Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/24/17

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:08
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:08
ChiSox2020: Is Boston’s outfield going to be all time great on both sides of the ball?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Allow me to say this much —

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Top projected outfields, this season:

1. Angels, 11.8 WAR
2. Red Sox, 11.1
3. Pirates, 9.8
4. Marlins, 9.6
5. Nationals, 8.1

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I know what you’re getting at, and obviously there’s massive upside if you’re a huge fan of Benintendi. And I’m a pretty big fan of Benintendi! But at this juncture the Red Sox might not even have the best outfield in baseball *this season*, so it’s way too early to talk about history

9:11
Ross: What Mariner beats his projection by the most? Under performs the most?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Let me just look real fast…

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take the over on both Dyson and Haniger. Dyson because of his defense, Haniger because I buy him as an all-around asset today

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Suppose I’ll take the under on Smyly as a 3-win pitcher

9:14
Burrito: Hi Jeff, what numbers would you predict for Brandon Finnegan this season ? Thanks

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I think Finnegan is going to establish himself as something like a legitimate No. 3; last year he got kind of screwed by his catchers, and he deserved a far more favorable strike zone than he got

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Some of that was on his own command, but I like his pitch mix

9:16
libre: Where can I camp for PitchTalks tickets?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: On the internet

9:16
Ross: Does your gut tell you the Mariners finally break their postseason drought or are we in for another year of heartbreak?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: When it comes to the Mariners my gut is distinctly pessimistic

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I absolutely buy them as a real wild-card contender. The problem is, there are like five of those teams, or something, and one injury could derail any one of them

9:18
Andy F: Any ideas to what degree teams use the WBC as an international scouting ground?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: It’s useful supplemental information, especially in the cases where teams are able to get pitches and batted balls tracked. But no team is going to reach a judgment based on WBC play alone

9:19
Nats: Would you be worried about the Nationals lineup going into the season? The first five seem fine, but Werth, Zimmerman, and Wieters/Norris seems to leave a big hole in the bottom half of the lineup. Is this issue largely overlooked due to questions at the back end of the bullpen?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: First of all, the top five might be the best top five in the game. Harper/Rendon/Murphy/Eaton/Turner is absurd

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Secondly, Wieters is fine, Werth is probably something like an average hitter, and Zimmerman still generated good exit velocities last season even when his numbers were in the toilet. I do agree that depth is a potential concern, but I think it’s a bigger deal *after* you get past the starters

9:21
libre: Dave podcasts from his car, Sam podcasted from cricket-and-ant infested lands (his home I guess). Where do you call in for EW?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Same place I do everything else. This chair in this room in my own residence

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes I don’t know why I have a laptop since I pretty much never go anywhere with it

9:22
IWB: If Martin Perez’s 2017 plus 3 options were guaranteed, how many teams agree to take his guaranteed 4/27M contract?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Most of them. A few might have budget obstacles, but Perez is still fairly young, he just had his best fastball in a while, and that guarantee is awfully modest for a regular starter

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: To be sure, Perez is not very good. But he takes his turns, gets grounders, and throws enough strikes. Still some upside in there, and $7m a season isn’t much

9:24
Carl Fogarty: Long-term who do you think emerges as the better hitter, Andrew Benintendi or Nomar Mazara?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Benintendi. Easy

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I prefer both Benintendi’s judgment and Benintendi’s bat-to-ball skills

9:25
Hi: Who do you think gets more saves for San Diego and Colorado this season – Maurer, Capps. Ottavino, Holland in Colorado ? Thank you

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: This is a thinly-disguised fantasy question! But, what the hell. Maurer and Capps will end up about 50/50, and Holland will out-close Ottavino

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I assume Maurer will close from the beginning, and then Capps will eventually overtake him. And then there will be trades and who knows

9:27
Kevin: With the emergence of late-bloomers like Donaldson, Murphy and Turner as unlikely superstars, is the talent-margin so slim among major league batters that virtually anyone can reach that level with the proper adjustment?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: That’s the big question, right? How narrow is the talent distribution? When I’ve thought about this from a different perspective, I’ve considered hangers-on like Chone Figgins, who refuse to believe they’re toast when they’re toast. I don’t think it’s stubbornness; I think it’s feeling like you’re the same as ever, when you’re actually at 95%, and losing that 5% is enormously important

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: With certain players, I think we know enough to know they can’t be offensive juggernauts. Ben Revere will never hit for power. Billy Burns and, I don’t know, Andrelton Simmons will never hit for power. But there are a lot more potential power hitters than there are current power hitters, and we’re going to see more of these transitions

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think of Eric Hosmer. If he could ever generate more lift, why couldn’t he be a 140 wRC+ type?

9:30
Dave: What would the Sox have to include with Robertson to get Robles from the Nats?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Jones?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Robles is valuable. Robertson, given his salary commitment, is far less so

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I suppose if the Sox took on the entirety of Robertson’s salary, then they’d be close

9:32
Raindog: Jeff, as an O’s fan, every day that goes by without me reading a headline “Orioles sign Fister and/or Lewis because obviously Vidal Nuno doesn’t count as depth” makes me a little crazier. Any idea why this isn’t happening?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Well I mean, firstly, those pitchers aren’t very good

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: But I do imagine the Orioles are still thinking about rotation depth, as they evaluate Tillman. Might just want a little more time to evaluate their own internal options. And for whatever it’s worth, I do think Nuno is modestly interesting as a potential back-end arm. He stays around the strike zone, which is a good starting point

9:34
Slamboni: If Tyson Ross puts up 2015 numbers this year when he returns, are the Rangers going to win the AL West?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’d still be a few games worse than the Astros, but they’d be in the playoffs for sure

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: And then they’d go in with Darvish/Hamels/Ross. Fun! If you ignore what happened just last October, I guess

9:35
Zonk: I didn’t realize until yesterday that the White Sox have acquired both Geovany Soto and Giovanni Soto. Is it weird to really want both of them to make the 25-man, for an all G. Soto battery?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Not at all. Saw a clip on Twitter the other day of Soto pitching to Soto. Made me feel warm on a cold February afternoon

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: And then I was reminded by Grant Brisbee that Chris Young is 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts against Chris Young

9:37
Jeffrey: Do you think Dan Straily takes another step forward in Miami or what his year in Cincy was in 2016 the best we can hope for?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: I think this is what he is

9:38
Jack: The Sports Devil pays you a visit, and he wants to make a deal. He says he can guarantee you that you’ll see multiple Mariners World Series and Senators Stanley Cup victories in your lifetime, but he’s a cruel, sadistic demon, and there’s a catch — until the first championship one of them wins, you need to have Colby Rasmus’s beard. If you agree to this deal and then shave it off before one of them has won, both teams will be cursed to never win a title. While the Sports Devil can make sure the championships happen in your lifetime, he can’t control exactly what years they happen in, so you don’t have to worry about him waiting until you’re 100 to let them win. Do you do it?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely not. Both teams will probably win during my lifetime anyway, and for whatever fleeting happiness I’d experience with a title, I would experience daily, constant disappointment in myself having that god-awful neckbeard. My girlfriend would leave me and I’d never be able to find a suitable replacement. Plus my neck would itch all the time. The hairs would get tangled in buttons and caught on zippers

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: A championship is just not that important to me. Not neckbeard-important

9:39
Rickey O’Sunnyvale: What’s up with Blanton? Amazingly quiet for such a strong pitcher. Think he has something lined up, like with LA?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: The popular speculation is that, at this point, he’s just waiting on some important reliever to get injured. I think his own history as a disappointing pitcher is being held against him to some extent. But he will get a job and he’ll be pretty good at it

9:41
Connor: I’m finding I wait till the later rounds to draft 1st basemen this year. Are there any good late round pickups at 1st? Right now, I’m mostly drafting guys like Tommy Joseph and Kendrys Morales right now. Are there any guys earlier that I should target instead?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: This is a good opportunity to issue a reminder that I don’t play in any fantasy leagues. So I’m not really equipped to offer useful fantasy-baseball advice. I don’t even know what stats are counted in your league 😐

9:43
Andy F: Any idea to what degree teams use the WBC as an international scouting grounds? Are almost all of these players already known to teams?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I know I already addressed the first part of this but you added a second part, so I’ll just say I’m sure the best players on every roster are already known to teams, but I doubt the Twins have a file on, say, Israel’s Shlomo Lipetz

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: So there’s a definite opportunity here for off-the-radar players to get a foot in the door

9:44
BL27: do you think Tyler Glasnow will start the season in MLB or AAA ?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: My gut says MLB, but if it’s Triple-A, I’d get it, since he’s working on changing his delivery. No matter what, he’ll spend most of the year with Pittsburgh

9:46
Steve Zissou: Jonathan Villar, to me, is one of the more interesting ascensions of 2016. He was top 5 in MLB for BABIP at .373. Is this a reflection of a lucky year, or a player leveraging his speed to beat out close plays, and that his BABIP is sustainable?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Over the past 20 years, there are 523 players who have batted at least 2,500 times. The highest BABIP in the group belongs to Mike Trout, at .360. Joey Votto is at .359

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Jonathan Villar is not Mike Trout, and he’s not Joey Votto. He hits a few too many pop-ups and he just doesn’t have that off-the-bat zip that the better players do. He’s pretty good, and his career mark so far is .347, but I wouldn’t be surprised if last season ends up being the best offensive season of his career

9:50
Q-Ball: Maddon says they will bat Kyle Schwarber leadoff. What do you think about that specifically, and I guess using slow-footed sluggers to leadoff generally?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Carlos Santana led off for the Indians last season about half the time. Schwarber isn’t close to that slow

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I think having good at-bats is more important than being fast, in that role, and I also think the Cubs consider Schwarber more athletic than the average fan does

9:53
Rickey O’Sunnyvale: Kopech or Y Alvarez as your favored pitching prospect?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Kopech

9:53
libre: Why is it more likely that the Dodgers will use a lot of starters than a team like the Padres who don’t have any real MLB arms in their 1-5?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: It isn’t

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s more likely that the Dodgers will use a lot of *talented* starters, because the Padres don’t have any

9:55
Raindog: The 8 lowest walk rates last season all belonged to middle infielders. This is a pretty weird coincidence, right? And it’s not like they’re all slap hitter that nobody is scared of – 5 of the 8 hit 20+ HR. Do you have thoughts on this?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Some of this, of course, is just random chance, but I bet there’s a link to middle infielders being smaller on average, and more athletic, and those are players who, for a long time, would’ve been instructed to maximize their balls in play

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: In other words, they’d be more aggressive in an effort to avoid deep counts

9:57
Chris: Is Delino Deshields simply a 4th outfielder or can he be a MLB regular, possible high OBP 10 home runs and 40 steals kinda guy?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: At present he strikes out too much for someone without much power. Michael Bourn made a career out of this skillset, but Bourn, for a time, looked like an elite-level defender. DeShields hasn’t shown that yet

9:59
J: I’ve been thinking about how much is speed really worth especially for outfielders since it seems it’s more involved in their range. We kinda know the spread between the best and worst baserunners and range between fielders but how much of those things are from pure speed?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: A lot of it is pure speed. Of course some players have better instincts and some players get better first steps, but the differences there are so small. Speed makes up much of the rest. Speed is why Billy Hamilton is so amazing in CF despite limited experience

10:01
2-D: Two people in Nicaragua fell 1500 ft into an active volcano and only suffered dehydration. What would be the baseball equivalent to this story?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Every time a team faces Mike Trout and he goes 1-for-4 with a single

10:02
Ross: Percent chance Diaz is the best closer in the AL this year?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: 10%? He’d need some awful things to happen to Chapman and Britton

10:02
Mike: Who will have more of an impact this year for the M’s, Haninger or O’Neill?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Haniger is going to be a regular in the majors and O’Neill is going to be a regular in the minors

10:02
James: Eddie Butlers role in 2017? Can Bosio get his stuff back?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t place any bets

10:04
Erik: Are roster spots more or less entirely pre-determined before spring training starts based on service time and 40-man roster concerns, or is there at least a nominal chance that a guy like JP Crawford could play his way onto the opening day roster, despite the fact that that would start his arb clock and force the Phillies to waive someone?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes you do see players stick right away. Trevor Story started for the Rockies last opening day. Michael Pineda broke camp with the Mariners one time. Ditto Jose Fernandez with the Marlins. Some teams are willing to overlook those service-time issues if a player really forces their hand

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: But just generally speaking, much of the roster is already known, and the “battles” are just about bench or bullpen depth. Teams know what they’d prefer, barring injury, and they typically get their way

10:06
Jerry DiPoto: I think you could make an argument the Mariners should sign Pedro Alvarez, Joe Blanton and one of Coco Crisp/Angel Pagan.. Which signing of those would make the most sense?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Blanton, probably, although I see the argument for Alvarez

10:07
Tyson in Oklahoma: Kyle Schwarber 2017 WAR: over/under 3.5

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Under

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Bryce Harper was a 3.5 WAR outfielder last season

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Schwarber would either need to hit an absolute ton, or he’d need to be surprisingly effective in the field and on the bases

10:09
Miky: Hey Jeff, do you believe in Matt Harvey, 2017 and beyond? Can he be an ace again?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: We still don’t have that big a record of guys pitching after surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, but I can totally buy it was a problem, and the procedure was restorative. For me there’s no question that Harvey could get back to being an ace-level SP

10:10
libre: What do you do on weekends in the PNW when it’s cold and rainy?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Complain

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: And then usually force some kind of hike somewhere anyway

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: If you have the right gear then being out in the rain isn’t so bad

10:11
Alfalfa: Where do you stand on Cotton v. Gsellman? Bigger impact in 2017, and beyond?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I am pro-Cotton

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like Gsellman comes up in every single chat

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: And every single time I point to his weak competition and his mediocre numbers in the minors

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: I get it! He’s interesting! He’s not *that* interesting

10:12
TampaRay: Jeff, thank you and Fangraphs for your fun polling project. Would you do it again during the season? Also, what numerical values did you use for each category?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: I rounded off to -6, -3, 0, +3, and +6. Should work well enough

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t plan to do it again during the season. Not sure how that would work.

10:13
Ross: What are you looking for this spring out of Felix? What is the road map to a 5 WAR season out of him?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: All I’d be looking for in spring is velocity. Nothing else right now worth measuring

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Come April, then I’ll be interested in his strike rate and general command indicators

10:14
Raindog: Odds on the Royals going fire sale with Hosmer, Cain, Moustakas, Escobar? And how much good would that do the franchise?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: If they made a bunch of midseason trades, they’re not getting much back for those guys. Escobar and Hosmer, at this point, aren’t very good. Moustakas is interesting but a question mark. Cain would get the biggest return. But I imagine the Royals want to re-sign at least a couple of these guys

10:15
Connor: This might just be me, but I personally don’t see a pace of play issue in baseball right now. Thoughts?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Even if you don’t see an issue right now, you can’t deny the trends. There are fewer balls in play than ever, and the games are lasting longer and longer. If the trends continued without intervention, you’d see a problem at some point. Baseball doesn’t want to let things get that far

10:16
Dan: What are your thoughts on the Mariners’ bullpen in 2017? MLB Network was talking about all the arms the M’s have in the Pen that can hit 100+ MPH (Diaz, Altavilla, etc.). So it seems to have great potential. But it also lacks some experience. How do you think it will play out?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: It’s almost entirely about health. If they can get 150+ innings from Cishek, Scribner, and Zych, it could be dominant. But all those guys have issues. I don’t know who will or won’t hold up

10:19
Q-Ball: OK Jeff, please settle this once and for all. For NL teams, should the pitcher bat 8th, or 9th? What do the computers at Fangraphs HQ say?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I *think* The Book found an advantage of like 1 or 2 runs batting the pitcher 8th. Which is to say, it effectively makes zero difference, so it’ll mostly depend on the quality of the pitcher as a hitter. OK!

10:21
Salary Dump: Who looks like the most likely August salary dump trade candidate?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: You mean like a total giveaway? Someone like Brandon Phillips or Melky Cabrera

10:22
Brewers Fan: What do you think the chances Braun is traded at some point this year?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: 40%?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Brewers could end up with a crowded outfield picture but he’s not the easiest guy to deal, especially with his 10/5 protection about due

10:23
Doyouphilzme: The phils farm has gone from one of the best to a tad underwhelming. Is the rebuild stagnating or have other teams just rebuilt quicker?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: They already have a lot of potential depth at the major-league level, so that’s part of it. But 2016 wasn’t so friendly a year for the prospects. A breakthrough for Crawford would make everything okay

10:24
libre: The talk of the MLBPA vs Owners problems make it sound like the next CBA is going to result in a lockout or strike. How bad are things? Does unilaterally forcing rule changes while calling out the MLBPA as non-cooperative make things worse? How much worse?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anything will be done unilaterally. That would make too many people upset. I think Manfred just wanted to signal the seriousness of the issues. The more he beats this drum, the more change momentum he could generate

10:25
Darth Vader: HowdyDo you think the Rangers can extend Odor, Darvish, AND Lucroy? I would imagine the first half of the season might have bearings on whether or not they try to do that or trade Darvish and/or Lucroy for assets

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: They can definitely extend Odor but I don’t see them keeping both Darvish and Lucroy long-term

10:26
libre: Does the next Dellin Betances sign an extension a la McCutchen, Bumgarner, et al?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not convinced teams would feel that motivated to reach a long-term extension with a reliever

10:29
tengopreguntas: If the cubs wanted to extend kris bryant right now for 3 free agent years, what would that look like?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Start with the Christian Yelich terms, and then make them a lot higher

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: You would, of course, be talking about setting a new record

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Yelich was signed after a 4.5-win season. Bryant is coming off an 8.4-win season

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t find any record of a Scott Boras client signing an extension with so little service time

10:33
Zack: What would have to happen for Tim Tebow to make it up to the MLB this year? What’s the probability of that happening?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: What’s the probability of some kind of clubhouse-wide viral outbreak?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I know that teams sometimes go through the flu, but I mean something longer-term

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: It is closer to 0% than it is to 1%

10:34
Joel: Jonah Keri has the M’s at #8 in his first “the 30” rankings. How say you, a little optimistic? Or totally fair if most things go their way…

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: A little optimistic, if only because they’re not as good as the Giants or Mets, probably

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s not far off

10:36
libre: The Mets are playing Yoenis Cespedes in CF. Are the Mets dumb or blind?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets played a lot of Cespedes in center field in 2015 and 2016 and they were good

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: It’s far from the optimal situation, but it might be what’s optimal given their actual roster at the moment

10:36
romorr: Crazy to think that signing Machado might not be in the Orioles best interest. With an aging roster, bad farm, can they really afford to surround him with the proper talent to compete? Orioles were bargain shoppers this year as they were right up against their budget.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: That feels like the Orioles almost every offseason

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: The Angels get too much attention with the trade-Trout question, and the Orioles don’t get nearly enough with the trade-Machado question

10:38
Bork: Marcus Stroman has said he believes the Jays have the best rotation in the league. This has to be true, right?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Last year the Blue Jays rotation led the AL in WAR and in RA9-WAR. Of course, since last year, the Red Sox have added the league’s best starting pitcher, but Stroman isn’t totally crazy

10:38
Baseball Randy: Will you be surprised when the Yankees are contenders this year?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be surprised if they contended for the division. I would not be surprised if they contended for the wild card

10:39
libre: Who plays the most innings at 1B for the Dodgers this year? 2B?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Very boringly, Gonzalez and Forsythe

10:39
Perennial Injury: Will Michael Brantley be relevant this season or is he the next Grady Sizemore/Rocco Baldelli?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Genuinely don’t know right now. It’s great to see him back to baseball action but I’ve heard some bad things about how that shoulder looks

10:40
HappyFunBall: Of the six teams that everyone seems to think are going to win 90+ games this season, which one do you think is most likely to crash and burn, and how will it happen?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: A major pitching injury might be enough to drop the Astros or Nationals back to the pack. And Scherzer already has that nagging finger thing

10:41
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: So Eno brought up ads on jerseys yesterday. How do you think the public would handle medium sized ads on jerseys if it eliminated commercials?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Impossible premise. The ads would be in addition to having commercials

10:41
Marcus : In the last chat, you mentioned you were skeptical of Gsellman because you believed his fastball gains were ephemeral and he couldn’t be a mid rotation starter or better with a ‘cutter’ as his second best pitch. Does the fact that Degrom, Matz and Syndergaard saw similar velocity gains not do anything to appease your doubts about sustaining that velocity? Second, that ‘cutter’ is also known as the Wharthen slider and has been a very valuable and effective pitch for many Met pitchers

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t remember making any of those arguments

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: It certainly doesn’t sound like me

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: So I don’t know who you’re thinking of!

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: So one more time, just last year in the minor leagues, Gsellman threw an average number of strikes and missed an average number of bats. Same thing happened with the Mets!

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: The velocity and grounders give him some staying power but I need to see a lot more to be convinced

10:44
Yankees: Let’s say Gary Sanchez was really close to his 2016 as a true talent level. What are the odds he can sustain that over a full season as a catcher (i.e., fatigue, injuries, etc), and at that point do the Yankees *have* to move him?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Move him?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Like, trade him, or move his position?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you’d have to worry too much about his numbers dropping off, given enough rest. Buster Posey, as one example, has been just as good in the second half as he has been in the first

10:45
libre: Will Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler get into the HoF?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:47
Uniforms: Which MLB uniforms would you most like to change [let’s make it a little more difficult–besides the Diamondbacks]? How would you redesign the brand?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Padres just need to re-incorporate their old selves a little more

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: They shouldn’t go all the way back to the puke years, but even the 1998 uniforms were more interesting

10:48
Jeffrey: Which team do you foresee having the best defense this year behind their pitching staff?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Gotta be the Cubs until proven otherwise

10:48
Ross: What realistic 3 Mariners having career years gives them the best chance of a World Series?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Felix, Paxton, Zunino

10:49
Bored: What are you thoughts on Jake Lamb? Closer to his first half or second half?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I assume it’s too much of a cop-out to compromise

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: But we’re talking about a 151 wRC+ vs. a 68 wRC+

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I guess…closer to the first one?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: The midpoint here is 109.5

10:50
Dylan: Mets and Red Sox are playing each other today. Who’s rotation do your prefer?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox, easily

10:51
J: Why don’t the projected standings align with the projected WAR?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Appelman knows the more detailed answer but there are team-specific interactions that cause little differences

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Plus the WAR numbers are based on projections and the standings are based on simulations

10:52
harmony: FanGraphs Depth Charts, Steamer and ZiPS project 2017 wRC+ of 105, 104 and 106 for Boston rookie Andrew Benintendi and 104, 105 and 103 for Seattle rookie Daniel Vogelbach. Each hitter is known for controlling the zone but who should post the better numbers this year?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Benintendi

10:53
JRuby: This morning on Mike and Mike, Rob Manfred was asked if he would consider using K-Zone technology to call balls and strikes in the future. Although he vacillated a bit, the answer was essentially “WHEN the technology gets there, we will have a very interesting business decision to make about whether to take the human element out of the game.”

So, two questions:

1. Is the technology there right now?
2. Do you think we will see electronically called balls and strikes at some point under Manfred’s tenure?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not there right now — there are still too many errors. The precision isn’t where the league wants it to be. But I’d say it’s more likely than not that, at some point under Manfred, the zone is regulated automatically, and a signal is sent to a HP umpire on what to call

10:54
JKD: Trea Turner *probably* won’t slug .567 again, but: he did that because pitchers threw him a lot of strikes, because they didn’t want to walk him and quite probably give up an automatic double. So do pitchers start throwing him more balls, and walking him, or does he keep punishing strikes?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: They’re going to work him out of the zone more often, allowing him to post a higher walk rate than Salvador Perez

10:55
Raindog: With the number of wins tied up in a single player (Trout) and the who knows what you’re gonna get pitching (Richards, Shoemaker, Skaggs, Meyer), are the Angels the team with the highest variance in their projection?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt it. You could make a similar argument for any number of teams. *Every* team has a million question marks, and you could worry about any individual pitcher, on account of being a pitcher

10:57
Zonk: Do the Cubs have the best infield in baseball on both sides of the ball? If so, by how much?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see. I think convention says the infield excludes the catcher, so let’s look at it like that

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: (If you counted the catcher, the Giants give them a run for their money)

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Here are the top infield WAR projections:

1. Cubs, 17.3
2. Astros, 14.7
3. Indians, 14.0

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t…easily…think of a better defensive unit

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: And although the Astros present an interesting offensive profile, I don’t yet know what to make of Gurriel

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: So, what the hell. Sure!

11:01
Lance: If you had to bet on a current, non-Trout, major leaguer to join the 300/300 club, who would it be? Probably no-one, but at a glance, I feel like Paul Goldschmidt is the only long-shot (and it’s very long), if last years 32 stolen bases was the sign of a mid-career renaissance. Anyone going to come close?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Betts could have *some* kind of opportunity. Marte could get there if he taps into more of his raw power. Trea Turner could become a fascinating challenger if he keeps the ball off the ground long-term

11:02
Zonk: Who will write more articles between now and the end of the season? You, or Sawchik? The two of you seem to be the Fangraphs volume leaders!

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Travis has been such an awesome hire

11:02
Gest: Darvish is planning on bringing his splitter back. Was it a good pitch for him before TJ?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Barely used it, so probably not

11:02
Raindog: Has the Pirates window basically closed? It doesn’t seem like they’ve done anything wrong – they’ve continued to develop good to great players while making smart signings and trades. Is 3 years of contention while having an MVP candidate the best a small-market team can hope for?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: They’re still a competitive team today. Plenty of youth on the roster or in the high minors. Window’s not closed

11:03
Alou’s Golden Hands: What is the first game you’ll see this year and how many do you think you’ll attend?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t go to very many games because the closest MLB product is three hours away, and that drive sucks

11:03
Alex: What kind of bread do you like, Jeff?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: warm

11:03
Mike: Does Glasnow have more appearances as a starter or as a reliever this year?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Starter

11:04
John: What do you expect out of Matt Holliday this season? Career low BABIP last year despite hitting the ball harder. Yankee stadium could also add a few ding dongs…

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I’m looking for a wRC+ around 120 – 125. Not close to being finished

11:04
James: Why don’t the Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton? Who would be the best fit and what would he bring in return?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: That contract right now is virtually untradeable

11:04
Golden Streamers: Is Mike Zunino going to pbe the primary catcher this year? or is he going to split time with Tuffy?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Carlos Ruiz is also on that team

11:05
Robin: How do you think a team in Portland affect your M’s fandom? You’ve previously mentioned it has already wavered a bit

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t change it. My own personal loyalties are fairly well cemented. I wouldn’t abandon the Ottawa Senators if Portland got a hockey team

11:05
Dread Pirate Roberts: When you blend projection systems how do you do it? Just a matter of taking the time to manually do it in Excel? Or is there some sort of program. I have found blended projections on the net, but they always include ones I am not interested in.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: You should probably just do it manually if there are systems you don’t want to include. FanGraphs makes it easy for me because it blends ZiPS and Steamer all by itself!

11:06
bucs_lose_again: Please tell me you’ve never used “sneaky” to describe a baseball player. Are we evaluating ninjas or something?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I’ve ever used “sneaky” but that’s just because I don’t like the way the word sounds. I’ve used words that mean similar things

11:07
Uber but for baseball chat: who is going to be the more valuable catcher over a career: Schwarber, Sanchez, or Contreras

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez

11:07
SK: What do you think about the Yankees’ chances this year to get into the postseason?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Low but real

11:07
RABBINICAL COLLEGE GUY: Better pen Giants or Dodgers? Why?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Dodgers because their top 2 are better than the Giants’ top 2

11:08
Jacob: With the Athletics, White Sox, and Twins looking like clear bottom feeders is the NL finally on a comparable level of parity to the AL?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: The AL is still better than the NL, but now the leagues are similarly spread out

11:08
Phil: Pre-season projections always have some head-scratching results. (e.g. Steamer 600 projecting Chris Taylor for 2 WAR over 600 PA, only .1 less than Logan Forsythe, whom the Dodgers acquired for a top 30 prospect). Any goofy ones jump out to you?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure why Ian Kinsler is projected to be so much worse

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, yeah, he’s a middle infielder in his mid-30s, but he just had a 6-win season

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:10
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 — 2/24/17 by Jeff Sullivan!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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.

newest oldest most voted
Baltar
Member
Member
Baltar

Is it only me or is the question thing not working yet?