Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/15/16

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s chat already

9:08
Q-Ball: Fun Cub Fact: Cubs run differential right now is +43. That is more than the total runs scored of 22 teams.

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think juggernauts really exist in baseball, but this is what one would look like

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: People said our expectations of the Cubs were way too high. They’re exceeding them! It’s so stupid

9:10
Raindog: More surprising: Daniel Murphy has highest qualified wOBA in MLB or Russell Martin has lowest?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I guess the former is a little more surprising but how about Jeremy Hazelbaker in second?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what a Jeremy Hazelbaker is but last year in Triple-A he hit .333/.403/.594. This is all extremely Cardinals

9:12
Anthony: Should the Astros have sold high on Keuchel?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: No, that would have been silly

9:12
Steve: Latos is looking good so far. How likely is a return to 2013 and prior form?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: He’s throwing 89 and he’s not missing bats. We can wait to see how the arm strength builds up but right now I don’t think he’s more than a No. 5

9:13
Erik: Velasquez confirmed GOAT? Should we expect world series this year or next?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact: Phillies lead baseball in starting pitcher WAR. Second place is behind by a full win

9:15
John: What do you think of Tanaka’s new approach using mostly two-seamers instead of his regular fastball?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: His four-seamer blows, so it’s not a surprise to see him move even further away from fastballs at all

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: It’s possible the two-seamer and the splitter play best off of one another. The four-seamer might be too easy to identify (this is speculation)

9:19
Jaack: How many straight losses to start the season would it take for the Braves to seriously threaten the ’62 Mets as the losing-est team of all time?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s look at this! Those Mets went 40-120

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say the Braves *should* win 40% of their games

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: You’d expect those 40 wins in 100 games. Sooooo…well based on this math the Braves would have to start like 0-62

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Alternative route: they trade Inciarte, they trade Aybar, they trade Teheran, and Freeman goes on the DL for a while

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: This is all very sad

9:21
Art Vandelay: Padres have been shut out in 50% of their games, yet have still outscored the Twins 37-14, and oh yeah, have won a few games.

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: The Twins are an even bigger bummer than the Braves. At least Berrios struck out nine in five innings in his first start in the minors

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: We didn’t give the Twins a lot of respect. And even last year they rebounded after a poor start to hang around. But there’s a big difference between 1-6 and 0-9

9:23
Raeeth: Hey Jeff – I know you love the outdoors and hiking, not sure if you’re a big camper/survivalist but if you haven’t seen the new History channel show “Alone”, it’s unbelievably neat as a survival/humanity study. Few people from the show are from Oregon too which was kinda neat

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have cable but I’ll see about tracking something down online. Thank you for the suggestion!

9:23
The Decadent Moose:

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I thought that would embed better. Anyhow, A+

9:25
Raindog: Did you see Ian Desmond do his best Jose Canseco impression? This has been a rough couple of years for shortstops trying to show that playing the outfield is easier.

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Not that it really means anything but so far Desmond as an outfielder is at a DRS of 0

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Gerardo Parra at -4!

9:26
Josh: Considering the injury to Chirinos, how likely do you think the Rangers may look to acquire Lucroy in April or May now rather than wait until the trade deadline? Do you think Brinson is completely off the table?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Problem with the injury timing: other teams don’t want to trade regulars. I haven’t gone through the history but how many trades of substance do you recall taking place in April and May?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: You can get away with trades in the spring, but once the season starts, teams want to keep a product on the field for a while. It would be very disruptive for a team to trade the Rangers a good catcher right now. So they’re probably kind of stuck

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they could get ballsy and try to get Swihart from the Red Sox but I’m just sounding off here

9:28
Art Vandelay: As a Twins fan, I’m not even mad – just resigned to already being an also-ran. It’s going to be a very relaxing summer.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Park: bad. Sano: bad. Buxton: bad. Can’t even enjoy this in the slightest 🙁

9:29
Vasil v : Do you see jj Hardy going back to being very good offensively

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: no

9:29
Guest: Jeff I saw a documentary about the Yellowstone volcano eruption that will destroy us all someday. What can you say to reassure me?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: You will die from something else

9:31
j6takish: What do the white sox do if they don’t contend this year? They only have Sale/Abreru for 3 more seasons and no farm or promising young players on the uprising

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: It kind of depends on *how* the White Sox don’t contend, if that’s what happens, but three more years is a long time. And there’s Quintana, and Rodon, and so on. They’re not in a horrible place

9:32
Brett Lawrie’s Empty Redbull Can: Hey Jeff, first time/long time. I just wanted to say Josh Donaldson is great. Do you think he’s great? I’ll hang up and listen.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not Jeremy Hazelbaker great, but he’s pretty solid

9:33
2-D: How is it possible for a RH slider to have a negative value for horizontal movement? Brooks has Carrasco’s sliders from Wednesday at -1.62.

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think people get the wrong idea about how sliders move horizontally. Frisbee sliders are uncommon and thrown almost exclusively by side-armers. Curves are the pitches that really sweep across. Sliders are essentially cut fastballs, or fastballs with dip and minimal tail

9:34
Marcus Semien’s Dad: Andrelton Simmons is an inferior defender. My son is awesome!

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: At this moment, right now, they’re tied in DRS!

9:35
Johnny5Alive: so basically start every pitcher against the padres? also, i own VV in an NL only, can we change the schedule so he get to pitch against san diego like 20 more times?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: The Padres are bad. This is not insightful fantasy advice, but it is fantasy advice

9:37
Raindog: Braves get 3 games against Miami now, but then get LAD, NYM, BOS, CHC, NYM for the 16 games after that. Their W-L record come early May… my goodness.

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Make sure to buy your 2017 season tickets!

9:37
Zonk: Last year, Maddon batted the pitcher 8th. This year, he’s back to batting the pitcher 9th, but several other managers are batting the pitcher 8th now. Where do you sit on this issue?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to be totally honest with you: I don’t have an opinion. Not a single one. It’s kind of embarrassing because I know this is supposed to be one of those sabermetric hot topics, but I can’t bring myself to ever care about lineup construction, unless there’s just something egregious. I don’t find it very interesting

9:39
Ryan : I know that its a very small sample size, but so far the Cubs offense looks like its going to be great. How do they stack up against some of the better offensive teams of the last decade?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: They’re very good, but I’m not sure they’re even better than this year’s Dodgers. If Russell is legit, that changes things. I’m not yet convinced

9:41
Sean P: Do you think Zobrist returns to his defensive value from a couple years back now that he is healthy? Wondering how much of an impact his injury last year had on his defensive.

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Health isn’t quite as binary as we want it to be. Zobrist right now is probably feeling better than he did at any point in 2015, and that’s helpful. Look at Angel Pagan for an example of a guy who seems like a different player now that he has his knees. But I’m not convinced that knee problems just go away. Not permanently. Zobrist is probably susceptible to soreness or further injury, so I don’t think we can expect him to last the year close to 100%

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: In short: I think Zobrist will be better than last year! But not way way better, in the end

9:45
Josh: Wily Peralta has been horrendous in his three starts this year after a bad 2015. Is there any hope at this point that he can even be replacement-level?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: The only consolation is probably that Peralta still throws 94 and sometimes pitchers just randomly click. For the time being he is dreadful

9:45
Otakon: Since the horrible start of the Twins, how do you think they will handle Berrios this year?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt the plans have changed. If the Twins stay bad, that should make it easier to keep Berrios controlled with caution

9:46
kris: Nice use of the word ‘pseudoevolutionary’ on EW!

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Recording early in the morning, I was just happy to not stumble over every other word

9:47
Q-Ball: Cubs pitching is #1 in least walks surrendered (19). Cubs are #1 in most walks taken (53). Cubs are not among the leaders in ANY other pitching or hitting category not related to walks. This is the only reason they are winning….they are winning the strike zone.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Strike zone’s important

9:47
Zonk: I know you are not supposed to call a team toast in April, but given the low margin of error, do you think the Twins are toast? And are the D-Backs that far behind?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say you set a target at…85 wins. A low 85-win target! The Twins are already 0-9, so they’d need to play out at 85-68. That’s a .556 pace. 90-win pace over a full season. It’s doable, but it seems well above the Twins’ collective head

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: The D-Backs are also in big trouble, but a lot of that is just from losing Pollock. Without him, I don’t buy them as a contender, bad start aside

9:51
The Dude of NY: Assuming Jason Hammel has around a 2 WAR 2016 (which all the projection systems project) do the Cubs pick up his 2017, 10mil option with 2mil buyout?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: If he’s healthy, I think he’d be worth $10 million to them

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: (It’s a $12-million option, with a $2-million buyout)

9:52
blake: At what point, if you’re a fan of a team that starts off like the braves or twins have, do you lean into the skid and start rooting for the losing streak, hoping for historical awfulness rather than just an ordinary lost season?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I was just talking to a baseball person about this yesterday. Here’s the problem with rooting for losing: things have to happen in a certain way for losses to follow. Losses are caused by lousy performance. And if your team is performing lousy, that means critical pieces are performing lousy. If the difference between a bad Twins team and a horrible Twins team is that the horrible Twins team gets nothing at all out of Sano, Park, Buxton, etc, is that really something you want? Wouldn’t you rather those players look like they could help for a while?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, maybe you could say the “ideal” is losing despite good performances from core players. But that’s not very possible

9:54
Rick Somebody: MAt Latos velocity was way up. Prognosis?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Still down from before

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: It is rare, though, to see a guy gain three ticks between two starts

9:55
Josh: Do you think the Twins’ slow start will result in them delaying Berrios even further, or do you expect to see him sooner rather than later?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: As long as they suck, they won’t push him. They’ll bring him up when he’s ready

9:56
Aaron: How come you sounded so much happier to be on Effectively Wild than you sound when you talk to Carson?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I recorded the EW podcast before the workday, and I recorded the FG podcast right after the workday

9:56
Raindog: Wade Miley: 14 K, 0 BB in 12 IP. Brilliant process, but putrid results: 8.25 ERA. What’s gonna give?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be good if he’s throwing strikes

9:57
Zonk: Jeremy Hazelbaker….flash in the pan, or the next Jim Edmonds?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Um

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: in between?

9:57
Chris: Given the Dodgers rotation of Kershaw/Kazmir/Maeda/Stripling/Wood, and the pending return of Ryu, how do you see them using (if at all) De Leon and Urias this season?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Odds are someone will get hurt or underperform. So that’ll create an opening. Hard thing to plan on, but the Dodgers don’t need to rush those two

9:58
The Dude of NY: On player pages, the 2016 projections are followed by (R), ie ZiPS (R). What does the R mean?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: rest of season

9:58
Johnny5Alive: the cubs have great depth, the dodgers depth has been tested by their multitude of injuries. the nats have decent depth and the top minor league pitcher available and ready. Is it safe to say the mets are the only NL team that is primed to win now that can’t even afford 1 major injury? If degrom misses significant time, are they already screwed?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: They definitely wouldn’t be screwed. It would be a problem, but at some point Wheeler will come back, and Verrett isn’t chopped liver. On the position-player side, the depth isn’t bad at all. Relative to the Dodgers, the Mets might be comparatively flimsy, but that’s balanced by the team’s clear strength

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I am a little worried about the lat, though. These things can be bigger deals than they seem like at first

10:00
Curious George: If a player has very little gap between his era & fip, but has a wide gap between his fip & xfip. What does that mean?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: He’s allowed too many or too few home runs

10:00
Thomas: Given that his OBP his .500 would it, hypothetically, make sense for the Jays to bat Bautista leadoff?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I guess he’d be a better option than Pillar, but Saunders would be easier

10:01
Gary: Vince Velasquez, is he the truth?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: He is a truth

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: One of infinite truths

10:03
FireDrayton: Bad few days in Astrosland this week — Giles stinking, Velasquez dealing, 3-7, red-hot Tigers coming to town. Walk us back from the ledge?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: The whole division blows

10:03
Charlie: Astros struggles… April or a real cause for concern?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I did want to add one thing

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Based on reports in spring training, I thought Doug Fister’s velocity was back. It’s not!

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Which means he might still be bad! That’s a problem.

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Unrelated fun fact: the Royals already lead baseball in wins over BaseRuns, by 3

10:04
Dubya: The Washington Nationals: Good? or the Atlanta Braves: Bad?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Very much both

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: The Nationals are already four games clear of the Mets. Their odds of winning the division have gone from 41% to 60%

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: that’s crazy!

10:06
Rizz: As a Cub fan, even I am embarrassed by all the hype

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably hard because when the playoffs feel like a foregone conclusion it’s more difficult to enjoy the first six months

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: I talk to Matthew Kory about this. He likes the Washington Capitals. They’ve basically been in the playoffs since November. The playoffs just started. Makes the regular season feel almost pointless

10:07
MN Ben: do you have High expectations of Gausman this year?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Expectations, no

10:07
Ronnie: If you could have the career (regular/postseason performance & accolades, ca$h earned/guaranteed in the future) of Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner which would you choose?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take Bumgarner right now

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: (Do not take this as a sign that I think Bumgarner is the better pitcher)

10:08
Phelps: Is Adam Lind broken

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: No, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he became such

10:09
Reginald Denton III: Is right now about the time we start talking about how the Cubs haven’t played anybody decent yet?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: The Angels are decent. The D-Backs are at least supposed to be decent

10:09
Jeffrey: All the talk seems to be about the weight of Kung Fu Panda, however,the big problems seems to be their starting rotation. How do the Red Sox fix this problem?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Time

10:10
Bad Hermit: Since chasing a starter early doesn’t do much good for that particular game (given the strength of relief pitchers), are the Cubs hurting themselves by benefiting short-term future opponents of their current opponents (no matter how small the effect)? Could check bullpen performance after Cubs series relative to normal bullpen performance, once a sample size is established, right?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: If the Cubs are helping other teams by beating the crap out of their opponents, I think they’ll take that

10:10
nicko: Twins come back from the dead against the Angels pitching this weekend, or more of the same?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll win once or twice!

10:11
Hal: So, Vince Velasquez: I know it was against the Padres, but a start that good can’t be flukey, right? (please say yes even if you disagree, I have so little to be happy about right now)

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: What I like so far about Velasquez: he’s one of the league leaders in zone rate. He’s pitched very aggressively. Now, the Padres didn’t give him much of a reason not to, but he trusts his stuff and he comes right after the opponent. He can throw strikes without getting them punished, and that gives him a leg up for as long as he has this velocity

10:14
j6takish: It’s April, he hasn’t walked yet, his babip is 400 but nick castellanos has looked good. He made some pretty significant changes to his swing and had a good 2nd half last year. Once the small sample Tom Foolery stabilizes, do you think he will finally have a decent year?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t love him, but I can see him pulling off a 2 WAR year. He’ll need enough fly balls to sail over the fence. I’ll never buy him in the field

10:14
Jaack: Rank these jobs in terms of how much you want them: Managing Editor of Fangraphs, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom or Coach of the Ottawa Senators?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: 1. FanGraphs
2. Senators
3. literally anything else
4. UK

10:15
Mark: Looking towards the deadline, what high leverage relievers will be available. I’m a dodger fan

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see if Will Smith gets himself back and healthy

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: That’s…well that’s almost it

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe you can grab one of the Twins

10:16
Zonk: Once again, the Rockies are leading the league in slugging, and their pitching is a mess. Every year it’s the same, and not just at home; they always have some good hitters, and never have a decent pitcher. Does Coors really destroy the psyche of every pitcher, or do you have a different theory?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Simple theory is that the pitching has sucked

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: They could really, really use Jon Gray back

10:17
Zach: Imagine a fastball. Imagine this fastball has essentially no break, and the pitcher throwing it is not in any way deceptive. How fast does this fastball need to be in order to be a viable pitch in the majors?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: 103

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: 97-98 if the pitcher has something else

10:18
Brett Lawrie’s Empty Redbull Can: Who do you see as the biggest FIP-buster in the league? If you believe such a thing exists.

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Cueto

10:18
Dave: I was planning to buy low on Vince Velasquez. That plan has gone to shambles. You thoughts on this?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Your bad

10:19
JKD: Is there a good metric that exists on the relative value of a team beating up on/not losing to the bad teams on their schedule? Thinking specifically of the NL East right now – it’s beneficial for the Nats to be beating the Braves, but it seems way way more bad in absolute value, for the Mets to be losing to the Marlins and Phillies. How to express that, in less tortured language/with numbers?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, I guess you could look at our playoff odds, since they account for schedule. Losses to teams you should beat will be extra damaging

10:20
JC: How worried are you about Felix’s declining velocity? The changeup is still filthy, but it feels but it feels like the 89-90mph fastball will make him increasingly hittable. I’d hoped this trend was due to last year’s injuries, but I guess this is just age catching up to him?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: I’m still going to give him more time, but the velocity trend is generally worrisome. Working to his advantage: he’s still throwing as hard as Keuchel just did, and Felix’s secondary stuff is second to almost none. He can be successful at this level. You just have to hope it’s not a physical ailment.

10:23
nicko: What is wrong with Rubby’s approach? His stuff looks so good at times and then the wheels fall off.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think, despite the velocity, he doesn’t have a swing-and-miss fastball. Doesn’t get the right kind of movement for it. Blend that with mediocre command and you’re left with someone who tantalizes more than he develops

10:24
Jay: How many WAR do you think a 1B with an 80 arm would have over a 1B with a 20 arm over the course of a season?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Let me shoot a text to Lucas Duda

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll guess like 0.2

10:25
Astros fan: Did my team get murdered in the Giles/Velasquez deal? Lol and the Gomez one? And between those and the whole not taking Bryant over Appel thing…at what point do Luhnow’s bad moves start to outweigh his brilliant ones (namely taking Correa)

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Giles deal was always going to look a little sketchy if Velasquez were able to pitch. No one has ever questioned the ability of his arm. People have questioned said arm’s ability to remain healthy and useful. How would you feel if Velasquez went on the DL next month?

10:26
Z: When do we see corporate logos on MLB unis?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: One could argue that every baseball team is a corporation

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: /wears poncho

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: /picks up guitar

10:28
Matt: Is Jared Eickhoff for real? Better than Adam Conley?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Eickhoff is probably a little better. I prefer Conley’s fastball and deception, but Eickhoff I think has superior other stuff

10:28
Gest : Are you concerned at all that Chris Archer’s second half funk is carrying over to the start of 2016?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s probably okay, and he’s clearly still hard to hit, but right now he’s the picture of inefficiency

10:30
Zonk: I said it last season, but book it: Phillies are going to be a beast within 3 years. Good young core, big TV money, good stadium, dead money rolling off the books, more high draft picks. As soon as they get a good young core together, they have the cheddar to get anyone they want. Do you agree?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: The Phillies are in a good position, for a team in a bad position. Never been any reason they couldn’t turn this around quickly, on account of their resources. It’s still too soon to say they have an actual good core, but they seem to be developing one. And with enough going right this year, they’ll be positioned to add big-time in the near future

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: I’d much rather be the Phillies than, say, the Reds

10:32
BigChief: Doug Fister hitting 90 in spring training and has maxed at 87, sitting at 85. Does this make you think that the spring training gun was off, or is there a possibility that arm can still hit 88-90 consistently?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Even Fister’s max velocity so far is two ticks down from last year, when his velocity was too low. Must’ve been something with the gun, I guess. I hate Florida

10:33
Zonk: The White Sox seem to be riding their much improved defense to a good record; are you a believer?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I think it has more to do with good pitching. No reason they can’t finish around .500

10:33
Q-Ball: The Braves are even worse than we thought, aren’t they?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe a little bit; a few weeks ago, I thought the Phillies were going to be worse, but now I’ve flip-flopped

10:34
Dooduh: So should we be making fun of Phillies pitching projections or pitcher WARs?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, they have faced the Padres, the Reds, and the cold-ass Mets, but this is awfully exciting

10:36
Bobo: Kyle seager for his whole career has a 310 woba at home and 353 on the road. Is safeco especially bad for him? Wonder how nice his stats would look at a friendly park.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty extreme fly-ball hitter, and he doesn’t have elite-level power. I think he’s right in that area where Safeco hurts the most. Maybe it would be worse if he were right-handed, but still

10:36
Michael: Swihart to AAA, Hanigan to another club, or Red Sox to carry 3 catchers for foreseeable future?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Swihart to the minors

10:37
JT: Any worries about Corey Kluber? His teammates seem to be pitching better than he is and he is considered the Ace.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still really hard to hit. Velocity’s down some, but I think he’s OK

10:38
bunga: I know it’s April but Pedro Alvarez has been walking more and striking out less, despite his poor results. Do you think his plate discipline is improving and that it means his best years are still ahead of him?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately, no. I think he can be something like an average hitter, but he is what he is

10:39
Dave: Have you seen anything in Harvey’s two starts so far that would lead to concern/hope about his lack of whiffs?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: The Royals don’t swing and miss much, and for the start in New York, I believe it was super cold

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: The usual stuff is there. I’m still definitely a believer

10:40
Dooduh: How bad does the Mets start have to be before we begin to hear Matt Harvey trade rumors surface?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: 20 consecutive losses

10:41
Matt: What, if anything can the Dodgers do to save the bullpen?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not convinced it’s a real problem yet. Wait at least another month

10:41
DocG16: True level of the Mets offense, closer to last two months of 2015 or first couple weeks of this year?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Well they’re definitely better than a 55 wRC+. Down the stretch last year they played a bunch of weak opponents which inflated the numbers and expectations. They were never going to be that good, but they are way, way better than this

10:43
Nelson: You say selling high on Keuchel is silly, but how different is it than the Mets selling high on Dickey?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Dickey was the best pitcher on a bad team. Keuchel is the best pitcher on a good team

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: And Dickey was coming up on free agency. Keuchel has a while yet

10:45
Raindog: Billy Burns hasn’t struck out yet, in 26 PA. Can someone his age learn contact skills, or could anyone totally trade power for contact like this?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I think many hitters could make a ton of contact if they totally abandoned any hope of hitting for power. Kind of like Burns!

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: It’s fun — he’s faced some strikeout pitchers already, like Sale, Rodon, and Walker. But still nothing doing!

10:46
bunga: It’s sad that Billy Butler is barely used at all and still relatively young. Do squat bad-body players decline much faster?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I think they just have lower peaks, so they have less to give before they’re useless

10:46
Argo: If Wade Davis were to go down with an injury, do you think Herrera would be called upon as the closer?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Probably Soria, to be the least disruptive

10:47
Raindog: John Jaso, Ian Kinsler, and Brett Gardner all still have 100% Z-Contact. Who lasts longest?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Kinsler!

10:48
T Money: If you could choose the 25 best players from the Padres and Braves combined rosters, how many games would that team win?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: 78? I wouldn’t be taking very many Braves

10:48
Steve: Will Mazara be able to stick in the majors this year?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: He’s able to, but he’ll need to be producing enough that the Rangers think the benefits offset the upside of regular playing time in Triple-A

10:49
Tim: Cheap, timid Twins now going to delay calling up Berrios until late June now with horrible start? Ryan and company are pathetic

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Just about every organization would do the same thing

10:49
Dooduh: Think the Braves and Twins combine for 200 losses?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: nah

10:50
Ella Menno Pee: Do you think Hyun Soo Kim will play his way back into regular or semi-regular playing time? He’s hit in his limited ABs and I’d imagine Rickard can’t keep this up

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Rickard will need to cool off (more). So it’s not totally up to Kim. He’ll get some chances and he needs to produce with them

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Infield singles aren’t going to cut it

10:50
Cecil Fielder: Have you ever seen a more obvious case of “fake DL
than panda?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Most DL trips for Rule 5ers, but this one is pretty conspicuous

10:51
Peter: Anything that can make Astros fans feel better after Giles’ performance so far and Velasquez’ start Wednesday?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: McCullers will be back?

10:51
Ella Menno Pee: Considering the Twins’ bad start, wouldn’t it make sense for them to keep giving regular ABs to Park in the hope he adjusts and improves over the season like Kang? Brad Johnson seemed to think he’s already a part time player

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, you gotta give Park a lot of time. Who else is worth playing above him?

10:52
Gavin: Which AL East team ends up with Tyson Ross at the deadline?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox

10:52
Dizzyo: Is it possible that no Oakland OFs, 1bs or DHs get more than 500 ABs?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Reddick would need to get hurt, and Burns would need to suck

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Or get hurt

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Burns collides with Reddick?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: That’s horrible, shame on you

10:53
Jaack: More bummer stats: The Rockies team ERA is 7.20.

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: But they’re over .500!

10:53
Merv Scornberry: Is Sano done already? He’s still drawing walks but I think the Twins put too much on his plate when they moved him to OF. Just so they could bring in Bung Hole Park & his .160 BA…

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: This is one of the worst comments I’ve seen in my chats

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve included it for posterity

10:54
Daniel: What does Aaron Sanchez need to do going forward to convince you that he has turned himself into a legit #2/3 starter for the Jays?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Strikes. That’s it. However he does it. I don’t care if it’s with the fastball or the curveball or the changeup or something else. Just strikes. The grounders will be there. The ball will stay in the yard. He just needs to not walk people.

10:55
CamdenWarehouse: What’s next in the Panda/Red Sox saga?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Travis Shaw cools off and Sandoval gets another opportunity at playing time

10:56
SailorJerry: Cody Anderson failed to capitalize on the uptick in velocity last time out, think we’ll see more k’s today or is he just the same guy we’ve seen in the past with a slightly faster fastball?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: According to the box score, when Anderson started his first game, the temperature was 32 degrees

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I just about don’t care how a pitcher does statistically when it’s cold as balls

10:57
Barves gotta Barve: Going out to Portland for a long weekend over Memorial Day, any recommendations for a hike/things to do in the city?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re in the city, go to Cascade Barrel House, or Breakside Brewing. If you’re looking to hike, it depends on your tolerance of snow line. If you’re willing to go above it, go to Mt Hood and hike around Cooper Spur. I’m going Sunday and it’s the besssssssssssst. If you don’t like snow, occupy yourself in the Gorge. And then get out to Hood River so you can eat and drink at Double Mountain!

10:58
Jack: Does Kris Davis turn it around?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: His contact rate, hilariously, is below 50% right now. He’ll be OK

10:59
Scott: Do players typically have difficulty adjusting to different leagues?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so, at least not anymore

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, the AL is still better than the NL, so that’s one thing. Might’ve been a factor for Cueto. but it’s not anything acute

10:59
Gavin: Is it better scheduling wise to play bad teams later in the season? Seems more likely at that point that they’ve sold off assets.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I guess if you could pick, sure. That benefited the Mets

11:01
Mosef: I read recently that Pineda always underperforms his peripherals because his pitches pound the heart of the plate. Your thoughts on this?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: He’s definitely a lot better at throwing strikes than he is at throwing quality strikes. It seems to be an issue for him working out of the stretch, when most pitchers would prefer to nibble. He’s not much for nibbling, so then he can get exposed.

11:02
Nat: In your Kelvin Herrera article yesterday, you described his new breaking ball like as having “a curveball’s speed and horizontal break, and something more like a slider’s drop.” I had also thought of a prototypical curve as the 12-6 vertically dropping pitch, while a slider is more diagonal with more side to side movement. Is my understanding of pitch types completely backwards?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not completely backwards. It’s just, you only see 12-to-6 curves from guys who throw over the top. Break is mostly a function of arm angle. Conventional pitchers get a bunch of horizontal movement on their curves.

11:03
MN Ben: when do the Twins become sellers, and who do we sell? I assume first to go would be Plouffe but what can he even fetch? Do Ervin Santana or Hughes even have value?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: No one’s selling anything for a while, but it’s worth remembering Plouffe didn’t even really have a market in the winter

11:03
Jeff: Are people getting ahead of themselves with Velasquez? Faced a Mets team that isn’t the ball well right now, and padres team that is just down right awful. What’s a reasonable expectation for him?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, Velasquez will cool off, statistically. But the stuff is obvious, independent of opponent, and now he’s pounding the zone. That’s important, and it’s a wonderful sign

11:04
Erik: Can the giles trade be rationalized from the Astros standpoint? Giles for Velasquez alone is probably giving up future value for no present value, and that’s without considering the other four pieces. Were they dramatically underestimating VV, or are we way overestimating him?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Giles was and probably still is a dominant high-leverage reliever, with a big arm the Astros haven’t had. Velasquez seemed to be more inconsistent, and given his history, he could blow out his arm again at any second

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: It all looks very different if Velasquez has Tommy John in a week and a half. This is the risk that the Astros accepted

11:05
Ronaldo The Coalmine Canary: Ichiro – will he get 3000 hits this year?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: No, unless the Marlins tank and Ozuna gets dealt, or Stanton gets injured

11:05
Erik: Where does the Phillies rotation end the year? Can they finish around 15th in WAR?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think they can stay out of the bottom 10, with development. But at some point they’re going to pay attention to innings ceilings

11:06
Erik: Of the six teams projected to be terrible in the NL, which has made the best case for an outside shot at wild card contention so far?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Reds have the best chance to not suck

11:06
e: what are some of your favorite non-baseball/sports sites to visit?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: the outdoors

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: When I’m done with work, I basically don’t want any more internet

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I guess I try to keep up with the news?

11:07
roberttyron: Thoughts on Velasquez LT. Would you anticipate an innings limit of around 175?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: lower

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: he topped out at 125, and that was in 2013

11:08
Sanne: Who does it seem is more likely to be declining this year… Bautista or Miguel Cabrera?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: They’re both declining, because they basically have to be, but I think Bautista would and could decline faster

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Cabrera is too freaking good

11:08
Tyler White: How many plate appearances do you reckon it takes for plate discipline stats to stabilize

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t like the way people use the word “stabilize” in this way but I think you get a decent sense around 100 PA or so

11:09
groucho: Cardinals have the second best offense (Runs/G) this season? Is this the devil’s work??

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: In the last chat I got a comment about how the Cardinals couldn’t hit anymore. Take that, commenter!

11:09
Christian: What is AJ Reed’s timetable?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll give Gattis some time to not suck

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: If he blows, Reed moves up faster

11:10
Otakon: Reading the columns here i saw many people worried about Keuchel, is there any real issue going on or it’s just April?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: He spent all of last season living around the edge of the zone. It’s where he hangs out, so if he misses by an inch or two often enough, he’ll get into walk trouble. He doesn’t have a big margin of error, but I think he’s still a really good pitcher

11:11
j6takish: Nelson Cruz plays the field, franklin gutierrez DH’s. What a world Jeff!

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: This would bother me more if Franklin Gutierrez didn’t have a chronic debilitating illness

11:11
Guest: What do you make of the Tigers so far? 6-2 against a fairly difficult schedule. Killer offense, bad pitching, both of which should regress/improve to the mean to some extent.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I like ’em. I think their pitching is better than people give it credit for. They’re part of the reason the AL Central is going to be surprisingly strong

11:12
Rags: Can you talk a little about Hazelbaker? Does he have comps? There’s almost nothing written about him on Fangraphs, and I don’t know if this is Cardinals Devil Magic or what.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: You know what? I can’t! Not yet! I need to learn. This is a project of mine. I need to see who he is because right now I have no better an idea than you do

11:13
Crig: Do we have a good “meatball rate” stat for pitchers? Percentage of hangers, or pitches in whatever velocity range with whatever (lack of) movement in whatever part of the zone? Seems like that’d be fun to compare to HR rates.

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I tried to do something like this for 538 a few years ago. It didn’t go where I wanted. It turns out to be incredibly difficult

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I think you can identify a meatball when you watch, but then when you try to come up with a definition…that project drove me insane.

11:14
Sean: How good could a pitcher be if he had two fastballs (one that moves in, one that moves out) and two changeups that roughly mirrored that movement?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Lance Lynn has been a three-win pitcher with just like two fastballs

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: If you give a pitcher two fastballs and a changeup, and you give him decent enough command, he’ll be strong

11:15
2-D: Earlier this week the Miami broadcast gave you a nice shout out on your Yelich article, nice one Jeff.

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: In a tiny sample so far, he’s hitting the ball in the air!

11:16
Jim Lonborg: How do you see this Sandoval business resolving? I feel like every story out there about what the RS might do is countered by another explaining why they can’t do that.

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like he’ll be dumped on someone else in the offseason

11:16
The Decadent Moose: Dave Roberts uses a different lineup each night. Corey Seager is batting all over the lineup (seemingly). Shouldn’t a lot of this been ironed out in ST, injuries aside? You said you don’t care about lineup construction, but do the players?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: It could be — it could be — this is deliberate, with Roberts not wanting players to focus on specific roles. Keeps them open-minded and flexible, which eventually maximizes a manager’s options

11:17
Josh: Would you consider Logan Morroson in the 2-hole to be egregious?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Well he does suck

11:18
Raindog: Fruit has a well known trade-off between deliciousness and cleanliness. Where do your preferences fall: clean (apple), intermediate (orange), or maximum deliciousness (mango)?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I love a good grapefruit. I have one almost every day. They are not easy, the way I eat them, but the reward is worth the effort

11:18
J: Extend Pineda or Eovaldi?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Not worried about that at the moment

11:18
Jesse: Should Buxton be in the major leagues?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I’d give him a few more weeks, but unfortunately, probably not

11:19
Guest: That volcano article, while reassuring about Yellowstone, is still concerning at the end. It says that even after Tambora, civilization survived. I’m not worried about “civilization,” I’m worried about ME!

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Unless you live on an active volcano, or in a river valley near to an active volcano, you will not die from a volcano

11:20
Jose: I’ve always been a big baseball fan but I never chose a team, my coworkers made me pick one before last season and I picked the Cubs because of their history and because I assumed they were going to be bad that season. Does this in anyway make me a bandwagon fan?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: By definition, nope!

11:20
Jim Lonborg: At what point do we accept that major-league Travis Shaw is just better than minor-league Travis Shaw and start talking about why rather than whether?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: June or July?

11:21
Rocky: Given the Rockies seem to do things with no plan whatsoever, how likely is it that we see Hoffman pitching in the majors sooner rather than later if he continues to look good at AAA?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: He has 11 starts above A-ball and he hasn’t dominated, quite. He’s on the Rockies’ radar, and we’ll see him this year, but not in the next month or anything

11:22
BakedBean: Does Rick Porcello have an ERA under 4 this season? Does he make 30 starts?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: I like him, so, yes

11:23
Harry: Isn’t it hypocritical for MLB stadiums to ban chewing tobacco while they sell people alcohol, many of whom drive home under the influence?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Why yes it is!

11:23
Q-Ball: Wait, the Phillies pitching staff has a collective FIP of 2.82…is that sustainable?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: It is, but not for the Phillies

11:23
KErry: Thoughts on PHillies future rotation pieces? That is Eickhoff, Nola and Velasquez? Are they all 3 or higher upside?

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: They’re all long-term big-league starters. They can all be parts of the next good Phillies roster. I know the least about Eickhoff, but everything I’ve seen has been encouraging

11:24
Ed in Iowa: Does this year count toward free agency for Schwarber, i.e. did the Cubs effectively lose a year of team control?

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: Yes. Same as when a pitcher has TJ

11:24
BakedBean: Couldn’t the Mets or Diamondbacks or another team use a guy like Rusney in their CF? Do the Sox want to trade Rusney or do you think they will keep him around and continue trying to develop him?

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: Mets don’t have room. Diamondbacks don’t have interest in the money

11:25
xmx: Is Stroman supposed to be this much of a ground ball machine? I think he had 18 outs on th eground last night

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: Big-time sinker he developed soon after arriving in the majors. It’s become his bread and butter

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: All right, time for me to get rolling

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: 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 — 4/15/16 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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