstances

9:13
JT: Jeff, what do you think of the trend of the past few years of teams regressing sabremetrically in regards to thinking the outfield isnt hard to play. Lots of teams, even smart ones, seemingly think its a good idea to arbitrarily stick guys in the outfield….or sign them to 9 figure contracts to play outfield

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I think everyone understands defense is hard, but I think we’re starting to see some positional barriers break down. With defenders already shifting around so much, specific positions are losing their unique “identities” and players are becoming more familiar with fielding in a number of areas. I believe we’re entering an age of increased player versatility

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs would be out on the forefront of that

9:15
Reginald: Pirate fan here. What do you think of offering the Mets Andrew McCutchen for Familia, Gsellman and a low level prospect? Is that too much? not Enough?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Not nearly enough

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Are you sure you’re a Pirates fan?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Last year be damned, we currently have McCutchen projected to be worth 3.5 – 4 wins again

9:16
Zonk: Is there another park in baseball with such extreme weather effects as Wrigley? When it’s cold and the wind is blowing in, it’s an extreme pitcher’s park. On nights like tonight, it might play like Coors East. Thoughts?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t think of a comparable ballpark. Every park, of course, can play differently, but Wrigley is so extreme. Incidentally, Progressive Field can play mighty hitter-friendly when it has its own strong wind patterns

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: There have also been some crazy wind-aided dingers in Detroit that I recall

9:17
Tim: Is game 3 a must win for the Cubs?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: No, not at all

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no such thing as a must-win in a non-elimination game, and even if the Cubs were to lose, they’d still be the favorites over the remaining four games combined

9:18
Ian: Could you see the Braves making a big move or two? Eno and others seem to think Coppy is really gonna push.

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Would something like signing Matt Wieters count?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’re definitely going to work to try to solidify the 2017 roster. I’m not expecting, like, Chris Sale or anything

9:19
Matt: Jeff, how likely is this opening day lineup for the Cubs next year: C – Contreras, IB – Rizzo, 2B – Baez, SS – Russell, 3B – Bryant, RF – Zobrist, CF – Heyward, LF – Schwarber?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Very likely?

9:19
Tim: Who is the best player in the World Series?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Bryant, then Lindor

9:21
Q-Ball: Are you tired of the Hendricks-Maddux comparisons? I am a Cub fan, and Kyle is good, but he ain’t no Maddux. Is there a better comp we can force everyone to use?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know. Brad Radke?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Maddux, obviously, is as lofty as it gets. And his whole thing is that he did it for like 15 or 20 years.

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: And a younger Maddux had a good fastball, relative to the league average. Hendricks, not so much

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Radke was very good, with a lower margin of error that I think is better-suited for Hendricks. And Radke had a 40-WAR career!

9:23
CamdenWarehouse: What is the chat lineup for the weekend?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Give me a second to check…

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Eno and Ryan tonight, Neil and (unannounced) tomorrow, Carson and Eric on Sunday

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Dave and Eno would handle a potential Game 6, and it looks like I’d be up for a Game 7

9:25
YankeeFan1: It’s clear we love Folty from Atlanta and asked for him in return for McCann, but even I know that is crazy. What else would we have to add to acquire Folty? 20 mil cash, Clint Frazier and another low level prospect?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: To be honest, I just don’t know why Foltynewicz would be available this offseason. The Braves think they’re better than they are and he’s one of the only half-decently reliable starters on the roster. Just seemingly not a great roster match

9:26
Rexdale: Is cold windy weather more advantageous to a groundball or flyball pitcher?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Fly balls would be more susceptible to environmental effects. Wind would do obvious things, depending on how it’s blowing. And baseballs don’t go as far when it’s chilly

9:27
weezy: What got you into writing? And what got you into writing about baseball?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I have no idea what got me into writing, but those turn-of-the-millennium Baseball Prospectus annuals got me really fascinated by baseball. I wasn’t a huge fan of the game growing up and I didn’t play Little League, but the analysis strongly appealed to me, and those player captions allowed me to realize there was also space to try to inject some humor

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I think what got me into writing was when I was a college freshman I didn’t have much of anything better to do

9:29
Guest: Which position player on each team would be the best pitcher?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to guess Baez and Lindor, but I’m a little surprised Michael Martinez hasn’t already pitched somewhere in some blowout

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: He just seems like the type to have already made three or four appearances

9:31
weezy: Is this the busiest time of the year for these chats?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Nah. The busiest periods are around the winter meetings and the trade deadline

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Right now, you’ve got fans of two teams who are really super excited about baseball. Everyone else is in offseason mode but the rumors haven’t kicked up yet. People love love love to think about transactions

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: The playoffs are always a little funny. Site traffic doesn’t actually spike because so many baseball fans have essentially moved on. And yet we still have to work longer hours just because, duh, it’s the playoffs. There’s a separation between resource utilization and reward

9:33
Matt: Should Soler or Heyward get the start tonight? Soler tempting against a HR prone strike thrower

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I remain a Heyward fan and something of a Soler skeptic but the win-expectancy difference here would be on the scale of like a percentage point or two

9:34
chris: Is Santana in left field destined to blow up on Francona?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not — he might get just two or three baseballs hit his way, and the bulk of fieldable baseballs are either routine outs or guaranteed hits. Obviously, there’s real downside, but I think Francona is hoping for early offense that allows him to then replace Santana with a glove

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Not with a literal glove, although even that might be better in left

9:35
Pretty Tony: JD Martinez for Inciarte sound like the start of a deal?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: No reason for the Braves to look for a one-year player

9:35
Tim: Why do they have a 2-3-2 format in baseball?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, but I like it better than 2-2-1-1-1

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: All those off days were stupid

9:36
Robin: What are your thoughts on Paxton and Walker? Should they keep both, trade both, or trade one? What should the M’s target as a return?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Do not trade. I love Paxton and I think a healthy version is destined for big things. Walker, I do not love, but you have to at least let him try to rebound from what injuries did to his second half

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: The organization has very little present rotation depth anyway

9:37
Zonk: Eric’s first prospect list on the D-Backs was really strong. Obviously, the D-Backs system is really weak. How much of the blame for that should we put on Dave Stewart?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no overlooking what he did with just the Miller trade alone, subtracting from the very top of the system, but the system has recently graduated a handful of big-league players, and you also have to fault the actual player-development people if you see a weakness. Stewart would ultimately be responsible for the rest of the organization but it’s been about a lot more than one dude who made a few bad trades

9:38
Leone for Third: Does Vogelbach take over the M’s 1B job (at least against RHP)?Is his bat/defense good enough for that role?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: They’re going to look for someone better but he will be a platoon option

9:38
Dan: Carlos Santana in 2014 (his only non-C/1B defensive innings) was the worst 3B by UZR / 150

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: And I don’t think anyone was surprised

9:39
Hank: What would my Cardinals have to surrender to acquire Ender Inciarte? Carlos Martinez and a prospect? Ender does have 4 years of control left.

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be shocked if you could get him for Martinez alone

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Question is, would the Cardinals want to do that? But the Braves would love to add that sort of arm and Inciarte has probably peaked

9:40
Tim: Should Chapman start using his slider/changeup more or is his fastball that good that he doesn’t need another pitch?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not exactly hurting for success, but overall in the playoffs he’s at 89% fastballs. I’ll guess he’s “optimal” around 75-80%

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: But of course it depends on whether he has any sort of feel for those other pitches. The colder it is, the less likely that is

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: His fastball, though, is the best pitch in the world

9:42
v2micca: Why does everyone assume the Braves need to trade Inciarte? He’s young, cheap, under team control for another 3 years, and its not like the Braves have a lineup of Outfield prospects knocking on the door to take his place. Unless someone is offering crazy trade deals, I say ride out his 3 fWAR per season production.

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t need to trade him, but they *could* trade him, and he’d have market value, and they’ve got Mallex Smith around in the pipeline.

9:43
Scott: T/F: Indians win each game started by Klubot and Cubs win each game started by human pitchers for the Tribe

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: F

9:44
Kevin: What would you ask for in return for Ender if your Coppy? We could cash in on his high value and insert Mallex Smith in CF?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Cost-controlled big-league starting pitcher

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, if I were in charge, I’d love Inciarte, but I recognize he’s probably at his best when the Braves are not. I doubt he’s going to improve

9:45
Mick D: If Texas uses Choo as their DH, will that be enough for him to play 140 games? Or is he a hbp injury or pulled calf muscle waiting to happen?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: He played a full season as recently as 2015

9:45
Tanner: Hey Jeff, thanks for the chat. Crazy question, but what, if anything, could MLB and baseball do to close the gap/overtake football in popularity?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Well football has already been doing plenty to damage itself. But it’s starting from such an advantageous position that it would take a long time for the sports to narrow the gap. Baseball does need to find ways to better market its young superstars. I saw yesterday that Ken Griffey Jr. is on the cover of MLB: The Show 2017. I know that’s the game’s own decision, but, like, what the hell?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I want Mike Trout’s face to be plastered everywhere. Everybody needs to know that Mike Trout is the very best.

9:47
buh: What do you expect out of Carter Capps post Tommy John?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Strikeouts, walks, and eventually another injury

9:47
weezy: I am hearing lots of complaints from friends that are fans of both teams about how the announcers “sound like the [opposing team]’s broadcast.” Is this inevitable?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

9:48
Dustin: True or False: Every fan base in America is convinced Joe Buck hates its team.

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Some fan bases have never had a game covered by Joe Buck? Like, I bet Rockies fans don’t really mind him.

9:49
Mike: Sale and Abreu for Benintendi, Moncada, Swihart, Kopech… who says no?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t see the Red Sox doing that

9:49
Eli: Apparently NYM have some money to spend this offseason, but probably not for Cespedes assuming he gets 5yrs in the 30/yr range. How else do you see them spending it? JBats make sense?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Bautista would be a huge defensive liability

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I wonder if they’d be interested in making a big run at Justin Turner

9:51
v2micca: So, I’m looking at Joey Votto’s season splits and it is just absurd. Was he nursing an injury the first three months?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: No, he wasn’t hurt

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: He was just in a bit of a mechanical rut there. He clearly worked himself out of it

9:52
Guest: Thoughts on Carlos Santana in LF?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: The way I’m currently thinking about it: Tomlin is more of a fly-ball pitcher than line-drive pitcher. Like, the damaging hits are homers, not doubles, and Santana’s not bringing any homers back. So I’ve talked myself into this, for five or six innings. At that point you re-evaluate

9:53
Dock Ellis: Rick Ankiel had -80 command right?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: πŸ™

9:53
Jaack: Fun Fact: Since 1947, three of the top five career triples hitters are named Willie.

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Willie is a good triples name

9:54
Dubslow: Where can we find playoff stats? The usual leaderboards here just show regular season

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately we don’t have a playoff leaderboard. We do have playoff stats on player pages, if you look closely. There’s a little gray “postseason” button http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4940&position=OF

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: For playoff statistical leaderboards, you can get a lot of the basic stuff on MLB.com pretty quick

9:55
True story: Last night I had a vivid dream. A dream in which you, Jeff Sullivan, and your girlfriend (known only to me in concept through reading your chats), were guests in my home. I was excited for the chance to tell you face to face how I love not only your writing, but the way you expose your thought process, which I find calming and meditative and reflective of my own method of analysis. We talked at length about being INTPs. I’m a happily married woman, don’t worry, Jeff. But all except the circumstance is true even to my waking self.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I appreciate the sentiment behind this message and I only wish I could know what we looked like

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I am eight and a half feet tall and one of my arms is a leg

9:56
Jose: If the bases are loaded and u ground out into the double play but the runner on third and second score do u get a RBI for the guy at second?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I…don’t know. Give me one second!

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I have to assume no. The rules seem pretty explicit

9:58
v2micca: Jason Heyward has posted a 200+ ISO in only one season of his career. Given the elite power he flashed as a rookie, what is the most likely explanation for his power never developing?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: His swing has always been complicated, and I have a hunch that it’s simply too level. He’s never been much of an air-ball hitter, even though he clearly has the strength to succeed as such

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I definitely do not think we’ve seen the last of Jason Heyward as an above-average bat

10:00
Zonk: How do you expect Francona to use Miller and Allen tonight? With 3 games in a row, does he need to be careful about running up a large pitch count like he did Tuesday?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you’re going to see Miller throw another 40 – 50 pitches. It does help, somewhat, to know that Kluber is going again tomorrow, which might reduce the bullpen demand. And Francona might want to lean harder on his strikeout relievers given how strong the wind is going to be. So you should see both the pitchers, but they might throw a *combined* 60 pitches

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: In a windy game like this I’d be looking for Dan Otero

10:01
weezy: What can the Mariners do this offseason? Feels like they are in their peak right now, and that’s an 85-win team. Sigh.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Get Walker and the relievers healthy and find a first baseman

10:03
Minty: Is a realistic offensive outcome for Conforto something along the lines of Joc?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think Conforto has somewhat better bat-to-ball skills and Pederson is stronger. But I figure Conforto should eventually settle around a 110 – 120 wRC+ so yeah, that’s not so different. Both will probably need to be protected against good lefties

10:04
Andrew: Eno yesterday mentioned that a Mets-Pirates trade centered around McCutchen might make sense. What do you think about that idea? What would such a trade look like?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: That would be McCutchen for one of the Mets starters. Not too complicated to draw up. Obvious reason for hesitation on both sides

10:06
J: How much should we discount future value? Like if a small market team that couldn’t resign their free agents had a 3 WAR player for the next 5 years and somehow knew they had a 4 WAR player coming up after those 5 years and had the same amount of years under control which one would be more valuable?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: The former player would be more valuable — the next guy is six years away, and that’s something that would have to be heavily discounted

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I believe that runs with a discount rate of 8% each year?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe not a bad rule of thumb

10:08
Pretty Tony: My Red Wings have made the playoffs every year I’ve been alive on this Earth. This year, for the first time ever, I said I hope they miss the playoffs and thought they would be really bad. They won their sixth straight in a SO last night in STL. Is the Wings’ run the most dominant in sports and what is the closest baseball equivalent? 90s Barves?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I do feel like the Braves would be the closest equivalent, but what’s remarkable about the Red Wings is they’re still going, even in this age of information. Elite-level organization, in just about all respects

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, half the teams in hockey make the playoffs every year. But for so long there the Wings were consistently finishing first or second

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: They haven’t finished better than third now since 2010-11

10:10
Rexdale: Great analogy with the Devils, I still can’t root for them because of the resentment I had to their style of play under a previous regime.

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: It makes me laugh how many reasons there are for people to dislike other teams. Not because I don’t do it too. I do! But it’s so much easier to hate a franchise than to like it. And we only accumulate those reasons as we get older

10:11
Andrew: Should the Mets try to sign Carlos Gomez on the cheap? Relatedly, can he still play CF?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Well he can play CF better than Cespedes, but I think he’s a better fit somewhere else

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Texas should push pretty hard, assuming they lose Desmond

10:12
John M: Cubs’ hitting game plan tonight is more aggressive, right? Tomlin throws hittable strikes, so it’s better to hit them before you go to 0-2 or 1-2. And Miller is rested, so there’s no incentive to run up the pitch count on Tomlin to get to the bullpen.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, against Tomlin you have to get ready to swing early. But the Cubs can do that, so there’s no vulnerability here to be exploited

10:12
v2micca: Right now, I think Brian McCann is good for about a max of 60 games behind the plate a season and needs to be the DH the rest of the time. I think if things break his way, he can still manage a 2+ WAR season. If the Yankees agree to eat half his salary, what can they get for him?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Not very much. A pretty good reliever, perhaps, or two wild-card prospects

10:14
Andrew: Is there anything cool and volcano-related to see on the East Coast at all?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: No.

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: But there are still some pretty mountains. Pretty mountains make for decent volcano substitutes

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: There are outcroppings of some very, very ancient volcanism, but nothing that’ll blow your mind

10:15
v2micca: If Cleveland manages to Win two Championships in the same calendar year, will it definitively kill the God Hates Cleveland Meme?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: yes

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: At least as far as the sports part goes

10:15
Youngman: Sounds like Coppy has a long list of prospects he doesn’t wanna trade yet. Should he continue to stock young talent cause it’s too soon in the rebuild to attempt pushing contention?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, if I were them I wouldn’t push. But, like, what the hell, maybe go after Wieters and Rich Hill and see what happens

10:16
Anthony: Piggybacking on Dave’s post on Game 2 — what’s your ideal game (in a vacuum) in terms of length, runs scored, pitchers used, baserunners, and any other variables you want to add?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I love a close game that clocks in around 2:30 – 2:40. Satisfy just those conditions and I’m a happy camper

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re going to approach four hours for nine innings you sure as shit better look like Dodgers/Nationals Game 5

10:16
Only Padres fan on the internet: What does the Padres’ offseason look like?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: A lot of other teams calling to try to get Tyson Ross for free

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll try to turn Derek Norris into something but it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton for them to do

10:18
Dock Ellis: What would Odubel Herrera get in a trade this off season? Which teams would be interested?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not a good winter to market him with so many other available outfielders. And the Phillies need some young position players anyway

10:18
Zonk: Who needs Andrew Miller when you have Mike Montgomery? I kid, but Maddon leaving him in for 2 innings Wed. while other good pitchers sat was telling, wasn’t it?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: He definitely trusts Montgomery, and he definitely doesn’t trust Rondon/Strop at the moment. The leverage never really got out of control, either. The Indians didn’t make things particularly close.

10:19
Clucker: Cubs -1.5 runs tonight. Where are you putting your cash?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I will never put any cash on baseball. I’ve made that mistake before

10:20
v2micca: Given how key Bryant has been to the Cubs this post-season, do they make a serious effort to sign him long term, or is Arbitration inevitable at this point?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: They will make a serious effort. I can’t promise that it’ll pay off

10:20
Q-Ball: Is Tomlin better than even the 6th guy in the Indians bullpen? How quick will the hook be on him?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: It’s almost impossible for me to see Tomlin throwing a pitch in the sixth. Even money that he’s throwing in the fifth

10:21
Hammerleg: Regarding Hendricks and the wind —

Carrie Muskat
@CarrieMuskat
In 4 Gs at Wrigley with wind blowing out, #Cubs Hendricks has 1.86 ERA (6 ER/29 IP, 34 Ks). That includes shutout 5/28, wind 18 mph to CF
28 Oct 2016
10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I like that as a fun fact, but there’s still no reason to think that Hendricks will be as good or better in hitter-friendly conditions

10:22
Only Padres fan on the internet: My young son is a Padres fan. He already has a Wil Myers shirt. Which Padres player’s shirt do I get him for his birthday, factoring in (a) how good the player is and (b) the likelihood of him still being a Padre until my son outgrows the shirt in 18 months?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Jankowski is fun

10:22
Clucker: Do you boil or fry your pierogies?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Boil first, then pan-fry

10:22
Dan: Santana in LF or Schwarber with bum-knee in LF: Who’s worse?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Well one of them didn’t fail a medical test for mobility

10:23
Brad Radke: I never had Hendricks’ strikeout rate, and I never posted a FIP close to what Hendricks did this year.

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Hendricks had a 78 FIP-, in the National League. Radke peaked around 84-85 in the American League in the steroid era. Pretty much negligible

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: And Hendricks’ K-BB% is very similar to Radke’s when you adjust for the different eras in which they’ve pitched

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Hendricks is a little better at missing bats; Radke was a little better at throwing strikes

10:28
Travis Wood Stan: In 2013-2014 Travis Wood started 60+ games, 3.8 fWar pitching 1.7 fWar batting, 2.75 fWar average per year. Fly ball pitcher. I think the Braves should sign him as a fifth starter! What say you?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t like the season he just had but he does deserve to be a fifth starter somewhere in the National League

10:28
Kyle: When do you think is a good time for Schwarbs to pinch hit tonight?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: That’s going to depend on the situations and the leverage. No need to try to plot this out now

10:29
Drew: Beyond this season, is Mike Montgomery better suited in the rotation or bullpen?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: This year as a starter: 86 xFIP-. This year as a reliever: 85 xFIP-. Identical K-BB rates. I’d love to see Montgomery get extended

10:30
E: I was at game 2 Wednesday night, it was incredibly boring, obviously even worse being an Indians fan but there just weren’t that many exciting plays. Also, how many times did Contreras go to the mound? Seemed like he went after every non-out play.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: So many different factors came together to contribute to a lousy viewer experience. Mound visits, longer commercial breaks, low leverage, few exciting hits, tons of balls, tons of fouls…

10:32
Dominik: Tomlin is getting clobbered today, right? throws strikes but doesn’t miss bats against a top 3 offense in the majors and on top he gives up flyback in a small park with the wind blowing out (and santana in the OF). is there any realistic scenario that could work for the Indians in this game?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Tomlin was supposed to get clobbered by the Red Sox, and he was supposed to get clobbered by the Blue Jays. He’s allowed three runs in 10.2 innings, with 10 strikeouts. That’s the scenario. If he executes 30-40% better than he usually does, he’ll be good enough for the Indians to win

10:34
The Gyorko Store Called: Which pitcher who retired (before this season) do you think would be the most likely to come back and post a 2 WAR season in 2017?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: A.J. Burnett would be an easy guess

10:34
v2micca: I also tire of the Maddux comparisons for every Right handed pitcher whose fastball doesn’t crack 90. People forget that when Maddux first broke into the league he featured a 95 mph four-seamer. Yes, he lost velocity, but he also made a conscious decision to switch to an 88mph 2 seam pitch.

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, it’s easy to forget that Maddux had an 80-grade fastball when he was younger, since we don’t have easy access to that information

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: But this is just one of the white versions of every small Latin righty drawing Pedro comps

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: or every aggressive Latin outfielder with a strong arm causing people to recall Vladimir Guerrero

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: They’re usually Jose Guillen

10:36
The: Will there ever be a woman in MLB? What about a woman umpire?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: yes, yes

10:36
DB: Are we going to see teams start taking runs and put $$ towards failed starters to find the next A Miller or Z Britton.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Teams have been converting bad starters for a while. You might notice that, even today, there is only one Andrew Miller. But I do think you’re going to see teams investigating more thoroughly which starters might turn into dominant relievers

10:37
The Gyorko Store Called: If another TV show incorporating MLB besides Pitch was developed, what aspect of baseball would you want it to be about?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be a mid-round draft pick trying to survive in the minors

10:38
StackedDeck: Are the Braves about to pull a 2016 Diamondbacks?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: They’re not that stupid

10:38
Dominik: Do you think schwarber is kept as an insurance against Ace pitcher injury? he does have value with his bat but part is wasted in the field. but only getting a reliever for him is not enough either, I think he will be kept and only traded for an ace pitcher in case arrieta or Lester go down with injury

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s kept as insurance; I think he’s kept because the Cubs are madly, deeply in love with him

10:39
Dock Ellis: Remember Daniel Cabrera? He was like the Anti-Hendricks…any other players you could think of that has a zero on the 20-80 scale? Michael Martinez hit Tool I suppose.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: God damn Cabrera was frustrating

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Like the starter version of Jesus Colome

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Remember when a big fastball used to be enough to get a guy noticed? Now everyone has a big fastball πŸ™

10:39
carter: Any thoughts on the Japanese player who both pitches and bats? ala of course Ruth.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: It is a virtual guarantee that no matter what he might become in the major leagues, it will be far short of what we all collectively imagined

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: So almost no matter what, Otani will be a disappointment. Which is insane, but true to human nature

10:42
Mark: With the dearth of quality starting pitching options on the free agent market this offseason, do you think we could see some small market teams with pitching needs try to move career relievers into the rotation? Are there any relievers on this year’s open market you think could make that transition successfully?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Not a lot out there, at least among free agents. You might see some teams try to re-convert Yusmeiro Petit and Travis Wood

10:42
Greg: What’s your gut feeling on the Cubs and Jake Arrieta after next year, let him walk?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: That is my current leaning

10:43
Zach: In 2016 LFers put up 97 wRC+, the worst mark since the 1800s. Random fluctuation, offense moving away from LF, or something else?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: My usual guess about these things is that we’re probably seeing a greater emphasis on defensive ability

10:44
carter: Who are you closest with on FG? Do you hang out?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Dave

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: We’ll hang out more now that he lives three hours away instead of three time zones

10:45
carter: If you had a chance to take over a GM position, any idea which team would be your top choice, Jeff?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Give me low pressure and low expectations. San Diego!

10:46
HappyFunBall: If there’s a game 7 and it’s virtual copy of game 2, would the added excitement of !!!!!!GAME 7!!!!!! make it more bearable? Cause that was awful…

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t remember Game 7 in 2011 being particularly exciting

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: It would be better, but still bad

10:47
botchatheny : “There’s a separation between resource utilization and reward” – does that mean you guys loathe the live playoff blogs?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: I will say one of the challenges of live-blogging a game is that it makes it more difficult to pay close attention to details

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: So writing *after* a live blog isn’t so easy

10:48
Waspo98: On the topic of transactions, can you foresee the Cubs making any big deals this off-season? Trading for young, controllable pitching, signing Chapman/Jansen, etc.?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I can see them putting money toward the bullpen and a stronger fifth starter

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Soler on the move

10:49
Erik Guy: Trying to convince a fellow Cubs fan that a lot of their rebuild had to do with very good fortune and luck, and that it wasn’t all Theo genius, i.e. rookie Rizzo to incompetent Padres for Cashner, Russell for nothing at the trade deadline, Hendricks rather than Delgado for Dempster, Bryant falling to them rather than Appell. It just seems like they rebuilt to perfection, has to be a lot of luck, right?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Theo Epstein has built a wonderful organization from top to bottom. That much is true. The Cubs have also strongly benefited from circumstances that weren’t totally under their own control. That much is also true. This is kind of like your typical 7 or 8-WAR season — awesome player, who also over-achieved

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs weren’t supposed to be this good yet. They were supposed to be, I don’t know, Astros-good. Which is good! But they’re even better. By so much

10:51
Tea Leoni for Third: Which reliever should the M’s target?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Healthy versions of their own relievers, and a lefty if Furbush is toast

10:52
Alex: Aaron Blair for Shelby Miller?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Just like the Diamondbacks expected, Miller finished with the better ERA by a run and a half!

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Great trade!

10:53
chris: Are WS ticket prices this year, specifically the insane markup on the secondary market in Chicago a signal of how future big games will be valued or an aberration?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t an area of expertise but I have to figure this is a Cubs-related aberration. People are paying to see something potentially extraordinary. The Cubs’ championship drought is a story that transcends ordinary baseball fanhood.

10:55
Guest: Is tomlin homer-prone or just unlucky? What does it mean to have a high HR/FB?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: He’s both. Kind of reminiscent of Josh Towers. Kind of a fly-ball pitcher who isn’t also a pop-up pitcher. Throws a lot of hittable pitches around strike-y areas. Very little margin of error and will be aggressive in three-ball counts. So you see the walks low and the homers high

10:57
Travis Wood Stan: What’s the difference between having a bad glove in left for one game vs a whole season? Like if the idea behind it is “he might only get 1 or 2 balls hit his way” couldn’t that be applied nightly? Isn’t this just banking on variance?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, realistically, it’s just the full-season expectation divided by 162. But in theory you can try for better matchups that might yield fewer balls in play on a given day just based on the pitcher or the opposing hitters

10:57
Clucker: If you played baseball what number would you be and why?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: 23 because I like it

10:58
John M: Who will the Cubs try to get as closer next year? Chapman again? Jansen? Or back to Rondon?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they go back to Rondon. I feel like they’ll try for one of the big two

10:58
Dominik: I have seen people suggest trying schwarber at third. at third you need reflexes more than range and historically bigger guys have handled third (panda, cabrera). could that work given Bryant’s flexibility? how bad could he be at third? at least worth a try next year?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Now that Schwarber has busted a knee I don’t think you really want him at any infield position like that

10:59
hammy: Do you see the cubs trading schwarber in the near future due to his lack of defense and versatility in the field? He doesn’t seem to fit the type of position players the cubs are building around and if so what do you think they could get for a player like him?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: It’s so hard — he’s not going to be a good defender but the Cubs love him so much. Assuming the DH isn’t coming to the NL next year, I think they just have to run with him in left field and hope for the best

11:00
carter: What do you usually do for lunch, Jeff?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: A ham or turkey sandwich, or, on occasion, three al pastor tacos from the cart a few blocks away

11:00
jon: Re: Chapman fastball usage. Loss aversion. You don’t want to hang a slider and have it go over the fence. Chapman’s fastball doesn’t get taken out of the park.

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: For his career, 0.29% of Chapman fastballs have been homers, and 0.27% of Chapman sliders have been homers

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: (0% of a small sample of changeups)

11:01
Doug: I see all these questions about Enciarte, but would JBJ return more or less if the Sox decided to move him?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Bradley would get more, because they have the same service time, and JBJ is the better hitter

11:03
George: Which free agent do you think will end up being the biggest steal this offseason?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Steve Pearce, Carlos Gomez, or someone out of Korea or Japan

11:03
Dominik: how can the Indians win that series? even if kluber wins three games they still need one game started by one of the bad starters. more likely kluber wins only 2 out of the 3 and they have to win two with Bauer, Tomlin and God forbid maybe Merritt

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: It’s really quite simple. The Cubs are the favorites, but each game is close enough. Around the end of June and the start of July, the Cubs went 1-9. In one stretch they lost three straight to the Reds and Braves. They lost 3 of 4 to Milwaukee in September. Weird things happen. Weird things can happen.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Never, ever, ever assume anything about baseball is set in stone. Just because we’re more focused on this small sample of games doesn’t mean the sample is any less small

11:06
Andrew: What are the next best pitches in the world after Chapman’s fastball? Thor’s slider? Kershaw’s curve? Kershaw’s everything?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Britton’s sinker, Jansen’s cutter…it’s kind of hard to tell where to start giving credit for the best SP pitches. Syndergaard’s fastball is up there

11:07
carter: What scenario can you see for the Indians winning? Mostly luck and timely hitting?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Indians pitchers execute a little better than Cubs pitchers for the remainder. They make fewer location mistakes than average. Maybe a few Cubs hitters swing through or foul off the mistakes they do see. Lots of ways for this series to turn

11:08
Pretty Tony: I love these chats because there’s always like 10 questions about Ender Inciarte, a light-hitting, defensive first center fielder who is unknown to like 95% of baseball fans. We’re such nerds…

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I was having this thought last night after seeing some joke I loved on Twitter. It was an extremely in-baseball joke that I thought was one of the funniest things. 1% of the nation’s 1% of people would understand it.

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: We are the 1% (of the 1%)

11:09
carter: Which announcers do you like, Jeff?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I am actually just fine with Joe Buck

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I tolerate John Smoltz and I mostly like Matt Vasgersian

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, Brian Anderson is great. These are the national guys I’m talking about, of course

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets, Cubs, and Giants stand out as having fantastic local productions

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Even though a lot of people disagree, I think the Yankees TV broadcast is good

11:10
Minty: What time of an offensive ’17 would Heyward need to put up to opt out?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: He can opt out after 2018, not 2017

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: If he gets back to something like a 110 wRC+ on the regular, he’s gone

11:12
George: Which team do you think will end up signing Mark Trumbo? And how much will they pay?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I’m starting to think you could see him in Colorado

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: They would pay too much

11:12
Dan: Does Fangraphs keep track of umpire ERA and FIP? Is there any useful insight to be gained in doing so?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: We do not

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: You can see umpire data on Baseball-Reference but it doesn’t control for which players/teams were playing. They’re not evenly distributed

11:13
weezy: what’s a project that you want to research/write about, but can’t because you have to overly dissect every Kyle Schwarber PA in the WS?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I actually really like the microanalysis. I’m not so good with the bigger subjects.

11:13
Bob: Joe Buck announced the ’07 World Series, so Rockies fan have had a chance to hate him.

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Wonderful!

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners fans, then. Or Padres fans

11:13
CamdenWarehouse: Are you assuming Wright is done?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Even if Wright’s not done, there could be space for Justin Turner at second, as a flex

11:14
Tea Leoni for Third: Who is the best player traded this offseason?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Andrew McCutchen. Maybe Joey Votto. Maybe Chris Archer. At least Ender Inciarte

11:15
Old tex: When will the Yankees be good again? Why not next year?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: WC contender next year, division contender year after that

11:16
carter: Where can I read a brief bio of people writing on FG? thanks.

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: You can’t! Sorry πŸ™

11:16
11:16
Jeff Sullivan: His arm is not considered very good, but it has gotten better

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: It’s the one great tool he’s missing

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: It’s also the least-important one

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: His arm has played about average the last two years

11:17
TKDC: The playoff odds don’t take into account the expected starting pitchers, do they?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: I believe they do, actually

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: At least based on the depth charts. The scoreboard page will give you individual-game odds, based on the starters and, when they’re announced, the lineups

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:18
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 — when the season is officially over! — and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/28/16 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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