Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/24/17

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:03
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:03
Bork: Hello Friend

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Impostor!

9:04
Matt: What are your thoughts on Anthony Rendon for 2017?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: I like him very much, as always. In a way playing for the Nationals does him a disservice, because they have so many top players he can’t stand out from the pack

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: He’s going to continue to be one of the game’s premier across-the-board contributors

9:05
Ned Yost: Do you think Michael Feliz will be a game changer in the Astros bullpen this year?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Well, I think he’s going to be one of several quality relievers out there. And I love that he can go multiple innings at a time

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I know that there are a lot of deep bullpens these days. The Astros might have the deepest one

9:07
Bork: So Mike Trout is good at baseball.

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: The Earth is good at spinning

9:07
Raindog: Percent chance an Oriole leads the league in HR for the 5th year in a row?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Chris Davis projected to hit the most dingers. There’s another Oriole in the top 10, and *another* Oriole just outside of it

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll go 33%

9:10
Brett W: Inspired by Jonah Keri. Mike Trout and Yunel Escobar for Kris Bryant and Jon Jay. Who says no?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: ugh, dang it

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: ok

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Four years of an expensive Trout, vs. five years of an expensive but less-expensive Bryant

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Trout’s *better*, but…by how much is he…arg I hate this

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I still think you keep Trout, because he’s the better player, in the better league, with better bat-to-ball skills. But this almost couldn’t be closer

9:13
Jerry: Is a run in the first inning as important as a run in the ninth? Is a W in game one as important as a W in game 162?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Not enough information. It’s entirely a matter of leverage

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Some runs in the ninth are extremely important. Some runs in the ninth are extremely irrelevant. All runs in the first are more or less modestly important

9:15
IsBrittonInYet: On Toronto radio this morning, Mark Shapiro called Zeke Carrera “a darling of the analytics world.” Seems a little odd. What are your thoughts on Zeke?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: There must be another analytics world, a second analytics world, that studies something other than professional baseball

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t hit the ball very hard. Statcast doesn’t love his defense. The other numbers don’t love his defense. He’s 30 years old, having averaged 0.9 WAR per 600 plate appearances

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I know that last year there were some signs of life, but I just don’t really get it here

9:17
Aron: Why are you so much higher on Paxton than some others? What gives others pause but not you?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t speak for everyone but Paxton doesn’t have a long track record of health or strikes. I can’t predict his health, but everything about what he did on the field last season was extremely encouraging

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a big believer in his adjusted mechanics. I think he looks a lot smoother, and it simply changed the game for him

9:18
Robin: Thoughts on Vogelbach’s demotion? Change how you think about the M’s offseason?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Not really, because I never thought Vogelbach was very good. Valencia is just as good, and Vogelbach still has time. He’ll be back up eventually

9:19
Insano in the Membrane: How much of a difference in team K% over the course of a season can be expected by replacing a sub average pitch framing catcher with an above average option? (Cough Twins Cough)

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Probably something in the vicinity of 1%. Would be worth a quick study. You’d also have a little drop in walk rate. Small differences over a large sample of time

9:21
Ghost of Greg Maddux Past: Where do you think Derek Norris ends up?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Tom Murphy is hurt and I’m pretty sure he has options, so I could easily see Norris scooting over to Colorado

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of a similar player to Murphy anyhow, and it would be good for the Rockies’ depth, and for Norris’ hopes of bouncing back at the plate

9:23
Phanatic: Any chance the phils trade galvis to San Diego or the Yankees before the season?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, decent chance. The presence of someone like Nick Ahmed muddies the waters a bit, but there’s obviously a small market of teams who could use an immediate SS boost

9:24
Hi Jeff : Over/under 3.50era and 180K for Bundy and the new old cutter?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Bundy is going to be much worse than those numbers

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: A 3.50 ERA with the Orioles, in their ballpark and division, would reflect borderline ace-hood

9:25
Fantasy Qs?: Jeff, after seeing you demure on fantasy questions, I am curious to know why you don’t play fantasy baseball–tried it and didn’t like it? never tried it? Why?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Have played it, don’t play it. When I’m done with baseball work, I don’t want to continue to have to think about baseball. I have other interests and a strong desire to be able to close my laptop

9:26
Kerry: Which hitting/pitching statistics are from spring training are predictive in terms of regular season success? Which aren’t?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Just as a general rule, you’d be fine if you ignored everything. Literally everything. You wouldn’t get left behind. But if you insist on finding an indicator of something, look at strikeout rates. Or, if you have enough info, ball-in-play rates. And obviously, for pitchers, velocity changes matter

9:28
cJ: Is playing in Coors driving Arenado’s WAR down somehow? I feel like there’s some kind of disconnect between his baseball card stats, defense based on eye test and where he landed on the 2016 WAR rankings.

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a school of thought that we’re too harsh on Rockies hitters because we adjust for Coors but don’t really adjust for the Coors hangover effect. To be completely honest the whole thing ties my brain into a pretzel and I find it challenging to think around. But Coors is, of course, an extremely hitter-friendly environment, and that much we’re certain of

9:29
English Bob: Can Renfroe blossom in to stardom with just a modest improvement to his plate discipline?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Subjective terms in here. You’d have to define “stardom” and “modest.” He could be something like Adam Duvall

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously, there’s upside beyond that, since Renfroe has good power and going deep is the best way to accumulate value fast

9:32
Zock Jr.: Jeff, have you seen the weirdness that goes down in Eno’s chats? It’s absolutely glorious and absolutely fills me with existential dread for our species.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Chats? It’s baseball chats that make you worry for our species?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, Zock. There are so many valid reasons to worry for our species.

9:35
Brett W: Who do you prefer: Mike Trout, or a player named Jeff Hy-Bridich who has Christian Yelich’s bat, Kevin Kiermaier’s defense, and Albert Almora’s service time?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Running the numbers, the latter player would be something like a 7 – 7.5 WAR/600 guy with next to zero experience

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: The defense would stand to decline, but Yelich’s bat, of course, has big upside. So I’d take the second guy, I think

9:36
ChiSox2020: Better contract extension- Tim Anderson or Odubel Herrera?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: They’re both team-friendly, like almost all of these are, but I think the Phillies stand a better chance of coming away the most happy. I believe in Herrera more than I believe in Anderson

9:38
Bill: Haniger or Felix better chance to be worth 4+ WAR?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: This might seem crazy but I’ll take Haniger? I don’t think either one of them will be a 4-win player, but Haniger should contribute in every area, and I believe in his power

9:40
John Jaso Jingle Heimer Schmidt: How big of a blow is the Will Smith injury to the Giants?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Important without being devastating. Their bullpen is still at least three good pitchers deep

9:42
Sirras: From a performance standpoint, a stars-and-scrubs team perform as well as a perfectly balanced team with the same WAR. Aesthetically, do you find one of those teams preferable to watch over the other?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: A stars-and-scrubs team might have certain stars that I absolutely love for additional personality reasons, but ignoring that stuff, I’d rather watch the balanced team, because I hate the feeling of dread that comes with watching a bad hitter or bad pitcher come in for an important situation

9:43
Ghost of Greg Maddux Past: I’ve been trying to find Spring Training Pitch FX data for Braves and Rays players with no luck, though it does appear to be out there for some pitchers on other teams. What gives?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: There’s only a very small number of ballparks with tracking info, and none of them are in the Grapefruit League

9:44
Zach: Re: trade value. I get the surplus value arguments, I really do, but I just don’t believe that if Trout, Bryant, Seager, etc. were all on the market, that the latter two would draw bigger offers than a guy who is on track to be one of the best players of all time. Yes, Trout is currently owed more money, but he’s still just 25 freaking years old and has been the best player on earth for five years in a row.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Many teams would agree with you. This is not a settled argument

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Trout is, simply, the best. Probably by a win or two. There’s additional value in concentrating so many wins in one roster spot. The market works linearly, but it probably shouldn’t

9:45
TooDamnTall: Just thinking about Koda Glover and “not being able to handle the 9th inning” narrative. Has any ex-player ever admitted they couldn’t deal with the pressure of closing?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Plenty have kind of hinted by saying that the 9th inning is a different beast. So there’s that

9:46
Michael: Eno told someone an Econ major isn’t good for baseball industry. What about having a business admin and possibly MBA?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Code. Just learn to code

9:46
Stuart: Julio Urias, Lucas Giolito, Alex Reyes, Steven Matz for the next 3-5 years, rank them please.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Well Reyes literally just had surgery

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: So by default he’s last until we know that he’s recovering. Then it goes Urias, Matz, pause, pause, take a breath, get a glass of water, pause, Giolito

9:48
Phanatic: Does the new uncertainty with Kang take the Pirates out of the Quintana bidding until June or July?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they were going to get him this month anyway

9:48
fresh basil: Oof. Jung Ho. What are my Bucs to do?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: They haven’t been counting on Kang to be a contributor in 2017, not since the bad news first started coming out. They have the depth to survive this

9:49
Jeff, my dude! : Do you believe in the Nova pirates SSS?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s going to keep walking just 1% of the batters he faces, but I do believe in his ability to throw strikes, and I think Pittsburgh is far better for his confidence than New York. Fine starter; borderline No. 2

9:50
Yellichy and scratchy show: You make my Friday morning shifts bearable.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Take that, your boss!

9:50
Dr Morris: What happens to Kazmir if he doesn’t break with the team? Disabled list?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, those are his options. It should never be hard to find a reason to put Scott Kazmir on the DL

9:51
Jake: The NL Wild Card game will be contested between?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: the freakin’ Mets and Giants again

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: The NL right now, in some ways, is kinda boring

9:51
Bill: As you showed the Padres can ‘reasonably’ reach a wild card, do you think their variance of win projection is greater than for other teams? Any chance fangraphs might develop a metric to measure it for all teams?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we could develop something like that and have it actually mean anything worthwhile and verifiable. Maybe we run thousands of season simulations and figure out which teams have the largest win-total standard deviations, but even then, who’s to say we’re measuring the volatility right?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: What’s working for the Padres is they have a bunch of young position players with recent success at some advanced level. Veterans are the boring ones; young players are less predictable, and so you could say they get wider error bars around their projections

9:54
Matt: How do you feel about the giants’ bullpen now that news has dropped that Smith will most likely opt to get TJ surgery. He seemed to be one of the few guys who could get both lefties/righties out. Worried for them?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Melancon can do that and Law can do that. Strickland probably can’t do that, and they need a lefty now, but they’re not toast

9:55
Pete: *cue “Small Sample Size Song”* How much did Lucas Erceg’s stock rise for you after his spring performance (24 ABs .417/.481/.708)? As a way too overly positive Brewers fan I’m looking for a left-handed, pabst guzzling, cheese curd eating Kris Bryant in a year or two

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Zero percent, but I’m still rooting for you

9:56
Jaxon: Jacob deGrom or Strasburg, who has the better year?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Strasburg

9:56
Ryan: What is the most relevant pitching statistic to evaluate small sample sizes? K%?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Either K% or something related, like Contact%

9:56
steve: Slash lines for Haniger and Yonder Alonso please and thank you.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: something/pretty/good, something/super/boring

9:59
Mike: Think Frieri can make the Yankees opening day roster and be back to his old self?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: His fastball is there and he’s always been able to miss a decent number of bats, but I’d be absolutely terrified to have that fly-ball tendency of his in Yankee Stadium in important situations

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I can see him as a sixth or seventh reliever

10:00
5 Run Homer: Any minor league relievers I’ve never heard of that might pop up this year like Edwin Diaz? Jays could sure use one

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I think that’s the Danny Barnes role

10:01
Jumanji: Yonder Alonso o/u 10 HR

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll give him 11

10:01
Jeff: Where do you stand on Gomez? If he leads off and stays relatively healthy, does he get back or close to 2013/14 numbers?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I think he strikes out too much now to get all the way back, but I can’t tell you he’s not super encouraging again. Extremely volatile, given what we’ve seen the last two years, and he’s not much of a center fielder anymore, but he’s electric

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Looking at his catch probabilities, he’s been about exactly average the last two seasons

10:03
Andrew P: What does J Schoop need to do to make The Leap this year

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Swing so, so much less

10:03
Jim: How does Fangraphs account for injury history when predicting future success? Is it possible to differentiate between someone that has had a lot of freak injuries and someone with, say, chronic arm trouble?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, our depth chart playing-time estimates are set manually, so those are judgment calls. Injury history plays a role in those judgments. But that’s the best I can say

10:04
The Average Sports Fan: Is the Earth as good at spinning as Seth Lugo?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: One day we might even figure out what Seth Lugo’s spin rates mean

10:05
Connie Mac N’ Cheese: How do you see the Diamondbacks SS position playing out?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Feels like Owings is presently in the lead

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Very much up in the air

10:05
Walt: Do you write about anything other than Baseball? If so, where can someone find it?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Every few weeks I exchange handwritten cards with cousins of mine in Golden, CO, so you could presumably find that writing in their mailbox

10:06
botchatheny: did you ever own a Big Mouth Billy Bass?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: No, but I knew someone who did

10:06
Max: Thoughts on Devenski this year? What role does he occupy? Long-relief? Set-up?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Long relief. Between him and Feliz, the Astros are well-equipped to reduce the innings burden on their starters

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Important, given Keuchel’s shoulder problem, McCullers’ problems, McHugh’s current dead arm, Morton’s injury history, etc

10:07
PL: What is Oakland doing?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Playing for .500 and hoping for luck

10:07
The Average Sports Fan: Have any of the Positional Power Rankings surprised you?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: The truthful answer is no because I look at the data behind the PPRs every day or so for writing-related reasons

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: But certain things are kind of weird, like Ian Desmond the 1-win player, or Ian Kinsler losing 30 points off his wOBA

10:09
Bork: Kiermaier…think he’s really going to have that shiny +18 field rating this year?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: There’s nobody better than he is. I’m also bracing myself for a hopeful offensive breakout

10:09
Ghost of Greg Maddux Past: Would you like Ozzie Albies better/worse/the same as a prospect if he were 6’4″ but had put up the exact same numbers to date in his career?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: No difference to me. Maybe that’s a mistake on my part, but I pretty much never look at a player’s size when evaluating them

10:11
Old timer: Your thoughts on the possible 4/5 starters for the A’s: Hahn, Alcantara, Triggs. Will any of these 3 be any good? Thanks.

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve always been a big fan of Triggs. I think they found something there. Hahn, I like, if he’s feeling 100% for the first time in a year and a half or whatever. Alcantara is interesting because of how often he throws strikes, but he seems too hittable to me

10:12
Not Jeff Sullivan: So the US has a youth participation problem and Team USA is going around judging people for the way they play the game. Why would anyone want to play a sport where people feel superior based on how players show emotion?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: People feel superior to other people in every sport and every field of work. It doesn’t matter. The culture is shifting — expressiveness is present in baseball now, maybe more than ever, and it’s only going to increase. People want to have fun, and the old guard is retiring

10:14
NatsFan: How do you think the Derek Norris trade/subsequent release affects the perception of the Nats front office/culture. My impression is that the team is already looking inhospitable to free agents, both because of deferrals and culture. Does this exacerbate that trend?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I think it demonstrates once again that, when the Lerners become convinced of something, they’ll just do it, over the front office’s head. It’s a weird and unpredictable hierarchy

10:14
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: What’s the weirdest chat question you’ve gotten that you couldn’t publish?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Why would I choose to publish it now?

10:15
Dipoto: Thoughts on Vogelbach going to AAA to start the season? Seems to me this might be the safer call, letting Valencia have a chance to play full time.

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Danny Valencia is already good at hitting. Daniel Vogelbach might become good at hitting

10:16
Wes: Talk to me about James Paxton. Whisper sweet nothings into my ears that he’ll stay healthy all year and his arm slot change is real.

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: He just threw strikes for the first time in his life, he gained multiple ticks on his average fastball, and his injuries were because a batted ball hit him, and because a fingernail broke

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: The year before that, he had a strained finger tendon. It’s not like Paxton has Rich Harden’s medical record

10:19
Michelle: Why did Familia stop throwing his filthy splitter from second half of 2015?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t need it. Last year he was still dominant on the strength of his impossible-to-lift sinker.

10:20
Choo’s on first: Tim Bekcham has been having a good spring and the injury to Duffy could open up some playing time. Is there any reason to think that Beckham could take a step forward and make good on some of the potential he had as a prospect?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Some reason, sure, but no reason that’s real particular to him

10:20
Kyrie Irving: How can the Earth spin if it is flat?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t you ever seen someone toss a pizza?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Use your head

10:21
Matthew: Are you more or less of a fan since you started working in Baseball?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Less of a fan of the Mariners, more of a fan of the sport

10:21
Ed: What’s the deal with Dan Vogelbach? Do you think he spends much time in AAA, or is this just a ploy to let the Mariners run eight relievers out there for the first few weeks of April?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not very good, and they would like for him to be better than that

10:22
YKnotDisco?!: Should positional adjustments vary depending on park? I was thinking of Fenway as an example. Isn’t RF considered 1 of the toughest to play? And LF one of the easiest? What about turf vs grass for IF? Does that make a difference? Better yet, do I make any sense?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think LF in Fenway is easy — it’s just smaller. But it has its obvious unique quirks. Hanley Ramirez would tell you it’s incredibly hard

10:23
JTT: With the new QO rules are we going to see a return to teams being able to massively upgrade with a single free agent spending spree?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Still going to be limited by the reduced number of quality free agents, and by the luxury tax

10:24
Evil Goatee Jeff: Which aggregate outfield do you like better in 2017: Padres or Twins?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Rosario is kind of a lot like Renfroe. Jankowski is sort of a Kepler equivalent, overall, with more glove but less bat. So then you’re left with Buxton and Margot. Margot feels safer; Buxton feels like he has more upside

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a safety guy, myself, but I could totally understand preferring the Twins here

10:25
Robin: Since the article on Brady Anderson came out, I’ve heard a couple of folks I trust comparing how similarly dysfunctional the M’s were under Jack Z. Do you have any insights or thoughts on how poorly run the organization was from top to bottom during that period?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: It was very bad

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Mixed messages all over the place. Horrible working environment. It was an organizational catastrophe

10:26
Jake: Realistically what do you expect to see out of a full year of Dansby Swanson?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Marcus Semien-style reliability, with more stable defense

10:27
English Bob: who’s the young, developing hitter (not quite established) who you are most excited to watch in the early part of the season?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: KEONNNNNNNNNNNNNNN BROXTON

10:28
Kyle: Ignore the Twins’ “elephant in the room” pitching situation for a moment. I’m worried about their position players, with the exact same question marks, concerns, and uncertainties as 2016: Buxton and Sano strike out a ton. Mauer is a platoon player at this point. The DH-types have been underwhelming and injured. Kepler had a nice rookie season but faded in the 2nd half, so he’ll have to re-adjust to the league. Polanco is expected to start at SS fulltime, will have growing pains, and has defensive questions. Rosario is a good defender with serious plate-discipline concerns that tanked him last year. And then there is Brian Dozier, everyone’s favorite candidate to regress in 2017. There are serious “everyone is going to bust” vibes a-plenty. Are my concerns legitimate, or should I just relax and enjoy these guys as they evolve toward their potentials? (Primarily Sano into peak-offense Adam Dunn and Buxton into Mike Cameron)

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I’d just be happy the team is so young. It’s going to be a while, probably, before the Twins emerge from all this, but you don’t have to look far for upside at most positions. Of course there are numerous discipline or contact concerns, but, say, Sano’s contact problem is offset by his elite raw power. Buxton’s contact problem is offset by his outstanding other skills. The Twins don’t have it so bad here

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: You’re just conditioned to be negative because, Twins

10:29
Sonny: The Padres don’t need to win 70 games this year they just need to keep the green light permanently on like last year. Lose 100 if you want but do it in style

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Priorities!

10:30
Evil Goatee Jeff: When is the last time you thought about Aaron Sele?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Talked about him literally two days ago for some reason

10:32
Ghost of Greg Maddux Past: If for some inexplicable reason the Angels forced Mike Trout to be a catcher, starting now (so he’d have the rest of Spring Training to learn the position), how much WAR would you guess he’d be worth for the 2017 season? Assume he’s on the 25-man roster the entire season.

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: He’d lose probably…1 WAR on performance, and then most of another WAR just from reduced playing time. And he’d probably be even less valuable than that, but our WAR presently doesn’t include game-calling or pitch-framing

10:33
greg: There was that report that this might have been the last WBC, but Manfred said that he intends on keeping it around. Are you pretty confident that it will continue?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Yes. This year’s was very popular

10:33
Ben: You know that most, if not all, of the “What do you think of Player X for this year” questions are fantasy questions, right?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: For sure. But I’m happy to answer fantasy questions when they aren’t asked in fantasy-specific ways. I don’t know how to answer those

10:35
Walt: NL game, away team, 5th starter on the mound, why not put your 4th bench player in the 3 hole, then replace him with your 5th starter after the top of the 1st? Just too much effort for a tiny increase in WPA?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: You’re making yourself worse in the first inning so that you can avoid a fraction of one pitcher plate appearance

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t seem worth it

10:36
Owen: Chris Carter. Will he be a yankee this summer? Will he be playing ANYWHERE this summer?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be there on the bench. Still not sure Bird can reliably hit southpaws

10:36
Not Jeff Sullivan: what is your favorite type of volcano?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Nearby

10:36
Evil Goatee Jeff: When is the last time you thought about Robert Person?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I guessed his name in response to something a couple weeks ago

10:37
Hot Dogs are Sandwiches: Who will post a higher fWAR this year – Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Donaldson by a hair

10:38
walker: Thoughts on Blake Snell? Erratic control. Think he can take the next step this year?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Hasn’t shown any kind of spring-training improvement in that regard. Aaron Sanchez did a year ago, and that worked out

10:39
Shouldbeworking: I don’t understand how pitchers use spin rate to get better and I’m having trouble finding an article explaining how. Most I find merely say they do. I still don’t get the how/why. Any things I should read?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s probably an oversimplification. But I think teams and pitchers are better understanding how spin-rate fastballs can be utilized. High-spin fastballs up, lower-spin fastballs down. Trust in the spin, if it’s there

10:40
Dylan: Griffey was near unanimous hof based on the first half of his career. Is Pujols unanimous based on his first 11?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Pujols wasn’t the icon that Griffey was, so, no

10:40
______________: How long does it take Spring Training to become uninteresting for you typically?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Zero days. I hate spring training

10:41
Choo’s on first: The Met’s project to be the ninth best team by fWAR in the majors, fifth best in the NL, that put them on the WC bubble before the season even starts. If Amed Rosario is tearing it up in AAA, would A-Cab or Walker really keep him blocked if the Mets need to make a push?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Rosario has a half-season of playing in Double-A. Walker has been a steady 2.5 – 3 win player, and Cabrera’s coming off a 3-win season. If there’s a decline that happens, well, sure, maybe you shake things up, but the Mets aren’t in a desperate spot today

10:42
English Bob: Blake Snell seems like he still has a lot to be working on, judging from all the walks this Spring. Do you think he’s still a lock for TB’s rotation, regardless?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I figure he makes it, and De Leon goes to the minors so they can keep track of his service time

10:43
Al: Is there a fun fact to be found in pitch framing data when a runner attempts a stolen base? I feel like some of the most egregious non-called-strikes happen when the catcher comes out of his crouch to make a throw. Is it too small of an effect to game plan around or should teams be running in 3 ball counts more often?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: You’re absolutely right. I don’t know enough to speak to your last point, but the zone is definitely worse and smaller when the catcher tries to throw down to second

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Just too much going on for the umpire to give the catcher the same benefit of the doubt

10:44
RK: who keeps the Fangraphs depth charts up to date/who should we let know if something is off?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: A handful of us authors/part-timers. You could tweet any one of us or send an email to the FanGraphs contact address

10:44
Greg: What players have impressed you most in ST/WBC with improvements/changes?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Drew Smyly

10:45
Craig: What’s a generalized player comp for De Leon? Seems to be very deceptive with good stuff but not overwhelming. Like good command, can pinpoint. Is he kinda like Jon lester

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: The pretty good and healthy version of Michael Wacha

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Changeup-heavy righty starter

10:46
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: So I’m definitely the high man on Stroman this year. I get that 5’8″ pitchers so rarely succeed. But how many 5’8″ pitchers have had his arsenal? I still remember the FG piece from right before he blew his knee out that showed his pitches looked like a Halliday, Johan, etc. Curb my enthusiasm a bit please.

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Nah, he’s awesome

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: If he figures out how to get whiffs *and* grounders at the same time — that’s upper-echelon-ace kind of stuff

10:48
Auto Man: Why isnt Oh considered top tier with Britton, Chapman, and Jansen? Short mlb sample size?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not unhittable like Chapman and Jansen, and he’s not un-hit-hardable like Britton. He is extremely good, but one tier shy

10:49
Dustin: No question from me. Just want you to know I enjoy listening to you and Ben every day.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: That’s very kind of you, but considering we have three podcasts a week, and not seven, I’m not sure why you choose to listen to certain podcasts on repeat

10:50
CamdenWarehouse: After looking through the fairly mediocre outfield power rankings, it occurred to me that we don’t have nearly the number of young top end talent in the outfield that I remember. Could this be another impact of the increasing shifting and MIs that used to move to the OF to make their bats play now are staying put?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have evidence to prove it, but I have enough of a gut feeling to support it

10:51
Zach: Doesn’t it seem as though we might be over-reacting a bit to great years from Bryant and Seager? Great years in which they still were less valuable than Trout? Didn’t we just do the same dumb thing with Bryce Harper? Mike Trout is the best baseball player since at least Bonds and probably Mays, and the thought that the Angels would trade him straight up for any player on the planet (besides that one Cuban dude) is insane with him under team control for four years still. Every team in baseball could easily afford Trout, so it’s not even that his salary is onerous. Feels like Jonah and everyone else is overthinking this.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Bryant was also extremely good in 2015 so he feels more legit. With Seager, there is a bit more downside, since I suspect his most recent WAR overrated the actual quality of his defense

10:51
Robbie: Is there much statcast data for spring training? David Peralta hasn’t put up the best line, but is he at least still stinging the ball when he makes hits?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: There’s basically nothing. I think it exists in like one ballpark complex

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Granted, that happens to be David Peralta’s home ballpark complex

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: There are presently just five exit-velocity readings for Peralta in 2017 ST. His hardest hit, at 106 mph, was a line drive out

10:53
Jim: What about Theo Epstein’s approach has made him so damn good?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: He’s surrounded himself with smart and complementary people, and he’s capably led while understanding his own limitations

10:54
Ben: Would you like to some day write a book?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: It seems like it’s terrible

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I would like to have written a book, but I would not like to write a book

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s the same conversation I have with myself about one day hiking the PCT

10:55
Samwise: Jeff is there a good place to see Spring Training velocity decliners/risers as a whole? I know a few articles on here spotlight a couple guys. Who is a sleeper to jump into the elite category with a velo change?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I think Jeff Zimmermann sometimes tweets about this stuff, so, follow him!

10:55
Call me delusional, Homer, but..: I’ll take the over on Mariner’s position player projections for 5 WAR. And Segura and Haniger might do that by themselves.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

10:56
Dont call me Gyorkass: Is Wong really gonna keep playing time from Adams and Gyorko? (with the assumption that Carpenter can move OR Gyorko can handle second)

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I suspect the playing time will all eventually work out as it should. They’ll start with Wong, but then he’ll only play as much as he deserves. I’d give the Cardinals the benefit of the doubt on their infield mix

10:57
Mike: How much do you think tanaka gets if he uses his opt out?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: So he’d be opting out of 3 years and $67 million, as a pitcher known to have a damaged UCL. The market would be very cautious with him, and I’m not certain he opts out at all

10:58
Ed: How do you feel about the tradeoff of having eight relievers versus only three bench players? Does it matter more in April when SP arms are still developing? Or do bench bats matter less than they used to?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Looking at, say, the Marlins, they have a bunch of everyday players, so their bench is hardly useful outside of pinch-hitting once or twice a game. The more platoons you have, the bigger bench you need. The Marlins can get away with an eight-man bullpen just given how they’re constructed

10:59
Ghost of Greg Maddux Past: Do you have any idea what the Braves were thinking when they assembled their corner OF? It’s not only really bad, but it’s also pretty expensive.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: The Braves would disagree with you on the bad part. Clearly they like Kemp and Markakis more than we do

11:02
CamdenWarehouse: I know you’re big on him, but what do you think Triggs’s line looks like at the end of the year?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of Kendall Graveman-y, with fewer innings but maybe a better strikeout rate

11:02
IDEA FACTORY: Should every pitcher’s mound be turned in to a shield volcano that explodes between innings? like, with water or beer or something

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Then the groundskeepers have to do too much. Delays, constantly. Bad for game pace 🙁

11:03
Not Matt Harvey: How would you predict the NL East turning out in 2019? Mets on top with Nationals losing Harper?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not even confident in my predictions for 2017

11:04
Estuve: do you know how Garrett Richards has looked this ST?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: So far reports on his stuff and health are all positive. Throwing in the upper 90s again.

11:04
Matt: Do you get nervous when approaching the season when you’ve been the high guy on a player? (like Broxton)

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Nah. I’m going to be way right on some players and way wrong on others. One time I wrote a positive FanGraphs post about Carlos Peguero. Ditto Ryan Goins. It’s all part of the learning process, and if Broxton doesn’t work out, there’s going to be something to learn from that, like maybe not overreacting to early exit-velocity returns

11:06
That one guy: Honest question – players have been known to have abberations. Chris Johnson won a batting title. Jason Heyward hit home runs one year. Brady Anderson more so. Why would do so many believe Harper didnt have a single magical season and is back to earth for good?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: It’s that Harper was always hyped like that, and it’s that he started last season looking the same, before whispers of injury. I totally understand your argument, but people want to believe in superstar breakouts, and there’s enough evidence here that Harper could be more than a 120 wRC+ outfielder

11:06
Andrew: Better chance at a Cy Young run: Nola or Shoemaker?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Nola

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:07
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 — 3/24/17 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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