Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/27/15

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Hey guys

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Having some operational issues but this should be resolved any moment

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: There we go. That was weird

9:07
Comment From Amoeba
ASTROS_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2014 GB/FB ratio
Evan Gattis_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.87
Colby Rasmus_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.81
George Springer_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.15
Jon Singleton_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.85
Jose Altuve_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.60
Jed Lowrie_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.71
Luis Valbuena_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.66
Jason Castro or Hank Conger_ _ _ _ _ 1.26 (0.79)
Chris Carter_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.53
AVG_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.94 (0.89)MARLINS_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2014 GB/FB ratio
Christian Yelich_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 3.42
Marcell Ozuna_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.44
Giancarlo Stanton_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.06
Michael Morse_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.37
Dee Gordon_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 3.13
Adeiny Hechavarria_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2.26
Martin Prado_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.65
Jarrod Saltalamacchia_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0.93
AVG_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.91

Is it fair to say that Astros and Marlins have opposite team construction philosophies?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Well that’s a hell of a way to start

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Let me try to parse whatever this is trying to say

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: This year’s Astros are in large part all about putting the ball in the air and swatting a bunch of dingers. That’s not a mystery. And the Marlins have guys who would fit there, in Morse, and Stanton, and Ozuna, and…in some way, Yelich is sort of Miami’s Altuve. I think there are clear differences between the two lineups, but you don’t want to overstate them

9:09
Comment From Kirk
If all players played in a vacuum, who do you think would survive the longest?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Curt Schilling seems to be filled to the brim with oxygen

9:10
Comment From George is Curious
Your current best bet as to where James Shields eventually lands?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’m just going to stick with Toronto. I know about the limitations, but I also know situations can change, especially when you can try to unload Dioner Navarro

9:10
Comment From Tony G.
Best platoon combo in 2015: Rios/Dyson, Smith/Ruggliano, De Aza/Young or Cron/Joyce?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll…say…Rios/Dyson?

9:11
Comment From klof
Teams should be allowed to have seven simultaneous left fielders. Or seven 2Bs. Make offenses defeat the shifts!

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Ultimately that’s the way things are going to play out

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Shifts aren’t the problem, and I don’t think Manfred even thinks shifts are the problem. It was just an easy thing to write about

9:12
Comment From EC
Do Nats keep the Super Rotation (TM)?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Strongly leaning yes at this point

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll have to be blown away, and no one’s done it yet even though it’s been obvious they’ve long had pitchers available

9:12
Comment From Getting Miggy With It
What do you expect from Miguel Cabrera this year? Better or worse numbers than last season?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Better numbers when he’s healthy, but at some point he’ll probably end up playing through pain again. That’s not going to stop being an issue for him as he gets older and less flexible

9:13
Comment From STiVo
What is your favorite type of rock?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: igneous

9:13
Comment From EC
Strasburg for Kris Bryant. Who says no?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs would

9:14
Comment From Roger Dodger
I feel like in the past year or so, there was no prospect discussed more on Fangraphs (especially during chats) than Mookie Betts. If you agree, why do you think that is the case?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: It’s been the year of Mookie Betts, but right before that it was at least like the six months of Gregory Polanco

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Betts is an unusual prospect, he’s been a very fast riser, he plays for an extremely popular team, and — maybe most importantly — he doesn’t have a totally clear route to a regular job in Boston, so you also get to think about him as a trade candidate. Not the case with most prospects

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Now clearly, Boston has found a way to use Betts and as is he’ll bat 500-600 times with the Red Sox next year. But they have enough depth where they could stand to move him, and that makes him appealing to everybody, and not just Boston fans

9:16
Comment From Amoeba
Hey Jeff

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: hey

9:16
Comment From Tommy
Spring Training doesn’t mean much, but what should we look for out of Sano and Buxton coming off of major injuries?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Buxton, you just want to see moving around without limitations. You want to see if he can pull the ball with authority. Sano should be okay. If he’s playing in games, the Twins are no longer worried about his elbow getting reinjured

9:19
Comment From Guest
How can one support the end of defensive shifts in the name of increasing offense, but not use robots for strike zones?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: One of those doesn’t upset a whole union

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Also, who’s to say the robots would call a hitter-friendly strike zone?

9:19
Comment From GSon
Wow.. Sullivan comes sauntering in 5 to 10 minutes late.. is he trying to be Dave Cameron?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: The hell with that, I was late first. Ask anyone

9:20
Comment From Jon Williams
Ever experienced a blizzard?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: A few times. I’m kind of jealous

9:21
Comment From RK
I’m thinking Jackie Bradley (blocked as blocked can be) to the Indians (need D upgrade – Moss to DH some) would be a good fit. What would be a fair return to the Red Sox?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: T.J. House would probably be fitting

9:22
Comment From Jays Fan II
Overall thoughts on the whole Duquette debacle? Do you think the O’s should have set him free? Do you think the Jays violated any tampering laws?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt the Jays legally tampered. I’ll tell you right now, I haven’t been following this story as closely as others because I was happy to just wait for a resolution, and I’m more interested in actual roster stuff. But I think we’ve ended up in a position where both Duquette and the Jays are disappointed, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Duquette leave Baltimore in the not-so-distant future

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles were never going to get extremely high compensation. That hasn’t happened before. But they should’ve worked out a deal. They could’ve asked the Jays to eat some money, or they could’ve settled for a lesser-prospect swap. This end result is a hollow victory for Angelos

9:27
Comment From Carsons Johnny
Pardon the baseball neophyte question. I watch maybe 20 or 30 baseball games a year and follow fangraphs and a few other baseball media things pretty closely. I frequently see discussions on almost all elements of baseball and in depth analysis of pitch release points, pitcher height, and many other seemingly tiny issues.

9:27
Comment From Carsons Johnny
Yet at the same time I don’t think I ever once recall a comment/discussion or analysis of where a pitcher is standing on the rubber. Are they required to stand in the middle? If they are not required to stand in the middle aren’t the couple of inches of offset available a pretty significant component of analysis that is ignored? Or is it talked about occasionally and I just don’t follow closely enough to notice it?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: No, it does get talked about. Pitchers are by no means required to stand in the middle. Some guys prefer the first-base side, some guys prefer the third-base side, and some guys even switch in between depending on the hitter. It’s a matter of finding the right angle and the right level of comfort with the angle. Sometimes a pitcher feels like he’s better able to, say, pitch inside from one side of the rubber than the other

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: A few years ago, when Fernando Rodney got good, I think it was RJ Anderson who suggested it might’ve had something to do with a changed position on the rubber. The Red Sox changed a bunch of guys’ positions on the rubber as well. It’s something you can track on Brooks Baseball

9:29
Comment From C Crawford
Any thoughts on RP Ben Rowen, the submariner Dodgers just signed to a minor league contract? FB tops out at 82mph.

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: His sinker has a PITCHf/x vertical movement of almost -9 inches

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Brad Ziegler, for comparison: about -6 inches

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Rowen’s sinker has a lot of the same PITCHf/x characteristics as Jarred Cosart’s curveball, to give you some perspective

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: He also throws strikes and obviously gets grounders. Maybe I’ll even write about him after this chat. He’s fascinating. There’s a reason he’s signed a minor-league contract, but these are the guys you want to see succeed

9:32
Comment From Andy
Wow the chat is actually scrolling down instead of up. You have tamed the CIL beast!

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Thank Eno for the tip!

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Let me re-phrase that sentence

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Thank Eno for the advice!

9:33
Comment From Willy Mo Pena
Thoughts on Joe Kelly? Promising young starter or better served in the pen?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: He can do the Justin Masterson thing. So it’s up to how you feel about the Justin Masterson thing

9:34
Comment From Jon Williams
I am a fan of defensive shifting, but I think a rule mandating that there be two players on either side of the infield is a nice compromise if you’re trying to increase offense. Your thoughts?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Against it. Not sufficiently important. It’s all about the strike zone. It has to be all about the strike zone

9:34
Comment From STiVo
According to ZiPS, the Red Sox have a very talented team. They also have lots of serviceable depth. Even starting pitching looks surprisingly decent, given Rick Porcello’s 3.5-WAR projection. What are your thoughts on the Red Sox 2015 season?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Right now they’re the team to beat in the AL, to me. Doesn’t mean they won’t be passed, and doesn’t mean they’re immune to disaster, but not only are they crazy strong — they obviously have the resources to address any deficiencies in June or July

9:35
Comment From Ralph Wiggum
Hector Olivera makes the most sense on the A’s, no? I can’t see the Giants/Pads really going after him. Jays maybe.

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I could totally see the Padres going hard. I had Olivera ticketed for the A’s before the Zobrist move. Still very possible given Zobrist’s versatility and short-term commitment

9:36
Comment From Doubter
What are the chances Drew Smyly is the Rays’ best starter in 2015? He’s not exciting, with a FB averaging around 90, and his ERA way outpaced his inidcators, but the peripherals are good. K-BB% is solid. He might not have the same stuff, but if he throws 200 innings, he can be as good or better than Cobb and Odorizzi, no?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt he’s better than Cobb, this year or any year, but I do like him as a starter, and I like the adjustments the Rays had him make

9:37
Comment From _David_
While JA Happ’s upward trending fastball is interesting, I don’t think it has yet correlated with improvement and it seems likely that it will level off or decline anyway without reaching some magic number at which it would make him better…Is there any actual hope that he is a different pitcher?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Well, he’s a different pitcher because he throws a lot harder than he ever has

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: That means more fastballs, and that means more strikes, and that means fewer walks

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still basically JA Happ at the end of the day, but apparently lots of teams in baseball had interest in him this offseason and word is the competition likes what the Mariners have in him

9:39
Comment From Guest
Do you ever read Tom Tango’s blog and initial think, “wut” and have no idea what he’s talking about.. Or do you generally understand most things he says?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: 50% of the time, I get it. 40% of the time, it takes me a little while. 10% of the time, I feel like an idiot and have to close the browser and leave the room

9:40
Comment From Mike
Ignoring the merits of the idea. If you were put in charge of banning the shift, how would you do it? Would you draw boxes on the field for every player, like the catcher’s box? What would be the punishment for a team who ignoring the rules and shifts anyway?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: I’d probably just leave it up to the HP umpire’s judgment and regulate how many players can be on either side of the line extending from home plate to dead center. The penalty, presumably, would be a ball

9:41
Comment From Pure
I challenge you to go one week without writing an article about projections or that mentions projections.

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: I have to write more than anyone else, and it’s January. That idea is stupid.

9:42
Comment From Mike, of Mike and the Mechanics Fame
What do you expect Brad Miller to do on the baseball field this year?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Succeed more than last year

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Overall average hitter, will probably continue to struggle against lefties

9:42
Comment From Austin
Fangraphs has the Cubs winning 84 games. What is the margin of error on that prediction and which direction are you hedging?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know the margin of error. +/- 7 or 8 wins? I’d hedge down — there’s not a bad team in the division, to me

9:43
Comment From Josh I
Gut feelings on where Hector Olivera ends up and how good he is? I’m calling A’s, and I think he’s .270/.340 with 10-15 homers. Your thoughts?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like he’s basically impossible to project, statistically, given how little he’s played. You have to make some assumptions based on other guys who’ve come from Cuba. He’d swing more than average. Limited walks. Double-digit-dinger power. .340 OBP is probably high

9:44
Comment From L. Scott
How do you think Hellickson and Rubby de la Rosa fare in Arizona this year? Odds of them landing Shields? Also, do you like what the D-Backs have done to shake things up? Yasmany Tomas, as you said in November, can be a stud if things go well. I like the new look D-backs as a surprise team in 2015.

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: The Diamondbacks seem to be out on Shields and I think they are going to be a pretty bad team. Might even finish in the NL West basement. Tomas strikes me as very similar to Mark Trumbo. Trumbo has been a useful player, but he hasn’t been a game-changer, so to speak

9:45
Comment From Igneous Rock Enthusiast
Do you have a personal interest in the winner of this year’s Super Bowl?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

9:46
Comment From Guest
If everyone is looking for a rule change to increase offense, why not change the regulations on bat size/weight?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Easier things to do, like changing the zone or changing the ball

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Or — and I know this is crazy — they could just leave things be. Do we actually even need more offense?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: (I haven’t read Dave’s article yet.)

9:47
Comment From Kirby C
Zobrist’s more valuable at 2B than LF, right? Could the A’s go after a Boston outfielder instead – say, Victorino or Craig?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, they could, although probably they will not

9:47
Comment From Jon Williams
Does Tanner Roark replace Clippard in the bullpen?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re going to have him fill that role — they’re going to want to keep him somewhat stretched out so he doesn’t forget how to start.

9:47
Comment From _David_
Please tell me Endy Chavez won’t actually play for the Mariners.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Probably will at some point. He always comes back

9:48
Comment From Tucker
Braves win how many games combined in 15-16? 17-18?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: 145, 155

9:50
Comment From greg
I saw a potential Todd Frazier extension comp’d to Kyle Seager’s 7/100. Think that’s a reasonable expectation?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Decent comp, but Seager seems a bit better, and is almost two full years younger. So Frazier might want to set his sights a little lower than that

9:51
Comment From Catoblepas
Have you read about Mike Napoli’s offseason sleep apnea surgery? In brief, it was crazy, and apparently he hadn’t slept soundly for something like 8 years, and was often pulled in late innings due to dizziness and exhaustion. Is this just “best shape of his life” in a different form, or would you be comfortable bumping his projection up somewhat?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t believe it when I read about his operation. I mean, I know it’s probably somewhat “common” and I just have a weak stomach for this stuff, but, jesus, the details are insane.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Nevertheless, he has been such a good hitter before that it’s hard for me to see that much upside, even despite his presumably improved rest. He’s still a slugger in his mid-30s. I can see greater playing time, but I don’t see much better than a 125 wRC+ overall

9:52
Comment From Mark
Will you be publishing 2015 xBABIP data anytime soon?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Me, personally? I don’t do that

9:53
Comment From Tucker
If you are the Nats, which pitcher are you looking to deal and what prospect/team do you call on first?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I and they would most prefer to move Zimmermann, but he’s been on the market all offseason an no one’s offered enough, by their standards.

9:53
Comment From Matt Kemp Sucks
Am I right? Or am I right?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: No he doesn’t

9:54
Comment From Kirby C
Worst contract this offseason – Scherzer, V-Mart, or other?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Sure feels to me like it’s Nick Markakis

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: weird terms even if the Braves *weren’t* projected to be awful

9:55
Comment From Igneous Rock Enthusiast
If a MLB team had Trout, Stanton, and McCutchen starting in the outfield this year, do you think they’d be nearly as good as the Twins, even with approximately replacement-level players everywhere else?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: So you’re looking at something like 20 WAR combined

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Probably still several games short of the Twins, but I’d probably take that team over the Phillies

9:56
Comment From Richard
Does Marcus Stroman break out this year? Did the 2-seamer/sinker really make that big of a difference in the 2nd half?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: In a sense he kind of already broke out last year. He was really good, and he should be really good

9:56
Comment From Art Vandelay
If the Dodgers want Moncada, they still have the limitless budget to get him, yes?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: They can dig deep, but the problem is the Red Sox and Yankees could do the exact same thing. Moncada won’t come close to eating up all the money a given team has available, so someone at some point is going to have to draw a line

9:57
Comment From Tucker
Thoughts on the Braves offseason? Flashback to end of the regular season, what direction would you have taken it?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I’m fine with reloading, and I haven’t hated what they’ve done, but I will continue to harp on the Markakis deal for months if not years because that was bizarre

9:57
Comment From Luke
Does Alcantra get 550+ plate appearances for the Cubs this year?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:58
Comment From L. Scott
Why can’t the yankees just release Rodriguez, eat the money, and start Garrett Jones/Chris Young at DH? Is this even possible? I would think losing the embarrassing headache would be worth the extra roster spot regardless of the money wasted.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I think releasing him is a real possibility, but they’re going to want to see what he has in him first. If he can actually contribute something this year, then ultimately that’s useful to them, and they’re pretty damn left-handed overall so he even has a role if he doesn’t suck

9:59
Comment From Rated Rookie
I thought obsidian would be your favorite rock.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: obsidian is igneous

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: and it’s beauuuuutiful

9:59
Comment From Peter
For how many years will the Reds suck?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Reds *suck*

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: but the position they’re in sucks. I doubt they make the playoffs for the next few seasons

10:00
Comment From IamRangers
Mookie or Kris Bryant?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Oh god

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: This is a great question

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: And it’s a really great test to see what different people prefer to look for in young players. Sexy upside, or relatively stability?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’d take Bryant but it’s super close to me

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: This feels like a post idea! But maybe not. Maybe people are tired of Mookie Betts.

10:01
Comment From Devon
With the Yankees and Dodgers interested, does Moncada TOP 80M somehow?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe by a few million, but I don’t think he blows it away. He’s still a completely unproven teenager

10:02
Comment From Guest
Why are players not allowed to use Adderall? It seems like if they ban that then caffeine should be banned as well

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Some players are allowed to use Adderall

10:03
Comment From Vil B.
Hi Jeff: with the Orioles having spent essentially nothing (other than picking up Parmalee) to find a 4th OF this past winter, do you think it signals a willingness to pursue a really good free agent RF like Justin Heyward next year?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so. I think it’s in part a consequence of the Duquette situation, and in part a consequence of the Orioles determining they’re already in decent shape and didn’t need to overpay for anything out there. I thought they could’ve made sense for, say, Michael Saunders, but they have enough position players as is to field a competitive team

10:05
Comment From If loving you is Wong, I dont wanna be right
Kolten Wong: in the minors, hit for good average and got on base, but with only moderate power. Last year with the Cards, there was even more power, but the avg and obp went way down. Was his discipline that bad–is it as simple as he was swinging for the fences?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing real meaningful changed about his batted balls or his contact skills, as far as I can tell

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I think pitchers simply got a better read on Wong and his swing profile, and they worked him a little differently in the second half. His power is obviously to the pull side, and opponents need to make him prove he can succeed the other way

10:08
Comment From Greg
Anyway FG will use the Disqus commenting system? It’s so much easier.

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: There’s something easier than the FG commenting system?

10:09
Comment From neil h
IS R McGwire, A Lambo & J Locke enough to get Hamels? We could use another lefty to beat the cards

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I’m probably not a good person to ask about Cole Hamels’ trade value. That always seems to get me in trouble

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: But to Ruben Amaro, I’m certain that wouldn’t be enough. And the Pirates presumably can’t take on the financial commitment

10:11
Comment From _David_
What is the break even point regarding a potential Shields to Mariners contract at which it is neither good nor bad for the team?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not enough of a big-budget operation. You’ve already got Felix/Cano/Cruz/Seager getting big money for a while

10:11
Comment From steven
are you a “listen to music while writing” type of guy? if yes, what do you like to listen to while writing?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Music sometimes when researching, but I can’t concentrate on writing with loud distractions

10:12
Comment From Benzedrine
How did the “best shape of my life” movement in baseball start? Who started it?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Probably a question for Calcaterra since that’s his line of work

10:12
Comment From Austin
Do you see Arismendy Alcantara as a better Super Utility type of player or as a regular Center Fielder for the Cubs, moving forward?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: I like him as a super utility who plays almost as often as a regular

10:13
Comment From More Mookie!
Who do you think will hit more HR in 2015 regular season: Dustin Pedroia or Mookie Betts?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Another good one. I’ll take Pedroia by two or three

10:14
Comment From Eric
Is landing Shields for the Jays still worth it at the price he probably gets if they also have to move Navarro to get him? Their production at catcher will definitely take a hit if it’s Martin-Thole instead.

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: How much time are you expecting Russell Martin to get off?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not saying Shields will be worth his FA contract terms, but I don’t think moving Navarro should be much of a stumbling block

10:15
Comment From Ringtone Composer
What wRC+ do you think is a sort of “minimum” for a good 1B?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Off the top of my head, 120 or so

10:15
Comment From john
AL West is the most interesting division in baseball, no?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Ehh. They’re pretty much all interesting. NL East maybe the least interesting, but then, the Nats are crazy, and the Mets could have some awesome run prevention. Imagine if Matt Harvey somehow came back at 100%

10:19
Comment From Doug
Speaking of Gregory Polanco, how do you think his first full season goes – breakout? Or continued struggles at the plate?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get better. In a lot of ways, last year his numbers weren’t even that different between Triple-A and the majors. Obviously, there was an enormous gap in wOBA, but the peripherals were similar. Just worse batted-ball contact. I don’t think Polanco is about to break out and become a star like the other two outfielders, but he should turn into a steady everyday player

10:21
Comment From Tucker
There is a lot of talk about the top position player prospects in the game now with Betts, Bryant, Baez, Russell, etc…seemingly more hype than the current crop of pitching prospects. Why do you think this is? Best pos. prospects play for popular teams? Pitching prospects are being recognized as less sure things? Or simply, the pos. prospect group has a higher ceiling and is deeper?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Just seems like kind of a down period for upper-level pitching prospects

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Who was the best a year ago? Archie Bradley? He had a miserable season

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Taijuan Walker? he had his own struggles

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Dylan Bundy was recovering from surgery. There’s Noah Syndergaard, who gets a lot of hype, but he’s no sure thing. He’s definitely not on the old Strasburg level

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: But remember, it wasn’t too long ago there was Jose Fernandez, and Zach Wheeler, and Shelby Miller, and Gerrit Cole. These things are cyclical

10:23
Comment From Ryan
Arcia or Souza, which makes a bigger impact this year?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Souza

10:23
Comment From Peter
Do you see Cueto having another Cy Young worthy season?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be real good, but he won’t be Kershaw

10:24
Comment From Darth Stout
What kind of trade return would Mike Olt fetch the Cubs at this point?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Some other team’s Mike Olt

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Didn’t hit in Triple-A, hasn’t hit in the majors, is now 26

10:24
Comment From _David_
If a smart team theoretically never traded long term for short term value, and frequently did the opposite, wouldn’t they accumulate a lot of assets and be perpetually decent?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: You mean the Rays?

10:25
Comment From Julian
With Andy Ibanez hitting the market soon, who’ll be in on him? Same old ‘group of teams who need a 2B?’ Is Ibanez even MLB ready?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Better question for Kiley. Whatever I would tell you would just be taking his words and slightly rearranging them to be my words

10:26
Comment From John
considering that pitchers coming back from TJS aren’t themselves for at least 1 season (Harvey), that deGrom in the bigs pitched way above his peripherals for his entire minor league career, that Wheeler can’t pitch out of the 5th inning, that Cuddyer averages less games per year than Tulo, that Granderson is awful, that they have no infield defense, and that Wright might also be done, and that the org has shown no ability to add payroll if necessary (assuming by some miracle they are competitive around the all star break) why is it that so many people think the mets have a legitimate shot at the WC? just because every team does?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Many people don’t think that literally everything about the Mets will go wrong, as you seemingly do

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a lot of talent there. Maybe not enough, but remember, the Mets aren’t necessarily competing against the Dodgers or the Nationals. They’re competing for one of two wild-card slots and they’ll get a schedule where they get to play the Braves and Phillies almost 40 times

10:27
Comment From Brandon
When does a new ballplayer’s information get added to FanGraphs? Do you automatically populate your database with info from ESPN Stats+Information, or is there some poor intern stuck plugging in all the new guys after every Draft?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: It’s something automated based on when a guy plays his first professional game or something like that

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: You might notice there’s no player page for Yasmany Tomas

10:29
Comment From Gen. Buck Turdgison
If you were to hike an established American trail of at least 500 miles, which would it be, if resources to get there and do it were not an obstacle?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: PCT, since I guess the John Muir Trail isn’t long enough to count

10:30
Comment From Jordan Miller
What are your thoughts on Shelby Miller moving forward? Sophomore slump or reason for concern? His velocity is still there.

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Reason for concern, to me. But I don’t think he’ll be a bad pitcher; I just dont’ think he’ll find his ceiling. Something like a No. 3

10:31
Comment From Carl
Are the phillies going to trade Hamels, Papelbon, Howard and Utley? They have the money to eat the contracts, don’t they?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t want to eat anything they don’t have to. I think they *should*, but, yeah.

10:31
Comment From Kieran
Any thoughts on Marlins playoff chances?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: For me, very slightly lower than Mets’ playoff chances

10:32
Comment From The Entire State of Nevada
If the A’s get Olivera, won’t they suddenly have an entire lineup that could hit .270 with 15+ HR?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: They already have that

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe not the .270 part — .270 is hard, these days — but already, they’re thoroughly adequate

10:32
Comment From Guest
Predict the future: What exactly will Manfred be “clarifying” re: his thoughts on the shift in his interview?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Probably he’ll say he was just spitballing, and that nothing has even been made into a formal proposal. He was just trying to make the point that he thinks there isn’t enough offense right now in teh game, and something has to be adjusted

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Many people would agree with him

10:33
Comment From Eldridge Cleaver
How do you evaluate a catcher’s defense and what metrics are available on Fangraphs?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: We have blocking stuff and SB stuff. We don’t have framing stuff.

10:34
Comment From Joe
On the Duquette thing, no one forced him to sign a contract extension. If he’s unhappy about making $3M a year to be the GM of the reigning AL East champions, I’m not sure he’s capable of actually feeling happy.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: That’s too simplistic

10:34
Comment From Guest
over/under on Lomo hitting 20 hrs?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Under

10:34
Comment From Rod Allen
Jurickson Profar was discussed ad nauseum as well not too long ago…

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: That was a fun era of trade proposals

10:34
Comment From Bossman
Has Rendon hit his ceiling or is there more projection in his bat?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: He could theoretically do more, but he’s essentially finished getting meaningfully better

10:35
Comment From Rated Rookie
How bad does Erasmo Ramirez have to be to NOT be the Mariners fifth starter when the season starts? The combination of flashes of talent and a lack of options handicaps his spring training evaluation some, no?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re going to demote both Walker and Elias. Ramirez might end up a long man, but I’ve felt for a while they’ll lose him on waivers toward the end of March

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: He should get grabbed by the White Sox

10:37
Comment From STiVo
There seems to be a lot of pushback among baseball enthusiasts against the idea of shortening game times. (I mean shortening them as a goal, generally not merely against individual ideas, such as the pitch clock.) Am I in the minority because I would prefer shorter games? I have things to do!

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: You’re definitely NOT in the minority. The games are too long for most people. Or, to put it differently: if the games were 15 minutes shorter on average, people would generally be more pleased. There’s a different perspective based on watching from the park or watching from home, but most people are consuming the game from home

10:38
Comment From Qwerty
What do you think about pitcher rest day splits? Carlos Carrasco is 0-10 in 14 GS with 8.82 ERA after 6+ days of rest compared to 3.36 ERA and 3.39 after 4 and 5 days of rest respectively. Is it too SSS ?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Wayyyyy too SSS

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: There are a lot of variables that go into something like that

10:38
Comment From maqman
Who has a better season Ackley or Smoak?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Ackley

10:38
Comment From Pennsy
Does Gio Gonzalez have it in him to get back to his 2012 Cy Young runner-up form?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: He shares a rotation with too many other potential Cy Young runners-up

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: He’s barely changed as a pitcher. What he was in 2012, he was in 2014, for the most part

10:40
Comment From Erich
With the Brewers rumored to take on some of Papelbon’s salary during the talk of that possible trade with the Phillies, wouldn’t that kind of money be better spent on a free agent SP like Beachy or Vogelsong? Better yet, those guys wouldn’t cost any prospects.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: They seem to like their starting 5, and they have more obvious openings in the bullpen

10:40
Comment From ElDavo
Any chance that Shields might do a 1-year deal to re-establish his value, and if so, might KC consider?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely cannot see him dropping to one year. What value does he have to reestablish?

10:42
Comment From Joe
What advice would you have for someone who is applying to a front office analyst position? (currently an analyst at Fortune 500 company)

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: If you have any outstanding books to read or projects around the house, get those done now, while you have free time

10:44
Comment From Catoblepas
How high are you on the Red Sox’s pitching depth in the high minors? ZiPS gives them ten guys capable of starting and projected to produce 1 WAR or greater, which seems insane

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Less high than ZiPS, but guys like Owens and Rodriguez should be ready enough before long, so the current 5-man wouldn’t need to last all season

10:44
Comment From Ricky Bobby
Which half season of Abreu do you believe in more? Is the safe answer just somewhere in the middle?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Funny thing about that

1st half: 164 wRC+
2nd half: 166

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: But I do know what you mean. I’m more inclined to believe the profile from the first half, but with some walks offsetting a drop in HR/FB

10:45
Comment From Catoblepas
Where do you think Chris Young signs? He seems like an A’s fit to me. Is there a reason it’s almost February and he doesn’t have a team?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: He’s never been reliable and he’d be terrible in a neutral or hitter-friendly park

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: A’s would make some sense to me depending on their ST evaluation of Graveman

10:47
Comment From Mike T
With all the departures for the Orioles, are they a wild card team, or can they still be a division winner?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Competitive, but I dont’ think they win that division

10:47
Comment From Guest
Will Cobb be effected by not having Molina behind the dish?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: He’s got Rivera

10:48
Comment From Kuzco
How much much would a major injury to Trout drop the Angels? From borderline best team in the league to one of the bottom 5?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: If Trout had to miss all of the 2015 season, the Angels would probably drop to somewhere close to the Rangers and Astros

10:48
Comment From Timber
If you’re in the Phillies situation, do you sell high on Ken Giles? What kind of return do you get for his six years of team control?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Nah, you keep him. Not a lot of young talent on the roster and they have the resources to turn this around somewhat quickly if things break right

10:50
Comment From STiVo
You seem like a guy who would find psychology interesting. Do you try to keep abreast of the field at all?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Like, reading journal articles? I don’t have the necessary time, access, or training

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: What I hear, I find to be interesting, but seldom do I have the opportunity to seek it out

10:50
Comment From Guest
Some of these well-known online baseball writers…they’re not exactly people persons, are they

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes there are reasons why people become online baseball writers

10:51
Comment From Dan
Looking at zips, the difference between amazing and awful bullpens is like 3-4 WAR. That tells me that the money it costs to buy a good pen is wasted. agree?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of depends. Elite relievers are worth a lot of money, but you usually don’t want to end up having a bullpen where everyone’s getting paid seven figures. A good organization should be able to generate its own useful relievers on the cheap

10:52
Comment From Mike, of Mike and the Mechanics Fame
What do you think are the odds Christian Yelich has a big jump in WAR to MVP-category level?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: He’d need to find more power, which is difficult to squeeze out of a 61% groundball rate

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: And even then, he’d just split votes with a teammate

10:54
Comment From Mike T
Who is the Left Fielder for Texas next year: Smolinski, Choice, Rua, or someone else? I think Rua could have the highest ceiling and didn’t look lost at the plate or the field. What say you?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I think all three are going to play. Rua does seem to have the highest offensive ceiling but Choice is a hell of a lot better than he showed a year ago

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: My selfish hope is that Carlos Peguero somehow finds like 250 plate appearances. I love the idea of him in Texas

10:56
Comment From Mike T
Are the Mets going to trade Gee, or will he be a long reliever?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like he’ll go away before opening day

10:57
Comment From Ringtone Composer
When I picture Portland (Oregon) in my mind’s eye, I see hippies riding bikes on a temperate, mostly-cloudy day. Is this accurate?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not like there are bikes everywhere. There are still too many cars, and there’s a lot of traffic. The city is slowly squeezing out the people who gave it its reputation in the first place. The summers are just about unbeatable.

10:58
Comment From Art Vandelay
I was under the impression that Zobrist was the starting 2B for the A’s. I thought they wanted Semien to play short for the year.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Seems to be the idea, but Zobrist’s versatility gives them options

10:58
Comment From Ringtone Composer
Will Tyler Clippard get the bulk of the save opportunities in Oakland, now that Doolittle appears to have an injured shoulder?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:58
Comment From Guest
Can you give the G-rated version of the surgery pls thx

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: The surgeon broke Mike Napoli’s jaw in two places and moved the whole damn thing forward

10:59
Comment From Bill
If the Cardinals find out that Jaime Garcia can actually pitch after his thoracic-outlet surgery, what do they do with him? Incidentally, any feel for what fraction of those surgeries are “successful,” in that they let a pitcher pitch again effectively?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: If Garcia is able to pitch, he’ll start there. He’s too good not to have in the rotation.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have a feel yet on the success rate of the operation. I know Chris Young thought it was a miracle.

11:00
Comment From Guest
Why do projections make people so upset? Would they prefer discrete, imperfect, and long-winded analyses for every player?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like it. Even when we don’t have projections, we’re still just trying to arrive at projections. So, so much of baseball writing is projecting.

11:00
Comment From Anon
When will the decision on the new writers be made? Will all applicants receive a response, even if they’re rejected?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not part of that process, but I do know that the decision is coming up before too much longer

11:01
Comment From Pure
Would you agree that most projection systems were created primarily to give their creator(s) something to write about in the offseason?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: No

11:01
Comment From Mike T
How do you see this whole A-ROD saga playing out with incentives? In my opinion, the Yankees should be bound to the deal, I know A-Rod did the steroids, but they knew prior to signing that something like this could happen.. Anyway do you think A-Rod sees the field at all this year?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll play and the Yankees will owe him all the money they owe him

11:01
Comment From Doug
Will playing LF make a difference for Hanley staying healty?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Should be a little easier for him, yeah

11:02
Comment From Eric
Will ZiPS be factored into the depth chart/standings projections once they are all released?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely

11:02
Comment From Mike T
Gausman the best Orioles starter this year?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Coin flip with Tillman

11:02
Comment From commendatori
Would a return of Guti to the Mariners regular season roster in 2015 help to mend the hole in your heart left by the jettison of Michael Saunders?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: To a great extent, yeah

11:02
Comment From commendatori
If the strike zone is indeed tamed/reduced, how long will it take to see a league wide offensive resurgence? Half a season? Five seasons?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: You definitely wouldn’t see a resurgence, but you’d see changes beginning almost immediately

11:03
Comment From Ringtone Composer
Is Joey Votto still very excellent at baseball, compared to his MLB peers?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Big year coming

11:04
Comment From Mike T
Over under 350 PAs for Jurickson Profar this year?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I think they let him take his time in the minors. He’ll play all year long, but Odor will handle second base for a while

11:04
Comment From George
As much as I love prospects, I don’t understand paying 80-100MM for Moncada. As great as he may be, he’s 19, and he’ll still be due huge arbitration payouts if he’s good. In the best case scenario, you’re getting maybe 20-25 WAR for maybe 130-150MM, which isn’t so magnificent. Other scenarios clearly exist in high probabilities. Seems like the most valuable thing you’re acquiring is the possibility of extending him Longo style, but giving him 40MM up front hugely reduces his incentive for playing along. Can you explain the alleged price tag?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: The alleged price tag is right around the point at which it no longer becomes attractive. You are correct in your statements, and that’s why no team is going to dump $100 million. But, clearly, Moncada is worth a lot. He’s going to get bid up really high, and this is one of the last places where teams can spend available money on talent without too much restriction. It’s not often a young potential superstar is available for money and money only. That’s why Moncada will cost a fortune. But there definitely is still a tipping point

11:06
Comment From Mike
With the way he plays outfield, is there any chance it would actually be better for Harper’s health for the Nats to convert him back to catcher?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t imagine that would be true

11:07
Comment From baseball
Hey so if I write a piece for the Community Research can I also have it posted on other websites or blogs?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, we decided that’s okay most of the time

11:07
Comment From Larry David
Think anyone will strike out more than the Astros this year?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: If anyone does, it’s the Cubs.

11:08
Comment From Jason
Have you seen Kendall Graveman’s comps to Doug Fister at the same ages/levels? Pretty remarkable.

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Which is kind of funny since Fister was considered a non-prospect

11:09
Comment From Richard Dana, Sailor
what conditions are necessary to create columnar basalt? In other words, what crystalizes the basalt?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty quick cooling of a basalt flow, oftentimes around water or snow

11:09
Comment From Jeffrey
What’s the maximum impact Ichiro has on the Marlins

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: A win or two

11:09
Comment From STiVo
How actively do you think the Nats have pursued Rickie Weeks?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Not actively

11:10
Comment From klof
how long does shields have to stay on the market and watch his asking price drop before the cubs think about diving in on another top of the rotation guy?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure they’ve thought about it, but the Cubs already have so much rotation depth.

11:11
Comment From Richard Dana, Sailor
Who is the best living example of a pitcher who came back from a torn labrum/wrecked shoulder capsule?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Chris Carpenter?

11:11
Comment From klof
how many fangraphs writers live in places with no MLB team? you’re in portland (right?) and dave is in NC (right?). how does that affect your interest in the game if you can’t attend regularly?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Carson doesn’t have a home team either

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t meaningfully affect my interest. I wouldn’t choose to attend regularly; costs too much, takes too much time, and I can do my job better if I’m paying attention to lots of stuff simultaneously at home

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I’d rather kind of have baseball on and make dinner than dedicate four hours to a trip that sets me back 40 dollars

11:13
Comment From Jerry
As it stands right now, how many teams would you say have no realistic shot of going to the playoffs this year?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Understanding that “no shot” doesn’t mean “no mathematical shot”, I’d give basically no chance to the Phillies, Braves, DBacks, Twins, and Astros

11:14
Comment From Eldridge Cleaver
Better overall 2015 numbers, Gregory Polanco or Christian Yellich?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Yelich

11:15
Comment From klof
Any chance Hanley gets SS starts if Bogaerts is awful/injured? Or do Betts/Holt fill the void?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, won’t be Hanley

11:15
Comment From Guest
Please rank from most to least likely reasons the Brewers worked out Moncada: 1) Boredom 2) Hey, free trip to Florida 3) serious bidders

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: 1, 3, 2. wasn’t a free trip 🙁

11:16
Comment From STiVo
Do you think any team’s 2015 projections would contain as much variance as the Cubs?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be surprised

11:16
Comment From Josh
Mesoraco have another wRC+ north of 140?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I like him more around 120

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get going, lots for me to do today

11:17
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 — 1/27/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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

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Unapologetic Observer

What percentage of run prevention is defense (to including catcher framing/blocking, etc) and what percentage is pitching?