Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 7/17/15

8:24
Jeff Sullivan: Hey everybody, welcome to unusually early Friday chat

8:25
Jeff Sullivan: I know the timing isn’t perfect, but I’m moving apartments today — for real — so I’m trying to get this finished in time to do all that nonsense

8:25
Jeff Sullivan: And then in a few weeks, I get to move again! Fun consequences for the chats. Baseball now

8:26
Comment From Flowing Locks
Should Jacob deGrom be known as Jacob deStroyer of Worlds?

8:26
Jeff Sullivan: isn’t Jacob deBomb a lot more obvious

8:26
Comment From Pascual Perez
What’s the feeling among prospect hounds about Byron Buxton. Still a future star?

8:27
Jeff Sullivan: Well, I’m not a prospect hound, but my sense is opinions remain fairly similar — lots of boom, lots of bust, all the talent in the world. Unfortunately there’s no predicting these guys, in terms of which ones work out, but Buxton should at least give himself a decent floor with his athleticism if he ever stays healthy

8:27
Comment From Algren
Nola is getting called up and starting next Tuesday. What are the chances a pitcher throws a no-hitter in his 1st major league start? What should I get on my free Dominos pizza when he does?

8:27
Jeff Sullivan: Well, he’s facing the Rays, so, 50%

8:28
Comment From Doug
This is admittedly a question for Cameron, but I was really surprised to not see George Springer anywhere on the trade value list. Care to speculate on the reason?

8:29
Jeff Sullivan: Springer’s almost 26, we know there are whiffs in his game, and he’s not a special corner defender. It’s not Dave’s favorite kind of player, and the age limits the upside. Clearly a good asset, but perhaps not a top-50 asset

8:31
Comment From Josh G
Aaron Nola to debut Tuesday vs the Rays! What are your expectations for him this season?

8:33
Jeff Sullivan: My expectations are fairly modest, since it’ll be Nola’s first year, on a messed-up team, and he doesn’t have blow-you-away stuff. But I think he’s pretty clearly about ready, and he should end up with a roughly average contact rate and an above-average rate of strikes thrown. He won’t look like a No. 1, but he’ll be something to look forward to every five days for Phillies fans. That’s something

8:33
Jeff Sullivan: And because Nola will be all fresh and new, he won’t suffer from any season-long Phillies fatigue. He should be mostly immune from the clubhouse conditions

8:36
Comment From Josh G
Jeremy Hellickson has jumped his K/9 from 6.2 prior to June 1 up to 9.7 since then. His SwStr% on the season is 10.6 which backs up his strikeout surge, and he’s had solid control. Do you see the potential there for a second half breakout?

8:37
Jeff Sullivan: No, I don’t think we’re on the verge of a breakout from Jeremy Hellickson. There’s nothing real different about his method, suggesting to me he’s thrown slightly better pitches lately, and he’s benefited from the opponents he’s faced. I think he can be a fine starting pitcher, but he’s not going to be a real good one

8:38
Comment From Matt
Sandy Alderson recently stated that he’d “overpay” for Zobrist. What could that return look like for the A’s?

8:38
Jeff Sullivan: As far as I can tell at the moment, it’s possible Zobrist doesn’t even go anywhere. The A’s want a good player who can help as soon as 2016. So that would be the starting point

8:41
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe you get most of the way there with Nimmo, but the problem is that Zobrist appeals to everybody

8:42
Comment From marc
Is their any RH 1b/of the pirates should add to platoon with pedro/polanco? does Trumbo or morse make sense?

8:43
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners are probably too stubborn to move Trumbo at this point. Morse could make a little sense, but you don’t want him in the field that much if you can avoid it. I’ll go back to the Steve Pearce suggestion. Don’t know how available Pearce is, but he’d fit and he’s not playing every day in Baltimore

8:44
Comment From owensurett35
Which hitters should the Mets target at the deadline and who could they deal?

8:45
Jeff Sullivan: Zobrist really does make a lot of sense. Alternatively maybe they could try to pull something off with Carlos Gomez — might be awkward with Gomez and Lagares, but it’s not like Lagares is earning himself the benefit of the doubt at the moment

8:45
Comment From I am the Walrus
Do you think Heston’s second half falls down and goes boom?

8:46
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t know why it would. There’s no faking the grounders, and last year he threw 180 innings so fatigue shouldn’t be a major concern

8:47
Comment From GarClo
Hypothetical Situation – A once in a lifetime player is willing to sign with your team at league minimum for a long-term contract, but he wants to essentially run the team. Potentially changing the teams name, jersey’s, etc. Do you say yes? Which teams would say no?

8:48
Jeff Sullivan: No, I’m not giving Mike Trout his own personal plaything. The benefit of having the player for cheap is that it makes it easier to build a contender around him. How much faith do you put in a player like Trout to construct a quality roster, affordably?

8:48
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, maybe Trout is just naturally amazing at everything

8:48
Jeff Sullivan: Do we *know* that Trout wouldn’t be the best general manager in baseball?

8:48
Jeff Sullivan: Something to think about.

8:49
Comment From Danny Brooklyn
Would the Mets ever trade Matt Harvey if it meant Todd Frazier coming here?

8:50
Jeff Sullivan: Well wouldn’t that be a hell of a starting point?

8:51
Jeff Sullivan: There’s an argument to be made that Harvey is even more valuable than Frazier is. Harvey just ranked ahead of Frazier on Dave’s list. The issue is this: Harvey has just one more year of team control than Frazier does. If the Reds were to move Frazier, it’d be because they’re undergoing a long-term rebuild. Harvey doesn’t fit that same process

8:51
Jeff Sullivan: So then the Reds would be looking for one of the younger, more controlled guys

8:51
Comment From CB
Darnit I need the deadline now

8:51
Jeff Sullivan: If the deadline were now, almost nothing would happen

8:52
Comment From Danny Brooklyn
Considering how well Conforto is doing lately, should Mets take a chance in August and call him up?

8:53
Jeff Sullivan: .641 OPS over the last month

8:53
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Conforto would be the impact player the Mets would be looking for

8:54
Comment From Noah
What’s Javier Baez’s trade value?

8:54
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty low, while he’s on the disabled list. Hasn’t played for about six weeks

8:55
Jeff Sullivan: He showed signs of some modest gains in Triple-A, in terms of trimming strikeouts, but he still swings and misses all the time. Really interesting young player, but he’s not likely to bring, say, a Johnny Cueto

8:56
Comment From Neil Huntington
Do i do anything exciting/interesting at the deadline or tiny moves here and there?

8:56
Jeff Sullivan: Little moves. You don’t need to do anything exciting

8:56
Comment From Pascual Perez
What type of package gets Cueto?

8:58
Jeff Sullivan: In this market, a big one. I don’t think the Zack Greinke package will cut it — I think the Reds are in position to ask for more. Greinke, for example, got one real prospect. Cueto could fetch two, and some peripheral bits

8:58
Jeff Sullivan: Depends what the Reds want to do. If they want to rebuild, it’s Cueto for prospects. If they want to turn around quickly, it’s Cueto for someone close, or even already in the majors

8:58
Comment From Alex
Are you a believer in Cameron Maybin’s breakout? Is he a top ten CF now?

8:58
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I like him. I don’t think he’s outstanding, but I think he’s a regular

8:59
Comment From Houzer
Tai Walker had a spectacular stretch coming into the break, but then took a step back right at the end. Are you on board with the prediction that he’s in-line for a huge second half?

9:00
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll stay inconsistent, but with more of the good performances and fewer of the bad ones. Even in the last two uglier starts, Walker had one walk and 10 strikeouts. 69% strikes the last nine times out. That’s really good

9:01
Comment From I am the Walrus
Do you think Colabello can do 12 hrs .280 for the second half?

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:02
Comment From dom
Why did it take MLB itself to set up the infrastructure for statcast? Did teams not have incentive enough to install some cameras and start collecting proprietary data in their own ballparks?

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to guess teams didn’t want to pay for it, and didn’t know how to do it themselves. Plus, you’d only have information for half of the games. This way, everyone’s in. The experts are in charge. And teams can generate proprietary information out of the data that’s being generated

9:04
Comment From Josh G
Do you see Jung Ho Kang taking any steps forward in the second half? He’s hitting more fly balls recently and he’s cutting down his strikeouts.

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think we’ll see some more flashes of his power. Four home runs is too few. He’s already been pretty good, but I think there’s more in there now that he’s increasingly comfortable

9:06
Comment From John
Early 90’s Braves Rotation or Current Mets rotation?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: From 1992 to 2000 — spanning nine seasons — Braves starters generated a 79 ERA-, and an 81 FIP-

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Even just isolating Syndergaard, deGrom, and Harvey this year, you have a 76 ERA-, and a 79 FIP-. And then there have to be other slots

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: The Braves were silly

9:09
Comment From Pascual Perez
If you were Cashman would you look to deal with the yanks starting pitching issues through trades or the farm system?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly so much depends on the state of the market. Right now it’s bare. Samardzija isn’t available yet, and neither is Kazmir, so you’re shooting really high or really low. At the present moment, you deal with it internally. That could shift

9:10
Comment From Joe
What are the Cubs doing at the trade deadline? I keep hearing all sorts of rumors but with such a strong, young core I feel like they probably won’t do anything too drastic.

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Like every other team, they’ll try for a starter, and they’ll try for Ben Zobrist

9:11
Comment From CB
Seriously what happened to Springer’s defense? Reports coming up were that he’d be an asset in center. O.o

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a big dude. And he’s not a *bad* defensive outfielder.

9:12
Comment From dom
Miguel Cabrera ages better or worse than Pujols?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Cabrera is better than Pujols was at his age

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: That said, Cabrera is showing a little bit of injury vulnerability. We can’t really compare their bodies, internally, but right now Pujols is healthy at 35. I don’t know if Cabrera will be able to say the same thing

9:14
Comment From I am the Walrus
I hear folks saying Heyward could be in line for a $200M deal. I can’t believe he gets that? I’m think more like $18 x 7 yrs

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I think $200 million was suggested on the premise that Heyward would show a little more this year, offensively. If he finishes with his current kinds of numbers, he’ll fall short of that threshold, even though he’s still a quality player

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: His best offensive season was his rookie offensive season. That’s not a great look for a free agent

9:16
Comment From Russell
How big do you think the teardown in San Diego is gonna be? Are they selling everything that’s not nailed down or selling to reposition for next year you think?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re getting rid of everything and entering a major rebuild. They’ll want to try to get back there in a season. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t think about moving Shields or Kimbrel. Kimbrel could fetch value, and the Shields money could be spread around

9:18
Comment From Pale Hose
Do catchers have LHP/RHP receiving splits?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Lefties and righties do get different strike zones, but then if you adjust for those, I don’t think you’d see big splits. But you do have catchers who are better at catching low, or high, or off the edges. So they’ll receive differently with pitchers with different styles

9:18
Comment From Ryan
On a scale of yikes to holy balls how much does the Montero injury hurt the Cubs? I’m not ready for the Teagarden experience.

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: But you might be ready for the Schwarber experience

9:19
Comment From Houzer
Paul Sporer chatted for nearly 4 hours yesterday … are you conceding that you can only hope to achieve his awesomeness one day?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: If I ever chat for 4 hours you don’t have to kill me; I’ll already be dead

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: *playoff live blogs excluded

9:20
Comment From Pascual Perez
Biggest surprises of the first half?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Twins and Astros, right? Gotta be Twins and Astros

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners at the other end

9:20
Comment From Josh G
Jon Heyman reports that Brewers are willing to trade Gomez. If you had to guess, which teams do you think are the likeliest suitors? What kind of package can the Brewers expect?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Astros would make sense, with an underwhelming outfield and Springer on the sidelines

9:21
Comment From Dayton Moore
At the deadline, the royals pick up…..

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: a non-Cueto starter

9:23
Comment From Quinn
I know we only just hit the All-Star Break but it seems like there is a clear line between the Pirates, Cubs and NL division leaders currently. Who do you see (if anyone) faltering down the stretch and changing the current playoff picture in the NL?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets can continue to bother the Nationals if the Nationals have problems staying healthy. The pitching could be that good

9:26
Comment From Andy
You are granted the power to instantly select a skill for one player and make it a league average tool. What would be the most fun? Billy Hamilton with an average hit tool for a potential 100 SB season? Ben Revere adds average power? Bartolo Colon gains an average knuckleball?!

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Joey Gallo with league-average contact

9:26
Comment From JJB
Had a work laser tag outing last night. I had 47 kills & 44 deaths. Is it fair to say I’m just a replacement level laser tag player?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Replacement might be more like 30/44. It’s fair to say you’re an average laser-tag player

9:27
Comment From giancarlo
are the mets really going to throw away a year with no moves? how can you punt this year with that pitching staff?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Not making a move isn’t punting. Don’t exaggerate the significance of the trade deadline

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: And couldn’t you just as easily say “how can you go for it this year with that offense?”

9:28
Comment From giancarlo
are we going to see the tigers become sellers this year? seems like a rough year all around for them.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Not sure the Tigers will ever sell

9:29
Comment From DTSS
Can the Nats get Chapman without giving up Ross or Giolito? I’m guessing Cole and Difo wouldn’t get it done.

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Shouldn’t require Giolito, but you might start with Ross

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Chapman has a shit-ton of value

9:31
Comment From jv
Is Marco Gonzales and Alex Reyes enough to land Cole Hamels for the Cardinals?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Right now you’re not getting Cole Hamels for a pair of young pitchers making rehab outings. But a healthy Reyes would be enough to capture the Phillies’ interest

9:33
Comment From I am the Walrus
After a couple week to show health…Zobrist, Kazmir for Baez plus a prospect? Is that workable?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: If it’s a really good prospect

9:33
Comment From Julio Pepper
Was surprised not to see XB on the top 50 list.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: That would indeed have been surprising, if it were true 🙁

9:33
9:34
Comment From I am the Walrus
With prospects and SS up the wazoo, are the Cubs officially the most fascinating team in MLB?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Them or the Astros

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: The Diamondbacks are differently fascinating

9:34
Comment From James
What sort of piece can you see the Giants adding at the deadline?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Gerardo Parra, any day now

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe he would be kind of redundant, but he’s so their kind of player

9:37
Comment From Algren
How long before a move do you begin dreading the move?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Based on the evidence, approximately three hours or so, if you spend the whole week working like usual

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: I did get to spend two hours the other day helping a guy try to get a free sofa out of my living room. Don’t ever invest in a couch that measures 94 inches long. It won’t be worth it.

9:40
Comment From jv
Does Trea Turner start next year for the Nationals on opening day?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not the first day of the season, but probably the first day of May

9:40
Comment From mtsw
If the Orioles go after a corner OF at the deadline would Jay Bruce be a sensible target?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Yep. Seems like he’s back

9:40
Comment From david
I think Lind to the Pirates makes a lot of sense.

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Would force them to drop Alvarez, and it wouldn’t solve their need for a righty bat, but yeah, Lind would be an improvement

9:43
Comment From Liam
Speaking of Steve Pearce, What is the difference in his approach this year and last?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think *that* much is different. I think last year was always going to be a career year. I think the league probably figured something out this time around, and he is more aggressive on the first pitch, perhaps in response to something. But while Pearce has been playing irregularly, he’s got an .816 OPS since he bottomed out in the middle of May. There’s still skill there, real power and versatility

9:45
Comment From klof
Does the Schwarber call-up make sense? Are they screwing with his development if they actually want him to be a big league catcher? This doesn’t seem like the way to do it. If the Cubs need a fill in while Montero is out, something called a “Taylor Davis” is performing decently well at AAA. Yeah the Cubs need a spark, but where and how to do they play the Cheeseschwarber??

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: From the Cubs’ perspective, it’s not so bad — they know the bat is there, and this will give Schwarber a longer opportunity to work with big leaguers and see how they go about their business. They’re going to keep two other rostered catchers, to lighten the load, and Schwarber can probably pick Ross’ brain while he’s around. And it’s temporary, given that Montero will eventually return.

9:46
Comment From Bbtb
Are you moving into the inundation zone? http://www.newyorker.com/ma…

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: The coast bores me. But I’m still in the earthquake zone

9:48
Comment From James
Do you see any numbers that make you think Matt Duffy might be for real?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: He’s hit some at every level. That’s pretty persuasive

9:49
Comment From Vrugg
With Inciarte coming off tyhe DlL and Pollock, Peralta, and Tomas all playing well, who’s playing time gets squeezed?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Inciarte’s. He’ll play more, because he’ll no longer be on the disabled list, but he won’t play a ton

9:50
Comment From Joe
There are rumors that the pirates are targeting Frenchy… Please help me understand why the hell they would be looking to add him….

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: So far in his career, Polanco has a 24 wRC+ against lefties. Francoeur is at 102. But then again, Francoeur hasn’t *actually* hit lefties since 2011

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: The Pirates want somebody right-handed, and we figure Francoeur would fit well in the clubhouse. But they can do better

9:53
Comment From klof
Are you concerned about the implications in the current New Yorker about how the Pacific Northwest is going to fall into the ocean any day now?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not like this is a new thing. We’ve known about this for a while. That which makes this region dangerous is also what makes this region so impossibly beautiful. The greatest benefit of the article, hopefully, is to encourage people to prepare emergency kits

9:55
Comment From Rick White
Aside from Robinson Cano magically returning to his former self, fix the Mariners.

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Mostly the first part

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: And apply it to Iwakuma too

9:55
Comment From mtsw
Four out of the five AL East teams spent the All Star break sitting at a 81-81 projected final record. What happened to all the “how dare you say the division is mediocre!” people?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: “Mediocre” and “average” aren’t the same thing

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Think of it on the WAR scale — I’d say 2 is average, and 1 is mediocre

9:56
Comment From Rated Rookie
I have read your article on Marcus Stroman pitch comps at least 20 times since the season started. Do you think he will pitch in September?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Highly doubt it

9:56
Comment From Travis
Last week (or two weeks ago?) you were asked what Trout’s WAR would be if he had come up with the Mariners. On the flip side, what do you think Ackley’s 7.2 career WAR to date would look like had he been drafted by the Cardinals?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: 10 – 15

9:57
Comment From Depression
If you were the Blue Jays. Would you rather keep Hoffman or Stroman?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Stroman

9:58
Comment From Carl
I read something about Lloyd “taking the gloves off” after the break, or something to that effect. What could the Mariners possibly do besides trade for a backup catcher and hope for positive regression?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Not really anything. McClendon might make some more critical remarks in private though

9:58
Comment From Aunt Jessie
So are you just the best writer for fangraphs, given how few errors there are in your articles? Or are you the worst, and the editors know to quintuple check your work? 😉

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I obsessively self-edit to the point where I’m annoyed by myself

9:59
Comment From lunch
seriously though, nick markakis still doesn’t have a homer, and the projections still think he’s going to be league average for the year. how does no one care about this but me?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Perhaps this comment will inspire other people to care!

9:59
Comment From Earl
If you were Jack Z, what moves would you make before the deadline? Assuming your goal is to keep the team competitive for the present and future, not to save your job.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing much to be done. Already dealt for Trumbo. Minors are low on talent, organization is low on 2015 money

10:00
Comment From dom
Machado ever moves back to SS?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Unlikely, with the knee problems

10:01
Comment From PH
Carlos Gomez- buy / sell/ or hold. Do the Brewers shop him?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely shopped. They’re not contending in 2016, and Gomez isn’t re-signing there

10:01
Comment From _David_
Can we pretend Iwakuma is “back” after that one start? Was seemingly hitting 93 with command.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Very encouraging start. I think he looks like himself down the stretch

10:02
Comment From PH
Is the Detroit Tigers window to win all the way shut, or in the process of shutting?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Process of shutting. There’s still a little bit of life in there

10:02
Comment From Boisclair is there
do you think the Nats move Desmond to the bench or to another team to make room for Trea?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s not a coincidence that Turner is being moved aggressively

10:03
Comment From Joey Batz
Regarding your tweet about the Mariners messing up DJ Peterson’s swing (in his mind, at least) and then leaving him to deal with it… that can’t actually be what happened, right? This seems like something that would happen in a bad high school program.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Apparently it’s not that the M’s aren’t trying to coach him; it’s that Peterson hasn’t so far been the most coachable player

10:03
Comment From Leroy
Would Iwakuma or Happ fetch more on the trade market?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Iwakuma

10:04
Comment From Your girlfriend
When are you going to stop chatting about baseball and help me pack the kitchen?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Gotta go!

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: 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

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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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