Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 5/19/17

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:07
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:08
Snowflake: Are Eric Sogard and Carson Cistulli the same person?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Eric Sogard went to Arizona State

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Can you imagine Carson at Arizona State?

9:08
JTT: Where is that blistering hot Jason Vargas content the entire blogosphere has been waiting for?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: It’s never going to happen

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: It’s never going to happen because he’s the same freaking Jason Vargas as always

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: #TheResistance

9:09
Bork: Anthony Alford has been called up by the Jays. Are you on the Alford hype train?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I am not

9:10
fake newss: Thoughts on Berrios after last night’s game? More optimistic now?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I was ever particularly un-optimistic. I never saw a convincing explanation for why what happened in 2016 happened, and the high-minors numbers have always been so promising

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Berrios last year went from 67% strikes in Triple-A to 58% strikes in the majors. That just wasn’t going to hold up. In two starts in the majors this year, he’s thrown plenty of strikes, and it turns out a strike-throwing Jose Berrios can be super good

9:13
Jrk: What’s been the issue with machado’s hitting this season

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: One answer is just bad luck — horrible BABIP despite what would be easily a career-best hard-hit rate

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: But I suspect there could also be an issue of feeling caught in between — Machado hasn’t very consistently blended good bat-on-ball productivity with patience. He’s been swinging less, and it’s good to see more walks, but maybe he just needs to be more aggressive to fire on all cylinders

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I’m still more encouraged than discouraged

9:17
Stuafoo: Cano’s contract is admittedly terrible, but entertain the following experiment if you will. Let’s assume the Ms are sellers, and that Cano is both healthy and productive. How much money mould the Ms have to eat to both entice someone to take him and get a young mid-tier prospect in return? 75%?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry about that delay, got a phone call

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, we have a 34-year-old second baseman

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: From the start of this year forward, Cano’s due $168m over seven years

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Based on our contract-tool estimates, Cano is projected to be “worth” something like $128m over the same seven years

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: As always, you could quibble with that. Teams don’t have a great appetite for big commitments to players so old

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: But I don’t think you’d be looking at a 75% situation, unless you were talking about a high-quality young prospect. Mid-tier, maybe more like 40-50%

9:21
Joe and Paul: Where do you rank Knebel among NL closers for the rest of the season?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, middle? Clearly has swing-and-miss stuff but he doesn’t throw enough strikes for my liking, and that’s a bullpen that’s going to have plenty of role-switches

9:22
JTT: Over/Under on Dustin Ackley appearing in 100 games over the remainder of his career?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Checking in, right now he has a .671 OPS in Salt Lake

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: He turned 29 in February

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: aaaaaaaaaand he’s spent nearly every game as a DH

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take the under, I’m afraid

9:23
Big Joey: How encouraged by Berrios’ start are you? Think he can outperform Dallas Keuchel the rest of the way?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Keuchel has pitched like an ace before. He’s doing it again. Believe in Keuchel.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: This feels like a fantasy question

9:24
Dudeman: How impressive is an immaculate inning?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Both very impressive, and less impressive than ever

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: With strikeouts up and contact down, we’ll see more of these, but they’re still remarkably uncommon

9:25
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Where do you see Corey Dickerson’s slash line at the end of the year?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: In the vicinity of his Colorado lines. I don’t think he’s changed much; he’s a talented pure hitter

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve liked him a lot more than his 2016 numbers. Pretty swing

9:27
toki: Wild idea for the all-star game. Use Dead-ball era rules and allow pitchers to modify the crap out of the ball like they use to. And, play till the ball comes apart. Just for this one game a year. Think it would be interesting?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: It would be interesting in a no-one’s-going-to-watch-but-we’re-all-glad-it-happened kind of way

9:29
AD: Any idea if Hunter Renfroe’s newfound ability to take walks is legit or if it’s just SSS noise?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: My assumption is that this is mostly a fluke, but at the same time, I can’t find much in the way of minor-league precedent for him

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: So by no means should you just dismiss what he’s done. It takes a lot to convince me that an aggressive hitter isn’t too aggressive anymore, but this is exactly what you’d like to see from someone with Renfroe’s many talents

9:32
PTBNL: Jeff – it’s been reported that both the Nats and Red Sox are sending scouts to kick the tires on White Sox players….again. When can we expect trade talks to heat up in earnest, and which players and teams will you be keeping an eye on?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: The White Sox are starting to drop in the standings and everyone knows they’re rebuilding. So I’d say that, even right now, the White Sox are ready to go

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: But as a rule of thumb, no one really gets too invested in the trade stuff until post-draft

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: So you’re looking at another handful of weeks before you could realistically see something semi-major happen. And even there, another team would have to force Chicago’s hand, because it would work in their best interests to drum up more demand as the deadline gets closer

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Robertson on the move around the end of June, though

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: The White Sox might anticipate there could be a bunch of relievers hitting the market in July and Robertson is so obviously available

9:36
Wild thing: What’s your take on Matt Harvey? Do you think he can get his walks down?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Feels like something has to be mechanically off and I wonder if his muscle memory got out of sync when he was forced to make that spontaneous start against Atlanta

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: That’s just speculation on my part but Matt Harvey is *not* this bad

9:37
Jim Lahey: Am I the only one who doesn’t get the hype for Quintana? Yes the contract and durability is nice, but he doesn’t get swings and misses, he’s basically a 2 pitch pitcher (and his curve isn’t even that good, its all FB/FB command), and his peripherals have been trending downwards for 2 years now. Isn’t it obvious the market has spoken about their view on him too with no one biting on CWS’s presumably massive price tag?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: No one believes that Quintana is an ace, but everyone believes that Quintana is a major value. Everyone’s correct!

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: At the end of the day, this is a guy who was worth 18 WAR over the past four seasons. He’s been able to consistently prevent home runs in a hitter-friendly environment. He’s the real deal

9:39
Daniel: What’s the best way to go about hiking a Colorado 14er for the first time?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Make absolutely sure you’re as acclimated as is reasonable for the circumstances

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t just fly to Colorado and immediately try to hike. Give yourself time, at the very least, to get used to Denver

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: If possible, acclimate even higher than that. And then just go slow with *plenty* of fluids. If you feel light-handed, do not push yourself. It’s not worth it

9:40
guy: Is there a place to look up what percentage of the time a pitcher throws a first pitch strike or anything along those lines?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Yes!

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: F-Strike%

9:41
toki: Since Kemp seems to be playing himself into a possible trade chip. Who would be the most likely suitors? Al teams in need of a dh, NL teams in need of a part-time corner OF/1b/DH?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Probably an AL/DH situation. Every team in baseball realizes Kemp is not an outfielder. He just happens to be playing the outfield. He also isn’t this good and front offices can see his .410 BABIP

9:42
Zack Morris: Any insight on what’s going on with Mike Trout’s defense? His UZR/150 is -18.7, by far the worst of his career. Even with SSS I wouldn’t expect him to be Nelson Cruz bad. Call me greedy, but I want the best to be even more better

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Most of that is his arm. Similar story with DRS. His range remains perfectly fine, but Trout’s never been blessed with a cannon. He improved there for a little stretch so I don’t know if this is arm-related decline or just bad luck

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: With arm ratings in particular, I think the underlying numbers tend to be super noisy

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: So far Trout has just one assist, and he’s at a career-low rate of “holding” baserunners. But the sample is so small I don’t think it means anything yet

9:45
Shawn: What are the main issues with Daniel Norris and how are they fixed?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: One thing I just realized: Norris’ average time between pitches last year was about 21 seconds. This year, about 26 seconds. What!

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: He has to knock that off. That sucks

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not the issue, though. Without going too deep, it seems like a problem of inconsistent breaking balls. Hitters aren’t willing to chase out of the zone right now, which lets them sit on in-zone fastballs. Norris’ zone rate does not match up with his walks, so I think he’s better than his numbers, but there appears to be an underlying breaking-ball problem

9:48
AC: Is J.D. Martinez’s .938 ISO sustainable?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: What if-

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: What if it were?

9:48
Jim Lahey: Obviously this doesn’t mean anything, but extrapolated over 600 PAs, keon broxton’s career numbers would be 20/50 HRs/SBs. What HR/SB numbers do you think he will end up at this year if he plays the whole season?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: 20/30 or something. He needs to repair his approach. His discipline has suddenly gotten a lot worse

9:50
: The Cubs have started Ian Happ in center field more than once. This is weird, right? Is it just a way to get his bat in the lineup or what?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: It’s where there’s an opening. The Cubs have played Happ all over the place in the minors, precisely so he could be prepared to come up in case of emergency

9:53
AD: In the opinion of Jeff Sullivan, where does Luis Robert sign this weekend?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: In the opinion of Jeff Sullivan, Jeff Sullivan is not a good person to ask about this, because he has no idea

9:54
Hamlin: Luis Robert… Should the Cards be MUCH more willing to spend than the White Sox?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: They both have plenty of reasons to spend out the ass, here

9:55
2-D: What if Coors field had trees and bushes in play for part of the outfield kinda like how Wrigley has the ivy? Maybe hits into the forest would increase ground rule doubles and mitigate scoring?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Good luck getting that one past a board

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: And why not have a moat between home plate and first? Would probably help keep scoring down

9:56
Erik: Why don’t players ever hold out in baseball? Couldn’t, say, Bryce Harper tell the Nats, “Give me $40 million or I’m staying home.” They’d pay up, wouldn’t they? That happens often in football, and the only difference between football contracts and baseball contracts that I know of is that football contracts aren’t guaranteed, but I don’t see how that would make a difference.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: This will be an unsatisfying answer because I’m not a baseball-contract expert, but within the past few decades, there just isn’t any precedent. Ever since Koufax/Drysdale, players have avoided the holdout. There’s a pay structure in place. I don’t think a team would just cave to Harper, because think about the implications. Harper would stand a pretty good chance of just ending up blackballed

9:58
Ho lee fook: You believe in tyler flowers? He’s been great last 430 pa’s.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: He’s okay. Not good. Just fine. Has kind of gone against the recent trends by focusing *more* on contact, and less on power

9:59
The Sarris Wheel: While Nick rightfully praised Votto for avoiding IFFB, Ryan Howard had only 24 IFFB in his career against 382 HR. No question, just sayin’.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Howard was amazing on contact. The problem was making the contact

10:00
CamdenWarehouse: What are your thoughts on Triggs’s start to the season?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Seems about right. He’s not as good as this ERA, of course, and I’d like to see a few more strikes, but he’s hard to hit and tough to elevate

10:00
wOBAMA: Who’s the next pitcher to throw a no-no who HASN’T thrown one already?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Phil Humber once threw a perfect game. The only good answer to this is a shrug

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: At some point you figure a healthy Noah Syndergaard stands a great chance of pulling one off

10:02
another bad dynasty manager: Yonder Alonso is having a breakout season. But when the trade deadline arrives, he’s sure to be gone—along with other impending free agents. Got any idea where he might end up?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I actually wonder a little about this one. Even though Alonso is 30, the A’s might try and get in there and invest in his breakout for a few seasons

10:03
PTBNL: Of last year’s 10 playoff teams, 6 (TOR, CLE, CHC, NYM, SFG, TEX) would not make the playoffs if the season ended today. Which teams are you least concerned about missing the playoffs this season?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: The Indians and the Cubs are way too good

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Like, way, way too good

10:03
Trader Joe: Does the Freeman injury make it more likely the Braves trade Jim Johnson by July 31?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Zero relationship. The Braves were going to be bad enough to trade Jim Johnson no matter what

10:05
Ralph: How are the rays going to deal with duffy/ beckham / miller in the infield?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Duffy steps in for Robertson, at the very least, and then they go from there

10:05
bosoxforlife: Please explain Jose Berrios’s 2016 season. It looks like the most unfathomable thing ever.

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: It doesn’t make very good sense. Obviously, something happened, but if I had to guess, he just wasn’t mentally prepared for the major leagues, and he allowed things to snowball on him

10:06
JV: Johnny Cueto will be pitching for ______________ on August 1.

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: the Giants

10:07
Q-Ball: Has anyone quantified the impact of wind on park effect? Anecdotally, Wrigley is an extreme pitcher’s park in early Spring, but when the wind is blowing out like Wednesday, it’s Coors East….

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Big problem with measuring wind effect is that wind measurements are taken only once, before the game starts. (As far as I know.) And then, the general wind strength/pattern doesn’t always tell you about the micro-environments within a ballpark itself

10:08
Brett W: In your estimation, what are the odds that at some time in MLB history two teammates have been romantically involved with one another?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Probably 100%

10:09
Jump man: Any expectation of when Carter Capps will be called up

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Last I heard, he’s still in extended spring training, because his mechanics are off

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: God knows what they’re working on, but the last time Capps pitched in the minors, he couldn’t throw nearly enough strikes. It could be a while

10:10
Beasy Bee: Dave said something about forcing you to write about Jason Vargas. Are you allowed to tell him no?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: We joked about it last weekend. I usually take any topics I’m given, but, Jason Vargas? Heavens no

10:10
JV: When do you think Edwin Diaz regains the closer job?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: 2-3 weeks

10:10
baby bull : With new 10 day DL, how long till teams expand rosters to 26 or 27 guys? If you increase 25 man roster do you also have to increase 40 man roster?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: With the 10-day DL, you could argue teams have already effectively expanded their rosters to 26 or 27 guys

10:12
Zonk: Javy Baez has just about the worst plate discipline numbers in baseball. At this point, is this just who he is? Can he survive and thrive with his hacktastic ways?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Javier Baez is never going to be a disciplined hitter, not in the way that we think about disciplined hitters. You can’t restrain his aggression and expect him to thrive

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: As such, his upside is, what, a better defensive Jonathan Schoop?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Perfectly fine player, but he’ll have extremely frustrating stretches of ugly outs

10:13
Brad: No one can fill his shoes, but who steps up for Freeman in his absence? Is there a Braves prospect who is on the cusp?\

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:13
2-D: Should different levels of saves be awarded based on leverage index? Holland’s last two saves for getting 1 out with a four run lead hardly deserve a full save.

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s any appetite for adjusting the save statistic. It’s not worth trying to fix

10:15
cardsjason: So the 31% cost of living increase led us to turn down the job offer in Portland. Sucks but man that’s crazy. Baseball: Are the Astros the best team in baseball? I mean, I know their record indicates that they are, but ARE THEY?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’m inclined to think it’s the Dodgers, but the way Keuchel has come back has really solidified what could’ve been a suspect rotation. The Astros are unquestionably elite

10:16
Outta my way, Gyorkass: The projections are understandably still chilly on the Brewers, having the suspect pitching they do, but let’s say they keep up the (full season) pace they’re on for the forseeable future. How long do they need to keep it up before “playing above their talent level” becomes “bonafide contender”? How much of that would come from bringing up some MiLB pitching reinforcements to replace some of the underperformers on their pitching staff like the recent banishment of Wily Peralta to the bullpen?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: It would take months to convince me that the Brewers are really and truly a lot better than their projections. That’s based on…historical analysis of overperformance vs. projections

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: But the Brewers are now projected to end up 78-84, or thereabouts. That includes what they’ve already done. Play like this for another month or so and they’re in the wild-card conversation almost by default

10:18
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Whats your favorite hike you’ve done in the Western half of the country?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Probably either exploring the Mt Margaret backcountry just north of Mt St Helens, or getting to Glacier Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness

10:18
DTH: Berrios was looking pretty pretty prettaaaaaay good. what level is he going to settle into this year? and do the Twins sneaky good young core have a shot at the playoffs this year?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: The pitching staff is just too bad, even with Berrios. But now we’re seeing why the Twins could have a real direction. So much comes down to Buxton/Berrios/Sano because the upside is massive

10:22
Julio Teheran : Whats up with me this season? Am I worth buying low?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Teheran has just completely collapsed against left-handed hitters

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Against righties, he’s been basically normal

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Lefties, though, have smacked him for a .400 wOBA, and they have six more walks than strikeouts

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Having a worse curveball is a problem, and his changeup has barely gotten any whiffs at all

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: As usual, it’s probably more mechanics than anything else, but this is a big concern right now

10:25
RJ: alford getting the call; hes been great in AA… can he make an impact at the big league level?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t expect him to be up more than a few days

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: He needs more time, and he’ll get it

10:25
JTT: What is your early guess for “Trade that makes a ton of sense for both teams and needs to happen but won’t?”

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I guess I’ll go with Robertson to the Nationals

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Been obvious for months but maybe he’s just too expensive

10:26
Erik: In general, would you prefer Manfred and the MLB to have some optimal mix of HRs/Ks/BBs/batted balls in mind and intervene to keep the game in the vicinity of those numbers? Or would you prefer them to be hands off and let the game evolve?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not convinced yet that the average fan actually cares about TTO% rising higher and higher

10:27
squints: A follow up —- i would think the white sox would try to sell early as well so they beat the other sellers (royals) and get the best prospects being offered.

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll try, I’m sure. At the same time, buyers will be operating with full knowledge that more sellers will emerge as the deadline gets nearer. So, per usual, it’s not as simple as it seems like it could be

10:27
Luis Polonia: What player lives at the delta of ugliest swing/best results in baseball?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Easy answer right now is probably Hunter Pence but I never loved Raul Ibanez’s swing

10:28
Jack: Are you a Delino Deshields believer?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: High strikeouts, low power. Terrible combination

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Best possible outcome here is that he looks like Michael Bourn for a season or two

10:29
Ironcurtin: What’s your take on Edwin Diaz’s control issues?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: It happens with raw hard throwers. I haven’t examined his mechanics in detail but I’m sure there’s a kink

10:29
BigRed: What do the M’s do with Leonys? Seems like he doesn’t get another shot unless there’s an injury. I thought they would have moved him by now if only to dump salary.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: No one wanted him at his cost. If he does well in the minors, everyone will re-evaluate

10:30
Matt: The Brewers are leading the NL Central, but they will need a #1 starter if they want to compete further into the future. With a ton of money available next off season, do you see them signing one of Arietta, Ohtani, or Darvish? Do you see them trading some of their surplus of minor league talent for someone like Duffy, Quintana, or Archer? Or do you see Hader or Woodruff turning into the #1 they desperately need?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: They’re definitely not ever going to be a player for one of the high-priced aces

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I assume they’ll remain on track trying to develop the pitchers they have. I just can’t see the Brewers making more of a win-now move any time soon

10:32
Blerg: Despite the TTO approach, the Rays line-up has been quite productive this year. Do you take that as as a testament to the benefits of going “all-in” on strikeout-prone sluggers (rather than trying to balance them out with high-contact hitters)? I’m thinking of something Dave wrote about Mark Trumbo being a better fit on a Seattle team that had a lot of similar hitters than he would be on one with a more contact-oriented approach.

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly I don’t think there’s a real lesson here. This is where the Rays have wound up, partly by design, partly by coincidence.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Some teams are more hesitant to strike out than others, but the Rays are in no position to be particularly picky about the kind of value they can acquire

10:34
Erik: With velocity going up across the board, is command going down, or are pitchers just plain better? Or is this question unanswerable since we can’t measure command well at all?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: The question is technically unanswerable but I would assume that pitchers are just getting better

10:35
Trevor Gobble: What are we more likely to see come October: The Brewers fighting for a wild card spot or the Rockies fighting for the NL West crown? Feels like there is a lot of similarities in these two teams albeit Colorado has the higher end talent and the Brewers pitching seems to be pitching over there peripherals quite a bit.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Brewers and the WC, just because the Giants and the Mets have dropped so far. So the NL WC picture has opened up considerably

10:37
The Ghost of Sam Miller: What is the probability that you could pass a college statistics class at this point in your career?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: If I’m actually taking the class then the answer is 100%

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: If I’m just supposed to wake up one morning and take a final exam then the chances are much much lower because I don’t remember permutations and whatnot

10:38
DTH: how bad does the Mets situation have to get before they start considering selling pending FA (Walker, Grandy, Bruce, Reed) at the deadline?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: No one wanted Bruce even over the winter and Granderson has a 41 wRC+

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: If the Mets are still a few games under .500 near the end of July they’ll be open, but no one’s going to give up much

10:39
KJ: Re: St. Louis being rumored as one of the favorites for signing Luis Robert. Does it bother anyone that a reason they have so much money to sign is because they don’t pick until 94 in the upcoming draft? They lost the first round for signing Fowler; but picks 56 and 75 are going to Houston because they broke the law. Now it seems they can just use that money to sign the best international player available. Doesn’t seem like much of a punishment…

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: They could’ve come up with $20 million or whatever no matter what

10:40
Mike Rizzo: Assuming I have to pay for them, which White Sox reliever should I trade for? Robertson, Swarzak, Kahnle?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Robertson, but you might as well try to get Kahnle too

10:41
Blerg: Are the Braves the least watchable team in baseball now? Tuning in to see how long Freeman could keep this incredible stretch (dating back to last season) going was about the only thing that was keeping me interested. At least if they had a few exciting young players, I could get behind them, but Swanson is struggling, and the rest of the team is guys like Brandon Phillips, Nick Markakis, Bartolo Colon, and RA Dickey.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Right now I can’t imagine wanting to watch a Braves game

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: But fans are fans and I’m not a fan. I’ve watched some horrible Mariners teams before on a regular basis

10:42
Douglas X.: Why can’t we just settle on one consensus WAR?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably better for everyone to have a few of them

10:42
G Money: With Cespedes coming back, should Conforto be at all worried of losing his spot? Or do you see him as an elite batter who will bat 1-4 in the Mets lineup for years to come including this year no matter who comes back?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Conforto will play and be fine

10:43
Erik: Are players more valuable if they match the dominant trends of the era or if they go against them? Would a three true outcomes guy like Joey Gallo be more valuable in the 1980s, when his power would be even more of an outlier, or would he never come close to the big leagues, since his low batting average would be even more unacceptable? Or is value just value regardless of the era?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Based on this: http://www.fangraphs.com/guts.aspx?type=cn

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: …it seems like walks and homers used to be a little more valuable than they are now. But just in overall terms, value is value regardless of league-wide trends

10:44
Charlie: The Cardinals and Pirates are playing in Williamsport during the LLWS. Super cool idea. Lets imagine they play on the LL field, with LL rules. 225 fences, 60 foot bases, metals bats, 46 ft mound. What’s the final score? Does anyone make contact with the ball coming from so close. Does anyone contact not leave the yard. A true three outcomes game.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: 46ft mound? Nobody scores. Nobody hits the ball

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: You’re chopping almost a quarter off the already limited time a hitter has to react to a pitch

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Hitting would be impossible. Every fastball would be like 110 – 120 effective miles per hour

10:46
Guest: How many tabs do you have open at one time for the chats? You guys seem to pull up info very quickly to answer the questions. Or is it more your access to easily queried raw data?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I have just this and one other tab. I hate having too many tabs open. It stresses me out

10:46
Ryan: How come Fangraphs uses UZR instead of DRS in WAR? Why isn’t UZR updated every day?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: The decision-makers put more trust in UZR than DRS

10:48
squints: Do you see any issues with Verlander? Walks seem to be way up. is that a fluke? Are there warning signs with any other peripherals? If detroit falls out of it — is he a tradeable/valuable asset?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: It looks like he’s had some trouble getting hitters to chase his curveball out of the zone, which is reminiscent of Daniel Norris. But the Tigers are also without reliable pitch-framing back there, so that’s not doing the staff any favors. Based on the indicators I see I don’t think you need to worry about Verlander longer-term

10:50
Charlie: Out of curiosity, do you or any of the FanGraphs ever gamble? Play Draftkings/FanDuel? Just seems like something the analytical mind couldn’t resist.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: That’s what I thought about 11 years ago, and then me and my genius baseball brain lost like $250 in one afternoon as a broke-ass college student

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: If anything we might understand better than anyone that you *shouldn’t* bet on baseball

10:51
Coop: What’s wrong with Cueto?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing

10:51
BK: What should Braves fans look forward to now this summer?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Freeman coming back

10:52
Evan: An earlier piece about Bronson Arroyo got me thinking about deception. Will sabermetrics ever be able to quantify this in the future?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Teams and analysts will eventually be able to identify certain quirks that seem to make a pitcher more deceptive. I doubt there’ll be much that’s public

10:53
Andy: Michael Conforto- Budding superstar or settles into more of a 3 WAR guy?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: 3-4 WAR guy

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Which is very good

10:54
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: What era has been the best era of baseball, in your opinion? Like, if you wanted to define baseball to someone who had never seen it and had all of the tools and technology of today to watch a game, when would you choose?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Call me a sucker but the gameplay’s never been better than it is right now

10:54
Roman: Any reason to start worrying about Manny Machado? .224 and it’s coming up on late May.

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: He’s fine and great

10:54
The Average Sports Fan: Dave posted poll on if you would prefer Altherr or Schwarber. Who would you prefer?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Altherr but I’m always on the heavy side in terms of caring more about defense

10:55
Anthony: So Yasmany Tomas is 5th in BsR this year? How is that possible?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: One factor: he hasn’t even bothered trying to steal. For him, that’s good!

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: He’s also hit into just one double play

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: And he has yet to make an out on the bases. Good for Tomas!

10:56
Erik: Is Kershaw still the best pitcher in baseball? He’s second in WAR (just a tenth of a win ahead of your favorite pitcher, Jason Vargas) but a full .8 wins behind Chris Sale. Is Sale now better than or equal to Kershaw? Or does Sale have to do this for a full two years or so before stealing the crown?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw’s better. It would take a while to convince me otherwise

10:57
Andy: When you sort by ‘Pace’, the top three slowest pitchers are all Rays? Does that mean anything?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: It means it probably sucks to watch Rays games

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: The Reds have a bunch of fast-paced pitchers. I think it’s mostly a coincidence

10:58
ghost of earl: You helped one guy with question where to find things, can you help me too? Where did you find that info about how much time Norris is taking between pitches?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Pace (last column)

10:58
Erik: If Harper continues to match Trout’s WAR for the rest of the season, will we be back to talking about a tier of the two of them ahead of everyone else? Or will Trout still be the undisputed king?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Trout would still be in the lead just because he didn’t have a disappointing 2016, but it would be a close race again

10:58
Josh: Rank the Yankees in terms of projected future success: Torres, Rutherford, judge, Sanchez

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez, Judge, Torres, Rutherford

10:59
Jacko: Your best guess, most likely landing spot for Quintana?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll put him on the Yankees

11:00
Anthony: So, what could the A’s get for Andrew Triggs? Seems like a very valuable trade piece, but not really a core piece on the next good A’s team right?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no reason to move him. Under control for forever and he’s still so new to starting that it’s not like he’s generated a huge market of interested suitors

11:00
Eric: Is there more skill to BABIP than just speed and line drive%? Do spray hitters usually fare better with how many shifts are going on nowadays? I always thought it was a legitimate skill to hit a grounder to a direction I want..

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Spray hitting tends to be good, and so much is about avoiding pop-ups. If you’re a pull hitter and a fly-ball hitter, your BABIP is going to suck

11:01
Tyler: what do the mets do when cespedes comes backs. Conforto looks like a superstar do they just shift granderson to bench most days or ship bruce in a trade?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Conforto is going to keep on playing. Not every single day, but no one should do that anyhow

11:01
Guest: How did you get so into hiking and mountains and volcanoes and all that?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: First day I moved to Portland, I saw a shiny white Mt Hood in the distance and something just genuinely ignited within.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Plus, I’ve had jobs where during the week I’ve had to be connected almost all of the time. I hate being on my computer and phone and there’s no better relief than getting way the hell out there

11:02
Erik: Zack Cozart currently leads all SS in WAR, but he doesn’t get talked about much. Is that because A) he plays in Cincinnati, or B) he’s not actually very good?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Nobody buys his power surge. But also the Cincinnati part. He’s a good shortstop

11:03
Pete: With the Twins playing so well, is Byungho Park doomed to spend the entire season in Rochester, NY? Or do the Twins take the first decent trade offer they get?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Park hasn’t done anything yet in Triple-A. But, Kennys Vargas hasn’t been good this year in the majors. If Park catches fire he’ll earn a look

11:04
Dudley: Where are you today on Judge’s ‘floor’ as a hitter?

Over/under .270?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Aaron Judge’s floor is wayyyyyyyyyy under .270

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hitting .270 these days counts as pretty damn good, and Judge still strikes out a bunch

11:04
Guest: The NBA playoffs STINK. The NHL playoffs are the best thing in sports.

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Go Sens go!

11:04
caesar_solid: why doesn’t Cistulli do these? I have questions only that man can answer

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think I mentioned last week that this format just isn’t really Carson’s thing

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not the sort of writer who is designed to answer questions quickly on the fly

11:05
Jack of all trades: Is Kevin Pillar breaking out?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I looked into him a couple weeks back and didn’t see too much of interest. I think it’s more of just a hot streak

11:06
Guest: Is there a worse lineup decision being made than having Alcides Escobar bat leadoff?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine that there would be or could be

11:06
AC: Is defensive statcast data available publicly yet? (aside from hardest hit balls/fastest pitches). Things like “route efficiency” for outfielders?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: We’ve got public catch probability but not public route efficiency leaderboards

11:06
Anon: Do you read every question submitted or do some go by too fast?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Way too fast. There are more than 700 people in here right now. It’s impossible

11:07
DC: Who is your favorite baseball PBP guy?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I love Aaron Goldsmith on the radio, and Len Kasper and the Giants broadcast on TV

11:09
darrenasu: At this point in the season…who do you think “won” the d-backs/M’s trade from the offseason?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how the M’s wouldn’t be thrilled

11:10
darrenasu: What bias are you most susceptible to in your analysis? How do you overcome it?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Most susceptible to the bias that something with a given player has actually changed

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling. Podcast time pretty soon

11:11
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 — 5/19/17 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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