Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 5/18/18

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:06

Jack: Is C.J. Cron for real?

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve always liked Cron as an obvious source of power. There were hints of some development that got hidden in his “down” 2017; the Rays jumped on the chance to land some upside

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: That being said, he’s neither a premium defender nor a premium pitch-taker, so he’s limited in how valuable he can become. I think, at the time, it made enough sense to basically swap Dickerson for Cron, but not because Cron was on the verge of becoming a four-win player or anything

9:09

greg: What kind of trade value does Scooter Gennett have?

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: Low!

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: It’s good to be a home-run hitter, and teams like to acquire home-run hitters, but he doesn’t do a whole lot else. And I’m sure there are still teams out there who remain skeptical of the Gennett breakout

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: If the Reds sell him as a guy who can conceivably cover four or five positions, that’s something, but Gennett isn’t a good defender at any of them

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the Brewers would like to have him back, but you’re not looking at a premium prospect exchange

9:12

James: Justin Verlander

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact, building off of that:

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: Last year the Indians set the all-time record with 31.7 pitching WAR

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: This year the Astros are on pace for 37.8

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: They’re on pace to beat the record by 19%

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: lol

9:13

Q-Ball: Who do you think emerges out of the competitive NL Central?

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: Still think Cubs

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: But I’m absolutely delighted it remains this tight

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals are interesting because they’re good despite being let down by so many of their good players

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: The Brewers are interesting because they’re good despite an underwhelming starting rotation

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: And the Pirates are interesting because what!

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: If the Pirates were to actually pull this off, I don’t know how the front office couldn’t spend the entire next offseason telling people “I told you so”

9:17

Ross: Have you been watching the hockey playoffs at all and do you have any rooting interest or did the Sens cause you tune out hockey in like December? I want a Caps-Knights Final, because I really want Ovechkin to win a Cup, and also because I’m interested to see how Golden Knights superfan Bryce Harper will handle it if they’re playing Washington’s hockey team in the Stanley Cup Final

9:17

Jeff Sullivan:

 

New York Yankees
@Yankees

 

5 Oct 2017
9:18

Jeff Sullivan: Close friend of mine here is a huge Caps fan so I’m kind of pulling for them because I’m pulling for him. But I don’t have a strong pull in any direction. Just happy to not see the Penguins, Bruins, or Leafs

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: Honestly though one of the things about hockey is that it’s such an emotional sport that when you cheer for one team, you find reasons to hate literally everyone else!

9:19

aw: I’m wondering if your position on Aaron Sanchez as a starter pre-2016 breakout was right. That 5.19 BB/9 isn’t inspiring confidence he’ll get back to his 2016 level of success…

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez is weird — he appears to have a quality changeup, and his contact rate is by far the lowest it’s ever been. Yet he has a K-BB% of 5%

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: And this is pretty easily traceable

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez vs. righties is no worse

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez vs. lefties: .441 OBP, .478 SLG

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: 20 walks, 14 strikeouts

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not because of the changeup. The changeup has actually gotten strikes! But almost literally half of Sanchez’s fastballs to lefties have been balls

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: He hasn’t been down in the zone like he used to be, and for a guy with such a premium sinker, that’s not great

9:26

Q-Ball: Toast, or NOT Toast:  Chris Davis, Jason Kipnis, Ian Desmond

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact about Chris Davis: he currently has the same average exit velocity as Juan Lagares!

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: I think Davis is done being good, I think Kipnis will be salvageable, and I think Desmond is a catastrophe

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: So far, in return for the Rockies’ $70-million investment, Ian Desmond has provided them with -2.0 WAR

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: I know he’s forever attempting mechanical tweaks, and I know the turnaround might be just around the corner, but there’s not one single positive indicator anywhere in his profile

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t deserve to be in the majors

9:29

Panik Button: Are the Brewers a better offensive team with Choi being called up? I am very ready to hop on the Choi bandwagon

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: I think there are teams in the major leagues with worse starting first basemen than Ji-Man Choi

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: And Choi is like the Brewers’ third-stringer

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: All he’s ever done is abuse Triple-A, with a whole lot of walks. He’s legit, but I don’t know how much he’ll get to actually play with Milwaukee

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: My kingdom for a world where Ji-Man Choi and Jabari Blash get 500 at-bats with a major-league team

9:31

Vegan Man!: 3 HR in 4 days for Olson. Signs of him turning it around, or just a hot streak? Thanks!

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: I think this is exactly what a player like Olson is. He’ll alternate cold spells with home-run streaks, and then you look up five months into the season and he has a bunch of strikeouts and a 125 wRC+

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: That’s how it goes for guys whose value comes almost exclusively from homers. Even the best home-run hitters might average about two a week. They’re infrequent, and they have a tendency to cluster

9:33

Tim: Mike Trout is 0 for his last 19. What’s going on? Is the world about to blow up?

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: I like how he’s hitless over 22 plate appearances and his OBP is .318

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: I also feel for Sam Miller, who just published his article about how Trout is on pace for an all-time season

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Timing is everything in this ridiculous industry

9:36

Dan: Hey Jeff, thanks for chatting! Do you know whether pitch tracking tools (statcast) adjust the strike zone based on the height of the batter? If not, does this make stats like Z-swing and O-swing unreliable for very tall or very short hitters?

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: They are individually adjusted. Now, you could question how *well* they’re adjusted, but Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve definitely have different Trackman zones

9:37

The Decadent Moose:

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: Where do you think they come from

9:38

Vegan Man!: Will Clint Frazier take someone’s job in the NYY OF (Gardner or Hicks)? Thanks!

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: Doubt it, at least in the short-term

9:39

Sad Texas: So Ken Rosenthal reporting that the Rangers “are open for business” listing Cole Hamels as the main movable piece. Does he even have any trade value left?!

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: Hamels is actually running his highest strikeout rate since 2006

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: Now, he’s also walking some guys and yielding hard contact, but I think a team in contention could talk itself into giving Hamels a shot

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: He has his numbers while facing almost exclusively good offensive teams. He’s still got something in the tank

9:41

John: Should the Twins make a play for Ramos or Lucroy?

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Don’t know why either would be available right now, with the Rays and A’s both right around .500

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: Both those teams have better records than the Twins do!

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: My dream is that the Twins give an opportunity to Willians Astudillo but I know that’s far-fetched

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: They’ll probably do something like trade for Caleb Joseph and leave Mitch Garver as the No. 1

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: Garver, to his credit, has real offensive potential

9:45

Zonk: Other than the Dodgers of course, what team do you feel has been most disappointing?  Aside from the Braves, what team has been the most pleasant surprise?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been disappointed by the White Sox

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: Not by all of them, of course, but the pitching is terrible

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: Their current leaders in pitching WAR are James Shields, Bruce Rondon, and Aaron Bummer

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: Pirates and Phillies both count as pleasant surprises. Pirates more so

9:48

Kyle Hendricks: Hey Jeff! Throughout my career (minors and majors) my era has always been better than my peripherals. Am I just lucky or is there more to it?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Hendricks has two things: a proven ability to generate soft contact, and a proven ability to pitch in front of one of the best team defenses in baseball

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: Since 2014, Hendricks has a top-15 hard-hit rate, by which I mean, his rate ranks 15th-lowest among qualified pitchers

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs have also ranked third in baseball in DRS and fourth in baseball in UZR

9:51

James: who are the Angels starting 6 for 2019? Who is playing 2B and 3B?

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: I imagine even the Angels couldn’t tell you

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, Cozart will occupy one of those infield positions

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: The rotation should include, at least, Ohtani, Skaggs, Heaney, and Barria

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Ramirez will be under team control. Tropeano is around. And so on

9:54

YKnotDisco?!: Can they do picture in picture for all the commercials during half innings (do they do this for the WS?)? Could it make a viewer less likely to change the channel?

And, although, I think they already do this some of the time: They can show commercial(s) during long breaks of action, too. Like a play that is challenged, a trainer checking on an injured player…

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw more of this. Instead of going away between innings, you do split-screen. Of course, only one of the screen halves can get the audio priority, so, it’s not like this is simple. But it’s something for baseball to try to figure out

9:56

Jake: I don’t really understand why the Mariners are going to briefly interrupt Dee Gordon’s transition to center field just so he can fill in at second base for Cano for a few months. Wouldn’t he be better served being left in center and continuing to learn the position, assuming the Mariners plan to move him back there once Cano returns? I feel like the thing that would make the most sense would be to pick up a cheap but useful rental in a guy like Hechavarria (no way they’ll be in the Machado market), move Segura to second base for now and leave Gordon in center

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t love this either, but I guess the Mariners feel like they’re more able to replace an outfielder than a second baseman internally. Which just means they like Guillermo Heredia more than they like Gordon Beckham

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: That much is easily defensible. But they still need to get an outfielder now because their organizational depth completely sucks

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: And like you said, this just interferes with Gordon’s defensive development in the outfield. It’s all just team scrambling

9:58

THE Average Sports Fan: How do you feel about Jeter’s comments?

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: I feel confident about my personal news curation because I don’t have any idea what you’re referring to

10:00

Nats For Life: Thoughts on Edubray Ramos usurping the closer role?

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Ramos and Neris are almost exactly as good as one another. So this doesn’t mean anything to me. Probably won’t be the last time the Phillies mess around with the back of the bullpen

10:03

Anon21: Braves have a chasm between their standard projected ROS Win % (.474) and their season-to-date projected ROS Win % (.577). Would you take the over or under on the 83-79 projected finish?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Definitely the over. I don’t think the Braves are a juggernaut yet or anything but I don’t see them as worse than a .500 team the rest of the way

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: I will say that while the Braves have had great offensive results, they’re also just 18th in baseball in team xwOBA

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: xwOBA misses certain elements, but this team is due to slow down a little bit at the plate, I’m sure

10:07

altitude: Is Kinsler done? K% down, BB% up, BABIP is miserable. But hard hit down

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: Not worried about him yet. Far more concerned about Calhoun

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: Kinsler is still doing most of everything he’s supposed to do

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: Calhoun has a wRC+ of 9

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: Nine

10:09

Kristen: TEX badly in need of a rebuild but farm system upper levels empty.  I think everyone should be on the table at the deadline including Gallo and Mazara.  What do you think they could fetch?

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: Mazara could land a pretty good haul, if he were to keep this up. Gallo, less so, because of ongoing concerns regarding his consistency. I doubt teams would be excited about trading for Gallo to play him in October against playoff-caliber pitching

10:10

Vegan Man!: Archer looked good last night against a good offense. Sign of things to come? Thanks!

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: He still walked four and struck out five, a start after walking three and striking out four

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: I think Archer very much remains a good pitcher, and it’s not like his numbers are that bad. But a little bit of the shine is off

10:13

YKnotDisco?!: Do batters swing at the first pitch more often against relievers, rather than starters?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: Right now, 27.8% first-pitch swing rate against starters, and 28.6% first-pitch swing rate against relievers

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: So, basically, no difference

10:14

Lucas Giolito: What’s going on with me?

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: You looked good in spring, but actually you are bad

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: The release point is trending back up. Maybe that’s a good thing. Giolito feels like a guy who really can succeed if he just finds the right delivery. But at the moment, he’s drowning

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: It probably doesn’t help to have to take a big-league mound every five or six days. Makes it challenging to fold in between-starts adjustments

10:16

Chacin the Dream: The Brewers seem to be winning with depth and a great bullpen.  We know about bullpens, but is depth underrated as a tool for building a winner, especially in a small market?  It seems like projection systems may not adequately value having a lot of 1-2 WAR guys?  Curious to hear your thoughts…

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: I think teams everywhere understand the importance of depth, and you know a deep team when you see one. But from the outside, we suffer from a lack of a good depth metric

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: I’ve tried to come up with one a bunch of times and I’m never all the way satisfied

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: At the end of the day, a team wants to limit how often it’s playing someone who’s replacement-level or worse. That at least gives us a chance to evaluate depth in hindsight

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: The fact that the Brewers can put Braun on the DL and call up someone like Choi — that speaks well to how deep the system is at the upper levels

10:18

Zonk: Are the PIrates sneaking up on everyone?  The fans were incensed that they were mailing it in this offseason, yet here they are in first place, with no signs of going away it seems

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: I love it

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Although, on the one hand, this doesn’t teach them the right lesson about not investing more in the major-league product

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: Those grievances remain very much legitimate. But when the front office said it wasn’t rebuilding — they did mean that, sincerely

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: So it’s still not good that the Pirates don’t spend a lot, but, *given* that the Pirates don’t spend a lot, this reflects well on the decision-makers

10:20

joe: JD Davis hits for cycle yet Houston calls up Kemp.  Can he be an everyday player for the Astros or more a trade chip

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: Nowhere for him to be an everyday player, but he could probably play pretty often until Kyle Tucker arrives

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: They haven’t otherwise figured out a left-field solution

10:22

GraphsFan: Jeff, I noticed some weird patterns in overall Batted Ball data… Have the Medium% and Hard% contact thresholds changed? It seems like Soft% is staying relatively constant, but Medium% is traded for Hard% in 2018… It’s even more pronounced for C and DHs, specifically. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0…

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: A couple conflicting things, here

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: Whenever you have a metric that’s in any way subjective, by way of binning, you can be vulnerable to these year-to-year shifts

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not like soft, medium, and hard are being recorded via scientific instrumentation alone

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Because of that, it’s always good to look at a player in context, instead of just looking at hard-hit rate alone

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: But then, at least according to Baseball Savant, this year average exit velocity is up 1.6 miles per hour!

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: The rate of barrels or solid contact is up 1.9 percentage points

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: Meanwhile, the rate of poor contact is down 1.1 percentage points

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: It really could be that more decent hits are turning into quality hits. It requires further examination

10:26

v2micca: Toronto is treading water at .500 right now, but in the Brutal AL East, their path to the post-season is unlikely.  When do you think they become serious about moving Donaldson?

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: If and when they’re worse than they are right now

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: You can assume they’re worse than the Yankees and Red Sox, but that still leaves one wild-card slot open. Who out there is significantly better than the Jays? The Angels? The Angels have their own issues, and for now they’re only three games ahead

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: Jays won’t be too worried about the Twins, Mariners, A’s, or the rest of them

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: Donaldson only gets traded if the Jays fall apart. Otherwise, Machado will demand the most attention, and the Jays will try to *improve* when they call up Vlad Jr.

10:29

PTBNL: Can’t imagine whoever trades for machado keeps him at short, his defense has been almost as bad as his hair cut.

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Indeed, among qualified shortstops, Machado is second-worst in DRS and worst in UZR

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: In 2016, though, Machado was a perfectly fine shortstop

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s just say trading teams will have options

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: Like, if Machado went to the Braves, he’d obviously be the third baseman. But if Machado went to the Cubs, he’d obviously be the shortstop

10:31

Chapultepec Audiorama: Due to April weather, the Brewers have played 3 more games than STL and PHI, 4 more than CHC and 5 more than NYM. Is there a measurable benefit to getting days off when playoff competitors are playing doubleheaders and on off days in the middle of summer?

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: Nothing easily measurable at all, but you can assume it’s a good thing

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: It’s like with the west-coast teams that have to fly so many extra miles. Especially the Mariners. Virtually impossible to measure the impact, but all that travel can’t be more good than bad

10:33

Vegan Man!: Is Marwin Gonzalez this bad? Thanks!

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: No, he’s better than this, but he was also one of 2017’s biggest overachievers, so he was due to come back down to earth. I think he’s an average hitter, more or less. Makes him fairly valuable because of his versatility

10:34

zurzles: Teo’s xwOBA just isn’t going down. Does this say more about Teo or xwOBA?

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: He hits the ball super hard a lot

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: That’s good!

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: 231 plate appearances since arriving with the Jays. 133 wRC+. Slugging .577

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: This is him. Another corner outfielder the Astros probably wish they hadn’t lost

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Not that the Astros have anything to complain about

10:36

BJOGC: Given how little teams are valuing “average” players, what should a team in a deep rebuild do with their young, cost controlled but low upside players? A guy like Jeimer Candelario won’t be good by the time the tigers are good again but he is young and good now but teams don’t seem interested in trading for these types of players unless they have superstar upside. it seems like a bit of a waste

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not a waste, because it benefits the Tigers to have decent players today

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: We’re a quarter of the way through the season and the Tigers, who were supposed to be a disaster, are 1.5 games out of first place

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: Of course they’re likely to drop away from the Indians any week now. But, there’s that glimmer! It’s so much easier on a fan to lose 85 games instead of 105

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: And I haven’t even touched on the fact that we really don’t understand “upside” at all

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: How good could Jeimer Candelario become? In theory he could become extremely good. Even right now, this year, he has a wRC+ of 131!

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: So if you’re the Tigers, you just keep a player like this and find out what happens

10:39

Vegan Man!: Jose Pirela is hitting everything on the ground this year. Think he’ll reach 10HR again, or are we seeing a new approach? Thanks!

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think this is intentional. I think he’s slumping

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: He’s got five infield flies and zero home runs

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: He’s not doing much to keep Luis Urias away

10:40

TJ: Did none of Eric Hosmer’s prestige value rub off on Brian Mitchell and Chase Headley?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Boy did that move go sour in a hurry

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: I liked it fine at the time, but, boy howdy

10:41

Mark: When I ask questions about Tatis Jr’s strikeout rate the answer always seems to be “he’s 19 in double A give him a break”, but at what point is it ok to ask whether there is really an issue there?  I get it he is super young for the level, but his strikeouts, it seems, will only increase from here, and were high last year too.

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: Two things are true here, I think. One, it’s totally valid to point out his age, because he *does* have time to improve, and he *is* extremely young for his context. No one figures that Tatis Jr. is a finished product

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: But two, Tatis Jr. is also one of the most hyped prospects in the world, and the people who do that hyping don’t want to entertain anything that suggests the player won’t become a superstar. That’s not how the prospect-hype world works

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: And so no one was openly too concerned about Yoan Moncada’s strikeouts, and now he’s in the majors and he’s striking out a third of the time he comes up

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: This is what makes Guerrero Jr. so sensational. More walks than strikeouts. More doubles than walks. Guerrero, incidentally, is also young in Double-A

10:46

Zonk: Jeff, please explain one more time how Bartolo Colon can keep getting outs throwing nothing but high-80s fastballs.  Oh, and he’s 45

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: The main purpose of pitching is to confuse the hitter. How we usually interpret that is by suggesting a pitcher can be more effective if he has more pitches. Wow, this guy has two fastballs, a slider, a curveball, AND a changeup! Who could guess what’s coming!

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: Colon just adds and subtracts with his fastball, for the most part. He throws it where he wants. And the difference between a good hit and a bad one — or a missed one — is a matter of a few millimeters

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: Colon confuses his opponents because they can’t tell exactly where his fastballs are going to end up. It’s beautifully simple, and a valuable lesson for any pitcher who’s struggling to, say, figure out a changeup in Double-A

10:49

Bork: Hello, friend!

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

10:50

Kristen: What would be a fair asking price for Hamels at the deadline?  Not going to fetch another team’s top SP prospect like DET got from TOR for a half-season of David Price.  I’m thinking along the lines of Ross Stripling + an A-level SP prospect.

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: So, a team would be picking up about half of $22.5 million, and then for next year there’s a $20-million club option with a $6-million buyout. That means Hamels just has to be more valuable than a $14-million pitcher

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Since Hamels has limited no-trade protection, he might demand that his 2019 option be immediately picked up in order for him to waive it

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: You’re right that this wouldn’t be a blockbuster, but I could see Hamels getting one young pitcher who’s close to major-league ready, and a low-level flier with big upside

10:52

TJ: If Kershaw is this iffy all year does he not opt out?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Entirely going to depend on his health. If he’s healthy, he’ll opt out. If it’s obvious that he’s going into the offseason with some kind of medical red flag, then, not so much

10:54

Rusty Staubach: How many of the Astros’ AAA guys would have a place on an MLB roster right now? Seems like a lot of good talent is stuck there right now.

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: Davis, Kemp, Tucker, White, Hoyt — these are big-leaguers

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: I guess Kemp just came up

10:55

Vegan Man!: Thoughts on Joe Musgrove? Solid SP option, or is he better suited for a high leverage relief role? Thank you!

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: I think he could be a fine starter. I also don’t love that he’s been bothered by all these shoulder issues

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: But I don’t doubt his ability to get through a lineup two or three times

10:56

TJ: How good does Newcomb need to be for Braves to win the Andrelton trade

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: Better than he is

10:57

Maddoning: Javy Baez hits the ball hard.  Javy Baez hasn’t taken a walk since April 12th.  Why does anyone even throw him strikes?  Seriously, the worst thing that can happen is a walk, and you can get hurt worse throwing it in the zone

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: Since the last time Baez drew a walk, he has a .275 OBP. His wRC+ in May is 81

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: Over the past month, he has baseball’s third-lowest rate of fastballs seen, and he has baseball’s second-highest chase rate

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers could probably get away with throwing Baez even fewer strikes than they already do. But for the moment it’s not as if Baez is winning. He’s cooled off dramatically, because he’s over-aggressive

11:00

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: When a player hits a ball on a bounce, catching it shouldn’t count as an out. The ball already hit the ground!

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Order of operations?

11:02

Dan: What do you think the Orioles can get from the Cubs for Machado?

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Talks probably start with Alzolay and go from there. I understand the obvious link to Russell but the Cubs surely view Russell as too valuable a player to give up for a few months

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe it would turn into a three-way trade, where the Cubs lose Russell and gain Machado, but also gain a longer-term value, probably a pitcher

11:04

YKnotDisco?!: Has anyone looked at the time between pitches after a batter has swung vs taking the pitch? I’d imagine swinging would be a longer break in action.

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: The real drain comes after a foul ball. It’s not that uncommon for 45 seconds or so to elapse

11:06

Confortobly numb: Corbin’s velo with a (slight) bounce back, should we still be worried?

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Very slight bounceback, but no bounceback at all in terms of his peak velocity reached in the game. Something still looks very weird

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: Corbin hasn’t thrown a pitch at 92 or higher since April 28, when he threw 28 of them

11:07

kevinthecomic: Has Matt Carpenter’s shoulder injury relegated him to his current level of performance?

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Here’s the interesting thing about Matt Carpenter

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: 2017: .383 xwOBA
2018: .379

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Obviously the strikeouts are up and the contact is down, but he’s still hitting the ball hard when he hits it

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: Because of Carpenter’s various injuries, you do have to worry a little bit. At the same time, he played through shoulder pain last season and hit, right? So it’s complicated

11:10

Rockie Dangerfield: If the Rockies were to send Dahl back down to Albuquerque, would you rather have Albuquerque’s lineup or Colorado’s?

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: Colorado’s, but barely

11:11

Trout Brigade: If you are the Angels, what do you do with Albert Pujols?  Is he worth rostering, or is it worth pursuing an upgrade?

11:11

Jeff Sullivan: I very gradually begin folding in more Jabari Blash

11:11

Jeff Sullivan: And at some point Pujols would end up on the DL with something

11:11

Mark: What do you think happens with the Padres outfield?

11:12

Jeff Sullivan: Cordero will play most days, and when he’s healthy, Myers will play most days. Renfroe will be in Triple-A

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: Jankowski will take more time from Margot, but also, Jankowski seems like exactly the kind of player the Padres should just trade to the Mariners now or something

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: Reyes won’t get his opportunity now, I don’t think, but he’ll get a more extended cup of coffee later on

11:14

Ted: With Statcast data making it clear that certain pitchers can consistently generate soft contact, is it time to tweak the FIP/xFIP models? Or at least reevaluate how much they tell us? I think they work extremely well for the vast majority of pitchers, but there does seem to be a small but noticeable class of pitchers who are either underrated (soft contact pitchers) or overrated (pitchers who have an unusual penchant for turning fly balls into home runs) by FIP and/or xFIP. Thanks!

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: FIP and xFIP have always been valued for their relative simplicity. We’ve known all along that they leave some things out, but that’s the trade-off for not over-complicating them. They still get you most of the way there

11:15

Jeff Sullivan: That’s where Statcast can come in to fill in the void. Most of the time, a soft-contact pitcher won’t actually be much of a soft-contact pitcher in the end. But for the guys who give up a lot of soft or hard contact — we’ll know who they are, and we’ll be able to measure that

11:15

Justin: Slugging percentage has its flaws. I know it. You know it. We all know it. So why are we obsessed with OPS? Wouldn’t OBP + ISO be better?

11:16

Jeff Sullivan: Because it’s simple

11:16

Jeff Sullivan: That’s it

11:16

Jeff Sullivan: Why talk about OPS at all when we have wOBA, or, even better, wRC+?

11:16

Jeff Sullivan: OPS is there because it’s very easy, and it’s useful

11:16

Urena Esq: If Trout were to ride this 0-for-19 slump through the rest of his career, would he still go to the Hall?

11:16

Jeff Sullivan: Well no

11:17

Ichiro for CEO: Is it reasonable to believe that the Dodgers can win the NL West with 87 or so wins? Every team in that division has its flaws and with the Dodgers weak start, its hard to see anyone running away with it.

11:17

Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, with the Diamondbacks’ depth catching up to them, that division remains very winnable

11:17

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:18

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 — 5/18/18 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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Ted: With Statcast data making it clear that certain pitchers can consistently generate soft contact, is it time to tweak the FIP/xFIP models?

I think Jeff is right that FIP and xFIP will live on due to their simplicity and getting you most of the way there. But if you’re looking for versions of FIP that take statcast data into account, then head over to xStats.org (click v2.9 Pitchers) for scFIP, bbFIP, and kwFIP.

scFIP (twist on xFIP): https://www.xstats.org/glossary

bbFIP: https://www.xstats.org/articles/2017/6/4/a-new-stat

formulas for all 3 here: https://www.xstats.org/articles/2018/3/30/xstatsx2-9

I am looking at these sheets a couple times a week, so for example these 3 metrics (and xOBA) were not believers in Jarlin Garcia’s smoke & mirrors start to the year. But they are a big fan of Matt Boyd (who is drawing the highest percentage of poorly hit balls among all starters).