Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/25/16

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to baseball chat

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: To think, one week from now, we will finally still have spring training

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Also, it feels weird to me that on Sunday, April 3, we’ll have three home openers, and one spring-training contest

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Anyway. Chatting!

9:07
Josh: Please tell me the D’Backs have a Plato and Aristotle coming through the pipeline as well!

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: And they’re both going to be athletic 3-win outfielders

9:07
Randy Randerson: Who do you think gets the most playing time in left for LAA this year?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Someone not on the roster yet

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a statistical argument to be made they can work with this platoon but they’ve already tried to make a trade to cover it up. They’ll try again

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Might even try in the next week to get Bruce or something

9:09
JDogg: predictions on Lucas Giolito’s MLB contributions this year?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: A number of pretty good 5-6 inning starts. No questioning the quality of his stuff but he’ll be used conservatively, plus he still has gains to make with regard to his command

9:11
Randy Randerson: Do you like any under the radar prospects to come up quickly this year in the AL?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Dave has talked about Tyler White potentially getting a chance with Houston

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Naquin looks like he’s going to get a shot in Cleveland

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be interested in Rickard if his playing time weren’t mostly blocked

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Just wrote about Cody Anderson, who I like now

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Chris Bassitt isn’t a prospect but people don’t really know who he is yet

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: That’s probably enough

9:15
George Harrison: Chances the Astros allow the fewest runs in the AL for a second consecutive year?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I think the main challenge would come from the Indians given that now they have defense to go behind the pitchers. Let’s call it…35%?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Holy crow am I ever seeing a bunch of fantasy questions

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: It’s been a while since I said this, so: I’m not good at answering fantasy questions because I don’t play fantasy baseball. I am not your expert

9:17
Randy Randerson: Is Shawn Tolleson the closer in Texas for the foreseeable future?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Fantasy question!

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: The answer is yes, sort of. Banister just said earlier he’s thinking about playing the matchups, but you always give the edge to the incumbent

9:18
Minty: If Baez can get 425 ABs as the super utility, what do you think his power/speed numbers would look like?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: 15 homers, 10 steals

9:19
Pale Hose: If, as a practical joke, two teams fielded their AAA teams in a major league game, how long would it take you to notice based on quality of play?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: You mean they’re playing each other? I don’t know if I would. Like, for one thing, it’s not like I pay super close attention to everything when I’m watching a game. But even though I’d probably notice the level is a little worse overall than I’m used to, I’d never think, “well, of course, this is a practical joke, and these are not major-league players”

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I’d just think “these are some bad major-league players today”

9:22
Ryan: In a vacuum (forget contracts, seniority, etc.) what should the Nats outfield look like against lefties and then against righties?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Pertinent to this:

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: “Revere made an adjustment to his swing in the offseason, bringing his hands closer to his body to allow him to hit the ball with more authority, the Washington Post reports. “The ball coming off the bat sounds a lot louder, like the big boys,” Revere said.”

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: This makes me smile

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Anyway, I’d give Taylor some starts against lefties in center, and I’d also give him time to spot-start in place of Werth so he can get rest. I wouldn’t have a strict R/L lineup preference, but I’d have Taylor batting 200 or 300 times

9:24
Erik: Are there roster construction market inefficiencies in baseball today, similar to the lack of appreciation for walks documented in Moneyball? Or are data-savvy teams innovating more through on-field strategies, like shifts or shorter starter outings?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: It’s more about strategy, because now front offices mostly evaluate players in the same ways. But even today, it feels like defense remains undervalued, especially when it comes with a lighter bat. Teams would still prefer the offense. Tomas vs. Brito becomes interesting because you could view it as an offense vs. defense decision

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think we’re seeing more teams lean toward super-utility players. Probably going to see more of those

9:26
Erik: Have front offices improved to the point where we will never see another contract as bad as Ryan Howard’s?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: There will be contracts that work out that poorly, but there will not be contracts that look that bad from the get-go

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: at least, I don’t think. It’s hard to remember precisely how bad the deal looked at the time it was agreed to because looking at it now would leave us vulnerable to results-based analysis

9:28
benj: Have shortstops gotten worse? It seems like there are 4 or 5 really good SS and then oh no

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Overall, league shortstops have been around the same level for the past 15 or 20 years

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Always with an OPS about 5-10% worse than the league average

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think shortstops are actually arguably improving. Look at the youth today. Correa, Seager, Bogaerts, Lindor, Simmons, Crawford, Russell…

9:30
myra: What (or who) is Story’s floor/ceiling for both defense/offense?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s an adequate defensive player. Offensively, he’s always going to hit a ton of fly balls, so he’ll be valuable if enough of them get out. If so, he’ll offset a low BABIP with power. If not, he’ll suck

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I like his strikeout gains, but he’s going to continue to swing and miss. I imagine he’s going to have some massive home/road splits as long as he’s on the Rockies

9:31
Wiz: Who has the bigger year, Tulo or Xander? and does Xander have any chance of hitting close to 20 HR?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I take Xander by a hair, and while he does have the ability to hit 20 homers, I suspect he comes up short

9:33
mtsw: Did you listen to the latest Statcast podcast? They discussed the big correlation between CF positioning and effectiveness (guys who play shallow do worse, guys who play deep do better, Kiermeier is a huge outlier on both measures). How sure are we that the deep/shallow thing isn’t a result of the inputs to DRS/UZR rather than actually making OFs more effective?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: It could be that better outfielders just prefer to play deep, while worse outfielders prefer to play more shallow to try to cut down angles. I’m just speculating here but this is an example of an interesting data point for which we don’t yet have a strong explanation. Gotta be careful not to assume what we can look and notice is causative

9:35
The Ghost of Dayn Perry: Good morning, Jeff. What kind of music do you enjoy?

9:35
9:36
Erik: How long should a player’s past prospect status count for anything? Should we look at Domonic Brown any differently than another 28-year old with negative WAR through almost 500 games?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Brown was a top prospect before 2011. That’s a long time ago. At this point I think it’s irrelevant

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Prospect status is important before you have a major-league track record. Once you’re seeing these guys regularly in the bigs, it doesn’t matter nearly so much how they were thought of when they were younger

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Jesus Montero was a top prospect. Great! I’ve seen him in the major leagues. I’d like to not have to do that anymore

9:39
Scott: What would it take for MLB to shorten spring training? Managers not playing their starters for the first two weeks?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it is to be shortened. It’s way too long for position players, but pitchers kind of need the chance to ramp up at a conservative pace. Don’t know what there is to be done about that

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe you could have position players just report later. They don’t seem to need the work. But this doesn’t seem like a high priority for the league

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: And even then it’s still ending at the same time

9:43
SS: Reasonable extension for Brandon Belt (if the Giants should even offer him an extension)?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe something like 5/$90m?

9:45
CamdenWarehouse: Carson on RF made me happy

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Reading that made me hate my own PPR

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I get that maybe some readers would’ve preferred more analysis, but that was so Carson, so 100% Carson, and I loved it dearly

9:46
PJ: Hi, Jeff. If a bad 3rd base coach sends a runner home and he gets gunned down by 20 feet, does that count against the player’s baserunning value, even if he didn’t make the decision to go home? Thanks!

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: The numbers don’t know better — they put it all on the player. And over long enough, you’d think it would balance out. But sometimes, yeah, it’s just bad coaching, and we can’t separate those out automatically

9:47
The Ghost of Dayn Perry: Roberto Osuna recently said he’d prefer to be a reliever instead of a starter. Which would you prefer?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I always prefer these players get chances as starters, but I can get over it. I got over it with Chapman

9:47
Erik: Which young Phillie is most likely to win an MVP/Cy Young one day: Crawford, Franco, Nola, or Velazquez?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Crawford, no question

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Crawford might even have a better Cy Young chance than Velasquez

9:48
Zorak: Rank for this season and beyond: Socrates, Arquimedes, Adonis?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: don’t forget coach Euclides Rojas

9:49
Scott: Which Korean player do you think has the highest WAR this year?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Of the new ones or overall? Overall it’s Kang

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise, Park by a little bit over Kim

9:50
The Ghost of Dayn Perry: Predict the trade with the biggest impact this season!

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: aw what the hell, let’s get Tyson Ross to…the…Astros?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: let’s get Tyson Ross and Derek Norris to the Astros!

9:53
Josh: What’s going on with Jeff Sanardzija? Typical spring caveats or legitimate reason to be concerned?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: his career spring ERA is like 6 so already there’s a history here

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: It seems to me the stuff is there and that’s the greatest concern. The stuff, the release points, they’re about normal. Worry in April

9:55
Zorak: How long until the Mets OF goes full platoon to minimize Cespedes’ time in center?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: This is the right time for Cespedes to be making his mistakes. He’ll probably get his share of defensive replacements, but I think he’ll be only a slight negative CF

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: As for yesterday…I don’t know what that was about. That wasn’t really a talent mistake. That was a I-don’t-want-to-bend-down-for-this mistake.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Would’ve seemed clever if Bucknor hadn’t walked all the way out there to make him look like an idiot

9:57
Brett W: Vintage Pedro or vintage Kershaw?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Peak Pedro is as good a pitcher as there has ever been in the world

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Between 1999 – 2003, Pedro allowed a .537 OPS. In each of the last three years, Kershaw has allowed a .521 OPS. The average AL OPS in those Pedro years was .771. The average NL OPS in those Kershaw years was .703.

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Pedro: 70% of average
Kershaw: 74% of average

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: actually closer than I expected! but Pedro’s PEAK peak was absurd

10:01
Anthony: There seems to be a lot of talk w/ young players, if player “X” improves their 25-30% K rate they could be really great. Grichuk and D. Santana are a few recently w/ this lablel. My question is…how often does this actually happen? Are there examples of guys K’ing 30% of their AB’s, and suddenly bringing that mark down to 15%?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Players almost never cut strikeouts down by *that* much. But players do improve their plate-discipline numbers to some extent from their rookie seasons. That much is known. Mostly I think you see the biggest gains in the minors — once a player reaches the majors, he’s selected for having been mostly a finished product

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: One player I was thinking of recently: Adrian Beltre used to strike out at a league-average rate. Now he’s at almost half the league average, which is crazy

10:03
2-D: What do you think a peak Cody Anderson season could look like?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I really do think peak Cody Anderson could look like Matt Harvey. Now, the question is, how close is Cody Anderson to his peak? There are gains yet to be made. As is, I believe in him as a big-league starter

10:03
PitchesBrew: A couple days ago a rumor broke that Lucroy nearly went to Houston in a deal that also involved the Braves. Care to speculate which other players would’ve been involved?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anything “nearly” happened. Lucroy has been rumored with the Astros, Rangers, and Nationals, but they’ve all walked away after hearing the Brewers’ ask.

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: With what Stearns has been looking for, a Lucroy deal just wasn’t going to happen.

10:04
abestinkin: tyler white or AJ reed?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Reed

10:05
Scott: Does Schwarber play good enough defense at C/LF to get 600 PAs this season?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Nah

10:05
Nick: Who’s the Nationals’ starting CF by the end of the year?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Still mostly Revere

10:05
Guest: little early to call it but will the Mariners win the carson smith trade?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Odds are more heavy in their favor now than they were a few days ago, yeah

10:06
Bruce Bochy: My hitters are outstanding but how many games need to be lost to cut the cord on Peavy and Cain and going with Heston and Blackburn?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Going to give the veterans the initial shot because if you don’t, you’re getting into your depth at the start of the season. Which means, then, you don’t have any depth left

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: The Giants need to preserve their options. Could mean an extra few losses in April if the veterans are awful, but they’ll take that chance

10:07
JDogg: follow up on giolito- when do you anticipate he gets called up? Do the Nationals have some sort of Super 2 to wait for?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: They’d love to wait until after the estimated Super 2 deadline, but it won’t be a deal-breaker if someone gets hurt, and/or if Giolito is dominating. Expect something like 18-20 big-league starts

10:08
Chase Utley: Fill in the blanks: I need to be average __ WAR over __ years to make the hall of fame.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: uhhhh…4/4? I’m sorry to say it’s not going to happen

10:10
Jake: Suppose both Taylor’s amazing hitting and Werth’s struggles carry into the regular season. How long until a change is made? As bad as paying Werth $21M to ride the bench would be, isn’t it worse to pay him $21M to actively cost you wins?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Give it, I don’t know, a month and a half. If, at that point, Werth still blows, then Baker will definitely want to give Taylor his opportunity

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: The money gives Werth the initial advantage but when the season is underway, it’s wins that matter the most

10:11
mike sixel: Will Buxton hit much this year? I admit, I am beginning to wonder if Cameron’s bearish view of that tool is true…….Off topic, not sure we can afford to live IN Portland, so now looking at Beaverton or Hillboro or something like that. We’ll be out there next week, best non-sour heavy brewery to visit (not that I expect only visit one)?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Go to Breakside. Breakside Breakside Breakside! And order nachos. Good god, the nachos

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I’m presently unconvinced Buxton’s ever really going to hit past .260. That would make him out to be a disappointment. But it would also make him out to be underrated, given his expected running and defense

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Seems lined up to be both helpful and frustrating.

10:13
2-D: Any breakthroughs on your theory of “changeup movement emulating fastball movement could equal success” yet?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t pursued it yet beyond eyeballing a few things. I do think that if you have a cutting fastball, you want a cutting changeup, and if you have a tailing fastball, you want a tailing changeup, but right now that’s just an idea

10:15
Kiner’s Disembodied Hands: Do you see McCutchen’s apparent leg injury last year really putting a damper on his defensive numbers, and that we might see at least a modicum of improvement for him there this year?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: The numbers have never really loved his defense. And now he’s coming up on 30.

10:16
Crusty Juggler: Is a big, warm hug the cure to all of life’s ills?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, for the duration of the hug

10:16
Pretty Tony: Tigers pitching, which gave up the most runs in baseball last year, is already decimated with injuries (well, not technically because that’s not what decimated means but w/e). Is there any hope in a bottom-of-the-rotation featuring two of Boyd, Greene, or Pelfrey?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I actually don’t hate the group but I think I’m higher on each pitcher individually than the consensus. I like what Greene did as a rookie, I like that Pelfrey’s stuff played up last year, and I like what Boyd did in the minors. You could ask for better depth, but I’d argue the bigger questions for the Tigers are at the rotation’s front

10:19
tj: thoughts on Joc’s new swing?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t looked at it yet. Would be a good Farnsworth question. As a rule, no matter what, Joc is always going to swing and miss, in between the dingers

10:19
Josh: Are people expecting a little too much from Carlos Rodon in 2016? He’s only 23 and has a ways to go on improving that walk rate.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: People expect too much from pretty much every hard-throwing young prospect. But we all get teased by ceilings, and baseball is more exciting that way

10:21
Zorak: Is starting a top prospect in the bullpen a long-term wast of resources? Hard to top 80 innings or so out of the ‘pen, so if they get stretched out the following year, it’s gonna be a good number of seasons before they can handle a 200+ inning workload, no?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: The Osuna thing, basically. I do think it hurts a starter’s development to begin in the bullpen. At least, if he begins in the bullpen exclusively. So then it’s a question of trying to balance the long-term for that one player against the short-term for the team. Good argument to be made that, while Osuna might now have a more difficult time starting, it was important for last year’s Jays to have him in relief

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: For whatever it’s worth, if a prospect has a history of starting, and *then* he goes to the bullpen, it might be easier to stretch him back out than it would be for a long-time reliever. So if a guy goes from 140 innings to 70, he might then be able to go to 160 or so, and then 190 or 200

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously, it’s a case-by-case basis deal

10:24
Corb: What pitcher has the highest watchability/quality ratio? Great looking stuff, average results (probably significantly higher than expected contact rate at least)?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Stephen Strasburg when he’s bad

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Garrett Richards is a tempting one. His stuff is insane

10:26
Kole: If you ran the Phillies, would you trade every player in your farm system for Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa, Noah Syndergaard, and Gerrit Cole (at their current contractual terms), under the condition that you then have to fill all of your minor league roster slots with the very worst NCAA D-III/NAIA players in the country, and can’t make a single amateur talent acquisition for five years (once Trout, Harper, Correa, Syndergaard, and Cole all become free agents, unless you extend them somehow)?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll pass

10:26
Andrew Britton: Do you think a team takes a chance on Mark Buehrle or is his career likely done?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s finished, and happy

10:27
mtsw: A lot of Dylan Bundy optimism going around. Jon Heyman tweeted today that we could see him in the rotation by end of season. Is that realistic, even if Bundy’s health holds up and he pitches well, given the paucity of innings he’s pitched in the last few years?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: It’s going to come down to how heavily he’s used as a reliever. But if all the indicators are holding up for him into August or so, you could see his appearances extended longer and longer

10:28
Derek: Any update on Gausman?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: I think I saw he’s supposed to throw today?

10:28
The Ghost of Dayn Perry: Do you take any special steps to separate work from your home life? A special office area, or you only work from certain hours or in certain places?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I work almost exclusively in our second bedroom. I don’t want to take it anywhere else. The best feeling in the day is when I get to close my laptop, and then, unless I’m expecting something, I can turn my phone notifications off, too

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I used to hate the psychological downside of working from home, but now what I think I hate the most are smartphones

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Around-the-clock accessibility is going to kill us

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: IT’S GOING TO KILL US

10:31
mtsw: Does the fact Aroldis Chapman is a free agent at year’s end make his hold on the closer role safer or less safe? Could see it both ways.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: He’s safe. He’s Aroldis Chapman.

10:31
Ryan : Are the Padres going to trade Norris?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah

10:31
Erik: What did the Cubs and Astros do to accelerate their rebuild and be good one year faster than everyone expected? I can’t see any specific moves other than just having prospects develop unexpectedly quickly.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: A lot of little breaks here and there, and — importantly — Keuchel and Arrieta going from nothings to two of the best starting pitchers in the world

10:32
Joey: Better career: Maikel Franco or Odor?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I think people will remember Franco more fondly, and Odor will have the slightly higher WAR

10:33
Wiz: Cano put together a monster 2nd half last year. Do you expect more of the same output in 2016, or was his first 1.5 years in Seattle a better indicator of what to expect. or somewhere in the middle?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a real good player. I expect another 4-5 wins

10:33
Ralph: Toronto looks like a team with massive bust potential, having 65% of their projected WAR tied to only 7 players. Many of whom are in their 30’s. And the upside for the rest of the roster is minimal. It doesn’t seem like it would take more than a major injury or two for them to threaten last place in the division. Your thoughts?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: If you just take Donaldson or Bautista away, yeah, that’s a blow. And the division is fairly tight. But the Jays also have one advantage — their value isn’t exactly tied up in pitchers. I don’t think Josh Donaldson is suddenly going to need Tommy John

10:34
CamdenWarehouse: How concerned are you that last year was the beginning of the end for King Felix?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t doubt his ability when he’s healthy but I’m gradually becoming more and more concerned about the UCL

10:35
Bob: Can you help me with Albert Pujols and his numbers? I mean, I am aware he is shifted to a high degree and he cant really run anymore, but if his BABIP was at .250 or .260 (like it was in 2014) instead of like .210 last year, his rate stats would have looked very different. I guess I am just confused as to what to expect from him this year. Thoughts?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: He is one slow son of a bitch, but he’s not a .210 BABIP player. I’d say his true talent these days is more like .240 – .250

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: When healthy, Pujols remains a quality power hitter. The issue, of course, is that he’s healthy less often than ever

10:37
Guesto: Are you as fond of Michael Saunders as I am? Not sure how he fits into Jays’ lineup but he’s a starter (if healthy).

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I love him, way too much

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a bias. One time a few years ago we got drunk and just talked about NHL94 for like three hours. So I can’t not like him and root for him

10:38
Mike: which prospect would make the best supreme court justice

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: is Aaron Judge too obvious

10:40
PieTraynee: Throughout its history, who would you say was baseball’s equivalent to Jaromir Jagr? Go by whatever criteria you’d like.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know who to go with but Mariano Rivera, where Rivera’s injury in 2012 stands as his equivalent to Jagr’s time away from the NHL

10:41
uruguayan: Will Jonathan Lucroy be traded in the next week? If so, where?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I think Norris goes sooner

10:41
Brett W: I’m not saying it’s easy to throw a knuckleball. But wouldn’t most traditional pitchers improve their repertoire if they had one as a supplement pitch? Like an even changier changeup?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Probably requires too much time to learn a knuckleball that isn’t just a hittable lob. As an alternative, I support the slow curveball that, say, Greinke has dabbled with

10:42
Geoff: If Sandoval is a negative-WAR player 400 ABs into this year, will management look at his last 1,000 ABs and say “screw the contract, he’s a bench player”?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I imagine the pressure would be so great that Sandoval would be forced out of a job. People aren’t going to stand for more of him sucking

10:43
JP: If you could start a franchise with any player from the last 20yrs who would it be? Assuming they are all in year one of their career.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Trout, then A-Rod

10:44
mtsw: If you had the 8 best fielders in the game behind a typical 5.00 FIP pitcher (i.e. not an extreme groundball or flyball guy), what would you estimate their ERA would end up being?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: 4.00

10:45
TKDC: Is Arod really going to get a #farewelltour in 2017?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Heavens no, but I love the idea

10:45
Hank: How can someone ask if there will never be another Ryan Howard contract when there was just a Chris Davis contract a month or so ago?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: There you go!

10:46
Papi: Loved your piece on “The Best Outfield in baseball”. Without delving into it, which team’s infield would you peg as the best? As a fan of the Royals, I would think they’ll have to be up there.

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: If you include catcher, my guess is the Giants?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I like what the Giants have at every position

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: (in the infield)

10:47
Some other guy: Let’s say you’re a team looking to improve its instruction and coaching. What other metrics besides reputation would you use to evaluate how good of a coach someone might be?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: It’s…mostly reputation. I’d talk to references. I’d look for data — and, like, for the Pirates, there’s plenty of data that they’re good with pitchers — but I’d understand the data can be super limited

10:47
john: Thoughts on Yellich this year? Bond’s effect, shorter fences, lineup improvement…

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I love him. I think he’ll still be mostly Christian Yelich, but with a few more fly balls and dingers

10:48
Guest: who will be the most surprising bat for the mariners? good or bad

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I could see Marte being a bust

10:49
JDogg: Can Schoop really stay in this league with such an extreme k/bb rate, and high k rate in general?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: He needs for his ratios to get a little better, but Adam Jones is proof you can be a good player with funny-looking rates, and if Schoop continues to hit for power he’ll draw more walks just as a byproduct of being a threat

10:50
TKDC: Brandon Crawford is good, but he is not young, he’s 29.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: That’s fair

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Also that’s younger than me

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: 🙁

10:51
Pretty Tony: Jeff my ex-girlfriend’s cousin is Lord Huron so thanks for bringing that up. Ruined my weekend (he’s a really nice guy).

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: He put on a pretty unspirited show here a couple years back and that was annoying

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: But I still love ’em. sorry

10:52
Dave: If you were a switch hitter, and you hit well from both sides of the plate, who would you rather face with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th down 1 run with a guy on 2nd: Dellin Betances or Aroldis Chapman?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Chapman. You can mostly bet on the heat, and Betances has a reverse platoon split because of his crazy breaking ball

10:53
JDogg: when the two recents contracts are done .. who will have been a better valued DH- Butler or VMart?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: oh god

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: oh god

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: no, I refuse to answer this

10:54
Halp: Baseball savant has the ability to now let you filter by spin rate. 1. What’s an elite spin rate for fastball. 2. Does a higher spin rate mean that the ball will have natural rise? 3. Spin rates for Curves just as important as FB spin rates?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: For fastballs, I believe you want a higher or a lower spin rate. The bad zone is in the middle, where you’re getting neither rise nor sink.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Spin rates for curves are important, yes. But I think fastball spin is more meaningful

10:55
Zack : What will the Goose Gossage like rant be about 30 years from now and who is the current front runner to be delivering it?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know and Brian McCann

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: maybe he’ll complain about how, back in his day, you had to work to develop a relationship with the umpire, instead of just acknowledging the existence of a robot

10:56
The Dude of NY: What single injury so far has been the biggest blow for a contending team?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like losing Carter Capps deals a huge blow to whatever chances the Marlins had

10:57
Scott: What do you see Ichiro doing after he retires? Coaching? In Japan or the US? Fading away from the public eye?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe he’ll be some kind of baseball ambassador

10:58
Mike: how am I supposed to feel that I’m starting to see prospects younger than me make the majors?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Time to think about having a prostate exam you old son of a bitch

10:58
Anthony: 5/90 for Belt?!?! Doesn’t he look good every spring? He’s barely a Top 20 1B.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: He’s had two years of 4+ WAR in the last three

10:59
Matt: No question, just want to commend your Joe Kelly hate. Boy, that guy sucks.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: You might be confusing me for someone else but I’ll take it at the moment

11:00
Kole: What’s the difference between Byung Ho Park and Dae Ho Lee, other than age?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Park strikes out more but has more power

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: All right, it’s time for me to roll

11:01
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

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: bye!

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/25/16 by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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“Without delving into it, which team’s infield would you peg as the best? As a fan of the Royals, I would think they’ll have to be up there.”

It’s gotta be the Blue Jays doesn’t it? The second best catcher in baseball, the MVP 3B, a top 5 SS, a terrific defensive 2B, and solid 1B defense when Smoak starts. Elite defence at 4 of 5 positions and above average at the 5th one, and the Jays are likely to average 25+ homers across all 5 infield positions.