Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/17/17 by Jeff Sullivan March 17, 2017 9:04 Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends 9:04 Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat 9:04 Bork: Hello, friend! 9:04 Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend 9:05 Jeff Sullivan: Your rare absences only serve to make me appreciate your presence all the more 9:05 Bork: Now that Mike Trout has been proven to be bad, will the Angels be trading him? 9:05 Jeff Sullivan: Never! 9:06 Jeff Sullivan: Although he’s due to hit free agency again going into his age-29 season, which is nuts 9:06 5 Run Homer: Next player to lead the AL in WAR not named Mike Trout and when? 9:06 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if Manny Machado will still be in the AL in three years, but there’s a guess. Same goes for Carlos Correa 9:06 Jeff Sullivan: When I look at those two players I see massive, massive, somewhat-untouched upside 9:07 Big Tuna: If you could only keep one at equal value: Salazar, Stroman, Fulmer? Thanks 9:07 Jeff Sullivan: This is a fantasy question but in real-life pitching I would say Stroman 9:07 Babe Lincoln: What percentage of chat questions about Team X come from Team X’s fans? 9:08 Jeff Sullivan: Well of course that’s impossible to know but probably 80-90%. Which is what you’d expect! And it’s helpful to gather all fans in this one place because sometimes fans of other teams want to learn about the rest of the baseball landscape but they don’t know what to ask about 9:08 Jeff Sullivan: Consider this an educational service, made possible by you asking a question about your own favorite team 9:09 Big Tuna: How much will Desmond’s injury affect his power? 9:11 Jeff Sullivan: This is speculative, but Desmond sustained a fracture to his index finger, basically. As far as his swing goes, that seems a lot better than an injury to, say, the wrist or forearm. I imagine he’ll be a little tentative about his grip at first, but it should all be short-term 9:12 Nick: Hi Jeff. Is Francisco Lindor now the best defensive shortstop in baseball, or does Andrelton Simmons still hold the top spot? 9:13 Jeff Sullivan: I’d say it’s still Simmons by a hair, but at some point soon their lines will intersect. Maybe this very season 9:13 Monsignor Martinez: Given the generally good state of the Mets rotation, would it be a good idea to use Matt Harvey is sort of a rhp version of Andrew Miller? Maybe save his arm and he can throw harder? 9:14 Jeff Sullivan: It’s way too soon to abandon Harvey as a starter, and he’d put up a hell of a fight given that he’s due for free agency in a couple of years. Can’t justify making that kind of call with someone fresh off surgery and pitching a little below previous levels in the middle of March 9:14 Jeff Sullivan: Give Harvey half a season and then re-evaluate based on what you’ve seen 9:15 python-r: Can we please start the season already? 9:15 Jeff Sullivan: Watch the WBC 9:15 Jeff Sullivan: or hockey. Watch hockey! 9:15 mtsw: Should the Red Sox try and resolve their Catcher logjam or just leave Swihart at AAA all year unless someone gets hurt? 9:16 Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t have to be all year. You can begin with Swihart at Triple-A and then watch closely to see if Sandy Leon can actually hit 9:16 Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think there are many people out there whose opinions were dramatically swayed by what Leon just did in the second half 9:18 Big Tuna: Is this a sign of Bryce from two years ago? The HR projection piece on Fangraphs suggested he’s more of a high 20s HR guy. 9:19 Jeff Sullivan: So, okay. On the one hand, this is clearly something very encouraging. Harper already has six ST home runs. He never before hit more than three. The power is present and you can’t not feel good 9:20 Jeff Sullivan: But then on the other hand, last year’s home-run leader in ST was Maikel Franco, with nine. He eventually slugged .427. Yan Gomes had a big spring training and a terrible year. 9:20 Jeff Sullivan: Relative to where we were a month ago, I’d say one’s expectations for Harper should be higher now by a bit. But he remains a fascinating mystery 9:21 mtsw: Worse fielder: Hanley in LF or Trumbo in RF? 9:21 Jeff Sullivan: Hanley, but Hanley was the kind of bad the Red Sox recognized as clearly unsustainable. Or, put another way, unplayable. He was *too* bad to keep in the outfield 9:22 Jeff Sullivan: Trumbo is a dangerous kind of bad, because he’s probably still going to play outfield again. He doesn’t look so visually embarrassing, which makes it easier to keep running him out there, at the team’s own detriment 9:22 Big Tuna: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA tournament? 9:22 Jeff Sullivan: the Ottawa Senators! 9:22 python-r: What’s the word on Michael Brantley? Think Cleveland should look for a new LF – somebody along the lines of a Seth Smith? 9:23 Jeff Sullivan: The Indians don’t have a reason right now to add to their outfield picture, but Brantley is a huge question mark. Maybe similar to Matt Harvey in a way. You have to clear a path for the player to contribute, because the player has been so very damn good before, but you also have to be prepared to use a fallback option in case Brantley’s shoulder doesn’t let him swing like he used to 9:24 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Indians would have interest in a player as defensively limited as Smith 9:25 Big Tuna: Are Salazar’s high walk numbers this spring a sign his elbow might still not be healthy or is he just always going to be very wild? 9:25 Jeff Sullivan: No one has ever confused Danny Salazar for a pitcher with pinpoint command 9:26 Matt Damon: Simple question. Will Kevil Pillar be a better hitter this year than any other year in the bigs? 9:26 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so. I don’t see enough upside in his approach 9:27 JT: Does this spring training feel especially meaningless and draining? Or is it just me? 9:28 Jeff Sullivan: Spring training usually gets to exist in isolation. It’s baseball, and there is no other baseball. This time around it’s contrasted with the passion of the WBC. The WBC is great! And spring training is unwatchable 9:28 Jeff Sullivan: Not that spring training itself isn’t a worthwhile destination for a week-long trip or whatever, but no one who even goes to spring-training games is closely watching the action 9:29 Legs Larry Smith: What are the chances that a new pitch (defined by a unique grip and/or arm motion) will be added to the current MLB repertoire? What would it likely look like? Which of the current pitches is the newest? 9:29 Jeff Sullivan: Realistically I don’t think there’s room for a new pitch. Everything has been tried. You could see pitch “comebacks” like with the screwball or the classic forkball, but all the achievable movement profiles already exist 9:30 BrotherMan: Is it irrational to credit Kiley with signing Bartolo and all the other Braves’ successes and blame dinosaur FO members for the failures? 9:30 Jeff Sullivan: Yes but who cares 9:30 The Cincinnati Kid: Three players that have genuinely impressed you this Spring are: _________, _________, and shockingly, ____________. 9:30 Jeff Sullivan: Do you think I’m actually paying that close attention to spring training? 9:30 Jeff Sullivan: If you just mean recent baseball, then I suppose Drew Smyly, Manny Machado, and oh what the hell Bryce Harper 9:31 Jeff Sullivan: Machado and Harper were already super good. Smyly left me actually impressed 9:31 Matt: Where is the point where added fastball velocity has diminishing returns? 9:39 Jeff Sullivan: Jesus, sorry about that 9:39 Jeff Sullivan: Just had a massive power outage and couldn’t get back online 9:39 Jeff Sullivan: That’s a first! 9:40 Jeff Sullivan: Okay so back to the question from nine minutes ago 9:40 Jeff Sullivan: I think adding a tick probably makes the biggest difference somewhere around 89 or 90. So anything beyond that would technically show diminishing returns, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking about. Adding a tick is probably just about negligible close to 105 or 106 9:41 Jbo: What am I missing in Jason Castro’s batted-ball profile that says “I’m a .220 hitter”? 9:41 Jeff Sullivan: It’s not so much his batted-ball profile as it is his profile of limited batted balls in the first place 9:42 Jeff Sullivan: He strikes out almost a third of the time that he hits. Good luck turning that into batting .250 9:43 bosoxforlife: Seth Lugo had another fine start in the WBC. He keeps getting no love from the evaluators despite doing the job last year and having the great spin rate. Is he real? 9:43 Jeff Sullivan: He’s fine. I don’t think he’s actually good yet as a big-league starting pitcher. No. 6 kind of guy 9:43 Johnny Walker Black: He is no longer on 40 man roster but what are the chances Byung Ho Park beats out Kennys Vargas for DH position coming out of ST for Minny? If he does, do you think he holds the position all season and how well do you expect him to perform? 9:44 Jeff Sullivan: So, I don’t have inside Twins intel, but it does seem like Park has hit his way back into the picture. And I consider myself a Park optimist. But the fact that he was dropped like he was suggests that, even if he does win the job, he won’t have much in the way of job security. If he struggled in April or May, he’d be out of a job again 9:45 Mike: Do you think Franklin Barreto will see major-league time this year? 9:45 Jeff Sullivan: Not enough to matter 9:45 Jordan: Have you been watching much WBC? Dominican reliever Enny Romero has impressed me, but then I look at the career BB/9… 9:45 Jeff Sullivan: Stuff, very clearly, isn’t the question with him 9:45 Evil Goatee Jeff: What is your take on the Padres outfield? 9:45 Jeff Sullivan: Underrated, and underratedly interesting. It’s not actually *good* good, not right now, but it could be 9:46 Jeff Sullivan: It’s really easy to write the Padres off as an awful club, and the starting rotation is really quite dreadful. But the more I’ve looked at the position players, the more intrigued I’ve become 9:46 2-D: Do you think you can throw harder than Scott Kazmir right now? 9:46 Jeff Sullivan: I know that I cannot 9:46 The Cincinnati Kid: Is Ivan Nova legit in Pittsburgh? ’16 2nd half looked great, this Spring looks even better 9:46 Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s a zone-pounding No. 3. 9:48 Mt Lebo Blue Devil: Does Ahmed or K Marte head to the Padres? If so, is the other in AAA? 9:49 Jeff Sullivan: Usually I would bet against any sort of intradivision trade like that but I could see Ahmed getting flipped. Not so much Marte, who the D-Backs just went after on purpose 9:49 Jay: Is Taijuan Walker having another desert mirage spring or is there some significant change that might actually care over into April? 9:49 Jeff Sullivan: He’s done this before. He’s even been amazing for stretches before. Start to get excited if he strings together two successful months 9:49 Galvanic: What are the chances Smyly keeps his velo in the 94 range this year? Or was it a symptom of knowing he was only throwing 60 pitches. 9:50 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anyone should expect Smyly to hover around 94. It would be very reasonable to expect him to hover around 91, and perhaps even 92. That’s what he’s done now for two brief starts in a row 9:50 Jeff Sullivan: Given that he was at 90 before, this could be huge 9:51 kramer: best single tool ever? 9:51 Jeff Sullivan: Barry Bonds’ bat speed 9:51 Jeff Sullivan: Best current tool is Giancarlo Stanton’s power 9:51 Jeff Sullivan: Just based on exit velocities, he’s even more exceptional than Aroldis Chapman 9:52 R: on a scale of snowflake to triggered what are you today? 9:52 Jeff Sullivan: I shouldn’t be subjected to questions like this in my safe space 9:53 TooDamnTall: If (big if) aging curves start going up and players can extend their playing times to older ages, do you think we would see older prospects? Would players be given more time to develop since there could be more time for them to be productive? 9:54 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it would change development patterns too much. If a player develops steadily, that player will come up when he’s ready. If a player plateaus for a while, well, teams have limited patience, because there’s a premium on organizational roster space 9:54 Hi Jeff: What does a peak Bundy season look like? 9:54 Jeff Sullivan: Ace-level starting pitcher, like with many starting pitchers. Few players ever experience even one full season at their peaks 9:55 The Cincinnati Kid: Can Reed wrestle the starting job away from Gurriel this year? If so, what date is he the “starter” going forward? 9:55 Jeff Sullivan: I mean, sure, he could, but Gurriel is going to be given a long leash. Might instead see playing time get chipped away from Evan Gattis 9:55 Jeff Sullivan: That team has too many damn hitters 9:55 Josh: Which WBC team is your favorite? 9:56 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I have a favorite. I like all the teams! But I *more* like the teams composed of players who have actually lived in their countries 9:56 2-D: How confident are you in Cleveland’s internal options if Kipnis misses significant time? 9:56 Jeff Sullivan: Not very, because he is good, and the replacements are not so good 9:57 TapeyBeercone: Will Ian Happ find a home in Chicago, or is he destined to be traded for an arm? 9:58 Jeff Sullivan: Right now it’s a coin flip for me, but he’s still at least a year away, so there’s plenty of time for circumstances to change. We should wait for him to hit at an advanced level before we assume he’ll be good in the majors 9:59 bosoxforlife: Is Las Vegas worse than the other PCL venues or is evaluating pitching the same in the entire league. First deGrom, and now Gsellman and possibly Lugo show nothing there, get called up only in desperation then look like major leaguers from day one. 10:00 Jeff Sullivan: Vegas is bad. Colorado Springs is bad. Albuquerque is bad. Reno is bad. Iowa is fine! Memphis is fine! Basically, it all depends 10:01 Reptar: Why don’t we see more 5-6 game consecutive series in the season? Especially with division rivals? Would cut down on travel days and ensure 10:03 Jeff Sullivan: Baseball needs to have games every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to maximize attendance. If you stretch a series beyond four games, then you’re shrinking the other series of the week, making travel more annoying. And if you just played week-long series against a common opponent, that would probably get boring for people 10:03 Jeff Sullivan: You’re right that it would result in fewer trips, I believe, but do you really want to see the Cardinals and the Brewers play seven times in seven days in the middle of June? 10:03 JRuby: 2015 = year of pitch framing 2016 = year of spin rate 2017 = year of launch angle 2018 = year of… what? 10:03 Jeff Sullivan: Looking forward to free agency 10:04 mtsw: Is Scott Schebler anything? ZiPS has him projected to hit 20 HR which seems hilariously optimistic. 10:05 Jeff Sullivan: He was basically already on a 20-homer pace. He could be an average regular 10:06 Fleshy Pad: Is there any evidence that suggests pitchers have “down” years after pitching deep into playoffs the previous season because of the extra wear? on their arm? I tried googling but couldn’t find anything 10:06 Jeff Sullivan: I just found an old post from one Paul Sporer! https://paulsporer.com/2011/11/23/is-playoff-hangover-real-for-starting-pitchers/ 10:07 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t remember ever seeing anything conclusive. There’s anecdotal evidence in either direction, and it makes sense those innings wouldn’t come with *zero* cost, but I wouldn’t really worry about it in general 10:08 Ronnie: I was playing around with the RBI% page on baseball musings and noticed that Adam Dunn (13.28) & Juan Pierre (13.17) have eerily similar career marks. No question. 10:08 Jeff Sullivan: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/adam-dunn-juan-pierre-why-we-need-wins-above-replacement-stat/ 10:08 Matt (no the other one): I was looking at Cubs SP depth recently, and you practically have to go down to AA to find someone who is not both white and American. 10:08 Jeff Sullivan: Most baseball players in the majors are white Americans 10:09 Turd Ferguson: Where does Brad Brach rank around non closing relievers? Third behind Miller and Betances? 10:10 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s a clear third. There are a lot of really outstanding relievers. Brach might not even be better than a healthy Darren O’Day (who is great) 10:11 Stuafoo: Do you think it would be possible for a pitcher to be a star without ever throwing a fastball? Let’s say their fastest pitch tops out at 83 mph. 10:11 Jeff Sullivan: So, peak RA Dickey threw like 20% fastballs. Averaged 84mph. That might be the best we can do 10:12 Jeff Sullivan: Other pitches are effective because of how they compare to fastballs. Hitters go up looking fastball, and then they adjust. If you strip the fastball away completely, it’s impossible to know what effect that would have. Maybe you use a cutter, but a cutter is basically a type of a fastball. And hitters would then sit on the cutter and adjust instead 10:12 Jeff Sullivan: So I want to say no, unless you have a knuckleballer who throws like 80% knucklers and 20%…sliders? 10:12 v2micca: We often talk about a prospect’s upside, but how rare is it for a prospect to actually realize his upside? 10:12 Jeff Sullivan: Extremely rare 10:13 Jeff Sullivan: Although I guess it depends on what you mean. It’s extremely, extremely rare that a player reaches his ceiling. Ceilings set an impossible bar. But realistic upside — like the 75th percentile outcome or whatever — that happens plenty more 10:13 Stuafoo: How is it that Tom Tango’s real name hasn’t been made public? Just based on the sheer number of organizations he’s worked for it feels like it would have leaked by now. Or is it some kind of legal pseudonym? Like, is that what his checks are made out to? 10:14 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t actually know how deep it goes — I don’t know if he’s Tom Tango to his employers. But there’s not really any public interest in knowing his true identity. If he were a government official, there would’ve been a leak by now. But in this case, who could actually care? 10:15 Brandon Juice Geluso: Hypothetical….Would you take the 2005 yankees prospect class over their current one? (ie knowing Cano would be a HoFer but a meh class overall) 10:15 Jeff Sullivan: Cano, Hughes, Melky, Wang… 10:16 Jeff Sullivan: I’d take that over what the Yankees presently have in the minors. Which sounds disappointing, maybe, but prospects are almost never as good as Cano became 10:16 TapeyBeercone: Is Hwang the hwight fit to start the season at 3B for SF? 10:16 Jeff Sullivan: Probably Nunez, but I’d like to see Hwang as a versatile bench guy 10:16 St. Patrick: Michael Brantley going to make an impact this year? 10:16 Jeff Sullivan: Well he’ll either make an impact on the Indians or he’ll make an impact on their opponents 10:17 mtsw: Is Trayce Thompson healthy enough to be a regular for the Dodgers this year? 10:17 Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t count on anyone outside of Pederson to be a true Dodgers outfield “regular” 10:17 Bork: The last Irish born person to play in the MLB was Joe Cleary in 1945. He pitched .1 innings and had an ERA of 189 allowing 7 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. Could you pitch better then Joe Cleary? Could you pitch better then Joe Cleary drunk? 10:17 Jeff Sullivan: Hell, I’ll say it. Yes! Yes, I could pitch better than a 189.00 ERA 10:18 Jeff Sullivan: Take that, Joe Cleary! Sullivan’s coming for you 10:18 5 Run Homer: What does Toronto do when Justin Smoak plays like Justin Smoak? 10:18 Jeff Sullivan: Use Steve Pearce at first base more and hope that Melvin Upton does better 10:18 jerb: Jeff, Loved your article on CarMart. If he can start taking down lefties with regularity, do you think he becomes a perennial CY contender? 10:19 Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, at that point he’s definitely in the conversation. Question is whether he can actually do that, which is why I offered the Scherzer alternative. Upside in either direction! 10:20 Guest: Statcast data is undoubtedly cool and will provide a ton of new insight, but do you expect it to lead it to any drastically different conclusions with regards to predictive evaluations of players? I.e. do you expect it to unearth anything radical like Miggy isn’t a good hitter or is it just the next step in fine-tuning an already good set of analytical tools? 10:21 Jeff Sullivan: Mostly fine-tuning. I think it’s interesting to note that projections haven’t really gotten markedly better over the last decade or so. All this new knowledge and still players are collectively tough to predict. One big potential consequence is going to be on hitting — you’re clearly seeing more and more hitters talking about the importance of launch angle. The fly balls are coming, and without Statcast, I don’t know if that happens 10:21 Andrew: If Giolito ends up never being a productive starter, will the Eaton trade still be viewed as win for the Sox? 10:22 Jeff Sullivan: Well, I like Reynaldo Lopez more than Giolito anyway. But if Giolito is nothing, then the pressure is really on him. So it would be tough to do 10:22 dave in slc: which mariner pitcher has the better year of Paxton and Smyly? Is felix still the best pitcher on the staff? 10:22 Jeff Sullivan: Paxton 10:22 Jeff Sullivan: Paxton Paxton Paxton 10:22 Jeff Sullivan: I am all in on James Paxton 10:24 Robin: Dipoto said the Ms targeted eight guys going into the offseason and got them all. Any guesses on who the eight are? 10:24 Jeff Sullivan: Oy. Okay, let’s see 10:24 Jeff Sullivan: In no order: 10:24 Jeff Sullivan: Smyly 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Dyson 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Ruiz 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Valencia 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Segura 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Haniger 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Simmons and Rzepczynski? 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: Last two are clearly guesses. Maybe De Jong 10:26 JT: Are park effects TOO harsh on coors field? 10:26 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know. They remain the most poorly-understood park factors, at least 10:26 Jake: Better career wRC+: Nomar Mazara or Miguel Sano? 10:26 Jeff Sullivan: Sano, but Mazara might become the better overall player 10:26 Zihuatenejo: Have we already seen Puig’s best season? 10:26 Jeff Sullivan: Yes 10:27 Todd Gack: Which pre-1980 player do you most wish you could have seen in person? 10:27 Jeff Sullivan: Ted Williams, for sure 10:27 Daniel Carroll: When the M’s signed Nelson Cruz, I wondered if it was Spanish for “Richie Sexson,” and worried about a sudden power drop. Cruz’s spring and WBC have me feeling a lot better about his 2017 prospects. Spring stats don’t matter, though, so should I really be this encouraged? 10:28 Jeff Sullivan: I felt the same way. Right now there’s no sign of imminent decline. Age is the only concern here, but Cruz seems as good as he’s ever been. He’s atypical in that way 10:28 bosoxforlife: Yes, I know it’s ST, but the Yankees are scaring the dickens out of me. Could they be pushing their arrival amongst the contenders up to this season? 10:28 Jeff Sullivan: They are a contender, for the WC 10:29 Terry’s Sarape: Has anyone ever looked at two different paths to the same stat? Like two players who had completely different paths to a .900 OPS or 6 WAR or whatever? 10:29 Jeff Sullivan: Re-link to the earlier post about Dunn and Pierre! 10:29 JKD: Harvey isn’t a reliever, and if he can’t throw hard, he won’t throw hard as a reliever. But, given the time it’ll take to see just how back he is, having Seth Lugo to piggyback for a few innings (and profit on the LHH-heavy lineups) at the first sign of trouble wouldn’t be an awful plan. 10:29 Jeff Sullivan: You could even imagine the Mets trying a six-man rotation, but piggybacking with Lugo isn’t a bad idea 10:29 It’s only Spring: But boy oh boy does Broxton look great. What % confident are you he becomes a star this year? 10:29 Jeff Sullivan: Star is subjective. I have maybe way too much confidence he’s worth 3+ WAR 10:30 Jeff Sullivan: I just don’t really see holes outside of his strikeouts, and then I’m reminded of Mike Cameron. Broxton’s defense seems legit 10:30 Matt: Thanks to the prospect list, this has been asked a lot. But would YOU rather hold onto Benintendi or Moncada? 10:30 Jeff Sullivan: I would, yes 10:30 Brett W: You’ve said at least twice in chats that, if you were to GM, you would select San Diego due to low expectations. I just wanted to remind you that we believe in you, Jeff Sullivan. 10:30 Jeff Sullivan: DON’T PUT THAT PRESSURE ON ME 10:31 Jake: O/U starts for David Price in 2017: 25.5? 10:31 Jeff Sullivan: Over 10:31 Terry’s Sarape: Which player has had the most surprisingly decent career? 10:31 Jeff Sullivan: He’s not current anymore but David Eckstein never should’ve been as good as he was 10:32 Jeff Sullivan: And Mark Buehrle squeezed every last drop out of that skillset he had 10:32 I Need a Name: Who is hockey’s version of Mike Trout? 10:32 5 Run Homer: Always watch hockey when possible, unless baseball is available. Watch Connor McDavid, AKA 2012 Mike Trout 10:32 Best bet: To become an ace this year: Nola, Stroman, Paxton, Bundy. Assuming health is good for all… 10:32 Jeff Sullivan: Paxtonnnnnnnnnn 10:32 Jeff Sullivan: But also Nola I guess because healthy Nola is outstanding 10:33 Cason Jollette : Do you think Sano will bounce back? 10:33 Jeff Sullivan: I think as he matures, he’ll develop a fuller understanding of the strike zone, and his strikeouts will come down even as his contact rate remains bad 10:33 Naveen: Who was playing third base when you were campaigning on Justin Leone’s behalf? Jeff Cirillo? 10:34 Jeff Sullivan: And Scott god damned Spiezio 10:34 Brett W: Most likely to “blow it up” at the trade deadline: Miami, Arizona, Detroit, Kansas City, Baltimore, or Seattle? 10:34 Jeff Sullivan: KC 10:34 Terry’s Sarape: What, besides speed, are the biggest factors in an OF’s high UZR? 10:34 Jeff Sullivan: Throwing arm, I guess 10:34 Jeff Sullivan: Look what it just did for Adam Eaton 10:34 Nelson: I read a few things that said Quintana’s performance in the WBC enhanced his trade value. Do you agree? 10:34 Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t need the help 10:35 R: If you think Bryce is a high 20s HR guy you’ve never seen him play. 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: In fairness he has exceeded 24 homers once 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: His career average is 26 homers per 600 PA 10:35 Joe: How has your enjoyment of the WBC been compared to what you expected going in? 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: I already liked the WBC, but it had been so long I needed a refresher course. It’s so much fun 10:36 bosoxforlife: The Yankees appear to be improving rapidly but the Red Sox are already there. Who is going to hold the hammer between 2018-2021? 10:36 Jeff Sullivan: there’s no way I can pretend to know what the league is going to look like in two to six years 10:36 Jeff Sullivan: The answer is probably both of them, because they are similarly resourced 10:36 Super Weenie Hut Jr.: Does it surprise you of the perception change in the WBC? It has gone to silly to must-watch postseason baseball in the preseason. 10:37 Jeff Sullivan: People who said it was silly were wrong. They just misunderstood the point 10:37 Kevin: Obviously either can work, but with Travis exploring the idea of Atlanta drafting a ton of pitchers to brace for attrition, it got me thinkin’. Which makes more sense: the Cubs’ approach of developing young position players and then buying pitching, or the Mets’ approach of developing young pitchers and then buying position players? Yes this is an over-simplification of those two teams’ recent histories, but set that aside for now: which is better? 10:37 Jeff Sullivan: Always better to bet on young position players, and then go buy proven pitching. But in reality circumstances aren’t that black and white; a good young position player and a good young pitcher are not equivalently easy to acquire 10:37 Maxamuz: Does Franco ever take the step forward to be a superstar? 10:37 Jeff Sullivan: Superstar? No 10:38 Nobody Knows: Who will be the most interesting Dodger to watch this year? Hill, Urias, Bellinger, Dayton, Seager, someone else? 10:38 Jeff Sullivan: Hill is objectively the most interesting, but Seager is the best, so it’s a matter of personal taste I suppose 10:38 Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: If the Braves have their eyes on competing in 2018 who do they target on the trade or free agent markets next winter? 10:38 Jeff Sullivan: Someone Archer-y 10:38 Cason Jollette: Is health the only thing holding Stanton back at this point? Isn’t improbable to consider a young hitter injury prone? 10:38 Jeff Sullivan: Stanton + health = superhero 10:39 JKD: Regardless of how the Christian Bethancourt experiment works out, is there really any downside to marginal players who are positionally limited, seeing if they can pitch passably? Being a second backup 1B with league-average-ish hitting line means you’re rarely rostered, but a league-average backup 1B with league-average-ish hitting and below-average-but-useful pitching is a very very good use of a roster spot. 10:40 Jeff Sullivan: It’s a question of balance. It’s hard to be decent at hitting and pitching at the same time. Especially if you aren’t unusually talented, and the players with the most talent are already starters somewhere. Bethancourt might be able to learn to pitch fairly well, but will that come at the expense of his already mediocre offense? Not sure. But I love to see the attempt 10:40 Kelly: Encouraging to see (as a Mariners fan) about Smyly’s velocity. How sustainable have these velocity spikes proven to be in the past? Related, as a pessimistic Mariners fan, any chance those Petco readings were off? 10:40 Jeff Sullivan: Felix’s readings looked normal in the same game, so I think Smyly’s boost was real. Adrenaline was some kind of factor, as he reached his peak velocity with his final fastball, but I buy him as having improved a tick or two 10:41 Galvanic: I will ask a question about my non favorite team, when does Altuve start being bad at baseball? 10:41 Jeff Sullivan: Seven or eight years 10:41 Reptar: One of the highlights of my trip to the Philippines was visiting Taal Volcano. It features what is technically an island inside a lake inside an island inside a lake inside an island. The Earth is awesome. 10:41 Jeff Sullivan: It’s a volcanic nesting doll! 10:41 Jeff Sullivan: A very dangerous sort of nesting doll 10:42 McFly: Was Villar’s breakout last year just due to an unsustainable high BABIP versus RHP or is this a repeatable skill? 10:43 Jeff Sullivan: His right-handed swing improved and he already had some speed and pop. He’s not *that* good of a player but I do buy him as a decent regular 10:43 AO: What do the Dodgers do with their 19 outfielders? 10:43 Jeff Sullivan: Keep some number of them at any one time in the minors or on the DL 10:43 Guest: How much synergy do you think there is to be gained from building a stylistically complimentary baseball team? (Thinking Mariners outfield with flyball staff or other similar concepts) Can a team built in a specific style significantly outperform the summation of individual projections by leveraging complementary skills? Debating a friend – he thinks team composition is critical and I fall more on the side of the synergy is fringe and value is value. Curious as to your thoughts. Thanks, Jeff. 10:44 Jeff Sullivan: There is value to be gained if you put a bunch of complementary pieces together, but the downside is in limiting the pool of players you can try to acquire. Like, if you’re trying to pair FB pitchers with good defensive outfielders, then you’ll looking only at speedsters and fly-ball pitchers. So you’re ignoring other kinds of talent, which is a modest detriment, at least in theory 10:45 Luke: I know this has been discussed before, but I’m curious which spring training stats are predictive for regular season success and which aren’t. 10:45 Jeff Sullivan: Mostly, just don’t bother, assuming velocity readings don’t count as spring-training stats. But pay attention if you see a big change in strikeout rate 10:45 JT: Trumbo atleast knows how to play the outfield. Hanley genuinely looked like he had never played outfield at any level of baseball in his life 10:45 Jeff Sullivan: And yet Trumbo has been almost that bad. Amazing! 10:46 Caligula: You can tell the season is about to start based on the heavy amount of fantasy questions in chats this week. Thanks for the fantasy free zone. 10:46 Jeff Sullivan: I’d like to repeat for people: I don’t avoid fantasy questions out of being a jerk. I just genuinely don’t know how to answer them, because I don’t play fantasy baseball, and there are so many details that I don’t want to give bad advice 10:47 Marcus: Why has fangraphs gone to such great lengths to ignore the Fernandez report. People such as yourself were building shrines to honor this man, but now that it’s found out he drove the boat and killed 2 others and left a child behind it’s radio silence 10:47 Jeff Sullivan: This is a baseball-analysis website, not a baseball-commentary website. If you are looking for baseball commentary, there is no shortage of outlets 10:47 Jeff Sullivan: Whether that’s how we *ought* to operate, I don’t know, but it’s the model 10:48 Jeff Sullivan: Even when the accident was first reported, we basically focused on the loss to the baseball community, since that’s all we know 10:48 Terry’s Sarape: How will the HOF re-sort their criteria for Starting pitchers in a generation of pitch counts and innings limits? Will they use WAR? Will it be measured in “Kershaws” i.e. 85% of Kershaw’s career gets you in? 300 wins seems nearly unattainable… 10:49 Jeff Sullivan: It’s a legitimate question and I don’t know the answer yet. It’s going to require a shift among the voting pool, which is gradually taking place. But as you know, the current bar for pitchers is already way too high 10:49 The Tone: So I’m not NOT concerned about Matt Harvey right now, but it’s also March 17th and this is his first pitching action against actual hitters in like 8 months. There’s plenty of time for the velocity to creep up, and for those pointing to the middling spring training results/stats, why are we supposed to take those any more seriously than guys who are in the “best shape of their lives” hitting like .400 over 35 at bats in the spring? You can’t think one set of statistics is useless and simultaneously think the other set is indicative of what regular season performance will be like. 10:50 Jeff Sullivan: There’s an important reminder in here: we do want to make big deals of what’s happening right now, because it’s all we have. But this is still pre-baseball. Velocities are generally down in March and April, rising through the summer. No opinions should have drastically shifted from where they were in January 10:50 BrotherMan: RE: Hanley Remember when he used to play SS? 10:50 Jeff Sullivan: Michael Morse was a shortstop 10:51 Jeff Sullivan: When Jim Thome was 18, he was also a shortstop! 10:51 StewZilla: Is Andrew Triggs going to put up decent numbers? 10:52 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know that he is, but I do believe that he’s capable. Ultimately though he’s so new to starting I can’t predict how well his body will hold up 10:52 wizard: See anything in C.J. Cron this year? I’m noting multi-year improvement in ratios, batting eye, and hard contact that suggest he could break out this year if given PT… 10:52 Jeff Sullivan: It’s weird to me that he’s been kind of marginalized. I get that he’s not a great player, but he’s gotten better, and you’d think the Angels would want to make more use of that. But I guess right now he serves as useful depth 10:53 BrotherMan: It’s unfortunate the best part of hockey kicks off the same time as the MLB season 10:53 Jeff Sullivan: Of course, it’s also the worst part of the MLB season 10:54 libre: If you had to make a one-hour presentation to a possible future employer about why they should hire you, what would it include? 10:54 Jeff Sullivan: My name 10:54 Henry Rowengartner: How do you see the logjam at outfield for the Mets playing out say a month or two into the season? 10:54 Jeff Sullivan: Odds are decent there’ll be some sort of injury, even if it’s to Duda, forcing an OF to first 10:55 mtsw: How do you expect Steve Pearce to be used in Toronto? He seems to me like he’s sort of out-of-the-loop in their depth chart right now, especially considering he had like a 150 wRC+ with Tampa before getting hurt last season. 10:55 Jeff Sullivan: Insurance in lots of places, and most importantly 1B and LF 10:55 Scott: What kind of season would you like to see from Keon to justify your love? 10:55 Jeff Sullivan: 100 wRC+ with good baserunning and defense 10:55 Jeff Sullivan: Ideally, of course, he hits even better than that. I know that he’s capable 10:55 Terry’s Sarape: Is command more important than control for a SP? RP? 10:56 Jeff Sullivan: Command is always more important. It’s not really possible to have command without control. Having control is like being a med student. Having command is like being a doctor 10:56 Jeff Sullivan: All right, I do need to get rolling in anticipation of a busy afternoon 10:57 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. Sorry for the power outage in the middle of this!