Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/20/17

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:04
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:04
WannabeBork: Sup Bro

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Sup friend

9:05
EbenezerBatflip: Who will have more strikeouts in 2017, Sale or Price?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously, this is almost too close to call, but Sale has touched the higher K% peak before, and now he’s going to get a lot more help from his catchers than he just had. So I give Sale the slight edge

9:06
CubbieBlues: Hi Jeff, thanks for chatting. What does the research suggest is the expected value of a top ten draft pick? If a team ends up with a relief pitcher or 4th outfielder, is the team disappointed that he isn’t a star or relieved that he didn’t bust?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: So the research is a little scattered because one or two awesome draft picks can really skew things, but a safe way to think of it is probably like this: a top-5 pick produces, on average, about 10 WAR during team-control years, and a 6-through-10 pick is more like 5 WAR

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: At least, I think that’s about accurate. The error bars are enormous. If you have a top-five pick, I think you’d be dissatisfied with a reserve or a reliever. Come picks 9 or 10, then you’d be more forgiving. Things tend to tail off pretty quickly

9:09
ConfusedConfucious: How many players younger than 30 do you believe have a greater than 50% chance of making the HoF? Besides Trout, of course.

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw’s easy. That’s one

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how I feel about Bumgarner but maybe he’s at 50%? He’ll get big postseason credit, eventually

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see…Felix isn’t younger than 30 anymore, and neither is Price

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I think Posey has a reasonable shot

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll stop there. Way too much still to know about too many other guys

9:13
JimLindeman15: Jeff, guess who said the following? “I think everybody in this room would be completely shocked and surprised to know how many times we had the green light in the last several years, more often than not, I’ll tell you that.” It’s Mike Matheny. Your thoughts?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I guess that tells you the true significance of having the green light, because over the past three years, only the Orioles have stolen fewer bases than the Cardinals have

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: This feels an awful lot like an early spring-training narrative. One of the common ones is a given team saying it’s going to steal a lot more often. I’ll believe it when I see it

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Fowler will chip in, of course. But the Cardinals still aren’t going to run very much. They just don’t have the personnel of, say, the Brewers

9:15
Jack: With the Angels reportedly signing Luis Valbuena how does their infield shake out? Maybe one of Cron, Escobar, or Pennington traded?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: There’s apparently a good deal of smoke surrounding a would-be Cron trade, but since I don’t see the Angels moving a young player like that, I think you have Valbuena start out as a multi-position reserve. And then they have a little extra flexibility now in case one of Escobar or Espinosa doesn’t hit

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Pennington is no one’s idea of a quality backup, and this way they get to play Jefry Marte more regularly in the minors, which I guess is something the Angels prioritize

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Worth noting, for now, that Pujols might still miss opening day

9:17
Erik: What probably bad team is just a few lucky breaks away from hanging around the wild card race for a while?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Depends on your definition of “a few.” Could be almost all of them. Remember how last year’s Phillies were over .500 for like a month and a half, even though they sucked?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Diamondbacks aren’t very good, but they’ll have a month or two where all the young starters are clicking at the same time. So there will be stretches where they look absolutely fearsome

9:19
dead fred: please start for god’s sake; if it weren’t for this chat, I’d welcome the rapture

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: This is a lot of pressure

9:19
EbenezerBatflip: The narrative for both Sale and Price is that they are expected to have a better year in 2017 than they had in 2016. Which one will have the better year?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Sale is coming off a year spent with absolutely terrible defensive catchers, so I think he’ll bounce back the best because of that alone

9:20
Trey Mancini: What do I gotta do to get some respect?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Slug better than .427 in Triple-A

9:21
Earl G: If still prospect eligible, about where would Michael Conforto fit on a top 100? (Trying to gauge his value)

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the 40-50 range? He’s coming up on his 24th birthday but almost everyone still believes he’s going to hit

9:23
Weezy: If you didn’t write about baseball professionally (or considering, perhaps), which would you recommend to watch the Eclipse in August: Madras or Salem-Kaizer Volcanoes baseball?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: So, I don’t quite get the idea of a festival — you don’t need to be around other people in order to look up and observe that the world is dark when it’s day time

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Therefore, I’d say if you’re intent on going to one of those two places, go to whichever one is easier for you to reach. Or go to neither one and just watch the eclipse yourself

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I recognize that I’m spoiled, already living in or around an ideal viewing band. After talking to Ben Lindbergh the other day I’m thinking about going to that baseball game

9:25
ManBearPuig: Do you like salmon?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Sure

9:25
SouthSider: Per ESPN Jim Bowden: “They [Nats] should have expanded that [Eaton] deal to get Robertson, because now it’s almost impossible for them to land Robertson without including top prospect outfielder Victor Robles — which they are not going to do. ” Does Robertson really have that much value? Can he actually swing a top 10 prospect? Even if ChiSox eat half his contract I think that’s a stretch.

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: That is clearly a stretch

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: And it shouldn’t even make a difference because expanding the previous move, following along these lines, would’ve cost Robles anyway!

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Bad thinking

9:26
EbenezerBatflip: Do you expect Sale to have the kind of first-year blues in Boston that guys like Porcello and Hanley have suffered? I personally think Sale’s fiery nature might make him a bit more resistant to the pressure and he might be able to come into Boston and light it up on arrival. I know the idea of media/pressure is hard to quantify, but what do you expect from Sale in his first year in Boston?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think he is going to be a fantastic starting pitcher

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: The hitter-friendly environment and division make things a little tougher, but then, Sale is coming from US freaking Cellular

9:28
Gary : Chances the Cards can win the Central? Not sold on Chicago’s rotation.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Cubs rotation is more of a relative weakness than an actual weakness

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: As of now, the Steamer projections have the Cubs rotation at No. 5, and the Cardinals rotation at No. 10

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: By bullpen, they’re both near the top, and by position players, the Cubs have about a 10-WAR projected lead

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I’d put the Cardinals division odds for now around 20%

9:29
The Kudzu Kid: is this a safe no-politics zone? desperately seeking one of those today

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Politics will not be discussed in here, in part because it’s inappropriate and in even larger part because I am politically stupid. It’s the same reason we won’t be discussing big-game hunting either

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: How do you kill and butcher an elk? Hell if I know!

9:31
Mike: Do the A’s have any moves left?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: They appear to me to be pretty set. Could always turn and flip a reliever, but if there’s anything for them to do it’s re-establish Gray’s value and think about moving him in July

9:31
volcano joe: Better $1 fantasy keeper: Joey Gallo or Julio Urias?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I hate fantasy questions, but, Urias, easily

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: One of these players is actually good

9:32
K: If you had to pick one Mariners MiLBer to become part of the 2017 M’s starting rotation, who would it be?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: pass

9:33
Toki: Who do you see getting the final 2 rotation spots in St. Louis between Wacha, Reyes, Weaver, and Lynn? Who goes to the pen and who gets optioned?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I want to say Reyes and Lynn, but it’s *possible* they’ll start Reyes in the bullpen just to keep his final innings total in check. At some point, you figure Wacha won’t be able to take his regular turns

9:33
Chet: What do you think the price is for Jason Hammel and why doesn’t Jerry seem to want him?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Hammel’s market is depressed because a bunch of teams think he has an arm problem. Teams hate giving guaranteed money to someone they feel like they could be paying to sit on the DL

9:36
Daniel: Will there be more serious talks of a new A’s stadium if the Raiders get approval to leave?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: So I’d like to acknowledge, first, that I am not an expert on these matters, but my suspicion is that, yes, the Raiders leaving makes it that much easier for the A’s to get their new ballpark. I’d expect them in such a new stadium within, say, six years?

9:38
Scott: Heard your recent Effectively Wild podcast: just look to recent Orioles game played in totally empty stadium as weirdest possible scenario for playing a game. Apologies to your Ash choice.

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a good one. I think the prompt was about playing during some natural phenomenon, but nothing will ever top the baseball game that no one watched

9:39
Jake: Keon Broxton’s been on my mind lately, so I guess we have something in common. BP Milwaukee published a piece the same day as yours about a game where all of his batted balls were over 100-mph in EV. Exciting stuff! Even so, his second half was propped up by a .425 BABIP. What do you think is a realistic offensive projection for him in 2017?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: An honest projection would probably put him around a 90 – 95 wRC+. I don’t think it’s the least bit unreasonable to put him in the triple digits. I’m clearly one of the high guys, because the swing-and-miss is a real drawback, but it might be literally his only drawback

9:40
Philip: The Dodgers have reportedly asked the Rangers about Profar. What would a fair return be? Brock Stewart?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I think that would be a pretty even straight-up trade, but I’m personally down on Profar and high on Stewart, so if I were the Dodgers I wouldn’t do that

9:43
EbenezerBatflip: What does a Mookie Betts extension look like? years/dollars?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Well, Betts has long drawn comps to Andrew McCutchen, right? So that makes things convenient

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: (Sorry for that delay, was doing some research)

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Betts is at 2+ years of service time. So was McCutchen after 2011, when he signed his contract extension

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: McCutchen got 6/$51.5 million, with a club option. He had been worth 12 WAR in the majors to that point

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Betts has been worth 14 WAR in the majors to this point. Similar kind of hitter, probably superior in the field

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Consider that, and consider inflation, and perhaps you take Betts up to something like 6/$70 million with an option?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Should be somewhere around there, assuming such a contract would kick in immediately, paying Betts almost nothing in 2017

9:47
Weezy: Some writers seems to care far too much about the Hall of Fame. What nuance of baseball/baseball culture would you say you care far too much about?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say this for the Hall of Fame — some people do seem to care too much about it, but this talk also comes right smack dab in the middle of the worst part of the annual baseball calendar, so you’ll see more material on the HoF just because there’s nothing else to discuss

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I care too much about underappreciated statistical extremes. Players who are really good or really bad at things that many people tend not to notice

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Like Jacoby Ellsbury shattering the all-time catcher’s interference record, or Nick Vincent having one of baseball’s most unhittable fastballs

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t believe that shit is my job

9:50
Pat: On Opening Day 2017, Jurickson Profar is the starting ______ for the _________

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: nothing, Rangers

9:51
mtsw: Will the Orioles be smart and keep Trumbo out of the outfield, even if it means having Hyun Soo Kim hit against LHP? Am I crazy to think Chris Davis makes more sense in RF than Trumbo does?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why the Orioles would change course after having both of those same players last season

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: If Trumbo were new to them, sure, you could wonder. But they just had them both, and Davis started at first base 152 times. That’s the plan.

9:52
Jason: Dansby Swanson and Jurickson Profar have similar offensive value?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: What?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Dansby Swanson, in a small sample, has been a good major-league hitter. Jurickson Profar has been a hitter in the major leagues

9:52
Susan: Have you seen Amed Rosario? How excited should Met fans be?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I have personally seen almost no prospects

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: For I am not a prospect guy!

9:54
Garrit: Gun to head, Benintendi or Bregman, long-term? Thank you!

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Love ’em both but I’ll take Bregman. I think he brings a little more, defensively

9:54
Erik: Let’s say every playoff contender loses their top two starting pitchers. Are the Cubs uniquely able to cope due to their excellent offense, uniquely unable due to their lack of SP depth, or more or less the same as everyone else since those two factors are equally important?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs’ greatest strength is just their *overall* strength. They’d be able to cope better than most teams just because they’re beginning from the highest possible slot. I don’t think they’re unique in any regard, as far as this question goes. Their rotation would be badly damaged, more than some other teams. But they’d still be a playoff favorite

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Even now, if you took away Lester and Arrieta and replaced them with 0 WAR, the Cubs would be Steamer-projected for a team WAR of 43.6. That would rank them between the Astros and the Giants

9:57
EbenezerBatflip: Expectations for Benintendi’s first full season? Can he hit 25HRs in a full season?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: For this year I think he has a better shot at 50 doubles than 25 homers

9:57
Depressed in Denver: Rockies catch a lot of flack for their decision making. Is the criticism deserved? How would you best explain what their “issues” are?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: They make inefficient decisions way too often

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Things like signing Ian Desmond, or signing Gerardo Parra, or trading younger talent for Jake McGee

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: All along, the Rockies have been developing a half-decent young core, and they still have a shot at building a winner before too long, but they haven’t been helping themselves. They’re not maximizing their assets

10:00
jimmy : Apparently there are multiple clubs who have Robert Gsellman ranked higher internally than Giolito and Glasnow. Is that crazy?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I totally get being skeptical of Giolito or Glasnow ever finding the zone, but Gsellman hasn’t thrown a bunch of strikes *or* missed a bunch of bats. He doesn’t interest me

10:02
Juan Uribe: Who will Jerry Dipoto trade next?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Mike Freeman, in March, for a PTBNL or cash considerations

10:02
Mike: What is more likely; Francis Martes is traded or Francis Martes in part of the rotation by July? Thanks.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Come this time of year I get conservative about big trades, so I’ll say the second one

10:03
mtsw: Will Edgar Martinez get into the Hall of Fame on the strength of a positive comparison to David Ortiz? People have just sort of agreed Ortiz is a surefire first ballot guy in a way that will create a lot of precedent to let lesser players in.

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I think that was one of the big things driving Edgar’s momentum this time around. It’s complicated — there’s a handful of factors –but Ortiz retired at a convenient time for Edgar’s candidacy. You can’t really defend an Ortiz vote paired with an Edgar non-vote

10:04
MeDeKe: Give me some hope – Giolito still a good long term high-end investment (#2 SP), or more average-at-best? Thanks, Jeff!

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Big question marks, but this time last year a bunch of us were kind of down on Aaron Sanchez, and he mostly found the zone after that. So it wouldn’t take a whole lot for Giolito to get back around where he was, hype-wise

10:05
Ronnie: The 2005 draft was over a dozen years ago! Ryan Braun has had two relatively healthy productive seasons in a row (550+ PA’s, 130ish wRC+). Andrew McCutchen cratered badly last year (106 wRC+). The projections like McCutchen to produce a higher wRC+ in 2017 (129 to 117), what about you?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think Braun just over-achieved, power-wise. I’ll take McCutchen at the plate in the short-term

10:08
Matt: Why does Willy Garcia have 30 innings of relief pitching allocated to him in the Pirates’ depth charts projections?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Because some one’s not paying close enough attention. I just removed him

10:10
20longyears: Bill Mazeroski and the Hall of Fame… to you, does his sort of player belong in the Hall? Lousy but playable hitter who might be a utility player today, but in his time, teams valued premium defense at 2B, and the numbers say Maz is the greatest defensive 2B of the modern era. In other words, should “best ________” of a prized skill in its day overrule WAR in special HoF cases?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: We’re about to have this conversation when we get to the Omar Vizquel ballot. And Vizquel has his supporters, but I just don’t see it. Mazeroski as a hitter was really quite bad. He was a defensive specialist, but that’s not enough for me. Is Andrelton Simmons going to make your Hall of Fame?

10:15
EbenezerBatflip: The 2016 Red Sox were an extremely aggressive and successful base-stealing team in the first half of the season, then due to injury and fatigue, seemed to very visibly take emphasis off the speed part of the game in the second half. Do you expect a younger/healthier 2017 team to continue the aggressive basestealing from the first half of 2016? Especially now that they are without David Ortiz to be an RBI machine, it seems like emphasizing speed might be a great way to offset a loss of power.

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: The early steals mostly came from Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley, and Ramirez. I don’t think Ramirez will be running, but Betts should go again, now that his knee is cleaned up. Bradley should be good for about 15 bags, and the same goes for Bogaerts. Benintendi should get into the double digits

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: It won’t be a priority, I don’t think, but it also won’t be a station-to-station ballclub. It’s a decently athletic lineup

10:17
Jim Lonborg: Since you brought up catching re: Sale–do you have thoughts about the Red Sox catching situation? Do you expect Swihart to get a real shot, or does the team seem content with a Leon/Vazquez platoon even if that turns out to be defense-only?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll be happy with how they’re starting out, but expect them to reevaluate in the event of Leon not actually being a hitter

10:17
CamdenWarehouse: Do you think Harper’s 17 will be closer to his 16 or 15?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: 2016

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll be better than he was in 2016, but that’s still my leaning

10:18
Matt: Who is the most underrated player in the majors right now?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe AJ Pollock, given how everyone forgot about him in 2016 while he was sidelined

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Pollock, pre-injury, was basically Mookie Betts.

10:19
Steve: Chances of Trumbo repeating his offensive performance in 2017?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: 25%. He’s probably more like a 110 wRC+ guy

10:19
botchatheny : do you ever wonder what life would be like if your name was geoff?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: On Facebook my name is Geoff

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: and no

10:20
Pie: The only way to know if you’re faster than David Ortiz is to setup a 1 on 1 race. Let’s make this happen

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: You place the calls

10:20
Jason: Could Willson Contreras be a Buster Posey type with the bat in a couple years?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I can see Contreras being a strong offensive player, but not at all in the Posey mold — Posey has way better bat-to-ball skills

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Contreras as a rookie ran a contact rate of 70%. Posey for his career is at 86%

10:23
Eric: Does Omar Vizquel belong in the Hall? I say no way. What about Andruw Jones?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Jones is a lot closer for me than Vizquel, but I still lean no on him

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I’m open to the argument, and I don’t want to undervalue defensive contributions in hindsight, but his career is so weird. It would take a while for me to wrap my head around him

10:23
Jack: What do you think will be the trade value of international cap space?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Really high. Under-covered subject. One international dollar might end up being worth like $20 – 25 on the market

10:25
Geoff: Who do you think the best player traded between now and opening day will be?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: For lack of better response, I’ll say the Dodgers and Twins find an agreement on Dozier

10:26
Matt: Do you think the offseason is pretty much over in regards to big moves? Or do you see some worthwhile news coming before spring training?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: There will still be Dodgers/2B rumors, and there will still be Astros/SP rumors. By no means a guarantee of anything getting done, but that’s enough to hang onto for the month until spring training begins

10:26
EbenezerBatflip: JBJ looked streaky again in 2016, is that who he is as a hitter or is he still making adjustments? Will he stabilize in 2017? Ever?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: One of the neat things about having player graphs on all the pages is now it’s possible to notice that almost literally everyone is streaky

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no such thing as a consistent offensive performer. Except, I guess, Mike Trout. But everyone else has seasons that are an assembly of cold streaks and hot streaks

10:31
Jim Lonborg: If you were president of an expansion club, whom would you hire as your GM? I mean in some vaguely realistic scenario–obviously you’re not going to outbid Ricketts for Theo.

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have a complete understanding of the landscape of potential candidates but I’d probably try to hire Mike Girsch from the Cardinals or something

10:33
Kristen: How much projection does Rougned Odor have left in him? Have to think that aggressiveness and brutal K:BB are going to hold him back from reaching the top tier of 2B’men.

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still so very young, and he has a difficult profile to sustain. You can’t look at him and not see someone like Jonathan Schoop, who has been a worse player than Odor has

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: He’s been a little more disciplined in the past. He just learned how to convert his swing into the most home runs. The remaining projection, on the positive side, would say he’ll mature into blending his skills, pushing that walk rate closer to 5-6% while maintaining a lot of the pop

10:35
Chaps: Hi Jeff. Do you think Quintana’s inclusion in the White Sox fanfest means that he most likely won’t be traded until (at least) the beginning of the season?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I keep thinking he’s a July guy. I don’t think the White Sox love what the Astros have to offer, and come July, there could be a different landscape of suitors, and differently-developed prospects

10:35
Roberto: Keith Law ranks the Braves Farm System #1 given its sheer number of super high floor arms and up the middle offensive and defensively minded prospects. What are your thoughts on the team’s philosophy to stockpile high end arms versus focusing more on bats?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure we’ve been over this before — I prefer a bat-first approach, and I don’t love a lot of the highly-touted young pitchers the Braves have picked up. They all have so much work to do, and you can never take anything for granted with any of these guys.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: But the system is big on hype, and you figure some small number of the players will pan out. They’re still going in the right direction. And, of course, it helps when you can steal a Dansby Swanson from time to time

10:36
Andrew : What do you make of the Profar-Dodgers rumors? What’s that potential trade look like?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I get why they’re sniffing around, but I don’t foresee a match here

10:37
Dan: How optimistic are you that Joey Gallo cut his K% below 25% and become a productive hitter for the Rangers?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: 25%? Never. That is never happening

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: He can still be a productive hitter around 30%, but I’d give him a 1-in-3 or 1-in-4 chance for this coming season

10:38
Matt: Who is the best backup catcher in the majors?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a pretty big fan of Austin Barnes, but it might be Christian Vazquez

10:39
Germ: A lot of talk the last couple days on Mussina and Schilling still not getting into the HOF. I mean, is it *that* surprising considering guys like Kevin Brown and David Cone couldn’t even make it more than one year on the ballot? Is there a legitimate reason for pitchers not getting more HOF consideration?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: If memory serves, they’ve set an almost impossible bar for contemporary pitchers.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: And that probably has something to do with pitchers not getting the credit that’s been taken away from hitters for hitting in a high-offense era. Some of the best bats have been penalized, but pitchers haven’t in turn been duly rewarded

10:40
Rexdale: The conventional wisdom has always been that if a team has a great young pitching prospect, they should try to turn him into a starter. But now that teams are valuing, and paying more for high leverage relievers, does it make sense for good young relievers and closers, like Roberto Osuna for example, to want to stay a reliever long term?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I believe Dave just wrote about something like this for ESPN this very week!

10:41
JT: Steak fries are the worst potato product. Do you agree? Or do you enjoy raw starchy undercooked potatoes?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve had good steak fries. Maybe a baked potato? I’ve also had good baked potatoes, but never because of the potatoes themselves. A baked potato is only as good as the shit you put on top of it

10:42
Julio Pepper: 6/70 for Betts? That sounds really cheap…

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Everything sounds really cheap when four of the years are pre-FA

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: But that was pulled off the top of my head. Might not have adjusted enough for inflation, which could take Betts to 6/80 or 6/90

10:43
Robin: Do you think Edgar makes the final push into the HOF next year or will we be sweating things on his final year? With the ballot still packed, I’m afraid he might actually fall farther away

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I’m leaning toward him following the Raines path almost perfectly. So he’ll get in on the final push

10:43
Dbags: Is Jurickson Profar significantly better enough than Enrique Hernández/Chris Taylor for the prospect cost, roster spot, etc?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I personally don’t think so

10:44
Bryan from Boise: Dodgers and Twins trade talks for Dozier, which side gives in 1st. Both have what the other needs and there really does not seem like another landing place for Dozier at this time.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I can see the Dodgers getting annoyed and budging that very last bit they have to budge

10:44
Jaxon: If all Mets starters all healthy, can they win the East with how they and nationals are currently built?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: For sure. The Nationals are better, but it’s not that huge of a canyon

10:45
EbenezerBatflip: Mike Trout’s best years are ahead of/behind him? (choose one pls)

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t not say behind him. There’s just so little precedent for this

10:47
jon: Best positive outcome for CHC:
1) Baez 110 wRC+ over 500 PA
2) Heyward 100 wRC+ over 600 PA
3) Montgomery 30 starts with a FIP and xFIP under 4

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: The most surprising would probably be Montgomery turning into a legit No. 3. Heyward is the most important of all the players, but they probably already assume he’ll be good for a wRC+ of 100 or thereabouts

10:48
EbenezerBatflip: Which 2016 All Star pitcher is more likely to return to AS form in 2017, Steven Wright or Drew Pomeranz?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Last I heard, Wright was still having some little issues with his shoulder. So I have to lean Pomeranz

10:48
TengoPreguntas: Re Rockies – also held onto Cargo for too long/want to extend him?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Something weird there, too. The Rockies just appear to have an unusual internal valuation system

10:49
Julio Pepper: Andruw Jones had like 60 WAR before the age of 30! Since we think the Hall should weight peak more than longevity, why the hesitation on Jones?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I have a little more hesitation on guys with so much defensive value, since I’m not convinced we’ve measured it accurately

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anyone disagrees that Jones was an outstanding defensive player, but was he worth like 30 wins out there? That’s so, so hard to know

10:53
Chardee: Best Cody Bellinger comp?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know about *best* but maybe the better years of Nick Swisher’s career?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Puts the ball in the air, strikes out without striking out too much. Will walk

10:55
Nobody Important: What kind of contract would Harper have signed if he were a free agent after the 2015 season? How different would it be from a contract he would have signed if he were a free agent after 2016?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say in this hypothetical, the season Harper just had would’ve cost him at least like $100 million on the market, assuming something like a 10-year contract with no opt-outs, for simplicity

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: As a free agent today, Harper could easily clear $400 million

10:56
EbenezerBatflip: Why were the earliest reports about amending the CBA for Otani positive and then a few days later shot down? Is that no longer a serious option or possibility? Isn’t it in the MLB’s best interest to get Otani over here ASAP?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: At the end of the day, Otani is one player, and you won’t alter something so massive because of one player at one time. Early on, it looked like there might be some way around the system, but then a few people, including Dave, dug, and found out that, nope, it is what it is. If Otani comes over, it’s because he’s willing to sacrifice a lot of potential earnings

10:57
Jon: If a win is worth roughly 7 million, then Mike Trout is worth ___________

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: a medium-sized African country

10:58
El Duderino: If an AVG MLB player (Let’s say Chase Headley) were to somehow be draft eligible (at his age, with regular draft compensation), where would he get drafted?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: If the player is somewhere around 26-28 years old, then first or second

11:00
Curtis: What is the worst contract in baseball right now?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I want to say Giancarlo Stanton

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Can you believe that thing basically just started?

11:00
Chaps: Do you think the Astros make a trade for a starting pitcher, or do they stay put until an injury / trade deadline?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I think they stay put through into the regular season

11:01
BrizzoBromance: Other than the argument that Babe Ruth played in a segregated era (which I believe to be a pretty good argument), it seems hard to argue against him as best player ever. 6 of the top 10 best seasons by WAR and the best ever by career WAR

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure, but I *think* that Ruth stands out the most in baseball history in terms of career vs. league landscape. Like, he has the highest-ever career z-score, if you know what I mean. Seems like a pretty good measure

11:02
Nobody Important: Prediction for the player with the most TOOTBLANs next season?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Cesar Hernandez

11:02
Danny: Most underrated player is easily Mike Trout.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, very possibly

11:02
Curtis: If the Mariners made a post season series, what would their rotation look like?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Well, in this hypothetical, Felix is probably okay, so you’d go Felix/Paxton/Iwakuma(/Smyly)

11:03
EbenezerBatflip: Pedroia’s contract goes through 2022, what does he have to do from now until then to get into the HoF? Can he average like 2WAR a season from here out and still get in?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: No, I don’t think he has the peak seasons. He needs to do what he did last year a few more times

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: He’s never slugged .500, and he’s been a good defender without being an obviously-in-your-face good defender. Good candidate to end up underrated in the voting

11:04
EbenezerBatflip: I would hire Cherington in a heartbeat

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I’m getting that you are a Red Sox fan

11:06
Curtis: If baseball were to expand, what’s the rule on protecting players for an expansion draft?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: So I don’t know if they would keep the same rules, but I’m pretty sure the last time around, the way things worked was basically that 40-man players were eligible to be drafted, and teams could protect 15 of them

11:06
Choo choo: Why dont the Rangers just trade Gallo to TB for Odorizzi and sign Napoli already?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: The Rays probably don’t like Gallo very much

11:07
Alec: Hi Jeff, Big Reds fan. I’m concerned that Phillips is going to cut into the playing time of Peraza. Shouldn’t the Reds just cut him?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll probably give him one more trade chance, but if Phillips struggles from the outset, I don’t really see a reason to keep him around

11:08
Weezy: So Brandon Guyer’s HBP skill isn’t new; lots of players have seen the value of “taking one for the team”. Why has no one done Jacoby’s hit-catchers-glove thing? And do you think that will become more of a thing?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’ll become more of a thing — it’s extraordinarily infrequent, and any movement league-wide has basically been because of Ellsbury alone

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Players are probably a bit too prideful, and besides, you can also badly hurt someone doing that on purpose. At least if you get on with a “cheap” HBP, you’re only hurting yourself. Swing with length behind you and you could break a catcher’s finger. Players aren’t *that* shitty

11:09
Randy Savage: What was your repertoire when you used to pitch?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Two-seamer, curveball, changeup to the backstop

11:10
Barbados_slim: Which team do you think will be most interesting to watch but they have almost zero chance at the playoffs?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: White Sox & Brewers

11:10
Nathan: Do you think Gary Sanchez will have a sophomore slump after pitchers adjust to him? He did walk 10% of the time but also struck out 24%. His HR/FB was unsustainable either. Thoughts?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I like Sanchez, and I think he’ll be an overall good player in 2017, but I see something more like a 110 – 120 wRC+ with some deep slumps

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: He took too many pull swings last year that suggested to me he doesn’t have a great opposite-field approach. Seems exploitable

11:11
ImaginationLand: I don’t like a pitcher first approach to building either, and I know it’s a pretty obvious focus of that front office, but is it possible that they were able to accumulate more pitching prospects than they would be hitting prospects because teams are more willing to part with pitching than they are hitting prospects? Or am I totally off on this?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: No, you’re right — in part this is what the Braves wanted to do, and in part they were taking what was available to them. If they focused on hitters, well, teams everywhere know that young hitters are more valuable, so they’d be tougher to pry loose

11:12
jon: Who do you believe to be the better 2017 hitter: Heyward or Russell?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Russell

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: But very close!

11:12
Paxton: Do you believe in him next year? what about bregman?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I might be the biggest James Paxton fan on the planet

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I probably like James Paxton even more than he likes himself

11:13
pirates hurdles: RE: Andruw, how do you figure he went from being the best defensive CF ever (or thereabout) to being league average or worse at age 31? It really was a complete cliff.

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know exactly what happened but from the outside it sure looked like he kind of stopped taking care of himself

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: It’s amazing how Jones’ career kind of parallels Griffey’s

11:15
jay_B: Cameron went with “LH Mike Napoli” for a Schwarber peak comp. Care to share one of your own? No? Do it anyway.

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Isn’t a left-handed Mike Napoli just Carlos Pena?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: So I’ll take Carlos Pena

11:15
Richie: I’ve got to go shovel. Dagnabit, stop chatting!

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: All right!

11:15
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 — 1/20/17 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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Owen Poindexter
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I remember that Orioles game with no fans. The weirdest part was the foul balls. They just clanged around the seats, sometimes taking huge bounces.