Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 5/15/15

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Well let’s chat

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s just chat about baseball

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Every so often there will probably be a question not about baseball, and then someone will complain about it

9:10
Comment From The Ghost of Dayn Perry
Jeff Sullivan CorreaGraphs Chat – 5/15/15

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Good player. Not a major leaguer at the moment!

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Was interesting to hear Dan Farnsworth talk about Correa’s swing in Arizona in March, but it would also be interesting to hear an update on that

9:11
Comment From Northsider
Why isn’t there as much of an outcry in regards to Correa and Super 2 status as there was with Bryant and the extra year of eligibility? Is it a double standard, or are the 2 situations truly that different?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Well, for one thing, simply, people have a greater understanding of team control than super-two rules. One regards when a player can become a free agent. The other is simply about a few million dollars. The former is a bigger deal

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: But also, Correa is three years younger than Bryant is, and before this year he’d never played in the high minors. Bryant last year absolutely steamrolled through Double-A and Triple-A. Bryant was more obviously ready

9:14
Comment From Joe
What is the optimum launch angle(or range of angles I suppose) and exit velocity for producing the most productive balls in play?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re *not* hitting a home run, you’re looking to hit the ball about 10 – 20 degrees above the horizontal. Home runs are more like 25 – 35. You’ve probably seen it explained that BABIP has kind of a u-shape with regard to batted-ball velocity — it’s high at low velocities and higher at high velocities

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Once you reach the triple digits, you’re doing well. But Tony has written recently about some productive areas below that

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: He has written about a dividing line around 92.5mph

9:17
Comment From AK
Is Hosmer’s breakout for real, or do you expect his numbers to come down once his BABIP and hr/fb regress?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t buy him as an MVP-level slugger — this is too out of character, and there aren’t enough meaningful changes. But I like where his home runs have gone, and I like that he’s back to drawing walks. I think he’s his 2013 self, plus a few little gains. His 2013 self with a few more powerful fly balls is a star first baseman

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Hard to believe he’s still just 25. Hard to believe that, for the Royals, it’s finally happening

9:20
Comment From Tom
I saw you posted an article at 8:50 or whenever and thought, “There’s no way he’ll be late for chat today”

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I have absolutely no self control over seeing links on Twitter and saving them for later

9:21
Comment From Minty
Do you trust the Mets with Thor more or the White Sox with Rodon for maximizing talent?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I trust the White Sox more with keeping Rodon healthy, but the Mets have churned out Harvey and deGrom so it’s not like they suck at making pitchers into good pitchers

9:22
Comment From adam
is jason heyward any good? Is this just a bad start or at what point is this the norm?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t figure *this* is the new norm, but ther’es obviously something wrong. Perhaps I’ll write about this early next week. Seems overdue. It’s not that it’s impossible to be a good hitter with a 60% groundball rate, but it’s pretty impossible if you used to run a 45% groundball rate

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, perhaps this’ll be a post for Monday

9:23
Comment From The Ghost of Dayn Perry
What’s your favorite volcano themed movie?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I find Dante’s Peak to be the most watchable. Volcano has some pretty accurate depictions of lava, aside from the whole melting-into-it thing

9:23
Comment From The Ghost of Dayn Perry
Do we have enough data to say that your chat start time has stabilized?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Without question

9:24
Comment From Gary
Indians shoulda left Kluber in, right? We’re talking history here!

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I think he would’ve been fine, but I do understand it. The goal is winning games, not trying to set new records. I’m biased because I’m coming from the perspective of wanting to see really neat and novel things. The Indians just want to stop sucking

9:25
Comment From HappyFunBall
Does Tampa have any pitchers left?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Odorizzi is super good. Archer is also super good

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: This’ll be a good test. There’s no one reliable outside of those two. Even Moore wasn’t exactly reliable when he was healthy. What can the Rays cobble together? we’ll probably be able to learn something

9:26
Comment From Kiley
Your last chat didn’t mention me. Let’s not make that mistake this week.

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: quota achieved

9:28
Comment From Statistically Confused
Julio Tehran gonna turn things around?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: There’s nothing I’ve been able to find that’s particularly troubling. So much of the normal stuff seems to be there for him, with just a little worse underlying performance. It does look like his arm has dropped a little bit, and maybe that’s a symptom of something, but as far as I know this could just be about the catching. I think he’s going to be OK

9:31
Comment From Mr. E
Is it time to say that this the player that Jason Heyward is going to be?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: 3000 career plate appearances. He’s more than his last 140

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: In 2013, he had a .533 OPS at the end of May. From then on, .867

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, he had a .598 OPS on May 10. Rest of the way, .778

9:34
Comment From Steve Cishek
What are the odds that I close again in 2015?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: High!

9:34
Comment From adam
what do you expect when rendon comes back?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Easing him in. But I figure he’s going to be great until the next time he’s injured

9:35
Comment From Phillies113
So Joc Pederson. He’s rather quietly been really good! And his BABIP is only .291. Could that mean he’s gonna get even better?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think he’s going to build on an ISO that’s already north of .300

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: The best versions of Pederson are going to look like this version of Pederson. Tons of walks, tons of strikeouts, tons of dingers. Last I checked, Pederson had faced maybe the easiest slate of opposing pitchers in baseball. It’s a thing to keep in mind. The league will find out how to pitch to him more effectively, and he’ll settle in closer to, say, a 125 wRC+

9:37
Comment From DUBS
As far as Pujols goes for ROS. Do you see him being as bad as 2013 pujoles, worse than 2013 pujols, or as good as 2014 pujols?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: On the level of 2013 Pujols

9:38
Comment From mtsw
Camden Chat did a piece analyzing Steve Pearce’s struggles at the plate where they concluded basically that he’s been unlucky but otherwise is the same guy he was in 2014 http://www.camdenchat.com/2… Do you agree?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think luck alone explains a massive drop in ISO, but I can’t exactly read the whole post in the middle of a live chat

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I do not think that Steve Pearce’s actual ability has changed a meaningful amount from last season. He’s also not as good as last season’s numbers, and this season’s numbers are way too low

9:40
Comment From Bart
What are your expectations for Mikel Franco?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: He’s hitting the ball with authority now and it seems like he’s learned a thing or two about turning counts into his favor. He’s going to be a lot better than his debut. Still up and down, and I don’t think he’s going to pull a Joc Pederson or anything, but he’ll be a breath of fresh air for a terrible, terrible team

9:41
Comment From AP
Will the Rockies find all of the trade offers “Tulo” this year?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Congratulations on your headline!

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: It’s so hard to imagine a trade like this happening in the middle of the year. But if Tulo is healthy, I think other teams will be sufficiently motivated. Still, I’m more expecting him to go next winter

9:43
Comment From adam
if harang can continue to pitch well to and through at least the draft, what type of trade could he net for the phillies

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing significant. he’s still Aaron Harang, and other teams know that

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: The market allowed Harang to sign with the Phillies in January for a year and $5 million. That was his perceived value then. No one’s going to figure he’s reached a whole new level in a couple of months

9:45
Comment From DatsunB210
Cory Spangenberg does a lot of things right. He should start all the time for the Padres.

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Wonder when they’ll just up and get sick of Jedd Gyorko

9:47
Comment From greg
Will Marlon Byrd’s trade value at the deadline be roughly the same as what it was this past winter?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if teams are going to be jazzed about his $8 million vesting option for next year

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: He’s on pace to exceed the 550-PA threshold by quite a lot

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Balance that against the higher price of midseason trade acquisitions, and maybe the Reds could bring back a Ben Lively equivalent

9:49
Comment From DatsunB210
Is Mike Napoli in decline, or just waiting out some bad luck?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: He’s much better than this

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: But he’s also in decline! He’s 33. He’s not getting better

9:50
Comment From AK
Do you expect Soler to rebound this year and live up to the hype? Or do you think it will take longer than this year?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll have a better second half than first half, but I don’t know if any of the Cubs prospects can live up to the hype, if you know what I mean. Soler has clearly demonstrated that he’s in the upper echelon of hard-hitting players. He’s more prepared than, say, Javier Baez. It shouldn’t take many adjustments before he’s a terrifying threat

9:51
Comment From David
Bryce Harper’s strikeout rate is free-falling (it was over 30%, now down to 25% and moving down) while his walk rate has remained stable around 20%. This is a great sign right?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: He’s going to get pitched around more and more. He’s earned it

9:53
Comment From Ryan
It could just be me, but it seems like prospect promotions are considerably more hyped this year than normal. Between the likes of Bryant and Russell with the Cubs, Thor with the Mets, Pederson with the Dodgers, etc., I cant remember the last time there were this many hyped prospects promoted this early. Is this a product of Trout’s success and everyone’s search for the next great thing?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Recently there were Bogaerts, and Taveras, and Baez, and Polanco, and Springer…I think we do get excited by prospects more every single year, but there’s been that prospect-hype thing for a while now. It’s just about chasing the next great superstar. We suck at appreciating what we’ve grown accustomed to, so we’re always on the lookout for something fresher

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Like, Mike Trout? Okay, we’re all used to Mike Trout. Best player in baseball by an enormous margin. That’s just something we take for granted. So people are paying more attention to other guys, because we always need something new to remain engaged

9:56
Comment From mrwalterisgod
Is DFAing Ackley and promoting Gutierrez to the 40 man the right move for the Mariners? They can’t keep trotting him out there forever with his non-existent bat.

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Ackley would still have some little shred of trade value. So we’ll see how quickly Miller takes to the outfield

9:57
Comment From Bryce Harper
So when can we start rehashing the Trout vs Harper debate? I’m asking for a friend.

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Whenever you like

9:57
Comment From DatsunB210
Tell me about Jon Singleton. Same Jon Singleton striking out 40% of the time and being interchangeable with Chris Carter, or something better to hope on?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t seem like a different player in Triple-A, but then, he’s a good player in Triple-A. In the majors, he needs to make more consistent good contact. The upside comes from his age, but I wouldn’t think of him as being better than Carter

9:59
Comment From Jim
Ethier resurgence semi for real? Looks like the bat speed is back.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: He’s hitting the baseball in the air again. I think he’s back to being a fine player

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: With that said, he’s also seeing fewer southpaws than he used to, so that’s something working in his favor

10:00
Comment From Matt Kory
Were you aware Al Alburquerque and the city of Albuquerque are spelled differently? I just learned this and I am so disappointed in the world!

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I knew one of them had an extra R, but I could never remember which

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: the extra R belongs to Al Alburquerque, where the R stands for Really frustrating!

10:02
Comment From Joel
Do you have a number of career at bats in mind, where you can say “OK, this prospect or this young player is who he is now”? And maybe you cut him and he goes on to figure it out, but you can feel justified because you gave him X number of ABs to figure it out?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see. Moustakas was crap for 2000 plate appearances. Now he seems much better

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sick of Justin Smoak, and he’s closer to 2300

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Dustin Ackley’s up at 2100

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: So maybe I’d put the line around 2500. At that point, if you suddenly go on to figure it out, more power to you.

10:04
Comment From Houzer
Reason for concern with Shark? Or will we see a normalized bounce back as the season progresses –

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s fine

10:04
Comment From DatsunB210
Short of trading for Carlos Correa, what can the Mariners do to get better?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Trade for Troy Tulowitzki

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: They did well to move Miller to the outfield. Maybe he’ll end up pushing Ackley or Jackson to uncommon duty. But they kind of need Cano to not suck, and Farquhar to not suck

10:06
Comment From Mike
Jeff, If you were a Jays fan would a next year rotation of Stroman, Hutchison, Sanchez, Norris and Hoffman be something to look forward to? Or too much risk? (All the bats are back next year too)

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: A little too much risk, and I don’t think I’ll ever buy Sanchez as a starter. That rotation would need to have depth. But I’m one of the biggest Stroman fans in the world, and I also like Norris

10:07
Comment From Quadrangular
Given what we know about leverage and win probability, will we be able to look back at the end of the season and identify the single most important play/at bat of a team’s season? Where the likelihood of making/missing the playoffs shifted most dramatically?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: It would be possible to calculate, but it would take a while. And pretty much all of those events of any significance would come in the final week or weeks

10:08
Comment From Sean
Do you think Goldschmidt can hit .330+ this year? I expect some regression to his BABIP but he’s somehow hitting even better than before and has a career high 16.0% BB%.

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: He strikes out a bit too much to hit .330, but don’t let that take away from the fact that he’s amazing

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I believe he’s the current league leader in hard-hit rate

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Almost at 50%. That’s crazy

10:10
Comment From Left The Building
Time to conclude the money ruined Elvis Andrus’ career? The bat was never expected, but to become the 2nd worst defensive SS in baseball has got to be just sheer laziness/apathy at this point?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not comfortable calling any baseball player lazy or content to just be rich. Andrus could just as easily simply be frustrated by the course of things for the team as a whole. But he does appear to be a wreck. And he’s up past 4000 career plate appearances

10:14
Comment From al
If the Red Sox really were rebuffed in a Furbush-Bradley Jr swap, is that crazy? Why wouldnt any team be offering a LOOGy for Bradley JR? He has to be a better option than Lough, especially when you factor in ceiling, right?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Lough?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say, for a moment, the proposal was valid. Bradley for Furbush, offered in spring. On the face of it, it seems like you’d gladly trade a lefty reliever for a young center fielder. But it was a matter of timing and priorities. The Mariners wanted to win in 2015, and they didn’t have any big-league use for Bradley. Nor did they have a good lefty behind Furbush anywhere in the system

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Probably would’ve been different if that were offered in, say, November or December. Or it would be different if the Mariners were looking like a non-contender for the year ahead. But teams don’t want to subtract from their big-league rosters so close to the season

10:18
Comment From DatsunB210
Does Jesus Montero deserve a chance to DH if Llold refuses to DH Cruz?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Not yet

10:19
Comment From Bart
When is Gregory Polanco going to breakout into the player with the upside we were anticipating or has he been overrated?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: It seems like he was a little overrated — people made too much of his bat-to-ball skills — but he still hasn’t come to the plate in the majors even 500 times. Not everyone can make the instant impact of Andrew McCutchen

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see where Polanco is at this time next season. There’s just a bit more focus on him now because he’s a regular for a contending team so there’s a bit more urgency

10:21
Comment From DatsunB210
Have we concluded that Brad Miller is not an everyday shortstop?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: No, but there’s also a lot of value in his becoming successful as a flexible sort

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: He’s got all the skills to be a good outfielder

10:22
Comment From pot
thoughts about Kershaw getting his 100th win tonight?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: First I’ve heard of it

10:22
Comment From Thomas Light
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most worried, how worried are you about Stephen Strasburg?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: 4?

10:22
Comment From mtsw
Did you see the crazy “third baseman behind the catcher” shift in that Korean game? It’s against the rules apparently to have a non-Catcher set up in foul territory but it was still neat to see them try it.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I must look this up!

10:23
Comment From Will
Logan Forsythe. Riding a hot streak or another example of the Rays finding ways to turn OK players into very good players?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Seems restorative, like he’s back to what he used to be. Forsythe now is what Forsythe was in 2012

10:24
Comment From Dave
Is a great players WAR worth more than an average players WAR because of the scarcity of great players?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Historical contract analysis would indicate no

10:25
Comment From DatsunB210
If neither Brad Miller nor Nick Franklin are actually shortstops, might we conclude that gym rats make bad shortstops?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Imagine what they’d be as shortstops if they didn’t work so hard

10:25
Comment From Mike
With Olivera heading to LA, what are the Dodgers going to do? Have to think they will move either Eithier or Turner to create some room in that lineup.

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Well, at least for the time being, Olivera’s probably going to spend 2015 in the minors

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: And Ethier has been available for a long time. But now he’s kind of important while some of the other outfielders are hurt

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Would not be the least bit surprising to see them move position-player depth for an arm a month or two from now

10:28
Comment From J-Dog
How concerned are you with David Ortiz and the Beltre? Is age catching up with them? I know Beltre’s BABIP is down, but Ortiz doesn’t seem to show alot out of whack in terms of advanced stats. Your thoughts?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Beltre is almost strictly a BABIP thing. He’s been more like himself the last few weeks

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Ortiz has more troubling indicators, but then he’s also the same guy who recently did this http://m.mlb.com/video/v844…

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: With a guy like Ortiz, I think we all understand he’s aging. He’s been approaching a point at which he’ll no longer be a good hitter. He’s been a good hitter for so long that I don’t think you’d expect the end to be abrupt. So, he’s better than this. But he’s closer than ever to being finished. If he is almost toast, it ought not be a shock

10:30
Comment From Mik
What ever happened to Betances’ purported velocity decline in spring training? It appears to have been resolved.

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Lots of pitchers throw below their normal stuff in spring training

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: That’s why there’s spring training

10:31
Comment From neal
is it really that surprising that it’s finally happening for the royals, or actually only kind of surprising?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: I guess it’s only kind of surprising. But it feels more surprising

10:32
Comment From lunch
so if trout can hit the high pitch now, how do pitchers respond? what’s the next move, game theory wise?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: If Trout has made himself better up high and inside, then he almost has to be worse in other areas. I think you still target high heat, but you give him more pitches away to balance things out

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: But really, the game plan is just, make your pitches and whatever happens happens. He’s the best player in the world. He’s going to hurt you

10:33
Comment From Reginald Denton III
When a guy’s walk rate jumps significantly compared to his career rate, is that a sign that a breakout is coming? I’m thinking of Bryce Harper and a couple of other guys this season (Machado, perhaps).

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Or a breakout is already upon us

10:33
Comment From Luca Brasi
Are the Twinkies for real, or is this just a decent start that turns into a still last place finish?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: They’re not good http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

10:34
Comment From lunch
is there a better food than cheese dip?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Most foods

10:34
Comment From Kevin
If medicine advanced to a certain level in terms of preventing and healing injuries, do you think the league would go back to using 4 man rotations?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Sure!

10:34
Comment From Joss
Shouldnt the ultimate HR angle be 45?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Not based on the evidence

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Batted baseballs meet resistance

10:36
Comment From EC
With Kershaw scuffling a bit, what are the chances that Scherzer wins the Cy Young?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: ZiPS has Scherzer now finishing the season with the NL’s best ERA. He gets to share a division with the Braves and the Phillies. Those odds have trended upward

10:37
Comment From Jeff Maximum
How do you see the Pirates infield turning out? Harrison looked like he might’ve been a utility guy again until he started getting hot. Does Kang ever get every day ABs?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: The Pirates just made a commitment to Harrison so they’re not going to back off. There’s no such commitment to Mercer. Kang will play more and more often until or unless the numbers stop favoring him

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: If the Pirates do something, assume they have a good reason for it

10:39
Comment From EC
Bryce Harper for Kris Bryant. Who says no?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Good god

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s actually the Cubs — Bryant feels pretty safe, and he’s got almost twice the remaining team control

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Harper projects a little better the rest of this season, but it’s not by a landslide

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Boy this feels provocative

10:41
Comment From Bangor Submariner
Is it official that Cano is declining?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Year 2 or 10!

10:41
Comment From EC
Hayward takes a one year pillow next year to rebuild value?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Only if this kept up all year

10:42
Comment From Phil
Favorite baseball writer/blogger man? It’s Brisbee isn’t it?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Him or Miller

10:42
Comment From mtsw
What’s your take on the whole Brady ballghazi thing? Do you think MLB would’ve handled it similarly?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: 1) I have not followed this story, because I do not give a shit

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: 2) It seems like if MLB just discovered that some pitchers were using foreign substances to improve their grip

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: It’s like one team being penalized because a pitcher or a few pitchers were found to be blending Bullfrog and rosin. It’s a technical violation of the rules. It also doesn’t matter in any meaningful way and every single team in baseball does it

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: It’s stupid, like 99% of football news

10:44
Comment From mrwalterisgod
Seattle calls Colorado and says if they are willing to eat 60% of Tulo’s contract, in exchange they’ll receiver Walker and Taylor. Who says no?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: The Rockies could probably do better than Walker and Taylor eating 0% of Tulo’s contract

10:46
Comment From Nate
Think the Astros could match up with someone on a Carter for SP trade? Like with San Diego for Tyson Ross or something?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Carter’s a bad defensive first baseman with one skill. Ross is a No. 2 starting pitcher

10:46
Comment From 🙂
Death by volcano or Chapman fastball to the melon?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Volcano

10:47
Comment From Mark
Is Jack Z’s insistence on playing fake outfielders an elaborate troll of the people who complained about the Guti/Endy acquisitions way back when?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Miller is fine

10:47
Comment From Josh G
So the Brewers have lost players to the DL due to a broken toe, a broken pinkie, and a slashed hand in the shower. What’s next?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: appendicitis

10:47
Comment From Kevin
At what point do we acknowledge that Jimmy Paredes is Steve Pearce 2.0?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: August, if something like this is still happening

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: One of my favorite things about the Orioles is how they’re able to recycle other teams’ garbage

10:49
Comment From Dave
Why is Mike Trout far and away the best infield singler in the league? Like 2% points above 2nd?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Well, he’s not. Dee Gordon might be

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: But Trout *is* fast, and infielders play him deep

10:49
Comment From 🙂
If you had to drown in one beer, what would it be?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: La Folie

10:50
Comment From Eric
Im having a debate with a friend of mine… which batting lineup would be more successful over the course of the season. 9 Altuves or 9 Bautistas?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Bautista, as long as he isn’t injured

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s close

10:51
Comment From mtsw
Red Sox front office need to start worrying about job security if team finishes last again?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: You would see some shuffling

10:51
Comment From Joel
Being a baseball writer and chatter, do you ever tire of talking to dudes? Wouldn’t your ultimate fantasy be for a woman to sidle up to you in a bar and just launch into 25 minutes of volcano talk?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Most of my actual verbal communication is with my girlfriend, who is a girl. And on twitter and in chats, it’s not like I’m actually seeing the people with whom I’m exchanging ideas. Most of them are presumably men, but I frequently don’t know or care

10:53
Comment From Alex
Red Sox obviously have starting pitching issues but their bullpen leaves a lot to be desired too. How insane of a package would it take to get Cueto and Chapman off the Reds?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: You can probably expect this to be a post somewhere before long!

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: It’s too obvious and too good not to discuss

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s also kind of funny to think about since the Reds are one game better than the Red Sox are at the moment

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Heavy package. Heavier than what would be offered for Hamels

10:55
Comment From DatsunB210
Can you wax briefly on the complication of “how steroids or hgh improve your abilities”? It’s not linear, and it’s clearly more than just strength- but it’s also a lot less than most people must think. It must just be strange. If you cannot wax on this, do you think we’ll get some kind of controlled study detailing the nature of performance gains from various coctails of drug?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: PEDs make you stronger, and PEDs allow you to work out more frequently. You gain energy. Energy is a big part of the foundation of performance

10:55
Comment From Phil
What’s for lunch?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t even know man

10:56
Comment From Curious Cub
Javier Baez seems to be cutting down at least a little bit on his strikeouts in the minors (16 strikeouts in 57 at bats). When do you think the Cubs call him back up?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Baez Update!

10:56
Jeff Sullivan:
Triple-A, 2014: 63% contact
Triple-A, 2015: 70%

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: He’s also been a little bit more selective

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: I still think their preference is to trade him

10:57
Comment From Josh G
Is a DL stint inevitable for Corey Dickerson? Can he come anywhere close to last year’s numbers playing through the plantar fasciitis?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Isn’t he already putting up last year’s numbers?

10:57
Comment From Wilford
How do you get defensive metrics from a long time ago?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: You don’t, really

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: We have some play-by-play information, but it’s inferior to the recent stuff

10:58
Comment From Pete
Marlon Byrd now has a BB% of 10.6% after starting the season striking out, like, 35 times without a walk. Strange.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I need to take a look at this

10:59
Jeff Sullivan:
Byrd through April 29: 0 walks, 24 strikeouts
Byrd since April 30: 14 walks, 12 strikeouts

11:00
Jeff Sullivan:
Byrd, through April 29: 64% swing rate
Byrd, since April 30: 44%

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: And there you go. He’s stopped swinging at almost literally everything

11:00
Comment From Mike
Would you start Kang over Mercer? (FWIW I think Hurdle is slowly transitioning into that)

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, but I also love Kang

11:01
Comment From Roman
How weird are the Reds and their methods?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Not super weird. Just stuck

11:01
Comment From Gruff Leyland
Greetings Jeff: Question on the Twins piece. Given that the Twins are 2-7 against the Tigers on the year and something like 17-8 versus all other teams, is there any profit to be gained in separating out their BaseRuns expected performance against the Tigers from their other games to determine whether the Twins real issue is having played so many games versus the Tigers this year?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s anything unique about the Tigers. I think you just have to fold that information in with everything else. That’s how I feel, unless I’m given sufficient reason to believe otherwise

11:02
Comment From Guest
Matt Carpenter: All the doubles!

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: And the dingers

11:03
Comment From Josh G
How many homers does Grandal hit? He hits so many grounders…

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Did you know he’s currently fourth in baseball in highest average batted-ball velocity?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: He does hit a lot of grounders, but his fly balls are punished. He should end up close to 20 homers, if healthy

11:05
Comment From David Price
Where’d all my strikeouts go?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Consecutive games against the Royals can do this to a pitcher

11:05
Comment From Sleight of Hand Pro
if he retired after this season, is miggy a hall of famer in your opinion?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Borderline. I’d put him in, but I’d put more people in than are currently in

11:09
Comment From mtsw
Deadspin ran an article blasting Angelos for only paying the employees directly employed by the team for the cancelled games, leaving employees who work at the stadium but are employed by contractors high and dry. Fair or unfair?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Is Angelos supposed to pay people he didn’t hire?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: This is a bit more complicated than I can get into in a live chat, but the analysis seems too simplistic and deliberately provocative

11:10
Comment From Left The Building
DRS says Bryce is the best RF in baseball at +6, fangraphs says Def minus-0.9. Who’s right? Or will it take two more years of sample size to know? And once again does it raise the question of using fickle defense systems as part of WAR?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Right now there’s a five-run difference between Harper’s DRS and his UZR in right field. This happens. This is why you shouldn’t analyze WAR to the decimal place. They’re all approximates

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Including data is better than not including data. If you don’t like the defensive input, adjust it to your taste

11:13
Comment From Guest
Is the difference between ERA and FIP/xFIP solely attribute to luck/defense or are there other factors?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Some guys generate better or worse contact. Some guys are fly-ballers, and some guys aren’t

11:14
Comment From Con
The idea of figuring it out after 2500 PA’s. From your knowledge, can you think of how often this happens? Any that stick out to you?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Jose Bautista, almost

11:14
Comment From Jack Elliott
Are you worried about Corey Kluber? His ERA is over 4 and is only 1-5 on the season.

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t tell if sarcastic

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Assume sarcastic

11:15
Comment From Scott
Is it worth being worried about Billy Hamilton or is it just very early in the season?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Still hitting too many balls in the air. When he puts the ball in the air, he’s bad

11:15
Comment From Guest
Smart move by Seattle to turn down Jackie Bradley JR?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Understandable move

11:15
Comment From CameronDaClub
Ever done the Wonderland Trail?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Not yet but it’s on the list

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Ambitiously trying to do the Timberline Trail soon

11:16
Comment From John
Red Sox keep being mentioned as a possible landing spot for Tulo but isn’t pitching a much bigger need?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Needs are needs. Any improvement is an improvement

11:16
Comment From Paul and Minnie donuts
Holy Rizzo!!! Are we seeing someone who has a Barry Bondsish batting eye??

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: No one is Bonds-good

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Votto sometimes at his best

11:16
Comment From Prospector
What the hell happened to the Rangers middle infield? Can’t recall a faster turnaround from position of strength to cupboard is bare.

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Andrus hit a wall, Odor got rushed, Profar got hurt

11:17
Comment From Guest
Who would you rather have on your team in 2018 – Goldschmidt or Rizzo?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Rizzo, he’s younger

11:18
Comment From Kimball
Doesn’t moving Miller to the (non-center) outfield reduce his value? Isn’t it the most Mariners thing to decide to shake things up by marginalizing their (currently) most productive (both offensively and defensively) infielder?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Somewhat reduces his trade value, but that doesn’t matter if they intend to keep him around. They have needs in the outfield, and they have an extra shortstop. It’s sensible

11:19
Comment From David
Won’t the Astros have a better defensive infield with Correa than any of their other options?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Probably

11:19
Comment From Tony Armas
still finding a LOOGY would be easier than a gold glove center fielder. esp. with Jackson off the books after this year. rather have Bradley than Ackley – even in AAA waiting.

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: No proof that Bradley’s ever going to hit, and the Mariners might have a center fielder in Miller

11:20
Comment From mtsw
Here’s the Korean shift I referenced: http://deadspin.com/third-b…

11:22
Comment From Ed
What do the Mariners do when Austin Jackson is ready to come off the DL next week? Do they send Ackley to AAA? Release Weeks?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: I could see a Weeks DFA, but maybe they’ll make up an injury for Bloomquist

11:22
Comment From Kimball
Did you see Ben Lindbergh’s great article about Jeff Trout? Ben’s transitioned really well into a more reporter-type role, which I feel like you’d also be great at. Is that something want to do some day?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: I could see myself spending more time on fewer pieces, but it’s not something I think about very much, simply because I don’t have time to think about it. When a change happens, it’ll happen

11:23
Comment From Sean
Is Goldschmidt going to get screwed out of an MVP because of Harper?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Not if Harper’s better

11:23
Comment From SoddenEye
What are your thoughts on Dee Gordon’s incredibly high DEF rating? Have their been noticeable improvements or is Perry Hill just that much of a wizard? Been watching him and Hech play all year and they’re like wizards with what they do

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: I think the infield has really gotten better. I don’t know *how* but I believe that it’s true

11:25
Comment From Jason
When the Royals were 12-4, MGL said on Twitter that he would be anyone any amount of money that the Royals would not finish with a winning record in their remaining games. He said he was thinking in the $20,000 range for the bet, so big money for most of us. They’re currently 1 gave over .500 since said bet. What are your thoughts on how confident he is in that bet.

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: On talent the Royals are almost exactly a.500 team, by the best estimates. I would not love that bet

11:25
Comment From Banquo
Does the dating scene get easier when you’re 30?

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t dated since I was 27 but from what I can tell, yes and no

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Fewer options, but it’s also easier to just get to the point without trying to be someone you aren’t. People in their 20s want to be impressed. People in their 30s just want someone they like

11:27
Comment From SoddenEye
Any concern over what you’ve seen from Stanton or do you think he just needs more time to get used to things again?

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: He’s awesome

11:27
Comment From DatsunB210
What are you doing here still?

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t help myself

11:27
Comment From Guest
Do you ever have weird prejudices about players – such as you think of a certain player better or worse than they really, are for non-logical reasons?

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Almost certainly

11:30
Comment From Larry Bernandez
If draft picks could be traded, what kind of talent would it take to fetch the 1st overall pick?

11:30
Jeff Sullivan: Quality young player, but you’re obviously talking about someone below the level of a Bryant or a Correa

11:31
Comment From Shawn
If you could improve 1 tool to make it plus for 1 big leaguer what would that be?

11:31
Jeff Sullivan: It would be fun to give Mike Trout a killer arm. Then we’d have like the literally perfect baseball player

11:32
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe give Dee Gordon a home-run swing

11:32
Comment From Gregory
What team do you find most forgettable? Not just single-season

11:32
Jeff Sullivan: I have to be reminded pretty often about the Twins

11:33
Comment From kramer
I’m still not understanding “it’s bad to not swing at a first pitch strike?” I always thought the only time you swing is if it’s the pitch you’re looking for and in the location you’re looking for. Otherwise, let it go. Why is that a non ideal approach?

11:33
Jeff Sullivan: More or less right — swing at a pitch you think you can hit. Don’t take automatically. Don’t swing automatically. Focus and execute

11:34
Comment From Hank G.
I was puzzled by your agreement last week that A-Rod is a top 5 all-time player. Whom among Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Honus Wagner, Barry Bonds, and Ty Cobb does he displace (and that’s just position players)?

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: I thought too quickly on the fly. He’s way up there, but not top 5.

11:34
Comment From The Big Dipper
How much you bench?

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: I climb

11:35
Comment From Jack Elliott
Making Mike Trout even better sounds boring (cuz it’s not new like you said earlier). I would give Troy Tulowitzki perfect health. Can you imagine what he would have done last year? Now that’s AMAZING.

11:35
Jeff Sullivan: That would be great, but health isn’t one of the classic tools

11:35
Jeff Sullivan: hooooooooooly crap I gotta go

11:35
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 — 5/15/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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CameronDaClub
Guest
CameronDaClub

Thoughts on the rumor the M’s turned down Bradley Jr. for Furbush straight-up?

Tony Armas
Guest
Tony Armas

If True, should cost “Z” his job. the outfield roster construct is a mess. and turning down talent high ceiling talent for a LOOGY seems silly.