Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 6/16/17

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:05
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:05
Bork: Chris Sale ended the Phillies losing streak. How much has his value tanked?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Probably just unmovable at this point

9:06
Dudas Luca: Jordan Zimmermann wasn’t terrible yesterday. Do you think he might keep not being terrible, or has that ship sailed?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the ship has sailed away out of sight — Zimmermann is still basically getting chases and contact like he did in 2015. That year, he was much better. But his stuff still isn’t quite what it was when he left the Nationals, and I don’t see any other positive signs in the numbers

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Zimmermann is up to 31 starts with the Tigers, with a K-BB% under 10%. He looks like, at best, a No. 4

9:08
Eduardo: Aaron Judge 2016 = Chris Davis 2013?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Judge goes fishing a lot less often. He also has what I think is a quicker, shorter swing, so I think he should be less prone to deep, deep slumps

9:10
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Who would you place your chips on: Chris Archer or Jake DeGrom? xFIP is nearly identical while the results have been much worse for the latter.

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Well, that depends. I think Archer is the better pitcher, and he also gets to pitch in front of the better defense. but deGrom has the advantage of working in the godawful NL East, so that’ll be better for his results

9:11
Kevin: What is Sonny Gray?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: At present, a No. 2 starting pitcher showing the best velocity he’s had in a while

9:12
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: What’s your take on the juiced baseball theory?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: My beliefs have changed based on the evidence as it’s come out, but my current belief is that the baseballs have indeed changed. And, in response to the ball flying further, hitters have attempted to hit more home runs, which has amplified the trend. So, the slightly juiced ball would’ve led almost directly to a subtle change in hitting style

9:13
jake: Jason Vargas has been worth 2.1 fWAR, has an 11% swinging strike rate, and is going to finish the season with an ERA around 3. He deserves an article.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Jason Vargas has a 104 xFIP-. He has a career 110 xFIP-. He was at 108 between 2012 – 2014. I remain greatly skeptical this is about anything more than random homer suppression

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Trust me, I still keep an eye on him every week, but I haven’t seen enough yet to make me budge

9:16
The Average Sports Fan: In hindsight, do you think the Twins are glad they turned down De Leon for Dozier?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: In hindsight, yeah, for sure. The Twins are in first place and De Leon is on the minor-league DL

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: But, of course, that’s not the end of either story

9:16
Best Bet: You seem down on Rich Hill–with good reason. Odds of a rebound?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Depends on the magnitude of the rebound. He’ll get better than this, but I’d give him maybe a 25% chance of getting back to what he was, completely. 40-50% chance of becoming pretty good

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: His numbers now look even worse than they did yesterday afternoon, when I wrote the article. At that point, the plate-discipline data hadn’t updated to include Hill’s most recent start

9:19
PF: When will we see draft picks being traded in MLB, if ever? It would make for a more interesting draft day……. On the subject, would you trade all your 15->30 round picks for another teams first?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Well, to partially address your point, teams can trade competitive-balance draft picks. Those are the only picks that can be traded

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I know you’re basically asking about all picks, even high ones. Here’s Jayson Stark on that from 2015 http://www.espn.com/blog/jayson-stark/post/_/id/1261/its-time-to-trade…

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I think opening the door to trading competitive-balance picks paves the way for all picks to be tradeable down the road

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Might still be 5 or 10 or 15 years off, but it does feel inevitable

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: As for the second question, no. I’d trade plenty of picks for pick No. 1, but I wouldn’t trade the entire back half of the first round

9:23
greg: If the red sox really don’t want to bring up Devers, wouldn’t Zack Cozart go a long way towards solving their 3B problem?  Sure, he’d have to slide over (or someone would), but he’d be a solid placeholder for a few months.  They couldn’t get him for peanuts, but he shouldn’t cost a king’s ransom either.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve been a supporter of the Cozart idea. I think it’s worth investigating, especially now that the Reds have finally faded. Moustakas would be an obvious get if the Royals faded enough to sell. And Todd Frazier would be fairly affordable

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: A few ways they could go, and Frazier wouldn’t require them to dip far in the farm

9:24
Ethan Hunt: What is Matt Davidson?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: One of hundreds of players who like to hit against the Orioles

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a little like Keon Broxton without the defensive and baserunning value

9:26
tggt: What speed is the Keon Broxton trade moving?  If the defensive metrics didn’t suddenly hate him, he’d be on a 2-3 win pace, and yet he’s seemed so… disappointing.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Well, his most promising offensive metrics have fallen apart. His chase rate is up, and his contact is down. He couldn’t afford to lose much more contact

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, he *is* a good defender, and even with all the slumping, he’s got a wRC+ of 89

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I still believe in Broxton as a regular, but my faith isn’t quite as strong as it was a few months ago

9:28
Asabin: Hi Jeff! I think Chris Taylor is the best player on the Los Angeles Dodgers!’

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not!

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: He’s fun though!

9:29
PF: Why isn’t Justin Smoak leading AL first basemen in all star voting? He’s outperforming all the other ones, yet he’s not even in top five!

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I was going to say something snarky until I realized that Yonder Alonso is leading the voting

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Like, it’s all just a popularity contest, but who in their right mind would’ve expected Yonder Alonso to be so popular?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll note that Alonso is easily the most deserving. Leads by WAR and wRC+

9:31
The Average Sports Fan: Who would you rather give a 5 year deal to : Hosmer, Alonso or Morrison?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: This is actually tough, because Hosmer is three years younger than Alonso is

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Alonso is easily the best of the players today, but he’s already 30. Sooooooo I’ll still say Alonso but it’s awfully close

9:33
Big Tuna: Podhorzer had suggested that he’s skeptical about Berrios because he’s only getting SwStk with his fastball. What’s your view on Berrios on what type of arm he ends up as?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s going to make it. Still needs a better changeup if he wants to approach the level of an ace, but I like his fastball/breaking ball combination today. At his very, very best, he’ll look like Jose Fernandez. He won’t reach that level very often, though

9:34
Jake: Kimbrel has 2 WAR in 29.2 IP. I don’t know what the best reliever season ever is but could he challenge it?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Highest-ever reliever WAR is 5.2, by 1977 Bruce Sutter

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: In terms of more recent baseball, you’ve got 2003 Eric Gagne at 4.7

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Kimbrel isn’t going to get there, but he might well end up the most dominant per-inning reliever ever

9:37
Bebop: Vida Blue, take a look at his stats, you think he deserves another look on the Veterans Committee ballot one of these days?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Nah

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, sure, they could give him another look, but he doesn’t strike me as being HoF worthy

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: 49 WAR according to us, 45 WAR according to Baseball Reference. WAR isn’t everything where voting is concerned, but that’s not close to the usual cutoffs

9:39
Aron: I think I must not understand what happens if you exceed your bonus pools. Why don’t teams take a similar approach to that of international signings and punt the following year’s draft? Seems like a team could draft a bunch of first round talents that drop for college commitment/financial reasons, pay them big $$ and blow through their bonus pool, and forego their picks the next year.

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: “A team that outspends its pool by 0-5 percent pays a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, clubs lose future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for exceeding their pool by more than five and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.

In five years with these rules, clubs have surpassed their pool a total of 74 times, but never by more than 5 percent. Twenty-three of the 30 teams outspent their pool last year.”

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Based on that, it does seem like, in theory, there’s room here to exploit. Just like there was with the international pools. But it has to be meaningful that no team has exceeded its pool by 5% yet, despite how often that happened internationally

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Teams have clearly all made the decision that it’s not worthwhile. Maybe that’s because of pressure from Manfred’s office, I don’t know. But this can’t be something they haven’t thought about. Maybe there’s just not enough of that talent that falls

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: And it would kind of fall apart anyway if a few teams tried to do this. Because there are only so many first-round talents available

9:43
Barry Bonds: Where do the Mariners go in the next 3-5 years? Their team is talented this year, but they have just a 16% chance of making the play-in game. On the one hand, they could stand to rebuild their old roster. On the other, they just extended Segura which makes it clear they won’t be doing that.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Water-treading time. There are enough potential core pieces there you can see how they could keep themselves afloat, but they’re going to need more to start showing up from the farm, post-haste

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: They’re in dire need of some young starting pitching. And they badly need for Mike Zunino to work out

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: If Zunino looks like a regular and if someone emerges to become a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, that makes the picture more promising. But the Astros loom as the easy division champs for a while

9:46
Jake: Is Leury Garcia a legit regular in Center? He’s looked surprisingly good this year and his defense has been graded well

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t believe in him as more than a backup, but the White Sox might as well let him play for a while since they don’t have superior alternatives. There’s enough there to hang onto

9:46
Lew Alcindor: I know awards aren’t quite won at this point in the season, but Chris Sale pretty much has to be a lock for AL Cy Young already, right?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: No one’s particularly close

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Well, I guess voters would have a tough time overlooking Dallas Keuchel’s ERA, but he needs to get healthy. Missed starts work in Sale’s favor

9:47
mets: Should we start considering the possibility that Yonder Alonso has pulled a Jose Bautista/Edwin Encarnacion? Nothing in his numbers doesn’t look legit at this point. He might be a monster now.

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Yep. This is as convincing as one of these transitions can get

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: It’s still been just the 2.5 months, so maybe he doesn’t end with a 176 wRC+, but he’s obviously very much improved. His case is dramatic

9:49
Its Pronounced Robert not Robert: Matt Davidson is up to 14 homers for the year on only 183 plate appearances, does he have 2+ WAR upside or does the strikeouts and lack of walks limit him to just being a bat off the bench?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he does enough outside of the homers. Maybe he’s Mark Reynolds, but Reynolds has had exactly one season of 2+ WAR

9:51
Big Tuna: I had written off Wacha’s earlier bad starts because they came against LA and CHC, but last night against MIL has me thinking the early success may have been fluky. What is your take on him?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’m encouraged that his stuff has improved, but he seems like he’s a mid-rotation starter more than he’s anything else

9:52
curious: how long do LD rates/fly ball rates etc become stable for pitchers and hitters? Also how consistent are they year to year and how predictive of next years’ numbers.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: LD% is the noisiest of the bunch. GB% and FB% tend to find their stabilities pretty fast

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: You can usually tell if someone is a grounder guy or a fly-ball guy after a few weeks or a month

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Skillsets do change, though. You can have new pitches or new approaches, and you’ll always have the occasional Yonder Alonso

9:54
kim: What happens down in AAA that gets Zunino back on the right track? Not the first time he’s gone down for a reset and come back a “different” hitter.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Well, for as good as his post-recall numbers have been, he’s still struck out 40% of the time, and he’s hit most of his home runs against the Twins. So I’m not sold that Zunino is actually fixed. But all that was was about making a tweak or two and getting some confidence back in a low-pressure environment. Basically a reset button

9:55
CamdenWarehouse: Are we allowed to think nice thoughts about Mike Zunino yet?  Since returning from the minors he’s started 19 games and slashed .319/.368 /.652.

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: See above. He’s hit like Matt Davidson!

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: 5 walks and 30 strikeouts since returning. That’s not an encouraging ratio

9:55
Zonk: Jayson Stark said recently that he always gravitates toward the funniest guy in the clubhouse.  I asked Eno this, what players do you find funny?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I cannot emphasize enough that I do all of my work alone in an upstairs bedroom in a city without a baseball team

9:57
Hunky Dory: If you’re NYY, do you go for Alonso or Duda?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I’d try for Alonso but he might not be available. A’s might want an extension there. So even though I made fun of this a week or two ago, Hosmer could be the guy if the Royals decide to sell. Which is not a given

9:57
Master P: Yovani Gallardo has been worth 0.2 more WAR than Motter – as a hitter. Do you still see Motter as a utility guy with a potentially long future? (Hope so!)

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Motter hasn’t adjusted to the adjustments. He showed me enough to demonstrate that he has MLB skills, but he hasn’t shown anything since

9:58
Ben Gamel: Are you ready to take the 4th OF label off me yet?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: The .463 BABIP would suggest that the answer is no

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: But there’s the upside there to be a regular

10:01
curious: how much of a role is the shift playing in Odor struggles? Will his babip bounce back

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: The shift seems to have taken a chunk out of Odor’s value, but that doesn’t explain why his homers are down while his pop-up rate has tripled

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Odor’s BABIP will improve from here, but he’s not built to be a high-BABIP hitter

10:03
Ethan Hunt: HanRam is batting .240-9-26 in the middle of a top three lineup in baseball — is he done?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so. All the indicators are basically fine. He has the exact same xwOBA as a season ago — .355

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: He should be an above-average hitter

10:04
Dirt Dingerer: Jeff Sullivan writes about Andrelton Simmons being cool again, and he hits a cool dinger. Who are you writing about next, Jeff?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Actually, Simmons had already hit the cool dinger. After I put up my post, Simmons went 0-for-4

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: But I’ve been meaning to take a look at Chase Anderson at some point. Going to give him another start or two to see

10:05
JKD: What does this version of Mark Melancon – same K/9, lower BB/9; but also lower GB%, and already 2 HR allowed after 1-2-4-3 over the past four seasons; and also three and a half years of a big contract – cost in a trade?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I have a really tough time seeing Melancon getting dealt so soon. Doesn’t seem like the Giants’ style. But if they *did* move him I bet they’d have to eat some salary to get worthwhile prospects back

10:07
curious: any take on the baseball proscpectus story from this week re:financial issues?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t read such a story but it would be worth pointing out that this is not exactly a lucrative business

10:08
Marcus Banks: Is Aaron Judge’s batted ball profile strong enough to support a .300 batting average while striking out 200 times a year?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton topped out at .290, even when strikeout rates were lower. Now, Judge doesn’t seem to have Stanton’s pop-ups, so that’ll help. But I’d expect Judge closer to .280 than .300. For Judge to stay around .300 he’d have to remain *really* elite

10:10
Spreadsheet Scout: How much stock should we put in rather extreme minor league batted ball numbers for high-end prospects? For example, Victor Robles has carried very high pop up rates throughout his pro career. This year, it’s gotten even worse: his IFFB is near 30%, hitting 21 pop ups compared to only 17 line drives. Is this a major red flag? Or is it just an elite talent with a raw approach, simply swinging for the fences too often as he dominates lower levels of competition?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t worry about something like that too much. Especially since Robles hasn’t yet appeared in Double-A. God knows how reliable the High-A batted-ball stringer data is. It’s something to note as Robles continues to develop, but it’s not in red-flag territory

10:12
Dirt Dingerer: Andrelton Simmons is cool again!

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Love this home run

10:12
Q-Ball: If you were in charge of the Cubs, what would you do?  What is the cure for their ills?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: In the coming weeks, you trade for a starter. You don’t empty the farm to do so, but you make an addition. Otherwise, you continue to believe in the roster you have

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: This might be the most boring possible answer

10:13
Connor : If the Seattle Mariners were to end up being buyers at the deadline (which I still think the Mariners are a good team, just a banged up rotation), who would they go after. Possibly a semi-solid SP like Jason Vargas? Or will they try to go big?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: They wouldn’t have the pieces to go big

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: A No. 3 starter in his contract year might be the best they could do

10:14
Jaime: Severino: is he as good as he’s looked so far?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: He’s very good. Throwing strikes, and he’s getting positive results on all of his pitches. I don’t think I quite buy him as sub-3 ERA good, but last season is a distant memory

10:17
Eldridge Cleaver: If the home team provides the bat boys, and the road team gets one of those bat boys in their own uniforms, does that mean that every team travels to an away game with an extra uniform to give to one of the the home town bat boys to wear during the game?  And does that bat boy get to keep that jersey?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Wikipedia: “visiting teams, on the other hand, usually do not know who will be serving as their batboys on the road, and thus will send uniforms of various sizes to accommodate batboys of varying heights and weights.”

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I would not think that the uniforms get to be kept

10:19
Big Tuna: Is Mallex Smith a super fast guy who will never hit enough to be a difference maker?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Well, the current reality is that he’s batted 271 times in the majors, with a 95 wRC+

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not terrible at all. On the other hand, we know he doesn’t have power, and he doesn’t make a whole lot of contact. That’s a very, very difficult skillset to keep up if you want to be a starter

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Still seems like a fourth outfielder to me

10:21
Kendall: What should the Dodgers do with Rich Hill? What should Rich Hill do? Is the lack of control old age, injury, or both?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Impossible for us to figure out whether it’s injury or mechanics, but the Dodgers need to be patient here. Hill deserves the opportunity to straighten things out since he previously pitched around an ace level, but the pressure isn’t on getting Hill right for June; it’s about getting him right for September or October

10:23
Jim: Danny Valencia has looked pretty darn good defensively to my untrained eye, but grades out as the 20th best 1b. What am I missing?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: The numbers say he’s been about average and it’s not easy to see the difference between an average defensive 1B and a good defensive 1B

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Given that Valencia wasn’t much of a defender at third, this feels about right

10:23
Zonk: Should the Red Sox take a flyer on Trevor Plouffe?  Probably not the answer, but what’s the harm in giving it a shot ahead of the deadline?  He’s probably better than Panda anyway, right?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: At this point they should just trade for whoever they think their solution will be. With the draft behind us, it’s officially trading season

10:24
Big Tuna: What’s up with Cueto? Is it all explainable by “blisters”?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t think of a better answer

10:25
Dignan: Do you think Cory Knebel sticks as a closer long term (i.e. through this year and next)?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Stuff is clearly difficult to hit but he’s throwing a below-average rate of strikes, so I’d say it’s a toss-up. Could end up getting himself in too much walk trouble

10:26
Elephant in the Room: Is Manaea in the midst of a breakout?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Many would argue it began in last year’s second half

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: So he’s basically been this good for a calendar year

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: 141 pitchers have thrown at least 100 innings over the past year. Manaea ranks 30th in FIP-, at 87. Basically tied with Michael Pineda and Jon Lester

10:29
Ronnie: The Brewers remain in first place despite an MLB worst 18 relief losses. Despite likely being incredibly lucky so far this year have they still underperformed their optimum luck to an extent? Is that even a thing?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Their bullpen, by WPA, has been basically average. They lead the majors in “meltdowns” but they also lead the majors in “shutdowns”. So! I’d say their record makes sense. Bullpen losses aren’t all just bad luck

10:30
Porcho Villa: Thanks for the piece on Rich Hill. I never understood how he came to be viewed as a front-line starter based on four good starts in 2015 and one great but short season in 2016. Is it possible that the hype was an overreaction to a small sample and that his current level of performance is what he is?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Rich Hill was extremely good

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Over 24 starts, he had a 2.00 ERA, with peripherals to match

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Wasn’t a small-sample thing. He was just better than he is now

10:32
Adge: Thoughts on Jonah Keri’s piece about the Jays should be trading Roberto Osuna? How much could they get from say, the Nationals?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if the Nationals would go for that, instead of just paying the money to get David Robertson so they could hang on to what’s left of the farm

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I see the argument for the Jays potentially trading Osuna, but the Jays also would like to win, so maybe that’s more of an offseason thing

10:34
mike: outside of pitching, what does cle need to do to right the ship?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Wait

10:35
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Thornburg is out for the season, Smith is hurt too, and Jeffress sucks. How long until the rest of the league rejects Stearns trade offers out of his bullpen out of principle?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Always Be Trading Relievers

10:35
Bob Mapplethorpe: Will the Reds try to trade Iglesias this season?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

10:35
Jerry Dipoto: If you were a GM/scouting director, how would you approach the draft? Or does it all depend on the team makeup? Seems like some teams skew college, others high school, some position players, others pitchers, etc. Does it depend on the strengths of your development system?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Completely boring answer of drafting the best available player at the time, as determined by the people in charge of evaluating that. I’d give pretty much zero weight to the current makeup of the MLB roster and farm-system depth

10:37
Andrew Miller: If Cashman could predict the future, would he undo the trade if he could now? I am what the Yankees bullpen needs

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

10:37
botchatheny: how bad is pujols gonna git?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s going to get bad. Which, in turn, will suck for us, watching a very depleted Albert Pujols trying his best

10:39
JIMMY V: What is your thoughts on pirela? Post hype prospect who crushed the ball at triple a and since his promotion to the big leagues.  He always had good plate discipline and the 93mph exit velocity has me intrigued! Are you buying?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t get my hopes up quite yet, but check back in two months.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: This 2017 power appears to be unprecedented, but god knows we’ve seen enough of those sudden adjustments to believe an improvement could be possible

10:41
Porcho Villa: Are Happy Thames here again?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine a part of that slump had to do with his lower-body injuries. I still believe in him as a quality hitter

10:42
connor: When do the phillies start bringing up the kids and letting them get experience for next year?  ridiculous to see the team that they are trotting onto the field these days.

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Well, the biggest problem is that Crawford has been terrible

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Hoskins will show up eventually, but Joseph has been a lot better since April, so I don’t know what you do there

10:43
Ronnie: If the Brewers & Twins each somehow hold on to win their respective divisions which would be the bigger surprise?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Ooh, good one

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Before the year, we gave the Brewers a 0.2% chance at the division. Twins, 1.5%

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say the Brewers, because while the Cubs and Indians looked about equally strong, the NL Central had more teams worth a damn than the AL Central

10:45
Billy Beane: Do you have thoughts on Luke Heimlich? I am very torn, because he did an awful thing, but he also already faced his punishment for it legally. I understand not drafting him early and giving him millions of dollars, but I suppose I’m surprised he wasn’t drafted late.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: No team wants to be the team that saw something redeemable in Luke Heimlich, and MLB can survive just fine without him as a member of the player pool

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: He doesn’t have a right to being drafted. His problem, not baseball’s

10:46
Peanut Butter: Is what Jed Lowrie is doing sustainable?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: He’s done pretty much this exact thing before. Last year, he was hurt

10:47
i’m with connor: Re: Phillies – crawford is their “best prospect” but the results of Hoskins/Cozens/Williams/Alfaro point elsewhere. Why not improve your club if you can?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: They’re all going to play. They’re all going to make the majors

10:47
jp crawford : Am I the most overrated prospect in all of baseball?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Will depend on the midseason prospect lists. Don’t know where you’re being currently rated

10:48
WC: Do you think Semien will be out of a job when he returns from the DL?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Nope. Lowrie will probably just be traded somewhere

10:48
Jake: With Trout talking about returning at AS break and the Angels holding their heads above water, do you think that they have an actual shot at getting the 2nd wild card with how mediocre the AL is behind the top 4 teams? I just want to see Trout in the playoffs, there’s gotta be some hope.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: They have a legitimate shot, sure, especially with Bedrosian about to return. By no means are the Angels the favorites, but no one stronger has truly emerged

10:50
Nick S: Likely return Braves can expect for Jaime Garcia?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Very little

10:50
Chuck: If Theo could predict the future, would he undo not trading Schwarber for Miller? He would really shore some things up for the Cubs. Also in turn Gelyber Torres could really net them the starter they need.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’m virtually certain Theo wouldn’t change anything that in any microscopic way contributed to how things went in 2016. Because the Cubs won the World Series, and that’s the whole point

10:51
majordanby: how far ahead is baseball relative to other sports with respect to using analytics to evaluate players and make personnel moves? It seems like certain sports like tennis and boxing would benefit greatly from analytics given the structure of their competition.

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t tell you the first thing about tennis or boxing analytics. Among the major sports, baseball has the best analysis, but they’re all using numbers more often to make their decisions

10:52
Jaack: Better HoF chances – Posey or Mauer?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Probably Posey. He’ll get a lot of extra credit for the championships

10:53
Nats Fan: Which big-name reliever do you think the Nats are most likely to add?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I continue to assume Robertson. They just need the ownership permission to spend

10:53
Bryan: If Hosmer gets traded, what do you think it will cost?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Some kind of B-prospect. Non-elite position player in his contract season

10:54
Pete Rose: Never could understand the difference between DRS and UZR. For instance how are the Giants -37 in DRS yet have a positive UZR at 0.6? That’s a pretty significant difference

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: One minor point: DRS does include catcher and pitcher defense, which UZR does not. So that’s a partial factor

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: But overall they’re just two different attempts at measuring the same thing. There can be large discrepancies and in those cases, it’s best to assume something in the middle. Generally, the numbers do show good agreement

10:55
Bryan: What computer program do you use for your work? R? SAS?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: When it comes to baseball analysis I am a complete and utter idiot. I use Microsoft Excel, and I use it poorly

10:56
Hammer Longballo: 6 of the last 7 WS winners didn’t make the playoffs the next season. Is there anything to that (statistically or otherwise) other than ‘baseball is hard’?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not

10:56
D.B. Sweeney as Shoeless Joe: What’s your favorite baseball movie?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Twilight

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: In that Twilight portrays the most laughably entertaining version of baseball

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Shut up

10:57
Billy Beane: How likely do you think it is that a team is reading the KATOH’s top undrafted college players list and re-looking over their own scouting reports?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: I guarantee you more than half the baseball teams have had someone at least read over the list

10:57
Taylor: Contracts aside who would you rather have the next 5 years? Judge or Stanton?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Judge

10:58
Brian F: I gots to know: do you see anything different in Jose Pirela’s swing this year? I know to take the PCL numbers lightly, but it’s hard not to look and see a player with a much different approach. Breakout at 27, or PCL foolery?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll take a look at him later on if he continues to prove that he’s worthwhile.

10:58
weezy: previously on effectively wild, it was mentioned that reaching on an error is a skill. There is also evidence to support that fewer and fewer errors are being handed out in baseball games. How far are we from removing the error entirely? It really serves no purpose at this point.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we’re going to see anything as ingrained as the error get eliminated

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, it’s one of the classic three columns on the scoreboard. And players will always fumble the baseball

10:59
Taylor: Do you see Swanson as about a 270/330/350 ish player going forward and throughout his career?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll hit for more power than that. You have to be an especially weak kind of hitter to post an ISO of .080 in this day and age

11:00
Rasta: O’s trade Machado for a package built around Bregman+…would this be realistic?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s realistic that the Orioles would try for that, but I still don’t think the Astros would go for it

11:00
majordanby: do you think the tigers will sell at the deadline? they talked a lot about pulling back in the offseason, but that just led to the maybin trade and nothing else.  if they are not within striking distance of a playoff spot, will we see the tigers go full rebuild?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: They’d have to fade more, but they have only so much to sell for real value. What they could really use are a few strong starts by Justin Verlander

11:01
Tito: If the Dodgers trade for Chris Archer do they become the favorites for a championship?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Technically, according to our own World Series odds, they’re already the favorites for a championship

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Now, I don’t quite believe that, given how far up the Astros already are. But still, the point remains

11:02
Drenjamin: Is there anything wrong mechanically with Brandon Belt that’s led to his lower BABIP and in turn BA this season? ISO and BB% look pretty similar, and he’s not one of those fly-ball revo guys

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: No, that’ll improve

11:02
Anthony: Alonso or Smoak, who you got RoS?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Alonso

11:03
Geronimo A: Do you see Ryan Zimmerman falling back down to earth?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why he’d be a better hitter now than he was when he was 25

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s good, but this is a hot streak

11:05
Sonny: What did Dave Dombrowski take away from his tenure in Detroit? Less than two years into his current role he has an extremely thin stars & scrubs roster? Was ‘do whatever it takes to acquire a proven closer’ really the only thing he took from that experience?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Between 2006 – 2014, the Tigers had the third-most wins in all of baseball. Dombrowski’s tenure there looks pretty good.

11:05
JT: What type of return do you expect the White Sox get for David Robertson, assuming they decide to deal him?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Depends how much of the money they eat. The 2018 commitment is a little off-putting

11:07
Jack: Thoughts on supposedly A. Miller topping at 91 these past few games?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Not true. Just topped out at 95.8, and the game before, he reached 97.4, according to Brooks Baseball

11:07
Rockie Dangerfield: The Rockies tried piggybacking starters and everyone on the planet laughed.  The Dodgers do the same exact thing and everyone acts like it’s a revelation in starter management.  Why?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: The Rockies had bad pitchers

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: But we also just have a better understanding of optimal pitcher usage now

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: In a sense the Rockies were progressive

11:08
ST42: How much, if any, effect will a new pitching coach have on the A’s staff

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine much. Having better defenders like Brugman and Chapman around will be helpful though

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:09
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 — 6/16/17 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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