Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/8/16

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s baseball chat

9:10
Ryan: Just as high RBI and save totals are a product of opportunity, is it fair to say that great defensive metrics have a lot to do with difficult play opportunity?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: It’s difficult to say the extent, but, yeah. Opportunity is definitely a factor. As one example, take a guy who robs four or five home runs in a season. Is that something he’s particularly good at, or did he just get lucky to have the chances? That can swing several runs

9:10
Art Vandelay: *looks at search bar* Glad I’m not the only one who had no idea who Ross Stripling was before today.

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: The one Dodgers depth candidate literally everyone ignored when listing them off in March

9:11
Joe: I know, intellectually, that Joey Rickard isn’t going to win ROY. But couldn’t we also say that he’s definitely going to ROY?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: It works to his benefit that he’s on the roster from Day 1. But he’s going to have to, I don’t know, steal an awful lot of bases or something in order to stand out. And he might yet lose a few hundred plate appearances to Kim if he starts showing anything

9:13
mtsw: They’ll score a run eventually, but will the Padres end the year with the worst park-adjusted offense in MLB?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: The Phillies are pretty damn bad.

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: The thing that gives the Padres a shot: the Phillies aren’t moving Franco, and the Braves aren’t moving Freeman. The Padres might move Norris and Kemp.

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: So the Padres’ offense down the stretch could be terrrrrrrrrrrrrible

9:14
TF Fredrik: With Strasburg’s slider, it has to be a confidence or comfort issue on why he was throwing it/has tinkered with it before but scrapped it, and now this year he finally feels good about grip, command, movement on it, right? This is the kind of unknowable info regular fans like us wish we had more insight on. From a selfish pitcher dork perspective, feel like this is right in wheel house for the beaters to be reporting on. Or maybe they do but Stras wanted to keep it a secret.

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: It was kind of funny that Strasburg denied doing anything. Maybe he just misunderstood the question, I don’t know, but there’s no arguing with the information we have these days. He was very obviously throwing a pitch he hasn’t thrown a lot before

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Now, he might still scrap it again. He’s done it twice before, and that’s why we need to check to see if this becomes a pattern. If it does, I expect that someone will be on the case. Maybe Adam Kilgore. They’ll talk about it once it’s clear it’s going to be a real thing. I think it’s going to be.

9:16
Josh: What type of upside do you see for Eugenio Suarez this year? 20 HR a possibility?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I think he only gets to 20 if he gets lucky with some wall-scrapers. I like him fine as something like an average player, but he’s not particularly powerful

9:17
Fan9: When will the Padres score a run?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: They’re in Colorado this afternoon, so I’ll predict three runs in the first inning

9:17
Guest: if kris bryant and carlos correa were hypothetically on the same team, thats enough for a mike trout trade, right?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: That’s too much for a Mike Trout trade

9:18
Guest: the vegas over/under on the dbacks win total didn’t budge after the pollock news. dont you find that strange?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: If true, that’s weird. I haven’t been checking but losing Pollock for even as few as, say, four months should cost them at least 2-3 wins

9:19
Dustin: Nate Eovaldi’s slider averaged 90.3 yesterday, up from the mid 80’s in years past. Classification issue, or a change to his arsenal?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Let me do a quick check…

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Yep, looks like Eovaldi has basically shelved the slower slider for something more like a cutter

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Similar to the Strasburg thing, except that Strasburg didn’t throw a slider much last year. Eovaldi wants a pitch he can bust inside to lefties

9:23
Phillies: Will we finish with more than 70 wins?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: no

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Unless you’re counting spring training?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Then you’d just need 56 in the regular season. Manageable

9:23
Guest: are the astros the safest bet for the playoffs the AL has to offer?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I believe so

9:25
jtt: Why isn’t Eovaldi better?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: People get blinded by the fastball velocity and ignore that the spin isn’t special. It’s hard, but it’s still hittable, somewhere in between a four-seam and a two-seam in a way. So it’s a pitch you can put in play, and it’s a pitch you can also count on seeing before the splitter comes out with two strikes

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I still like Eovaldi fine but the velocity makes people think he should be a Cy Young candidate

9:27
Bork: Is the next start basically make or break for the Aaron Sanchez hype train?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: No? Even if it’s bad, he was so good the first time around people can ignore it. Sanchez deserves the half-season

9:27
Guest: pick to win the stanley cup?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: not Ottawa

9:27
dgrussel: Joey Rickard got a curtain call last night. I blame you, Jeff for this ridiculousness.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t start this. I wrote about him when he was already on the rise. And I sure as shit didn’t call him hitting a home run

9:28
mtsw: Rockies home opener today. Haven’t seen much discussion of changes to the fences in Coors Field. Some of the fences are growing 8 feet higher. Presumably this will lead to fewer HR and more extra base hits. Will that help or hurt the Rockies given how their roster is constructed?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: It’s barely going to make a difference

9:29
Matt: Obviously Story won’t hit 200+ HRs, but is that power for real? Was he thought of as a power guy?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: He’s been thought of as a guy with power, not as a power guy. He needs that power given how often he puts the ball in the air. I’ll be real interested to see where he tops out in terms of batted-ball speed — so far he’s peaked at 112, in spring training. With how high he hits the ball, anything at 100+ gives him a shot to go over the fence

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: If Story has improved his strength/bat speed by, say, 5%, that’s huge. Then he’d hit 30 homers every season

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be a lower-BABIP guy (adjusted for Coors), but he’ll hit his dingers

9:33
Josh: Better chance to reach 30 HR this year: Randal Grichuk, Byung Ho Park, or Jonathan Schoop?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say Grichuk by a hair over Park

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t doubt Park’s power but I doubt Grichuk’s power even less

9:34
Guest: how much investing to you do? does fangraphs have a 401k for you guys or do you set up your own IRA? do you just pad savings with spare money? i ask because i find you intelligent and respect your opinion on life decisions

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Going to do more investing but I’ve had a Roth IRA for a while. FG doesn’t have a 401k. Vox Media didn’t either when I worked there but they did provide stock options. Dave is much more financially responsible. One day I’ll be better about listening to him

9:36
Vasil v : I’m trying to decide between zack cosart and Chris couglan for my middle infield. Who do you see having a better year. on base, ops league.

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t believe I’m actually answering a fantasy question but Coghlan

9:36
Brian: does alex wood last the year in the Dodger’s rotation?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: The fact that he was on the outside looking in in early spring training doesn’t bode well. At some point they’re going to have a lot of healthy pitchers. But I figure he’ll make 20+ starts. On just about any other team, he’d be a lock

9:39
Astros Fan: Should Astros fans be worried about Giles? He got shelled all spring and hes looked really bad now in 2 real games. Slider velocity is down as well.

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not worried yet. Conditions haven’t been very good in New York in the early going and the Teixeira home run was a joke

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Give him a month and re-evaluate

9:41
Erik: What’s the point of Charlie Morton? Isn’t the best case scenario that he does well enough to be flipped for a low-level lottery ticket who isn’t likely to be better than a fifth starter? But given that the Phillies already gave up a prospect like that to get him, and that he’s blocking a player of that level at AAA from getting a shot, how could the Phillies possibly come out ahead?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: The Phillies need people to pitch. Their pitching is terrible. You might’ve noticed Jeremy Hellickson starting on opening day. Good pitchers will develop in time, but pitchers need to be available to take the mound now, and the best-case scenario is that Morton does well enough to move in July. Then the Phillies can get a prospect or two, after having gotten three or four months of half-decent pitching. Maybe it doesn’t work, but they’re unlikely to miss David Whitehead

9:42
Guest: Do you enjoy Las Vegas?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: but I enjoy Red Rocks

9:43
JCNY: ROS: Story or Russell?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Russell by a little, because of his defense

9:44
Kvn: They’re chanting Joey Rickard’s name during almost every PA in Baltimore. If he keeps hitting he might reach messianic levels of hometown support.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: All those dinger-hitters in the order and the crowd goes crazy for the slap-hitting Rule 5er. It’s so sports

9:45
Burts_beads: Do you think we’re at a point where sabermetrics is popular/well-known enough that many players are starting to take metrics into account and adjusting their approach based on them?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Some of them. Some of them directly, and some of them through coaches/advisors. One real benefit is that right now players can get direct and immediate feedback. Like, a pitcher can throw a start and then quickly go check out his PITCHf/x afterward. Couldn’t do that before. So it helps. Many players still prefer to go about their business without cluttering their minds, but for those who are inquisitive and adaptable, the information is out there

9:47
Gary Gorr: Welcome to Canada. How did you enjoy Pitch Talks

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I’m…not…part of that?

9:47
Guest: I know you live in Portland but do you know Seattle well enough to give me suggestions of things for my wife and i to do on a trip there? The stuff listed on TripAdvisor seems…. underwhelming

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I just want to tell you to get out of the city and visit Mt Rainier. Go to Mt Rainier!

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: The honest answer is no, I don’t know Seattle well enough. But you should definitely consider a ballgame. Safeco is wonderful. Also, Mt Rainier

9:48
Zorak: The most fascinating part of the 2016 season will be the great Socrates vs Adonis vs Arquimedes debate.

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: #ImWithSocrates

9:48
Gary Gorr: Opps, wrong guy

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: we’re all friends here

9:50
Hipster Mecca: If you’re facing Taijuan Walker, do you just sit on the fastball and wait for it to inevitably creep into the center of the zone? The man definitely needs another pitch, no?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I’d go out hunting a fastball in the upper half. I’d basically eliminate the curve and split-change until there were two strikes

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Walker started messing around with a slider in spring training to replace his cutter, and that could turn into a pitch to watch, but I wouldn’t yet be afraid of it. Too inexperienced

9:51
Sean: SSS, but one of the current leaders (three) in DRS? Chris Owings in CF. And by the eyeball test, he’s actually looked pretty good out there. Who knew!?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Decent shortstops can play anywhere, turns out

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Hanley Ramirez can’t, but Hanley Ramirez wasn’t a decent shortstop

9:53
TF Fredrik: There are sooo many stats to look at and evaluations to read on players. I have been trying to think of a shorter general checklist to go thru for major leaguers to think about where they are at any given moment. For a basis to look at, what do you think of for hitters (in no particular order): Production (hitting, baserunning, defense), Projection, Health, & Pedigree. For pitchers: Stuff, Stats, Health, Projection, Pedigree?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I think you look at results, then you look at projections, then you look at *recent* results to see if there might be any reason to think the projection could be off. Health is always a factor but it’s hard to pin down given the amount of randomness. I worry less and less about pedigree as a player gains experience in the majors

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: The real problem with general checklists is that each player is an individual. Each player is also constantly trying to tweak his own game, and each player has his own strengths and weaknesses. It’s why I do so many deep dives into individuals — there’s so much to study for every single guy.

9:55
Doc: Could the Jays finish with a top 5 rotation? Or is that too optimistic?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: They *could*, but, yes, too optimistic to think it’s probable

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Even if Sanchez turns out really good, he’s not lasting the year in the rotation because of his innings

9:55
Cecil Fielder: when will player pages be updated with current season data?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: It’s in there. It’s just underneath the projections part

9:56
Guest: Given his contract, what would Greinkes trade value be?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Very low. Arizona outbid the competition

9:57
Matt: Are we all just living in Joey Rickard’s world?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: From Joey Rickard’s perspective, yes

9:57
Ronnie: New Stat Suggestion. wOBAdif, which would essentially be the difference in a hitter’s wOBA against opposite versus same handed pitchers. Seems like it’d be easy to compute and would give a good quick/dirty proxy to measure consistency of production against different handed pitchers. Same could also be done for pitchers but for wOBA allowed instead.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: We probably should make it easier to see a player’s platoon splits. I mean, it’s simple enough to click on the splits page, but it feels like a thing that would be trivial to include on the main player pages

9:58
Jaack: Which is more likely to exist in reality: the Cubs’ curse or Tim Lincecum’s showcase?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Lincecum’s showcase! But not because I believe in it. More because I don’t not believe in it

9:59
Erik: Dave Cameron suggested in the podcast today that MLB might “do something” about the rapid increase in pitcher velocity. How likely do think that will be, and what changes would be most likely?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing’s going to happen soon, or quickly. They’ll need a ton of evidence showing that hitters are screwed. And since strikeouts just plateaued, with runs going up, right now Manfred doesn’t need to act. But in a hypothetical world where pitchers have more and more of an advantage, you could see the league further lower the mound. A more radical move would be pushing the mound back a foot or three, but I can’t see that happening

10:02
TKDC: Is the Pirates 3-game sweep the biggest of all the not that important starts to the season?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Yep, Pirates playoff odds increased from 28% to 36%. Cardinals, meanwhile, dropped from 45% to 35%

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll probably do my annual post on this stuff early next Monday. The games matter! Already!

10:02
Cyril B-B: How long would the Padres have to remain scoreless before someone gets fired? A week? Longer?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: It’s funny, Matthew Kory and I were just talking about this at a bar Wednesday night

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: A couple more games and you get a players-only meeting. Another week and you lose a hitting coach. Another week and a half or two weeks and you might lose a manager. Beyond that you lose the general manager

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not not rooting for it

10:04
Ed: Joey Rickard slash over a full season?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Worse than you’re hoping for. Let’s all just bask in the current glory

10:07
el crapo: have we had a recorded 95mph slider before Syndergaard?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: What makes it tricky is that there’s a blurry line between sliders and cutters. So while Syndergaard was throwing a slider, and it surprised him, a slider is thrown with almost identical cutter action, and then you can think about, well, Kenley Jansen?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: So the answer is more gray than black and white. What’s immediately obvious is that Syndergaard’s repertoire is unfair and overwhelming. So maybe that’s enough. 98 mile per hour run, 95 mile per hour cut? *And* a changeup and a curveball?

10:12
Guest: if there is a lazy fly ball hit to right center, and the RFer and CFer could both easily catch it, but someone calls it first… that routine catch helps the guy who caught it (in terms of UZR), correct? even if its one of those plays listed as 99%?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like Lesson #6 applies here?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately I’m not enough of an authority to know the best answer to give.

10:16
Cecil Fielder: im so sick of joey rickard already. orioles fans year in year out find a way to annoy me.

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Lots of Joey Rickard in this chat

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Sounds to me like the problem is on your end?

10:17
Charlie: Attribute Astros’ pitching woes to NY weather, NYY lineup, or their own problems?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Bad weather, three games

10:18
Art Vandelay: What’s your favorite food?

10:20
Chris: Where would it be possible to find old Baseruns data (2002-2014)? I’m looking for the data for the purposes of a school project.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Give me a minute to upload a spreadsheet

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: uhhhh I take it back

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry, that was annoying, but I guess it’s on another computer. But! Shoot an email to the FG contact form and someone will get you the information. I know Dave has the sheet

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: OK back to chatting now

10:23
PS: How concerned are you with Madison Bumgarner?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Not concerned yet because he was literally sick. When I’m sick I don’t bother to get out from under the covers so I can’t imagine what it must be like to try to pitch a major-league baseball game

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Give Bumgarner another two starts, and then see what he’s up to

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Odds are, he’s totally fine

10:25
el crapo: too early to worry about jays elevated K%?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Lots of teams strike out against Archer, Smyly, Odorizzi, and Moore

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: The Rays have strikeout pitchers. The Jays just faced four of them, fresh

10:26
mtsw: Are you a caffeine drinker?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: 1 black coffee every morning. Whenever I have a second coffee I turn into a weird anxious wreck

10:27
Nelson: I read that Dave is under a lot of pressure to resign because of the Panama Papers. Would you step in to lead this website when he steps down?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: We’re all pretty furious with how much he’s been getting paid

10:27
Quentin: Braves are 0-2 but actually looked decent against Scherzer & Strasburg. Fair to say they’ll be better than advertised?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: No, they suck, but they’ll hit for contact

10:27
Christon Cole: Should Yankee fans be worried about Michael Pineda and Nate Eovaldi’s tough starts?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: No more than you were a week ago. Pineda has long thrown too-hittable strikes. Eovaldi has long been weirdly hittable too. Throw in a good lineup and bad weather and crazy numbers happen

10:28
mtsw: Tillman’s velo is up, Gallardo looks solid, if unremarkable, Ubaldo had no walks in his first start, and Gausman will be back from the DL in two weeks. Could the Orioles somehow wind up with a top half rotation if things break right?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: If no one else gets injured, ever, and Gausman comes back strong, you could see the Orioles between 10th and 20th. That’s the extent of my high praise

10:29
Guest: like or dislike certain teams other than the AL West?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: It’s always changing because apparently I’m a contrarian.

10:29
TKDC: Is having terrible offense more demoralizing than terrible pitching?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so. I think they’re both demoralizing. At least with terrible offense, the games end sooner. But if you’re a fan of a team with a bad offense, you *think* it’d be better to have bad pitching, but that’s only because you’re not used to bad pitching instead. You get used to it.

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I could see mayyyyyybe preferring bad pitching, because you get to feel like you’re “in” more games if you have a decent lineup. But sucking always sucks

10:30
mtsw: If Kemp gets moved, could he conceivably play 1B? Based on his numbers, any competitive team would be insane to play him in the outfield. Is he possibly just a DH going forward?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: He’s made to DH

10:31
J6takish: Why did the Braves pull the plug so quickly? They won 96 games in 2013, finished a little under 500 in 2014 with a decent roster, whyd they blow it all up after 1 bad year?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I think they didn’t like the type of team they were. Their rebuild in a way was proactive. And Heyward and Upton were coming up on free agency

10:34
Tom: Whose contract extension will provide the pirates more surplus value when the dust settles: Starling Marte’s or Gregory Polanco’s?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Marte, because he’s an actually good player

10:35
Doc: How many more runs do the Jays score than the padres this year?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll go with 200

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I could see 250 fairly easily

10:36
A Different Joe: Why don’t we have 28-man rosters at this point? It’s not as if it’s a money issue for baseball. Wouldn’t it be more fun if teams could have their 13-14 pitchers plus a few Matt Stairses and Jim Dwyers on the bench for special occasions?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how much baseball wants more specialization. I don’t know if it’s good for the game to move further away from regular all-around players. I do think we’re approaching the point of a “taxi squad,” of minor-league alternates you can swap in. So you’d have 28 or 30 available players, but only 25 active on a given day

10:37
Gary: Talk to me about Starlin Castro, Sullivan. Could he hit 20-25 home runs?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I could see him getting to 20 in that ballpark

10:37
Guest: Is it easier to find things to write about it the beginning, middle, or end of baseball season?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Beginning is easy. Everything feels fresh and it’s such a great feeling to have new information. August is hard. The trades are done and most of the trends are established and you’re not yet in the playoffs

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: August kind of blows all-around

10:39
Zorak: Think Panik can win a batting title?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Buster Posey is better

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: I like Panik’s game but I don’t think he’ll get to that level

10:40
Gary Guy Yeti: Do you ever feel like your job is a futile attempt at quantifying the absurd

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: If I ever step back and think too deeply about what it is that I do, it makes it incredibly difficult to then subsequently do what I do without rolling my eyes. It’s such a weird way to be invested

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if it’s *better* to be an expert on politics or economics or something. It feels like it would be better, compared to being an expert on baseball, which by its very nature makes experts look stupid.

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: The plus side is, hey, low stress and low stakes

10:42
kevinthecomic: Would Billy Hamilton’s OBP increase if he just attempted to bunt in every at bat?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: For a week or two, until teams started playing him to bunt in every at bat

10:42
Nelson: Who has more MLB at-bats left, A-Rod or Reyes?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: A-Rod

10:43
Hipster Mecca: Isn’t it incredibly wierd that the Nationals don’t have a scheduled game today, a Friday?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Now that you mention it, yes!

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: This is bizarre!

10:44
mtsw: The most Dan Duquette-y outcome for the Orioles will be them having to eat ~$20M after DFAing Trumbo, Alvarez and Kim but then having Joey Rickard generate 6 WAR and make up for it. This is inevitable, right?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Also they’ll get big innings from Zach Phillips or some shit

10:45
A Different Joe: Cano HR over/under: 20.5. What do you take?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Over

10:45
Jordan: fyi – Kilgore is no longer a Nats beat reporter, switched to columnist last year. WaPo beat reporters are James Wagner & Chelsea Janes

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: That’s what I get for not paying attention.

10:46
Aroldis: Who ends up with more career WAR, Betts or Tulo?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: As much as I love Betts, I’ll say Tulo. Six career seasons already of 5+ WAR. Betts came up just short a season ago

10:47
Erik: Is the appearance of pitch types as being discrete categories? Isn’t there pretty much a continuum from cutter-slider-slurve-curve, for example? So when Syndergaard throws a 95 mph “slider”, isn’t it equally accurate to call it a cutter with more drop than most?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, the general understanding of pitch types is too simplistic. For each individual pitcher, he does mostly have discrete types, but that doesn’t make one guy’s slider similar to another guy’s slider. Ultimately there are infinite ways to grip a baseball and throw it. There’s no magic point at which a cutter turns into a slider

10:50
kyle404: Has Anthony Rizzo changed his stance a bit at the plate this year? It looks like his front foot is closer to home plate and is more closed. Anthony has a history of making certain adjustments like this so I was just curious.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: His stance is definitely different, as you describe. He’s more closed in 2016. What I don’t see yet is evidence that his *swing* is more closed

10:51
JDogg: are you skeptical of Devon Travis for this year? Small sample size last year and just okay MiLB numbers

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: I like Travis as an underrated player

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: He’s almost impossible to notice in that lineup when he’s healthy but he’s strong across the board

10:52
Erik: Does being on a terrible team affect the development of young players? Should Phillies fans worry that guys like Nola and Franco won’t reach their peak due to how pathetic the team is this year?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Executives have expressed some amount of concern over establishing a “winning culture” or whatever, and you definitely would prefer a young player come up and join a successful clubhouse, but I don’t think there are careers at stake here. Young players are mostly concerned with getting themselves established, and you can do that independent of the rest of the roster

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: If it were a real problem, bad teams would really struggle to get turned around. Franco and Nola didn’t seem to have issues last season

10:55
Alex: What did you think of Alex Wood last night? He was pitching well until the 5th. His fastball velocity seemed to be up (92 average and 93.5 max). That seems encouraging even if his numbers weren’t great in the start.

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Velocity just about back to normal, arm slot just about back to normal. I know the start went off the rails, but I was encouraged. Looks like Wood is back

10:57
AFan: Does sportsmanship has a place in baseball? such as player not walking to 1B if incorrectly awarded HBP?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: A player would take that. At least, if the game is in any way close. Imagine explaining to your teammates that you didn’t take a free base because you didn’t think it would be right, even if the umpire told you to go

10:58
Joey: Is this finally the year of the Cardinals’ demise? That lineup just isn’t very daunting.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: They’re going to over-achieve your expectations, probably

10:58
Christian: Who finishes with the higher WAR for 2016: Felix or Cano?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Cano

10:59
Kevin: What stats do you like best for evaluating pitcher performance?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: The usuals. And then if I’m feeling inspired I’ll really dig into the PITCHf/x stuff, but I’m kind of a dork

10:59
Kim: For buy low guys, how much of a sample size does one need to say “looks like they bounced back” or “this is just how they are now”? For example, if Leonys Martin has a good April, is it safe to assume that 2015 was just unfortunate, or do you have to wait until the end of the season?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Depends where the results are coming from. Is Martin hitting the ball harder, or are squeakers just finding holes in the defense? Early on it’s still about evaluating process over results

11:01
Pierre: Do you think Marcus Stroman can increase his K rate and become the ace everyone in Canada wants him to be, or is he simply not trying to strike guys out?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll be one of those guys who, around his peak, gets strikeouts almost by accident. With his sinker, he’ll try to be efficient so he can always go 7+ innings, but he has so many pitches that hitters are going to whiff even when Stroman wants grounders

11:02
Unexpected Erection: With Schwarber getting hurt last night, do you see more time in LF for Bryant? Or will it be mostly Soler/etc (at least until Baez is healthy)

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I assume mostly Soler

11:04
Hank: I watched most of the Chris Bassitt start the other day against the White Sox. He has great stuff. Other than the mistake to Frazier for the 3 run HR, he really looked good. Do you think he can be a solid #3 for the A’s going forward?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Real under-the-radar guy. And I like the putaway breaking ball. He needs to be better about getting to it. I don’t buy Bassitt as having a swing-and-miss fastball, not yet, even despite the velocity, so he needs some improvement from his supporting secondary offerings. That step is within his reach, though

11:07
Sean P: As a Cubs fan who has been watching the highlights of Starlin Castro’s first couple games as a Yankee, I did notice the difference in his stride as you noted in your article this morning. However, I cannot fathom him ever turning into “Starling Blastro.” Do you think Castro is now a higher WAR player because of this adjustment, or is this only a marginal improvement for an average player?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: It’s worth remembering that Castro has already had three seasons as a 3-WAR player. He could again be a 3-WAR player. I like this adjustment, provided he sticks with it and doesn’t get pull-happy. I don’t think it’s going to make Castro an All-Star, but I can see him as a quality regular

11:08
Todd L: What are the Twins doing with their DH spot? They signed Byung Ho Park, who’s a 1B/DH. Mauer will only play 1B/DH and Sano should probably only be a DH at this point, hopefully a 3B in the future.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: For the moment, the Twins are punting a little defense, but they’ll know a lot more a few months down the road. Maybe Park won’t hit. Maybe Mauer won’t hit. Maybe Sano will look surprisingly good defensively

11:10
corry: Could the Reds young rotation surprise this season? By the all star break i’m anticipating: Desclafani, Iglesias, Bailey, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Like Dave, I see the Reds as the bad team with the best chance of being not bad

11:10
Terrible Ted: Your guess to the next country which gets an MLB team that isn’t the USA?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Gotta be Canada. Far less complicated given the history and given that they already have one team in place

11:11
FireDrayton: Is there anything left to say about Correa other than omgomgomgomg?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: No, but we’ll probably still write 20 posts about him this season anyway

11:12
Anon: Per your piece on Felix. Say it’s discovered that Felix has a torn ucl. Is it possible to increase your velocity to normal levels with Tommy John? And therefore we can potentially see Felix return to form?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: If Felix were pitching with a torn ligament, then, yeah, it stands to reason he’d be better if he were pitching with a not-torn ligament.

11:13
Drew: Mike Montgomery looked mighty impressive in his first relief appearance. Any reason to believe he could the latest failed SP prospect to convert to a back end reliever?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Velocity’s up and he’s got a huge curveball. Definitely within his reach

11:14
G: Say you are the first batter of the game (100wRC+ hitter) and Kershaw is on the mound. Given the choice, would you rather strike out on 10 pitches or have a normal at bat? What would be the breakeven # of pitches?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take the normal at-bat, but I might switch around 20 pitches or so

11:15
Wily Mo Money Mo Problems: Do you believe it is possible that MLB has wound baseballs tighter? I read that a test in late 2015 showed no statistical difference in the balls, but IMO the uptick in power can’t be explained entirely by an increase in the number of power hitters. Despite the cold weather conditions, players are setting highs in exit velocity left and right!

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: I believed the theory a lot more before Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur tested it

11:16
Yahoo: If you had the first pick in the draft and could either take a player who might boom or bust or one that you knew would develop to exactly what Ketel Marte is right now, which would you take?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: The former

11:16
Michael: Who do you like better this year, Jerad Eickhoff or Joe Ross? In future years?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Ross

11:16
sanford_and_son: Hi Jeff, miss you at LL. Will Dae-Ho Lee hit 20+ dingers this year yes/no?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Not even close, given his limited playing time

11:17
Gest : What qualities in a pitcher make him able to consistently avoid homers (Other than ballpark)? Like if you could build your ideal pitcher for limiting homers, what would he be like?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Big velocity with a sinker and a cutter

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: And as one last thing, for Padres fans: remember that last year’s Twins were swept in the opening series, getting outscored 22-1. They won 83 games!

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Anything’s possible, still!

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: So anyway, 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

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: xoxo

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 4/8/16 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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