Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/29/16

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Well dammit friends

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s just baseball chat

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Hello

9:10
Guest: Jeff, OMG did you fix Chris Archer???

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Chris Archer didn’t need very much fixing, which helps

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: It’s like trying to fix David Price

9:11
Guest: 1. Who has more power: Sano or Park?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I have to imagine Sano is one of the very strongest hitters in all of baseball. Park’s good, but Sano is a freak

9:12
GDUBSS: With Dee Gordon suspended for 80 games, how do you see the Marlins 2nd base situation playing out? Dietrich and Rojas in a platoon? How many wins do you think this will cost the marlins over those 80 games?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I’d guess mostly Dietrich. And I’d guess about a win and a half? There’s something to be said for all the ways in which Gordon can impact a game, but there’s also something to be said for Dietrich’s ability to hit a dinger

9:14
JD: Is Shelby Miller toast as a front of the rotation arm?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely not. Go back through his 2014 game log. In April, he had 21 walks and 26 strikeouts, plus seven home runs

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: He was bad in August. Over six starts between June and July, he had as many walks as strikeouts, and an ERA over 6

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Miller clearly isn’t right, but he’s no less capable than he was a month ago

9:17
j6takish: Jeff, I’ve had to take medication for the past week and one of the side effects is really weird/detailed dreams. I had a dream that I thought of a really good fangraphs chat question. I was really excited waking up because I had remembered the question from my dream. I thought about it for a few minutes upon waking and I realized it was really stupid and didn’t even make any sense… but will you answer it anyway? Would you play for the Braves if you had to a sign a 10 year league minimum contract and you also had to live in a dorm room the entire time?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I’m less likely to say yes now than I would’ve been 10 years ago. In large part because the Braves would realize I’m not good and then they’d drop me

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Although if they’d drop me, then I’d be guaranteed all that money…

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take it!

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Say hello to your new Braves southpaw! I could definitely step in for Bud Norris

9:19
Kvn: Is Collin McHugh this year’s Rick Porcello? You keep waiting for him to fix it and he just never does?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: The last four times out, he has three walks and 17 strikeouts. It’ll take a while for his numbers to recover from that miserable first start. But McHugh should be okay. It’s worth remembering he wasn’t nearly as good last year as the year before

9:20
CameronDaClub: Harvey erase any/all concern with that last start?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not all gone — it was the Reds — but Harvey does seem mostly back on track. I’m a lot less worried than I was a week and a half ago

9:23
Yusuf : Hey Jeff, Michael Conforto is off to a great start–tops the league in exit velocity, getting on base, etc. After roughly a half-season of major league plate appearances who would you say is an accurate comp for him?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: This one took me a few minutes because my mind went blank but then it kept trying to say Alex Gordon? It’s not a perfect comp, because Gordon has better defense and Conforto might have more power, but that seems like the right general area

9:26
Gabriel: About T. Walker, the difference in pitch selection is attributed to Ianetta or to the new coaching staff?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know the specific answer to this, but I would assume it’s all collaborative. And mostly about Walker and his catchers. And of course, Walker has the final say. He feels comfortable enough with his secondary weapons, and so he’s featuring them more

9:27
Shower Thoughts: What do you see as the top three Union and League considerations going into the CBA discussions this year?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Better question for Dave because this is more his wheelhouse than mine. League’ll push for an international draft. There’ll be talk about harsher PED suspensions. Certain owners clearly want to try to reduce any incentives to lose. Players will try to raise the league-minimum salary. They could/should make some changes to the rules to quit it with service-time manipulation

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, and the QO. Lots of talk about the QO

9:29
Impotent Rage: DEE GORDON!

9:29
Erik: Does Dee Gordon’s suspension hint at possibly more widespread PED use in baseball than we thought? As in, if even 8-career-HRs-Gordon sees a benefit from PEDs and thinks he can get away with it, might we fear that players who fit the more conventional steroid-user profile are using more than we thought?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: This one is really obnoxious. I mean, look — I personally don’t care too much about PEDs. The game is entertainment. In theory I feel like players can do what they want to do, within reason. But this does make for a lopsided landscape, hurting other players, and just as bad, Gordon ruined everything because now literally no one is safe. No one is safe from speculation. Gordon is the complete opposite of the typical steroid profile. Which means everybody is in play

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Jake Arrieta? Steroids. Dee Gordon? Steroids. Wade Davis? Steroids. Taijuan Walker? Steroids. Matt Carpenter? Steroids. Kenta Maeda? Steroids. Ichiro? Probably steroids

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: It can all get so ridiculous, and we can’t say anything, because Gordon getting busted is ridiculous. This is horrible MLB PR

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Like it or not, baseball is the sport people think has the problem. Football has the actual problem — several of the actual problems — but baseball is the steroid laughingstock in popular culture. And that shit is unkillable, because of nonsense like this

9:34
Nicholas : Hey Jeff, I really enjoyed reading your article about Taijuan Walker. I wrote a community blog the other day looking at Walker’s improvement, so it was really cool to see what you wrote! Do you have any writing and/or research tips that could help me write better articles? That was my first one that I have done, but I have ideas for more.

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: When doing a deep dive on a player, I just to just go exploring. Look at stat after stat after stat and see what speaks to me. Sometimes I’ll know what to look for going in, but with Walker, it was basically: “All right, what’s happening? How might I be able to explain Walker’s ascent?” I probably spent four hours just poking around different places? And then like 45 minutes doing actual writing. The exploration is fun. Exhausting, sometimes, but I think it’s possible to learn something new every single time you do an investigation

9:38
Josh: How impressed have you been with Aaron Nola? What type of ceiling does he have at this point?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I like Nola quite a bit. He always seemed like a pretty safe major leaguer, and he’s clearly pitching with a lot of confidence, coming right after the strike zone. He’s not the only Phillies pitcher doing that, and nothing has happened to slow them down. I think Nola still needs to be able to give lefties another look, but pitcher ceilings are hard to discuss because elite levels can turn out accessible to almost anyone. Nola, right now, is good. Which means he has the ability to be great. Probably won’t be, but there’s no harm in hoping

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I’m currently in a phase where I like to see righties throwing lefties inside more often. Nola could stand to do that

9:42
Matt: Obgliatory question about how worried I should be about Wainright. (Not: it is not *how* worried, and not *if* I should be worried…)

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: He has yet to throw swing-and-miss stuff, which is odd, because his general stuff is intact. Pitches are drifting on him and he’s having some trouble getting that familiar finish. I don’t think he’s hurt, so with this kind of stuff Wainwright earns the benefit of the doubt, but I wouldn’t sit back and wait for him to be an ace again. I could see him working out kinks to pitch like a No. 2

9:45
Dan: Do you have any faith that Kazmir and the shark will turn it around this year?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Samardzija seems okay. Kazmir just had a good enough start against the Marlins

9:46
2-D: If the Rockies had a rotation of Kershaw/Arrieta/Price/Scherzer/Sale what kind of season would they have?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: A good one

9:46
philosofool: Proposed rule: if a pitcher makes two consecutive pick off moves and the runner safely returns to base standing on both of them, the runner advances a base. Does this rule make baseball more fun to watch?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I think I like it!

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t thought it all the way through, but I think I like it

9:47
Derek: Jeff can you answer two questions for me? 1) I’m going to Asheville to Nashville on a road trip with a date, what’s an ideal weekend camping site with hiking in the area? 2) Have you seen anyone change their game as much as Odubbel Hererra has in one off-season? Dude looks like a gamer.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I’m afraid I’ve never camped or backpacked back east, so I can’t help you there. That’s a ballsy date. As for Herrera, it’s the strangest thing. Clearly, he’s making a conscious effort. Clearly, his heart is in the right place, and he’s made an improvement. But I don’t know why pitchers aren’t throwing him more strikes. He’s getting first-pitch strikes literally less than half the time. Why? Why on earth? It doesn’t make sense, but consider this the latest reminder that, on average, pitchers are surprisingly bad at control

9:50
Erik: The Phillies have elevated their playoff odds to 0.1%! Would you take the over or the under on that? And if they’re 2 games over .500 at the All-Star Break, do they make any win-now moves, or stick to the slow, patient script?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: They’re too smart to do anything short-sighted. No blockbusters. In theory I could see them add a mid-tier starter or a role player, but they know what they’re building. I’d take the over on those odds, because of the pitching, but the Phillies also have a -19 run differential. The Twins are at -20

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I love love love that the Phillies are 12-10, but they probably shouldn’t have that record

9:52
Robert: % chance everyone in the AL West finishes 81-81

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Disappointingly low

9:52
mtsw: While the Dee Gordon thing sucks, I have to admit I’m pleasantly surprised how few of the hot takes blame the whole thing on Barry Bonds. What’s the worst take on this you’ve seen so far?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: You can pretty much always identify what’s going to be a bad take from the headline. Once you do that, why read the actual article?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I genuinely can’t remember the last time I read a baseball article I’d say was bad or stupid. Nothing to gain from it

9:54
Kvn: Is it crazy to imagine Manny Machado leading the O’s in HR’s this season?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not too crazy. He just hit 35. A few years ago, Chris Davis hit 26. So you just need Machado staying on path, and you need Davis having another weird down year. Which would be…bad…for the Orioles, but, you asked!

9:56
Chuck : I realize it is basically impossible to know how for real Rich Hill is, but any thoughts on his Kershawesque stretch? August’s post from earlier this week on his past 9 starts was pretty eye opening.

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: It’s worth noting he’s had two lousy or mediocre starts out of five, and in another he walked four batters. But something about him just makes hitters not want to swing. He seems like he’s really uncomfortable to hit against, probably because there aren’t many pitchers with his profile

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: He covers every part of the zone. He has a lot of movement on his fastball and curve. Maybe as a hitter you just have to guess. He definitely has better control than command, and when he loses it, he’s almost unwatchably wild. But this story is an example of what makes baseball so fun

10:03
Joey: Do you think Colorado could push David Dahl to the Majors this year and what would his path be? Or is his timeline 2017?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Consider it 2017 or September of this year until further notice. Obviously there would be an opening if and when Carlos Gonzalez gets traded, and the Rockies clearly aren’t opposed to getting a young guy up to the majors early. But for now Dahl is just experiencing his first success in Double-A

10:04
Tom: If you were building a staff for just this year, what five pitchers would you take?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta, Kershaw, Sale, Syndergaard…Scherzer, probably. But maybe Price

10:06
Alex: Has dominant starts in Gwinnett convinced you that Rio Ruiz and Lucas Sims could be top prospects?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Nope!

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Ruiz has all of two home runs, and twice as many whiffs as walks

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Sims, meanwhile, still isn’t throwing enough strikes

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I know the Braves need to look for what bright spots there are, but I gotta say, there aren’t many bright spots

10:08
Gavin: Has any player ever actually unknowingly taken PEDs?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: We pretty much never know the real truth of these things, but CJ Nitkowski at least laid out how it could happen http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/new-york-mets-jenrry-mejia-drug-suspension-dominican-republic-culture-stanozolol-041215

10:09
Jake : With Carrascos injury and the White Sox hot start, would they be your current favorite in the central or still Tribe/Royals/no fav?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I still take the Indians, but the White Sox have whittled the advantage down to almost nothing

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: So if you wanted to argue strongly in favor of the White Sox, I don’t have much of an argument to convincingly disagree

10:10
Matt: ESPN switched Jose Reyes to SSPD in their system. Any word on how long? I can’t find any news.

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: No news that I’m aware of yet, but it’s coming soon, and since we all know Reyes is going to get SOME kind of suspension maybe ESPN is just making the safe assumption

10:11
Trumbone: If there were a hypothetical breakfast cereal called Volcan-O’s, what would it consist of?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: raw grain and chili peppers

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: it would be horrible

10:12
Ember: What do you think of Severino so far this season? Should he get sent back to the minors, to work on stuff, or try to get right in the majors?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: You don’t demote him this fast. He still has a sub-4 career big-league ERA, and the stuff is playable. The things he has to work on, he probably has to work on against major-league opponents

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: My assumption is anything wrong here is mechanical, and you want to have that guy working with the best coaching staff in the organization

10:14
Laremy Tunsil’s Gasmask: Robbie Cano has hit a bunch of dingers already, the only thing I can see is that he’s just hitting may more fly balls and less line drives, could he hit 30-35 HRs this year?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: So far it looks like he’s made a concerted effort to pull more balls in the air. That comes at the expense of a more all-fields approach, and it comes at the expense of a few hits, but if Cano wants to up his power game, then he could keep this sort of production up

10:15
Joe: Lot of people calling for Fredi G’s job, but Braves are just a bad team. I don’t see how changing managers is going to make bad players all of a sudden play good. Now if Braves knew who they wanted as the future manager, then I can see making the change so he can work with the young guys coming up, but replacing Fredi with an interim manager seems pointless. (sorry, rant).

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: At some point Gonzalez just gets associated with losing. That can be tough to recover from, and dismissing him would give players a little jolt. The problem, very obviously, is NOT Gonzalez, but if they feel like he’s not the long-term manager there, there wouldn’t be harm in beginning a transition

10:17
jon: The Braves enter today’s game at Chicago, having scored 74 runs in 22 games. The Cubs enter today’s game owning a +74 run differential through 21 games.

10:17
mtsw: Are teams starting to figure Kenta Maeda out? He doesn’t seem like a guy primed for long term dominance once hitters familiarize themselves with him.

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Yesterday was the first time he allowed more than one run

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: In the process, he got his whiffs, and he threw more than 70% strikes

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Maeda still looks good

10:18
Martin: What impact does throwing to Jeff Mathis and JT Realmuto have on Jose Fernandez’s development. They’re both rated very poorly in most catching metrics. Where would he be if he had someone like Yadi, Montero or Posey to throw to? Thanks!

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers who have worked with Mathis swear by him. His reputation isn’t founded on nothing. I would assume that working with Mathis would only be good for Fernandez’s development, ignoring the run-support aspect

10:19
Gavin: How much longer should I wait for Alex Wood to come around?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Give him two starts. But these struggles are surprising to me

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I really did think he was back to normal. Because he looked like he was back to normal!

10:20
Gary: How long until Joey Gallo makes Moreland unemployed?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Earliest, a month from now. But I’m excited!

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: For anyone unaware: Gallo’s strikeout rate in Triple-A is down to 25%. Still early enough for that to be a blip, but last year in Triple-A he was at literally 40%

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: So he’s slugging .662.

10:21
Steve: Is it good, bad, or neither if a large percentage of runs are scored off home runs?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say very slightly bad? To me, it implies the lineup might have less success against higher-level pitchers

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: But that’s more of a postseason concern

10:22
Q-Ball: White Sox have the best record in the AL. How close are they to being the best TEAM in the AL?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: It helps them that the AL doesn’t really have a great team. But they need to, you know, hit.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I’m also very much unconvinced by Mat Latos

10:24
Kvn: The Cubs are favored to beat the Braves with a probability of 71.7% according to the scoreboard on this site. This got me thinking, is that about as lopsided matchup as there will be this year? Could the Cubs push 80%+ with Arrieta on the mound, at home, against some AAAA innings eater starting for the Braves?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, Scherzer and the Nationals got to 78% against Sean O’Sullivan and the Phillies. I think you could get right about to 80%, yeah

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs appear better than last year’s Nationals. And the Braves are one big ol welp of a baseball team

10:26
Nick: For my statistical analysis class’s final we can analyze anything we want, so obviously I’m going with baseball. Got any ideas that seem interesting but aren’t quite worth your own time?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Is it beneficial or irrelevant to have a changeup that moves like your fastball?

10:27
Zonk: The Pirates are hitting .292 as a team, including .300 by non-pitchers! The team BABIP is .351. There’s a ton of luck to that early season hitting, isnt’ there?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: I was going to say it helps to play the Reds, but they actually have the lowest batting average against the Reds out of everyone they’ve played so far. So!

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Last April, the Royals hit .306. Second place was at .286. In May, the Royals hit .253

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: #baseball

10:29
Gavin: Is Nola actually as good as he looked against the Nats?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: No!

10:31
mtsw: Pedro Alvarez and Hyun Soo Kim for Nick Markakis + $10M: who says no? Saves the Braves cash, gives Kim an opportunity to play for a team that can let him play without risking competitively, turns two non productive roster spots into one semi-productive one for the O’s and brings Markakis back to Baltimore where he’s beloved. Everyone wins except Pedro Alvarez who will probably get DFAed!

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think the Braves want to send that message. And if anything, they seem like they’re looking to *add* money so they can also add picks or prospects. They don’t appear to be looking to shed

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t mean your idea isn’t rational — I just don’t think the Braves want to go down that road. Not enough upside for them

10:32
Flash is ashamed: How long do the ChiSox put up with Danks and who takes his place in the rotation?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Erik Johnson seems about ready in Triple-A. Also, Miguel Gonzalez might be playable

10:33
J: The Yankees are a good fit to trade for ______

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: nothing interesting

10:33
Charlie: Still think the Astros can take the West? Dug themselves a nice little hole.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I still think they’re pretty good, but I have more questions about the pitching than I did last month. It helps them that the whole division is mediocre

10:34
Colin: Tell me how to feel about Albert Almora’s hot start

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t feel anything about it

10:35
Neal Huntington: Is it time for me to cut ties with Rendon? Second year in a row ive been burned

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: No, but your frustration is warranted

10:35
Some other guy: I joked a couple of years ago that Dee Gordon was so skinny that he should get special dispensation from MLB to use steroids for legitimate medical purposes. I WAS KIDDING, DEE.

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Remember the story this spring about how Gordon put on a bunch of muscle?

10:36
ctw: Jeff, the Pirates dramatically reshaped their offense this year. Alvarez and Walker out, Jaso, Freese, Joyce, etc in. The whole lineup is built around seeing tons of pitches and grinding out as many baserunners as possible without huge power threats. I’ve seen it on twitter that they are on pace for a historical number of baserunners. If this continues into May, would we see an article on this approach on FG?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: If the Pirates remain an exceptional offense, yeah, they’ll get written about on a handful of occasions, but I gotta say, this won’t keep up. They have that .351 BABIP. The highest team BABIP from the previous decade was .329, and that was for a team that played half the time in Fenway

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Usually I roll my eyes when arguments conclude with a point about BABIP, but it can’t be ignored in this case

10:38
Zonk: For BABIP, what is the range of “normal”? Meaning, what would be a “normal” BABIP for peak Ichiro, vs. a “normal” BABIP for slow Adam Dunn? (Career is .340 and .286 respectively, over big samples)

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Peak Ichiro was a legitimate .360. Joey Votto is a very different kind of legitimate .360. On the other side, you have, say, Albert Pujols, who seems like a legitimate .220

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: With defenses moving how they do these days, and with Pujols moving how he does these days, that BABIP basically can’t be rescued

10:40
Tim: Should the Rockies be an AL team? My hypothesis is that to succeed there you would need a 10 man bullpen with multiple good long relievers, and due to pinch hitting , that’s just not feasible in the national league.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: The Rockies have actually enjoyed a spectacular home-field advantage throughout their history. The problem is when they go on the road

10:41
fipile: Mazara for AL ROY ?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Nope!

10:41
Steve: Most intriguing pitching matchup of the day?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Sanchez and Smyly?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not a banner day for ace-level showdowns

10:42
Matt: Are the Phillies pulling a 2015-Cubs right now? We going to see Crawford soon in an effort to try to play this out – or is the NL too competitive right now to try to make a push?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: The Phillies are going to lose a lot. They’re not even close to the 2015 Cubs. Different universe.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I do think we’ll see Crawford, and I do think this is going to be an encouraging season in Philadelphia, but when things settle out they’re going to be near the bottom of the NL regardless

10:43
Zonk: The Marlins were fringe contenders at the start of the season…between the early record and Gordon, we can officially stick a fork in those hopes, can’t we?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Losing Capps also hurt

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: They basically need for things to go perfectly from here on out. Don’t bet on it

10:44
dom: settle a debate- would the Phillies rather have gotten Mookie or the Texas package for Hamels?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Mookie

10:45
Mike: You buying Chris Tillman’s start this year?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I buy more strikeouts as long as it looks like his arm strength is improved

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: So far he’s faced strikeout-prone opponents so he isn’t this hard to hit, but I think he’s a better pitcher

10:46
InSpades: How likely is it Hector Santiago is going to sustain his current performance for the entire season?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: He’s up two miles per hour. That tells me he’s throwing with more efficient mechanics. More efficient mechanics suggests better command. Better command suggests more success!

10:48
JD: Which starting pitcher is the most frustrating to watch in terms of stuff/talent not delivering expected results? Now and all time?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Garrett Richards is kind of frustrating. Early-career Felix Hernandez was frustrating. Edwin Jackson feels like an obvious name here

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: These of course are more recent examples

10:49
MogulMan: Looking forward to the next installment of “Worst Called Strikes”….Verlander got some real gifts against my A’s the other day….

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say this much — I get tweets from people who follow on Gameday, and PITCHf/x seems to have occasional hiccups where Gameday mis-reports a ball down the middle. Almost all of the time, those are glitches and they don’t reflect reality. But every so often they sure as shoot do!

10:50
Q-Ball: Mike Trout…started slow, how he’s back on the WAR leaderboard. There’s just no stopping Trout, is there?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: When great players get off to bad starts, everyone trips all over themselves to ask whether the player isn’t great anymore. Mostly they are great

10:51
Kenneth: Top 5 position players right now: Trout, Harper, Machado, Donaldson , Goldschmidt. Top 5 franchise building blocks: Trout, Harper, Machado, Correa, Lindor. Top 5 pitchers right now: Kershaw, Arrieta, Sale, Syndergaard, Scherzer. Beg to differ on any of these?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I think I’d sub Bryant in for Lindor

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise, I’ll take it

10:53
Frederick: Ian Kinsler a decent comp for Rougned Odor?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Odor is a good deal more swing-happy. And I think Odor will prove to be somewhat better at spraying the ball around, where Kinsler has gotten almost all of his offense from the pull side

10:54
Steve: What odds do you give Machado of winning the AL MVP?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I picked Correa before the year because I thought the Astros would make the playoffs. Now it seems like Machado or Donaldson — whichever one ends up on a playoff team

10:56
Mr. Matt: I deeply concerned with the welling up of optimism I’m feeling as a Mariners fan right now. They look distinctly not terrible. Do you have similar concerning emotions?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I do, but based on history, this will rather swiftly get dealt with

10:56
Curtis: What was Dee’s gain by PED? more speed? I guess I had always thought (wrongly) that PED was for power? or did he just get some bad stuff….

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Better body, better bat control, increased confidence

10:57
CMR: Of all the surprising team/player Aprils, which do you think is most likely to be real and not a blip?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I assume we’re ignoring Noah Syndergaard’s 95mph slider for this purpose

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: In that case, I have concerns about Felix

10:58
Mike: Going to Seattle for the first time ever this year. Should I make a day trip to Mt Rainier Natonal Park? It’ll be the last week in May, and I know it might still be a bit snowy.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: If the roads are open and if the forecast is at all decent, you should absolutely go there. Unforgettable

10:59
Neal Huntington: Who is your favorite prospect that no one knows about?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Mylz Jones, who is way better than Max Schrock

11:00
Zonk: It looks like another year in Anaheim of Trout greatness, and Angels mediocrity. The farm system is a mess. How much longer until they actually start thinking about the unthinkable: Blowing it up, and trading Mike Trout?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like we’ve been over this. It’s not happening. It just isn’t happening. Not any time soon. No one could and would match the rightful asking price

11:01
Kolten: Why aren’t people making a bigger deal of the possibility that Harper and Machado will both be free agents during the 2019 offseason? Yankees going all out for both?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: People made a pretty big deal about that offseason a few months ago, but now that there’s actual baseball people aren’t thinking about future transactions as much

11:01
pirates hurdles: It would pretty easy to argue that Shelby has never been a “front of the rotation arm” and thus expecting him to be one is folly.

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: That’s fair, but I remain confident that the potential is within.

11:01
Tommy A. : Hey Jeff, should we begin to start freaking out over Votto? Just saw the article about his start and got to say I am pretty nervous

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I have never once felt nervous about Joey Votto. If anything this month is proof that we as fans get nervous too easily

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Like, I am 99% confident that Joey Votto is just fine, and these are his numbers. What are we supposed to do with that?

11:03
Guest: Serious question re: Archer. I mean, what’s to stop you from being a pitching coach. Isn’t what you did most of what their job is? Plus they could learn neat things about volcanoes.

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I have basically no background or experience. I never pitched above high school. I was a bad pitcher at a small high school. Who would trust me?

11:03
YA: is aledmys diaz for real?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: He is not fake

11:05
fangraphsemployee: rubby de la rosa in his last two starts has scrapped the changeup (a pitch that has consistently been clobbered) for more fastballs and more sliders. his slider is his clear number 1 pitch and was a top 10-15 slider in the majors last year. do you think rubby can go the archer route to success and sustain this with increased fastball and slider usage without a real third pitch?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still thrown changeups to lefties. He just hasn’t faced very many lefties the last couple times out. I don’t think he’s scrapping the pitch

11:05
Jeff: If the MLBPA were serious about cutting down on the PED’s in baseball, they need to start penalizing players checkbook rather than just suspending them. I think fining them, and cutting their future earning by a certain percentage(from time of suspension – duration of contract) would deter players from taking PED’s.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: This is going to be a big issue. Players want cheaters to be held more accountable, but it sets a really bad precedent for the union to, say, allow voided contracts. I don’t know how they’re going to negotiate through this. There clearly needs to be a reduced incentive but I don’t know how you cleanly take money away without jeopardizing the union entire

11:08
mtsw: Have you looked at 538’s new team results projection system yet? http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-mlb-predictions/ The methodology seems really off-base but admittedly it produces very similar results to Fangraphs playoff odds (and SaberSim/FG single game projections).

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: First I’ve seen of it, but eyeballing things, they’re basically getting future numbers based on historical numbers. Which is how projections work, only they’re doing a little more on the team level instead of the individual level. (Although they fold in a pitcher adjustment.) I’m sure there are quirks here that would reveal themselves upon a closer read. And I prefer our own approach, but if their numbers prove to be similar, then there’s not much to argue

11:11
Fellow American: Convince me Aledmys Diaz is NOT the third best SS bet moving forward (behind Seager and Correa)

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Look at his whole performance record. I think he’s fine, but my guess is he’s just ambushing an unfamiliar league right now

11:12
Neal Huntington: Who is the most underrated player in the MLB?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Jose Quintana

11:12
Jake : Should the Sox look at Erik Johnson, Jacob Turner or some other FA pitcher or just close their eyes every Danks start and hope he doesn’t implode cause those guys would be just as bad?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I like Johnson enough. I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s in there on a more permanent basis

11:13
boo: best long term phillie – Nola, VV, Eickhoff

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Nola is the safest. Velasquez is the most exciting

11:15
Pants: So… Tyler White… 🙁 Droppable? Or do you think he’ll make adjustments?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’ll adjust fast enough and successfully enough to hold off AJ Reed

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I think White had the advantage of being powerful and unfamiliar. Seems like a good way to get quick production without a long-term strategy

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling now

11:17
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 — 4/29/16 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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