Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/16/15

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to unusual rescheduled Monday chat

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t get used to this arrangement — this is just a one-week disruption, on account of Kiley’s prospect list and so on and so forth

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry I’m not Dan!

9:06
Comment From Phillies113
Jeff, pitchers and catchers report this week! I know you don’t like spring training but it means baseball is thisclose to being back! Hooray, right?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: In a weird way baseball never feels further away to me than it does at the beginning of March

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I do get a kick out of the first few days of organized games, but once the thrill has worn off — and it wears off quick — it’s interminable

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Thankfully I get to skip the last stretch of spring training while on vacation! Up yours, Cactus League!

9:08
Comment From Spencer00
Will Oliver be making an appearance soon?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I personally haven’t heard anything about it. Dave would know better, or Brian would know even better, but I can tell you you shouldn’t care very much? ZiPS and Steamer are more than enough

9:08
Comment From Awake in Seattle
Who do you think ends up starting at SS for the Mariners? Who would you start?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I’d start Miller, and while I don’t think the team even knows what it’s going to do yet, I think it might be 60/40 they go with Taylor and send Miller to Triple-A to play every day and move around positions a little bit

9:09
Comment From Jaack
How BS is it going to be when the 88 win Cardinals and the 85 win Giants face off for the NLCS this season?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Well the Cardinals are really good and if the Giants get that far they would have earned it

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Might be an indication that Jaime Garcia stayed healthy. I’d like that

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball would be boring and stupid if we could just predict and get accurate today that the Dodgers and Nationals will play to go to the Series

9:10
Comment From George is Curious
Hi Jeff! Hope all is well. Just wondering what you find to be the most interesting baseball story/news right now?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: The Moncada stuff is interesting. I’m really looking forward to seeing Kang play some games against high-level competition. The Phillies are interesting on account of the fact they still have so many of the players they should have traded

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I’m also interested in baseball finally acknowledging there might be something wrong with the strike zone. That’s been a while in the making

9:12
Comment From M.
wRC+ for Yadi Molina this year?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: 110?

9:12
Comment From S
When was the last time you were this confident about the Mariners upcoming season?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: 2010. whoopsadoodle

9:13
Comment From Dugan
Who is the next cuban free agent, not named Moncada, that you think will have an impact on the MLB?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: That would be Hector Olivera

9:13
Comment From L. Scott
Do you think Chris Davis is setting a trend for lefty pull hitters by bunting more against the shift? Has there ever been an example of this actually working?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Do you mean an example of bunting against the shift working? Sure, lots of examples. Robinson Cano even bunted for a double against the shift in Boston. You’ll see it from time to time. You don’t see it often enough. This isn’t going to catch on in a big way; it’s always going to be nothing but a sneaky little trick once every few weeks

9:14
Comment From M.
I’ve noticed two guys in particular: David Wright and Robinson Cano rank well with the defensive metrics one year and poorly the next. Any reason for this or just random?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Cano was a worse defender earlier in his career, but he polished that and he’s been mostly steady ever since

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: With Wright I don’t see wild fluctuation — I see adequacy, followed by three years of being below average, followed by improvement

9:16
Comment From Eyebrows
Thoughts on the Weeks signing for the Mariners? Any belief he will not embarrass himself in the field?

9:16
9:16
Jeff Sullivan: The team was going to need some kind of offensive righty on the bench. If not Weeks, it was going to be someone like Jesus Montero or Stefen Romero. Weeks has more defensive value than Montero, and Romero is bad

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: He won’t be good anywhere in the field, but he shouldn’t play positions too often that are as or more difficult than second base

9:17
Comment From M.
Could you see Josh Harrison being around a league average hitter going forward?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: For sure

9:17
Comment From Peter
Which of your fellow fangraph writers would you most like to go on a double-date with?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Mr and Mrs Cistulli, because they also don’t have a kid

9:18
Comment From Ryan
When’re the ZiPS projections showing up on the projections pages?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Should be sometime this week, I believe

9:18
Comment From John
Can you thank Pal Swydan for actually being realistic about the mets? As a mets fan and a realist, I really am getting sick of all the love for a clearly mediocre team at best.

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I hate when people say positive things about my team too

9:19
Comment From MetsFaithful5
If Jose Fernandez was the same age as Matt Harvey, who would you rather have for the future; Harvey or Fernandez?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Oh jesus

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: For one thing, I don’t really care about the age difference –age for pitchers is less meaningful than age for hitters, in terms of aging curves and slopes

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I guess…I’d pick…Fernandez?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Seriously, it’s so so close

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: They’re almost literally equally good. Fernandez has shown a little more ability to pitch in the zone but how much of that has had to do with the catchers?

9:23
Comment From Dr Hocker
Hi Jeff–who are typically considered to the creme de la creme on MLB pitching coaches? Is Bosio one?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Depends who you ask, but I think I most consistently hear good things about Don Cooper (CHW), Ray Searage (PIT), and Mickey Callaway (CLE)

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Also Larry Rothschild (NYY)

9:24
Comment From mtsw
Do catchers report early just so there’s someone there to catch pitches or is there some special catcher-only stuff happening too?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Basically just there to catch

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: You could say it also helps to develop pitcher/catcher relationships

9:25
Comment From Stuafoo
Have you guys ever taken a look at the percentage breakdown of how much you’ve covered each team? Seems like it would be an interesting self-check, and also a way to measure (sort of) which teams tend to be the most active/interesting

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: One quick check would be to examine the categories shown here on the right http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: When we write, we’re supposed to tag teams relevant to the content, and if a team gets tagged, that number goes up

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Allow me to run some quick math please

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: (2 minutes)

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: You ready for this data??!

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: 1. Red Sox (348 posts)
2. Yankees (329)
3. Giants (297)

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: 28. Twins (156)
29. Rockies (154)
30. Astros (150)

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: The Padres show up at 157 — they were probably in last before this super busy offseason

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: The A’s, surprisingly, are tenth

9:31
Comment From Tony G.
How concerned should Tigers fans be right now? With the injury questions around Miggy/VMart, the loss other good players from last season, and of course the disaster that is their bullpen, I feel like Detroit has the potential to be a mess this season.

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re going to be a mess THIS season, but I think the mess is predictable down the road. For now, I think this is the most vulnerable Tigers team we’ve seen in a few years

9:31
Comment From M.
I keep hearing about Yadi Molina’s HOF candidacy, yet he only has a career 32 WAR.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Molina’s candidacy will depend on how good a grip we get on measuring catcher “intangibles”, how soon, and how much that’s taken into consideration by a voting pool that is getting younger and more open-minded

9:32
Comment From Bradsbeard
Re: your HBT article and pitcher WAR. For the balls in play portion, why not just take the inverse of the fielder’s UZR for each ball in play? For example, say that a fielder makes a play 75% of the time, so the pitcher gets 75% of the run-prevention value for that ball in play, and so forth. It wouldn’t be predictive, but neither is the ball in play value that is incorporated into hitter WAR, and it wouldn’t double count any of the defensive value given to fielders (unless I’m way off base).

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I am Jeff Sullivan, not whoever you think I am

9:33
Comment From Slew (Seattle)
Vegas has the O/U for the Royals at 83, BPro is projecting them to win 70. Bet the under and retire early?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: That would be an under, yeah

9:34
Comment From Eyebrows
I had a dream last night you were supposed to give a talk, but the subject ended up being about fantasy baseball and so you ditched it and made me cover it for you. This is not a question.

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Sounds like some lousy organizers. Who makes the subject a surprise until the last minute?

9:34
Comment From chawson
If MLB goes through with shrinking the strike zone next year, do you expect to see teams prepare their rosters accordingly to preempt the change? Or will they wait to see what the effects are?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll wait — you can’t really preempt something if you don’t know what it’s going to do. And it’s not like the zone would dramatically change — it would just go back a few years

9:35
Comment From Ryan Brain
Say everything goes completely to hell for Milwaukee this season and they’re 15-20 games below .500 going into the break. Do they deal their remaining 1.5 seasons of Carlos Gomez? If they do, what’s a reasonable return?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: One problem with your prompt: if everything goes completely to hell for Milwaukee, Carlos Gomez has probably been bad

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: But yeah, if the Brewers are a nightmare, they’ll sell. But position players don’t tend to drive the midseason prices that pitchers do, so I don’t think Gomez would get a far bigger haul than he would in the winter. You’d be looking at maybe an upper-level pitching prospect, plus two more lesser pieces of note

9:38
Comment From mtsw
The most underrated aspect of Spring Training is that it gives a chance for prospects to be photographed wearing the uniform of a major league team so when people write articles about them later on they don’t have to use a photo of them playing in like a Scranton-Wilkes-Barre uniform.

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I’m also a fan of 9th inning play-by-play logs, especially on split-squad days

9:38
Comment From Ryan Brain
How many more seasons is it before the Tigers collapse into what Philadelphia is now?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: 3?

9:38
Comment From Roman
Expecting a big season from Votto?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t know your definition of big, but I trust he’s going to be real good

9:39
Comment From M.
Ranger Suarez: In minors, 1 BB in 80 innings.

9:39
9:39
Jeff Sullivan: More wild pitches than walks. How often does that happen?

9:39
Comment From Eyebrows
Do you think we’ll see any improvement in Zunino’s offense this year? What would that look like?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Even just the year before, he was a little more disciplined. He says he wants to focus more on going to right-center, instead of yanking the baseball. Whether that’ll actually be implemented, I don’t know, but I think we’ll see some incremental gains, especially now that he’s experienced a full major-league six months

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I can see an OBP between .280 – .290

9:40
Comment From Walt Jocketty
If Votto has two functioning legs; Bruce returns to 2010 form; Hamilton gets on base 33% of the time; Mesoraco puts up a wRC+ north of 130, and Frazier repeats his 2014 season, the Reds have a decent chance at being competitive, yeah?

9:40
Comment From Walt Jocketty
Just how bad of a situation have I created for the Reds?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Reds need TOO many breaks — there’s clearly a lot of talent on the roster — but most of what I see indicates a .500 ballclub, in a division without a bad team, so I’m thinking that come July, Cueto will be available as the stretch-run ace if you don’t want to negotiate with Ruben Amaro

9:41
Comment From mtsw
Is Fangraphs publishing sentences like “It might be tough to accept at face value that one club [Rays] that finished 19 games behind another [Orioles] might actually have been the better club than the other,” just to troll Orioles fans, or do people actually believe that this is true?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: FanGraphs isn’t really in the business of picking on people

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: There’s this perception that writers have favorites and least-favorites, and biases that cloud analysis. Bias comes out of writing with emotion. FanGraphs authors generally aren’t writing with much in the way of emotion. This isn’t a team blog

9:43
Comment From Phillies113
Have you been to every stadium to see a game? If not, which stadium would you like to go to that you haven’t already been to?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been to very few stadiums. If I’m traveling, I’m not traveling to cities to watch sports in them. I’d like to see if PNC matches the hype, and I guess I probably ought to check out Camden Yards if I ever find myself in Baltimore

9:44
Comment From Conor
How many articles per week will the new guys be writing?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: One guy will be daily, another will be almost-daily, the others will be less frequent

9:44
Comment From Master of karate and friendship for everyone
Will we see another switch-pitcher in MiLB, or even MLB in this century?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah

9:44
Comment From Matt
Are you as optimistic about Semien as Cistulli is?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s fine, so the answer’s probably no

9:45
Comment From mtsw
Should we assume that the strike zone has been moving/expanding/contracting around throughout baseball history at roughly the same rate it seems to have during the pitchFX era? Or is the expansion of the strike zone to extend lower a aberrant phenomena?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: It’s all about PITCHf/x. They’ve never had this much information before, so they’ve never been able to get this kind of feedback. Umpires have been told exactly what to work on, they’ve been told exactly what they’ve been doing, and they’ve responded with what we’ve observed. Unexpected consequence, but a fascinating one

9:46
Comment From jocephus
According to a report out of Venezuela, Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez is “fighting for his life” following surgery for a fractured skull.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Got hit by a boat over the weekend while swimming. Absolutely awful although one report did consider him in critical condition but stable

9:49
Comment From Colin
I really enjoyed your article on Marcus Stroman’s pitch comps. What might keep him from putting together a real breakout campaign this year?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Injury. It’s pretty much always injury

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise, I think he’s got everything he needs

9:49
Comment From THE Average Sports Fan
Between now and the first Spring Training game, will anything besides an injury happen that is important?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: There’ll be a few trades

9:49
Comment From Mr. Red
Say positive things about my team.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto are good

9:50
Comment From anomie
whats the point

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: love

9:50
Comment From M.
You ever wonder how many people under 20 or so look at advanced baseball statistics?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: More than ever before. Whole bunch of teenagers, for example, have made submissions to the community blog

9:50
Comment From Snid
What’s to believe about Verlander? 20 lb of muscle was the problem? Core surgery? His velocity has been declining for the past 5 seasons. Could this injury have been that long going?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: In general, Verlander is still learning to pitch with reduced velocity. In specific, I’m also willing to buy that he wasn’t able to prepare like usual last year, and that he altered his delivery on account of his injury

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a lot going on here, but the slightest change in Verlander’s throwing motion could’ve had significant consequences

9:53
Comment From mtsw
If there was a new stadium or relocation of the Rays, would MLB pressure them to design the stadium to be pitcher friendly so as not to have 5 hitters’ parks in the AL East? Or is this not something that the league cares about?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: No, they don’t care. All they want is for ballparks to be reasonable

9:54
Comment From Master of karate and friendship for everyone
I recently toyed with PITCHf/x database and sorted batters by SLG% vs different type of pitches (vertical release point >6ft 1in and 6ft 1in and 74% vs rence is enormous… Jose Abreu slugged 0.923 (second best – Juan Francisco with 0.736) on pitches with high vertical release point and 0.465 on other pitches. Is there is something or it’s just a noise?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if I understand what you’re talking about, but my assumption here is that you’re observing noise.

9:54
Comment From Mr. Red
On a scale from 0 to :'( , just how bad could things get for the Reds this year?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: In the worst-case scenario, at least the Reds would have a direction! Right now they’re kind of caught between contention and reloading

9:56
Comment From Topher Vonesh
Hey Jeff. Simply put: you’re the best. I am loving all the love Stroman is getting/seems to deserve. Would you be willing to try and quantify how these positive factors might alter your back of a napkin projection for him?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Where Steamer and ZiPS are coming down with Stroman worth about 3 WAR, I see about 4

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t evaluate his injury risk ,but with his pitches and with Russell Martin around, the stars are aligned for him

9:58
Comment From Bill
You mentioned Jaime Garcia earlier. Do you take over or under on him starting 6 games this year? I agree, it’s big for the Cardinals if he can pitch, but…

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take the over. Obviously can’t depend on him, but he’s so good when he’s healthy I think the Cardinals will give him every chance

9:58
Comment From Nelson
CAn you go to a ballgame and enjoy it as a fan?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Of course

9:59
Comment From KCattheBat
You mention ZiPS above – any idea when the full projections will be available for downloading. Also – using a weighted average of projections on the site how would you recommend weighting Steamer, ZiPS and fan projections? 40/40/20 or even less for the Fans?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t fold in the Fan projections. They’re optimistic across the board, and while it’s interesting to compare fan projections relatively, there need to be adjustments to the numbers before you can use them alongside ZiPS and Steamer

10:00
Comment From M.
Verlander was a 3 Win pitcher last year. Obviously there’s concern there, but he wasn’t bad.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: It’s alarming to see Justin Verlander finish with a lower strikeout rate than Jorge de la Rosa

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: You’re right though, he wasn’t bad, and he pitched better down the stretch

10:01
Comment From M.
How are the Rockies ever going to succeed in Colorado. They have before, but what will it take?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: A lot more good players

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not a cop-out. That’s just true. More good players, and health for the best ones

10:02
Comment From M.
Creative MVP’s next year?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Already went out on a limb predicting that Starling Marte could get some love

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe it’s unrealistic that voters would recognize him, but I think he could be really great

10:03
Comment From GSon
At least eno talks about beer.. sully arrives late.. leaves early and doesn’t believe in fantasy baseball…

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Leaves early?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I literally almost always chat for twice as long as I’m supposed to

10:03
Comment From Glyphenotes
What do we know about the strike zone called in AAA?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Not a ton, but we can infer it hasn’t changed nearly as much as the big-league zone.

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: The offensive environment in the minors hasn’t shown the same pattern as the offensive environment in the majors

10:06
Comment From Master of karate and friendship for everyone
I enjoyed reading your Coors Field hangover research. Are you interested in studying circadian advantage effect in baseball ?
“When teams held a 1-h circadian advantage, winning percentage was 51.7% (1,903-1,781). Winning percentage with a 2-h advantage was 51.8% (620-578) but increased to 60.6% (97-63) with a 3-h advantage. Direction of advantage showed teams traveling from Western time zones to Eastern time zones were more likely to win (winning percentage = .530) than teams traveling from Eastern time zones to Western time zones (winning percentage = .509).”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov…

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty interesting, although my immediate thought is that 97+63 isn’t even close to being a relevant or meaningful sample

10:07
Comment From Tamco
How do you think Andrelton Simmons does-and will-compare to Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith historically?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be surprised if Simmons is still playing into his 40s, but he’s the best comp we have right now for those guys, and an advantage for Simmons is that he’s playing during the information age, so we can be more confident than ever about his statistical value

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Think about what we already have on Simmons, and what we’ll have in 5-10 years. Never had anything close to that for Vizquel or Smith

10:08
Comment From M.
Pick a team (besides the Orioles) that will crumble this year, such as the Rays or Red Sox of last year. A team that is good but will be terrible

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Tigers are an easy pick

10:10
Comment From mtsw
Modern stadiums’ desire to eliminate support columns in the lower deck (and the resulting obstructed views) has resulted in upper decks being moved dramatically further back from the field than in older stadiums. The back row of the upper deck in Cleveland Muncipal Stadium was closer to home plate than the first row of the upper deck in Jacobs Field is. Is the cure for obstructed views worse than the disease?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I can honestly say I’ve never thought about this before

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Best I can say is that there’s no indication, based on money, that fans are displeased with the current in-stadium experience

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Subjectively, I miss the look of the support columns 🙁

10:12
Comment From GSon
What does the revelation that the Phillies were approached by the red sox in a cole hamels deal? If you’re a red sox fan, aren’t you sending texts, emails and letters to the Ben C demanding he get that guy..?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: The last people Ben Cherington needs to be paying attention to are impatient Red Sox fans

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: The Red Sox reportedly approached the Phillies with an offer that’s nowhere close to what the Phillies want. That’s to be expected. Boston is trying to set a level of expectation; Philly is doing the same. Odds are, they just won’t find a match, because the Sox will never part with Betts or Swihart for Hamels and his contract

10:13
Comment From M.
How long until Kershaw posts an ERA that starts with a 3

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll do it once in the next four years

10:14
Comment From M.
Best game you’ve been to the ballpark for? Worst?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I was in Fenway for Daisuke Matsuzaka’s home debut, which was also when Felix held a no-hitter until the 8th inning

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: I was also in Safeco for this and left in the fifth to drink somewhere else for cheaper http://www.baseball-referen…

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: (that was the home opener)

10:16
Comment From Matt Shoemaker
how close can i come to performing like i did last season?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I can see another FIP- between 90 – 100

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a Shoemaker fan

10:17
Comment From El Guapo
Is Felix Hernandez less likely to get hurt because he works mostly below his max effort i.e. relying on the change up, rarely throwing his hardest slider or fastball. Or is he working harder than it looks?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t throw a lot of sliders, he doesn’t have a lot of long innings, and his workload is carefully monitored and managed by Lloyd McClendon. He’s never been badly hurt before. There’s clearly risk there, but Felix’s risk factor is lower than it is for the average starter

10:18
Comment From M.
How many big-big-leaguers have you met in person?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Somewhere between 6-10?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Had my picture taken with Andy Ashby when I was a little boy. Quote Andy Ashby, “fuck the Seahawks”

10:19
Comment From jocephus
could one really go from NYY assistant to the traveling secretary to NYM head of scouting like george costanza was in line to do?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, anyone can hire anyone, and anyone can be surprisingly qualified, but my assumption is that a new head of scouting would need to have an established track record of performance

10:20
Comment From Snid
RE: Verlander He has also changed from a primary FB pitcher to a slider/change pitcher. ??

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty much the same fastball rate for the last five years

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: PITCHf/x confuses some of his fastballs for changeups

10:21
Comment From M.
Any of those teenage-submitted community blogs make the cut?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, lots

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t actually know when I’m editing how old the author is

10:22
Comment From M.
How long do the Cards have in contention before they need to re-tool?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Since 2000, they’ve finished below .500 once, and that was just barely. They’re usually re-tooling on the fly. I trust that the Cards will pretty much never bottom out. Many of the best players are getting up there, but there’s still enough around and the player development is such that I think they’re in great shape for the foreseeable future

10:23
Comment From M.
It’s obviously hard to measure, but if you had to guess how much of a pitchers success/failure has to do with a catchers?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I still think it’s mostly the pitcher. I think pitchers respond to the catchers they have, whether he be a good receiver or a bad one. Catchers obviously have some significant effects, but my rule of thumb would be that good pitchers will remain good pitchers, and bad ones will remain bad ones

10:25
Comment From R Hizzle
Re: what would stop stroman from breaking out – he has had a strand rate issue throughout his pro career. Only around 300 ip so small sample but still something to watch. Not out of the question that a guy who is 5’7″ would have trouble getting the necessary plane on his fastball from the stretch position.

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, bases empty: 15.4% K-BB
Last year, runners on: 15.8% K-BB

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Not saying there’s nothing there; I’m just not concerned

10:26
Comment From M.
Odds that Carrasco isn’t anywhere as good as we think he is?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: How good do you think he is?

10:26
Comment From Monroe
If there is no surplus value on Cole Hamels’ contract, why would anyone consider Amaro’s demands to not eat salary while getting significant prospects in return anything but very silly?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think the market has pretty obviously determined that Amaro’s demands *are* silly

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Hamels does have some surplus value — wins this offseason cost more than I expected. But it’s not nearly enough to justify the ask

10:27
Comment From Monroe
Will Iwakuma pitch more than 20 games?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:27
Comment From honus
Better defensive shortstop: jack wilson or andrelton simmons?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Andrelton Simmons

10:27
Comment From e
rusney castillo; going to make a big impact or too many holes in the swing right now?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Average to slightly above-average player

10:27
Comment From 2nd tier pitcher picker
How well do you think Paxton will perform to Stroman this season?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Stroman is much better than Paxton

10:27
Comment From Monroe
Logan Morrison at first base seems like wishful thinking, especially with Bloomquist as his back-up … thoughts?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Well Rickie Weeks is now the backup, which is better

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: And Morrison did just hit, some. But he’s an obvious weakness, as far as I’m concerned

10:28
Comment From El Guapo
If you ran the Cubs, would you cash in a few of those prospects for some “win-now” players? E.g. some crazy package for Tulo. Or a lesser deal.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be selling the hell out of Javier Baez, but otherwise I’d be content to roll forward with the way things are, and then re-evaluate in June

10:29
Comment From Monroe
Why is Billy Beane paying for closers now?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t acquire Tyler Clippard to be a closer

10:29
Comment From chawson
What’s a reasonable wRC+ for J.D. Martinez this year a/k/a is the man real?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s for real. Limited by his aggressiveness, but I can see something around 125

10:30
Comment From Rocket Roger
Do you see Christian Bethancourt as anything more than a strong defense-first catcher? What’s his upside?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: You’re looking at a guy with a career minor-league OBP of .299

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not a disciplined hitter. There’s some real power in there, but that’s about it.

10:32
Comment From mtsw
Re: Beane and closers, worth noting that he ate $9M to trade for Jim Johnson

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I remember that part. But this year, while he acquired Clippard, I don’t think that fits the “proven closer” theory

10:33
Comment From M.
Carrasco will probably be a 3-4 Win pitcher, in eyes, but has he made meaningful change with his delivery or stuff to back his gold season.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I like Carrasco. I don’t think he performs up to last year’s stretch-run standard, but I think he’s solidly above-average

10:34
Comment From chawson
Have you ever read any of Miguel Batista’s poetry? Who is the Miguel Batista of today?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Good god no

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Hopefully no one

10:34
Comment From BassmanUW
I don’t necessarily think Hamels is so likely to move this season. Honestly, I think the biggest suitors intend to wait out the whole season if Amaro doesn’t lower his asking price, hope Phillies’ ownership decides Amaro is botching the rebuilt after 2015, and then hope the next GM is more reasonable on return from the age 31-34 seasons on a guy who is worth more than he’s paid, but isn’t on that much of a below market deal. Reasonable or crazy? Or will Amaro asking for the moon right now make it easier to sell the story that they just couldn’t get 2 top prospects mid-season?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: At this point the plan seems to be to hold Hamels and hope to sell him in July as the one great starter available. Real risk, real reward, but even then, Philadelphia won’t be able to get what Amaro has been apparently asking for. The market, as a whole, has spoken.

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: My goodness, I’ve cleared the queue! Must be a holiday.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: As such, I suppose I’ll get on with some other responsibilities.

10:36
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 next week on Tuesday at the normal time, and until then, be well and have great days. Kiley will be chatting tomorrow in my usual slot

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/16/15 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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