Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 8/25/17

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Terribly sorry about that

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Had a problem with podcast recording

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends!

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:09
Matt: Hey Jeff – did you hear there was a fight yesterday?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I heard there were four

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t love when baseball players fight, but I more don’t love when they just mill around aimlessly, so at least their hearts were in this one

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Especially David Robertson’s heart

9:10
TJ: Is Dillon Tate a prospect again?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t say he’s having an outstanding season or anything, but as a young pitcher with pedigree, sure, why not? It’s seriously almost unpredictable when someone like this might have something click

9:11
The Average Sports Fan: The Dodgers have 36 games left.  Do you think they will get over 115 wins?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t. I think they’ll slow down as they have less and less to play for

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Now, how that happens in effect, I’m not sure — they’re so deep that even their backups are good. But I think that urgency matters, and they won’t have it

9:12
Matt: Who are the NL wild cards going to be?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Still have to take the D-Backs and the Rockies, but did you notice that even the Marlins are technically on the outside of the hunt?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: The Marlins!

9:13
JTT: The dodgers are going to beat the Mariners record not because they are a better team but because the Mariners cannot have nice things

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners had a 116-win season

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: That counts as a nice thing

9:14
The Average Sports Fan: I was born in 1971.  Is Joey Votto the best Reds hitter of my lifetime?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, technically, Kevin Mitchell was better, but he batted fewer than 1,000 times in the uniform. Votto’s held it up for way longer

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: We’ll see how Votto declines, I suppose, but I’m beginning to think he’ll never decline, that he’ll rather continue to improve until he ascends to become God

9:16
Aaron: Jeff, what’s your take on the new Taylor Swift song?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know yet but it’s probably fine

9:16
The Dude: You buying into second half Buxton? I know people compare this to last year’s hot September, but this year he’s made a mechanical change and has cut down his k rate. Any worrisome trends in the second half?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I *want* to buy into current Buxton. And I’m excited to see that current Buxton is doing a better job than ever of making contact. That’s the big difference between Buxton now and Buxton last September. But people are right to point out that Buxton has been a tease before. So, be encouraged, but do not yet be convinced

9:19
TJ: On a scale of 1 to Bobby Bonilla – how Mets is Conforto tearing his shoulder capsule on a swing?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: At least you can kind of make mental sense of a team having so many pitching injuries. A great young hitter getting hurt just making a swing? That’s so stupid. Poor Mets

9:20
uh: Will Teheran be good again? Did Atlanta make a huge mistake not trading him this winter?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Teheran doesn’t exactly have the track record of being consistent. He kind of resembles his 2015 self, which came between his 2014 and 2016 selves. The stuff is the same. He’s just…more wild. Bounceback potential is there, but his stock is way down

9:21
Bebop: Welington Castillo has been worth 7.3 defensive runs saved so far this year (11th in baseball), plus above average offensive production for a catcher…do you think he gets a bad or fair rap?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: It’s hard to be a lesser-known good player on a team that has better-known great players. Just ask Anthony Rendon

9:23
Solarte Eclipse: Bases loaded, no out, down 1-0 in the top of the 6th. The count is 3-0, and Solarte…swings? Is this as crazy as it seems?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it was crazy to swing. I think it was crazy to swing at what was probably a ball

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Solarte figures down and in like that is around his hot zone, but that was a reasonable idea with lousy execution

9:26
Mike: Looking at the StatCast catch probability numbers, Benintendi is by a wide margin the worst regular outfielder in the league. Is StatCast broken in Fenway for some reason, is this just small sample size, or is he actually bad in the field?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I was thinking about the same thing the other day. My assumption for now is that Statcast doesn’t know what to do about the Green Monster when it comes to interpreting catch probabilities

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: When you have a left fielder with the Red Sox, you just kind of have to assume it’ll be hard to know how good his defense is. That being said, this is probably a blend of park factors and mediocre performance

9:27
Mac: Hypothetically speaking if WAR was counted for the postseason, would your top relievers pitch enough innings to maintain pace with starters/position players?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not starters — relievers pitch more, but starters also start a higher percentage of games than they do during the regular season

9:28
oh: The Brave’s rebuild is off to a rocky start. Their rookies have not been great. Is it time to panic?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I’m given to understand there have been promising developments below the major leagues, which is the real point. That’s where the talent is. But I’m generally skeptical of their pitching system. And so, thank goodness for Acuna

9:30
Phanatic: Keeeeeeeon Brooooxton

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t give up, don’t ever give up

9:32
TJ: Was there any winning outcome with Roberts and his call on what to do with Hill in the 10th?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he made the wrong call. Any blame that goes to Roberts really ought to go to the hitters

9:33
Mike: are you a Chris Stratton fan

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Is that a thing?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, I generally like most pitchers, but I don’t like Stratton an unusual amount

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I understand that, in horrible regular seasons, fans have to hold onto whatever they can

9:35
Mike: Are we all back on the Broxton train? Is it all going to work out?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: He remains an above-average defensive center fielder with power and a strikeout problem. I’d like to see the walk rate or the strikeout rate move just a few points, but he’s still an everyday player

9:37
TJ: What type of contract has Arrieta pitched his way back to?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: He still has diminished stuff, and that’s not something teams are going to overlook. He’s not missing a ton of bats and he still doesn’t throw quite enough strikes. I can see him getting an expensive four or five years, but I wouldn’t want to be the team that offers that

9:39
NtFlxAndRichHill: Hi Jeff, thanks for chatting with us. In relation to the surging HR rates, are we seeing less extra bases being taken overall – I guess measured by percent of chances rather than success…

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: If I’m interpreting this question correctly:

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: According to Baseball Reference, in 1997, runners took the extra base 42% of the time. In 2007, that rate was 40%. This year, it’s 39%

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if that’s enough to indicate a trend. Something to examine!

9:41
Kyle: Might Homer Bailey’s contract rival Pujols’ as the worst in baseball? He looks like he’s going to give the Reds absolutely nothing.

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Bailey’s contract is going to look very bad, but his dead money can’t compare with Pujols’. Pujols’ contract looks dreadful

9:43
TJ: We’ve pretty safely moved to “Tanaka has shown enough to get a deal big enough to opt out for” territory, right?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I’d think so, yeah. I don’t think the market will be deterred by the home-run spike. His stuff is better than last year, and his strikeouts are up

9:46
Boo!: What’s your take on Nick Williams? I expected him to get eaten alive my MLB pitching, but that hasn’t happened. He improved his K/BB numbers his last months in AAA, and the changes have stuck through his first 200 MLB PA. Average player and above average hitter going forward?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely not yet buying him as an above-average hitter. Ugly blend of contact rate and out-of-zone swing rate. I see the skills and I see the potential, but I think he’s about due for an extended adjustment slump

9:47
Reginald Denton III: Chris Sale has had a couple of rough outings against Cleveland, but his overall numbers are down the last month or so.  Anything to be concerned about there?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Nah, he’s great

9:48
LegallyEagle: Let’s say a 6 way tie occurs for the last AL Wild Card slot. Who is the favorite to survive that circus?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: No one

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: No one would survive that circus

9:49
jim: Just how much does this Conforto injury set the Mets back in 2018? It does not seem like this is going to be a simple recovery.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: If you want to oversimplify, I’d say it should be expected to hurt them by a fraction of a win. Odds are, he’ll be okay, but he might take a little time to re-find his power. Expect the Mets to put just a little extra emphasis on finding a good backup

9:51
Jake: Have no noticed that Tyler Glasnow is having what might be the best pitching season in the history of the IL?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Well that’s an exaggeration. His FIP in that league is a hair or two better than Andrew Albers

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: But, yeah, people have noticed his improvement. He’s still down there because the Pirates are playing the service-time game, but Glasnow ought to be up shortly, and I’m deeply interested to see how he’s improved his mechanics

9:53
JimmyBallgame: Loving this BOS-CLE series. Seems like they’re destined to meet again in the ALCS. Who takes that series down?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I think I’d give the Indians a very slight edge, provided Miller’s knee is okay by then

9:55
Matt: What exactly was Joe Maddon thinking having Schwarber and Happ together in the OF with a one-run lead in the 8th yesterday vs CIN? Not to harp on a single play but it helps underscore the long-term incompatibility of those two in OF together…

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I’m as surprised as you are to learn that Happ has rated as a better fly-catcher this year in center than Almora

9:56
Brett W: Is Trout’s MVP narrative reliant on the Angels making the Wild Card game?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: It’s realistically the only way he’s going to convince enough people to give him the votes

9:57
TJ: At what point does the Stanton contract become at all appealing?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: 10 years and $295 million remaining after this, with a full no-trade clause and with an opt-out after 2020. That’s still well underwater

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: If Stanton does next year what he’s doing this year, then it’s a different conversation. But for now that contract is still incredibly difficult to move. The opt-out is practically toxic

10:00
Blech: Is Chris Taylor Ben Zobrist now? As in, can he spend the next few years providing 3+ wins from multiple positions?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Probably

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not this good a hitter, but he’s better than average, and he’s versatile, and he’s young. He checks the boxes

10:01
Kyle: What do we want? Bryce Harper!!! When do we want it? Now!!!

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Too bad

10:01
Hal: Give me one reason not to name my firstborn after Rhys Hoskins

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Your partner might not want you to

10:02
logarithm: Is there any way this Nick Williams is for real?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: 10% yes

10:02
NtFlxAndRichHill: I feel like the answer to this question is no, because the long-term effects can’t be known yet, but is there any chatter about any teams that are prioritzing their prospects differently based on the offensive environment at the MLB level? For example, might a team value more contact oriented hitters with gap power right now?  Obviously I’m using Rhys Hoskins as a recency bias for this thinking, but maybe teams should be, too?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s a huge effect, because it’s still possible the home runs go away as suddenly as they’ve appeared, but I do think that teams just generally like contact hitters a little more now, because you don’t need that much contact to knock the ball over the fence. That is, a contact hitter can learn power, but a power hitter might not be able to learn contact

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, Jose Ramirez is slugging .518. Don’t give up on a contact hitter

10:05
Grover: Could J. Upton’s agent be talking to teams to gauge interest and better inform his decision on whether or not to opt out, or would this be considered textbook tampering?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure there are ways around it. I’m sure agents do it all the time. You would probably need to just not use the specific name of the client in question. The agent, then, might just ask teams about a hypothetical player with Upton’s exact profile

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: But even then, I don’t know how much there would be to learn, that couldn’t already be assumed by just reading the market, and examining recent contracts for similar players

10:07
GraphsFan: Do you enjoy writing about topics other than baseball?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t do it

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: So I don’t know!

10:08
Brent: Keon Broxton is going to go 25-25, and if his defense didn’t grade out as terrible, he’d be in themiddle of a 3-win season. You were right, but it also feels like you were wrong.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not like I was going out on a limb or anything — I was just reporting what the numbers said Broxton had already accomplished. The numbers liked Broxton’s defense, and they liked his quality of contact. Now, this year, Statcast still likes his defense, but Broxton’s average exit velocity is down five miles per hour. That’s not great, given that he’s lost so many walks

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still good though. Annoying but good

10:10
Kyle: Is Chris Taylor really this good?  I always expected lots of regression even though he hit well in the minors because he ran such high BABIP but is this truly who he is?  can he really hit for a .360+  BABIP?  Talk me off the ledge please.

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Chris Taylor has a BABIP of .401. Joey Votto has a career BABIP of .354. Chris Taylor is not Joey Votto

10:11
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: So is Rich Hill’s legacy going to be being the indie ball guy who lost a perfect game in the 9th to an error and the no hitter in the 10th to a walkoff homer?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I think that Hill is too good for that to be his legacy

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, that’s how certain people will remember him, but Hill’s story was already incredible. This is just another chapter. Someone will write the official Hill book, and it will be fantastic, and it will be about so very much more than this

10:11
jkdff: Carlos Rodon: ace in 2018?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Unless you mean ace of the White Sox. In which case, sure, by default

10:13
Grover: Do you think the Dodgers engage any of their current crop on longer term extensions, guys like Grandal or Puig, or are they largely expendable with the depth LA has?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I can see them being interested in keeping Grandal around for longer, but not Puig. Don’t think they’re too keep on paying fair-market prices when the organization is as deep as it is. Always more pre-FA players to plug in

10:14
Mark: Better punch: Odor or Sanchez?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Odor threw the best baseball punch in years

10:15
Justin Wilson: I was one of the most coveted relievers at the trade deadline. Why can’t I throw strikes anymore?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Very good question. I haven’t gone in deep because I haven’t cared to yet, but nine walks in nine games is way too many

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: The ball is seemingly coming out of his hand fine. So it’s probably just a mechanical thing, but the timing is bad. Trading is hard

10:18
Matt: Can we take a moment to draw attention to Gio Gonzalez’s excellent season? He is second in the N.L. in innings, third in ERA, and ninth in strikeouts. I know luck has played a big role in his ERA, but he feels like an overlooked part of the Nats season.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I love this one!

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Compared to last year, his xFIP- has gotten worse by six points. His FIP- has gotten better by four points. His ERA- has gotten better by 54 points.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: He’s cut his 109 ERA- from last year literally in half

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: It’s random and stupid and fluky and meaningless, but what an amazing thing to have happen

10:21
Colin: I understand that Mike Trout is the best baseball player in the world, but do you think due to a combination of two factors, 1) WAR being a stat that attempts to take into account all aspects of a players game and 2) most people lacking the time or willpower to understand the minutiae of how the stat is calculated, Trout has become overrated by people interested in advanced analytics? I mean, I don’t think anyone would dispute he’s the best player in MLB, but is he maybe not quite as far ahead as he seems when you only look at WAR?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: No, he is extremely far ahead

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Mike Trout is probably still underrated

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Over the past three calendar years, he’s been 4.4 WAR better than the next-best position player

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a win and a half a year!

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think that Trout’s skills are generally fairly understood. I think his consistency is what’s underrated. He hasn’t had one great year, or two great years. He’s had six great years in a row. Six straight years of being possibly or probably the single best player in the world

10:24
NtFlxAndRichHill: For hitters with good raw power like Harper, Votto, Stanton…though we could probably separate them into three different tiers of raw power…isn’t there an incentive to swing, I don’t know, less hard right now? Obviously, all of these guys have cut into their K rates, but shouldn’t high raw power guys take heed of this notion? Easier said than done, to change who you are as a professional hitter, but..okay – crystallized: the top ISO performers – have they seen a decrease in there K rate compared to the league?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s that easy to “swing weaker”

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, you swing how you swing, and if you try to slow down, you’re likely to get in some trouble

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: But then, Votto chokes up a whole bunch.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: And Stanton has trimmed his strikeout rate by six points. It is theoretically possible to trade some amount of power for contact, and for a guy like Stanton, in this era it does appear to make sense

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Now, given some of Stanton’s recent exit velocities, I’m not convinced he’s actually taking anything off of his swing. He might have very simply gotten better at hitting

10:26
Mac: Can you write an article on whether or not there is a precedent for a guy making up a 30 career WAR deficit on someone younger than him, as Beltre might do to Pujols?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t completely wrapped my head around this idea yet but there’s no shortage of fun ways to explore Beltre’s unbelievable post-30 career

10:27
Gurp!: Who wins AL MVP?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Probably Altuve

10:27
Mr. Optimism: Which team has the bleakest future at this point?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: For me, Reds

10:28
Philbert: Of everyone with at least 50 PA at A+ in their age-18 season between 2006 and 2016, the best wRC+ is 117. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is currently at 174 in 173 plate appearances.

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: A teenager with power, and more walks than strikeouts. He’s an absurdity

10:29
GraphsFan: Are there projections that you have a ever so slight bias to ‘believe in more’? Or of the predominant projection systems do you take them all and mishmash them together?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Our depth charts projections slam ZiPS and Steamer together 50/50. I think I trust ZiPS just the tiniest bit more on pitchers, but I’m mostly content to use DC

10:30
The Dude: So Gary Sanchez’s punishment should be that 3 Tigers players get to cheap shot him right?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: I think he should stand facing a wall, and a designated Tigers player should be able to throw one baseball at him from 30 feet away, making sure not to aim for the head. Anywhere else is fair game

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: So baseball players want to settle their disputes with beanballs? Make them settle all their disputes with beanballs.

10:32
Mike: Adrian Beltre is now sneakily having an identical season to last year’s, only in half the games. He is…good.

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I’m mostly convinced he could play another 10 years

10:32
Mac: I just can’t believe the brawl wasn’t provoked by the 98 mile per hour fastball that hit somebody in the head

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes it probably sucks to be Dellin Betances

10:34
JD15: Who is the most exciting player in baseball?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: When he’s healthy it’s probably Harper

10:34
Sleepy: Why does anyone think Yadier Molina has a shot at the HOF?  He’s been worth 36-ish WAR in 6,600-ish PA.  That’s, like, Jayson Werth/Ryan Zimmerman territory.  Am I missing something obvious?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: People assume he’s going to get tons and tons of credit for his intangibles. Credit for the hidden catching stuff we can measure, and credit for the hidden catching stuff we can’t. It’s non-falsifiable, but the narrative exists that Molina is kind of the MLB leader in intangible value

10:35
Joey: What do you think Betances’s suspension could look like?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I can never really predict how they’re going to mete out discipline, but I think this one will be partially mitigated by the likelihood that Betances didn’t do that on purpose

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: It just didn’t look intentional to me. I do think that one simply got away

10:37
Paul : Hey Jeff, do we have data similar to Pitchf/x for bats? X,Y,Z location of where the ball impacts the bat? Moment of the bat about its axis at impact? Angle of the bat through the zone?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe one day, but definitely not now

10:39
Corey: Is Brad Ziegler the only submariner in the majors right now? How many are there in the minors?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Lowest average vertical release points this year:

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Steve Cishek: 3.86 feet
Joe Smith: 3.60
Darren O’Day: 3.50
Brad Ziegler: 2.80

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: So yeah, Ziegler is basically alone. Don’t know how many exist in the minors, but I bet I could count them on one or two hands

10:40
Jackson C: What’s wrong with Mookie Betts at the plate? His plate discipline stats are the same or better than last year. His exist velo is up a tick. His GB/FB rate is the same. His pull rate his the same. HR/FB is down a touch, and so is line drive rate. Still, isn’t 35 points of wRC+ a lot to lose for a guy who looks the same around the peripheries and improved his walk rate?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: According to Statcast, Betts has posted basically identical expected wOBAs for three years in a row. I think it’s less that this Betts is underachieving, and more that last year’s Betts was overachieving

10:41
Mark: Go fish! The Vanimal will lead us!

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: He sure won’t!

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: But I love that that team is at .500, and I love that perhaps literally nobody realizes it

10:43
Dan: Could it be worth it for a team to blow past their draft bonus pool to sign a bunch of players that fall?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I get the argument, and it’s worth exploring further, but I’m just not sure there are enough players who fall because of signability concerns. It’s not like a team could just sign some maximum number of would-be first-rounders.

10:44
GraphsFan: Saw your piece on ESPN! I assume that there is a lot more exposure to the casual baseball fan and an order of magnitude of interweb hits when publishing there… How much do you have to adjust your writing style when publishing to a larger, and maybe not as sabermetrically inclined audience?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: It’s different, because the ESPN topics are way more mainstream, and therefore a lot worse. It is a less pleasurable exercise

10:45
Mike: Early reports on Conforto’s recovery timetable aren’t great, likely 6-12 months. Does this mean they’re gonna sign Bruce in the offseason (ugh)? Should they explore trading Cespedes or does his clearing waivers mean he’s got no trade value?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets shouldn’t just give up. Still reasonable hopes that the pitchers bounce back in 2018. They can be the second-best team in that division. They’ll just want a quality fourth outfielder

10:46
Joe: wait.. there were 4 fights? besides for the yankees tigers what other fights were there?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: The Yankees and Tigers had four fights

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Was it three fights?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: There were a lot of fights

10:46
Jack Z: You will not have nice things

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: No one will have nice things when they’re dead

10:47
The Dude: Most exciting September call up (that you think will get the call)?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Acuna, if they call up Acuna

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Failing that, Crawford, if they call up Crawford

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: And I’m beyond ready to watch some Glasnow

10:48
Bryce: Is it fair to call the Dodger’s season a failure if they don’t win the World Series?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: No, of course not

10:48
Robin: How serious is Conforto’s injury?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Very serious, but not career-threatening serious

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s the kind of injury that would probably knock him out for the year even if it happened in April

10:49
Jordan: sometimes I enjoy a good scrum on the diamond, its a nice reminder that players do care and its not all just about money.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: But then, it’s not exactly a reminder that the players care about the baseball. It’s more a reminder that the players care about being assaulted

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Try hard enough and I bet you could provoke a fight at the DMV

10:50
Hal: How realistic do you think moving the fences out as a way to bring HRs down is? Would you be in favor?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Not realistic and no. I don’t think there’s a problem that exists, and even if there were, moving the fences out would just reduce homers and increase singles, doubles, and triples.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t lower offense; would just alter offense

10:51
Urooj: Why don’t the Reds trade Votto?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t want to

10:51
Reginald Denton III: What are your thoughts on the Rangers?  Isn’t there an argument to be made that they’re the best AL WC contender that’s not from New York?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, but only in that all of those teams are basically average. None of them are bad, and none of them are good

10:52
Lars: Let’s say the Angels are on the brink of trading Mike Trout to the Braves but the sides aren’t quite aligned. If you were the Mariners and looking to contend within the next 2-3 years, who is the best player you’d kick in to get Trout out of the division/league?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: In theory, Trout would just be bringing equivalent value back to the Angels, so I don’t think it would make that much of a difference

10:53
Babe Lincoln: How would you grade/rate Sandy Alderson’s performance since the season began?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Impossible

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: There was no way to win with the circumstances he faced

10:53
GC: Jeff, which prospects make the biggest impact in 2018?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: The really good ones

10:54
Mac: Would you call Joey Votto’s contract an asset?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Yep. He’s expensive, but given where he is as a player, he could still do better than that on the market

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: And the perception is widespread that he will continue to age well

10:55
Dan: Hoskins is amazing! He keep this up? What’s a peak year look like for him, 40 bombs, with a decent ba?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: The only thing I’ll say for now is that he’s homered against exactly one pitcher I’d consider big-league caliber, and that’s Dan Straily

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Everyone else is a AAAA type

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I like Hoskins, but I want to see a full year of Hoskins

10:56
Stuafoo: What’s your go-to for Mariners-specific content these days?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Video of Mariners games

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t seek out any Mariners-specific commentary

10:57
Bob: Rodon’s been great — is this the new and improved him? Or does he revert back to his old self?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: He’s throwing about 60% strikes. It’s really hard to be an excellent starting pitcher when you’re throwing 60% strikes

10:58
James: I’ve seen some people suggest that Cozart should get a QO and Dyson shouldn’t. Isn’t Dyson worth much more to the Mariners – and worth the value of the QO – in 2018 than Cozart is to the Reds?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: There is exactly a 0% chance that free-agent Jarrod Dyson would earn $18 million in 2018

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Teams just don’t pay that money for those skills

10:59
Jeff Sullivan Jr: You like what you’re seeing from Javier Baez? What does he look like in his prime, and how far from that are we?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: He is what he’s been. He’s an electrifying but roughly league-average hitter who plays quality defense. I’m not convinced he’ll ever get better than this

10:59
Kyle: Who are you buying more at SS for the Cubs moving forward — Baez or Russell?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Russell is the better shortstop

11:00
Urooj: Which team is hurting themselves more by blind deference to a veteran? Jays with Bautista or Angels with Pujols?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Pujols’ WAR is a full win lower

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: The Angels don’t exactly have a quality alternative, and Pujols has chipped in with some clutch hits, but that’s a real problem they have on their hands

11:01
JimmyBallgame: Which potential wild card team has the best chance to stretch it into a big playoff run?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Yankees

11:01
Ben: Are we gonna see Miggy rapidly decline much like Pujols did?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Isn’t he already?

11:04
Hal: There have to be, what, a quarter million swings every MLB season? Conforto wrecking his shoulder isn’t getting enough attention for how incredibly freaky it is

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I’m so used to batters snapping their hamates, or stretching their obliques. This one? It’s probably not unprecedented, but it’s so very unusual

11:05
Matt: Mike Montgomery- make more sense for Cubs to give him  a shot as a very inexpensive rotation piece next year or keep him in versatile, swingman role? They still have a couple rotation slots to fill for next year….

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: He’s more useful as a swingman, but they’ll keep him around as rotation insurance in case they don’t find everything they’re looking for

11:05
John: Does a potential Sanchez suspension torpedo the Yanks playoff chances?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: No, they have a big cushion

11:06
Andrew: Schwarber…talk to me about his play since coming up from the Minors

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: 123 wRC+, 37% strikeouts. He’s trying to be Joey Gallo. I guess it’s something

11:07
Marc: Has stroman taken the next step to become an ace?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Same guy he was a season ago. I like him a lot and he’s kind of a borderline ace, so it depends on whether you’re a big-ace or a small-ace sort of person

11:07
Reginald Denton III: Are you planning on listening to the new album from The War on Drugs today?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I wasn’t before, but I guess now I can have it on background

11:08
LPFan: What’s GSv2 stat on pitcher’s game log page? Where can I find more information on this and how can I find list of pitchers with average GSv2 for this season? Thank you!

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve never used it, so I don’t know how to look it up, but there you go!

11:08
Ken: Re Benintendi – can the Statcast numbers be broken out home vs road? Does he rate better on the road? What about visiting LF at Fenway?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Not able to do that separation with what’s publicly available. I’m sure Petriello could say something

11:09
Hal: The logjam around the second wildcard spot is so uninspiring; MLB’s accomplished their goal of getting more teams in the playoff hunt, but at what cost? Is baseball better when seven 500 teams are within 3 games of a spot in late August?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: I think so. It’s late August and 80% of teams in the American League can think about playing in October. That’s fun

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really care that an average team might make it in. It’s happened before and it’ll happen down the road. The average team will play as an underdog. And if it wins out anyway, that’s interesting!

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Either the average team loses in the playoffs, or it wins, and makes you wonder whether it was really an average team in the first place

11:11
TJ: With the Freeman experiment and then Rizzo playing out there the other day, it’s been a golden year for first basemen at 3b. Should the Angels try Pujols out there?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: lol

11:11
Charlie: I don’t know, Joe Morgan had the two best hitting seasons in Reds history. Votto had 7 in the top 20, and Morgan had only 4, but I think he might have a case.

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Morgan comes the closest to equaling Votto, but I still like Votto more

11:11
NtFlxAndRichHill: Is IFFB% measuered differently in the minors?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

11:12
mike: Without naming names, of course, is there, or has there been, a Fangraphs writer whose opinion about the sport greatly diverged from yours?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

11:13
Anon: Are the Yankees legit this year or did they buy too soon?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: They have baseball’s third-best BaseRuns record, plus they’re in a wild-card position as we speak, by multiple games

11:13
Mac: Accounting for the playoffs probably does make 4th/5th starters less important relative to relievers

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, and this is why back-of-the-rotation types don’t get significant hauls around the trade deadline

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Teams are paying in part for playoff utility

11:14
Rockie Dangerfield: If the Rockies choke their way out of the playoffs, who do you see taking the blame for it?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: The bullpen

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: It was the savior early, and it’s been the executioner since

11:14
Grover: If you had to take a shot in the dark, what the lowest single season WAR Mike Trout will put up in his career?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll post a 1 or something when it’s about time to call it quits

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: 🙁

11:15
JimmyBallgame: Has Trevor Bauer’s reliance on the curve both helped and hurt him? It’s far and away his best pitch, but seems like hitters are sitting on that curve more often now

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Well, that’ll always happen. Whenever a pitcher moves to prioritize one pitch in particular, then hitters will begin to seek that pitch more often. That’s the back-and-forth that’ll always be there with anyone and everyone

11:15
Jordan: Arrieta to the Braves 5/125?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll want someone younger

11:16
Rockie Dangerfield: What do the park factors for walks and strikeouts model?  There shouldn’t be any difference in the strike zone across parks, and thus, no reason to adjust them, right?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not a difference in the zone as much as it can capture a difference in strategy

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: In some parks, pitchers might have to work more cautiously than they do in others

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Or, take Colorado, for example. It reduces strikeouts, probably for a few reasons. Pitchers are more afraid to throw strikes. Hitters are more incentivized to make contact. And secondary pitches aren’t as effective

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Then there’s also the potential matter, in other parks, of visibility. If it’s just a little more difficult to pick the ball up in one park than it is in another, that’ll show up in the data

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: These splits do persist. They’re real, even if they’re weird

11:19
Orchid: Eric Hosmer’s offense turns dramatically after terrible April. I wonder your opinion about his offense turns dramatically too?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: I know I’m higher on him than, say, Dave has been. He still hits way too many ground balls, but his contact quality is legitimately good

11:19
JimmyBallgame: I would say Yasmany Tomas has the worst contract in baseball, all things considered

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: It’s Pujols

11:19
Michael : I’m in love with the information xwOBA has provided us thus far. I’ve noticed that some players (e.g., Matt Carpenter last time I checked) have mostly been hitting the crap out of the ball but getting unlucky. Are they really just at the extreme end of the luck bell curve, or is a shortcoming of xwOBA defensive shifting?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Shifting and speed, yeah

11:20
Sean: Zack Godley has the 5th highest SwStr% among MLB starters… just how good is he??

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Super good curveball

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Like him!

11:20
Ziggy: How concerned are you long term about Alex Wood’s ability to stay healthy?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: It was only a couple years ago that he started 32 games, so it’s not like he has this extended history of breaking down. But I doubt he’ll ever be a workhorse

11:21
Guest: You get to a ballgame, you get your beer and a hot dog or two. And then the real question hits.. do you put mustard or ketchup on your dog? Or are you a both kinda guy?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: More mustard, maybe a small amount of ketchup. I’m not a big fan of sweetness in general

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Would lean more toward mustard and onions

11:21
Babe Lincoln: Any reasons to doubt Luis Severino as a deGrom-caliber pitcher?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: No, he’s really good

11:22
Robbie Canó : Speaking of Pujols, will my contract look THAT bad in a couple years?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’ll look *that* bad

11:22
James: It seems like the Mariners will benefit far more than most when the rosters expand because they will be able to cobble togrther pitching even more so than they are right now. Am I overlooking anything?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: What you’re overlooking is that the pitching will be bad

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: There will be additional options, sure, but if any of them were good, they’d be in the majors today

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:23
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 — 8/25/17 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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John Autin
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John Autin

FWIW, Chris Sale does have a habit of fading in the final quarter. As a starter:
— Team games #1-121: 2.80 ERA, 7.05 H/9, 0.78 HR/9 (133 GS)
— Team games #122-end: 3.78 ERA, 8.76 H/9, 1.35 HR/9 (41 GS)

41 starts isn’t a big sample, and his SO and BB rates are about the same in both sets. But that’s a big jump in HR/9. And his only good September was 2014, when he missed time early and finished with 26 GS. In the past 2 years, he gave up 16 HRs in 12 September starts.

He’s on pace for career highs in starts and IP. If I were Boston, I’d be looking to rest him as much as possible.