Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 3/4/16

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat! There’s baseball happening!

9:06
Daniel: Your thoughts on the Jays this year? Seems like their PECOTA projections were a little conservative…84 wins seemed low even if it would give them a WC.

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: PECOTA puts them at 86-76 and Steamer/ZiPS puts them at 84-78. I like them more around 88-74; I don’t think they’re a particularly deep team, but they’re a strong team, and in a weird way I kind of like their underwhelming starting rotation

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: I obviously love Stroman, I’m on board with Happ, and I should hope they don’t give many starting opportunities to Sanchez because I think he’s a dynamite relieer

9:07
daneyko: do you like Ian Kennedy with the Royals. Better ERA in 2016 ?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Better ERA for sure but I don’t think of him as anything more than a No. 3

9:08
j6takish: Jeff, which prospect/player who did not pan out surprised you the most? Who is the biggest “should have been” you can think of and using hindsight, why do you think they didn’t work out?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t my real answer but, Ryan Anderson. He struck out like 12 batters per nine innings and was starting pretty well in Triple-A at 20 years old. He was supposed to be legitimately unhittable, but then the shoulder started barking. He doesn’t count because pitchers get hurt and that’s not an unusual thing, but just based on talent alone, Anderson could’ve been a Hall of Famer instead of a professional chef

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I think your prompt basically eliminates pitchers because pitchers can have strange career paths. Elbows and shoulders and whatnot. So let me rack my brain for a hot second about busted position players

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: aw the hell with it, there’s too much to remember and I can’t see past my own biases

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: So I’ll volunteer Chris Snelling!

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Tore up the minors when he was younger, showing all the skills you could want to see. Excellent control of the strike zone. He was undone in a hurry by injury problems. Just constant. He’s not the best answer to this question, but he’s my answer to this question

9:15
Allen: What would the Braves haul for Miller have gotten Dave Stewart on Jonah Keri’s trade list (if you’ve read it, and Dave Cameron’s from last year if you haven’t)? By that I mean, around which caliber player would be the tipping point for what teams would have accepted for that package if they knew Stewart was offering it?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Let me pull up Jonah’s list real quick

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if the specific team circumstances would’ve worked out, but in a vacuum I could see that package getting three years of Matt Harvey instead of three years of Shelby Miller

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Now, the Mets might not have been in the mood to sell an ace for another glove-first center fielder and two good prospects. But if Harvey were on, say, the Braves instead, then you probably have a fit. There’s a reason why after the trade happened, we all figured the package was more appropriate for someone like Jose Fernandez

9:18
Bill: Do you think the Mariners have a rotation set and are just not telling the team/media in case someone gets hurt, or if someone blows away the fickle spring training competition they could win the job?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: There are six candidates, but really, Felix is in, and Iwakuma is in, and Walker is in, and Miley is in. So it’s all about Paxton vs. Karns — I’m ignoring whoever else — and though the Mariners might be leaning 60/40 in one direction, I’m sure they just want to see how both pitchers perform. I don’t at all think they’ve made up their minds

9:20
berezin: Do you take Iglesias or McCullers in 2016 ?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: McCullers is better

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if that’s a good answer from a fantasy perspective but it’s a good answer from a reality perspective

9:23
Corey: “From an analytics point of view,” Servais conceded, “they say you should hit your best hitter second. (Pause) I think Robby Cano should hit third. ” – Does this mean that Servais doesn’t think Cano is the best hitter on the team, or he’s acknowledging that he understands that Cano should theoretically hit second but will still be in the three spot?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Mariners just don’t want to move Cano up and potentially make him change his approach to suit his lineup position. The difference between having him second and third is pretty damn small, over a full season, and maybe they prefer someone with Marte or Aoki’s bat control in front. Cano did bat second 10 times last year; expect the lineup to move around as the season wears on

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: For whatever it’s worth, Cruz is arguably the best hitter on the team, and he’s definitely not batting second

9:26
Zonk: Pedro Alvarez…where do you think he fits? Boras says the reason he was bad at defense last year was the Pirates positioned him away from the bag alot. Is anyone buying that? Or is Pedro a pure DH now?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anyone’s buying that although I also don’t think anyone believes Alvarez is the worst defensive first baseman ever. He’s mostly a DH. There would be an immediate fit in Colorado and maybe the Rockies consider that as they save money from the suspended Jose Reyes. But they also might just not be interested in a veteran — they weren’t interested in Desmond. The White Sox would fit if they just bit the bullet and dumped LaRoche

9:28
Pretty Tony: I think Anthony Gose would have more success if he went by Tony.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I unreasonably love this

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Tony Gose

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Tony Gose Tony Gose Tony Gose

9:29
Moranall: Jeff, thank you for your work on the recent poll and for providing me with the total votes for each team. The reason I asked was because I was trying to compare results that might be between fans and non-fans. For example, as a Diamondbacks fan, I found it odd that we had the 7th most votes in the NL even though we’re definitely not the 7th most popular team. I compared this with the voting results – the poll suggests fans think we’re an 82 win team – yet most fans I know (in person and various online groups) seem to believe we’re more in the 85+ wins group. My theory is that with the Diamondbacks being a popular narrative, that they drew more non-fans to vote. Do you have any thoughts or desires on analyzing this?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a tricky thing to analyze but I definitely think that you’re on to something. The Diamondbacks are one example of a team that drew more votes than the FG demographics would predict. The Royals are an even more obvious example. They drew a ton of votes because there’s been so much talk about just what these teams are, compared to what the numbers say they are. So people formed opinions a while ago, and this was an opportunity to express them. I doubt anyone was in much of a hurry to come and offer their opinion on the damn Rockies

9:32
TF Fredrik: Top speed guys, Burns, Hamilton, & Gordon, and anyone of their class, what is ideal batted ball profile they can have to still succeed with such weak contact? Seems like running a 50%+ groundball rate, and using a lot of the opposite field would be a start.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I think the reality is that, while people think about speed guys succeeding on grounders, they *really* succeed on liners and bloopers beyond the infield. Grounders are still mostly outs, even if you’re Delino DeShields. It’s just that those flares tend to correlate better with grounder rate than fly ball rate

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: You definitely look for an ability to spray the ball and I think when a speed hitter makes it to the majors, that process is selective for spraying because weak pull hitters don’t make it anywhere

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: As a soft rule of thumb, I think you want a GB% at least very close to 50%

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: And you’ll hope for some ability to walk

9:38
Pale Hose: Let’s say you have a reliever with 70 command that specializes in a reverse Dickey effect. How slow would he have to throw to completely throw off a major leaguer’s timing, albeit for one PA?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe we’re talking about going from like Kelvin Herrera to a theoretical Barry Zito who throws strikes

9:39
Jon: I remember Dave Cameron – or maybe someone else at FG – cautioning people against being too excited about Mike Zunino’s robust spring training numbers because of the nature of the pitch type and weather down there (I think). What kind of performances from spring training can/cannot be read into with any predictive significance?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty obviously, velocity changes are important. Those are pretty hard to fake so that’s something to keep an eye on

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: You also want to watch for changes in pitcher repertoire. Lots of guys go out there trying new pitches but only some of those new pitches last the whole spring and remain in the arsenal

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: From a hitter perspective, it would require some digging but I think you can read into changes in pull/opposite success. A few years ago I remember noticing that suddenly Michael Saunders was driving the ball the other way. It was just Arizona, but it seemed meaningful since he hadn’t done that in the past, and sure enough it carried into the summer

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: For me the real fun of spring training is trying to dig through everything to find something, anything of substance

9:41
Larry: Do you like volcanoes more than Eno likes beer?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t visit three volcanoes every day after work

9:43
Raindog: Each of the last two years Austin Jackson has been a better hitter, fielder, and baserunner than Jay Bruce. Bruce will be paid more this year and comes with an acquisition cost that Jackson does not. Why do the Orioles apparently prefer to trade for Bruce than sign Jackson?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume this is true. The Orioles might prefer the right fielder with a history of playing right field. Also, more importantly, they could believe that Jackson is trending down, while Bruce is due to rebound. It seems like there’s a greater likelihood of Bruce getting back to his previous upside. The Orioles love their power, and Bruce could conceivably hit well again with his legs underneath him

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: It does seem like Jackson is being somewhat underrated by the market but I think the perception is that he’s mostly finished as a regular

9:46
2-D: If you had free rein to completely redesign Coors’ outfield fences what would they look like?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: They’d look the same but they’d randomly flash a sequence of neon lights to mess up the hitter’s vision

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: (The fences aren’t an issue. No sense in doing much with the fences.)

9:47
Jim: What Tweet of yours do you think has gotten the most retweets?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Never checked. Probably some stupid gif

9:48
Q-Ball: What unfinished business do you think is out there? For one, I think the White Sox must be looking for quality defensive OF. Anything else?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Corner OF for the Orioles, corner OF for the Angels, 1B for the Rockies, maybe some bullpen help for the Marlins with Capps unfortunately hurt

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: The White Sox could definitely use an outfielder as well

9:49
Kim: What/who is a comp for Boog Powell’s ceiling?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Brett Gardner

9:49
Pretty Tony: With Maybin out with a bum wrist, does Tony Gose play everyday and is this an advisable thing for a baseball team striving for success?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: That’s never advisable, but Maybin should only be out for about a month at most. So they can weather this provided Gose bats like eighth or ninth

9:50
Zonk: Cubs current division odds are currently 85% per Fangraphs, with Pirates and Cardinals in high single digits. Do you buy that? Does your model account for curses?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: No, I don’t buy that. I agree that the Cubs are the heavy favorites, but I like the Cardinals and Pirates more than the projections do

9:51
Jake: hi jeff! i wanted to ask you about your experiences at Lookout Landing. i currently write about the yankees, and was wondering if you had any tips for people who have to focus on a single ball-club. how did you generate ideas for writing when your scope was limited to one team?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: The disadvantage is you have only one team to write about. The advantage is that you can go super in depth on stuff that wouldn’t play on a national level, because the people reading are big big fans who just want to read as much as they can about the team in question. So you can write about, like, a player’s true platoon splits or something, whereas if I tried to do that on FanGraphs it might be met with yawns and dismissal

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s also important to mix in plenty of articles that aren’t just analytical. Have some fun with it, if that’s something you’re comfortable with. No better idea generator in the world than just watching or listening to a baseball game

9:55
klof: Could teams save money and give themselves a real home field advantage by moving their fences to 430+ to prevent most home runs, then filling their OF with three true centerfielders with good range, limited power, and high contact skills (and whose skills tend to cost less than corner sluggers), and stocking their pitching staff with fly-ball pitchers who would be giving up outs instead of HRs? Thinking specifically about COL and their wall changes but any small market team might benefit from this. The home field advantage of this might be cancelled out by having no true power hitters for road games. Thoughts?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a theory out there that the more distinctive and unique a ballpark, the stronger the home-field advantage. The home team can customize itself for the stadium, and the road team won’t be able to do that, and that could be worth a win or three

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: But leaving aside how the league would never go or this — you’d still have a bunch of home runs, just of the inside-the-park variety. And so many doubles and triples. It’s not like fences are the only thing keeping home runs from being catchable. Those balls are struck very well and they seldom hang up enough for outfielders to get to them. Would-be homers would just sail over the outfielders’ heads, and then those guys would have to run a bunch to recover the ball before the hitter made it to home anyway

9:57
Marc : Will pedro ever sign with a team? Is overseas a realistic option?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Nah, he’ll get a chance

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: And given that he’s one of the more extreme fastball hitters in the league, Japan might be murder on his statistics

9:59
TF Fredrik: How do balance finding topics to research/write about that go against the grain & those that fall in with the established beliefs currently out there in analytics/sabermetrics? Put it another way, Do you like trying to find something new, or continuing/bettering what we have already?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I want to find new stuff as often as possible, even if it’s the smallest little thing. I don’t find it enjoyable to tread on trodden ground. Then I just feel like I’m repeating someone else. At the very least I try to approach ordinary questions in maybe more unusual ways. New ways, so a familiar story can still somehow seem fresh

10:02
TuesMorningBear: considering the injury to Andersen, and the claim that he will get “at least 100 IP this year,” when do you think we’ll see Julio Urias in the show this year? Will he stick when he arrives, or is the 100 IP guarantee just smoke and mirrors?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I actually think we’re likely to see De Leon sooner

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I do think Urias will make it up this season, but I don’t think he’ll get established as a regular

10:05
Elisa Plum: Will Trevor Story be the rockies SS opening day?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’ll be Adames, and then Story after a month or two

10:07
Bill: Projection for AJ Reed this year?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: He’s going to be good. He won’t be up right away, but when he is, I figure a wRC+ in the vicinity of 120

10:08
klof: Would a Cistulli-Sarris podcast work?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Not more than once

10:09
Raindog: Are you fascinated by other aspects of geoscience too? Earthquakes? Hurricanes? The impossibly slow yet inexorable erosion of mountains that reminds us of the impermanence of even the greatest of things?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Something I still have trouble wrapping my head around is how many massive volcanoes have existed in this region that simply aren’t there anymore

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Like, I get how it happens, but the scale is still beyond my comprehension. Goat Rocks isn’t even a great example since remnants are still standing but having been there, it’s nuts to look at what’s left and think “this used to be a big ol thing”

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’m interested in earthquakes and faulting and so on and so forth but volcanoes speak to me most, mostly because I can look out most windows here and see some

10:10
Mike: How many “who hangs up first” questions do you get a chat?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Fewer than you might think! For example, I haven’t seen one yet today

10:11
Trevor: Who’s Kakie Bryan? Eno mentioned him yesterday

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Dammit not this again

10:11
Justin: Ryan Anderson famously struck out Griffey, Martinez, and Buhner in spring training, and then bragged to the media afterwards about how he “dominated” them. Karma can damage shoulders as well.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, that’s why the best athletes are always the most humble ones

10:13
B.Lightyear: 2015 and beyond, Sonny Gray or Carlos Martinez?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I slightly prefer Gray overall

10:13
Raindog: Ryan Anderson is a professional chef? I love when ex-ballplayers don’t end up as baseball coach / car dealership owner / rich guy just hanging around

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Sushi chef, I believe, in Arizona. At least that’s where he was a few years ago last time I checked

10:14
Curtis: Have the FG writers ever authored a “My Favorite Stat” article? I, for one, would be interested in which stat from each writer and more importantly why… What is your favorite stat & why?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Oof. This is hard! Because my favorite stat is always dependent on what I’m trying to examine. Just in general, it’s probably wRC+, but that’s uninteresting. For pitchers it’s K% – BB% because it tells you so much right away about what the pitcher is. But I don’t know if I can answer this in a satisfying way

10:18
klof: Rumors of Schwarber being caddie for Hendricks. Seems like a terrible idea since Hendricks relies on location so an above average framer seems like a must. I’m just guessing Schwarber is not this. How much of a hit would it be for Hendricks to only pitch to Schwarber? Would Hammel or Lackey make more sense? I can see how it could make it easier on Schwarber to only have to really learn one pitcher’s quirks if he’s only catching once a week.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I think, if the Cubs are insistent on having Schwarber catch, Hendricks might actually make the most sense. You want to give him a regular, consistent partner so he can get used to the movements and get an idea for the game-calling, but Hendricks also is the softest thrower with his fastball and changeup, so he might be the easiest of all of the starters to receive. Give Schwarber a spring of learning the right techniques and I think this could work out just fine

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: The hardest pitches to frame are the fast, darting ones and the ones that end up far away from the target. Hendricks doesn’t throw very many of either

10:21
Ben: Will Sean Newcomb find the strike zone enough to live up to expectations, or is his wildness going to be his downfall? How easy/hard is it for young guys to improve their control?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I pretty much always bet against these guys, because wildness tends to sustain. But this is the upside: his first two years in the majors, Clayton Kershaw posted one of the very highest walk rates in baseball. He went from 13% in 2009 to 6% in 2011. Just enough pitchers figure it out to make it worthwhile

10:23
Stuafoo: What’s the ideal pitcher for Coors field? Feel free to go all Frankenstein on us.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think as a starting point you’d love a guy who can throw both a high four-seamer and a low power sinker. Those guys are incredibly rare

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Rick Porcello tried to be that guy and he was a disaster!

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: But Coors seems to reduce rise on fastballs, so with that in mind I’d take a guy with a great sinker and a complementary changeup

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Aaron Cook survived

10:26
jpg: If there was ever a team to copy the Royals blueprint, it’s the Rockies, no? It sounds counterintuitive but here’s the plan: Build a contact heavy lineup that rarely strikes out to take advantage of the huge outfield gaps. Focus on fast, aggressive base runners. The home runs will still come. As for run prevention, we have two decades of evidence that Colorado can’t A) develop a front line starter or B) sign one in free agency (sans Mike Hampton). So they should focus on pairing decent starters with elite glove men in the outfield to cover the aforementioned huge gaps and a lights out bullpen because relievers have succeeded there. What do you think?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: The Rockies pitchers should be strongly incentivized to avoid contact, or at least outfield contact. The best outfield defenders in the world can’t make that outfield pitcher-friendly. Batted balls just have an enormous run value in Colorado, so they need their pitchers to either get strikeouts or get grounders, and hopefully both. Defense isn’t really the problem

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: I do think they should feature a contact-heavy offense. And they sort of do, although part of that is just Colorado making it easier to make contact itself

10:28
TF Fredrik: Looking at individual player projections, I know they are median or baseline projections. Yet, I still feel like they almost always look too conservative. Obviously we know there will be guys that drive in 120+ and score 110+, but projections never throw that kind of number on a player. Is this by design? Like they know it will happen, but it’s too hard to predict who exactly will be the one with those lines. Sidenote, I always did enjoy looking at PECOTAs 90th percentiles.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Projections try to weigh all the outcomes, and it’s just more likely for a player to be bad or average than to be elite. An injury or something can cause a player to slump, but there’s no anti-injury to allow a player to run a .600 wOBA over a month and a half

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: As a general rule, the best performers were both good and a little lucky. Projections don’t deal with luck. Because the season only plays itself out once, we observe a broader distribution in results than we’d see based on “true talent.” So the standard deviations in projections will be smaller than the standard deviations in performances. The rankings of players should still be good

10:32
Vic: Are you a fan of Franklin Barreto? Sticks at SS?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I like him and I think he can be an average shortstop

10:32
Doc: Would you be willing pay a “clutch” player, someone who may not be as good, but plays better in important situations/playoffs more then someone who always plays the same?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, but only if I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the player was really clutch. We pretty much never know that

10:33
Mark: Jeff, How much of an upgrade in outfield D is Schwarber-Fowler-Heyward over Schwarber-Heyward-Soler? Also, how much do you think that outfield D is worth to the Cubs?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Schwarber is held constant

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say Fowler is a -5 CF, and Soler is a -5 RF. Let’s say Heyward is a +5 CF and a +15 RF. This would give the first arrangement a 10-run advantage

10:34
Zonk: I thought of Brandon Wood for that prospect question

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Legitimate, but he always had that contact red flag

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Struck out a ton in the high minors. Ultimately it’s what killed him

10:35
somedudefromitaly: Jeff, do you think it’s possible the Dodgers actually call up De Leon/Urias in the 1st half? Zaidi said so after the Anderson news, but I can’t see it happening

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely possible. Not the first thing they want to do, but the pitchers are just about ready, and they’re already down a few starting pitchers from what they accumulated

10:37
TF Fredrik: Hypothetical: How much better would you be able to write about teams and players if you had all the information teams do about their own players?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be the best sportswriter in the world, and through some combination of means I’d make a damn fortune

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: And along the way any number of teams would reach out and offer me money to try to get me to stop

10:38
The Decadent Moose: You guys are killing me (or saving me). I play Diamond Mind Baseball and rebuilt my bullpen. It’s now stocked with Keone Kela, Mychal Givens, Corey Knebel, and a trade brought over Blake Treinen. You may as well just draft for me. I suppose I need a question: Any news on Lucroy?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: No news. Other teams will watch and make sure he’s okay before revisiting talks

10:39
Mike: I see a lot of questions about “what if Dustin Ackley had been drafted by X organization” – I understand that the Mariners development system has been wretched compared to others, but what exactly about it has been so bad? What is so good about the Cardinals, for example?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t really speak to the Cardinals. But from what I’ve learned about the Mariners, it sounds like the biggest problem was coaches at every level giving conflicting information. They never quite had the whole organization on the same page, and that can make things confusing for young players, who don’t know who to listen to

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a freaking miracle Kyle Seager emerged as he did

10:40
TF Fredrik: Speaking of weird career paths, Jurrickson Profar still could be very good right? Seems like that would be taking quite the long road.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: There is a line of thought that Profar was always overrated by the scouting community, but he’s still clearly talented, he sounds like he’s healthy now, and he’s a full year younger than Jorge Soler

10:41
Josh: Do you think expansion is a likely subject of talk for the next CBA?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:41
Justin: Over/under on season wins lost by Dodgers due to Brett Anderson’s injury: 1.5?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll go with 1

10:42
Paul: Where do you stand on Billy Hamilton this year? Is he what he’s been, or is there hope that he can keep his head above water and steal 80+ bases?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: He’s been terrible offensively for a season and a half. I’m not a believer, but I do know that Hamilton is very inquisitive and eager to learn how he can improve, so that’s one plus, I suppose

10:45
mtsw: I get that people get upset when broadcasters, coaches or executives say dumb shit about analytics, since it’s their job to know better, but why are people upset at Anthony Gose for saying something ignorant? Seems misguided to me.

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: It’s an opportunity to dogpile. The same thing happened some years ago when Raul Ibanez said basically the same stuff as Gose did. It’s a chance for people to say “haha this person is stupid” and people love seizing those chances. It’s ugly and dumb. Gose has issues with how defensive metrics are calculated. Newsflash: every smart person does.

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Of course Gose would be a little less likely to trust a metric that rates him as a below-average outfielder. Especially if he’s been hearing the opposite of that from his own employer

10:48
Shawn Spenstarr: Just based purely on speculation. Which manager do you think gets fired first, if their team doesn’t do as well as expected?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: John Farrell?

10:49
Raindog: Have you ever considered the Mt. Rushmore question for the Mariners? Really hard for me to stop at four. Griffey, Edgar, Ichiro, and… I can’t decide between Unit and Felix. And that’s not even considering Arod.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I think Felix gets the advantage over Randy

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Felix has 400 more innings in the uniform, and while Randy is maybe a bit more iconic, Felix has narrowed the gap over time

10:50
CamdenWarehouse: Will Zunino be the Mariners starting catcher at some point this year?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Not for long, I don’t think

10:50
Marc : Who gets signed first, Lincecum or Alvarez? Where do you ultimately see both of them ending up?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Lincecum signs first. No idea where yet; more pitchers could get hurt between now and then

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Selfishly I’d love to see him go to the Pirates

10:52
mtsw: Zach Britton for Jorge Soler, who says no?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Orioles, but it would be different midseason if the O’s drop out of contention

10:55
forest: Why have Matt Thornton’s K/9 tanked all the way to 5.01 when his fastball still has respectable velocity?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: He’s dropped his arm and his fastball has flattened out, generating more run but less rise. It’s become a more hittable fastball, in addition to it having slowed down

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe it can be fixed, but at this point he’s 39 years old

10:57
TJ: Decent chance the Braves trade Inciarte this spring or do you think they would prefer to keep him for a few years? Would it ever make sense for him to coexist in the same lineup as M.Smith? Seems like Inciarte’s trade value may also never be higher, unless you think he has real upside we haven’t seen.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s a spring trade candidate. A year from now he’ll still have four control years left, so I could see him on the move next December, given the pretty light FA market

10:58
forest: This offseason, why have mid-level pitchers seen much greater demand over hitters?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I genuinely don’t know!

10:59
Aaron: With the Indians projected to win the AL Central, shouldn’t they invest more in their OF situation so they can maximize their chances of making the playoffs? I know their payroll is limited but this OF situation is pathetic for a potential playoff team

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: The Indians have all kinds of mediocre outfield depth. The only thing they could do to shake it up is make a splash for a 3+ WAR player, but that becomes a lot more difficult. Seems to me they plan to perhaps ride this out until June or July and then re-visit based on what’s out there

11:01
Marc : Now DeGrom is following Coles lead and forcing his displeasure with the pre-arb money and wont sign his contract (for whatever thats worth). Does this get changed in the upcomming CBA?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: This is a pretty common thing to do, actually, since signing the contract or not signing the contract doesn’t matter

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: The lowest salaries will get raised by the next CBA, but it would surprise me if something were done to greatly shift the amount of money made immediately available to the youngest major leaguers

11:02
Cody: So the spring training Brewers are 3-0 including a win against the “best team in baseball”. Its too early to say, but is there a chance this year’s team isn’t any worse than last year’s?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Last year’s Brewers lost 94 times. I think this year’s team is more in line for 90 losses or so

11:03
GSon: The Cubs present in many ways like the mid-90s Cleveland Indians. Tremendous offensive talent throughout the order, but, ultimately flawed with less than stellar # 3 & # 4 SP’s and a pen that leaves a lot to be desired. Why isn’t Theo and Jed breaking land speed records to FIX the middle of the rotation & building the pen three deep at the back?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Lackey and Hendricks were both just worth more than 3 WAR. The Cubs bullpen was also just fourth in WAR and a reasonable eighth in WPA. I don’t think they have a problem. I think the beauty of the rest of the roster makes these look like problems

11:05
Brian L: Can you guys just have a big disclaimer on the top of every article, in big bold letters, saying “Check your biases at the door”? Half the comments on every article look like the person just read the title and skipped to the comments to begin their attack. If reading that disclaimer could save one seething comment per article, it would be worth it…

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no accomplishing that on the Internet. Thankfully FanGraphs is selective for smarter readers than most sites so despite the site’s popularity I think we do pretty well to generate intelligent conversation. There are awful comments and awful comment threads but compared to other places, we’re doing OK

11:06
Munenori’s Espresso Stand: Are the changes to sliding / neighborhood play going to be this year’s “transfer rule”? Or will it actually NOT be a trainwreck?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I’m really interested to see what happens with neighborhood plays. This could be a big deal! I haven’t seen it covered yet in depth

11:06
dw: The Warriors will win more games than ___ MLB teams?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Six

11:07
Gabriel: Not counting the Royals … which teams you think will most outperform and underperform their projections?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say…Rangers out-perform, and Marlins under-perform

11:09
Jeet: Is Berrios going to have a big impact for the Twins this season? Don’t you think that rebuilding teams hurt MLB ready players by keeping them in the minors for too long for service time reasons?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I think Berrios is going to be an important player for this year’s Twins, and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that the Twins hang around again in the race

11:09
Seattle GM: What happened to the fantastic Seattle farm? Why isn’t anyone talking about DJ Peterson and Lara in the same vein as Arcia etc

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Everybody sucks

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: The hope is that a new player development system can salvage the talented players held over from the previous regime.

11:10
Fan: Mookie Betts is getting a lot of press as a young star player and he had 4.8 war in 142 games. He even ranked very highly in Dave Cameron’s trade value piece. Joe Panik on the other hand had 4.2 war in 100 games. They both have similar service time. Is this a case of Boston hype or is Joe Panik really underrated?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Panik is underrated. I like Betts more, but Panik is a really solid player

11:11
cornelius: who’s throwing the ball in your twitter avatar

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Raullllllllllllll

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, time to go!

11:11
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 — 3/4/16 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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