Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/10/15

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to live baseball chatting

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Today I’ll be your tour guide through this chat, but not through any others.

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: I think I need to give the queue a minute to fill out because holy crap it’s the middle of February

9:05
Comment From GSon
a week and a day until Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training !!.. wooot !

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Every year I check to see if this is exciting to me. Unfortunately, still no. It’s a milestone — it’s one more step having been taken toward the regular season — but I haaaaate spring training 🙁

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: It’s so freaking long and pointless and senseless to analyze. All that happens is that good players get themselves hurt. By the end of March, everybody feels lost. Spring training never ends.

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Also I hate Arizona.

9:07
Comment From guest
who are your 2 least favorite hitters and pitchers all time?

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: Least favorite pitcher is easy, that’s Francisco Rodriguez. John Paschal wrote about this:

http://www.hardballtimes.co…

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: I also vaguely recall really hating John Lackey although that’s faded with age.

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: On the other side, child Jeff hated Paul O’Neill. Adult Jeff hates no one. Why hate?

9:09
Comment From Brett W
It’s almost time for spring training. Are you in the best shape of your life?

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: Actually maybe. It’s close!

9:10
Comment From mtsw
Is there a trade market for Brian Matusz? Does he retain any value from his days as an elite prospect that could bring a nice return for the O’s? Their bullpen looks sort of crowded suddenly.

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Getting increasingly expensive, doesn’t often get righties out. There’s a trade market, but not one that’s going to bring back a piece that makes any future difference.

9:11
Comment From Ember
Do you think Carlos Beltran will bounce back this season, or is he kind of done?

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Always a good hitter until last year. It was no secret he was playing through an elbow ailment that eventually required surgery. I can easily see him improving on what he just did, even if he won’t get back to being an All-Star

9:13
Comment From Charlie Kelly
Why does Rubén Amaro, Jr. still have a job? Phillies ZiPS was depressing to look at

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not like the Phillies ZiPS changed anyone’s evaluation of the current Phillies. We all knew they suck.

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: Under Amaro, the Phillies previously achieved incredible highs. He’s made mistakes, but he’s also become the butt of probably too many jokes. I can see why the Phillies are giving him an opportunity to try to navigate out of this. I also suspect he doesn’t have a much longer leash, but it’s not like he didn’t make the Phillies awesome just a few years ago.

9:14
Comment From GSon
Phillies still holding onto Cole Hamels.. Is this a big surprise?

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: Generally it would be surprising that Hamels hasn’t been moved, but given Amaro’s demands, no, it’s not a shock. Lots of people think he should’ve been moved last summer. The idea now is to wait until midseason and try to take advantage of a seller’s market. It’s not a horrible idea — there’s more value there to get back. If, and only if, Hamels is healthy and good.

9:16
Comment From Bruce
Does the MLB commisioner have the authority to suspend players awaiting trial, the way the NFL does?

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately I don’t know. Crowdsource!

9:17
Comment From Guy
Ike Davis was talking at the A’s Fanfest about taking outfield reps to increase his versatility. Is he trying to literally be Brandon Moss?

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: Brandon Moss managed a positive outfield UZR. So Davis has a lot to work on

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: It’s interesting though. It’s so hard not to evaluate players by what they’ve most recently done. Moss has been a good hitter for three years. He’s also 31, and Davis is a late 27. Could totally see their career trajectories intersecting this season

9:19
Comment From dom
is the AL east always the most hitter friendly division or does that change

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: Changes, of course. But last year there was hardly any spread

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: worst division wRC+: NL East, 98. best: AL Central, NL West, 101 (non-pitchers)

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: Now let’s say we’re talking about ballparks. Again, hardly any spread

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: (Sorry for doing this math in the middle of a live chat)

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: AL West, NL East: average park factors of 99. NL West, AL East, AL Central: 101

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: I need to answer simpler questions, and more simply

9:24
Comment From Bruce
Is Los Angeles Angels the laziest name, because it is just a translation, or is “Phillies” lazier?

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: Los Angeles Angels is impossibly stupid

9:25
Comment From Straw Man
Can you think of a good comp for how high-variance the Rangers’ season looks this year? How they could be good if people bounce back from injuries, but could be awful again and start flipping pieces at the deadline? 2000+ days lost to DL and 60 players used in 2014 means we know little about their 2015 outlook.

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: I think we have a fairly good understanding of where the Rangers are. They’re not *super*-high variance, although the biggest question mark is Yu Darvish’s elbow. Reports seem encouraging

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: I think Fielder is just not a good player anymore. Ditto Choo. Profar, granted, is a total unknown

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe you could compare them to the Yankees. On paper, I really like the Yankees’ rotation, but almost every single pitcher in there has a red flag or a dark yellow flag

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: It’s hard for me to see the 2015 Rangers as a contender. That’s even given pretty good health.

9:26
Comment From Brett W
Any teams still looking for rotation depth, or are rotations known commodities by Feb. 10?

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Rotations are fairly well known, and it’s not like there’s much of anything out there. But you’ll see some minor-league contracts with spring-training invites, and then later in March you’ll see some waiver claims.

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: One interesting guy I’ve been thinking about: Erasmo Ramirez. Probably not going to make the Mariners, and he’s out of options. I’ve been waiting all winter for him to end up with the White Sox.

9:27
Comment From guest
Surprised by Shields signing? and who do you think offered the most the Marlins?

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: In the big picture, very surprised. In the small picture, Shields to San Diego felt like a foregone conclusion for about a week leading up.

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Marlins had the high bid

9:28
Comment From Nelson
Scottsdale recommendations for food, or other activities?

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: If you’re not from the area, sit at a cafe somewhere by a busy street and people watch

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: Coming from Oregon, I’ve experienced greater culture shock landing in Phoenix than landing in Belize

9:29
Comment From Charkip
Who is the most underrated team out there right now? In my opinion, its the Marlins.

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: In my opinion, it is not the Marlins

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the A’s or the Indians?

9:30
Comment From Yo
Hi Jeff, why are there no park factors for components like sac flies?

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: I honestly can’t imagine ever making use of such a component park factor

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Don’t even pay attention to sac flies. Sac flies depend on sequencing anyway — you can’t have a sac fly if someone in front of you didn’t get on base

9:32
Comment From Charlie Kelly
First time in awhile Seattle fans are using the Mariners as a distraction from pain post SuperBowl loss

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: Whole lot of people in Seattle who like the Seahawks and don’t give a hoot about the Mariners

9:32
Comment From Straw Man
Will you (Fangraphs, not you specifically) be doing farm system rankings in March like you did last year?

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Ask Kiley, but I believe he’s doing something like that

9:34
Comment From dom
what do you think the yankees should do with their bullpen heirarchy? Girardi seems to like set roles

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: In theory Betances and Miller should be used in accordance with the handedness of the hitters coming up in the later innings, but probably Miller will end up in the 8th and Betances will be more of the closer

9:35
Comment From Schiraldi
One interesting feature of the last few years has been the change in the profile of the corner outfielder, partly because of power-hitter scarcity, in the general direction of Gregor Blanco. Are there other positions (or pitcher profiles) where you see or anticipate a shift in the preferences of organizations beginning?

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: I think we’ve also seen second basemen and third basemen more or less merge. Not a lot of difference between them

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be a surprise to see teams more aggressively moving good players away from catcher.

9:36
Comment From KB
Spring Training is boring after about three days.

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: I think I like January more

9:37
Comment From Andy
Provides more value in 2015: Billy Hamilton’s legs (BsR) or Josh Hamilton’s entire body (WAR)

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: Josh Hamilton’s body

9:37
Comment From dom
do you think we’ll ever see a legitmate two way player (pitcher w another position)

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: I think there will be more players who don’t embarrass themselves in the two roles. I don’t think we’ll see a two-way standout

9:38
Comment From Daniel
Is it silly that I can’t shake this feeling that the Mariners really aren’t going to be that good?

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: No, that just means you’ve been conditioned

9:38
Comment From Bored at work
So, who is gonna get Yoan?

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Yankees

9:39
Comment From Small Allen
Favorite IPA/least favorite condiment?

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: I like Sculpin and I do not like the majority of condiments

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: I like mustard the best out of them but I have little tolerance for most

9:39
Comment From guest
i hate Albert Belle

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I was old enough to hate Albert Belle, but I see how I would’ve

9:40
Comment From Darth Stout
Tony Campana tore his ACL. Think his major league career is over?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Oh geez, that’s a bummer. And of all places for a guy like Campana to get hurt, too

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Endy Chavez eventually re-emerged, so Campana has hope, but it’s not like the good young healthy version was particularly productive.

9:42
Comment From GSon
Do the Cuban IFA’s illustrate the massive imbalance between the high revenue teams versus the small revenue teams??

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: Moncada does, Padres report aside. But then, Chapman went to Cincinnati. Cespedes went to Oakland. Tomas went to Arizona. Abreu went to Chicago. Betancourt went to Seattle…

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s a dire situation, but it still doesn’t have to be the long-term situation.

9:43
Comment From neal
spring training really just heralds that all the fun offseason moves are done

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: James Shields also does that

9:44
Comment From Snid
Would it be wise for the Red Sox to trade Pedroia and move on with the youth movement thus giving Castillo and Betts the playing time? What kind of value would they get for him?

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: Pedroia’s not going anywhere, and he’s signed to a team-friendly deal. He’s also likely better in Boston than anywhere else, given his hitting style and given the ballpark. I don’t think the Red Sox are going to have trouble finding playing time for everybody. Players get hurt, and players underachieve.

9:45
Comment From Josho
The Bluejays went into the offseason needing to upgrade in the bullpen and 2b but instead upgraded at C & 3b with Martin and Donaldson. Are the marginal wins added over replacement but those acquisitions really better than improving at the places they were the worst last year?

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: Improvements are improvements. Maybe they couldn’t find a Martin or Donaldson equivalent at the positions of greater need. Both should be big steps forward.

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: I liked Toronto’s pickup of Devon Travis. He could very well end up the second-half 2B

9:47
Comment From Ron
Does having so many scouts view Moncada in person help him, or can a team use this as an opportunity to try and exploit any weaknesses?

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: It helps him. The fewer eyes a player gets, the less aggressive teams will be willing to be. With Moncada, teams can get good answers to most of their scouting questions, and then they can make an informed offer. Ultimately, he’s so young and so talented that even though there are some flaws, that won’t pull down his ceiling bid. He’s going to just about max out the market

9:48
Comment From lucas
how bad will San Diego’s defense be and what impact might that have on their pitching staff?

9:48
9:49

Jeff Sullivan: It’s likely to cost them a few dozen runs.

9:49
Comment From Alex
Put Gee in the BP or do you see an imminent trade?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: I could see him getting moved in March if/when someone gets hurt

9:50
Comment From Charkip
World Series prediction?

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: Boringly, I’ll say Dodgers/Red Sox

9:51
Comment From Jess
On what team would you have predicted Shields having a lower ERA: staying with the Royals or joining the Padres? Basically, do you think the big downgrade in defense is more than offset by the jump to the NL and Petco? Kind of a fantasy question, but also curious from a real baseball run prevention perspective.

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: Ooh, I like this. Complicated

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: Effect of defense could be as many as 8 – 10 runs over 200 innings. League adjustment would be a few runs. And the park adjustment…I’ll give a very slight edge to the San Diego ERA. But it’s close

9:53
Comment From Tucker
On what team do you disagree with the projections most?

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Depends. Which projections/ What we have on the site is Steamer, but we’re close to having ZiPS

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: With Steamer, probably the Orioles or the Mets

9:55
Comment From Matt
Is there any examples of players drastically changing their batted ball profile? I really like Christian Yelich as the heir apparent to Shin Soo Choo, but a sub 20% FB-rate is pretty brutal.

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: Mike Trout has gone from 33% fly balls to 47% fly balls

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Yelich will remain so extreme a groundball hitter as he matures. But he’ll always have groundball/line drive tendencies, and he can clearly make that work for him. He might max out around 15 dingers, but he should still be a star.

9:58
Comment From Joe
True or False: Reds trade Chapman and Cueto by the deadline? Follow-up: What could they realistically expect in return?

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: I think the Reds will still be close enough at the deadline that they hold tight, but since I also don’t think they’ll be good enough to make the playoffs, I think they ought to thoroughly examine the midseason trade market. Cueto could/would be the one available ace if you don’t want to cave to Amaro’s asking price for Hamels. Cueto could bring back one piece of longer-term help. Chapman would be nuts, if he has a healthy first half — you’re exceeding the Andrew Miller return.

9:59
Comment From STiVo
Do you expect the Padres to win more than 83 games this year?

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: In my head, I have them right around 82 – 83

10:00
Comment From Guest
Better 2015 OF: Pittsburgh or Miami?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Miami. Not sold on Polanco yet

10:00
Comment From dom
can Mark Teixeria be an above average hitter?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, but I doubt he will be

10:01
Comment From Andy
Who’s the “can’t-miss” prospect that you can’t believe actually missed

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: Jeremy Reed or, depending on what you think of him, Dustin Ackley

10:02
Comment From Daniel
What would you think about international players being a part of the draft? (Such as they do in the NBA)

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: More in favor of Dave’s idea. Why have a draft in the first place?

10:03
Comment From Phillies113
I can’t look at the Phillies ZiPS again because it makes my eyes bleed too much, but at least one positive to take away from them is that the young guys actually have pretty decent MLB projections, even if they’re seeing a lot of time in the minors, no?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Sure. The farm system isn’t as much of a nightmare as the big-league product.

10:03
Comment From Tay
Is it a mistake to keep playing Coco in CF?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: No?

10:04
Comment From James
If Chase Utley retires today does he make it into the Hall?

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Nope

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: He’d make my Hall, but he doesn’t hit the usual benchmarks, and so much of his value has come in more subtle areas

10:05
Comment From Guest
Do the Pirates make it to the NLCS before McCutchen is a free agent?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Basic probability leans slightly toward no over yes, assuming free agency after 2018

10:08
Comment From dom
why aren’t the Phillies reportedly in on Moncada? Seems like exactly the type of guy they should go for

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they don’t want to make the up-front investment. Maybe they have a lower evaluation of him than other teams. Or maybe they are in the mix, and it just hasn’t been reported. Keep in mind, literally every single team in baseball has had eyes on the guy, and we only heard about the Padres’ interest this week

10:11
Comment From Minty
How optimistic should Bucco fans be for Polanco in ’15? He could be quite the key.

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: Don’t expect him to be Marte. Definitely, don’t expect him to be McCutchen. There are legitimate question marks here, and I don’t think Polanco is poised to have a breakthrough 2015, but he’s already performed well enough against righties, so in the majority of games, he should be something like an average outfielder. Don’t trust him yet against southpaws and his pull tendencies make him exploitable

10:13
Comment From Jimmy McGill
Better pitcher over the next five seasons: Alex Wood or Julio Teherán?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: I slightly prefer Alex Wood

10:14
Comment From _David _
Is MLB in danger of losing talent to other sports with various caps on bonuses? It seems like baseball is still the best bet in terms of getting paid both sooner and more throughout one’s career.

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: That’s been among the concerns, that baseball could lose some players over time to soccer (for example). And limiting the bonuses certainly doesn’t *help* maximize talent level. You figure, it either has no effect or it has a negative effect, so on average, it’s a slight negative effect. But I don’t think it’s going to be a game-changer

10:16
Comment From Tucker
What are your thoughts on Shelby Miller?

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t love him. I wish he had a better out-of-zone weapon. It’s not going to help him to leave Yadier Molina behind. I think he’ll resemble a No. 3 or 4 for a while

10:18
Comment From mtsw
Has “small market” just become a synonym for “owners who don’t want to spend?” It seems like when people talk about this stuff, it’s increasingly divorced from actual market size.

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, all the owners are stupid rich, but there’s not any kind of comparison between, say, the Yankees and the Rays. The Yankees are something like fix or six times as valuable. All owners can spend more than they do, but few are looking to operate at a loss

10:20
Comment From guest
If the Mariners make the playoffs are you driving up to catch a game?

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: Probably, but it sure is hard to work from an actual ballpark

10:20
Comment From dom
why do baseball fans whine about the best team not always winning in the post season and no one bats an eye at Cinderella teams in basketball tournament, etc

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: I think baseball fans don’t want to feel like a 162-game season went for naught. Following a baseball team regularly is an insane investment, way more than any other team in any other sport, and so it’s jarring to see a season that long end so abruptly. But there’s nothing wrong with it. The system is fine

10:21
Comment From STiVo
Which, if any, of their post-2015 free agents do you expect the Nats to sign?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: I could see them keeping Fister

10:22
Comment From gm
What’s your pick for the AL Central? How influenced is it by V-Mart?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: Currently still the Tigers but by a very slim margin, so while the Tigers are my individual favorite, I’d bet the field

10:22
Comment From Catoblepas
What would you do with Hamels? After the Cliff Lee debacle, I expect them to be more risk-adverse about waiting than they are, but does it make sense to hold out for a great-instead-of-good return, given how bad they are?

10:22
10:23

Jeff Sullivan: At this point, you keep him until July and hope that he’s healthy and good. If that’s the case, he could well be the only quality starting pitcher available. At least, high quality

10:23
Comment From Tucker
Most interesting spring training storyline to you?

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: How soon it’s over

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: And, the Padres. Just, like, the Padres, in general

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: Will be watching Matt Harvey and Jurickson Profar pretty closely, for my own interests

10:24
Comment From gm
Why do some teams try to overcome their ballparks (the Mariners) while others build around them (Giants)? Which are more successful historically in the regular season?

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really know what you mean. Both teams have tried to build rosters that complement the environments.

10:25
Comment From Ghost Hands
What team has the best double play combo in MLB? Offensively? Defensively?

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: I like Pedroia/Bogaerts or Cano/Miller or Taylor

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: If healthy, it’s Tulowitzki and whoever

10:26
Comment From Jeff
How much more value would Dillon Gee bring back being traded midseason?

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: Dillon Gee isn’t going to bring the Mets back anything of consequence

10:26
Comment From gm
Are the Rays doomed to lose again? Are they doomed to move from Tampa/St Pete?

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: The Rays are probably being a little bit underrated. They’re not as good as the Red Sox or Blue Jays, but they’re good enough to contend

10:28
Comment From cmg8462
Is there a strong negative correlation with Pitch Framing and Pitch Blocking? It seems that way and it also affects the casual fans perception of certain catchers. I’m specifically thinking about Travis d’Arnaud who has a very poor reputation defensively for his blocking and base stealing issues meanwhile he’s more than making up for it in framing. Have you noticed anything similar?

10:28
10:28
Comment From dom
i don’t have much expectation of Alex Rodriguez hitting, but no one can deny his at bats will be must see TV, at least to start

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll be really interesting for a week or two, and then everyone will settle down, and A-Rod will just look like any other aging and mediocre right-handed hitter

10:29
Comment From Small Allen
Jeff Zimmerman at the Hardball Times wrote a piece on expansion, saying that the run environment has directly correlated with the number of teams over the last hundred years. He suggested that MLB could increase run scoring by adding 6 teams over the next 10ish years. Rob Manfred recently said Canada (Montreal?) and Mexico (City?) would be MLB’s first expansion targets, but that expansion is far off. Pure pointless February though project…but…thoughts?

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we’re all that far away from seeing two new baseball teams, but I don’t think the run environment needs expansion in order to be cured. I’m not even convinced the run environment is something that needs to be cured. Adding six teams quickly would be crazy.

10:31
Comment From Natitude Adjuster
Who do you think is a better at centerfield defense: Trout or McCutchen?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Trout by a little

10:31
Comment From bucs_lose_again
better offensive year: Josh Harrison or Josh Hamilton?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Hamilton

10:32
Comment From guest
Will Tomas be the 1st new Cuban bust?

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: I guess we’ll see about Alex Guerrero

10:33
Comment From Gila Monster
Cole Hamel’s developed another elite pitch with the Curveball in 2014: 42% Whiffs/Swing and 62%/GB. Top 5 curveball supported by him getting a lot more movement on the pitch.

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t even throw it 10% of the time. His usage hardly budged, and if Hamels really felt like he had an elite curve, he would’ve thrown it more.

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: Grounders and whiffs aren’t out of line with what the curve did in the past.

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: It’s of interest that the movement changed — clearly something was tweaked — but I don’t think Hamels himself has meaningfully changed on account of the pitch.

10:35
Comment From Tay
So, the Red Sox still have a bunch of outfielders. Are they waiting to see who’s da best in Spring Training?

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Someone could get moved in March, but players get hurt and players struggle.

10:35
Comment From Ryan
Does Kris Bryant walk as much in the Bigs as he has in the minors? Basically is a .400 obp really that likely out the gate?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Never ever ever bet on a .400 OBP out of the gate

10:36
Comment From dom
does ZiPS take into account that some hitters face the shift a lot more than others? This would seem to be crucial BABIP info

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to guess that ZiPS doesn’t factor in actual shift data. That would presumably be limited to handedness and historical BABIP

10:37
Comment From Scranton
I think the Pirates are the third best team in the NL. I also think that assuming this season goes as expected, they should, within reason, part with some future assets on a rental like Cueto or Shark for example and take their shot this year. While it looks like the team is set up well for the future, you never know what may happen. What do you think?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s a lot of value in “taking their shot”. If you’re built for the long-term, focus on the long-term. If you’re good midseason, you’re good enough, and while it’s always a good idea to upgrade “within reason”, we saw what just happened with the A’s. The Pirates shouldn’t allow themselves to become short-sighted just because they have a 55% winning percentage in July

10:38
Comment From Natitude Adjuster
There is a player named Socrates Brito in the Diamondbacks org!

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: and Arquimedes Caminero is somewhere around

10:38
Comment From Ryan
Jeff, more podcasts please!

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Regarding FG podcasts, that’s entirely up to Carson. Regarding Mariners podcasts, we’re getting back into a schedule.

10:39
Comment From _David_
If a team were to experiment by making non-infield bleacher seats free, would the gains in home field advantage, larger fanbase, parking, and concessions outweigh the lost ticket revenue?

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Probably not. Teams are extremely smart about maximizing the money they make, and while we see cheap bleacher seats, there are reasons the prices never dip any cheaper.

10:40
Comment From Vegas
Who would you bet to win a 50-yard dash: Billy Butler, or Billy Hamilton carrying 100 pounds in a backpack?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Oh god

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Butler, but, oh god

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Great equation: Billy Butler speed = Billy Hamilton speed + X lbs in a backpack

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Solve for X

10:41
Comment From Curtis
who do you feel are some of the more underrated offensive players? or does WAR sort of eliminate under/over rating?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: Basically, I think underrated offensive players are productive hitters who dont’ hit a lot of dingers

10:42
Comment From mtsw
Given that balls don’t really break in Coors Field, shouldn’t the Rockies front office exclusively go after fastball-only pitchers? Any pitcher with a breaking-ball is sort of by-definition less valuable to the Rockies than to any other team, right? Or am I overthinking this?

10:42
10:42

Jeff Sullivan: Based on the way the Rockies have pitched, there’s no evidence that fastballs are any better or worse than breaking balls or offspeed pitches a mile up.

10:43
Comment From _David_
I know Happ throws harder, but isn’t Elias both more interesting in terms of upside, and a better pitcher?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: They’re about equally good, and Elias has options

10:43
Comment From Curtis
Are “productive outs” like moving runners over factored into any advanced metrics?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: No

10:44
Comment From Frito
Does team chemistry mean much if anything at all in baseball?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:44
Comment From Curtis
“A”s is the laziest….

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: That’s not their name

10:44
Comment From Jim
Puig going over 6 WAR this year?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Nah. 5’ll work

10:45
Comment From Charkip
Most surprising player that will have a 5+ WAR this season?

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: Depends how many people have forgotten about Joey Votto

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Rolling the dice: Carlos Carrasco?

10:46
Comment From guest
Of the big 3 pitchers which one stands to gain the most by switching from the Al to the Nl?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Scherzer gets to pitch in a division with the Braves and Phillies in it

10:46
Comment From natsdog
If you were attending Spring Training as a regular fan instead of as a FG employee wjere would you choose, regarrdless of team affiliation, AZ or FL? I would guess “Zona just because the ballparks are all very close together

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, Arizona. Arizona is basically just a drier Florida, and getting around is sooooooo much easier

10:47
Comment From Natitude Adjuster
Do you ever look at Fangraphs “Clutch” statistic? If so, how should it be interpreted?

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, I do. I basically never make anything of it.

10:47
Comment From Dylan
Will Fangraphs shut down if Mookie Betts has an awful season?

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Actually, yes

10:47
Comment From Tucker
Is there any way to isolate the plays that result in the highest UZR/DRS credit? It would make for a tremendous GIF filled article.

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: BIS does make it possible to isolate the best DRS plays. I don’t believe that’s ever done with UZR

10:48
Comment From Yo
Could you see the Rangers exploring trading Darvish if things are again dire?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: Depends how dire. They’d have to be really dire

10:49
Comment From Bored at work
Of all the playoff teams from last year, are the Royals and Giants the two that miss it this year?

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: Royals/Orioles

10:49
Comment From Ringtone Composer
One of the most eye-popping stats I saw from 2014 was that Dellin Betances threw 90 innings in relief. Wow, right?

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: It was great, although as the season wore on Betances’ usage pattern became more and more conventional. Ben Lindbergh wrote about this over at Grantland at some point

10:49
Comment From Tay
How many more years before the Choo contract is up there for ‘not quite worst in baseball but wow was that dumb’

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: 0 more years

10:50
Comment From Endy Chavez
Your contempt for me is well known. So, I ask you, who IS your favorite Mariner?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: Well, Felix

10:50
Comment From Straw Man
Anthony Ranaudo – broken bullpen arm, or shot at starter role, maybe a #4 or #5?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: He’s a reliever

10:50
Comment From Becktacular
Will the Orioles be buyers or sellers at the deadline in 2015? Do they have the pieces to do either?

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: Too close to sell, not good enough or ambitious/crazy enough to make a giant splash. I think they add peripheral parts

10:51
Comment From Jeff
Who is the most overrated team out there right now? In my opinion, its the Marlins.

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Padres

10:52
Comment From Tay
Any updates on Olivera? Or Moncada, for that matter.

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Olivera isn’t a free agent yet, but that’s imminent. He’s about to have his final workout, so he’ll sign relatively quickly

10:52
Comment From Earl
Most likely “under the radar” team to win their division on 2/10/15 — As, Indians or Rays?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Indians

10:52
Comment From James
Jeff how could the A’s possibly be underrated at this point? I feel like people should have gotten over the shock of them making all their trades and realize that it’s the A’s, they’re going to be in AL West or wild card contention

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Arguably true on FanGraphs, but among the more general population, there’s no getting over how many All-Stars the A’s unloaded

10:53
Comment From Guest
In regards to Shields in SD: Does it make a lot of sense for him to go there to try to squeeze another contract out before he turns 40?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t really make a difference that it’s San Diego

10:53
Comment From Bored at work
Bigger year: Nelson Cruz or Pablo Sandoval?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Pablo

10:54
Comment From cobinson ramo
do you think there is any truth to the notion that the cardinals’ remarkable success with sequencing and RBI is due to sign stealing?

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals were just worse with men on base than they were with the bases empty

10:55
Comment From Marc
Is Shoemaker likely to have another season like last year?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: He’s good

10:55
Comment From Timothy
Possible .gif-filled article idea: Do some framers excel at getting extra strikes inside/outside while others are better at getting high/low calls?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve looked at this before. There are definitely guys who are better up or down

10:56
Comment From Max C.
What’s your opinion on the potential of metrics for officiating? Is there something to tracking umpire tendencies?

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: The league tracks umpire performance. In terms of balls and strikes, it’s based on PITCHf/x. We’ve seen umpires change over time, presumably as a consequence of these evaluations.

10:57
Comment From mtsw
Does the league have an interest in balancing park factors by division? Should they try and force any new stadium in Tampa, say, to play pitcher friendly to balance out the other hitter-friendly AL East parks? Or does this not really matter?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: League wouldn’t care (within reason)

10:57
Comment From Scottie
Was it true 10 years ago that a lot of people liked the Seahawks and didn’t give a hoot about the Mariners? Or did that happen because people like good teams?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: The population flipped. Not that long ago, the Mariners were buzzing, and the Seahawks were unpopular and lousy. Bandwagoning is rational behavior

10:58
Comment From Max C.
I know you like the Sens, don’t know how closely you follow hockey – for a sport that seemingly has such an undercurrent of advanced stats does it feel like the existing infrastructure for analytics is still kind of primitive

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: It’s definitely in its infancy, and powerful individuals within the sport are still mostly retired players or coaches with old-timey mindsets. We’re starting to see an influx of bright young minds, but it’s gradual. Lots of traditionalism remains

10:59
Comment From Charkip
Don’t really like the Tigers depth. Sure, they have some good players out there, but they don’t have anyone to pick up the slack when they get injured. Plus, their bullpen is still an awful mess

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: Depth is a real problem. The Tigers are the most vulnerable they’ve been in years

11:00
Comment From Jim
Do you ever miss LL?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Not really, not compared to having a life

11:00
Comment From Rated Rookie
Spring Training is the appetizer course that goes on too long, sure, but it’s better than the starvation of the offseason.

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: I want to think this is true, but it just doesn’t do it for me

11:01
Comment From Your Display Name
Dave mentioned the Reds yesterday as a team with little depth – what teams are the opposite of that?

11:01
11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox, Pirates, A’s

11:01
Comment From workworkworkwokrkwork
What is Rusney Castillo’s ceiling ?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: MVP, like with most players. But realistically, something like 5 WAR

11:02
Comment From J
Hey Jeff, looking to take the family on a vacation to Oregon in April. Any urban things to do in Portland? Mt. Hood/wine country/Crater Lake is probably about the limit of their outdoor tolerance.

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Go up to Timberline on Mt Hood if you have the time and if conditions permit. Crater Lake is far away, but awesome if it’s reasonable. Portland has a ton of good breweries that are also somewhat family-friendly. OMSI is a wonderful museum.

11:03
Comment From Max C.
Which Fangraphs staffer needs Tommy John the most

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Dave. If his typing were limited, he’d have to spend less time on a computer and more time raising his brand new child

11:04
Comment From Tucker
Once the new field-tracking data is out long enough to get the major bugs worked out, how well do you think UZR/DRS will correlate with it?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty well, over sufficient samples

11:04
Comment From Boris Chinchilla
but have you had GRAPEFRUIT Sculpin? awesome. The Habenero is VERY hot

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: There’s a grapefruit sculpin? oh my god

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get going. Things to do. You understand.

11:05

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 — 2/10/15 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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Boris Chinchilla
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Boris Chinchilla

I am here early. YELLING!

Boris Chinchilla
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Boris Chinchilla

because its fun