Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/24/15

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to hot sexy live baseball chat

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll be your host, and I live in a time zone that is ten minutes slower than whatever your time zone is

9:09
Comment From Guest
Good morning, Jeff, glad you could join us.

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Me too!

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll start the chat with this: per usual, I encourage you to not bother asking fantasy questions. I don’t play so I can’t give good advice, and also most people don’t care to read about your fantasy teams

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: If you ask a fantasy question that is dressed up as just a real baseball question, though, I can handle real baseball questions

9:10
Comment From Carl S
How serious do you think Adam Eaton’s allergies are?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty serious, to explain his terrible hitting to this point

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be fine, of course, but he must be low on Zyrtec

9:11
Comment From Guest
Royals seem awfully chippy this young season, are they still sore about the Ws last yr?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Whenever a team makes a surprise run to a championship, they feel like the next year, everyone is out to get them. It’s a little self-important, but everyone who plays professional sports is kind of full of himself, because you have to be. The Royals probably feel like it’s them against the world; everyone else probably feels like it’s them against the Royals

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Somebody somewhere probably encouraged Ventura to try to pitch with some attitude. Classic, old-school hardball. It will take years for Ventura to figure out how to actually do that without being a dumbass

9:13
Comment From MM
The Nats bullpen is terrible

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Not that I encourage this line of thinking, but they have a collective sub-3 ERA

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: and they’re right in the middle in K-BB%. “terrible” is strong. I like Treinen a lot

9:16
Comment From Ira
How much does cold weather truly affect a pitcher’s command?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: You have to start with the caveat that every game and every pitcher is different, but I think I recall reading that runs go up with both very high temperatures and very low temperatures. And when it’s cold, batted balls won’t do as much damage, so there you’re looking at command issues, for sure. And it makes total intuitive sense; throwing anything when it’s cold out is miserable

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: So is hitting, but at least if you’re hitting and a pitch is bad, you don’t have to swing at it

9:18
Comment From Guest
Dave thinks the M’s will trade for Trumbo, would he be an upgrade over Lomo and Kivlehan?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I assure you Dave was not thinking that Trumbo would be an upgrade; he was thinking that the Mariners would be thinking that Trumbo is an upgrade

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: He wouldn’t really make the team much better, no

9:19
Comment From Josh G
Are you concerned at all about Ottavino? Any chance it’s more serious than the Rockies are letting on?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: I am a fear-mongering coward with any sort of pitcher arm discomfort. That doesn’t really answer your question

9:20
Comment From pot
4 stats (that you should check) that might be indicative of a “high scoring game”?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I can use half that many stats! runs by one team, runs by the other team

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I might have misinterpreted your question

9:22
Comment From BoSoxFan
Clay Buchoulz has a K/9 over 11, BB/9 under 3, and GB% of 55 could we be looking at a good/great year from him

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t go with great quite yet, but obviously everything’s in place and the grounders are encouraging

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: He’s throwing more two-seamers to off-set a drop in four-seamers, which explains that

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: And he’s throwing everything lower. His pitches are more down in the zone, which is a different look for him, and he works half the time in a ballpark where fly balls get a run-value boost. Encouraging early marks

9:24
Comment From joecull
Do you think that Devon Travis has a higher ceiling than believed before the season, or is he just maximizing his tools?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: This is a bit of tools maximization, but it depended who you asked about Travis before the year — we liked his minor-league performance, and lobbied for him to start at second base, while some observers/scouts didn’t like his assortment.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I, personally, didn’t expect him to look this strong. He’s hit two out to dead center in Toronto, and he’s really hit three of his four homers. So for me, Travis’ power ceiling is higher than where I put it, and that’s a good thing for the Jays

9:28
Comment From Vslyke
Any guesses on how many managers get fired during and after this year? Seems like the Marlins, the Reds, the Braves, and the Brewers could all can theirs at least.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Brewers could be coming any day now

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Marlins are more of a wild card; mixed messages getting sent. I’ll go with a total of three replaced managers by Christmas

9:29
Comment From Bret
What do you expect to see more of from the Blue Jays: Negative regression from their offense or positive regression from their pitching?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: The offense is good. The pitching shouldn’t be this terrible, and it won’t continue to be this terrible after the rotation arrangement is changed. Right now, as a starter, Sanchez sucks. I still like Norris, but maybe he’ll take his time. They won’t let the pitching stay this bad without personnel changes

9:31
Comment From Reef
Is kendry morales’ start for real?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s back to being a real hitter

9:31
Comment From Jeff in T.O.
Go Sens????

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: we’re gonna win the Cup!

9:32
Comment From Overreactor
Trevor Bauer owns infield fly-ball rate of 40% with bunch of stikeouts. It’s still just 19 IP, but IFFB% and K% stabilize pretty quickly. Interesting, isn’t it?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Astros, White Sox, White Sox. Interesting numbers are always interesting, and the whiffs and fly balls follow from the elevated fastballs that Bauer lives on, but we’re talking about three starts and six pop-ups. His command still isn’t good. Look again in a month

9:33
Comment From Jheff
Should the Jays still be looking for a 2B or can Devon Travis be decent enough to hold it down?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Travis is solid and relatively low-risk

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I once said the same thing about Maicer Izturis!

9:34
Comment From Phillies113
Every good season needs a villain; that’s why I’m not so bothered that the Royals have decided to adopt this persona. Thoughts?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: From a fan standpoint, it’s great. It’s objectively stupid and immature, but from here, the Royals have been making things exciting. You watch them flip out and you get an emotional response, which you don’t really usually get in an average baseball game

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a little like hockey fighting: it shouldn’t exist, and it’s dangerous, but there’s no denying that fights have a lot of fan appeal. Crowds are almost never louder than they are during a fight. The Royals are kind of doing that, with way fewer concussions

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I *hope* they stay crazy. I *hope* they’re the team everybody else hates playing against. It’s stupid and simultaneously good for the entertainment level of the sport

9:36
Comment From D
Is it time yet to strike the “right now” from the phrase “Devon Travis is pretty good right now?”

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: No, that much is true, but Devon Travis can be both pretty good right now, and, pretty good

9:37
Comment From Bruce
After how many innings is it better to switch to FIP over xFIP when evaluating pitchers

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: More than a full season’s worth

9:38
Comment From Ben
Rangers have Darvish, Holland, Harrison, Martin Perez, and Nick Tepesch on the DL. How many current MLB rotations is this better than?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: More than half?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: And that doesn’t even include expecting anything much from Harrison

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: It’s so easy to look at where the Rangers have gone wrong with, say, the Choo and Fielder deals, and then you want to say they deserved this. No. Nobody deserves this.

9:40
Comment From Guest
Would an elf be better at SS or LF?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Altuve was never given the opportunity to play shortstop, so based on that I’m going to guess left field

9:41
Comment From Doug
Where did you live freshman year? I want to install a Birthplace of Leone for Third plaque. Go Bantams.

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: North Campus, first level, very last room, across the street from the graveyard.

9:42
Comment From J-Dog
Concerned with Jordan Zimmerman? Drop in velocity and further away from Tommy John. Or just a bad first month?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Down about two ticks across the board, not yet any signs of game-to-game progress. This is a problem, and really bad news for his upcoming free agency

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: You wonder if this is one of the reasons Zimmermann couldn’t get traded over the winter — perhaps other teams suspected something like this could be coming

9:45
Comment From Ned Yost
Thoughts on Yordano Ventura? Intense competitor or slightly crazy? Suspension coming?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: He pitches with an edge, like most if not all pitchers in the major leagues. Difference being, unlike other guys, Ventura hasn’t quite figured out how to keep his emotions under control. In that way, he’s not different from perhaps the majority of 23-year-olds. It’ll all come with maturity, and the Royals will hope that his maturation process picks up speed

9:47
Comment From Andy
Hi Jeff, you always sign off these chats by saying “have great days.” Does that mean each of us is supposed to have multiple great days until the next chat? Or we’re all collectively supposed to have one great Friday from our own viewpoint? Because I can only have one great day at a time. Please advise.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I want you all to have great days, through to the next chat

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: The weekly goal should be six great days, and one kind of lousy day, that allows you to better appreciate the great ones

9:49
Comment From Houzer
are the O’s going to find regular at bats for Wieters once he returns?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I suspect they could find room around Caleb Joseph, Ryan Lavarnway, and Jimmy Paredes

9:50
Comment From Carl S
What’s your favorite quote from a baseball player?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: “I gained a lot of weight in my country,” [Montero] admitted. “So, now, I’m on a program to lose weight. I’m working really hard to get my weight back. I wasn’t doing nothing (after finishing winter ball), just eating.”

9:50
Comment From Art Vandelay
I’ve watched the replay of the “brawl” last night a handful of times, but I have no idea how that escalated so quickly.

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Samardzija and Cain had something dating back at least to opening day of this year, when the former hit the latter. And when both teams have guys acting aggressively, you have to go out and defend them, and then you’re on edge, waiting for the first shot to be fired, so to speak

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: So then it doesn’t take much more than a few words for the whole thing to erupt

9:52
Comment From Reggie C.
Do you think Arod has a shot at 25 homers with a .250 avg? His past couple homers have been old Arod’ish.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: He looks good!

9:53
Comment From Erich
I know, April and all, but with a strong start so far, a new curveball, and reports of a slight uptick in velo, do you buy Jimmy Nelson beating his projections the rest of the season?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Isn’t his velocity a little down?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: But yeah, I think he can do a bit better. I don’t buy him as an ace, but I buy him as a real starter

9:55
Comment From _David_
Could you give an estimate of the percentage breakdown in first base playing time for the Mariners, ROS? LoMo, Jesus, Quentin, Kivlehan?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Quentin’s going to have to be a quick decision. Has an opt-out for like two weeks from now. I don’t think he ends up a regular — the team still remembers that Morrison started poorly last year. I think it’s mostly Morrison, and then second half brings some Montero/Kivlehan spice notes

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Kivlehan could end up more a replacement for Weeks/Ruggiano

9:57
Comment From Also Dan
Would Yordano Ventura be acting this way if he played in the NL and had to bat? I think this is a good argument against the DH

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t seem particularly rational, soooo

9:58
Comment From Chester
Do you think Alex Guerrero should have a more regular role on the Dodgers team? If you don’t want to replace Juan Uribes corpse, why not replace Carl Crawfords corpse? The Dodgers problem seems to be scoring runs, which is something that Guerrero could definitely help with…

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers are too deep in big-league caliber players. People like to say that’s a good problem to have, and it *is* a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem. Someone or someones need to go. And other teams aren’t really much for trading this early in the season

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: It’ll be a credit to Mattingly if he’s able to keep this all together for the next several months

10:00
Comment From jagged edges
How many games does a season need to be in order for teams win totals to reliably reflect team talent ( say around 95%) (not counting fatigue/injury)

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, if you want to get to true talent without any of the variation/randomness, then you’re talking about way more games than there are in a season. But around the start of August or so, you get to have a pretty decent idea

10:01
Comment From Trigtron
Yeah, closers are unimportant, but I think they provide a window into managers’ thinking/anxieties. What percentage of closer roles do you think turn over by the end of each season?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Almost half?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a guess. Would actually be a better question for a devoted fantasy-baseball player

10:02
Comment From Guest
Should I go to Peru or Argentina in July?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:02
Comment From greg
You think Bryan Price is running Kevin Gregg out there in high leverage situations just to prove a point to Walt Jocketty? Kind of like a passive aggressive way of saying, “when the f*** are you going to get me some guys besides Aroldis Chapman who can hold a f****** lead?… f***”

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: No, I don’t think Bryan Price is interested in deliberate self-sabotage.

10:04
Comment From Tom
What, if anything, should the Cardinals do about first base?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Matt Adams is fine

10:04
Comment From Ullu Ka Patta
Over/Under one month before the Brewers scapegoat their batting coach and he is unceremoniously defenestrated?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Feel more like it’d be Roenicke

10:06
Comment From Chester
Even though Ventura is being a “dumbass”, he’s actually pitching pretty well out of the gate. Maybe the attitude is helping him..

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: He could keep the attitude without putting the rest of his team at risk. Just requires more control and internalization

10:06
Comment From Adam
Pretty pleased to see all the fan-physicians start to be proven wrong on Tanaka. So far.

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: It’ll forever be quite the risk, and we’ll all just be waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it’s pretty funny. Man did people overreact

10:07
Comment From Steven
Are SIERA numbers publicly available?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: On FanGraphs.com!

10:08
Comment From Eyebrows
Which team is the most fun to watch right now (bonus points for any interesting rookie pitchers)

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Fully healthy, I’d say Jays and Mets. Cubs are up there, but they’re too obvious and I have to be a hipster

10:09
Comment From Guest
What’s wrong with Bryce Schlitter?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Brian Schlitter?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: 5.2 innings dude. His velocity is actually *up*

10:10
Comment From adam
How hard would it be for the Reds to make meaningful adjustments to their pen?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: That team could reallllllly use a catching-fire Tony Cingrani

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like Cingrani/Diaz/Chapman could front a decent bullpen. But they’re not there yet.

10:12
Comment From Zob Lerblaw
How many games do the Mets have to get ahead of the Nationals and by what date to believe they may win the east? 15 games by June 1?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Two games up, last day of the season

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Right now, including what’s happened, we have the Nationals projected to win just four more games than the Mets. Doesn’t really factor in the Zimmermann uncertainty. We’re really close to this becoming a coin flip. Pretty amazing

10:14
Comment From Dash
So how about that Yellowstone Magma Reservoir? How long until we die from this “Super Volcano”?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: “While large, the researchers say, the reservoir is only 2 percent melted rock and is too deep to contribute to a supervolcanic eruption akin to the explosion that formed the Yellowstone caldera around 640,000 years ago.”

10:14
10:15
Comment From Reef
What are your thoughts on the Cano power outage? Has he shown anything this year to make you think that last year was an aberration?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: He has an above-average ISO, and he hit a double off the yellow line in deep center field. Give that baseball a couple more inches and his ISO just right around .200

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: He’s getting more fastballs in Seattle than he did in New York, and as a result I think you’re seeing him go to the opposite field. Fewer opportunities for him to pull the ball out to right. Still a very good player

10:17
Comment From Guest
are more pitchers doing the hop thing now that MLB declared it legal? at least two RPs in Nats/Cards game I saw Tuesday were doing it.

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: For real? I’m interested in this

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Well, one of those would’ve been Jordan Walden. He’s always done that

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: The other, I don’t know

10:19
Comment From Slick Rick
Is J.A. Happ truly getting better? Or, is this just a mirage early on? His control seems to have improved a little in Seattle.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: His strikeout rate is basically half of what it was last season

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: He’s an interesting case — he’s moved away from his fastball to a great extent, and his fastball has lost some of the velocity it picked up. But his slider is sharper, and he’s going out of the zone more…

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: And also, now he has a catcher worth a damn. That helps

10:21
Comment From Curtis
What was the greatest baseball feat you ever saw live, in person?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: At a Triple-A Tacoma game in 2005 I saw Wilson Valdez hit a double against Felix Hernandez. Might be the most improbable thing I’ve ever seen

10:22
Comment From Ian
Also, Grapefruit Sculpin: Have you had it? How is it?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: outstanding

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: less enthused about the habanero sculpin

10:23
Comment From Eric
Thoughts on whether Tanaka makes it through the season without his arm falling off?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Right now, for me, it’s 50/50

10:23
Comment From Marc
By year’s end, which team is the best bet to have the most runs scored?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Blue Jays, if Bautista heals up

10:24
Comment From RML
Pillar or Saunders?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: conveniently, one is right-handed and one is left-handed!

10:24
Comment From Alex
Chilean volcanoes – you stoked?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: stoked, but a little bummed that I missed the action by a month. on the other hand, a month ago, I was able to fly home…

10:25
Comment From Mike
Jeff, is it true that washed up players don’t hit 477 ft homeruns, not even once?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Travis Hafner hit a ball 480 feet in 2012

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: It’s uncommon — doing what A-Rod did requires skill — but it’s not unprecedented. And also, even if A-Rod can do this now, what happens when he’s not 100%, as the season wears on?

10:28
Comment From Guest
More overrated Walker or Paxton?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Paxton gets talked about like an ace, so probably him

10:28
Comment From Will H
It’s April 24 and there have been 3 complete games thrown. Too early to say this is the new normal now?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Been an observable trend for a while. They’re slowly going away

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe not that slowly

10:29
Comment From Catoblepas
Scherzer has been sorta quietly really good in his first four starts. Steamer had him at 4.5 WAR at the beginning of the year, but it’s up to 6 now. Do you think he’s changed anything, or do you think Steamer just thinks he is who he has been for 2012-2014, rather than 2011 and back?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Scherzer’s Scherzer. He’s pretty great

10:29
Comment From MJ
ZIPs rest of season has devon travis at a .709 OPS; you taking the over on that?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: yeah

10:30
Comment From Chris
Jeff – Did you happen to catch Giancarlo Stanton’s HR yesterday? I checked on home-run tracker and somehow it didn’t have the lowest elevation angle this season(4th lowest of 2015) – but it was miraculous nonetheless. He essentially hit a rising line drive over the left field wall where the ball careened of a seat and nearly went into the upper deck. Definitely worth a look!

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: That was pretty outstanding, but it’s still got nothing on the opposite-field line drive he hit a year or two ago

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton yesterday: http://m.mlb.com/video/v858…

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Apex of 46 feet above the field; second-lowest on the year, with a McCann shot at 45

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton last year: http://m.mlb.com/video/v858…

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Apex of 48. Weirdest damn home run I might’ve ever seen

10:33
Comment From Chester
Kevin Cash seems to be putting Boxberger into the game when the highest leverage situation occurs rather than just the 9th inning. Do you think this is a trend that will catch on, or has the save been on a pedestal for far too long for a change to happen this quickly?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: It is part of a gradual trend, but I think contributing to this is that Boxberger isn’t the Rays’ designated season closer. That guy is still on the disabled list. So they have some additional flexibility here

10:34
Comment From Ben
Better hitter: Michael Brantley or Corey Dickerson?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I like Dickerson

10:35
Comment From Kevin Pillar
Can you explain why I have negative defensive value so far this season, on my player page?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: You’ve played the corner outfield, and we don’t yet have 2015 season UZR

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: you’d be at +6 or so, if instead of UZR we used DRS

10:36
Comment From Guest
will the Tigers stand pat or make a trade to find a Nathan replacement?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Soria’s fine, but they’ll probably scout the market for other non-closer relievers

10:36
Comment From Steve
Can we talk about the Moose for a second? He’s destroying it in KC. Did he fix something in his swing? Is he for real? Just a random small sample size…?

10:36
10:37
Jeff Sullivan: He’s made some deliberate changes to improve his ability to go to the opposite field. Doesn’t guarantee that he’s going to be a good hitter now, but he’s at least evolving. I think he could end up with a wRC+ around 110 – 120

10:37
Comment From Dave
Jeff almost every single LF has a negative Def rating on fangraphs… what’s up with that.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: No UZR. It’s coming soon, but nothing to this point, so all you’re seeing are positional values

10:38
Comment From Steve
Is Dustin Pedroia’s power back?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I think so!

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately I need to get going earlier than usual. 🙁 I’m sorry friends

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s still been an hour and a half!

10:39
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 — 4/24/15 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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Trey
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Trey

the auto-scrolling on this chat app is absurdly annoying. sorry jeff.