Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/3/15

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to live baseball chat

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Approximately nothing has happened in baseball for a couple of weeks, so this ought to be gripping

9:04
Comment From Tony G.
Are you surprised that Shields still hasn’t signed?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think everybody is. I usually don’t worry about these things when they drag out, but there’s something about the calendar flipping to February

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s in some way an encouraging reflection of the baseball market — teams are less willing to pay for what a player has already done. With Shields, you sell the durability, the innings totals, but teams now are genuinely afraid of what all that durability might mean now

9:06
Comment From Ozzie Guillen
Who is your starting 2B for the White Sox on Opening Day? Micah? Sanchez? Bonifacio? Beckham? Roberto Alomar?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Miserably, it might very well be Beckham

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: I think Bonifacio is going to be most valuable moving around, so I don’t like tying him to one position like that

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I do see the faint upsides in Johnson and Sanchez, but, for example, Sanchez just swung at 41% of pitches out of the strike zone in his debut

9:08
Comment From TommieAgees
Does Grandal get regular duty over Ellis?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, as long as he’s not broken

9:09
Comment From Corn on the Cobb
Does Alex Cobb have what it takes to be a Top-5 SP?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, but he wont’ be one

9:09
Comment From Ozzie Guillen
Who wins the AL Central?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Tigers by a game or two over the Indians

9:09
Comment From Haddaway
What is love?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: the reason for being

9:09
Comment From guest
After Matthew recovers from the soul crushing defeat will you guys do a Ussm podcast?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Getting back into it Thursday. We got knocked off course by the holidays

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: But, FWIW, no one can ever recover from a loss like that. Not in full. One becomes a changed person.

9:10
Comment From Dejablu2
What do you foresee as Dayan Viciedo’s team and role?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t know the team but the role won’t be significant. He shouldn’t be on your radar

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I could see the Phillies, just because, yeah, why not?

9:11
Comment From AL Pitching Coach
What do you think of young pitchers like Odorizzi and McHugh in 2015? Do they take the next step forward?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I dont’ think McHugh could take another step forward. Guy was 20% better than average. He achieved his peak — that’s incredible enough

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I think Odorizzi will be better, but I dont’ think he’s going to be the best starter on the staff

9:12
Comment From Andy
The baseball equivalent of To Kill A Mockingbird suddenly and unexpectedly getting a sequel is __________

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: footage from ten different angles of the called shot?

9:13
Comment From kris
hi jeff why not run the ball with marshawn

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: defense expected run the ball with marshawn

9:13
Comment From guest
Will Shields sign a 1yr deal or wait it out?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get multiple years. I don’t think he can afford to bet on himself gaining more valuable between now and next offseason

9:14
Comment From Also Jeff
What are your thoughts on the outlook of the Tigers bullpen

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Soria could be that bad again, so I think we’re looking at a roughly average bullpen, decent enough to work but with just enough blowups that it doesn’t shake the reputation totally

9:15
Comment From Dave
The Miami Marlins- finishing right around .500 or finishing in a Wild Card spot?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: .500

9:17
Comment From EL ASHABAN
Thoughts on Tony Cingrani? Is there any chance he is trying to develop additional pitches?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty clear evidence, right? Last year he was a three-pitch pitcher with an extremely occasional curveball as well

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he trusts his secondary stuff enough to go to when he’s behind in the count. Which is a problem, because he doesn’t have particularly awesome fastball command. Seems like he’ll continue to be a No. 4 starter or so with promise he doesn’t tap into often enough

9:20
Comment From cobinson ramo
who do i talk to about getting Seattle to play Sade’s Smooth Operator every time Robinson Cano does something cool?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Kevin Martinez?

9:20
Comment From Curtis
Papelbon opens the season in _______________________

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Milwaukee seems appropriate to me

9:21
Comment From Allen R.
At what price point do you think Rickie Weeks could be had?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Almost any? A few million dollars. He has like no market

9:21
Comment From Seff Jullivan
Which total will be higher, the number of Shields questions asked this offseason, or the number of Shield’s pitches thrown this coming season?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Are people actually that interested in James Shields? I’ve gotten the opposite vibe.

9:21
Comment From Ozzie Guillen
Any chance Samardzija doesn’t reach FA?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Some chance; is very small chance

9:22
Comment From Wrens Bleeding Hart
Less likely to finish the 2015 season in a Braves uniform: Mike Minor, BJ Upton or Chris Johnson?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Upton. If he doesn’t show something in April or May, I think he’s just cut

9:22
Comment From Ozzie Guillen
Rookie of the Year favorites?

9:22
Comment From George is Curious
Care to offer your early AL/NL predictions for 2015 ROY, MVP and Cy Young?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Well I’m going to have to look up the rookie eligibilities here in a minute but my other picks are satisfactorily boring

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Felix, Trout, Kershaw…

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: yeah, no, still gotta say McCutchen

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I guess Bryant and Castillo for Rookies of the Year

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I would take Bryant narrowly over Yasmany Tomas

9:25
Comment From Curtis
Other than the current era, what is your favorite baseball era/decade? Why?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Well I’ve only really been alive and paying attention for this era and for the previous era

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: And I like this era a lot more than the previous era

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: So I guess my answer to your question is “nope”

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t care much about baseball history. I probably will at some point, but the present is so damn interesting.

9:27
Comment From keeper
Thanks for having us. Did the cubs sign Motte as some shaky insurance for Rondon? Or is Motte a lottery ticket because he’s coming back from TJS?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: They signed Motte because, before he was hurt, he was really super good

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: It helps that he’s closer insurance, but it’s really just a flier on a guy with talented and a depressed market because of the operation

9:29
Comment From Jack
Would it make sense for both parties for the Nats to offer Stras a 4 year (5th option/30 mil) deal at around 100 mil. Allows Stras to hit free agency before 30 so he can get another huge deal. Removes the risk of being hurt over the next 2 years. Nats get the prime years and can maximize scherzer/Stras front end to basically a decade of playoffs.

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I can see the argument, but you’re always contending against the Boras factor — as is, Strasburg is lined up to be a free agent going into his age-28 season, so there’s the potential there for a historic contract in terms of total value

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: He’s already signed for more than $7 million this year, meaning he’s already basically guaranteed to get at least that much next year, so this isn’t a life-security concern. Strasburg could exceed a Scherzer contract down the road, and that’s the draw for him

9:33
Comment From candres
What do you think the future holds for Elvis Andrus? He hasn’t become the player it looks like he was turning into when TEX signed him to that big deal, and now they’ve got Profar on the way and Odor looking pretty good.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be surprised if Odor got traded. Obviously, any of them could get traded, but Andrus kind of has some of that heart-and-soul thing going on, and he’s still just 26. Proven everyday player. The other two, not so much

9:34
Comment From Wrens Bleeding Hart
rate 0-100 Braves offseason.

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: 70?

9:35
Comment From Curtis
If Zach Walters turned into Super-Flexible “Zobrist” and somehow got 450 PAs, could he hit 30 hrs? 25?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Bet heavily against

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: The following players, last year, batted at least 300 times, and had a 450-PA pace of at least 25 home runs:

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Chris Carter
Edwin Encarnacion
Nelson Cruz
David Ortiz
Giancarlo Stanton
George Springer
Jose Abreu
Devin Mesoraco
Troy Tulowitzki

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: By the way, chat reminder!

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: If you find that the questions and answers are getting out of order, you can simply refresh the window

9:38
Comment From Dave
If Morse gets injured (as he is wont to do) do the Marlins try Stanton or Yelich at 1B and give Ichiro an outfield spot? Redmond isn’t smart enough to do a Baker/Bour platoon, right?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: No, they’re not going to mess around with Stanton or Yelich like that

9:38
Comment From AA
True or False: Norris wins AL ROY?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: False

9:39
Comment From semperty
Is there something about Grandal’s profile that explains his 2014 struggles, or was that mostly just bad luck?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Did he struggle? He finished up with a 111 wRC+

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Started hitting the ball in the air more often, started making less contact. It actually seems a little like he tried to do the Devin Mesoraco thing, only with sub-Mesoraco-level results

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty strong second half, if that’s the kind of thing you care about

9:41
Comment From gump
Should boston wait until midseason to trade for an ace? Only need one during the postseason…

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t really need one during the postseason. They’re just helpful is all.

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: At this point I think it’s worth Boston’s time to see how this rotation shakes out, and then come June or July they can re-evaluate the market while also looking toward guys like Owens and Rodriguez

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: The slate of position players is so strong they can afford a somewhat substandard rotation

9:42
Comment From Terrible Ted
Steamer projects only a 2 HR increase for Arenado over an extra ~150 PA. What about his profile indicates that his power wont increase?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: The previous year, where he homered 10 times

9:43
Comment From Scott
Does Dillon Gee ever get traded? If so, what is his trade value?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, quite low!

9:43
Comment From TommieAgees
Is Byron Buxton on the verge of being labeled “injury -prone?”

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, but it’s not like that’s the final word. A label doesn’t mean anything in terms of actual health.

9:44
Comment From Coco Crisps Breakfast Bits
Who has the best performance for the 2015 A’s – Phegley, Nolin, or Davis?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Davis

9:45
Comment From Bubba Starling
% chance that Eric Hosmer “breaks out” this year? Moose? % chance that the playoff run was an aberration and they both go back to pre-AS break form?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I think Hosmer gets back to what he already was, before last season

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Moustakas, I’ve seen enough. He’s not good. I don’t think he’ll become good.

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a really interesting Steamer case. Career 82 wRC+, last year 76. Steamer projects 102. I think that’s crazy.

9:46
Comment From RJ
Hi Jeff, in your “So you’re about to pitch to Pablo Sandoval” piece, you quote figures on Pablo’s slugging percentage on pitches in the strike zone, using Baseball Savant’s pitch fx tool. How did you retrieve this numbers? Is it only on balls hit in play or all balls swung at or…?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s pitches that end at-bats, so it’s going to include strikeouts

9:47
Comment From Ozzie Guillen
Best rotation in the AL?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll start with the Indians

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: it becomes the White Sox if Rodon shows up and is effective

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: or it’s the Mariners if either Walker or Paxton takes a step forward

9:48
Comment From Brian
Thought: implement pace-of-game changes, but only on weekdays, when it matters how late I am out. Friday-Saturday-Sunday games, who cares if they go long? But a Tuesday game that doesn’t wrap until 10:30 makes it much harder given most folks work the next day.

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Well, there are still families with kids in attendance most games

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: and I dont’ think you want to implement something with deliberate inconsistency. If you end up with quicker games during the week, and you leave the weekends alone, for one thing that’s weird for the players and the umpires, and for another, fans will start to notice how much longer the weekend games are, and they’ll begin to demand changes anyway

9:50
Comment From Dan Duquette
I am sure this has been asked/answered in prior chats but when does James Shields become a *seemingly* good value? 3 years/$42 million? I can’t find what Dave Cameron pegged him for but I know he crowd sourced at 5 years for $90 million.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Let me run some quick numbers!

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Figure Shields will be worth, what, 3 – 3.5 wins next year?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Kudos to anyone who could get him for like 3/50 or 4/60

9:51
Comment From guest
will Cobb be the best pitcher on that staff?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Best starter

9:51
Comment From Jordan
Can ZIPS be just released in full yet?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: It’s close

9:51
Comment From Billy Beane
Do you see Clippard running away with the A’s closing gig, or is he simply keeping the seat warm until Doolittle returns?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Keeping warm. Really handy insurance though, obviously

9:52
Comment From _David_
Over/under career WAR, Patrick Kivlehan, 1

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Over by a few

9:53
Comment From guest
Off hand do you know the last time the M’s opened up at home? seems like its a while

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: 2008. Erik Bedard threw 106 pitches over 5 innings

9:54
Comment From Prich
Life Superiority Guy checking in: I’m as big of a sports fan as they come, and I gotta say: If a sporting event over which you have no control changes who you are as a person, time to reevaluate life

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Literally everything you experiences changes who you are as a person

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Sports don’t *dramatically* change who you are as a person, but it would be silly to pretend like that Super Bowl isn’t going to have small effects on hundreds of thousands or millions of people

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Those same people are going to think about different things from this point forward

9:56
Comment From Bert
Why have the A’s not traded Eric O’Flaherty yet? Cutting his salary helps get you a lot closer to Olivera, and you’ve got Abad/Nolin around to work out of the pen.

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really think they even need to cut salary

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: If they did, I suspect they’ve already considered the O’Flaherty angle. This is Billy Beane we’re talking about

9:58
Comment From Terrible Ted
Do you know any of the specifics of why the Rogers Centre is getting new turf in Toronto?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Beyond what’s already known?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: The previous turf was getting old, and stiff, and players hated it. Toronto is transitioning toward actual grass, and this is a stopgap

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: The new turf ought to be more forgiving, and it’s lighter, which has other benefits. And if the Jays believe for a second that the old turf was bad for the players, well, it’s only a worthwhile investment to eliminate that problem, right?

10:01
Comment From Tim E.
Can Arod still be baseball’s villian? If not, who are some heir apparents? Every good story needs a villian

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t really think A-Rod can be a good villain anymore

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I think the villain was supposed to be Bryce Harper and maybe that does still come true

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: More realistically maybe it will just be the developing Dodgers powerhouse. If the villain in the 90s was the Yankees…

10:02
Comment From Hugo Z
So you don’t run a play simply because the defense might be expecting it?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Exactly the same game-theory stuff that applies to baseball and pitch-calling. In that situation, you usually run, but you don’t *never* pass, and as the Seahawks explained it, they were going to pass once and run twice.

10:02
Comment From Mat
Steamers has Alcantara at 230 PA’s, I would assume this is because of the recent acquisition of Fowler. He gets well over 230 doesn’t he?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: He should, yeah

10:03
Comment From Disgruntled
As a Twins fan, give me something to be hopeful for beside Buxton and Sano

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Brian Dozier just out-WAR’d Victor Martinez and Freddie Freeman

10:04
Comment From Prich
Shields: Over/under $60mil total?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Still thinking over but maybe I’m the stubborn one

10:04
Comment From _David_
I know everyone has their own way of enjoying sports that is right for them, but if I can feel this bad about the Superbowl despite the Seahawks’ recent accomplishments…am I doing it wrong?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: No. It’s too soon after the fact to actually have the right perspective

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Check back in a week. You’ll be fine

10:05
Comment From Joe Maddon
Are you on board with those expecting a breakout from Steven Souza in 2015?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t think of it as a breakout; I think he’ll just continue to be a pretty good player, only this time in the major leagues

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll be an average player, more or less, delivering the bulk of his value at the plate

10:06
Comment From Curtis
6th starter in SEA…Walker? Elias? Happ? Paxton? will #6 start in bullpen or AAA – or will it depend on status of options…

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think Walker in Tacoma

10:06
Comment From Phillies113
Is there data available regarding how many types of balls a fielder has handled cleanly? For instance, say a player fielded 37 out of 40 ground balls cleanly and 28 out of 29 fly balls cleanly. Would this information be useful, or is it unnecessary given the data we currently have?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Unnecessary. You’re basically just thinking about errors

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: And at the end of the day, you worry about plays made and not made. There might be some value there at the margins, but not very much

10:07
Comment From Mat
Does Pederson finally have a clear path or is Either/Crawford enough to limit his action this year?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll play a ton

10:08
Comment From Ichiro
What’s my impact on the Marlins?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Basically nil, but it’s going to be fun to see how you fit into a clubhouse with guys like Stanton and Fernandez in it

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think Ichiro’s been in a situation quite like this one before

10:09
Comment From Ryan
Howard opens the season in ____

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: 2015

10:10
Comment From J
Would you be fine with a Travis-Santiago-Izturis 2B if you were the Jays?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t love it, but I’d be okay with it. I’m also fairly fond of Travis, though

10:10
Comment From Alex
Who will be the Mets best starting pitcher this season?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Harvey

10:11
Comment From Clock
I know you took at quick look at him, but odds Trevor May makes the rotation and sticks this year?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get some starts at some point but I don’t think he’s going to get too many of them, nor do I think he’s going to be all that good in them

10:12
Comment From Dan
The Royals media and marketing department has always been fantastic but this year’s Jarrod billboard off the highway is awesome. IT GLOWS FIRE AT NIGHT! http://www.foxsports.com/ka…

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: This is awesome

10:13
Comment From (o)(o)
What do you see out of Justin Verlander in 2015? A bounceback such that he is equivalent to the 2009-10 version of himself?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he gets back to old Verlander, but I do think he improves on his full-season numbers from last year as he adapts and adjusts to his new level of velocity

10:13
Comment From manfred mann
Best way to shorten games and increase offense is…

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Pitch clock and changing the zone

10:14
Comment From _David_
I’m having trouble finding info on Hultzen except for a beat reporter who says he’s back and looking good…if that were true wouldn’t it kind of be a big deal?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Not really. He’s barely pitched against advanced competition and he’s been out for like a year and a half. And even if he seems healthy today, that’s pretty different from seeming healthy in competitive games. Hultzen seems like he’s getting back on the radar, but it’s not like he’s a top prospect again after going through shoulder hell

10:16
Comment From Erich
What were the Brewers trying to accomplish with Neal Cotts? $3M Seems like an overpay to get another lefty in the pen who is HR prone at Miller Park.

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: $3 million is practically nothing these days, and Cotts is a lefty who can handle righties as well. Didn’t require a multi-year commitment. This is basically the Brewers spending some extra money they had on hand without tying themselves to anything long-term. Incremental improvement because, why not?

10:17
Comment From mtsw
Make sense for a team to offer Shields something like 1/25 in the hopes he’d be willing to punt his free agency until next season?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Might as well try, but he won’t take that

10:17
Comment From Seff Jullivan
Why doesn’t Jose Quintana get any respect? A recent dumb Chicago article compared Sox and Cubs and said Arrieta is better. Writer must be an anti-vaxxer, right?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Well last year Arrieta was amazing

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: But more generally, yeah, Quintana does seem to be one of the most underrated players in baseball. Probably because he’s in Sale’s shadow and he’s pitched so far for a pretty bad team. Also, he doesn’t have one clear grab-you-by-the-balls kind of strength.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I think of Quintana kind of like how I think of Hisashi Iwakuma

10:19
Comment From J
Just me or could the Orioles be really bad this year?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, they could be

10:19
Comment From keeper
I think it’s more Mookie Betts questions than Shield pitches.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: On the plus side, this is the first Mookie Betts remark of the day!

10:20
Comment From The Fence
Which teams are likely to finish in the Top 3 for American League defences?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Royals, Orioles, Yankees

10:20
Comment From Biggy
Who would you prefer, strictly offensively, for the next 5 years: Miguel Cabrera, Rendon, or Puig?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Puig

10:21
Comment From Guest
Eovaldi started from his curve ball a bit more late last season with positive results. Any chance that develops into a pitch to get him some strikeouts?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I think for him it’s going to be mostly fastball/slider with two strikes

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Looking for more elevated fastballs

10:22
Comment From Dylan
Will I ever see another baseball player as good as Barry Bonds in he next 50 years?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Statistically? No

10:22
Comment From mtsw
At which point during the offseason did the sabrmetric consensus switch back from “maybe we need to seriously look at why Showalter’s Orioles consistently beat projections” to “LOL they will regress to the mean and win 70 games with roughly the same team that won 96 last season?” It’s like all the August/September reevaluations of the team never happened.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Who’s saying the Orioles are going to win 70 games?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: There’s maybe believing that a team can beat its talent by a few games, and then there’s believing it can beat its talent by like 15-20 games. You’ll never convince anyone of the latter

10:23
Comment From Guest
Do guys that throw harder have less of a platoon problem than soft tossers?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Not a simple thing to analyze; soft tossers tend to have better secondary stuff to compensate.

10:24
Comment From (o)(o)
Do you think pitching in Comerica rather than GABP in Cinci will have a measurable impact on Alfredo Simon’s performance this year?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: He’s also switching leagues. I expect him to be not good

10:24
Comment From guest
Who cracks the big league club 1st Kivlehan or Peterson?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Kivlehan

10:24
Comment From C
Is the Jays’ bullpen situation really as dire as some people think?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: No, things are pretty much never as dire as some people think

10:25
Comment From Seff Jullivan
More strikeouts in 2015, Javier Baez or Jon Lester?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Lester. Baez won’t play enough if he sucks

10:25
Comment From Pennsy
What is the percentage chance Scherzer provides less than 1 WAR for the Nationals this season?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Hmm. Something like 4-5%? Maybe more like 2-3%.

10:26
Comment From C
You predicted in earlier articles and chats that Shields would sign with the Jays for a reduced contract. Do you still see that as the likeliest scenario today?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I never predicted that. I just thought it would make sense.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Still think the same thing.

10:28
Comment From JT4Life
I would love for you to say something about Josh Tomlin.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Seems to me like he really improved his curveball. He’s one of the more interesting pitchers in baseball not guaranteed a starting rotation job out of the gate

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: But then I was also once tricked by Josh Towers

10:30
Comment From Guest
What “franchise” player has the best chance of making the HoF: Longoria,Wright,McCutchen,Pedroia, and Tulo?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s Wright — he’s already a lot of the way there

10:30
Comment From guest
Are you a Seahawk fan?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: More than any other football team

10:31
Comment From Jasper
In the interest of both speeding up the game and adding offense, why don’t we get rid of the DH and the pitcher batting and go with 8-man lineups?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: 9 is too sacred of a number

10:31
Comment From Rolo Tomassi
Juan Uribe and Justin Turner both carried hilariously high BABIPs last year. Where do the Dodgers turn if both turn into pumpkins this year? Kike?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Turner’s got a career 110 wRC+. Before last year, he was pretty consistently league average

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: And Uribe, still oddly, contributes a lot of value with his defense

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: But I am an Enrique Hernandez fan. I suspect the Dodgers are, too. He’s super useful depth

10:35
Comment From Matt
Do you think Joe Kelly could improve his control and end up something like a Andrew Cashner? The sinker is nice, and he has a couple breaking balls with a good changeup

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not a real bad comparison. Cashner is a decent projection of Joe Kelly upside

10:36
Comment From J
Would MLB be better off if the NFL season began after the world series and the Super Bowl happened during spring training or early in the MLB season?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it makes too big of a difference. It’s possible for people to follow multiple sports at the same time, and it’s not like MLB is hurting for late-season ratings or attendance. The money is there, even with the football distraction

10:37
Comment From stan papi
what’s the Yankees backup plan if 1-2 of Pineda, Tanaka, CC break down? any other ML ready starters in the system after top 5?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not great. This is one of the reasons they brought in Capuano

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Whitley’s useful. Mitchell might be useful

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Severino, at least, might be a quick riser?

10:39
Comment From Guest
You’re a GM with a competitive roster. Would you rather have Kris Bryant or Manny Machado on your team?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: For just this year? Machado

10:39
Comment From Jeff
Jeff I am traveling to Oregon/Washington in a couple months and wanted your advice as to what area to focus on Mt Hood, Rainer, or somewhere else? Looking for cool volcanic stuff. Thanks.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Central Oregon, around Bend, is a volcanic wonderland. There’s Crater Lake, Newberry Caldera, the Three Sisters, Bachelor, Broken Top…

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Hood’s great and easily accessible. St. Helens is rather famous and easy to get to

10:40
Comment From AA
Who do you like more making the playoffs – They Jays or Marlins?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: The Jays by a lot

10:41
Comment From guest
If Bostons rotation is substandard would that put them dangerously close to Angels territory, grest hitting poor pitching?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: The Angels just had the best record in baseball

10:41
Comment From J
When all the ZiPS are out will the Standings/Depth Chart projections change or will they remain influenced by just Steamer?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: As before, it’ll be a 50/50 blend

10:41
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
If Pineda is healthy all year and throws 150 or so innings, is it crazy to think he can come close to repicating last years stats? 1.89 era and 0.83 whip. What are reasonable expectations?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, that is crazy

10:42
Comment From Kirk
Phegley is such a gross name.

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t stand it

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Nor can I stand Brandon Cumpton

10:42
Comment From Sirras One
Say something nice about Ike Davis

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: He’s strong and rich

10:42
Comment From guest
Was last yr Crush Davis regressing to the mean and will he be better this yr?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Yes and yes

10:43
Comment From Eric
Let’s say hypothetically Shields doesn’t sign by the All-star break; what could he get then from a desperate contender?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Something like $12-15 million, if he’s been pitching and staying loose

10:44
Comment From Guest
Should teams give front offices more security so they don’t make bad moves or give out massive contracts because they are trying to save their jobs? It is easy to throw albatross contracts around when you probably don’t have the job in 5 years.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think front offices actually act on the belief they’ll be out of jobs soon. This is why owners don’t like to have lame-duck GMs. Usually they’ll be under contract for at least the next year, all of the time

10:45
Comment From L. Scott
After losing Lester and Samardzija, how in the world can the A’s expect to compete without replacing either one? Kazmir will probably regress, and the rest of the rotation is questionable except for maybe Sonny Gray.

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Last year the A’s had the best record in baseball before trading for either Samardzija or Lester

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: There’s depth everywhere. The A’s are looking at the full roster picture, not just the front of the rotation

10:46
Comment From Paul Spoljaric
Does you find that football analysis seems to involve the use of rather poor statistics to evaluate player performance compared to baseball?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: That’s how I feel about all other sports

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: But I also don’t spend a lot of time trying to analyze them

10:46
Comment From The Oriole Bird
How confident are you that Manny Machado will surpass 3.5 WAR this year?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: 50 – 55%

10:48
Comment From Ben
Without much MLB or AAA experience the Reds seem set on giving a rotation spot to Anthony DeSclafani. Any idea why they’re so bullish on him and what are you thoughts?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: He throws strikes and the Reds don’t have a whole lot of quality alternatives. I can see him as a 1-2 win pitcher right now

10:49
Comment From L. Scott
Is Jose Quintana the most underrated SP in baseball? Dude is consistent and gets no love.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Right now it’s probably Quintana

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: For a few years it might’ve been Hiroki Kuroda

10:51
Comment From Matt
Were the 2014 Royals the textbook example one why you can’t bet on prospects? The only fruit they got from the “greatest farm system ever” was Sheilds as a result of dealing Myers and Escobar and Cain from the Grienke deal.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Perez? Ventura? Hosmer, Moustakas, Dyson, Gordon, Holland…

10:51
Comment From Timothy
2nd best hitter on the Pirates next year?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Marte

10:52
Comment From Curtis
Who will be next off season’s Mookie Betts?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Depending on the circumstances, possibly Mookie Betts

10:53
Comment From Timothy
It seems like a lot of projections are bearish on the Angels; M’s are better. How does the AL West end up?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Picking today, I’d say Angels, then M’s, then A’s, then Rangers, then Astros

10:54
Comment From Sean
Game 7 of WS, bottom 9, score tied, zero outs. You’re pitching and the home team hits a leadoff triple. Do you walk the bases loaded, allowing for force outs but risk a walk losing the game?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously depends on the players involved, but almost certainly no

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Win expectancy with the leadoff triple: around 9%. After loading the bases: 6-7%

10:55
Comment From Kirk
As a Hawks fan, I can see myself becoming quite a bit more cynical or maybe cautious going forward due to the absolute defeat I felt at the end of that play. Sports fans devote a lot of time, energy and emotion to sport. Of course something like that will change you.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: It at least changes the way you consume the sport. Doesn’t change much elsewhere in the rest of your life, probably, but then you devote a not-insignificant amount of your life to sports, soooo

10:56
Comment From Timothy
How good of a bounce back are you expecting for Joey Votto?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty darn good

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: He managed a .390 OBP in a lost season

10:57
Comment From Ray
Springer and Tulo did not hit 25 HRs last year.

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: It was a pace stat, not a total stat. HR/450 PA

10:57
Comment From Guest
Should baseball make it easier for teams to comeback? It seems like the win probability for a team gets too high in baseball compare to other sports where a single play or goal can alter the game in a moment: See interception at the Super Bowl.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: The interception was the rough equivalent of a blown save. In baseball terms, the Seahawks blew a two-run lead in the ninth. Difference in football is that can happen on one play, whereas in baseball you need multiple batters and multiple pitches

10:58
Comment From Ben
Do you think a guy like Brandon Maurer can stay a starter in San Diego?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I think he has a far better chance in the NL than in the AL

10:59
Comment From Jim
What does Yelich stat line look like this year?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Like last year with a bit more power

10:59
Comment From STiVo
What is your favorite Rafael Betancourt fun fact?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I’m now in love with the one where he throws one out of 12 pitches inside to lefties. It’s not just that he’s atop that leaderboard — it’s the margin

11:00
Comment From Big McLargehuge
Is there any hope for Cubs fans?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: oh my god yes

11:00
Comment From Conebone
Any chance the Jays grab a right-handed bullpen arm? Gotta think Soriano would be a good fit…pretty much anything would help that bullpen right now.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, they’ll add somebody within the next couple weeks

11:00
Comment From mtsw
It seems like over the years there’s an increased tendency to attribute success/failure to front offices and managers in all sports (the widespread condemnation of Pete Carroll for Seattle’s SB loss, rather than attributing it to a bad pass or great play by the defender being a recent example). Do you agree and if so, do you feel like this is a positive trend?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I do think there’s an increased likelihood to blame something other than the players

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Saw this a lot in the baseball playoffs when so much of the talk was about managerial decisions instead of actual play execution

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I understand it but I’m over it. The games are games between teams of players. Coaches have little actual impact play to play. If you separate the game too much from the players, you start to think of it more as a simulation, which is just the opposite of the point

11:03
Comment From Guest
Will StatCast making baseball more interesting to watch? Other sports can show replays and people love it. Does StatCast make baseball replays cool?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Whatever StatCast introduces to broadcasts, people will get used to it in a hurry. Baseball, at its heart, will remain exactly as interesting

11:03
Comment From JG
The problem isn’t that the Seahawks passed. It’s that they should have called a pass that would have sailed out the back of the end zone if it went wrong. Throwing into traffic right at the goal line was dumb.

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not going to argue that there weren’t alternatives, but at the end of the day a no-name player made a better play than anybody expected on an otherwise high-probability pass. So it goes

11:04
Comment From Curtis
A while ago the Mookie Betts/Javier Baez prospect comparison was made based on “safeness” and “volatility”…. are there two Pitching Prospects that would fit this comparison as well?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you’re ever going to find a pitching prospect anyone intelligent regards as “safe”

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Danny Hultzen was chosen because he was safe, and then, well

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: But let’s see…

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Aaron Sanchez and TJ House?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Aaron Sanchez and somebody

11:07
Comment From Mike P.
Way back in early November, I posed an O/U for current Phillies to be traded this winter to all Fangraphs chat “leaders”. The number was 3.5. I think you were the only one who answered (and I think you said over) – I could just be remembering the wrong person, it was 3 months ago. Right now, we sit at 3 (Rollins, Byrd, Bastardo). You think they’ll hit the over before ST ends?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I do think Papelbon goes soon

11:08
Comment From Tommy Lasordid
Stroman a top 20 pitcher this year?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Yep, love him

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:08
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 — 2/3/15 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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Dejablu2
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Dejablu2

Where will Dayan Viciedo land, and will it be in a nearly fulltime role?