Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 5/12/17

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:04
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:05
Be a Dahl: David Dahl seems like a key long term piece for the Rockies. Do you think they turn him into a part time player or send him to the minors until Mark Reynolds cools down?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Neither would be very surprising and neither would really be that bad of a situation for Dahl to find himself in. I don’t think the Rockies are at risk of stunting his development if they don’t play him every single day in the major leagues. Besides, he still has to get healthy first, and Mark Reynolds presumably can’t keep this going forever

9:06
Bork: Is Justin Smoak the new Miggy?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Even last year, there were reasons to feel okay about Smoak, based on how he swung and hit the ball. Now he’s sitting on a 119 wRC+. He’s even — get this — been okay against curveballs!

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Smoak has seen a massive drop in his rate of fastballs. Which makes sense, given his history. Hasn’t slowed him down. It’s modestly encouraging

9:08
Skeptical Jays Fan: Justin Smoak seems to be doing something different. Launch angle looks great (from right side, at least), 5% more 95+ mph events, Z-contact is 9% above career average, pitches per plate appearance are down. Can he be better than black hole or have pitchers temporarily forget to just throw bendy stuff out of the zone?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I should’ve seen this next in the queue

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers haven’t forgotten to throw Smoak secondary stuff. They’re throwing him more secondary stuff than ever. He’s just doing a good job of seeing the pitches out of hands. The contact jump is nice to see, although I don’t completely buy it yet

9:11
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Matt Harvey is looking like Jonny Manziel. John Lackey leads clubhouse insurrections with fried chicken and suggests other players’ PED use. Jose Bautista is Baltimore’s number one enemy, according to Peter Angelos. Using the new clubhouse cancer metric, dbag+, who are some of the highest ranking offenders in your mind?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Baltimore hating Jose Bautista has anything to do with how Toronto feels about Jose Bautista

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Harvey does feel like he’d be up there. And although I don’t know if Yasiel Puig counts as a dbag, it’s no secret he’s challenging to be around on a regular basis

9:12
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: What is the last fiction book you read? Nonfiction?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t remember the last fiction book. Presently going through The Sixth Extinction

9:13
GMing: If you were the GM of the Cubs, would you consider maximizing trade return and trading Addison Russell and turning Candelario into a semi-regular 3B (shifting Baez to SS and Bryant to OF)?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t!

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you’d maximize anything by trying to move Addison Russell right now

9:14
Moltar: Seriously, what’s the deal with Jason Vargas? Get Tommy John, throws 86, becomes a strikeout machine???

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I am so very resistant to writing about this but god dammit it’s feeling inevitable

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Top five qualified starters in in-zone contact rate: deGrom, Paxton, Sale, Rodriguez, Vargas

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: ????

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Vargas has the same in-zone contact rate as Max Scherzer. I don’t get it. I guess maybe next week I will

9:16
Pie: Just realized that league-wide BABIP is at its lowest level since at least

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I know the end of this is cut off, but, anyway

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Running a quick search of monthly BABIPs over the past decade

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Sample of 168 months. This April had the 19th-lowest BABIP

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Well, that’s not entirely correct. This Play Index is more complicated than I thought. But anyway! The bigger point is that this wasn’t a particularly low month

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Rather, BABIP tends to increase as the season wears on and the days get warmer

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Over the past decade, baseball has posted a .294 BABIP in April. That’s gone up to .301 in August

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: So you have to remember to always compare against similar time windows

9:20
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Should the American League Cleveland Baseball Franchise retake the mascot ‘Spiders?’

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: No one would go to games anymore

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: No one would buy apparel

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Mere mentions of the team would drive people out of rooms and buildings

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: No spiders

9:20
The great Schwarbino: Am I going to be okay? What’s a realistic stat line for my first full season?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: You are fine and have been overrated

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: You have power and a reasonable approach and you’ll probably end up with a wRC+ around 110 – 120

9:22
The Average Sports Fan: The projected standing for the rest of the year have Giants at 2 games over .500 and the Reds at 16 games under .500. Which of these do you have more confidence in?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: I think that about captures the Giants, and now I think the Reds will be a little better than that

9:23
Josh DC: Carlos Gomez, toast? Any upside or is this who he is now?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s toast. He’s more like an average player as a regular CF. He’s not bad — he’s just a very exciting average player

9:24
Just skills: Who is the better pitcher: Brandon Maurer or Carter Capps?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Capps, whenever he gets used to pitching again

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: However, I see that Capps hasn’t pitched in two weeks

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I guess he’s at the spring-training complex. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’s trying to tweak his mechanics

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: So maybe a better answer: Maurer is clearly better now. Capps will be better long-term

9:28
Andrew McCutchen: What the hell is up with me?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: You’re hitting the ball pretty similar to how you hit it a year ago. The results are a little bit worse.

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: The upside here is that McCutchen isn’t actually an 81 wRC+ player. The downside is that McCutchen was supposed to show 2016 was a fluke, and instead he’s only cemented the notion that the downslope is real, and substantial

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: It doesn’t help to carry the burden that McCutchen must feel in that lineup right now

9:29
Tex: Maeda to the DL with a “tight hamstring”. Sounds like LAD are screwing around with the new 10-day DL list. Can you help explain what’s happening here, and when we might expect to see him pitch again if that’s really true? If they are basically just using the DL as an excuse to skip his spot, would he be eligible to pitch next Sunday vs. MIA? He was dropped in my league last night. Should I swoop in and grab, these shenanigans aside?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers are definitely taking full advantage of the 10-day DL in order to shuffle through a variety of starters without having to make tough decisions

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not a secret, and they’re not even denying it

9:31
JTT: Should we be concerned with Kiermaier and his sudden inability to play defense? His range and athleticism seem fine but he is unusually error prone, Mostly mental errors. The royals “home runs” stick out for recency but he has had plenty of brain farts already this season. It’s like he’s had a stroke or something

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: For reference, Kiermaier already has four errors, after committing two last season

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not alone — Kevin Pillar also has significantly worse defensive metrics this year in CF. Pillar, though, is hitting. I wonder, with Kiermaier, whether he’s bringing his offense with him into the field

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s any reason to believe yet that he’s permanently broken

9:33
Alfonso: How much differently would baseball be played if it were played on little league fields with no fences?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: It would be horrible and none of us would be here

9:33
Trevor Story: Do you think that Trevor Story makes the correct adjustments

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like you should ask yourself

9:35
Maxamuz: What are you thoughts on Conforto? Smoke and mirrors or are we actually going to witness a break out here?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Good hitter, not a great hitter, has put 2016 behind him. Should play a bunch

9:36
yojiveself: Familia – done for the season?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: It seems that way. Even if he’s not done for the entire season, there won’t be enough time left for him to make a significant difference

9:37
Sassy Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers are putting Braun on the 10 day DL today. Do you foresee him landing with a contender before the deadline? He’s a certified Cubs killer, in 141 games against them .339/.413/.594 so he’d be a great addition to any NL team with NL pennant aspirations.

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anyone would want Braun because he’s a Cubs killer. I think they’d want him because he’s just a regular good hitter. He’ll get moved if he’s healthy and hitting

9:38
The Average Sports Fan: Who is the first seller?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: The White Sox have an overachieving great bullpen. The Nationals and Mets need help in the bullpen

9:38
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: What’s wrong with Kevin Kiermaier and how do you fix him?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Aside from the occasional mental lapse in the field, he’s still been an outstanding ball-catcher. So the range and instincts are present, as you’d expect

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: He seems a little caught in between. He’s striking out looking a lot more than he used to. He’ll straighten out, but the breakout isn’t here. It’s going to be a struggle for him to just get back to average

9:40
Josh: If home runs are only increasing for mid and low level power guys, wouldn’t that make the ball being juiced very unlikely? You’d think home runs would increase for high power hitters as well in that scenario, right?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: They’d increase for everyone, although I think they’d increase more for the lower-power guys who need the extra 10 or 20 feet

9:41
2-D: That chanting along with the pitch clock story was great. I’m looking forward to doing that.

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t exhaust yourself!

9:41
Sim: What are your thoughts on Rich Hill going forward? Return to last years form if healthy the rest of the way?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: At this point I don’t think you can ever count on him to be healthy the rest of the way

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: It’s good that he’s not fighting a bad elbow or shoulder or anything but the blisters might just be a part of it now

9:43
Otters: How much more valuable is a player with peak Bonds hitting skills but otherwise a replacement level player as opposed to with peak Ozzie Smith (or similar) fielding skills but otherwise a replacement player?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Peak Bonds was worth about 110 runs just on hitting alone. Peak Smith came in around 40 runs combining defense and positional value

9:46
Dougie: I read the other day that Logan Morrison has the 22nd highest WRC+ among hitters with 400 or more PA in the last calendar year. Has LoMo finally figured it out?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: His exit velocity this year is actually a little down. But his approach isn’t horrible and he has at least average power. He’s an okay player, but he’s playing over his head

9:48
Shawn Baseball: Hi Jeff!

Vlad Guerrero Jr’s bat was compared to Mike Trout’s on twitter yesterday.

How hyped can i be without being too hyped.

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Prospects and draft picks get flattering comparisons all the time. It’s always hyperbolic, whether intentional or not

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: This feels too hyped, but then, who cares? What does it matter? He’ll arrive on his own schedule

9:49
Jack: Is CarGo gonna be ok? This is a bummer

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I honestly don’t know why he wouldn’t be

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Everything seems basically normal. He’ll go on a crazy hot streak, as he does

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, he had a 30-game stretch where his wRC+ was 43. The year before, he bottomed out at 34. This isn’t unprecedented

9:52
Stuafoo: Surprised the Ms are hanging around .500 despite future all stars like Chase DeJong taking the bump?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: They can hit the crap out of the ball

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners are fourth in baseball right now in wRC+

9:52
mtsw: So are the balls juiced or not?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Sure seems like no

9:53
canofcorn66: Altherr or Broxton long-term?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Broxton is a premium CF

9:53
jake: With familia injured, wouldn’t it make sense for the mets to just get a good middle reliever and convert to an indians style bullpen instead of overpaying for a “closer”

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: The Indians have a closer

9:53
Matt: Aaron. Alther.

Thoughts?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Liked him in March, like him now. He’s going to keep playing; the Phillies are big fans

9:55
Terry Collins’ Pen: Hypothetically, imagine Harper, Machado, and Otani are free agents at the end of the year and with no signing pool restrictions for Otani. Would you rather have Harper at $450M, Machado at $400M, or Otani at $325M? Assume length of deal is the same for all three.

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take Machado

9:56
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: I enjoyed your piece about the Orioles surpassing expectations again, but I couldn’t help but notice that the Rays were second to last in Actual-BaseRuns wins 2012-2016 and dead last for this year. We’ve talked about what it means for the Orioles to continually “overperform”, but what does it mean for the Rays to have been at the bottom of this metric for so long (and across both Maddon and Cash)?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles were, of course, the most exceptional team, but there are always two sides to everything, and I think the Rays have struggled with a fair number of difficult bullpens. This year in particular, they’re near the bottom in most meaningful metrics

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: The Rockies have also been down there in the past. Part bullpen, part just difficulty getting the right sequences. I don’t think it’s some kind of organizational disease

9:57
Barry Manilow: So the Dodgers are totally gaming the system for their rotation right? How long does this go on?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Everyone knew this was coming and they won’t be the only team to do this

9:58
Guest: Senators….

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Senators!!

9:58
YKnotDisco?!: This seems like a very difficult accomplishment thru 119 PA: O-Contact% – 82.3% – Z-Contact% – 80.0% – Yadi Molina

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine why his wRC+ is bad

9:59
Stevil: Hello, friend! The Mariners have a lot of odd things happening which will lead to some odd decisions. In the coming months, it’s hard to imagine them not shopping for pitching, but Catcher is looking like a real area of need as well. They’ll have to weigh the possibility of an all-rookie outfield when Haniger returns as well, though that seems less concerning. What’s your mid-May on what might happen?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re actually going to shop for much. I think they’re comfortable in Ruiz playing a little more than expected, and the outfield has so many overachievers. Their season is going to come down to how the presently injured pitchers fare when they return

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Felix and Paxton seem close. Cishek is close, for the bullpen. Smyly, who knows

10:00
Matt: Cotton has got to be down for minimum 10 days (unless injury in MLB). How much past that 10 days you think he stays down?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I could see him getting a handful of turns down there. He hasn’t been very good

10:01
biased white sox fan: when do you think we’ll see the first somewhat major trade? before/after June 20th?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Probably right around there, actually. But to this point most of the teams expected to be bad have been kind of surprisingly good

10:01
Guest: Do you think the Cubs would trade for Cueto? What could the Giants get back for him?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think this is something worth thinking about on May 12

10:02
Matt Carpenter: Am I going to hit 30 HR and have a .400+ OBP? I walk so much. I think its my lean as pitcher is in his delivery. Throws em off

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: You are another Jose Bautista

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: A poor man’s version, I guess

10:04
weezy: any thoughts on Jordan Montgomery? He’s getting a ton of whiffs, still not sure what to make of him

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I actually think he’s a little better than his peripherals, which I know sounds weird for a guy with such a low contact rate

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: But his walk rate is super high even though his strike rate is also better than average. I don’t think he’s as wild as the BB% would suggest

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Very promising start to his season

10:05
JJP: Are the Dodgers playing games with the DL? Maeda goes on just in time for Ryu to come off?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: What a coincidence!

10:06
Gabriel: Is Ben Gamel for real? Not this good but at least a good starting outfielder?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Good fourth outfielder

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Although, you know, there are indications he’s doing what everyone else is doing. More balls in the air now, and he’s hit them pretty hard

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll need to see more, but there are good things happening with that crop of position players

10:09
Alfonso: Generally, the sabermetric community is in agreement on major issues (Steroid guys in Hall of Fame, etc.). What do you think are the biggest issues that the sabermetric community is NOT in agreement on?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Chemistry stuff still isn’t settled

10:09
Kevin: With pitchers throwing harder than ever, wouldn’t there theoretically be a value in a soft-tossing reliever to “throw-off” the hitters’ timing? I have to imagine it’s difficult to adjust to a pitcher throwing in the 80s and 70s when you’ve just faced a pitcher throwing 95+.

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I know there’s been evidence of a related knuckleball effect, but then, that’s with knuckleballs. That’s a very different, unique sort of pitch. I don’t think there’d be a huge effect from hitters just facing slower versions of the same pitches

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I *do* think there’s value in mixing in guys with funky deliveries. One of the reasons why I like the Orioles bullpen

10:10
Joe from the Bronx: What type of sample size do you like to see before you acknowledge that there has been a *permanent* change? Aaron Hicks, for example, has 225 PA (plus 70 ST PA) dating back to August of being legit. Is that enough?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I have issues with the concept of changes being permanent in the first place. Everything and every player is fluid

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Hicks might’ve changed in one way, but then if pitchers change in another way, he’ll have to change in *another* way. Cat-and-mouse, forever and always

10:11
Guest: Are you happy the Pens beat the Caps or would you have preferred to see the Caps?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t care, just happy to be in the ECF

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: And I’m friends with Caps fans and not friends with any Penguins fans, so while I’m sad they had to lose, I’m glad I don’t have to hate them for a week and a half

10:12
Colin: Which team is most likely to foolishly “go for it” at the deadline? Twins? Cardinals?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals are more actually good than the Twins are

10:13
Erik: True or false: if a player dominates immediately upon promotion to the MLB, he should have been promoted earlier.

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: False

10:13
JJP: Mike Leake – fantasy sleeper, mirage, or meh?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no way you’re going to get me to talk about Jason Vargas *and* Mike Leake in the same chat

10:13
Not Sam Miller BP: You are doing a great job on Effectively Wild. Now that you’ve been doing it for a few months, are you enjoying it? Has doing the podcast changed the way you’ve approached or executed your writing? Do you think you will want to continue doing the podcast for the long-term? Or, like Sam Miller, will you get burned out and want to stop?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I definitely enjoy it and I look forward to chatting with Ben every time. The biggest adjustment has been handling the emails that come in. I’ve had to work hard to get over the guilt of not responding to every single email I receive

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: That part is a work in progress

10:14
Josh: What are your thoughts on the Dodgers’ DL manipulation strategy? Is there really any legitimate way to counteract this?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Teams have manipulated the DL for basically ever, and it was inevitable that we’d see even more of that with the DL trimmed by five days. There’ll be just enough checks and balances to keep things from getting *too* crazy, but baseball is pro-injury avoidance. And it makes sense that these injuries might not even be entirely fake. It’s just, hey, guys get bumps all the time

10:16
Scott: How many articles do you write in a week? How many make it onto FanGraphs?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: 1 chat, 2 InstaGraphs posts, 8 full posts, one of which goes to ESPN

10:17
2-D: Will the Brewers have to address a logjam with their outfield eventually? If Braun is traded they have 4 or 5 guys you’d want to see get a shot there.

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: In theory, they’re headed for a crowded outfield, but in practice something will probably come up. Someone will be hurt, or struggling, or won’t deserve a promotion

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Besides, even with four guys worthy of time, you can rotate a group like that pretty evenly

10:19
Duda Abides: Just an early season blip for Quintana, or will he continue to struggle? Will it effect his trade value?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not worried about anything. And the market already didn’t think of him as an ace, so, no big changes there

10:19
Jaime: What’s your opinion on Severino and Pineda? Think either of them steps up as a number 2 this year?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: I like Pineda more, but I like them both as assets in 2017

10:20
Daniel: Who is Justin Smoak?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: A stranger

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: one of many

10:21
Erik: Which division race gets wrapped up first? Which goes down to the final series?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Sure seems like the Astros will get the West locked up in like a week and a half

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: The AL East is going to take a while

10:22
The Kyd: Is this the proverbial end-of-the-line for Carlos Gomez? Was never expecting returns to his days with the Crew, but he seems incapable of adjustment.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: He hasn’t been bad

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: He’s just not the same Carlos Gomez anymore

10:22
jake: Keeeeoooooon Broxton!

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Good player

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Exciting player!

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Bobblehead promotion!

10:24
Prince Philip: Scheblermania is slow to build. Projections like him way more than currently hotter guys like Hicks & Altherr – you agree?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I like Altherr the most, and Schebler the least of those three, but I still think Schebler is a useful regular player

10:25
kevin: which is more likely: arrieta is done as an ace or pujols is done as an above-average hitter?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I think both are likely, given that the standard for an ace starting pitcher is incredibly high

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta doesn’t have his same command. Still misses bats, though, so he can still be good. With Pujols, I think he still hits the ball like a fine hitter, but his body just doesn’t let him get much out of the batted balls he turns around

10:26
Matt: Who wins the NL West, and by how many games?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Dodgers, 6

10:27
cardsjason: Jeff,

I may be moving to Portland for work soon. Any advice? It’s myself, my wife, and a 4 year old.

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Try to live close to work, and expect to pay more than you’ve ever paid for anything, for everything

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Unless you’re coming from New York or San Francisco

10:28
Just ugh: Earlier this year eno suggested that zach Davies could be the next Kyle Hendricks. Do you have any thoughts on the matter?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: He probably won’t

10:29
Erik: The Cubs look like a .500 team in every way this year, and it’s not just bad luck, since their right at their BaseRuns record. What’s going on? The roster is mostly the same. Did every single player just get a little bit worse? Is that a thing that can happen on this sort of scale?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Basically every starting pitcher has been worse, and the defense hasn’t turned nearly so many batted balls into outs

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: On talent, I still believe the Cubs will be just fine, and remember that last year between June and July the Cubs had a stretch where they went 15-21

10:31
Jerry Lundegaard: Has Jedd Gyorko changed anything about his approach since arriving in St Louis?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: The turnaround really began in the second half of 2015. He’s been a pretty good hitter since

10:32
Scott: I’ve decided to root for the Ottawa Senators, to support you. Who is Erik Karlsson and why is he good?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: He’s the best defenseman in the world, because he does everything well. His offensive vision and creativity is impossible to understand by human standards

10:33
Tommy Lasordid: Do passed balls figure into a catcher’s framing ratings?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:33
Mt Ain’t Sellins: How may PA should a young hitter with potential be given to before being deemed a platoon bat? i.e. Jake Lamb career 50 wRC+ vs lefties but in only 247 PA

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Takes longer than that. True-talent platoon splits take a while to suss out

10:34
JC at the Bat: Matt Moore – is he just going through a rough patch, or has he become fundamentally bad/unreliable?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: *Become* unreliable?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Was Matt Moore ever reliable?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: This is Matt Moore. Now, I did think he would be better, and I still think he’ll be better, but he’s never really been straight-up good.

10:35
Terry’s Sarape: Which May 12 statistical leader has the best chance to lead at the end of the season?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I can easily see Chris Sale keeping the pitcher WAR lead

10:36
Manny Machado: Why am I such a Douche? Will I ever grow up??

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Imagine being a 24-year-old superstar millionaire

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, wait, you can’t, because nobody can

10:37
The warm side of the pillow: How is it Joey Votto just seems to be getting better? Any chance at all the Reds move him?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s funny, remember when people were talking about him coming out super aggressive?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: His swing rate is right in line with where it’s been for a while

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: But his contact is up! Because his judgment is even better

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: If the Reds were doing worse in the standings, they would explore a Votto deal, for sure

10:38
Josh: Not that it’s a big deal evaluation-wise, but what is your take on pinning all inherited runners scored on the departed pitcher? Do you think they should split it up so that the pitcher who allows the runner to score receives some blame?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: It’s objectively silly, but it’s also so irrelevant that there wouldn’t be any momentum toward fractions

10:39
Richard: We often hear of analytically inclined writers making the jump to front offices, but do writers/analysts ever move to sports agencies instead?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Less often. It’s not really what writers want to do, since the prestige isn’t there

10:40
Jason: Is there a way to see game by game stats? For example, if I wanted to see what Carlos Correa’s wRC+ was after each game (not what it was for that game, but what it was for the season up until that point)

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Change the dates to suit what you want

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately it’s kind of annoying if you want a bunch of information at the same time

10:41
HappyFunBall: The O’s are doing the same back end SP shuffle that the LADs are doing, but with their AAA team instead of the 10-Day DL. Seems a more “honest” way to go about extending your bullpen…

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: O’s pitchers have options and Dodgers pitchers don’t

10:42
Tyler: What are your thoughts on Hector Santiago? He’s been really impressive thus far, but he has to come back down to earth, right?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing about that profile impresses me

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: He’s long been able to keep his ERA under his peripherals, but not by nearly this much

10:44
Bear Hands: What the hell is the Phillies’ plan? They can’t go on like this, can they? 1B sucks, SP sucks.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Just a year ago everybody loved the starting pitchers. Those guys are still there, working through kinks

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: And Rhys Hoskins is a first baseman with a four-digit OPS in Triple-A

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: The Phillies will be okay, I promise

10:46
Stevil: Gun to your head, Judge or Haniger for your RF?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Judge, but it’s actually closer than many would assume

10:48
Tyler: Why do you think Buxton has begun to have success the past few weeks? What changed compared to the first month?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Similarities between his season and Keon Broxton’s, although Broxton has been better. I doubt there have been any dramatic changes in mechanics or approach. It’s probably just been more of a mental thing, where they got too down on themselves early, and at some point they were able to just snap out of that funk and get a fresh start

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I know that sounds stupid and boring, but it’s my hypothesis

10:49
wrex: Please discuss Byron Buxton further.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: The best thing about the recent hot stretch: he’s not striking out so often. Although his contact rate is still low, so it’s not like that has been conquered

10:50
Nat: Re Mt. St. Helens – dude, look into AT skis if you’re wallowing in soft spring snow. After postholing down Rainier, I swore I would never walk down a volcano again.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing has made me want to learn to ski more than watching people ski past my own sad trudging ass

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: The risk is…substantial, but oh god the reward

10:51
Yonder Alonso: What’s stopping every hitter from making the same adjustment as me and turning into a 20+ HR guy?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Not every hitter can up and change the way he’s hit since he was in high school

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Some guys have confessed that they’ve tried to hit more fly balls and it’s messed them up

10:51
PD: Pirates should start selling, right?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Nobody sells in the middle of May

10:52
Josh: To what degree do you believe in Kahnle’s newfound control? His F-Str% is up close to league average right now.

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: His strike rate is trending back closer to normal, but I still do think he’s significantly improved

10:52
Tyler: With Berrios coming back up for Saturday, do you think he can turn it around?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not very worried about what happened in 2016. It didn’t make much sense, given his talent

10:53
mtsw: If someone invented a pill that increased the rate calluses developed (so pitchers would get fewer blisters) would it be considered a PED and be banned?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: No, it wouldn’t make enough of a wide-spread impact for people to be turned off by it

10:53
Laroo: Would love your take on Haniger when he comes back? Budding star in the making? Or just your average Joe?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: In between. He’s better than average but I don’t think he has it in him to be an actual star player

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Someone like Kyle Seager actually works. Seager’s been great! But I don’t think people think of him as a star third baseman

10:54
Guest: Erik Karlsson took over that series with a broken foot!!!!

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: ERIK

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: KARLSSON

10:55
Huston Streets Ahead: Let’s say the Mets offer Nimmo for Maurer…do Pads entertain it? Renfroe and Jank have been bad…

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Revisit in a month or two, but for now, I don’t think that’s what the Padres would be looking for

10:56
Ralph: Thoughts on A’s depth chart as they try to find room for guys like barreto, nunez, chapman, olson. is plouffe gone next year? lowrie? healy? where does barreto play?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Plouffe will definitely disappear. And Lowrie will get squeezed out. Either Semien or Barreto will presumably shift, and slowly but surely, the A’s will once again resemble a team with legitimate promise

10:57
5 Run Homer: You mentioned Pillar’s power spike. Do you think it’s sustainable? If it is, and his defence doesn’t bounce back all the way, does his value really change at all?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: I looked into Pillar on my own a week ago or something and I don’t really see a lot of reason to believe that he’s a good hitter now

10:58
J: Mike Trout has had the highest wRC+ the past few years with Votto right behind him. Miggy had the highest xwOBA last year and was known as the best hitter in baseball before that. Harper is having a monster start again. Freeman leads in xOBA this year in a very small sample while Zimmerman has the highest wRC+. Who is the best hitter in baseball?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Mike Trout

10:58
wOBAMA: With regards to Jon Gray, how significant do foot injuries impact pitchers upon their return?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Going to be a question of discomfort and muscle memory. If Gray hasn’t had his muscle memory screwed up, and if his foot feels all right, then he should be good to go. If something got knocked awry, or if he’s feeling pain still in his delivery, then that’s a bigger issue

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: It’s his plant foot, so we’ll see how he’s commanding the ball when he’s back

11:00
Kristen: Of the teams that were expected to be contenders this season but instead have disappointed, e. g., TEX, NYM, TOR, PIT, SF, KC, which is/are the best equipped/most likely to bounce back?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Rangers have it in them to make a WC run if/when Beltre and Ross show up

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: And I haven’t given up on the Mets, although the situation has clearly gotten much harder for them

11:01
Danny Salazar’s Elbow: Jeff, do you have any life codes you stick by no matter what? Or is life to complex to afford any real absolutes to live by?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Be nice and go outside

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: You can’t be nice all the time, and you can never go outside as often as you’d like to, but live your life to maximize them both and you’ll be a happy and centered human being

11:02
Birdtown: Are Spring Training games as enjoyable to attend as MLB games?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so, but I understand why some people might disagree if they like beer, sunshine, and low stakes

11:02
Brent: Are you buying J.C. Ramirez’s start to the season? 4.20 ERA but his K% has jumped 4.6%, walks have stayed steady and he’s managing to maintain his velocity as a starter.

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I’m buying him as a pitcher of legitimate interest. I’m not yet buying him as good

11:03
Tanner: is LoMo at the tipping point, of how good a player needs to be before they get a nickname?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think it probably has a lot to do with how he was one of the earliest adopters of social media. He made himself really accessible, which in turn made him popular

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Now everyone’s on Twitter and so the individuals don’t stand out so much

11:04
Sergio Leone for Third: I got a feeling that if Cleveland ever changed its name, it would go with something stupid like “Rock-n-Rollers”

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: The Cleveland Baseballs

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Their logo would be a baseball

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Their mascot would be a baseball

11:05
Danny Salazar: Speaking of hype- what do I need to do to finally start living up to mine?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Learn to manage contact, you weirdo

11:05
Matty Ice: Is Vincent velasquez destined for the bullpen in philly? Or do you think he fixes his HR problem

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s home runs that will make the difference there

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: He seems like a long-term reliever to me at present

11:06
Sergio Leone for Third: “Dante’s Peak” or “Volcano”?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Dante’s Peak for visuals, Volcano for a demonstration of how lava can actually work

11:06
Moltar: The Mets have a closer in Reed, they need middle relievers. Or ideally a multi-inning guy like Devenski or Bradley. Swarzak maybe?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Swarzak would be an interesting and highly boring get from a PR perspective

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Everyone out there might as well try to mine the White Sox bullpen for everything it’s worth

11:07
Erik: Why wouldn’t a juiced ball help high power hitters? Don’t they hit just as many balls to the warning track as low power hitters, if not more?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: The theory is that the lower-power guys hit more balls around the track. I don’t know if it’s actually true

11:07
mtsw: Can Scott Schebler keep it up? He’s turning into a real asset for the Reds.

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Basically keeping up what he did in the upper minors. If he’s a passable defender, too, then that’s something like a 3-win player. Not bad for a low-profile get

11:08
Tim: it has now been 7 1/2 months of bad McCutchen – time to start thinking he is now a league avg player (like Heyward) or not yet?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Close

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: another month and a half of this, for me

11:09
Bip: I think Machado clearly has a higher floor than Harper. Would you say that Harper has a higher ceiling? On the one hand, his peak WAR is higher. On the other, Machado could still turn into an offensive monster, and with his defense, he could enter the 9-10 WAR range.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I struggle with this, mostly because we don’t have great definitions of what a ceiling really is. Machado is clearly a far more valuable defender than Harper. And I think he has the skills to be just as good a hitter. But Harper has *actually* been an elite hitter for long stretches, and nothing in the game is more valuable than that

11:10
Jake: How would you explain an increased whiff rate, with an increase in hard contact % for a pitcher?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: If it’s not a fluke, it’s probably more whiffs out of the zone, with similar contact inside it

11:10
caesar_solid: Which team is most likely to be buying now that wasn’t before the start of the season?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Well, we can at least say the Orioles won’t be tearing down

11:10
Colinbaseball: Why doesn’t Carson get a chat?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: He’s probably busy enough having to edit everything

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: And he also wouldn’t flourish under the FanGraphs chat format

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: He’s far more of a deliberate thinker

11:11
: I’m concerned the Cubs are going to trade for a rental pitcher, which doesn’t really solve any of their problems. Should I be worried?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: If the Cubs haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt from you yet, I don’t know what to say

11:11
Danny: Why do a lot of power hitters have high gb rates when they pull the ball?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Almost all of them do

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: It’s just the physics of swings. Ground balls tend to be pulled

11:13
Freddie Freeman: How high would you rank me among 1B?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Extremely

11:13
Ceej: Think Devers is the starting 3B by August? That’s rushing, but they’re contending with nothing at 3B

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the starting 3B before August

11:13
Bubba: Is Jose Bautista done?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: No

11:13
Thing 2: Can you answer more questions about the Dodgers DL moves?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, but only a few

11:14
Guest: Is the Benintendi vs. Judge ROY race gonna be a tight one down to the end?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: I believe so, yeah

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: And Haniger will have some kind of outside shot if he gets back soon

11:14
Andrew: How do you think the Angels will use CJ Cron over the remainder of the year?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: In limited fashion. They just plain seem to not like him

11:14
Hal: Is Wade Miley’s performance sustainable or are the walks gonna catch up to him eventually?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, no, a guy can’t continue to be so inefficient

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:15
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 — 5/12/17 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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“I don’t think Baltimore hating Jose Bautista has anything to do with how Toronto feels about Jose Bautista”
I disagree – it makes Toronto fans like him more. Hating the Yankees, Red Sox, and Orioles is part of being a Blue Jays fan. The fact that Bautista is legitimately hated by Orioles fans is hugely amusing to Jays fans.