Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/26/16

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to late baseball chat

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Last night I genuinely had a dream that I was late to this chat. I knew it was a dream instead of reality because I felt anxious about it

9:11
Guest: Daaammmnn Jeffrey! Back at it again with the friday chat!

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t stop me

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Nice try haters

9:12
Joe Ross: What are your expectations for me? Will I be as good as my big brother?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to assume not, because your brother is really good, but Joe Ross is underrated. People forget about him way too easily

9:13
Joe: Are the Orioles just awfully run? Did they get screwed over by Fowler? Does everyone hate them? Should I hate them?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s just say they’re not a well-oiled machine. Things get a tiny bit extra complicated with the Angelos factor, and while he’s not the only owner in the sport who makes his presence known, I think it’s obvious even from the outside that things with the Orioles don’t work like they do in other places. Everything is just a little bit harder

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know when we’ll know more specifics about what happened with Fowler but my guess is someone with the organization got ahead of himself when talking privately to the media

9:15
The Oriole Bird: Hi, Jeff. Sad Oriole fan here. I was looking forward to the now-defunct Dexter Fowler signing. How many fewer wins will the Orioles have in 2016 than they would’ve had with Fowler? (Let’s assume they don’t make any other free agent signings.)

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: His reversal probably costs the Orioles only about a win and a half or so, but despite the phrasing of your question, I figure they’ll just go out and get somebody else. Jay Bruce is the clear pick

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Bruce has got plenty of his own imperfections, but he’d certainly help the lineup’s power potential

9:17
Natitude Adjuster: Looking at the 2016 depth charts, I noticed something when looking at the projected Bat/Pit/WAR numbers by team: Some teams, e.g., Cubs, have a great disparity in how they obtain their WAR (31.8 Bat, 21.8 Pit). Others are much more balanced, e.g., Nationals (22.7 Pit, 21.1 Bat). Even though it seems like it shouldn’t matter *where* your wins come from, do you think there is a slight advantage to having a roster constructed in either one of these two ways? If so, which do you think is better?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: No, I don’t think there are any meaningful advantages. Just with injury potential in mind, I’d rather line up to depend more on bats than arms. But then balancing that, arms are probably a tiny bit more valuable in the playoffs

9:18
TF Fredrik: In yesterday’s column about C. Rodon, I take it you mean he can be comparable to a post-TJ Liriano and not the pre-TJ version. At roughly the same age, pre-TJ Liriano was looking like a top 5 pitcher. Look at that 2006 line! Also as my memory serves (usually not that well), I do recall being super excited about Liriano because the change was on par with the slider.

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I probably wasn’t clear enough but I meant Rodon could look like the recent, Pirates-y version of Liriano. Pre-surgery Liriano had a little extra giddy-up. Later in his career he’s lost some of that top velocity but he’s really maintained a consistent changeup to alternate with the slider

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Liriano’s slider has always been there. The changeup has been more up and down but he’s got it figured out these days

9:22
Josh: Ivan Nova… Bounce back or done for?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Last year he was throwing the same stuff he was throwing in 2013, when he was pretty good. So while that stuff wasn’t generating the same results, you can chalk some of that up to rustiness. I don’t at all think that Nova is finished

9:24
TF Fredrik: Do you ever, or how often, do you get discouraged when writing about a topic (sports) that always is looking to predict future and find answers on why things are, yet is almost entirely unpredictable because of the ever fluid nature of an athlete’s skills & inherent randomness?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: In the grand scheme, it’s funny — I kind of feel like we’re frauds, because we get paid to perform baseball analysis, and baseball is super difficult to analyze in any meaningful, predictive way. It blows my mind sometimes that we have so many readers

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: And honestly I don’t *want* baseball to ever be predictable. That would suck the fun completely out of it. You never want to know what’s going to happen in your sports, like DVRing a game and watching after you know the final score

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: What makes it fun to me is the constant pursuit of what MIGHT be predictable. We always get to learn, and we always get to try to look at things in different ways. We know that baseball isn’t completely, utterly, 100% random. Some skills carry over, and some skills develop. I think we all get sucked into trying to find the signal among the noise. We’re kind of like explorers. Really, really, really dorky explorers.

9:28
Guest: If an average FG reader was plopped into the middle of an MLB game as a pitcher, would the optimal strategy be to throw 4 balls way outside and hope the batter somehow fouls/misses and strikes out? Or to just throw strikes and hope the batter hits it right at someone? Assume it’s the first batter of the game.

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: First batter of the game, so I say pitch away. Try to get him out. The average FG reader would probably just end up throwing four balls anyway, but the average leadoff hitter is a lot more likely to hit a single than a homer, and there are lots of potential ball-in-play outs. Pitch to him and try to get him to hit the ball at somebody

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Now if the average FG reader were plopped into a high-leverage situation, I’d recommend either four balls or faking an injury

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: To spice things up, if you don’t feel like faking an injury, you could always go mouth off to an umpire and engage in physical contact

9:31
TF Fredrik: Do you think its ok, or not as big a problem, for a pitcher to have a relatively straight four seamer if he can also throw a cutter or sinker or both? To me a fastball that doesn’t move, which ideally you could command better, wouldn’t be the worst thing as long as you have other fastball/s with movement.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: You always have to think about the pitches in terms of how they play off one another. If a pitcher throws a fastball with great sink, great rise, or great run, that’s a fastball that can probably work on its own. If a pitcher has a more boring, ordinary fastball, it would be beneficial to have another fastball to keep hitters honest

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I was looking at Gerrit Cole the other day. Now Cole obviously throws really hard so he’s not a great example but I think Cole’s four-seam fastball is sort of dull, in terms of its movement. What helps a lot is that he also has a blazing sinker, and that makes things exponentially more difficult

9:36
S. Head: Steamer is bullish on Wei-Yen Chen. What say you?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I like him fine. I doubt I’ll think about him much this year. Never have before, so why start now?

9:36
Anonymous: Do the Cubs have to give up a draft pick as a result of signing Fowler?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Sort of. The pick they lose is the pick they would’ve gotten had somebody else signed him.

9:37
The Other Sox: Would signing Ian Desmond and sacrificing a first-round pick have been a better move than signing Jimmy Rollins?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: I believe so, yes

9:37
Oneear: Would you keep Heyward in center? He’s a better fielder than Fowler, wouldn’t he be a better center fielder? Doesn’t having your strongest defender in center make more sense?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I’d keep Heyward where he’s been elite. Now, I do think Heyward could adjust to center just fine, but that introduces an amount of uncertainty. Fowler is a known mediocrity in center. Heyward is known to be elite in right. If you flipped them around, you’d have two guys in new positions on a contending team. Unnecessary risk

9:41
Guest: What’s your best guess on when Shohei Otani is in the majors?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I want to say it’s going to be a long time. Otani is, what, six years from free agency? So he’d have to be posted, and the posting fee is capped at $20 million. Which doesn’t seem like enough to sway his employer

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: What pulls me in the other direction is the general sense that the best talent has a way of getting to the majors. That’s where all the money is, so that’s where the talent wants to be. I’ll compromise and go with an estimate of two years

9:43
Currywurst: Who’s better, Bryce Harper or Erik Karlsson?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, so, Erik Karlsson

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Erik Karlsson does what he does despite being the one player on that whole team another team has to worry about planning for

9:44
allen: from bleacher report, only the following 6 teams have not made the playoffs in the last 5 years: White Sox, Twins, Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Padres. Which of those teams will be the first to make it back to the playoffs?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll go with the Mariners by a small amount over the White Sox. And then Marlins in third

9:46
Guest: Do you think that the average fangraphs reader would actually be a better GM than Dave Stewart? Or is the stuff that goes into the job (networking with other GMs, being able to talk to ownership, getting respect of the organization and players) a big enough part of the job to offset any gains in analytical knowledge or player valuation?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I have to believe acting as a GM is incredibly difficult. That being said, the average FanGraphs reader wouldn’t have made the Shelby Miller trade, and that trade was an awfully big deal, so, you know what? I’m genuinely torn

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I think the average reader would be a terrible leader. Also, a terrible communicator. But the average reader would also make fewer bad decisions. So I don’t know where the balance is. Hopefully the average reader knows enough people to assemble a respectable surrounding staff

9:48
JDBlue: The White Sox usually have the fewest player-days on the DL, but have performed significantly worse than projected recently (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-royals-havent-been-the-projections-biggest-miss/). Do they actually have exceptional health/training staff, or do they just keep playing guys who should be on the DL?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: It could be the White Sox are just selective in some way for players who are less likely to get hurt. There are a lot of moving parts. I do believe the White Sox have a good training staff but I doubt they’re really extraordinary, relative to the rest of the landscape

9:50
MLB Duck: O’s new outfield from Korea, Kim. which batting sopt will he play for O’s? 1st or 2nd?? or bottom??

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: No one knows where he’s going to bat yet, but he probably *should* bat second

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: He’s one of only three players on the team likely to get on base a decent amount

9:51
Kenny: With Hamilton starting the year on the DL who do you see taking his roster spot out of Gallo, Mazara, and Brinson?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Gallo would be the most likely, but I think they bring in someone else cheap

9:53
Outta my way, Gyorkass!: So, why Jay Bruce, Blue Jays? Dingers? Dave seemed to think that Toronto has an organizational strength of turning one dimensional power hitters into valuable players – agree or disagree?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s simpler than that. Bruce would be a 29-year-old buy-low option who was a really good hitter before hurting his leg. And his contract has a club option for 2017 that adds value to what remains

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Through 2013, Bruce was a solidly above-average player. Reason to believe that player isn’t dead

9:58
Guest: The Astros have 25 million in committed salaries in 2017, 7 million fewer than the 29th place Rays, with Keuchel, Correa, Altuve, McCullers, McHugh, Springer, and Giles all under contract. What is their plan going into the future? Are they really going to increase their payroll by 50-60 million next year just to maintain respectability?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: They’re going to spend as the success sustains. Last year’s payroll was up $22 million, and the previous year’s payroll was up $24 million. The young players are all going to become more expensive, and the Astros have been planning for that

9:59
Outta my way, Gyorkass!: So, how much has to go wrong for the 2016 Cubs to be the 2015 Nationals? What are the chances that the proverbial shit hits the fan so hard on the North Side that they Cubs miss the playoffs?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see. Right now we have the Cubs projected to win 94 games. Last year the Nats were projected to win 95

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: The Nats actually won 83, though BaseRuns says they should’ve won 90

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: So, this seems easy enough: a few players either slightly under-perform or get hurt, and then the club just overall has generally lousy sequencing

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Schwarber struggles. Maybe Russell struggles. Maybe Arrieta has to go on the DL. Fold in some struggles from the bullpen at the wrong time and you have a team fighting for its playoff life

10:02
greg: If you’re the Reds, would you rather eat Jay Bruce’s salary and try to find the best prospect return in a trade, or would you dump the salary and use the savings on international signings?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: The first one

10:02
Oneear: Do you hate the D’backs as much as Dave?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t hate anybody. I think the Diamondbacks are both interesting and average. Easy to see them with 90 wins, easy to see them with 90 losses

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I am aware of the fact it would look bad for us if the Diamondbacks were good now, after everything written about the Royals and the James Shields trade

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: But, you know, whatever. That’s the fun of it

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: (I feel more strongly that the Miller trade was bad than I ever felt that the Shields trade was bad.)

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: (And I did feel that the Shields trade was bad.)

10:04
The Oriole Bird: I noticed that the Orioles’ depth chart page on Fangraphs has Dylan Bundy 19 IP as starting pitcher and 25 IP as reliever. That is sensible, given the uncertainty surrounding how much and in what context he will pitch. Here’s the weird thing: his pitching stats are projected to be the same regardless of starting or relieving. Is this due to some back-end limitation in Fangraphs’ end? (Presumably he’d have better stats as a reliever!)

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think Steamer doesn’t really know what to do with split starters/relievers. I should inquire again about this. Came up a year ago as well

10:06
Ringtone Composer: Who do you think will have a higher WAR in 2016: Yovani Gallardo or Ubaldo Jimenez?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Jimenez by a few tenths of a point

10:07
Guest: Did Jackson turn down the angels BC a platoon or the $?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll guess money

10:08
Outta my way, Gyorkass!: Which of the three NLC front runners falters into non-contention first?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I guess the Pirates? But I don’t feel strongly about this, between them and the Cardinals. It’s tight.

10:10
Outta my way, Gyorkass!: To what capacity do you think MLB’s sudden interest in taking players to task for domestic violence allegations plays into the next round of CBA negotiations? I can’t imagine the players union is going to take an extended, indefinite break for Jose Reyes lightly.

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Well, the MLBPA was part of the domestic-violence-policy negotiations. They agreed to the terms, and Reyes has been dealt with to this point in accordance with the terms. So while the union is going to make sure Reyes isn’t treated unfairly, I don’t think they’re going to work too hard to come to the defense of a player who pretty strongly appears to be guilty of something

10:12
TF Fredrik: Soler and Schwarber ABs getting cut (mainly Soler), is this something that slows development, or shut up stupid, teams stacked and people get hurt.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: People get hurt, people underperform, and people can find at-bats here and there through selective days off. Schwarber will hit plenty, and Soler will hit plenty. They won’t be spending weeks on the bench

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: One should trust the Cubs to strike the right balance. And there’s no reason to believe a young player’s development is necessarily maximized when he plays every day. Sometimes it’s important to just sit and learn.

10:14
Outta my way, Gyorkass!: Which AL team decides to fold their hand and attempt a rebuild in earnest first? Which one should?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I could see the argument for the Orioles. Tempted to say the Angels, but they don’t have anything to move, really, given that Trout won’t go anywhere.

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: At some point you figure the Tigers will stop accumulating nine-figure contracts

10:15
HTST: How long until 6 man rotations are the norm due to tj?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Very long. Probably never

10:15
CamdenWarehouse: Now that Fowler is off the table, do the Orioles go after Jackson?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like Bruce would be better for them

10:16
Yancy from Fort Myers: Have you ever tried a kumquat? Did you find the fruit enjoyable?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, no

10:17
Guest: How much elbow does Felix have left?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s on the verge of blowing out. Ervin Santana pitched for a while with a partial tear and he seems okay. But we know for a fact Felix has signs of wear and tear, which are normal. I’d recommend a state of slightly higher awareness

10:19
Jim: Is Dave Stewart a) a moron, b) unreasonably optimistic about Miller, c) crowdsourcing his trades with his kid’s no-keeper fantasy league, or d) ______. Could the Mariners have traded Paxton for Swanson straight up at the beginning of the offseason? Other GMs must be kicking themselves for not taking advantage of this guy before the Braves got to him.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Mariners could have traded Paxton for Swanson although that’s interesting. Yes, other front offices are aware of the fact it’s probably worth checking in with Arizona every so often about trades. And while I don’t think Dave Stewart is an actual moron, I think he has made a baseball decision or two one could classify as moronic. I’m sure he has other strengths

10:20
Joel: On opening day, do you think you will give the people what they want and chat on fangraphs during a baseball game?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: We’ve historically had a running Opening Day live chat, so I wouldn’t expect this year to be any different

10:21
BK: Reports of Bautista’s asking price have to be exaggerated, no? That price just seems so ridiculous that it’s funny.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re actually exaggerated. I think we just don’t usually get leaks about details around initial proposals

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Every settled negotiation features two numbers coming together to meet somewhere in the middle

10:23
Aron: After the Mariners traded Miller to the Rays, all of the analysis were structured around Miller vs. Karns, with Lomo-Powell and Farquhar-Riefenhauser (not sure on either of those spellings) being compared relatively equally as well. If the trade hadn’t been Dipoto’s first, do you think the HOT TAKE would have been different at all? Powell seems to fit what Dipoto covets to a T.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners like Powell a lot. He’s a huge part of that trade for them. Doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable to think Powell faces long odds of being a capable starter

10:25
Jeff Banister: Why are so many people expecting major regression from my club. We didn’t lose anyone of importance from last years division winning team, we added more depth to our bullpen, and we get back a guy from Tommy John who was a top 10 pitcher in all of baseball before getting hurt. Seems like other high profile pitchers coming back from their first TJ surgery have fared quite well.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a relatively unimpressive group of position players, and though Hamels is good, Darvish is still a question mark and the rest of the starting depth is mediocre. I do quite like the Rangers bullpen, and I think this is a half-decent team, but I need to be convinced it’s actually a *good* team

10:27
HTST: What would Saunders cost the Halos straight up?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Saunders isn’t going to move unless the Blue Jays are getting a replacement for him

10:28
Alex: Early pick for 2017 top prospect? Crawford, Giolito, Urias, Mazara, Devers, Rodgers, Moncada, or other?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Crawford if he doesn’t play too much in the majors in the next year

10:29
Ronnie: What is the difference between CLUTCH & the high leverage splits available on the player pages? I noticed Khris Davis had a wRC+ of 174 last year in HighLev but a -0.28 CLUTCH score, for instance.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Davis had just 32 high-leverage plate appearances and he hit better in low-leverage situations than in medium-leverage situations

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Generally there’s going to be a close relationship between Clutch and leverage splits, but leverage forces all plate appearances into groups, whereas Clutch is based on Win Probability Added and combines all opportunities on something of a sliding scale

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Like, you can help your clutch score in the first or second inning. You’ll never have a high-leverage at bat that early

10:31
Hammerin Hank: Will Marcus Stroman be on an innings limit this season?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t seen them officially announce anything, but then they don’t need to. They’ll monitor him closely and respond to his workload if they need to

10:33
Pinstripe Wizard: Dexter Fowler – Idiot for thinking he was getting a one year opt out or world class troll?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Difference between what a player wants and what a player thinks he’s going to get

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Fowler pretty obviously wanted a chance to return to the market in a year. That was always going to be difficult given the QO

10:33
Brett W: Hello! Fowler is better than Coghlan, or just a better fit for the 2016 Cubs?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: More just a better fit

10:34
Guest: Are we really friends or spectators?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think we’re internet friends

10:34
PS: What is the over/under for combined projected starts made by Pineda/tanaka/severino/eovaldi?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: 100?

10:35
Rick: Who gets back to contention sooner: the Phillies or the Braves?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Phillies. Crazy resources to start building up fast

10:35
Eric: How did you become a Sens fan?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Back in 1992 or whenever I looked at the NHL standings in the newspaper and I saw Ottawa at the bottom and I felt bad for them

10:36
Pinstripe Wizard: Did Ian Desmond cost himself more money than anyone in baseball history by turning down the extension offer last year from the Nats?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll give Desmond this: it’s still possible he earns all that money. He just needs to go somewhere this year and do well enough he attracts more market confidence next winter

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: But I’m sure not a day goes by that Desmond doesn’t think about how rich he almost was

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I guess it helps that he’s still made more than $23 million already in his career

10:38
Ronnie: Any chance there will ever be play log type information available for defensive or baserunning metrics? Would be interesting to see how the final numbers are arrived at, how much is debited/credited in each instance, etc

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I agree with you! I don’t think we’re on the verge of that, but in theory, I agree with you. Once a month or so I wish I could pull up the best and worst defensive plays of a given time frame

10:39
Joel: Danny Hultzen as a reliever, do you like it in theory? I feel like there is no chance he breaks camp with the M’s though…how say you?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll slip through waivers but the bullpen is the best shot right now since he’s built up zero stamina

10:40
natsfan: What are the odds that Jurickson Profar gets a shot at the Rangers’ left field job?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Well, he has played the outfield before. It’s not a bad idea as a temporary thing. Maybe as Gallo protection

10:42
Ron Stamos: Which current MLB manager would have the highest WAR if they decided to play this season? Dave Roberts? Matheny? Ausmus? Ventura?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I want to say Craig Counsell, but the man is 45 years old. So maybe Kevin Cash?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: The problem is Cash probably still projects for a negative WAR, so is that really any better than 0?

10:43
Hammerin Hank: Jason Heyward play 150 games this season. How many in RF and how many in CF?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: 120/30?

10:43
Murdoc: How impressive is it that the Indians’ highest paid player (Santana) is only making $8.25 million this year? Some NHL teams can’t even beat that.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Indians fans might not agree that “impressive” is the right word

10:44
Brad: Say something about how the A’s managed to trade for a second Josh Reddick for the low price of Aaron Brooks. They are the same player a year apart in age.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Coghlan is probably a worse outfielder, and he’s only got one more year of control. I actually kind of like Brooks

10:44
Merv Throneberry: Will Greinke deliver for AZ this year or is he gonna pull a throneberry?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what this means

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Greinke is good

10:45
Alex: Would you rather see a SF-LAD, CHC-PIT/STL, or a NYM-WAS NLCS?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Giants/Dodgers, but then I’m a West Coast individual

10:45
The Average Sports Fan: What can the Reds expect for Jay Bruce in a trade?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: B- prospect

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: B or B+ if they eat the money

10:47
Alex: Do your friends ever call you Sully?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: No. You know what? We don’t really say names at all very often.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Only very infrequently do I have to address someone by their actual name. Usually I can just initiate eye contact, or even nothing at all if it’s just me and one other individual

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure I’ve said my girlfriend’s name out loud to her since the start of our first-ever date

10:50
DDSP: Hey Jeff – who do you think makes the strongest push for Kakie Bryan? Will he wait for after July so the Dodgers can have a shot? Thanks!

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: This doesn’t sound like it’s a real person

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Nice try, DDSP

10:50
LORi@: over/under on kakie bryan 70 FV

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: All right I see what this is

10:50
PS: Am I crazy to think that Dallas Keuchel may be the second or third best pitcher in baseball? The command is insane.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I think a little crazy. The margin of error with the stuff is so small. But he’s dominant at what he does, absolutely

10:51
Outta my way, Gyorkass!: Say that Orlando Arcia comes out of the gates hot this spring, has a good ST showing, and rakes in AAA. Understandably, the Brewers have zero incentive to rush him up, but how long would they be able to keep him down in the minors before a complaint of gaming his service time clock would start to hold water?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Well those complaints don’t really accomplish anything

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Arcia has yet to bat once in Triple-A, and even last year in Double-A, he was good without being fantastic. He’s not Kris Bryant. The Brewers can move him along kind of slowly

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry about that, had a connectivity issue

10:55
Stevie G: How well does a team of 25 Paul Goldschmidts perform over a full season (assuming no injuries/trades, positional adjustments/pitching, etc)?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Well, of course, the run prevention would be a disaster

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Let me try to run a few little numbers

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: non-pitchers just had an 8.86 FIP

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say Goldschmidt came in at an even 8.00

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: oh god

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: oh god

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: I wish I hadn’t run these numbers

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: run awayyyyy

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: run away it’s a catastrophe

10:58
Joel: I have DirecTV and I get Extra Innings every year. But I’m thinking of going with MLB TV this year instead, since it’s cheaper. Does it still freeze up all the time, or has it improved.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: It doesn’t freeze up for me. Sometimes the DVR controls have functioned horribly in the past but it’s been my primary service for a while and I like it

10:59
The Dude of NY: Do you ever get article ideas from these chats?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: For sure!

10:59
Natitude Adjuster: Jeff, I can see the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains from my office building. Should I go there and walk around??

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: You should ask for permission first

10:59
Brett W: What is the Cubs biggest weakness now? Lack of a lockdown left handed reliever if Wood has to fill in with the rotation? Is that even a thing?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, yeah, maybe it’s just bullpen depth. It’s silly

11:00
Joel: Do you think the new slide rules are reasonable?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Yep, about what I expected

11:00
Forsyth: Seems like valuation of catchers has a long way to go. We haven’t been able to quantify things like reading swings, sequencing pitches, pitch calling, etc, and are really just delving into framing, but those play an enormous part in a game. Of all the positions, do you think catcher defense has the farthest to go?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: We definitely understand catchers the least, but then given that all these little potential skills blend into one another under the “run prevention” umbrella, it is possible to at least approximate value by calculating a sort of super-adjusted catcher ERA

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I think MGL keeps track of a measure. If you look at how teams have done with different catchers and if you adjust for park, opponent, pitcher identities, etc, you should be able to get somewhere

11:02
Late for a Meeting: I appreciated your article that injected some sanity into the debate surrounding the Orioles’ penchant for voiding near-deals due to medical reasons. Now that Duquette has said ownership is unwilling to provide player options, how much worse off is Baltimore in the free agent marketplace?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Better question: how important is it, really, if Baltimore actually is a little worse off in the free-agent marketplace?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: The worst deals come out of the free-agent marketplace

11:03
EC: Is it possible that Scherzer ages really well given his lack of much injury history and the fact that he’s gotten better over each of the past few years?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: It also helps that his average fastball last year was the same speed as his average fastball when he was a rookie

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: No signs of decline yet

11:04
The Dude of NY: Is there anything interesting about Aaron Brooks, or is he just some guy the Cubs got in a salary dump?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Wrote a little bit yesterday but I think Aaron Brooks is almost Kyle Gibson. Needs a little more polishing, but then, so did Gibson

11:04
Justin: Hi Jeff, who are your “breakout” players this year?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have a master list. I like how much Paxton has talked about high fastballs. I like what happened with Shelby Miller’s repertoire. Just wrote about Carlos Rodon. I don’t really know how to evaluate potential offensive breakouts

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I was thinking about this just the other day. How often are breakouts really preceded by indicators? What was there to make us think Jose Bautista could explode? Corey Kluber?

11:07
mtsw: Is there an Ethier to the Orioles trade that makes sense? Dodgers are running out of time to unload him before he gets 10/5 rights

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Not sure if those rights are really that much of an obstacle; a player will be pretty open to getting traded if he isn’t playing often enough

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: But Ethier still has something of a role on a good team. Bruce is on a bad team, and he’s obviously available, so that’s the easier fit to see

11:08
Pretty Tony: Jeff, it seems like the AL Central could be crazy competitive this year. You could make a case for every team to come out on top (might have to squint a bit for the Twinkies). Chicago again goes stars and scrubs, Cleveland may not be able to hit anything out of the infield but pitching and D is very good, Royals are Royals, and the Tigers have reloaded and finally (maybe) addressed their bullpen. Who ya got?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Indians by a little ,but I love this division

11:09
Gavin: Which teams do you expect are most and least likely to exactly match their projections? There’s been plenty of discussion about how wide the range of possible outcomes is for the Red Sox, do any others come to mind?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I could see the Blue Jays blowing their projection out of the water

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: And I think the Giants are better. I think the Reds projection is practically fate, on the other hand. One way or another I expect them to end up with exactly 73 wins.

11:12
mtsw: Any truth to the idea that Fowler would’ve been more valuable to the Orioles than to other lineups due to providing things they lack (high OBP, not RH, can lead off)?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I believe research has actually shown the opposite, that if you have a low-OBP lineup, it’s slightly more valuable to add another low-OBP, high-SLG type

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: but the differences are small and almost negligible

11:16
Ross: Gun to your head are the Mariners buyers or sellers at the deadline?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll probably just hang tight. Maybe buy a reliever or something. But they should be one of several teams right around .500

11:18
The Dude of NY: Is it possible that teams are so loathe to lose a draft pick, Ian Desmond is unable to sign anywhere?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, he’ll sign *somewhere*. Some chance it doesn’t happen until after the draft but after what we saw with Morales and Drew, Desmond should be highly incentivized to not let that happen

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe he prices himself low enough Colorado can’t say no after they find out how long they’ll be without Reyes

11:19
Ross: Who puts up more WAR this year for the Mariners Marte or Martin?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Martin

11:20
Manny: Is Dayton Moore a savvier GM than people gave him credit for, or did he just have a string of bad moves work out unexpectedly well?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Dayton Moore has had a lot tied up in drafting and player development. Those are notoriously difficult things to analyze, and we pretty much just have to lean on results-based analysis. When the player development worked, the Royals worked. I don’t actually know who deserves the most credit for that

11:22
mtsw: How does the readership change for Fangraphs in-season vs out-of-season? Obviously there’s a lot more going on when baseball is actually happening but FG readers seem way more interested than most in following year round

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: The winter meetings are always insane, and it sort of helps us that the MLB offseason is so atypically spread out. I think the FanGraphs audience in particular is drawn to transaction analysis and contract discussions and so forth. The offseason really is sort of like the second season for baseball nerds

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Offseason traffic is down, for sure, but there’s always a big audience

11:23
Phillies113: If you could replace the baseball with any other sports ball, which would you choose? For the purposes of this question, you can consider hockey pucks too, even though they are not balls.

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Hockey pucks

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: So interested to see what that pitching would be like

11:24
Sal: Have you ever thought about taking a page from https://nomadlist.com/ and working remotely for a stretch of time?

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, but it’s a lot more difficult when you live with someone who doesn’t have a similar job

11:25
Phil A. Delphia: of the “veteran” pitchers the phillies acquired this offseason, Morton,Oberholtzer,Hellickson, etc who pitches the best?

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: Morton

11:25
Phil A. Delphia: is new slide rule anything that is actually new or taking an unwritten baseball rule and putting it to print?

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Real question is going to be enforcement. I’m most interested in this stuff about the neighborhood play, though. Are they actually trying to eliminate it?

11:26
BK: Jeff are you into downhill skiing? Seems consistent with your other hobbies

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not, but I should be.

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: Last weekend some friends and I climbed Mount St Helens in deep fresh snow. Four of us snowshoed up and down, and we were gone from 7am – 6pm. Five others skinned or split-boarded and they were gone from 7am – 4pm.

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: If they hurried they could’ve gone from the summit to the car in five or ten minutes. One way or another it was going to take me three hours.

11:28
GSon: Wash your own car or visit a car wash?

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Oregon is my car wash

11:28
MATT: Can you even remember a better team and justified bigger favorite heading into a season than the 2016 Cubs? What Theo has done is no short of absolutely masterful.

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Well there were last year’s Nationals

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Say what you will about their relative merits but those Nationals looked like they were going to be awesome

11:28
Phil A. Delphia: do we know when manager meeting timer and catcher meeting timer will start? When they get to the mound? When they call timeout? Sometimes it takes managers 30 seconds to walk back and forth to the mound.. will we see managers have to hustle up?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: My read is that the clock starts when they leave the dugout

11:29
K-Man: Why does Carson not have a weekly chat?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: Carson’s weekly chat is a podcast

11:29
a: how can this chat still be going?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not anymore!

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: Things to do so it’s time to roll

11:29
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 — 2/26/16 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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Nathaniel
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Nathaniel

I hope you managed the avalanche danger on your Mt. St. Helens climb.