Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/17/15

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to ordinary late-starting Friday baseball chat

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Late because I was reading baseball articles, for the sake of improving this baseball chat!

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Some of you are going to ask me fantasy baseball questions. I strongly advise against this

9:11
Comment From Northsider
Huge call up for the Chicago Cubs this week!!! What are your thoughts on Zac Rosscup?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Not a lot of player names with “cup” in it

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Rosscup has 30% big-league strikeouts. Almost allows you to overlook the 6+ ERA!

9:12
Comment From Timber
Hi Jeff. Hope you had a great week. Assuming Josh Hamilton is healthy and ready to play in a few weeks, what happens?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I have to assume he returns to the Angels. He’s already getting paid his money for this year, and I don’t think any sort of settlement could be figured out between now and then. People would get rightly pissed off if the Angels were deliberately not using a healthy player

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: But then you run into the problem with establishing grounds for the future — how could the Angels try to terminate Hamilton’s contract, based on what he did last offseason, if they made use of him after the fact? It’s complicated, further still by the fact that he’s untradeable. Sooooooo

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I think several months from now, the Angels and Hamilton come together and try to reach an agreement where Hamilton gets most of but not all of his money. If they want him out, and if he wants out, a compromise can be reached

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: In the meantime, if healthy Hamilton knocks 25 dingers, maybe the Angels will think twice

9:14
Comment From Bruce
Whats your HOTTAKE: For or against the cardinals wearing a patch for Oscar Taveras all year?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I cannot imagine having a hot take on this. If the Cardinals want to honor their teammate, that’s up to them

9:15
Comment From L. Scott
Hey Jeff!! Is this possibly the longest we have ever gone into a season without a CG?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: As I’m sure you know, complete games are on the decline. Just 118 of them a year ago, half as many as there were in 2000

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: And this early in the year, I think you’d see even fewer complete games than average, since pitchers are still building up arm strength and no one wants to push a guy too far with a healthy and rested bullpen.

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s check the data…

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, April had the fewest complete games of any month

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: But it still had 15! As opposed to this year’s 0. So this is a bit unusual, even with the trend

9:18
Comment From Bret
Devon Travis – is he for real? I mean, not like the numbers he’s putting up so far, but does he look like a league average hitter this year?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I like him! If he’s not league-average, he’s close enough so as to make it just splitting hairs

9:19
Comment From Where are my Sox?
If the Red Sox pitching falters in the coming weeks, does that make them any more likely to make a stronger push for Hamels again?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: First Hamels also needs to stop faltering

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely, as you increase the Red Sox’s probability of struggling, you increase their chances of making a play for Hamels. But, obviously, Betts is way off the table, even more than ever. And Swihart could be up soon. So you end up in the same place, and there will be other options on the market. It’s an obvious fit that just refuses to fit

9:21
Comment From _David_
How fixable is Taijian Walker? How long would you wait to bring up Elias (who hasn’t been sharp in AAA)?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Another 2-3 starts for Walker. If he’s still a mess, he goes away.

9:22
Comment From BrisKryant
Jeff, can you talk more about something you said in last week’s chat, with regard to a subtle pro-team bias in analytics? (I might be paraphrasing.) There was an article on the community blog earlier in the week that touched on similar topics that I found very interesting

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: The article kind of hit on it — we generally approach things from a team-first perspective, because people follow teams, so we try to figure out how teams can maximize their chances of success. We talk about contracts being team-friendly or team-unfriendly. We explain away things like the Kris Bryant demotion. Seldom do we approach writing from a player-first perspective, acting instead like players are replaceable and the overpaid ones are problematic

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: It’s complicated and I feel like I”m not wording this very well on the fly, but I think you know what I mean. Analytics doesn’t talk about player job security, or the personal side of the business. It’s all about efficiently shuffling pieces until a team is as good as it can be with its payroll. I don’t think there’s anything sinister about it, but it is what it is. And, as it happens, players are getting a lower share of revenue than ever…

9:26
Comment From Curtis
How long before we see advanced stat discussion on the Little league World Series broadcast?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: can you imagine the route efficiency of those little shits

9:26
Comment From Awake in Seattle
Is Rodney the next closer to lose his job? Who takes over if he does?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: As Patrick Dubuque tweeted yesterday or the day before, I think, Fernando Rodney still has the lowest blown-save rate in Mariners franchise history

9:28
Comment From _David_
Dustin Ackley confidence meter?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty helpful to not have to face lefties

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I like that he’s elevated some baseballs, and he’s had a pretty aggressive approach, maybe trying to show that he can punish bad strikes. He doesn’t look like Dustin Ackley: major-league rookie. This is a different guy. But he’s so different that I think it’s best to wait several more weeks to see what ‘s going on

9:30
Comment From Guest
If trees were pink all year round would we be excited for green blossoms

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: hell yes we would

9:31
Comment From mtsw
I keep reading that hitters with a high GB% perform better against fly-ball pitchers and hitters with a low GB% perform better vs ground-ball pitchers. Is there any good data on the magnitude of this split and a good explanation for why this is?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: This is all in The Book — that’s the first I ever heard of it

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t find a good link online real quickly, but I bet you can!

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: My suspicion is it mostly has to do with swing planes. GB hitters swing differently than FB hitters. GB pitchers work lower than FB pitchers. FB hitters swing up, and they’re able to get underneath a sinking fastball, whereas a high fastball might get blown right by them.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: This is an oversimplification, but swing planes can explain a lot

9:33
Comment From Mike
Jeff – Over/under – number of teams Arencibia signs a contract with during his career. I have 7.5.

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see. Where is he now?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Looks like he’s up to…4?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: He’s 29 and bad. He’s only made about $3 million. Without knowing anything about Arencibia personally, I’m going to take the over. Four or five more years of bouncing around

9:36
Comment From Jack
What do you think of Choo? From Eno’s article it looks like he feels like he should play hurt if he can get out there. I know it’s early but he’s already got 7 K’s & they haven’t started him in 3 games & took him out early in 3 others. He’s obviously still recovering form various ailments. Is ’15 going to be a repeat of ’14?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: (Sorry about that, knock at the door)

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t recovery from last year’s problems — Choo has been dealing with some back discomfort and you want to take it easy on those this early in the season

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s pretty clear he got off to a promising start a year ago before all the injuries really took their toll, so it’s not right to say he’s completely toast, but I think you run into the question — how often is he really playing at 100%? 100% Choo is still a good hitter, but if he’s usually dealing with something wrong, then that’s just a part of his reality

9:41
Comment From Martha
Are you as bearish on Carlos Martinez as your colleague, Dave Cameron?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Big fastball, two trusted secondary pitches, changeup with a similar release point as the heater. I like him more than Dave does

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I think Dave has some additional concerns about Martinez’s frame, but I’m not going to pretend like I know how to predict pitcher durability

9:42
Comment From ITS BRYANT TIME
What do think Bryant’s debut batting line will be? (e.g. 1-4, K, 2B or whatever)

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: James Shields and the Padres bullpen?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Shields leaves a changeup hanging, and Bryant slugs it for extra bases. Otherwise he’ll go hitless in the other three at-bats, with two strikeouts and a routine fly

9:44
Comment From _David_
Is it worth trying to pursue an upgrade to LoMo? Seeing as 1b is an offensive position, those extra wins will be expensive, and DJ Peterson might be ready at some point (at least next year)

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Morrison should not have very much job security, but it might work to just eventually pair him with Kivlehan

9:45
Comment From L. Scott
Did you see the call reversal at Citifield involving Ichiro? It appears d”arnaud tagged his helmet and that’s why he was called out initially. If the umpire heard the glove hit his helmet and therefore called him out, do the replay officials take that information into consideration, or is it strictly based on the umpires back in NY viewing the videos? I would think input from the home plate umpire would help.

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to level with you — I didn’t see this. However! I can still try to give an answer

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: If the glove struck the helmet with sufficient force as to be audible, you’d assume you could see that on the video. It’s the video that should be fully conclusive — sounds can be deceptive, and though video replay isn’t perfect, you ought to be able to tell what happened even with the sound off. I’d assume it’s based on the video. The home-plate umpire might say what he heard, but the people on the other end will just look at the footage

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Real quick, I’m going to take a look at this play. Sorry!

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Ok, watched it. I don’t know how you could really hear the glove hitting the helmet on that play

9:50
Comment From Guest
Wait do you even have spring in the grey and tepid year-round nw

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Our weather is glorious. We have the best summers in the country!

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: But, stay away. Don’t move here.

9:51
Comment From The Ghost of Dayn Perry
You are condemned to a life of one band on repeat the rest of your life. Spice Girls or Ace of Base?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: It seems like Ace of Base had five albums, while the Spice Girls had three. So in the interest of variety, I’d go with Ace of Base, and then I would swiftly and calmly kill myself

9:52
Comment From Guest
Kevin Pillar v. Kevin Millar FITE

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: This reminds me of something unrelated

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Aaron Hill is available. Trevor Cahill has been available. My dream is to see one team with A. Hill, Cahill, and Scahill

9:54
Comment From mtsw
How many innings do you think Ubaldo makes it tonight at Fenway?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: almost five!

9:54
Comment From Totally Not A Phillies Fan
What are you expecting from Salazar on his return? Do you think he’ll start getting regular starts?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think this is his big opportunity. Carlos Carrasco avoided catastrophe and McAllister is too interesting for the Indians to bump out of the rotation so soon. Salazar will float around as the sixth starter, but his work won’t be consistent. A lot like his command

9:56
Comment From _David_
Franklin Gutierrez is off to a nice start at AAA, and I assume he could get a chance if Ruggiano and/or Weeks craters. Do you have any idea what his defense is at this point? I’m optimistic in that his skills are based more on good reads and routes than athleticism.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: His condition is too unpredictable to make a move without knowing how he’ll hold up. They have to see what Gutierrez is doing in Tacoma playing back-to-back games over the course of months. Maybe he shows that he’s an option in the second half, but I wouldn’t hold my breath

9:57
Comment From Bungle
Do you buy Jed Lowrie’s park move and early start?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Fly-ball hitter back in a park that rewards fly-ball hitters. He made a good choice

9:58
Comment From Jason
So, the Rays seem a lot better than they should be. Is a division title out of the question? Wild Card?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: No one should’ve written them off — all the projections had them as at least a .500 team. I think it’ll be tough for them to keep up with Boston’s top-end talent and bottom-end depth, but there’s no reason why Tampa can’t hang around for a wild-card position

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t even need Matt Moore to throw strikes!

9:59
Comment From JC
Should I bench Tulo vs Kershaw and start Jed Lowrie instead?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Since I know you’re too smart to try to ask a fantasy-baseball question in here, then my answer is, no, start Tulowitzki against Kershaw, instead of Lowrie against Kershaw. Tulowitzki is better than Lowrie! In what parallel universe do you reside, such that Tulowitzki and Lowrie are on the same team, and you’re in charge of it, and you’re asking me for advice?

10:01
Comment From Jheff
I hate how overhyped Kris Bryant is, I mean is he better than say Chase Headley? I dont think he is.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Better at power-hitting

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Worse at other bits

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: People always love the hot new thing. It’s just how they behave. Months from now it’ll all switch to Addison Russell

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: You wouldn’t believe how quickly people will grow accustomed to Kris Bryant and no longer be excited by him

10:02
Comment From Cleon
Jimmy Nelson looked damn good in his first start. Is it nuts to think he could be a #2 starter for Mil?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Lots of guys could be a No. 2 starter for the Brewers

10:04
Comment From Dubya
Which is the bigger problem: Zimmermann’s velocity issues or Strasburg’s off speed issues?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I’d go with Zimmermann’s velocity issues. That’s more likely to be a physical problem. Strasburg’s offspeed stuff has such an outstanding track record that you have to figure he’ll get it sorted out. But if Zimmermann is missing some power, that could be real bad

10:05
Comment From The Ghost of Dayn Perry
This is my first year with MLB.tv and it is awesome. Do you go for the Quadbox mosaic, or stick to one game and skip around?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I usually go to one and skip around, but I have an older laptop and still no second monitor for some reason. Also, I suck at being able to concentrate if I have too many things going on at once. If I have four baseball games happening, I’m understanding zero of them

10:07
Comment From Kris
Surprised the Cubs didn’t at least try and be transparent about this all? Literally the first day allowed without the extra year

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, the timing’s funny. They couldn’t be telegraphing this any more than they are

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Which I think must reflect their complete confidence that, if there’s a grievance, they’re not going to lose. Any fallout from this will affect future situations, and not their own. So if they know they’re going to be fine, why *not* do this as soon as possible? It’s cold business, but it’s business

10:08
Comment From Catoblepas
There has to be a grievance filed by the MLBPA re: Josh Hamilton, right?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: They’re going to fight this one hard, if the Angels try to actually make something happen. For the time being, nothing’s going on, because Hamilton is sidelined and his 2015 salary is locked in

10:09
Comment From Cub Fan
How many questions are you getting which aren’t about Kris Bryant?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: More than you’d think, because I think people are generally sick of talking about him by now. We’ve already been over everything over the past month and a half

10:09
Comment From Frank
Have you seen Michael A. Taylor play? Kid has sick tools. What happens to him when Span comes back?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: He gets bumped, and then he probably takes over for Span next season

10:10
Comment From Sean
Archie Bradley: Ground ball machine???? 15/3 GB/FB ratio last night and 74.2% so far in two starts. There will be obvious regression but could he be an elite ground baller?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: This is something I”m interested in writing about. I had assumed, based on his profile, that Bradley was a high-fastball pitcher. He’s been extremely low with Arizona in the early going, much like the rest of their pitchers. That would stand to boost his grounders and chop out his strikeouts. I’ll probably write about it at some point if nobody else does first

10:11
Comment From Curtis
Any comment on “pace of play” thus far?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like it’s helped a little. And it’s still baseball

10:11
Comment From greg
turkey club or ham & cheese?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Ham and cheese, if you have a good baguette

10:12
Comment From Mike
If you had the first pick in the draft and you could get a first ballot hall of fame pitcher or hitter which one do you want and why?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Do I know for a fact the guy will go on to be a Hall-of-Fame player?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: If so, I”ll take the pitcher, because that kind of ensures his general health, and the pitcher will be about as valuable as the hitter, and I like pitchers more than hitters from a viewing standpoint

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Also gives me the option of using that pitcher a bunch in the playoffs

10:13
Comment From Lenard
The new Jeff Sullivan chat logo?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Not enough lightning

10:13
10:14
Comment From Bluejays Fan
Aaron Sanchez made it through 5 innings last night, what are the chances he improves his command and stays in the rotation until the All-Star break?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Of all the starters this year with at least 150 pitches thrown, Sanchez owns baseball’s lowest rate of pitches thrown while ahead in the count (20%)

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: He’s thrown 57% strikes. I’ve never liked his command and I think it’s going to bite him. For me, he’s not a starter for long

10:15
Comment From Chemisty Mike
Jeff – Ochem final tomorrow – do you miss the ins and outs of carbonyl chemistry and acid catalyzed hydration of an alkene?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I always thought organic chemistry was fun. Working through mechanisms is unlike any other sort of problem in another subject. And no matter how complicated they are, in the end, when you know the solution, it looks so easy in hindsight. Move electrons around so it makes sense! O-chem, in a sense, is easy; when it’s complicated, it’s just because you introduce more steps of the same fundamental principles

10:17
Comment From Tyler
Hi Jeff, as a Tiger’s fan, I’m relishing in the beginning of this season (where it seems most of the team is playing at a ridiculous level). Which player do you think is most likely to sustain their production, and which player do you think is most likely to regress.

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I assume Jose Iglesias isn’t going to keep batting .481

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: But I like what I’ve seen from the adjusted Shane Greene, and I like the changes Anthony Gose made to his swing. To think, they look like this without a healthy Verlander

10:19
Comment From Squirt
Iwakuma’s off this year b/c of a finger injury. Was there ever an explanation to his September fade? This is correctable, right?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I thought the problem late last year was general fatigue. This year he has a blister thing but he denies that it’s an issue. And I think he’s mostly fine — he’s just missed a few spots and fallen behind more often than usual. The blister probably hasn’t helped.

10:22
Comment From Bob
What do you think of Xander’s start? Encouraging plate discpline numbers but ISO still very low and currently sporting an unsustaiable BABIP. Does he keep it up?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I have complete faith in Bogaerts to not suck. This early, I’m not worried about ISO or BABIP — it’s more a general feel thing. Bogaerts feels like a better hitter. And he’s going to be a better hitter

10:23
Comment From mtsw
Does A-Rod have a better chance of making the HoF if he sticks around until the end of his contract or if he retires early? In the first scenario his first ballot occurs later so will be farther removed from steroid hysteria and he’ll face a younger BBWAA electorate, but in the second scenario he earns goodwill by saving the Yankees money rather than forcing them to play his 42-year-old corpse.

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: The goodwill argument means nothing. The more A-Rod can delay his eligibility, the greater his chances. Eventually, they’ll start voting these people in. Which is what they should do.

10:24
Comment From Bruce
The argument about Taveras is that they are honoring someone that drove drunk and killed someone else, besides himself.

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, I understand that. But Taveras was a young teammate, and now he is dead. Players formed relationships with him, and now he is a dead person. The circumstances were bad, but that doesn’t invalidate the grief.

10:26
Comment From Kimball
You’ve been doing a lot more analysis using primarily visual, less quantifiable adjustments — while adjustments are more meaningful this time of year than small sample sized stats, don’t you get nervous trusting your eyes on a few video clips, especially as someone without much of a scouting background?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely, video analysis is hard. Especially because, with mechanics, there can be inconsistencies such that what you see in one clip might not match what you see in another clip from a few minutes later. But this is something I want to get better about, *and* this is something that I think is worth more attention, *and* this is something that I think can hint at meaningful substance in April, *and* it helps that with players like Gose, I already know going in they’ve made tweaks

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Like, I could write a piece about Gose’s hot start, but it feels like it would be incomplete and weak without somehow analyzing his swing. Because he’s made these swing changes, for a reason, it backs up the idea that he could be changing as a hitter

10:30
Comment From 1-2 Buckle My Shoe
Getting married this summer, looking for a tropical destination for the Honeymoon; some place not too touristy and unique. A place that is not the typical honeymoon destination that everyone goes too. Any suggestions?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t usually seek out tropical places, but…Vanuatu? Is that too touristy? Of course, there was the recent…disaster…there…

10:30
Comment From klof
how much is Arquimedes Euclides Caminero a good pitching option and how much is his name amazing?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: 100%

10:31
Comment From Reginald Denton III
Is it going to be a long season for the Giants? They’re sure struggling so far. And it is an odd year, after all.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: It’s going to be a long season for everybody! There are 162 games!

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: But, the Giants will get Pence back before long. And hopefully Cain too

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll be in the thick of it. Always are

10:34
Comment From Josh
Any thoughts on the Dodgers buying a draft pick from the Orioles? Does the league put down rules to stop this in the future? Is this a one-time deal or going to be a new trade between rich and poor teams?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this? We’ve definitely seen teams essentially buy international-bonus slots. I don’t think MLB wants to stamp this behavior out. If anything, it allows them to evaluate the future feasibility of all draft picks being tradeable.

10:37
Comment From klof
do bumgarner’s two rough starts suggest that the 270 innings were a bit much last season?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Adam Wainwright threw that many innings in 2013, and last year he finished third in Cy Young voting

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: The stuff is there, for Bumgarner. You can never know, but I feel like he’s fine.

10:41
Comment From Joey
Hypothetically, if the Cubs finish the year tied for the division lead and have to play a game 163, does game 163 add a day of service time to Bryant’s total, and cost them a year of control?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: “Major League service will be computed commencing with the date of the first regularly scheduled championship season game, through and including the date of the last regularly scheduled championship season game.”

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: via reddit http://www.reddit.com/r/CHI…

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I believe that means that, because a 163rd game wouldn’t be “regularly scheduled”, nothing would change

10:43
Comment From mtsw
Is Ryan Howard now so bad even the Phillies won’t start him?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll platoon him, or something, but they don’t really have a reason not to play him until something better comes along.

10:43
Comment From klof
nats are getting hit with injuries and they aren’t particularly deep. how much of this can they sustain before they face a real challenge on their projected dominance in the NL East?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Something like two pretty major injuries could put them in a dogfight with the Mets. The Mets, of course, have had their own injuries, so that’s a problem, but it’s clear the Nationals are top-heavy. Injuries are the key to that division having an actual race worth paying attention to

10:44
Comment From Phillies113
Batting Howard 7th while batting Francouer cleanup. Is that one step forward but two steps back?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t even know, man

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t even know

10:44
Comment From mapsamountainrange
Are there any players you believe in now that you weren’t sold on before the season started?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: No one has completely changed my mind this soon, but I’m really interested in Moustakas

10:46
Comment From Squirt
Who gets back on track first- Samardzja, Lester, or Hamels?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Jon Lester has a .486 BABIP

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Lester’s fine. Hamels, presumably, is fine

10:47
Comment From Kimball
Does StatCast measure bat speed? Isn’t that at least as interesting for measuring batter talent as exit velocity?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: StatCast does not measure bat speed

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Bat speed is only interesting if it allows you to make quality contact. Exit velocity tells you about both bat speed and swing timing/accuracy

10:48
Comment From Sean
Trumbo for Taijuan Walker. Who says no?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Jack Zduriencik would punch Dave Stewart in the face

10:48
Comment From Guest
How does this latest injury impact Jose Reyes?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: It makes him hurt

10:48
Comment From Flipper+the+Dolphin
Do you believe in Micheal Pineda this year to contend for CY?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: No, but I do believe he’ll be good

10:49
Comment From klof
why are the brewers playing adam lind in a full-time role if he can’t hit lefties?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: They’ve faced a lefty once, and their backup is Luis Jimenez

10:50
Comment From Guest
Montero turning water into wine down in Tacoma — when can we expect the resurrection?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Memorial Day, if it’s still happening

10:52
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
MLB rules Carter Capps delivery illegal, good decision?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: So the line is somewhere between what Carter Capps did and what Jordan Walden does. That’s fine with me, although I’d like to read about specifics. Very interesting rule being challenged

10:53
Comment From LarryA
Tai Walker never, even in the monirs, had good traditional stats, to back up his stuff and prospect rankings. Why was everyone always so high on him, and shouldnt he have to actually see results at AAA before being thrust into the majors?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: He struck out a batter an inning, at young ages, in Double-A and Triple-A

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: And people love a pitcher with a big fastball. Always have

10:54
Comment From Nick
Why is 100 pitches the “limit” for starters. Sure, some go over, but once a guy hits 100 it’s assumed that at the very least a reliever is getting ready. Is that a data driven number? Why not 85 or 115?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: It just so happens that your average starter tends to get worse around the 100-pitch mark. By that point, you’re looking at a guy approaching his fourth trip through the order. Of course there’s nothing special about “100” itself, but you know how people are with big round numbers. It’s a mental anchor point

10:55
Comment From Kimball
As the league adjusts to the low strike, does it make sense that low-strike pitchers (e.g., McCarthy) are more likely to be hit hard on mistakes than high-strike pitchers, since batters are sitting on pitches lower in the zone?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I think there’s something to this, but I also think you’re seeing some low-strike pitchers work on elevating, for balance. McCarthy has talked about it. Shane Greene is doing it

10:56
Comment From CaselAustin
Do you think Amaro is doing a good job waiting with Cole Hamels, or should he just take a smaller deal considering Hamels won’t be much value to the Phils in the coming years?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: At this point, I mean, there’s no sense in dealing Hamels in April, before there’s a market. Once you’ve gotten this far, you just have to wait until midseason and cross your fingers really hard

10:57
Comment From Matt
Am I crazy for still preferring Buxton to Bryant and not thinking the floor is that different? I mean couldn’t Buxton reasonably manage a 2014 Billy Hamilton type performance if called up tomorrow?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing crazy about loving Buxton. He’s a more well-rounded player than Bryant is. Bryant is more ready to be a hitter but Buxton does more things well

10:58
Comment From Will
Is there any sensible reason to implement rules to ‘speed up the game’ while also using a tedious replay system that will turn more casual viewers off than Tulo adjusting his gloves ever used to?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Independent. Baseball needed replay, so that was going to happen regardless. A tedious replay system hasn’t turned people off to football

10:59
Comment From Mets
Thoughts on the proposed contextful FIP (cFIP) on hardball times?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: It’s interesting, albeit a little oversold, and while I think it adds a little something, I doubt I’d use it much in my own analysis. My role is to look beyond ERA estimators and whatnot, anyway

11:00
Comment From Rufus
You are a pretty smug douche bag, huh?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Well I don’t think so, but you’re entitled to your perspective!

11:00
Comment From Reginald Denton III
On the Kris Bryant spectrum, where do you fall? What do you see him doing this season?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Good hitter, flawed, will help the Cubs toward the playoffs

11:01
Comment From Kimball
Are there any non-intangibles explanation for while most/all pitchers on the same team would struggle at the same time (controlling for same receiver, of course)?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they’re all sick

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise, it’s probably coincidence

11:01
Comment From Skuggs
I know Neil wrote about this today, but Colin McHugh is now “that guy” for me. Are you drinking the McKool-Aid?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: They’re all positive indicators. I’m on board

11:02
Comment From Bobby Ayala is still the king
Did you have any good empanadas down south? Did you try Dulce de Leche and did you love it?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Yes! Yes! Dulce de leche is how you rescue camping oatmeal

11:03
Comment From Reginald Denton III
Now that Kris Bryant is up, who are the next hot prospects everyone will be focusing on? Last season it felt like the Springer, Polanco, and Taveras watches started almost right away.

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Russell, Rodon, Lindor, Gallo

11:03
Comment From mtsw
Are fewer guys doubled up off caught line drives than in the 90s? Seems like it happened far more frequently when I was a kid, but is this just one of those things where the vividness of the event makes us overestimate its frequency in the past, like with big thunderstorms?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Let me try a quick check!

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, according to Baseball-Reference, there were 323 line-drive double plays (or triple plays)

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Aramis Ramirez, hilariously, hit into six of them

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: League went to 30 teams in 1998

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: In 1998, there were 394 line-drive double plays (or triple plays)

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: That doesn’t prove anything — line drives have been recorded differently over time. But at least now you have some numbers

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: 1999: 369
2013: 323

11:07
Comment From Reginald Denton III
Is Lorenzo Cain’s breakout real? Is he an All-Star this season?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: He was already a deserving All-Star last year

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Signs this year he’s elevating the ball more. He’s stronger than his home-run totals

11:08
Comment From klof
hood river is a pretty cool town right? i’ve been twice and want to move there. what am i missing?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: It’s wonderful, and wonderfully located. But, probably, if you lived there, you’d get that small-town feel and you’d grow a little sick of the same stuff over and over. Move to a vacation spot and it stops feeling like a vacation spot

11:08
Comment From Guyer
Hi Jeff! I have two questions. 1) Chris Young’s fastball is almost 2 MPH faster than it was last year. His slider and changeup is up 3 MPH. Is it intriguing? 2) Who will benefit the most of new super slow turf at the Rogers Center? Ground ball pitchers or speedy ground ball hitters? Thank you!

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: 1) Chris Young is relieving now

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: 2) feels like the pitchers would benefit a little bit more

11:10
Comment From Lindor Truffles
Do you think there is any credence to rumors Russell will be up soon to join Bryant?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I do’nt think it’ll be long

11:11
Comment From Jfthomas
When the Twins had RA Dickey in the Metrodome days, there was some speculation about the knuckleball playing better indoors. Has anything at Rogers borne that out?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing stands out. A few more strikeouts at home,but also a good deal more dingers

11:11
Comment From Nick
Hey Jeff, am I wrong to think Paxton and Walker are both overrated? To me they both lack the command and off speed pitches to be viable starters. Bullpen pieces maybe, I just don’t see starting in their futures

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Neither has command as a strong suit. The Mariners have tried really hard to sell these guys, and the talent is obvious, but they’re not No. 1s and they probably never will be

11:12
Comment From Shawn
Man those K rates for Starling Marte. Too early to be concerned? Do you think batting 5th has made him think he needs to be a big run producer?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Too early, but it makes me feel pretty stupid for writing about his contact improvement last season

11:13
Comment From Dude
Say something you haven’t said yet so far about Mike Trout. Anything.

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Mike Trout is not a cardboard box full of documents

11:13
Comment From Kyle
Jeff, what years did you attend Trinity?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: 03-07

11:14
Comment From Guest
“but if he’s usually dealing with something wrong, then that’s just a part of his reality” — thank you for this; too often I see all this commentary about Tulo and, while he’s great, you just can’t discount the fact that he spends a not insignificant amount of nearly every season off the field

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: It’s really easy to just think about how good players could be at 100%. Players seldom play that often at 100%, especially, I’m guessing, as you get older. I keep Miguel Cabrera in mind. At 100%, he’s probably still the best hitter in baseball. But it seems like something is always just going to be nagging him so who cares about the theoretical?

11:15
Comment From Money done changed em
Kids Run The Bases is an event that exists at many/most major league parks. The Nats, this year, have innovated by creating a Seniors Stroll the Bases event. Question: What is a young man who wants to run the bases to do?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Have a kid

11:18
Comment From Joey
How did most of the prospect evaluators not notice that Gregory Polanco has a few major holes in his swing? I don’t recall hearing anyone say this when he was in the minors, and it’s painfully obvious when you watch him.

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: The funny thing is, between Triple-A and the majors, it’s not like he’s really had huge changes to his walk or strikeout or groundball rates. Or his pop-up rates. There’s been a little less power, but when you reflect on this, it sure feels like an overreaction to an elevated minor-league BABIP

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still very talented, and the Pirates still believe in him enough to try to get him locked up long-term, but there are signs he might’ve been a bit overrated. Thankfully, he remains short of 24 years old, but there are concerns here

11:19
Comment From Guest
when will the people come to love a rod

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: I’m already there

11:20
Comment From Jfthomas
Are there examples of switch-hitters with dramatically different approaches from different sides of the plate? Pull as a RH, all-fields as LH?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like Billy Hamilton has two different swings?

11:21
Comment From Ichor, Teat of
Padres look like– unlike Bill Bavasi teams of the past– they have sold the farm for some useful pieces. True or false: if they don’t win this year, they are increasingly screwed.

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Depends on how they handle it. The neat thing is that they’ve acquired a bunch of assets that still have value, so if it comes apart in the next few months, they could wheel around and trade for younger players again

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: AJ Preller probably has contingency plans

11:22
Comment From neal
how would A. Hill, Cahill, and Scahill compare to if the Yankees had Chase Headley, Chase Utley, and Chase Whitley?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: oh my god

11:22
Comment From Guest
you’re about to be born, and you’re in the waiting room waiting for the human consciousness you’ll enter to turn up. You’re in luck, you can choose between two: do you pick the last name Hannibal, or the first name Dweezil?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Hannibal

11:22
Comment From Ichor, Teat of
Archie Bradley: doing what Taijuan Walker was supposed to do?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: basically

11:22
Comment From Jack Elliott
Is Chris Archer now the Ace of the Rays staff? 7IP and 11K last night

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Still Cobb. Cobb is really good!

11:23
Comment From Chris
Loved your Aroldis change up article. If it keeps up, you have to do a pitch comparison after the year.

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Eventually I’m going to be reduced to writing exclusively about Aroldis Chapman’s changeup and how pitchers are pitching to Mike Trout

11:24
Comment From Owen S
Why hasn’t anyone written an article about the Santana and Mejia suspensions? Obviously it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Fangraphs, so I’m left assuming there must be some agenda I don’t understand. Moreover, I asked Sporer yesterday and he didn’t publish the question; this is feeling like a conspiracy!!

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of hard to know what to write. Probably could’ve fit something on InstaGraphs, but I don’t know what the front-page post would be. “Dude tested positive for something. Won’t play for a while. Players do this sometimes.”

11:24
Comment From Zach
Are there any good takeaways from Taijuan Walker’s first two starts? He has looked horrible.

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t get hit by any line drives

11:25
Comment From Lunch Break
Would you rather fight a human-sized spider or thousands of normal sized spiders ? (for the purpose of this question the size of the spiders are about the diameter of a US quarter)

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: I have to take the latter because if I fought one single human-sized spider I’d immediately choke to death on my own vomit

11:26
Comment From Obnoxious
I say this w/ love, but your unwillingness to answer “fantasy” questions is stupid. Like, fine, if you want to skip over an obscure dynasty keeper question, just skip it. But if someone asks you “Tulo or Lowrie tonight?” you can answer that question without being a dick. PS I actually liked how you answered that particular question, but my point stands.

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: I should probably make a point of saying this once a week:

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t play fantasy baseball. I very genuinely cannot offer good fantasy advice because I don’t know how it works. If I felt more confident about my ability to play fantasy baseball, I’d answer questions, but I feel like if I try now I’d just give bad suggestions. I’m sincerely the wrong person to ask

11:27
Comment From Ryan
Who’s power translates better over his career. Kris Bryant or Joey Gallo?

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: Bryant; makes contact

11:27
Comment From Job
Dave mentioned that the $/WAR last year was $8M. With 5% inflation we could be looking at ~$11M/WAR a few years from now. Does that seem realistic?

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: Yep

11:28
Comment From Stark
Are any trails and mountain paths dog friendly? Not so much for big, mountain like outdoor dogs, but maybe for smaller dogs?

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely! Get your dogs on a trail. You’ll love it, they’ll love it

11:28
Comment From Curtis
Biggest issues facing the next collective bargain? Slice of the pie – Players/Owners? where does service time fit in? trading draft picks (we have precedent now…)?

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Feels like it’s slice of the pie. It’s the most significant issue

11:29
Comment From Guest
Are we understating the extent to which this could be bad for the Cubs/Bryant relationship? While money talks and seven years is far from now, Bryce Harper/WAS make headlines pretty often about their testy relationship and that’s certainly not been a good thing for anyone.

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: Seven years is a long, long time. What happened this month isn’t going to have any effect on the future relationship. Kris Bryant realizes this is a business. He knows what’s going on

11:29
Comment From Curtis
is BA the most overrated statistic for hitters? Wins for pitchers?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, yes

11:30
Comment From Lunch Break
Read any good books lately?

11:30
11:30
Jeff Sullivan: Two and a half hours! I gotta go!

11:30
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 — 4/17/15 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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Oneear
Member
Oneear

Hey whose in charge of “THE GAME”? I can’t choose Bryant @ 3rd base.

_David_
Member
_David_

Players making their debut are never available.