Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/3/15

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Hey guys, welcome to live baseball chat

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Usually my late excuses are a bunch of bullshit, but this time I’m late because I had to go and jump a friend’s car battery

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: So I’m basically a hero. No criticism allowed

9:11
Comment From John
are you going to chat for 6 hours like sporer?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Dear god that sounds like an absolute nightmare

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Although we will chat, as a staff, for like 13 hours on Monday

9:12
Comment From Chris
Jeff! Baseball! But perhaps more importantly – how was your trip to Patagonia?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Trip of a lifetime, stupid-lucky with the weather. Everybody should go, although not all at once

9:12
Comment From Vslyke
What do you think of the Cahill deal? Seems like a good buy low deal.

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Not much harm, and I’m interested to see how Cahill does with a different coaching staff and pitching philosophy. Odds are, though, he’s just going to stay a No. 4 or No. 5

9:13
Comment From _David_
The Angels just lost millions in mid-season upgrade budget from having to pay Hamilton, right?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, they’re going to spend those millions on Josh Hamilton, who is as talented as anyone else they might be able to find

9:14
Comment From adam
AL batting title?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I like Michael Brantley for this one

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Well, no, that suggests I’ve thought about the AL batting title before. I don’t care. Want to make that clear. But if I had to pick, it’s Brantley

9:15
Comment From dom
If any team could win 96 games in the AL East, it will be ______, because _________________ went right

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Boston, everything

9:15
Comment From Kirk
Doesn’t it suck that you’re back in the states? I like South America much better.

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely not ready to be back, but I do enjoy taking showers and being able to flush toilet paper, so there are ups and downs

9:15
Comment From dom
so is Gausman going to be a good starting pitcher or what

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I think he becomes pretty good, but I don’t think he gets consistently dominant. I’d like to see him change what he does with his fastball

9:16
Comment From Bruce
A battery is about 7 inches tall. Did you Ollie it, or just jump it with your feet?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Stepped right over it. Weird request

9:16
Comment From Marc
Hero Jeff, I need your help! How well do Buerhle, Dickey, Hutchison and Norris have to perform if I can’t shake the feeling that Sanchez will be replacement level for the season to be interesting come late in the year. 10-12 WAR between those four?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: If Sanchez is bad, and routinely bad, he won’t last the season. They’ll go to Estrada or one of the other guys or a trade acquisition. No need to have a replacement-level starter all season long

9:17
Comment From Erix
Jeff, tell us many stories from your trip!

9:17
:

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Go see the world

9:18
Comment From Jim
Greetings from Summit Street. Go Bantams.

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I wonder if you have my old mailbox

9:18
Comment From GSon
Car Battery.. yeah.. that doesn’t sound like BS.. Come on Jeff…admit it.. you’re emulating your hero, Dave…

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I’m the OG of being late for live baseball chats

9:19
Comment From mtsw
Everyone thinks the Orioles are crazy if Ubaldo or Miguel Gonzalez is the 5th starter and Gausman gets sent to AAA or the ‘pen. Are they crazy? Ubaldo has looked good in Spring Training and Gausman stubbornly still only has two good pitches. Maybe they’re crazy like some sort of sly animal instead?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: You know what the Orioles are going to need more than? Five starting pitchers. Same for everybody. The decisions made now mean a little bit, but if Gausman is good and Ubaldo is bad, things will reverse in a hurry. Depth is critical, and Gausman counts toward that end

9:20
Comment From Erik
So, it’s no Kris Bryant situation, but what could be the rationale of keeping Victorino up and sending Rusney down? Are the Sox just hoping to market Shane and ditch him ASAP?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Injury set Rusney back a little bit, and they want him to get regular reps before bringing him up to the majors. Truncated spring training. There’s clearly some strategy going on here, but it also makes some sense, and Castillo is still getting paid. He’ll be back in a month when someone gets hurt or underperforms

9:21
Comment From Kevin Gausman
Is it fair for me to start the year in AAA Norfolk or should I be in the rotation for the O’s?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: If you have to ask, you know the answer

9:21
Comment From daneyko
Souza was bad in spring. What to expect now?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Hitting

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Pete Kozma’s hitting .408

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Brett Gardner basically has Souza’s OPS. You know how this goes. There’s a little bit of signal in here but the noise overwhelms it. It’s like having a conversation at a Pantera concert. You know someone is saying something but you’ll be damned if you can make out what it is

9:23
Comment From Chris
Jeff – I owned Kris Bryant in two different keeper leagues (both keep forever) and I decided to “hedge” his future by keeping him in a 12-teamer and trading him in my 14-teamer. I was able to land Urias, Moncada, and Addison Russell. What say you good sir?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: These are decisions that you made

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I acknowledge your decisions

9:24
Comment From daneyko
Archie Bradley in rotation. Good chance to finish under 3,60 ERA?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: In fact I would say bad chance

9:24
Comment From dom
what is the prettiest team uniform

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Giants off-white, if they still wear those

9:24
Comment From mtsw
Just got my first set of Yankees tickets in the mail. Ticket design features Gehrig, Munson, Berra. I should read this as the Yankees admitting to their fans they won’t contend this season, right?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Or maybe they’re bringing back Gehrig, Munson, and Berra

9:25
Comment From GSon
Which division are you most comfortable with prediction the champ?.. NL East? Which Division are you least comfortable with & why..

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Still the NL East, despite the Nationals’ injuries.

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I’m least comfortable with both of the centrals. Either division could be won by three or four different teams and they’re all so close in my head

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: When asked, I’ve volunteered the Indians and the Cubs. Do not mistake these picks for representing strong feelings

9:27
Comment From Gregory
What is your stance on the “Do teams have a moral obligation to disclose their medical research?” question

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Too complicated to get into in a chat, and the instinct is to say it’s a case-by-case thing, but as a general foundational principle, I think health is more important than competition in a business. I’d rather see the most people healthy possible than one team win more baseball games because it knows how to keep its pitchers from getting shredded

9:29
Comment From dave
lots of talk/hype about the indians rotation these days. How do you rank them?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: High. They’re awesome!

9:29
Comment From mtsw
Does Josh Hamilton’s suspension being overturned imperil the pending handover of our legal system to benevolent sports commissioners?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I know I was gone for a couple weeks, but nothing was really overturned, right? It was simply determined that Hamilton didn’t violate the policy.

9:31
Comment From Padraic
Obdubel Herrera. A chance to be a real player? (non-fantasy question),

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not. I wrote about Billy Burns for JABO — don’t know when that’s going up — and I give Burns a chance because he has a true 80 skill. Herrera doesn’t. He seems like a more or less average runner, so when you combine that with the absence of any real power…

9:33
Comment From John
you like the mets deals for lefties last week? are they really going to keep three in the pen?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: As a lefty, Torres is more of a righty. Blevins fits the more classic profile. The Mets didn’t give up nothing, but they are close enough to the wild card that it makes sense to focus on little upgrades like this

9:35
Comment From dom
if prime Joe Mauer had billy hamilton speed could he hit .400

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Topped out at .365. The difference, that year, between Mauer and .400 was 18 hits. Figure the speed only changes things on grounders. Mauer hit .276 on grounders. Add 18 hits, and it would’ve been .357. Billy Hamilton hit .296 on grounders. Basically, no, I don’t think it would’ve happened

9:36
Comment From Time to go home yet?
Jeff pick the Indians to be your WS winner when you guys make your predictions. You’ll look brilliant in October!

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I might’ve done that. I think I at least picked them to reach the World Series

9:36
Comment From Mike Olt
Would the world tip off its axis if everyone went to patagonia at once TIA

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a big place, but, not that big a place

9:37
Comment From Robert2TheMax
I recently had a fight with a roommate that I hate. Things are now very awkward around the apartment. What’s the worst living situation that you have ever heard of?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: WWI

9:37
Comment From Ted
Are the Reds going to use Cingrani in long relief or is he the 8th inning set up man?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: He ought to be entrusted with getting more than 3 outs

9:38
Comment From Seb
How did Atlanta get so bad so fast?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: They traded Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Evan Gattis

9:39
Comment From Kirk
Which MLB player do you think owns the most extravagant house? I recently read about how that Blue Jays pitcher lives in his van often.

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably Alex Rodriguez. I think it was Derek Jeter, but now he’s retired

9:40
Comment From adam
Best WAR: Saunders, Bogaerts, Garcia, Castellanos, Odor?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Bogaerts

9:40
Comment From dom
true false: Bryce Harper is as likely to hit 45 home runs this year as anyone

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: False

9:40
Comment From mtsw
Will American society collapse with Josh Hamilton free to roam the streets again?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: The city of Anaheim is worse for American society than the freedom or lack thereof of Josh Hamilton

9:41
Comment From _David_
Theory about why the shift hasn’t decreased BABIP, probably already thought of and discredited: Players who are susceptible to being shifted take a more all or nothing approach, so balls not hit into the shift are hit harder and go for more hits, leading to little overall change in BABIP. Of course the increased K’s lead to less offense and make the shift work.

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Balls not hit into the shift would frequently be balls hit the other way, and those tend to be mis-hit. It’s really hard to hit a strong groundball the other way. There’s a clear, apparent decline in BABIP for shifted players. I think you’re just seeing that shifts still make up the minority of alignments, and a lot of batted balls go right over them. What we don’t have is what the league BABIP would be with everything the same, but absent shifts.

9:43
Comment From _David_
Horrible, terrible thought, so brace yourself: Felix’s elbow MRI that led to the 8th year contract provision…That wasn’t similar to what they say in Aiken’s elbow before it blew up, was it?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: No way to possibly know

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Literally every single pitcher has wear and tear in his UCL. Pitching is bad for the UCL. So Felix’s UCL is certainly damaged to some extent. But it’s impossible to know if it will ever be sufficiently damaged to require intervention

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Aiken has never demonstrated Felix’s durability

9:44
Comment From Jimmer
Watching the Orioles/Pirates game on MLB Network earlier this week and the announcers said, and I quote, ‘We know that all of the Sabermetricians have put out numbers over the last few years showing how strike zones have continued to decrease in size’

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Announcing is hard

9:45
Comment From What are the chances Mookie Betts plays 5 games at 2B this year to qualify at 2B in Yahoo leagues next year?
What are the chances Mookie Betts plays 5 games at 2B this year to qualify at 2B in Yahoo leagues next year?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I hate this question

9:45
Comment From Erasmoooo
Were the Mariners to stash Erasmo Ramirez in the back of the pen for this first week or so of the season, do you think they could have gotten more out of that trade? Seems like it was so obvious that the Mariners had to make a deal that they they had a weak bargaining position. Or, is Mike Montgomery the reality of what Erasmo was worth?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: More or less what he was worth. Also talented, also frustrating, worse overall but comes with an option. No one would’ve caved and given up a lot more in the middle of April

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: With that said, I do think Erasmo has a real chance to be something in Tampa Bay

9:46
Comment From Kirk
What would your fantasy baseball look like? Like, if you got to design a baseball, what would it look like? I think you could come up with some cool designs.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I’d have several different designs — maybe, say, six or 10 of them — and then I’d use them all, and I’d track offense levels with each ball type. It would be fascinating to see what designs might somehow increase or decrease pitch visibility, and therefore hitter production

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Would hitters do better or worse against a baseball that looks like a grapefruit than a regular baseball? Today, we don’t know the answer. But we could! It’s human testing, but in a mostly harmless way

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I’d also have one strobe-light baseball just to fuck with guys

9:50
Comment From L. Scott
Have umpires “shrunk” the strike zone in spring training games? Do you forecast a minor or major uptick in walks this season?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, spring training

3.1 BB/9
7.4 K/9

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: This year, spring training

2.9 BB/9
7.4 K/9

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t expect anything dramatic. No policy changes have been implemented

9:51
Comment From Big Rob
Is there a post anywhere explaining how to gauge a pitchers change-up and how effective it is? I’ve heard it’s velo and movement based correct?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Well, that’s two-thirds of what pitching is: velocity, movement, and location. The reality of things is that this is really hard to evaluate with any kinds of general rules. Most pitchers want to keep their changeups down, so, you look for that. Most pitchers want to throw their changeups with the same motions as their fastballs, so, you look for that. The best and simplest thing to do might be to just look at both pitcher success and changeup rate. If a good pitcher throws a lot of changeups, it’s probably a good changeup

9:54
Comment From mtsw
What percentage (approximately) of left-handed batters advantage in not grounding into double plays is attributable to being slightly closer to first base versus more pulled grounders rolling into the outfield as the first baseman has to play closer to the bag with a runner on?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I have to imagine it’s almost all about the second one. The first one is so, so small a thing. But, double plays come on grounders. The overwhelming majority of grounders are pulled. Righties pull grounders to shortstops. Lefties pull grounders toward a hole in the infield

9:55
Comment From _David_
What is the margin of error in projecting teenage prospects on raw skills, i.e, what are the odds Alex Jackson turns into Bryce Harper?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Bryce Harper has had 80 power since he was in high school. There’s no missing that, and there’s no suddenly developing that

9:56
Comment From Ben
Which orgs you think are particularly good/bad at player development?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals have long been the gold standard

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: My assumption now is that Arizona is going to suck. I imagine they’re going to suck at a lot of things

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve heard concerns about how Milwaukee tries to develop hitters. Ditto the Marlins and pitchers.

9:57
Comment From adam
Higher WAR: Soler, Grandal, d’Arnaud, Polanco, or Pederson

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Grandal with framing, Soler without

9:58
Comment From Robert2TheMax
I am looking for a Canadian team to bandwagon in the NHL playoffs. Which one should it be. I do not follow hockey.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: It looks like only Vancouver and Montreal will make it 🙁

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: although Ottawa has lost just five of its last 22 games!

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: their new out-of-nowhere goalie is nicknamed the Hamburglar!

10:00
Comment From Total Clown
Welcome back, Jeff! If you were somehow put in charge of designing a new stadium, what would it look like? Would you include any distinctive features? Would you go with a symmetrical dimensions? Deeper/shallower fences?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’d want the park to be mostly neutral, maybe slightly pitcher-friendly. I wouldn’t want symmetrical dimensions — I want it to have a signature look. I haven’t actually tried designing stadiums in years, but I’d want the ballpark itself to blend into a neighborhood, with a ton of public transit and very limited parking. I’d want it to have a view, and a very open feeling

10:02
Comment From _David_
Anything real to draw from the Taijuan Walker spring training hype?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: He’s throwing a little bit harder and he’s developing his changeup

10:02
Comment From tmgmt
Hi Jeff! Glad your trip went well, as opposed to the opposite of that. What’s a good hike for someone who just moved to the PNW/Cascadia? What about Seattle specifically (if you can)?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: When you have opportunities, spend what time you can around Rainier or in the North Cascades. I know those aren’t exactly simple “day hikes” and maybe it isn’t the season quite yet, but those are fantastic, wonderful places. Love the place you live

10:03
Comment From Baseball
Hey Jeff so BP is doing a red sox, Cubs and Yankees BP blog any thought of doing the same thing here at fangraphs?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what you mean. Like, a blog, where they just focus on the Red Sox, Cubs, and Yankees?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: No, we’re not going to do that. There are a lot of baseball teams

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Although plenty of readers think FanGraphs is already a Red Sox and Cubs blog, so there’s that

10:06
Comment From Marc
An ambidextrous pitcher with Kershaw’s left hand and Kluber’s right would be worth x WAR this year? (assume 200 IP)

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Probably about 10. Kershaw was already pretty amazing across the board

10:07
Comment From Seb
Why does every sentence that starts “Spring training stats don’t mean anything” then end with using spring training stats to prove something?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Spring stats are never used to prove anything. At least, they shouldn’t be. They just give us writers opportunities to talk about players who have drawn positive or negative attention. They’re excuses, basically. Like, spring doesn’t tell us anything about Billy Burns, but because Billy Burns has had a good spring, let’s talk about Billy Burns, while he’s topical

10:08
Comment From THE Average Sports Fan
No matter how often I see how good the Nationals are, I can’t trust them. How do they find a way to miss the playoffs this year?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: If it’s going to be anything, it’s going to be injuries. They’ve already started. Their position-player depth is not strong.

10:08
Comment From Ted
How many ball caps do you own?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Come to think of it, zero. I don’t like wearing hats

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Ask me again when I’m bald. Although I’ll probably want my head then to be tan as shit, for cosmetic purposes

10:09
Comment From GSon
Danny Salazar seemed to get off on the wrong foot with Terry Francona from the outset of Spring Training.. Do the Indians keep him, trade him, or give him many many more chances?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Too good an arm to ignore. Based on the Carrasco example, they know what it is for a pitcher to take years to mature. Salazar has a lot of work to do. The Indians will let him try to do it within the organization

10:10
Comment From Chris
While you were away there were some small rumblings from Rainer. The excitement of an impending pyroclastic flow got my juices flowing – only to learn that these rumblings are normal. I feel for those around the base of the mountain but I was excited nonetheless – for a brief sickening moment.

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Every active or dormant volcano has baseline activity. Rainier is constantly rumbling somewhere. Ditto St. Helens, Hood, etc. We’re also monitoring everything basically closer than ever, so we’re seeing data we didn’t know about 10 or 20 or 30 years back. I can tell you this: I wouldn’t want to own property in a valley on Rainier’s flanks. But I also don’t think we’re dealing with impending doom

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: The mountain, though, is growing increasingly weak and unstable! It’s rotting from the inside. That is bad.

10:12
Comment From Ryan
Why so down on Bradley?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Last year he sucked, and he’s never thrown strikes

10:12
Comment From Do the projection systems you know of take into consideration any of these things: change of ballpark, change in lineup, previous years stats influenced by playing injured? Thanks
Who do you like more in 2015: TJ House or Zach McAllister? Is the latter’s velocity up-tick make him a top 50 pitcher maybe?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Recency bias has me choose McAllister, but that’s without knowing how he’s actually thrown this spring based on PITCHf/x

10:13
Comment From Chris
My apologies for proposing the Kris Bryant fantasy-related question. I had forgotten our solemn pact to not discuss the fantasy game. In a vacuum though – would you consider it wise for a team (any team) to “go-wide’ with high ceiling prospects in favor of the hyped-up big bat?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I always want prospect quality over prospect quantity, but if you’re comparing one high-level prospect and three similarly high-level prospects, I’ll always take the latter. And in the Bryant case specifically that you proposed, I might rather have Russell just by himself anyway

10:14
Comment From Ryan
Curious as to what a non dbacks fan thinks of the kevin towers tenure in arizona

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Incredibly, things got worse

10:15
Comment From Kirk
If you pitched against Miguel Cabrera for 100 PAs, how many times would you get him out given a defense with +10 defenders at each position.

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: So, me against Cabrera with the best defense ever?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: He’d never strike out. He’d very rarely hit a groundball. He’d walk a bunch. I might get him out 10 times?

10:17
Comment From Chris
Am I crazy to believe that we (the M’s) should be promoting DJ Peterson in May and be-ridding ourselves of the “LoMo”? DJ seems more than adequate at 1B and has the right look of a middle-of-the order masher. I’m NOT a believer in Nelson Cruz and I desperately feel we need this bat in the lineup NOW. Alex Jackson can continue to season in the minors.

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Peterson was a slightly above-average hitter last year in Double-A. Morrison was a slightly above-average hitter last year in the majors

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t love Morrison either, and maybe Peterson will be the long-term answer, but he doesn’t profile to be better in 2015. Kivlehan is interesting. Montero is a wee bit interesting himself

10:18
Comment From Shawn
Best thing you ate on your trip?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: giant meat platter from http://www.tripadvisor.com/… post-Fitz Roy hike

10:19
Comment From Chris
Do the Germans have a moral obligation to release Nazi medical research?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: You know I’ve always been fascinated by this. I even own a book titled Nazi Doctors because I’ve wondered if any good came out of all of the horrible and unforgivable. I still don’t know the answer. The book is challenging to work through.

10:20
Comment From Maxamuz
Judge ruled he can’t be suspended for his relapse. Commish doesn’t like it, but will go by what the Judge said. ‘Merica.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Seems reasonable

10:20
Comment From _David_
Are we past the tipping point in the acceptance of sabermetrics where people working in the game are willing to be open minded and think about changing simply because everyone else is doing it, even if it goes against their 30 year ingrained philosophy?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Mostly yes, unless you’re the Diamondbacks

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Every organization has contemporary thinkers in it. The business is too important for teams to willingly ignore information that could make them more successful. Of course, there are elements of stubbornness and so-called tradition, but every year, it seems baseball gets smarter

10:22
Comment From Kirk
Baseball would be much more interesting if each team could tackle any player, batter or fielder, twice a game. Discuss.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Concussions 🙁

10:23
Comment From Matt
How many stolen bases could Christian Vasquez have to allow to negate his framing? I imagine he could will try to throw guys out

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say Vazquez is a…+25 framer, over a full season

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: The run value of a stolen base is about 0.2. So you’d be talking about 125 successful steals

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: But Vazquez would pretty much never throw anyone out. Everybody would go. He’d also have trouble returning the ball to the mound. It would be bad.

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: It would be like those Padres from a few years ago

10:25
Comment From JoeO
Is there a Jake DeGrom or Matt Shoemaker in 2015?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Probably

10:25
Comment From Prich
Are you comfortable with the Ms rotation; as far as playoff contending rotations go?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:25
Comment From Kirk
Who do you have winning the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly don’t know who’s in it. I don’t follow basketball even when I *am* in the country

10:25
Comment From Northsider
Have you been to Denali?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Not yet! Intend to. Lots in Alaska to explore.

10:26
Comment From Rube
Non-zero chance that Ryan Howard is an all-star this year? 1) Phillies and 2) Dingers. I say 10% chance

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think even lower. He won’t get voted in.

10:26
Comment From Shawn
Does Billy Hamilton have a better year this year, or more of the same this year (low-OBP, high CS)?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll be better at hitting and running. I think his defensive numbers will come down some

10:27
Comment From mtsw
While they hired the right GM and have an appealing on-the-field product, does their destruction/botching of Wrigley and last year’s grounds crew fiasco mean the Cubs owners are actually evil morons?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:28
Comment From _David_
If Michael Saunders has a 6 WAR year and the Mariners just miss the playoffs, will you be more happy or frustrated (solely by the Saunders outcome)?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: What Saunders actually does doesn’t change anything about my opinion of the trade. It’s not like it would be reasonable to think the Mariners traded a 6-win player. They traded a 2-win player, or *maybe* a 3-win player.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: But, emotionally and irrationally, I’d have a few hours of extra bitterness

10:29
Comment From Optimetstic
With Juan Lagares leading off every day and playing stellar defense, I think he can be Mike Trout minus the home runs and RBI.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: And with much better defense

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Basically not Mike Trout at all!

10:30
Comment From dave
im sure you have answered this in the past but where is your best guess for a Cole Hamels landing spot when he is finally dealt?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t remember what I guessed, but I could see him ending up in San Diego if a starter gets hurt

10:31
Comment From Christian
Is there any evidence that Zunino took a step forward offensively or is he just feasting on spring fastballs like Dave suggested?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be a better hitter this year, but this is just a noisy spring. He’s still pulling almost everything

10:33
Comment From ILovePedro
I have a question about the spread of talent among pitchers vs hitters. League average wOBA must be equal to league average wOBA Against (for a pitcher), but what about the median? Is pitching hindered greatly by replacement level players? Or are the bell curves for pitchers and hitters equally skewed one way or another?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: This is just a quick guess, but I think you’d find a broader distribution among hitters, because there are different ways for a position player to make himself sufficiently valuable to be in the bigs. If you’re a pitcher, though, you have to be able to pitch. You can’t rely on your defense or your baserunning

10:34
Comment From EroticWaffles
What happened to new writer Larry Hayes? I was really looking forward to reading his stuff, but I haven’t seen anything yet.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Dave would give you a better answer, but I think he’s mostly going to be a THT guy?

10:35
Comment From Eric Weinstein
If a player hits 50 home runs this year who will it be?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Abreu?

10:35
Comment From by
What is with the crazy love for all Red Sox’ prospects? This year Betts needs to be Ted Williams to live up to the hype. Last year it was Bogaerts and next year it will be Swihart…where does the crazy hype come from?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Player talent

10:35
Comment From Hold The Pickles
I totally boinked up my pitching staff in my draft. I just grabbed Archie Bradley. But now have to wade through the refuse. Please rank DeSclafani, Adaam Warren, Zach McAllister and Kendall Gravemann. Much obliged.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I just wrote about McAllister the other day

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: That is the extent of the help I will provide

10:36
Comment From John Lackey Thereof
I think I can make the Cardnial rotation as good as any other team’s. My first full season ever in the NL. Me, Wainwright, Wacha, Lynn, and Martinez, boom! Agree?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: So, so many question marks

10:36
Comment From Julio Pepper
Is it hard for Colorado to acquire/trade for pitchers? Players care about their stats and nobody wants to pitch there, right?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely, it’s hard for Colorado to convince free agents to sign there. On the plus side, free-agent pitchers are usually bad investments! So that’s not awful. But it’s a definite problem.

10:37
Comment From dom
billy hamilton hit .296 on grounders because it was Hamilton swinging the bat. if Mauer with Hamilton speed cant hit .400 we are absolutely never going to see it again

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: And we won’t see it again, until/unless there are rule changes

10:38
Comment From dom
Better shot at hall of fame: Carlos Beltran or Kris Bryant?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Beltran

10:38
Comment From dom
I can only think of Andrus off the top of my head, but is it fair to assume that if Boras lets/advises his clients to sign an extension prior to free agency it will be a bad one for the team?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Jered Weaver?

10:39
Comment From El Guapo
What on-field quirk/feature would you put in a ballpark if given the opportunity? I’m picturing an outfield full of gentle moguls that could cause some funny ball and fielder routes.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe short fences that make it extra easy to rob home runs

10:39
Comment From Jon
Will David Ortiz’ inevitable fall ever come? Do you see any signs of it this or year or is it more of a situation where he will be good until injuries overtake him?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Eventually he will be dead, like you and me and all of our neighbors. At that point Ortiz would be a pretty terrible baseball player.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t see signs of imminent decline.

10:41
Comment From Mo
Is Bucholtz going to pitch like the ace of a staff this season or continue to struggle??

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: If only there were a third, far more reasonable option

10:41
Comment From dom
the pace of play rules are the best thing the league has done recently. there’s no reason for these batters to go for a walk in between pitches if they don’t swing. stay in the damn box. Bernie Williams used to walk in circles between pitches it was excruciating

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: They’re still probably going to take their time. They’ll just take it, now, while keeping a foot in the box. The rule changes probably aren’t going to accomplish very much. More generally, it’s just nice to see the game proactive about something like this

10:42
Comment From Guest
Just curious, does FG have an official vacation policy?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: There is something in the contract, but the way it actually works, someone just asks for approval, and Appelman says “sure!” unless the timing is stupid

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: David Appelman is a boss who appreciates the necessity of travel. That’s a good boss to have

10:43
Comment From Cletus Kasady
Do you ever ask questions in any of the other fangraphs chats?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: During the other chats, I’m writing

10:43
Comment From mtsw
Does being traded lower a prospect’s eventual ability because of the discontinuity in development of being moved between organizations or because guys who get traded usually have something wrong with them to begin with?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Both! But more of the latter. Teams won’t trade guys they’re certain will be successes.

10:44
Comment From Vslyke
Any chance FG adds framing data to fWAR soon? I understand its a big undertaking but it would be a great addition.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Always being thought about, but it’s so, so hard. It’s probably easier to just take what we have now and then add in framing stuff on a case-by-case basis

10:44
Comment From mtsw
I do not follow hockey. I received a free luxury box ticket to a Devils game last week, so decided to go. Gary Bettman was in the next booth and I said hi to him but because I don’t follow hockey I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say (also he seemed like kind of a dick). What should I have said to him in case I get offered these tickets again and potentially get another shot at it?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: It doesn’t matter what you’d say. He’d forget about it almost instantly, as we do with the majority of our interactions. Do you know how many people Gary Bettman probably talks to in a given day? In a given hour? The only thing you could say that would leave an impression would be some sort of physical threat on his life, and then you’d go to jail.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re not in position to have an actual conversation, just be nice.

10:46
Comment From neal
it seems weird to me there are concerns about how the marlins develop pitchers, given just how many big leaguers they’ve produced over the years

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I think the idea is that they graduate a lot of pitchers, but they don’t help them polish. They just let them throw. Fernandez has worked, but Fernandez is as easy as it gets from a developing standpoint

10:46
Comment From Jon
What do you make of reports that McAllister is throwing several MPH faster in spring training, like he was during his time as a reliever? Velocity will come down again as a SP or a great leap forward?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Really interesting and promising

10:47
Comment From Guest
What’s the scuttlebut on how the Brewers try to develop hitters?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: One swing, across the board. You should talk to Dan Farnsworth

10:47
Comment From rob
for an apprehensive/scared mariners fan, why isn’t this 2010 again?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Robinson Cano

10:47
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Sounds like your dream park is pretty similar to PNC, minus the mass transit to the north. I feel lucky to be a season ticket holder when I get to go there all summer.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I think PNC is everyone’s dream park

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty big on the transit thing, though. Parking lots and traffic are horrible. They can cripple an experience. And if customers pay less for parking, they can spend more inside the stadium!

10:48
Comment From Sal
Jeff have you ever been to Iceland? Absolutely gorgeous place I feel like it would be right in your wheelhouse to explore.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Going to happen within the next few years. Yellowstone and maybe Bhutan first

10:49
Comment From Mike
Seems like the greatest danger is those volcanos that we presume are extinct and then go bananas. Like Tambora. And then there is the Long Valley caldera. The Fall 2014 earthquake swarm freaked near Mammoth Lakes a lot of people out.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Surprise! We never know when volcanoes are actually dead!

10:49
Comment From Spicy Felix!
Thanks for leaving LL and coming here. Miss the daily recaps but these chats are awesome. Mt rainier will erupt in our lifetime? Will the tacoma rainiers need to Change their team name to the Hoods?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how old you are, but, yeah, I think it’ll do something.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: pertinent: http://www.lookoutlanding.c…

10:51
Comment From Hold The Pickles
Thanks for ignoring my question and answering really important and informative queries like, how many fucking hats do you own.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: thank you for justifying my decision!

10:52
Comment From Statistically Confused
So is your queue really really short or something today? Vacation time questions seem pretty off topic! On a serious note, what can we expect from Jose Fernandez if/when he comes back in June or July?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: No, the queue’s normal. But I chat for twice as long as I’m supposed to, which gives me greater flexibility to do whatever I want. Plus, I was gone for two weeks, so I’ve missed a lot anyway

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Fernandez will be pretty good in the second half, and then great in 2016

10:53
Comment From Seff Jullivan
Are you as much of a cocky, smug, self-important blowhard in person as you appear to be online?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t talk very much

10:54
Comment From almighty Q
For the first time in years, Detroit isn’t the prohibitive favorite in the Central – from a fan standpoint, would you rather your teams be the underdog, or have the expectations to win?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if I’d be comfortable with the expectation to win, but then I’m also not accustomed to that experience. I like the idea of projecting for second place

10:54
Comment From Art Vandelay
So much animosity in this chat. Is the queue like this every time?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Dave’s is probably a million times worse

10:55
Comment From Mike T
I know spring isn;t everything, but I am impressed with how they played so far. Is this the beginning of something positive for Mets fans?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets are going to have a pretty strong five years. I don’t think you can say they’ve “turned a corner” but they’ve surpassed the threshold of relevance

10:55
Comment From Todd L
Do you know of any research on how often Spring Training stats good or bad can signal a player’s regression or advancement? Or are ST stats too anomalous to be useful at all?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: They are a little useful. There was recently a presentation about this…at…Sloan? The numbers don’t mean *nothing* — good players tend to be good, and bad players tend to be bad. But there are obviously so many misleading data points that it’s generally safe to just keep your projections intact

10:56
Comment From JS
More likely: St. Louis wins less than 85 games or Detroit wins less than 81 games?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: St Louis

10:57
Comment From Adam
How much of a step forward do you view cFIP as?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Marginal

10:57
Comment From Christian
Assuming everyone stays healthyish, how do you think the Mariners plan to limit innings for Paxton and Walker? Just skipping starts when possible or will we see Elias come up and them sent down like around the All Star break?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Elias will get mixed in. Maybe another guy or two also. They’re going to be cautious — McClendon demonstrated last year how highly he values rest

10:58
Comment From John
Trouble predicting the NL central? Have you looked at the projected team WAR chart you posted yesterday? The Cardinals are projected as the third best team in baseball with a 4.5 win margin over the 4th best team. So what is your rationale?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I like the Cubs and Pirates too and the Cardinals have age/health questions

10:59
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Pirates you mean RE; ridiculous SB against no? Barajas and Co in 2012.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, the Pirates were also miserable about stolen bases. Funny, in retrospect, how bad their catchers were for so long

10:59
Comment From Gigi
Dave said recently that health is the next frontier in SABR research. Is it possible that some team has already figured something out about health internally, and has thus been better at avoiding long term injuries than other teams? I’m thinking of the Royals, who have had very few players on the shelf the last two years.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: There’s been some evidence that the White Sox are good about keeping their pitchers healthy. It’s been attributed to Don Cooper and the trainer staff

11:00
Comment From Todd L
Here’s a link to the Sloan conference about Spring Training stats that you referred to. Thanks for answering my question. https://www.youtube.com/wat…

11:00
Comment From almighty Q
Justin Verlander – how concerning is the tricep ‘cramp’? Or is this just the continuation of his decline into #4 starter-dom?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s as minor as they do

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Okay you guys, I need to get rolling!

11:01
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. Next week is baseball week!

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/3/15 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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12-team 5×5 mixed league with only 23 spots. Is Archie Bradley worth rostering as SP7?