Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/16/18

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:05

Mike: Hello Jeff, have you contemplated mortality today?

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

9:06

The Man With No Name: Still on the Wilmer Font hype train?  What about Scott Alexander?

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I still like Font. Not going to abandon that hope because of a bad day on March 6

9:08

Bort: Have you seen Carter Capps’s new pitching motion? It’s, um, interesting.

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: Look, I’ve never understood how Capps could pitch like how he’s pitched. I *definitely* don’t understand how he can pitch like how he pitches

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: If he can make it work, more power to him, but something doesn’t seem to add up

9:09

Bill Drobick: I have a couple of questions about drafting Catchers.

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: If this is about fantasy baseball, I don’t think I’ve addressed this in a while — I don’t answer fantasy questions because I can’t answer fantasy questions because I don’t play fantasy baseball

9:09

Rays fan: I know we’re not supposed to put any stock into spring training, but is there a point where someone can look bad enough in it to concern you? Like what if batters are 12-for-23 against someone, and of the 30 total batters he’s faced over his three starts so far, he’s walked five of them and struck out none, and his ERA is almost 17? Is that a bad enough performance in spring training to concern you at all? Asking for a friend whose name rhymes with Fake Jaria

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, that is legitimately worrisome

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Spring training isn’t completely irrelevant. Extreme performances at either end should have an effect on season expectations

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Now, I think, if Faria comes out next time and looks sharp, then that’s that. My stance is that spring concerns can be quickly alleviated. These games, after all, *are* practice. But I saw Faria’s numbers just yesterday and I don’t like it one bit

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: It’s hard to be that bad under any circumstances without something being off

9:11

RedsFan: Thoughts on Suarez extension and what it means for the Reds organization as a whole?

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: I think I’m going to write about this after I chat

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: I’m surprised by the length, and by the modest terms in the free-agent years. I get that Suarez isn’t a superstar, and he could be in line for regression, but this feels like at least a partial response to Suarez and his agent not wanting to deal with free agency, after what we’ve just seen

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Suarez was due to become an FA after 2020, and that would still be covered by the current CBA

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Say hello to Nick Senzel, middle infielder

9:14

TF Fredrik: I feel like there is a development paradox nowadays with how pitchers are protected coming thru the system. On one hand you know pitching is an unnatural phenomenon and every pitch seems to wear on muscles & ligaments. Hence you think you need to protect that elbow, shoulder etc. On the other hand, the best way for players to learn is to practice, push themselves, struggle, and experience pitching in games against real live teams. Where do you think best mix is on protecting pitchers and letting them learn by pitching?

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think even teams have a good answer to this

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: Beyond, like, avoiding obvious abuse. Teams seem to have agreed upon a general idea of gradually scaling up innings season after season

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: Ultimately, you have to pitch in order to learn how to pitch. And I think what we’re seeing, and what we’re going to see, is teams promoting young pitchers more aggressively when they seem like they can help, because the younger a pitcher is when he reaches the majors, the fewer miles are already on his arm/shoulder

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: Before, you might not have seen as many pitchers reach the majors while somewhat unpolished. But now those final stages of learning can take place in the bigs

9:17

Stevie Knicks: Ian Happ is having a pretty fantastic spring training.  If he keeps this up and locks down the leadoff spot can he exceed the ZIPS projections?

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: ZiPS projects a 107 wRC+. Happ as a rookie posted a 113 wRC+. He could absolutely beat his projection

9:18

TF Fredrik: Is controlling a pitchers effort something that can be taught? Is it something that teams already do? You and Ben were going over this with Syndergaard. If he could just live at 96-98 would that make a difference for his health? Or we just don’t know?

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: Intuitively it feels like it would be good for him, because pitchers can stay healthier if they back off their max velocity. Eno has written about guys who pitch close to the max, and who don’t. I think this is one of those things that comes with experience. You rarely hear about a rookie who knows how to mix up speeds. It’s one of the last things to develop

9:20

2-D: When a pitcher expresses a desire to pitch to contact more does that translate to “only with two outs, nobody on, and the bottom of the order up”?

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: When pitchers talk about pitching to contact, what they mean is throwing more strikes, and wasting fewer pitches in the dirt

9:22

Jack: Less than two weeks from Opening Day and almost a week after Lynn and Arrieta finally signed, and Cobb still doesn’t have a job. At this point do you think the Rays should see if they can get Cobb to follow in the footsteps of Moustakas and re-sign with them on a one-year deal for much less money than the qualifying offer he rejected? Given what Lynn signed for, I’m not even sure if he’ll be able to get better than that from anyone. Tampa made it pretty clear they weren’t going to be in the market to bring him back because they felt good about their pitching depth and weren’t willing to compete with the kind of offers they thought would be out there for him, but now they’ve lost Odorizzi, Honeywell and De Leon, they say they’re gonna try having a four-man rotation, and it just doesn’t seem like a market has developed for Cobb. He might be in better shape if he can put together another healthy year and then re-enter the market without a QO next year

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: Very little of me believes the Rays would be willing to give Cobb like $10 million over one year. Not because of the front office, but because of ownership. The whole idea has been to somewhat slash payroll. So even though I think the Rays *could* use Cobb, now that they’re down two starters, I don’t see it happening

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: It’s also unclear whether Cobb would even want to return. Not that he’s in position to deny anyone or anything

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: I wonder if the A’s might be a possibility to get him soon. They should still have some space after signing Lucroy, and it looks like they could be down Jharel Cotton for a long time

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: The projected opening-day payroll of $64.6 million is down from last year’s $81.7 million

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: The A’s still receive revenue sharing, so they’d have to sacrifice their third-highest draft pick. That’s not worth nothing, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker

9:29

S: Which free agent who signed a one year deal will increase their value the most for next offseason?

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: Might be Lance Lynn, depending. The fun answer would be Tim Lincecum

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Lucroy are also two clear possibilities depending on how their athleticism fares

9:29

The Man With No Name: Who’s the Chris Devenski of 2018?

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Didn’t we just do this?

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: It’s Chris Devenski

9:30

Bennum: Hi Jeff, were you able to see if any of the themes you identified with Giolito were still present last night? Some of his offspeed stuff looked good but I saw no speed readings

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Let me take a quick look!

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Also, 0 walks and 4 strikeouts in 5.1 is promising by itself

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, still looks like the slightly lower arm slot

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: Impossible to get any good read on secondary stuff with such a horrible camera angle

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Really looking forward to Giolito’s first couple starts so that I have some data to play with. Spring-training analysis is like regular-season analysis from 2008

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Wait, no, 2007. In 2008 there was PITCHf/x!

9:33

TF Fredrik: Where do you usually look to find health of players in spring training (I guess it would be same in regular season too)? I feel like I hear you mention roto world a lot.

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Rotoworld is super useful. I read it every day

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: And if there’s anything unclear on a specific player then I’ll just search Google or Twitter

9:34

TooDamnTall: Article request – How would abolishing the draft and just letting everyone be free agents change baseball?  How much more would it cost teams? How would that change the minor league development system and a whole slew of other stuff

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: Smaller-budget teams would be ruined

9:34

Monopoly Mustache: How are the Brewers gong to address their logjam at 1b/OF?

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: I was expecting them to have done something by now

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: But, Broxton has options. Phillips has options. That takes care of part of it. I don’t know where Jesus Aguilar fits

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Could be poised for the rare late-spring trade of modest significance

9:36

Kiner’s Disembodied Hands: Could you please rank these teams in order of most likely to least likely to make the playoffs in your opinion?

A’s, Rays, Pirates, Marlins

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: You just did it for me

9:37

Luis Urias: What is my ETA in MLB?

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: The conservative answer is September, but I imagine Urias would be up well in advance of that if Galvis got injured or totally sucked

9:39

Joe V: Edwin Encarnacion is at about the same number of home rurns David Ortiz was at coming into his age 35 season (EE – 348, Ortiz – 349). It took Ortiz 5 more seasons averaging a little bit over 30 home runs a season to get to 500 career home runs. Can Encarnacion get there?

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: He absolutely can, although I think the odds are a little stronger that he’ll fall short, just because of how old he already is

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: Players like Ortiz are exceptional

9:40

Scott: The runner on 2B to start extra innings rule in the minors is awful. What are the chances it’s implemented in the majors, and how do we stop this from happening?

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t expect it to happen in the majors

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: Not, at least, anywhere in the foreseeable future

9:40

PieTraynee: If you squint hard enough, the Buccos could certainly pass as a wildcard team, right?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: For sure. The second wild card in the NL isn’t very good. The Pirates aren’t terrible. One tweak from Glasnow makes him a five-win pitcher by himself

9:41

Uncle Charlie: What even is an Ozzie Albies

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: An extraordinarily talented baseball player who is younger than many players who will be drafted in June

9:42

Travis: When can I pencil Acuna’s name down for the hall of fame?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: In pencil? Today. Pencils carry zero consequence

9:43

abelWingnut: who do you like more for the next three years: greg bird or matt olson?

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: Olson very slightly

9:43

Scott: Spring training seems too long. Any chance it gets cut down by a week or two in the next CBA?

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure, but that would be nice, and many players would support it

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve never really considered what spring-training revenue might look like for a given ballclub

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: Teams, obviously, would be disinclined to give up money. It’s the same reason owners oppose a shortened regular season

9:44

Desperate, confused Marlins fan: so much for seeing Cottons improved changeup

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: On the plus side, for every pitcher who goes down, another pitcher replaces him. We’re all closer to seeing Puk!

9:45

Mister Puppy : Is there anything better in life than waking up to a Jeff Sullivan chat

9:45

Jeff Sullivan: lord I hope so

9:45

Bill: Does Flaherty make the Opening Day Cardinals rotation?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: Right now, I don’t think so

9:46

larry: are there any free agents out there you’re surprised haven’t signed yet?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: I expected Cobb to sign for the Lynn contract shortly after Lynn got the Lynn contract

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: Meanwhile I have no idea what’s going to happen with Greg Holland

9:47

Ben: If I came back from 5 years in the future and told you the Cardinals have really missed one of Aledmys Diaz, Randall Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty, which of those 3 would you guess went on to be star?

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: I guess Grichuk? He has the most star-ish skillset

9:48

B: What do you expect out of the first run of young Atlanta pitchers in the majors like Luiz Gohara, Max Fried & AJ Minter? Is there one young Braves starter you think will show flashes of great things to come?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Impossible not to be the most hyped about Gohara, just because of how hard he throws. I’ll also be watching to see if Newcomb ever sustains a strike-throwing ability for four or five starts in a row

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Minter is likely to be a dominant reliever for however long his arm holds up

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: We might need a Minter post. He’s nuts

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not saying AJ Minter is the new Craig Kimbrel, but it’s a frighteningly easy comparison to make

9:52

J. Peterman: Crazy to think Kevin Plawecki has a big season in store? Strong AAA year, solid finish in MLB, and strong spring.

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: His season can be only so big while he’s part of a positional time-share. But, yeah, I can buy him as a fairly good hitter for a catcher, and that’s something he’s seldom been

9:55

what the puk?: did you see Puk’s velocity down yestereve? concerning or  blip?  also, why are A’s v Mariner ballgames such snoozefests?

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll let Susan Slusser answer your question!

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: “Puk, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in his first three outings, was throwing 93-94 mph, according to two scouts in attendance, and he was mostly throwing two-seam fastballs, rather than his harder four-seamer. On the A’s telecast velocity readout, Puk’s fastball never topped 90 mph, however, causing some fans anxiety. “Tell fans to breathe,” one scout texted. “He’s OK.” Mariners starter Ariel Miranda’s velocity on the telecast was similarly lower than his usual readings, another indication the telecast’s velocity readings were incorrect.”

9:57

JV: Does Brandon Phillips play again in the MLB?

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: Feels weird to say no, but, I think the answer is no. He could get an NRI if he were willing to compete for a bench role, but he’s just not starter material

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t really hit, doesn’t play short. Not much here that teams are looking for

9:59

Reed: I’m an orioles fan – what do I have to be excited about between now and 2020?

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: Every morning you wake up alive

9:59

Scott: Do you see Bogaerts rebounding this year? Or are his plate discipline issues going to hold him back?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Played through discomfort for much of 2017. I expect a much stronger season

10:01

Adam: Hey Jeff, my friend just told me Acuna is very similar to Mike Trout. Thoughts?

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Mike Trout was like Ronald Acuna without the potential strikeout problem

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: In the minors in 2011, Trout struck out 18% of the time

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: Last year in the minors, Acuna struck out 24% of the time

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t mean Acuna isn’t amazing. It’s just, Trout is Trout. He’s almost literally unprecedented

10:03

Gest : What do you take from the late season uptick Moncada had last year? Are you taking it as a sign of things to come? Just a lil hot streak?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: He is very good. He is supposed to be good. I will be surprised not at all if Yoan Moncada is good

10:03

billsaints: A lot of chat about Shohei’s bat and the need for reps at an MLB level.  Pitchers take bullpen sessions. 2 questions: Do they throw at max? Could he ‘practice’ against them?

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers are usually throwing bullpens at close to full intensity, but you can’t really do that with a batter in place. It changes the whole situation. Bullpens are instructional, oftentimes; you’re working on something, free of any other distractions

10:05

Scott: Did you see Dee Gordon’s comments about his sprint speed? He knows that 4th fastest is still fast, right?

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: I took it as a joke

10:05

Ken: What’s Mike Trout’s biggest flaw?

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: He’s the best person in the world at baseball instead of the best person in the world at diplomacy

10:06

Moltar: My baseball fantasy is Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw on the Mets, with the Wilpons shot out of a cannon in to outer space. Can you discuss this fantasy of baseball?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: One day in the not-so-distant future we might all want to have escaped to outer space

10:07

Mike: Are the A’s closer to postseason baseball in the future or the past?

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: In other words, will they make the playoffs within the next three seasons? They won’t be as good as the Astros within the next three seasons, I don’t think, but I still like their trajectory. Making the playoffs is sort of arbitrary. They could win 85 games as soon as this coming season

10:10

Brandon Nimmo: What is my upside? Not just this year?

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: Ultimate upside of, I don’t know, Andrew McCutchen? Obviously, the likelihood is that Nimmo falls well short of that, and he doesn’t have jaw-dropping power. But with discipline, speed, and bat-to-ball skills, the ceiling is high

10:12

Yandy’s Biceps: Over/Under 400 PAs for these bad boys

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: Under

10:12

Billy Beane: Jharel Cotton has a UCL injury 🙁 That beautiful, beautiful change-up will probably be missing this year.

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: Last season that very same changeup was a negative-run-value pitch!

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: Which doesn’t mean this isn’t shitty news

10:15

Gest : I know it’s assumed pitchers adjusted to Hoskins at the end of 2017, but is there any ostensible change in the way pitchers were handling him?

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe a little more pounding him inside, as well as fewer fastballs in hitter-friendly counts. But I wouldn’t worry about it all that much; all in all, Hoskins still had a very productive month of September

10:16

Joseph: Rangers fan here.  What is your opinion of Odor?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: Narrow path to being even an average player. His approach is so bad

10:17

mmddyyyy: If there were going to be a 2 team expansion with a realignment of divisions, how much notice would teams get? Seems like it might inform the contention efforts of some of the borderline teams

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: The Diamondbacks were announced as an expansion team three years before their first game

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: Now, in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights more or less became official with only one year of notice

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: But by that point rumors had circulated for two years. No one was surprised that the NHL was adding a 31st team

10:21

aw: Hey Jeff, any update on when the 2018 postseason odds will be launched?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Next week!

10:21

Adam: Luiz Gohara is he the young pitcher with the highest upside amongst the prospect arms?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Probably not. Actual upside is unknowable, and Gohara is one pitcher out of hundreds

10:22

Ben: I often wondered if Tulo’s injury history was some what to blame on the thin air in Colorado and fatigue etc. However Toronto hasn’t been much better to him. Is it fair to say Tulo’s contract will make it extremely unlikely the jays extend Donaldson? It seems like it might be the worst contract over the next few year…

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Any potential Donaldson extension would have just two years of overlap with the Tulowitzki contract, and the second of those years goes down to $14 million. Also, the Jays feel like they’re about to get an infusion of league-minimum talent

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: So I don’t think an extension here is out of the question

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Come 2020, the Jays have only $17 million currently on the books

10:25

Billy Beane: Long question: So I heard an A’s coaching staff member in an interview talking about how Jharel Cotton (UCL RIP) looked good in all his Spring starts and had been ‘keeping his stuff down’ but he has a high spin rate fastball. Should I be concerned about that? Because you know and I know that a high spin rate fastball should be up in the zone, not down. Now I am concerned that the A’s pitching staff doesn’t know that.

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: Cotton has a rising four-seamer, and in the past he’s elevated it. But he also has a two-seamer, which he’s thrown pretty often, and that should be lower. And you almost always want a changeup to be more low than high

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: The A’s know about high fastballs. Everyone does

10:28

mmddyyyy: What numbers would you look at to quantify the toughest division for pitchers?

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Projected runs scored per game

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Here are some quick calculations:

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: AL East: 4.94 runs/game
AL West: 4.91
AL Central: 4.66
NL Central: 4.64
NL West: 4.61
NL East: 4.43

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Now, that doesn’t consider, say, the Arizona humidor, but whatever

10:30

DJ : You can ask a GM one thing and get a complete and honest answer: What is it

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: Do you like your job

10:30

THe law : Projections all show the 50th percentile, right? With that being said, because all of Giancarlo’s projections have him hitting ~55 HRs, is there a legitimate chance he could beat 73 this year?

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: You’d need a pretty low threshold for “legitimate”

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: He hit 59 while playing almost every single game last year

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Now he’s in a tougher division in a tougher league

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: And he just had a career-high HR/FB%

10:32

vince clortho: How about Swihart to improve the Nats catching situation? He’s out of options, and can start as a backup while getting some PAs in the outfield too. I doubt he’d cost much

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: Not at all clear Swihart would improve the Nats’ catching situation

10:33

Matt Klentak: With Eno & Dave leaving you have solidified your spot @ #1 Fangraphs chats. Congratulations.

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Can’t wait for the ceremony

10:34

Scott: I was surprised to hear on the Dbacks preview podcast that their 2017 pitching staff had one of the best seasons of all time by ERA+ (I think that was the stat, at least). Would you project them to be a top 5-10 pitching staff this season, or was it fluky?

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: I think they’re good! But I’m troubled by the lack of SP and RP depth. Good high-level talent, not a lot behind it

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Something like 10th feels about right

10:36

J. Peterman: Let’s say the Rays’ 4-man + bullpen game rotation yields strong results and they want to adopt it long term. What implications does that have on roster makeup? More starters proven to go late in games? More long relievers over situational guys? More pitchers and fewer hitters on the 25 man?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it actually changes that much; you basically just have a fifth starter who doesn’t go deep. But you’d see an extra multi-inning reliever or two on the roster, and there might be extra emphasis on collecting bullpen arms with options so that you can pull off a lot of Triple-A/MLB shuffling

10:37

GM: Have you ever seen anything like the Mets’ bad luck with injuries in the last few years? It looked like with Harvey, DeGrom, Thor, Matz, Wheeler, they’d have a contender for years to come. Has any team ever had a rash of injuries to such star players/prospects for such an extended period of time?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: The Mets

10:38

Mike: I would guess that learning to pitch with the same command and similar pitch behavior w/ less than full strength is really tough in terms of keeping delivery in sync, etc.

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Agreed. The key is to take something off of your fastball without just slowing your arm down. It’s not easy!

10:39

MambaBlack: Hey Jeff, wanted to know you’re opinion on Ronald Acuña. Do you think he can sustain the pace he’s set in the minors?

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: He’s extremely good, and he’s the probable NL Rookie of the Year, but I’d look for a wRC+ more in the 110-120 range than 140-150

10:39

mmddyyyy: Would moving the mound back an inch for 1 season benefit pitchers or hitters more?

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Hitters

10:40

mmddyyyy: When owners save money, does it trickle down to anybody?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: Every situation is different. Sometimes money gets reinvested in scouting, or tech. Sometimes money is saved for a future season when the team is competitive. Sometimes teams structure contracts to pay off signing bonuses or whatever in a low-payroll season. And sometimes the money just stays in the pockets of billionaires

10:41

Guest: Out of curiosity, is there a managing editor of fangraphs now? Will there be?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: Carson!

10:41

Chicks Dig The Long Ball: Do you avoid using the Burnside Bridge because of how it would essentially be obliterated in an earthquake? I know you are more of a volcano guy but fangraphs doesn’t have a specific earthquake guy.

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, almost everything in Portland is subject to earthquake-related obliteration

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: Nowhere is safe. The upside of the big one, though, is that I’d probably get a lot of time off

10:42

Matt: When we look back on this offseason, will the slow free agency be the start of a trend? Or an aberration?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: Free agency has definitely changed. I think we’ve finally gotten to a place where the market is no longer linear. I don’t know how long it might stay that way, but free agency will continue to be kind to stars. It will be tougher on everyone else

10:43

Joe: What impact (if any) will the late signing of Arrieta and Lynn have on their 2018 season?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: They’ll be fine

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: It’s Cobb who’s running out of time

10:44

mmddyyyy: Which comes first: Pitch clock or NL DH?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Pitch clock, without question

10:47

GSon: We (a group on an Indians forum) had a discussion regarding the final starting spot. The feeling is, merritt and tomlin just aren’t good enough, so something needs to be down. The argument arose when someone suggested the Rays sign Alex Cobb to a one year pillow deal, then trade him to the Indians for Ryan Merritt or Josh Tomlin, thus avoiding the loss of that coveted draft pick.  Some stated that was not allowed. While others said just have Cobb plus the Competitive Balance Lottery pick be part of the deal.  Who is right?.

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: I’m trying to find the clause about this in the CBA

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: I can’t! I wonder if it was removed

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: It *used* to be that you couldn’t trade a free agent without his written content until June 15

10:49
10:50

Jeff Sullivan: I would assume that’s probably still true. So you’d need Alex Cobb’s full buy-in

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Also, the Rays would still be trading Cobb for *something*, and that something wouldn’t have zero value

10:51

Big Joe Mufferaw: Hi, do you think this weak FA market makes it more likely for players to sign pre FA extensions, and teams more likely to start up talks with players?

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Suarez is some evidence

10:52

Dan: Re: Suarez/Senzel long term positioning – Suarez was a natural SS coming into the big leagues. Why not move Suarez back to SS if Senzel can’t hack it there? Senzel goes to 3B, Gennett keeps 2B warm for Shed Long. Thanks!

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Suarez rated as a below-average shortstop, and now he is older

10:53

Runelvys Gergich: Hey Jeff, maybe this is a silly question, but is there a place I can go for a summary breakdown of Zips vs. Steamer vs. FAN vs. Depth Chart? I feel like FG must have something on this but I haven’t found it yet.

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe this is what you’re looking for? https://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&type=fang…

10:53

Halo in there: Can you say something nice about the Angels?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: They are not bad

10:53

mmddyyyy: What would be the opposite of Arizona storing balls in a humidor?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Arizona storing humidors in a ball

10:54

John: Walker Buehler is basically in a perfect position to be used as a multi inning fireman this year right? Ridiculous stuff, stamina concerns, and a team trying to win now, with depth that’s willing to experiment.

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, the Dodgers are going to have fun with this

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: He’s like Font, but better

10:54

Jon: Stop putting out three 90 minute podcasts a week. I’ve been paying more attention to EW more than anything in my life this past week and I’m still not caught up. I assume it’s Ben forcing you to do this

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: It’s the damn team previews!

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: Only three of those episodes left. Then we should return to a more reasonable 60-75 minute average

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: These things are scheduling hell

10:55

Scott: What player is the opposite of Chris Devenski?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: Bo Jackson

10:55

Babe Lincoln: Does Zack Wheeler become a Devenski-type?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: If you just mean multi-inning reliever, it does look that way

10:56

Matt: The Reds rotation can’t possibly be as bad as it was last year, right? Is there anyone in that group whose ST performance has stood out to you as someome who could take a step forward, excepting Luis Castillo?

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: Mahle and Romano have done well

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: This is a rotation with real promise

10:57

Josh: Of the 5 divisions that seem to be a lock for one team (all but the AL east). Which team would you pick as the most likely to not win their division.

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Nationals

10:57

Anon: Effecively Wild is hands down the best baseball podcast.  How much work off-mike does it take to produce?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Less work for me than it is for Ben. Ben handles so much of the stuff behind the scenes. He’s amazing

10:58

Royal Pain: I think Jakob Junis has a good chance to be the Royals’ second best starting pitcher this year behind Danny Duffy. Am I crazy?

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: No, I like him too. That breaking ball is bananas

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve actually had a note written down here for like two months to write about him. Never found the right angle

10:59

pirates hurdles: Dave wrote about eliminating the draft quite often and included tiered amateur spending pools at 1st by record, later by market/revenue size. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/abolish-the-draft/

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: (regarding something from much earlier)

10:59

Derek: Do you think statcast data is changing how teams evaluate defense and that it’s contributing to decreasing free agent values?  Mike Moustakas’ UZR was bad, but I wonder if statcast showed his defense was even worse which further hurt potential contracts.

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure teams have done all that much with Statcast data and defenders in the infield

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: They’re definitely using it in the outfield

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you need Statcast to see that Moustakas had a rough 2017 in the field

11:00

Kyler: Speaking of over-reacting to ST performances…the Braves have to be excited about Preston Tucker, right? Only 1 strikeout in 37 PA. Showing good power. He’s hit in the minors so maybe there’s something there?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: I like him as a pickup. It’s too bad he’ll almost immediately be thrust into a part-time role

11:01

Just A Dude: Who finishes the season with a higher combined WAR? Folty/Newcomb or Teheran/McCarthy?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Teheran/McCarthy

11:01

Scott: Who misses the playoffs first: Dodgers or Cubs?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Cubs

11:01

Guest: hi Jeff, I ma in touch with Mike Podhorzer in regards to getting on the guest list for tomorrows Tout War draft.  He said to reach out to you because i want to attend starting at 9am.  What do I need to do?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: You’re looking for Jeff Zimmerman

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: I am Jeff Sullivan

11:02

Josh: Team projections that are way too high? Way too low?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll have a post about that next week

11:02

Q-Ball: Has your opinion of Shohei Ohtani changed since the beginning of spring training, and if so, how?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: No

11:02

brad: Jeff, regarding pitchers effort, I thought I read a few years ago that Strasburg’s dad said that Strasburg can throw 105MPH but he purposefully keeps it around 95 MPH to not get hurt.  Did you read that?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: I am extremely skeptical

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Stephen Strasburg has never thrown a major-league pitch harder than 101, which he did as a rookie

11:04

BK: Who would you rather have, Arrietta or Darvish given their contracts/draft attachment?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Darvish

11:04

Scott: Do you think any Astros pitcher ends up with more than 170 IP?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Verlander for sure

11:04

MD: Will you be drinking an honorary irish car bomb tomorrow for St Patty’s?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I’m 32, not 12

11:04

S: Would it be a good reason for a team with bad attendance to offer free admission?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I love the Orioles’ promotion. I wouldn’t extend free admission to everybody, but I’d let kids in

11:05

Donaldson Ducks: I’m not sure where Sheryl Ring came in contact with Fangraphs, but her articles are fascinating.

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t even realize before we had this void until Sheryl came and filled it

11:05

Scott: Do you have any pets? More of a dog or cat person?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: No/cat. I’m not a fan of neediness

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Applies the same to houseguests. I prefer cat guests over dog guests. Dog guests need too much attention

11:06

S: Is it possible Greg Holland could end up back in Colorado on a 1 year deal, or would he be better off seeking a closing job?

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t help Holland to be buried like that

11:07

Dan: Re: Cobb, maybe something in his medicals that isn’t public that is keeping him from getting signed? Or maybe willing to wait until after the draft to get the long term deal?

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: Seung-Hwan Oh found a major-league contract after literally failing a physical

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure what’s going on with Cobb. Last I heard he still wanted something unrealistic

11:07

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 — 3/16/18 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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Holy cow, there really is a baseball player named “Shed Long”.