Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 6/29/18

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:07

Nick: Who is the biggest threat to the Mariners in the second AL WC spot. Is it really the A’s?

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Basically has to be the A’s

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: They’re seven back. The next-closest team is the Angels, at ten back, and they’ve been completely decimated by injuries

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Rays are 11 back. Blue Jays, 13. Twins, 13.5. It’s the A’s or it’s nobody

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: So maybe the proper response is that the greatest threat is the Mariners themselves. With a critical injury or two, it could all come apart, but their playoff odds are north of 80% for a reason

9:09

stever20: how worried should Dodgers be about Matt Kemp: wRC+ by month
April 146
May 155
June 109

He’s batting .224 in June. With last 2 weeks batting only .139 with a 68 wRC+. With making in those 2 weeks almost as much soft contact as hard contact.

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: We’ve seen this pattern from him before. Just last season! When Kemp is healthy and at peak motivation, he’s useful. When the aches and pains start to pile up, he loses his value pretty fast. I’m not saying that’s definitely what’s going on here, but the Dodgers should just be thankful for the value he already provided. Moving forward, Kemp should not be counted on for very much

9:10

Pio: Reports are that Hand’s trade value is still hot even though he’s been half the player he was last year. Can players really coast on reputation like that with how smart front offices have gotten?

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Hand’s velocity is fine, his strikeouts are fine, and his walks are fine. Brad Hand hasn’t changed. So, Brad Hand is incredibly valuable

9:11

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Enjoyed seeing Colin Poche get some more recognition for going absolutely beast mode on MiLB. Couple things:
– The Rays just happened to feature him in last night’s broadcast’s prospect report. What a coincidence!
– Although he was a PTBNL in the Souza deal, it was reported at the time of the deal that the PTBNLs in the trade were no mere throw-ins. Since the guy is a lock to get a chance in the bigs, that sounds about right.
– Poche’s player page here does not go in chronological order. It goes Rays (AA) – Diamondbacks (AA) – Rays (AAA).

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: Poche is such an obvious Rays kind of player, as a PTBNL. If he were a starter, or if he had more visibly impressive stuff, he wouldn’t have been on the table. The Rays figure what matters most are the high-level performance measures. Poche has been very good, even if his scouting reports are modest. Good grab

9:13

Von Hayes: if Brad Hand is traded do you think it is more likely he will be a setup man than a closer? Which contenders need a closer the most?

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: I used to think the Angels would be the perfect fit for Hand *and* Ross, but now they’ve drifted too far out of it

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: Mariners can’t afford Hand, with their farm

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: I could see the Indians getting involved, and I could see the Cubs getting involved. Don’t think Hand would remain a closer under those circumstances, although he’d still pick up the odd save here and there

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals would also make sense, but it doesn’t seem like their kind of move

9:16

Ichiro: Who do you get the better feeling about long term…Brinson or Margot? Thanks!

9:17

Jeff Sullivan: Brinson has a higher chance of being a total bust, but I’m not super high on Margot’s potential, so I think Brinson covers him in both directions

9:18

Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Did someone in the NY Media suggest that Blake Snell was a realistic target for the Yanks? The number of NYY-TBR trade proposals for him I have seen is staggering given what the Rays would rightfully demand for someone with his talent and control. It is doubly weird when Chris Archer and Nate Eovaldi both exist and are on the block.

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: Here’s what’s going on: The Yankees are in the market for a starting pitcher, New York media people see the Rays pretty often, and there exists a fundamental misunderstanding of exactly what it is the Rays are trying to accomplish. People still think they’re trying to tear it down, and thus the rumor is created

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: The Rays know what they are, and what they are is a team that is not about to trade Blake Snell to a division rival

9:20

Nick: what is a realistic timetable for expansion? Is it really going to be Portland and Montreal if/when it does happen?

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: Probably in the 5-10 year window, and, possibly but not definitely. Those are certainly two of the most prominent candidates. Still have to settle Oakland and Tampa Bay first. That’s the league’s priority

9:21

Mike: What do you think about a Lindor for Bogaerts and Knebel trade?

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: Those players are all on different teams

9:22

Desperate Mets Fan: If his current line is to be believed l, Brandon Nimmo is a star. Is xStats are a bit wary. Does he have the upside to be a star for us?

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: Still have to see more from Nimmo before we talk about him being a star — his wOBA is up 58 points, but his xwOBA is up just 16. His strikeout rate is hovering perilously close to 30%

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: Nimmo’s potential is very high, because he has a great eye and because his bat control is growing into real power. But he’s not all the way there yet. Even with the 141 wRC+, it hasn’t been the most wonderful June

9:25

Jeff Sullivan: 7% walks and 36% strikeouts this month

9:25

Babe Lincoln: Who is the best prospect the Mets could hope to get for deGrom?

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: Keston Hiura

9:26

Jeff Sullivan: If deGrom actually does get moved, the Brewers look like the immediate favorites. Hiura and Burnes get you almost all the way there

9:27

Wade LeBlanc’s pitch tunnel: Apparently Mariners and Rangers have discussed Cole Hamels. 1. Does he even make the Mariners better? 2. What would you give up to get him?

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: He would definitely make the Mariners better, assuming he hasn’t actually become one of the most homer-prone pitchers in either league

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners’ No. 5 starter is Wade LeBlanc. You could make the argument that Hamels would slot in as the No. 2 right behind Paxton

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: Now, on the other hand, the Mariners right now are basically playing for one game — a road game in New York or Boston, against Severino or Sale. So, good luck

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: Hamels wouldn’t be a factor in that game, most likely, and he might not be a factor in 2019 given the $20 million club option (albeit with a $6 million buyout)

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Since the Mariners’ system is almost empty, you could say the Rangers could have their pick. Maybe — maybe — Kyle Lewis is too steep, but he also didn’t make the updated top 131 prospect list, and you just know Dipoto is itching to turn him into someone else

9:35

Babe Lincoln: Do Wheeler and Matz have much trade value?

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: Somewhat limited, but it’s there. Neither starter would be a rental, and they have both mostly maintained their stuff. Matz is still hovering around 93 miles per hour. The Mets could get something interesting

9:36

Joey Bats: Max Muncy is taking a page out of my book! I can’t find a better comparison

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: I continue to come back to Matt Carpenter, after he turned on the launch angle

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: Very similar approaches. Muncy might have a little more power while Carpenter might have a little more bat control, but the profiles and trajectories are right there

9:39

Nick: The Padres got Esteury Ruiz (currently their #11 prospect) and Matt Strahm for Trevor Cahill, Brandon Mauer and Ryan Buchter…..lol

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: Ruiz is having the worst season of his young career and Strahm is essentially a long reliever who was hurt at the time of the exchange

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t mean the Padres didn’t get the better side of the deal, because they did, but it’s not like this is laughably one-sided. As much as I’m interested in Strahm, he still hasn’t done very much

9:41

Vslyke: Should the A’s be sellers at the trade deadline given their low (~10%) playoff odds? If so, would they deal Treinen?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: Treinen is going to be the fascinating variable. If the A’s creep any closer, I imagine they basically stand still, but Treinen isn’t that young and he could become arguably the best reliever on the market

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: The A’s and the Rays are similar — they’re consolidating while playing for 2019, and I don’t think they’re eager to subtract. But there’s also a lot of merit to the idea of trading good relievers when you have them, if you’re not going to make the playoffs. The 2018 A’s are very unlikely to make the playoffs, and Treinen could go right in and disrupt the Brad Hand market

9:44

Brood550: Has Hernandez played himself into a starting role in LA?

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure they still don’t really trust him against righties

9:45

Matt: Amir Garrett’s velocity seems to have steadily risen all season, as has his K/9. What’s his ceiling? Do you see him closing soon?

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: He’s probably just getting more and more comfortable with the idea of being a reliever. Don’t think he’s on the verge of replacing Raisel Iglesias, but if, say, Iglesias is moved, well, Garrett can strike out both righties and lefties, which is what you want from a high-leverage fireman

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: Garrett might not close any time soon, but he appears good enough to do it

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: Now, there’s a worthwhile conversation to be had regarding whether he should be in the bullpen in the first place. But it’s not like the Reds have had any luck at all developing starters

9:50

ATL: How real is Aguilar?

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: The power is real, and he seems to have closed up a vulnerability around the top of the zone. That being said, I don’t love a chase rate of 35% when it’s paired with an in-zone swing rate of 60%. I don’t think Aguilar’s discipline supports such a high slugging percentage, but even with some imminent regression, Aguilar is an above-average bat

9:53

David: Mariners and Cole Hamels: Seems like a bad idea for the Mariners. Hamels seems like a regression candidate with that FIP

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: An 84 ERA- is good! A 125 FIP- is bad. A 100 xFIP- is okay!

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: Hamels seems similar to what he was in 2016. Despite the homers, it’s not like he’s been totally abused. He’s faced tougher opponents than league average.

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: Somewhat relevantly, of Hamels’ 20 homers allowed, 15 have come with the bases empty. Over his career he’s pitched better with runners on, which is something that helps to keep his ERA in check

9:56

GraphsFan: Jeff, what’s up with Jose Quintana? Feels like he hasn’t been his usual dependable self since the trade to the Cubs.

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: Across the board, so many Quintana metrics have gotten just a tiny bit worse. This year he’s pitched similar to how he pitched in last year’s first half with the White Sox, when his walks had a curious spike

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: It’s clear that his stuff is mostly okay. Quintana still throws first-pitch strikes. But he has the lowest chase rate he’s ever had. Hitters aren’t going out of the zone for his fastballs, and that’s making everything a little harder

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: We know that Quintana likes to work the edges. Someone like him is particularly vulnerable when the zone gets even slightly squeezed. Doubt he feels sufficiently confident to throw over the plate

10:00

Nick: Where will Cole Hamels wind up? Is Seattle a realistic option?

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Since they’re not on his no-trade list, it’s a good possibility, but me, I’d be looking for teams more likely to need help in the second half, or teams more likely to make an actual playoff series

10:01

Flex: Are Tyler Chatwood days must watch baseball? How does he keep wiggling out of it?

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty sure he’s the opposite of must-watch baseball

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Guys with walk problems are unwatchable

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: He wiggles out of it because he gets lucky

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Chatwood’s ball-in-play wOBAs:

2016: .335
2017: .368
2018: .319

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Chatwood’s ball-in-play xwOBAs:

2016: .334
2017: .356
2018: .371

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Luck and good Cubs defense. Otherwise Chatwood would be rightly exposed as a disaster

10:04

Tony Womack: What does a Yankee trade for MadBum look like?

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Two mid-tier live-armed unicorns

10:05

LFC Mike: Is there any hope for Jose Quintana? He can’t go 5 innings anymore.

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: He’s gone at least five innings in six consecutive starts

10:05

Daniel L: When do you think the Padres will be able to compete in the playoffs?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Compete *in* the playoffs? 2020 or 2021. Compete *for* the playoffs? 2019

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll find a way to climb into the wild-card hunt, even if they’re just on the periphery

10:06

Flex: How can I get interactive charts in your articles?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Corner and threaten Sean Dolinar

10:07

kevinthecomic: Thoughts on the Steven Pearce – Santiago Espinal trade?  I know what Boston gets (a lefty masher), but what did Toronto get?

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: For a 23-year-old in High-A, Espinal is intriguing. He plays mostly shortstop, he seldom strikes out, and he’s dropped his grounder rate from 46% to 31%. Not coincidentally, his power has significantly improved. Espinal is going to have to move pretty fast, but this isn’t a nothing get. Good return for Pearce, considering he’s barely been able to play

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: It is a little weird for the Red Sox to give up a player for Pearce when they could’ve just kept Hanley, but I understand they probably value Pearce’s ability to cover the corner outfield, thereby keeping J.D. Martinez at DH

10:10

Jake Junis Priest: How’ve you been liking Guillermo Herredia in Seattle?

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: Good eye, can’t hit. Passable in the outfield but nothing eye-popping. You can see why the team hasn’t thought of him as an everyday player

10:12

Audiorama: Hi Jeff! Who finishes 2018 with a higher wRC+: Bryce Harper or Jesus Aguilar?

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: Aguilar is already ahead by so much. That’s a lot of ground to make up, especially since Aguilar will stop playing every day if he goes into a slump

10:13

Tony Womack: Fun Fact: Through 0-2 counts, Mallex Smith is first in the league in AVG. and fourth in WRC+

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: Funner fact: through 0-2 counts, Mookie Betts has a wRC+ of 200!

10:15

Cold in Minnesota: Any news on Sano’s progress?  Is there hope for him contributing anytime soon? Or even at all this season?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: With the Twins basically out of it, there’s reduced urgency to get Sano’s bat back into the lineup. They’re going to take their time and they’re going to get Sano into better shape. I’m sure he’ll return, but I don’t think it’s happening within a few weeks

10:16

Slim Reaper: Has there ever been a free agent that drove much of the market’s movement like LeBron is doing now in the NBA?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: There’s never been a free agent like LeBron

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: Not counting previous times LeBron has been a free agent

10:17

Billy Beane: Meg’s work on Archie Bradley is probably the best thing fangraphs has done in  a long time and fangraphs does a lot of good stuff all the time.

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: Meg’s parents will be thrilled to hear it

10:18

AJ: Is it worth it for the brewers to mortgage the future to get either an Ace or Machado?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: If they got, say, deGrom, he’d be around for 2019 and 2020

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: And if they got, say, Machado, his price wouldn’t be exorbitant, because he’s a position-player rental

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: The Brewers are in a very good place here to strike

10:19

Matt: When going to player pages, what’s the difference between Pitch Info and Pitch f/x? I had originally thought that Pitch Info was statcast, but that should only go back to 2015

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: Pitch Info comes from Brooks Baseball

10:19

Lets Go Buccos: Odds that Corey Dickerson can land the Pirates a Top 100 prospect at the trade deadline?

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: Just about 0%

10:20

Poised: Ian Desmond has a 145 wRC+ in June. Will he reach 100 by the end of the season?

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: No!

10:21

Spaseball Boonerisms: Which career minor-leaguer-who-finally-figured-it-out would you rather have: Jesus Aguilar or Jose Martinez?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Martinez. I prefer his bat control and approach

10:22

Andrew: Should the Yankees be thinking about moving on from Greg Bird as an everyday starter? He looks like he’s swinging underwater and while injuries have certainly played a role, he hasn’t hit since 2015.

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Too soon, for now. Skillset is very intriguing and he’s only batted 104 times this year. The second half will go a long way toward determining his long-term future

10:25

Justin: What if I told you the Yankees were sitting at .667 WP without a single monster offensive season and only one good starter?

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: What if I told you that, for as stacked as the Yankees obviously are, they’re still not as good as the Astros?

10:25

post: Barraclough is 28 and not FA eligible until 2022.  How would that enter into what Miami would think of him in the trade vs keep decision?

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: No reason for a team like the Marlins to ever hang on to a one-inning power reliever

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: It almost doesn’t matter how much club control a team has over a reliever. Every reliever in baseball is a short-term asset

10:27

Billy Beane: The A’s are actually good right now. Their offense is good, their defense is actually pretty good and if there has been a better 8-9 combo this year than Trivino-Treinen, I don’t know who it is. Their starting pitching probably isn’t good enough to get them into the WC, but they are good.

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: BaseRuns puts the A’s just two games back of the Mariners. The actual spread is seven games. If it weren’t for the Mariners’ inexplicable clutch hitting, this would be a very fun race

10:28

Matt D: What is up with Joey Votto’s temper lately?  As someone who watches way too many games, he has been downright ornery for more than a week now, basically every day.  Did he just realize he plays in Cincy?

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine Joey Votto is having very much fun

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: The team around him is bad, and he’s not hitting for power. So, for Votto, he’s beginning to sense the end, and there’s no indication he’ll ever get to play again in a meaningful game

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Or maybe he’s just gotten bad sleep

10:32

Bo: What on earth is going on with the Braves bullpen? Snitker’s mismanagement aside, there are plenty of guys in AAA who are better than guys like Moylan, Jackson, etc.

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: Jackson has the lowest average leverage when entering of any Braves reliever with 10+ innings

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Moylan is also below average in that regard, and that’s despite having been dependable every other game just last season

10:34

Bill: Do you expect Dustin Fowler to become a 20/20+ guy in the next year of two? Seems like the talent is there although he’s locked in a platoon situation

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: You need to play pretty often to get to 20/20. Fowler isn’t doing enough to earn that. But then again, his stiffest positional competition might be Boog Powell, so…yeah, what the hell, call him 20/20 in a couple of years

10:37

National League Umpire: Off the top of your head, what’s been the best trade deadline pickup of the past 5 years that no one talks about?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: Am I allowed to say the Tigers getting Jeimer Candelario?

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Or the Padres getting Chris Paddack back in 2016. That was a stroke of genius

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Now, these are not really in keeping with what you’re going for…

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: I think back in 2016 the Dodgers did well to get Josh Fields — he’s thrown 110.2 innings for them, with 110 strikeouts and a 2.68 ERA

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: But this is not an easy question, it turns out

10:41

Bill: Full season of Eloy next year have 30 HR upside?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: No question. If he’s up early enough, he’s going to slug

10:41

James: I know the Astros are almost certain to win the division, but when do the Mariners have a bad stretch so they can get a good cushion?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners did just go 3-7 in that Red Sox/Yankees stretch

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners have lost 5.5 games of ground to the Astros in like three or so weeks

10:43

Bill: Is Seth Lugo for real?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: He’s pretty interesting, yeah, now that he’s gotten a better hold on his curveball

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Over three seasons, Lugo’s curveball O-Swing% has gone up, while his Z-Swing% has gone down. That’s beautiful

10:44

THe law : You’ve written about German. Loaisaga also looks pretty good. At this point, should the Yanks even want Tanaka back?

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: Yes?

10:45

@RationalMLBFan: How should Aaron Judge react to the large number of strikes being called on pitches outside his zone? Should he swing at such pitches, since it at least gives him a chance at a ball in play, instead of watching strike 3 go by? Or should he continue to take such pitches, so as not to mess with his mechanics or expand his zone, and hope that the umpires call his zone correctly?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Just because of how gigantic he is, Aaron Judge is always going to give umpires problems. I bet this has been happening his entire life, since his final growth spurt. You just can’t expect umpires to mentally adjust the zone for such an atypically tall hitter

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Over the past year and a half, Judge has a wRC+ of like 166

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: If it’s possible, the Yankees might encourage Judge to become a little more aggressive with two-strike counts, but if Judge finds that too disruptive, then, well, this is just one unfortunate side effect of an otherwise incredible profile

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: As I think I recall, umpires have gotten better over time at dealing with Jose Altuve’s strike-zone dimensions. Maybe there’s hope that they’ll adjust to Judge in the opposite way

10:51

Bill: Amed Rosario or Willy Adames career?

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Adames, pretty easily

10:52

Not Reinhold Neibuhr: Gregory Polanco. If one squints, could you make the case he’s having a good year, if somewhat BABIP’d. ISO is up, BB% up. Is there something there?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Offensively speaking, all together, I think Polanco is having the best season of his career

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: By xwOBA, it’s the best by 23 points

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: So some of this, yeah, is just bad luck

10:55

bighen: Obviously you need a much longer column than a chat but any quick hitters on what the Mets do??

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Mets are yet in position to blow it all up — you want to see what second halves you get from Nimmo, Comforto, Smith, Rosario, Lugo, etc

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: If they’re not good, then you might tear it down in the winter

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: For now, though, I’d be seeing if there’s a huge package out there to be gotten for deGrom or Syndergaard. I’d be okay moving one of those two for a premium return, if it’s available. I’d hound the Brewers every single day. Try to sell them on an ace. The Mets could reload with one of these moves, without slamming shut the shorter-term competitive window

10:58

James: At what point over the next 3 years do the Marlins move Realmuto? As a catcher don’t they have to be concerned about injuries hurting his value? His value can’t go up much higher than it is now.

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: I’d look for something to happen this winter

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think it’s happening next month

10:59

Steven: Gareth Morgan, former M’s 2nd round pick, currently has 138 Ks in 212 ABs between Modesto and the AZL. How historic is that insane rate, and for a guy with 12 HRs (hitting .151/.234/.358), can that be fixed or is he essentially done for?

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact! There are 946 players in the minors who have batted at least 200 times

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: Highest strikeout rates:

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Gareth Morgan, 59%
Rod Boykin, 44%
Jhalan Jackson, 43%
Braxton Davidson, 42%
Ryan Court, 40%

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: A lead, by FIFTEEN PERCENTAGE POINTS

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: Last year, Morgan struck out 40% of the time

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: The year before that, 44%

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: The year before that, 37%

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t ever feel comfortable making conclusive career statements about young players in the low minors, but I cannot imagine that a statistical profile like Morgan’s can be salvaged

11:02

OddBall Herrera: Think Jorge Polanco’s activation is much of a difference maker for the Twins, or is this too little too late?  I for one am a believer in him but not so much this team.

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: Polanco is fine, the team is not

11:03

Charlie: How many years away do you think we are from statcast-based projections?

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: One or two from the earliest attempts, but I doubt the earliest attempts will make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things

11:04

Blerg: You wrote about how the fans were projecting surprising hitters. What do you think Max Muncy is going to do the rest of the season?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I buy him as something like a 130 wRC+ hitter

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s definitely over his head right now, but I believe in his discipline

11:04

Adam: You’ve been one of my favorite writers of any genre for a decade—which is no small thing because I read a lot! I miss some of your deeply passionate and personal writing, like “The Seattle Mariners Won the World Series: Day X.” Having followed you for years, it was hard to watch you burn out (my perception, maybe not yours). Do you think you’ll write and share those kind of things again? (Or have you somewhere and I’ve missed it?)

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: No, you’re right, it was definitely burnout. That pace was unsustainable into adulthood

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: But also, that particular kind of writing comes out of a strong personal attachment to a baseball team, as a fan. That’s been almost completely eroded, to the point where now, professionally, I am a shell of myself!

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Go Paxton go!

11:06

National League Umpire: How good could a player with Mike Trout’s skillset be if he simply didn’t care that much about baseball (like Colby Rasmus)? Apologies for the EWPod-style question in a Jeff Sullivan baseball chat.

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: To a certain extent, you could argue the player could be *better* if he reduced how much he cared

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: Might achieve psychological optimization if he didn’t live and die with every game

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: But there’s approaching the game with a healthy perspective, and then there’s approaching the game with indifference. If a player is good but indifferent, he won’t work that hard to improve. And that’s when the value starts to disintegrate

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Slumps would last longer, declines would be more pronounced. You’d start with an All-Star, and then the WAR would steadily drop year over year

11:09

E: Is Adam Eaton the odd outfielder out in Washington?

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Not as long as Michael Taylor has an 86 wRC+

11:09

CT: So JD Martinez is on a permanent hot streak since last ASB?

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: He is an elite hitter

11:10

National League Umpire: How many games ahead of the Cubs would the Brewers need to be at the All-Star break for you to have them as NL Central favorites?

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: Five

11:10

PTBNL: I’m kind of surprised I haven’t seen any pieces about Richard Rodriguez. After bumbling around the Orioles and Astros minor league systems for a few years, he’s having a great year in the Pirates bullpen. 2.12 FIP, 12:1 K:BB ratio in about 30 IP. Thoughts on what the Pirates might have found to unlock his potential?

11:11

carl: why do you think the rest of season projections for trout would show a low 4 war, which prorated over a full season would be his worst season? he’s in the middle of his best ever season and has set his bar so high so it’s weird to see a half season projection that sets his bar “low”

11:11

Jeff Sullivan: Trout is projected for another 321 PA

11:11

Jeff Sullivan: Over his career, per 321 PA, he’s been worth 4.4 WAR

11:11

Jeff Sullivan: The rest of the way, he’s projected for 4.3 WAR

11:12

Jeff Sullivan: Sounds about right to me, given the nature of projection systems

11:12

PM: since they have drifted too far out of it does it even make sense for Ohtani to return as a hitter if it risks his elbow issues becoming worse at all

11:12

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think hitting puts his elbow at very much of a risk

11:12

Jeff Sullivan: Torquing the UCL requires a very specific kind of stress

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: Throwing from the outfield would be a problem, but, well, he’s not going to be doing that

11:13

JJ: Will anyone be interested in Swihart as part of a deadline deal with the Red Sox? Is he still a catcher?

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: Swihart hasn’t done anything in years. He’s someone else’s reclamation project

11:14

Bill: Wilmer Font!!  Took a couple months and two new teams, but now looking like what you described as why he could be valuable.

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: It’s funny — he’s having his most success with the team where he has the worst peripherals

11:14

Jeff Sullivan: But I’m just glad to see him getting the extended opportunity. It’s not a coincidence he’s getting it with the Rays

11:15

Garrett: Do you think the Angels should now consider selling? They don’t have much but if Garrett Richards comes back and is healthy he could be the best pitcher at the deadline.

11:15

Jeff Sullivan: No reason not to think about it. They won’t want to punt on 2019, but Richards isn’t a 2019 asset

11:15

JJ: Doesn’t Hand (and maybe Ross) make some sense for the Braves?

11:15

Jeff Sullivan: Yep

11:16

Kiermaier’s Ingrown Toenails: Can the Red Sox stick with JBJ in the outfield? He brings defense but the bat is void of anything…almost like a pitcher batting.

11:16

Jeff Sullivan: Starting to show some signs of life. I don’t think he’s toast. But it’s not a mistake the Red Sox just picked up a guy who can somewhat handle playing in the corner outfield. Improves the flexibility with Betts and Benintendi

11:16

Dan : Do you think it’s irresponsible for the Mets assistant GM to be saying that Degrom and Syndergaard are available in trade? Feels like that is something that shouldn’t happen now that they don’t have an actual GM.

11:17

Jeff Sullivan: Realistically, these decisions are always made by a group of people, and they can’t very well sit out the trade deadline just because Alderson is unavailable

11:17

Jeff Sullivan: There’s plenty of experience within that FO

11:18

Guest: NBA playoffs have 4 best of 7 series.  MLB shortens the season to 160 games and adds two games to the wild card matchup.  Who says no?

11:18

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not sure MLB sees a problem with the current one-game-playoff setup

11:19

C@$hm@n: Syndergaard for German, Frazier, Drury. Who says no?

11:19

Jeff Sullivan: Presumably the Mets

11:20

TJ: Is Miguel Andujar really playable at 3B? The defensive metrics are not kind

11:20

Jeff Sullivan: Too early to give up on it, but he’s unlikely to become even an average glove

11:20

Tom: Bat or arm for Brewers at the deadline?

11:20

Jeff Sullivan: Arm

11:20

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:21

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 — 6/29/18 by Jeff Sullivan!

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

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