Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 6/5/15

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Hi friends!

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: You are all my friends, because you are so tolerant of my tardy behavior.

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Only true friends would be so forgiving

9:11
Comment From jocephus
interested to see how venditte does?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Aren’t we all? Going to be fun to look at his PITCHf/x plots. Also, going to be impossible to look at his PITCHf/x plots

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: For the record, he hasn’t been great — lower strike rate than usual, for him. But today I’m learning he’s something of an infield-fly machine

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, this’ll be a good old time. The game’s most captivating fringe middle reliever

9:14
Comment From Angry Red Bird
Is it time to pull the plug on Heyward?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: 69 wRC+ in April, 115 in May, with excellent groundball-rate correction. Doesn’t mean he’s fixed, or that he’s living up to what he could be, but it seems brutal to basically commit murder, as you suggest

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re talking about your fantasy team, well I don’t care what you do, but the Cardinals should put their faith in the guy with the track record

9:15
Comment From Doug
It’s starting to look like Hanley Ramirez may be a disaster in Boston.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’m unconvinced he’s back close to 100% — I checked yesterday, and since his shoulder injury his average batted-ball velocity has gone down 11 miles per hour. Ramirez insists he’s ok, but at the very least, he might’ve ended up with an altered path, which is preventing him from consistently mashing

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, Hanley Ramirez tends to play very little time near 100%. Everyone knows that. And I was expecting a smoother transition to left field. It’s been…it’s been something. It’s promising, the way he hit at the start. But if he doesn’t show improvement in the outfield soon, that’ll be a real issue

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Means he’d basically have to be 1B/DH. We’ll see if Ortiz recovers

9:18
Comment From Josh G
Any indication on when Corey Dickerson will return from the DL?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Nope. He recently ran the bases, which is good, but there’s no timetable and it’s not like the Rockies are in a rush

9:19
Comment From Lando
Do Mariners fans have permission to panic yet?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: You don’t need my permission to feel how you want to feel. But is it really panic, if you just end up feeling the same way you’ve felt for basically a dozen years? For me, it’s less panic and more oh-this-again

9:20
Comment From Josh G
What’s the correlation between SwStr% and K%? Can a pitcher with a below average SwStr% maintain an above average K rate or vice versa?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously, there’s a very strong relationship, but yeah, it’s not perfect. A pitcher with good command who gets ahead quickly can “over-achieve” his swinging-strike rate. I’m thinking of a guy like Cliff Lee. And on the other hand, you tend to see changeup-forward pitchers under-shoot their expected strikeout rates. I ran into this a few times when researching Chris Capuano in the past

9:22
Comment From BAM
ESPN is doing that franchise draft who’s your top 10.

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like more of a post topic than a chat topic. Dangerous idea to try to do that off the top of my head

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Trout, then Harper, then eight more players

9:23
Comment From _David _
Now that Brad Miller leads AL SS in WAR, does he get to bat against lefty starters? If he only ever starts against rhp, doesn’t that distort the split numbers because the only lefties he faces are relievers, often lefty specialists?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: To some extent, but then you could also say the WAR is a bit misleading because he’s being platooned and not fully exposed to the pitchers he sucks against

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say this much — when your fallback is Willie god damn Bloomquist, instead of Chris Taylor, it’s easier to convince yourself to just let Miller play every day

9:26
Comment From Josh G
Where have Jesse Hahn’s strikeouts gone?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: They’ve mostly been there over the last eight starts or so

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Keep in mind he spent last year, in a small sample, pitching in the National League

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t worry as much about the strikeouts, as long as his overall numbers are strong

9:28
Comment From Logan Davis
The Dodgers have a 120 wRC+. No team has had a team wRC+ >120 since the 1931 New York Yankees. what

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Still can’t believe the Giants shut them out for a whole series

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: But I do have to point this out: Baseball Prospectus tracks quality of pitchers faced. Of the eight batters who’ve faced the “worst” competition, seven are Dodgers

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Now, that includes performance *against* the Dodgers, and it’s not a perfect stat, but there are indications they haven’t faced the toughest opponents ever. But that’s getting too detailed. The overall point is, yeah, they’re super good at hitting

9:30
Comment From Logan Davis
I’m going to Venditte’s debut tonight. If I were to ask for his autograph, which hand would he sign with?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: probably holds the pen in his mouth

9:31
Comment From Omar Olivares
How much of the Mariners’ lack of success would attribute to poor sequencing?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Not quite enough. They’re 24-30, and 26-28 according to BaseRuns

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: But, offensively, they are undershooting their “expected” rate by about a half run a game

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: The A’s are still nine games off their BaseRuns record. Twins are 10 up in the other direction. Padres five up…

9:33
Comment From James
Jeff, why have my Blue Jays been so terrible in close games for a decade? http://www.baseball-referen…

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: This is fun, and I was about to try to answer, but now FanGraphs won’t load

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: So, I’ve been exposed. I don’t actually know anything about baseball. I only know how to access informative numbers 🙁

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Wait, it’s back! Hallelujah!

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Well crap. I was expecting to see that the Blue Jays have had worse bullpens than they actually have

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s pin it on these three things:

1) Jays have, overall, been not good!
2) Jays bullpens have generally not been amazing
3) welp, luck (sorry)

9:37
Comment From _David _
Greater WAR, ROS, Cruz or Cano?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Still have to think Cano. And for whatever it’s worth, Cruz has been great, but over the past month or so he’s been a roughly average player. Lower WAR than Seth Smith. He’s calming down

9:40
Comment From Andres
What exactly is going on with Teheran? Is there hope for a turnaround?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: This is a command thing. He’s behind more often, and that leads to problems. A command thing means it’s a mechanical thing, and a mechanical thing can just be a bad habit or it can be an injury. I don’t *think* he’s hurt, but he does have something to straighten out. Encouraging, the swings and misses are still there, so the stuff is intact. It’s just not going where he’d like it to

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: His strike rate is down about five percentage points. Uncharacteristic for him. Looked like he was straightened out a couple weeks ago, but then he ran into a pair of good offenses

9:43
Comment From I have no friends
What if I don’t want to be your friend?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Well I understand. It is possible to have too many friends. Imagine the text messaging

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: You’d never get anything done!

9:43
Comment From Starlin Castro
Whos has the most memorable late season run-me, Correa, Baez, or Russell?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Correa

9:43
Comment From Daniel
How good is Eduardo Rodriguez? Is it still too early to tell?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Good enough to stay in the major leagues

9:44
Comment From Josh G
Is Starlin Castro getting worse each year?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Last year was good

9:45
Comment From BAM
Someone on Twitter said a Syndergaard for Puig trade would be an even trade and benefit both teams. Thoughts?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Four more years of Puig after this one, six more of Syndergaard. Puig comes with a certain element of cost control, and has been a 5-win player. I think you’ve got a foundation there, but given the whole pitcher-risk thing, the Dodgers would probably want a bit more

9:47
Comment From Comegys
On the fangraphs leaderboard, Asdrubal Cabrera is currently rated the best defensive shortstop in baseball. However, he hasn’t hit. Last year, he signed a 1-year deal in free agency, do you think he has upped his value with his defensive showing despite the lack of hitting?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not. No one’s going to buy him as a good defensive shortstop

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Track record is inarguably negative, and this year, in the small sample, he’s only been better than average by a run or two

9:48
Comment From Petey Wheatstraw
The A’s are arguably the AL’s hottest team (7-3) and are only leaving California once – to face the Rangers – for the rest of the month. Its a given they will be .500 by July 1, no?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Well, it’s not a given, but you know Billy Beane understands what the numbers say about his ballclub. And, for that matter, what they say about the Astros. He’s not going to sell yet

9:49
Comment From I have no friends
Why are people so quick to threaten Rusney to AAA when they let Bradley hit .190’s for parts of whole seasons. Rusney has only had less than 10 games so far. Ummm…..give the guy some time?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Sox fans are more frustrated now than they used to be

9:50
Comment From Comegys
Chris Iannetta has improved his pitch framing capabilities but has not hit. Is he more valuable, less valuable, or the same?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: He just had a really good offensive May. He’s more valuable

9:52
Comment From kr
So, CarGo. 2 year slump due to injuries/playingtime or is he on the road to being finished?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Here’s what I’d choose to be encouraged by: according to Statcast/Baseball Savant, Gonzalez is among the big-league leaders in number of baseballs hit really hard (105+). Now, we don’t yet know what that means. He’s not far, for example, from Robinson Cano on the same list. But it’s promising that Gonzalez can still make that kind of contact. That’s ability I want to believe in

9:54
Comment From Houzer
Rusney Castillo …0-9 stretch and a grounder machine. Heading back the minors soon?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll give him at least until Victorino is back. Then they’ll try to trade Victorino, and…

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Be more patient with Rusney. He’s worth it

9:55
Comment From Comegys
Should the Mariners start Felix Hernandez every 5th day and not every 5th game like Randy Johnson used to do for Arizona back in the early 2000s?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I kind of like how protective they’ve been of his arm. They should be able to win other ways

9:55
Comment From Brandon Lee
Hi Jeff, happy Friday! Have you and Carson ever met in person? What was that like?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Carson is wonderful. Among my very most favorite people to have an actual conversation with. Gets drunk

9:56
Comment From KB
Is Ian Desmond on a mission to disprove the “contract year” myth? If so, he is succeeding.

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Had himself a pretty normal last month or so at the plate

9:57
Comment From MSW
Heyward = Alex Gordon, right? Mega-prospect who took time to put it together, grew in to an excellent if not star-level major leaguer?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Heyward’s already had a 4-win season, a 5-win season, and a 6-win season

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: If anything, Heyward is following the opposite of the Gordon trajectory

9:58
Comment From _David _
Felix has had 3 starts this year where his command has suddenly disappeared, seemingly beyond random clustering. One was leg fatigue, one a rolled ankle, and the third seemingly related to a slippery mound and possibly a leg or ankle issue. Is this something to be concerned about going forward?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so. It takes a while to prove chronic lower-body problems, and Felix has been so good the other games that I think he’s entitled to his fluke messes. They’re weird, but, Aroldis Chapman just blew a save by giving up a three-run dinger. I’d take Aroldis Chapman on my team

10:01
Comment From Jonathan
Any thoughts on Randal Grichuk? He has shown power and now hitting both RHP and LHP

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact, even though this is kind of cheating

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Since the start of last year, minimum 150 plate appearances, Grichuk is the big-league leader in hard-hit rate, at 46%

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: There are some other fluky names on that list, but, mostly, it’s good hitters. So the small-sample stuff has been promising. The concern, naturally, is balancing the strikeouts against the walks. He’s earning more time

10:04
Comment From Zach
Surprised by Mark Teixeira’s resurgence? I guess now we know major wrist surgeries take two years to fully recover from (think Bautista, A-Gon, etc…)

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I love looking at the 152 wRC+ next to the sub-.200 BABIP

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: The idea, pretty obviously: just hit the ball over the shift. It’s beautiful when it works

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: He isn’t quite as powerful as his dinger rate would suggest, but this is Teixeira when he isn’t being dragged down by aches and pains

10:06
Comment From Andrew
With the Mariners recent skid, is it about time to pull the plug on this season?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, they’re getting there, but I’d recommend checking out the bottom of this http://www.foxsports.com/ml…

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: A year ago, the standings through two months said just about nothing about the standings over the remaining four months. Still plenty of time for all struggling teams to correct themselves

10:07
Comment From Greg
How is Dallas Keuchel having so much success?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I was looking at him just the other day. He runs incredibly low hard-hit rates. He lives low and outside, generating grounder after grounder, and he’s been super difficult to square up. We don’t yet know how much of that is sustainable, but we can say that he’s a good contact manager. Which means he doesn’t need the strikeouts to be there as much as, I don’t know, Danny Salazar?

10:09
Comment From Houzer
Farrell calls up Dombrowski and says … Betts and Joe Kelly for Gose and Price. And Dombrowski says …

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Farrell calls?

10:10
Comment From Vic
What are your thoughts on Aaron Hick’s chances of a full MLB job going forward with good production?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: With good production, he’s a regular, but I don’t trust him to provide good production

10:11
Comment From KB
Is MLB not as much of a “copycat” league as say the NFL? It seems like some teams like the Giants and Cardinals have found a formula and a lot of teams simply ignore it. Why not poach scouting staff/front office staff from those teams?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: You generally need to offer promotions, and it’s hard to isolate who’s responsible for what from the outside. And when you get to the big-league coaching staff, well, those people are pretty embedded

10:12
Comment From doug
Baseball kinda sucks for your emotional well-being, huh? Are you ever tempted to actively try to remove yourself from caring about a certain team? The Red Sox right now are just extremely, extremely depressing

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I think baseball’s been psychologically valuable, actually. And I root for a terrible team. At some point, after you’ve thought enough, you end up with some perspective on the importance of the games relative to the importance of other things in your life. So while that doesn’t mean you can’t get up or down about game results, you learn how to shed those feelings pretty quickly after a game or series or season is finished

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Where I am now, it’s fine to be upset when a game ends. It’s not fine to still be upset 15 or 30 or 60 minutes later. They’re sports, and the whole point of sports isn’t even to see a championship anyway. Even in losses, you’re deriving a benefit

10:15
Comment From brian
Does it make sense for the Mets to go after Beltre given Wright’s health? What do you think it would cost?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Rangers aren’t going to sell, and Rangers *certainly* aren’t going to sell Beltre

10:16
Comment From _David_
My dad claims that catchers should hit because they see so many pitches, every game, and also pick up umpire tendencies. I’ve told him the talent pool reasoning, as well as pitches being seen from a different angle. He sticks by his opinion…Is there more reasoning I’m missing?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: When you’re catching, you know exactly what’s coming and you generally know where it’s going to go, so you don’t need to try to read spin and location as much. It’s not like hitting. Hitting, you have to be aggressive; catching, you’re more defensive

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I do agree that catchers should have the best idea of anyone of how they’re going to be pitched. But then, that requires some reflection on their own strengths and weaknesses as hitters, and when pitchers are working right, they’re literally unpredictable

10:18
Comment From Shawn
What are the rules for Pat Venditte? He has to go same hand for each batter, right? Can he switch after each batter or does he have to stay the same for the whole inning?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Wikipedia has a whole section! http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Venditte can switch between at-bats, but not during at-bats. Unless he gets hurt, which would be weird

10:22
Comment From Jonathan
AJ Pollock, Mike Trout-lite?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Not exactly. But super underrated

10:22
Comment From Eragon
Thoughts on Tanakas return. Seemed like velocity was up and he was the real deal. Can he pitch like an All Star for 20 more starts? 15? 10? 5?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I think Tanaka is Tanaka until/unless something snaps. Which we can’t predict. But he’s done enough to demonstrate the injury isn’t holding him back, performance-wise

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: His velocity last start, curiously, was higher than it was in 2014

10:23
Comment From KB
Does the Twins being competitive make it more or less likely that we see Buxton/Sano called up sometime this year (before September)?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Makes it more likely

10:24
Comment From pattyboy
How can the Rangers justify keeping Odor in the minors any longer? He’s killing it and is blocked by… Adam Rosales

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Because last time he was in the majors he hit .144

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: His job in Triple-A isn’t just to hit. It’s to find the swing that will allow him to have success in the majors. And then when he has that swing, he needs to cement it within himself. He’s young, and the Rangers don’t want him to fall back into bad habits.

10:25
Comment From STiVo
How helpful is Mark Trumbo for the Mariners this year?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Some, not much

10:25
Comment From Jim
Joc Pederson… 6 win player? Who knew?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Kiley gave him a 45 game-power rating, with 55 future. He’s beating that. He’s hitting for more power than expected, and it appears legitimate, so, he’s establishing a new ceiling

10:28
Comment From Nolan
Bryant is a better batter than Joc long-term. True or false?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: If it’s true, it’s only by a little bit. Bryant’s opposite-field ability might give him a higher batting-average ceiling, but Pederson has incredible power

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I know Bryant does, too, but Pederson has closed the gap

10:31
Comment From pattyboy
Any speculation on how Arizona’s playing time allocation shakes out now? Is Lamb the full time 3B or do you think they’ll call up O’Brien?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Lamb for a while

10:31
Comment From Sean
How much effect do you think hangovers/little sleep have on players, especially morning/day games?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I think the majority of players are sufficiently disciplined to not get themselves wicked drunk before a matinee. And, they all learn to find the right sleep habits. Travel, I think, is the bigger disruption, that we still don’t have an adequate grasp of

10:33
Comment From Reef
After his temporary demotion to the bullpen, is it time to finally give up on Shoemaker?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: The strikeouts are there. You have to believe in his having a huge home-run problem. I’m usually skeptical of such concerns

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Granted, he wasn’t a great contact manager in Triple-A, but that was the PCL

10:34
Comment From Brett W
Will the Padres trade J Upton under any circumstances? For what?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: If they fall hopelessly out of the race, yeah, they’d explore

10:35
Comment From Brian
Are the Mariners particularly bad at developing hitters in relation to other teams? Seager (and I suppose Saunders and maybe Miller, but it’s still early) are the only good home grown bats in the past decade or so

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: There’s not a lot we can prove, but my suspicion is the Mariners have a real development problem. It’s not the players, necessarily; it’s the people molding them

10:36
Comment From Disgruntled pirates fan
So the Cardinals won’t keep playing at a 107-win pace, right? I keep telling myself this won’t last, but it keeps on lasting on….

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, they have to slow down, but in the improbable event that they don’t, then, I think that seals it — that would mean the Cardinals are officially magic

10:37
Comment From Keeper? I hardly know her
When will the cubs decide to call up Schwarber? It seems like their catchers aren’t hitting at all.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Miguel Montero has a .360 OBP

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs are going to be careful with a defensive question mark who barely has 200 plate appearances above Single-A. It’s oversimplifying to apply an MLE. Schwarber’s no guarantee to hit in the bigs

10:38
Comment From Ryan
Is there something wrong with Billy Hamilton or is this just an instance where his BABIP is lower than usual?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: He hits too many fly balls, and his fly balls suck

10:39
Comment From @RationalMLBfan
How should I think about WAR when it comes to bench players? I suspect that their stats may be better than their true talent, because managers deploy them in situations suited for them. (See 2014 A’s aggressive platooning.) But I also can see how irregular playing time may hurt their stats. Should I assume that things balance out? OR should I just take WAR for what it is, since it’s a measure of actual things that happened (regardless of reason) rather than a measure of true talent?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: I think just take it for what it is. You should never look at WAR and then just stop there — that’s doing yourself a disservice. Evaluate a player’s abilities. If he’s platooned, consider that. If he’s pinch-hitting a lot, consider that. You can sort of mentally construct your own WAR, based on what you think the guy would be as a regular

10:43
Comment From jukes
Robbie Ray’s K rate was way up in AAA and has looked decent in limited mlb action this year. Do you think he can outperform his steamer ratio projections if he stayed in the rotation all year?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Something good is going on with Ray. This year, he’s velocity has gone up two or three miles per hour, which is obviously enormous. He still isn’t a great strike-thrower, which is reflected by his Triple-A walk rate, but this is good. Step forward for Robbie Ray!

10:44
Comment From HI Jeff
How does Ethier fit into the Dodger’s plans when Puig returns?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Less, but Ethier has hit well enough to reestablish some trade value. In that sense, his season has gone perfectly

10:46
Comment From Shawn
Billy Burns was a non-prospect coming up (aside from a few notes about his speed). Right now he’s looking like a real potential lead-off hitter. Has he made adjustments, or is this just SSS?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Some of this is noise, some of this is underappreciation of his potential floor. Evaluators were right that Burns doesn’t really have power, and that his walks would evaporate in the majors. But he makes contact, he runs, and he plays a pretty good center field. He doesn’t need to be *that* good a hitter to be a regular or a semi-regular player

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I can say this: according to Statcast, Burns has hit only four baseballs at 100+ miles per hour this year

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: (that’s not many)

10:50
Comment From Alex
If 2015 teams are metaphors for life experiences in relation to life itself, the Twins are a night out drinking and dancing, the Mariners are sitting in traffic on the way home from a shitty day at work. The Twins let you forget that it will all be over soon, but for now you’re having a great time, while the Mariners constantly remind you of, and drive you to welcome, the end

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: #sports

10:50
Comment From Matty Bum
Do the Astros make an all-in move, and where do they finish in the AL West?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: At this point I think the Astros make a smaller adjustment or two and end up in first

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what an all-in move would be — if they, say, traded for Cueto, they wouldn’t have to sacrifice all that much

10:51
Comment From Josh G
Do you think a woman will ever play in the majors? If so, when?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: I think yes, but if it’s in my lifetime, it’ll be after all my hair moves from my scalp to my nose

10:52
Comment From mtsw
As strikeout rates keep climbing will we eventually see a market correction away from three-true-outcome type players (2014/15 Royals are arguably already doing this)? Or am I a dinosaur for imagining a world where guys who can put the ball in play regularly have value?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: You’ll gradually see a greater emphasis on aggressive hitting. The Red Sox recently talked about this. But I also believe that MLB will intervene and adjust the strike zone if trends hold

10:53
Comment From mtsw
Given Kang’s apparent success, will teams also start looking at NPB bats in addition to KBO ones? Or does the NPB posting system’s added expense mean it’s not worth the risk for non-pitchers?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Kang’s important — there had been some real skepticism about Japanese and Korean position players. Teams will now be more open-minded about the next guy. It definitely won’t take as long to see the second hitter come over from the KBO

10:55
Comment From mtsw
Which contract(s) would you rather hold if you ran a franchise: Cano or Panda/Hanley?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: The latter

10:55
Comment From Robert
Is there a team with a better outlook moving forward than the Astros? Maybe the Dodgers?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers, by a million percent

10:56
Comment From Matty Bum
Has Sonny Gray turned a corner this year from above average pitcher to really, really good pitcher? The K rate is good but not elite, but the total package: strikeouts, control, homer suppression, adds up to something special. What are the chances that he’s actually a top 5 pitcher in the AL, and what are the chances that Billy Beane gambles on a long term contract again for this guy?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: He’s very good, but I’m not sure he’s *that* much better. He was already good, on a level below that of the truly elite. I can’t tell if it’s more likely the A’s try to sign him long-term, or try to sell him high like crazy people

10:58
Comment From Catoblepas
What percentage of articles purporting to find an explanation for why a player’s results have changed are just wrong? Obviously this doesn’t make for interesting articles, but what do you think the split is between actual changes and random fluctuation? 80/20? 95/5?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Often, analysts are pretty good about spotting changes. We’re not so good at seeing which changes will hold up. Baseball players aren’t static. They’re always tweaking things, and they’re always responding to how the opponents are doing. If, say, there’s a hitter doing something different, and it’s new, then in time pitchers will adjust to that and it’s hard to say whether the hitter will be able to successfully adjust back

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a real bitch. Or, take Carlos Peguero. I wrote about Peguero doing something really weird and uncharacteristic. It had to be deliberate; it wasn’t an accident. But, after I wrote that up, Peguero fell back into old habits and got himself dumped. So it goes. Doesn’t mean his initial adjustment wasn’t real; just means it didn’t sustain

11:01
Comment From Eric
As much as the Mariners have me down, I was dwelling on how cool the game of baseball still is. The entire field is designed in such a way that plays are always close, and if you mess up, it will more than likely be advantageous to the other side – if the third baseman bobbles the ball, that should give the batter just enough time to make it to first base. If the mound was that much closer or further away from home plate, it would give one side or the other too great of an advantage. Even though ballpark lengths aren’t even, they’re generally proportional enough that most hitters can hit it deep into the outfield, but won’t consistently hit home runs. Those are cool things. Baseball is a neat sport.

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball is the best thinking man’s sport. Which is good, because it’s probably the worst emotional man’s sport

11:02
Comment From meatcoat
What do you make of Trevor Bauer comparing Cleveland’s rotation to the 1990s Braves or early 2000 Athletics? Cocky, yes. Realistic?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: “You’ve got at least four guys who are capable of putting up crazy numbers,” Bauer said. “You look at the staffs like Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz and the kinds of numbers they were able to put up. They’re considered one of the best staffs of all time. And the A’s staff, with Zito and Hudson and Mulder and [Rich] Harden. You start looking at those numbers and say, ‘Is that within the realm of what we can do?’ Yeah. Probably so. If everyone stays healthy, I would expect over the next four or five years, we have a chance.”” http://sports.yahoo.com/new…

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s so cocky. It’s true. The numbers are there. The trick is sustaining them and staying healthy, which Bauer acknowledged.

11:04
Comment From tsang
Where does Zobrist and Cueto end up this year?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: They’re candidates to go literally anywhere — they’re affordable and they could help every team. Impossible to predict. There are like 20+ teams who could make sense as destinations

11:05
Comment From ManielDurphy
Think the Reds blow it up? Cueto, Leake, Chapman and Frazier all get moved in July? Booyah

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think they make some big ones. Don’t think it’ll extend all the way to Frazier

11:06
Comment From Guest
Do you think the mariners go after J-up in the off season?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, until he tells them he doesn’t want to play there

11:06
Comment From Bruce
Why arent most pitchers faster runners? In little league and high school, the best atheletes pitched (and played SS).

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t spend a lot of time sprinting, nor do they spend a lot of time on the bases, so they don’t have the baserunning-route muscle memory. Means they run more tentatively, plus there’s also the matter of them not always running at 100% because they don’t want to get hurt or exhausted

11:07
Comment From kansas state employee
have you ever been furloughed?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: No, but I tried to get myself fired once. I got a raise instead!

11:08
Comment From Hank G.
FanGraphs publishes games odds on the games every day. How accurate are these? Is anyone keeping track?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: They’re kept track of behind the scenes. Overall they do pretty well. Had some struggles at the start of last season, before some kinks were worked out

11:09
Comment From Joe
Given that the pirates have two guys who don’t totally suck but at the same time aren’t good in Vance Worley and Jeff Locke, would you be in favor of them piggybacking them? Have Locke go two times through the order and then pull him for Worley?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of a fun idea. They might be the team to try it

11:09
Comment From JS
Have you given up on the Mariner’s this year?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

11:09
Comment From First Time Poster
Yelich going to get it going this year? I loved him last year… this year… Sad Panda.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: He’s too good. He’ll be ok

11:09
Comment From Joe
Is Andrew McCutchen human? how does one go from having articles written by one Jeff Sullivan questioning ones swing and then a month later have a wRC+ of 144?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Guessing he fixed his swing. Guessing his leg wasn’t really bothering him anymore, and he was just trying to correct a habit he developed while it hurt

11:10
Comment From Jack Elliott
Are you planning on being in DC for the Fangraphs event? Will there be enough beer for everyone?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I wasn’t even told about it ahead of time! But I’ll be backpacking, so I’m not available anyway

11:11
Comment From JG
Do you ever read through the transcripts of Dave or Dan or anybody else’s chat? There seems to be a small but predictable group of readers who asks the same question in every single chat all week, getting largely similar answers from all of you. It’s a minor annoyance, I’m just curious if there’s any effort to filter those repeat questions out.

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll filter if I notice, but I don’t read all the chats every week so more often than not I’m in the dark

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Also, I”m just forgetful.

11:12
Comment From a eskpert
Coming from an individual who has never played a game of baseball, and doesn’t watch very much, but did spend 35 minutes last night watching old timey baseball footage, Babe Ruth’s swing looks way way better than many players today. And Rogers Hornsby’s is just strange (he stands in the very back corner of the batter’s box).

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if baseball was better back then, but it was unquestionably fascinating. It makes sense that Ruth would have a great swing — he was one of the best hitters ever. Maybe *the* best. And Hornsby would sort of be the opposite of a Yunel Escobar, who stands at the very front

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Hornsby: https://www.youtube.com/wat…

11:14
Comment From Todd
I don’t know many Venditte specifics but what would be the best way to deploy a switch pitcher who was average, maybe a little above. Once through the order as a righty and once as a lefty? Maybe hit the bad platoon guys from the same side both times?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Use him for an inning or two, switching appropriately for every hitter. Actually makes a manager’s job quite easy in a sense

11:16
Comment From Ben
When a player needs Tommy John or something similar, who pays for it: team or player?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Team pays for all surgeries

11:16
Comment From Hi Erix
Hey Jeff, with the Red Sox in a tailspin, should they look to start selling pieces sooner rather than later?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t really have much to sell, right? Potentially sellable pieces are either underachieving or injured. And the team’s not even six games out of first place. They’re not going to sell soon

11:17
Comment From john
what can the reds get for a cueto chapman combo

11:17
11:18
Comment From MP
I’m afraid that the Braves will stay right around .500 as we near the trade deadline and convince themselves that they’re actually in contention, which might lead to trading some future pieces. Can you please make that not happen? I don’t want to trade the future!

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t worry about it

11:18
Comment From John
I would like to point out that this chat software is awful. I love reading your and Dave’s chats, but it’s to the point where I just wait for the chat to be finished so I can read the transcript. Seriously, you guys need better chat software.

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Show us where it is and we’ll use it. Amazingly, this is probably the best thing out there

11:19
Comment From Billy
I like McClendon…but man muscles? That’s why Carson Smith can’t supplant the ineffectual Fernando Rodney?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t pay specific attention to the words. Smith has some trouble, physically, with consecutive outings. Doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way, but there are reasons to hold tight

11:20
Comment From Hank
Will Yordano Ventura ever be an elite pitcher? He throws hard, but also appears to get hit hard.

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Ceiling is higher than this, although it’ll be interesting when we get to learn about his perceived velocity, relative to his actual velocity

11:21
Comment From Houzer
Ok smart-a$#! Price and Gose for Betts and Kelly. Who says no?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox

11:21
Comment From Andrew
What’s your take on Joe Panik? Comparable to Matt Carpenter, another unheralded prospect?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Not as good as Carpenter, but, good. Power’s coming along

11:21
Comment From Guest
How can Hanley Ramirez be worse at LF than SS? It makes no sense

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Left field is new to him, shortstop is not

11:21
Comment From mtsw
Kinda bummed about removal of the CF hill in Houston? Or was it always a dumb idea?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Dumb can be fun. Dumb is usually fun. I’m sure most people out there are exaggerating how much they’ll actually miss Tal’s Hill — that’s how people respond to these things — but I am generally in favor of those things that make baseball more unique

11:22
Comment From Phil
Any chance that a team signs Ralfeal Soriano to be a closer?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Not a good and smart team

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Okay everybody, I need to wrap this up

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everyone 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 — 6/5/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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

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I was going to thank you Jeff for grouping all of the village idiot’s questions together, thereby allowing me to only skip one portion of your chat. Alas, another question asked toward the end, another portion skipped.