Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/16/14

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hi friends

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s baseball chat

9:05
Comment From Tom
Jeff, when CoverItLive asks for an e-mail address so they can send a reminder for this chat, would you like me put in yours?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: I was at my computer on time, too, I just had to read through Blengino’s latest before I opened this up. Didn’t want to wait

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Blengino’s latest! http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

9:06
Comment From CuriousGeorge
Jeff did you see the community article yesterday on stealing bases? In it there was a little model for figuring out should you steal, and i couldnt get it to work. the first box where you like 2x0x never worked for me! any insight?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I’m actually the editor of the Community blog but I’m not responsible for the tool. You should leave a comment, I’m sure the author will be paying attention

9:06
Comment From David
2 games back with 13 to play. Do you believe in your Mariners?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: I believe that they are real

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: But to answer your question, no

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Friday when they beat the A’s, their playoff odds were 55%. Three losses later, 21%. Congratulations, Royals, don’t choke

9:09
Comment From Hamilton Porter
Even if you penalize for the minors next year, is Sano going to provide more value to the Twins than Taveras to the Cards over the next 3 years?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Ooh. Assuming Sano gets aggressive treatment next season: I’ll go with, sure!

9:10
Comment From Matheny
I should know this, but…any news on Wacha, will we see him start again this regular season?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Their playoff odds are such that the best thing to do would be to make sure Wacha’s available for October. He apparently felt great in a bullpen session just a little while ago so that’s encouraging, but they’re not going to rush him. Maybe he gets a start before the postseason

9:11
Comment From Shyam
Does WAR adjust for quality of opposition? For example, does a pitcher get the same credit for striking out Chris Carter and Victor Martinez. If not, don’t you think WAR ahould be adjusted in such a way that the “replacement” level is the expected performance of a replacement player if he had played the same opposition as the player in question?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: There is no opposition adjustment, but before you even get to particularly big samples, things start to even out. Everybody, every player in baseball, is going to have faced a slightly different group of opponents, but the extremes regress in a damn hurry such that adjustments would probably be on the order of like one or two tenths of one point

9:12
Comment From Tom
Kershaw for MVP?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Believe it

9:12
Comment From Hamilton Porter
What’s the realistic difference between Billy Hamilton and who Buxton will most likely be?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Offense

9:13
Comment From john
does last nights start catapult degrom to the top of ROY contention?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not just last night’s start — Billy Hamilton, in the second half, has hit .214/.265/.276. He’s been dreadful for a long time, while deGrom has been outstanding

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: So, Hamilton’s got issues to work out, and the Mets have reason to think that 2015 could be an actual interesting full regular season

9:14
Comment From _David_
What exactly is happening from a baseball and probability standpoint, when Iwakuma walks Dioner Navarro on 4 pitches? Do pitchers actually not pitch worse hitters that differently?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: *Efren Navarro

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Within a single at-bat, approach can be dwarfed by randomness. And, just Sunday, Clayton Kershaw was brilliant against the Giants, and walked Yusmeiro Petit

9:15
Comment From ESPN
Are you into fantasy football?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Yes I am, in the year 1999

9:16
Comment From Jack
Is there any chance Kluber can win the Cy Young, or is Felix a virtual lock?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Felix isn’t a *lock*, but he has the narrative and familiarity, and right now he has the Win% and the ERA. I’d personally probably give it to Kluber if I were to choose today on account of the team defenses and everything, but Felix is probably the favorite right now by at least 2-to-1

9:17
Comment From MetsFaithful5
Jacob deGrom

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Eight strikeouts! Single by the pitcher!

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: A Jacob deGrom fun fact:

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: deGrom: 75.6% contact rate

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Strasburg: 75.8%

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Darvish: 75.5%

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: #baseball

9:19
Comment From Jake
Thanks as always for your time, Jeff. Yasmani Thomas, over/under $90 mil this offseason?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Rusney Castillo got $72 million. Tomas is years younger and has a better power tool. He’ll clear $90 million

9:20
Comment From Kevin
As the postseason looms on the horizon, which team’s fans do you think are the most apprehensive about their chances?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Royals fans would’ve been until the final few innings last night. Now they’ve been bought some time. Mariners fans are giving up by the thousands. I suspect Brewers fans came to terms with things a few days ago, and aren’t taking this little bounceback seriously enough

9:22
Comment From _David_
Marc W wrote on USSMariner yesterday about Matt Shoemaker’s success in the majors after not-success in the minors. He speculated that maybe the things that contribute to the run scoring environment in the majors, such as Pitch fX pressuring the umpires and expanding the strike zone, are not present in the minors…Have you or anyone considered this?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: There’s definitely a growing information gap between the Majors and Triple-A, even though teams do have stuff for the minors that we don’t have access to. But there’s also the fact that Shoemaker went from pitching in the PCL’s Salt Lake to the AL’s Anaheim. It shouldn’t actually be a shocker that he’s having better success on contact allowed

9:25
Comment From Hamilton Porter
Why won’t the Dodgers free Joc? Is it to build value for Kemp/Ethier, or do they believe that he’s not currently good enough?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Ethier’s not really playing either

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: They’re not going to sit Puig. They’re not going to sit Kemp. Crawford’s playing well, and so is Van Slyke in a part-time role. We’ve known forever this was a crowded situation and it hasn’t gotten any less crowded. There’s not a lot to be gained right now from playing Pederson, given who else could be played. So getting time for Joc isn’t the priority at the moment

9:28

Comment From Cardinals Centrist
Player A: .328/.381/.571 wRC+ 159 in first AA season

Player B: .323/.396/.531 wRC+ 151 in first AA season

Player A=Oscar Taveras
Player B= Daniel Descalso

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Taveras that year was 19 and 20, and Descalso was nearly 23

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: /checks Pete Kozma’s page

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: good god

9:29
Comment From GSon
Is it really not enough offense or is the pitching so much better this year that has led to the significant reduction in runs scored (overall, off about 8 to 9 %)?..

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: League ERA’s down 3% from 2013

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Pitches across the board have gotten a little bit faster. The strike zone’s a little bigger. Strikeouts are up a little, walks are down a little, power’s down a little. The run-prevention side is better, and a theory is that they’re benefiting from the excess of information more than the run-production side can.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: That’s something I’m researching and working on behind the scenes. Will publish something eventually

9:32
Comment From Kris
Braves are now .500. Were they always a true talent .500 team?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: At the start of the season, we had them projected for 82-80

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: They weren’t a true-talent .500 team when they had Medlen and Beachy lined up

9:35
Comment From LA
Jacob DeGrom’s 13K’s last night, do you think we’re seeing his true talent? Or is he just getting lucky?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t see many reasons for skepticism. Stuff’s there. Strikes are there. Hard to fake a low contact rate. Grounders are there. Manageable platoon split. Obviously he’s out-producing what he did in the minors, but then in the other league we have the Matt Shoemaker example of same. Maybe I’m hasty but I’m happy to buy these kinds of guys. You can learn a lot more pitching in the majors than you can in Triple-A and I buy deGrom as a future No. 2/3

9:36
Comment From J6takish
What percentage of questions are ‘why doesn’t Player X just NOT do ‘glaring exploitable fault'”?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Surprisingly few!

9:38
Comment From Stephen
Can arbitration ever reduce rather increase a salary for a player? Or would they just be sent through waivers?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a rule for this — a team can offer a salary reduction of no more than 20% from the previous season’s salary

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: In reality though, it just doesn’t really happen. The way arbitration is built up, you generally don’t see salary reductions come out of arbitration hearings

9:40
Comment From Guest
Off the top of your head are they any 1st base upgrades the M’should target in fa or trades?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Anybody

9:41
Comment From Jake
What can we expect from Jesse Hahn next year? Do you think he’ll keep his ERA below 3.50?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Average NL ERA this year is 3.68. Hahn would be pitching half the time in Petco. Yeah, he can get there

9:43
Comment From erghammer
I have a theory about Mookie: he is actually going to be the starting 3B next year, but the Sox cannot say this yet. Clearly they have a logjam in the OF, and leaving Mookie out there just makes it worse. Clearly, they need a 3B and Middlebrooks isn’t the answer. Mookie is clearly a good enough athlete, and probably has the arm, to handle 3B. But the Sox need to showcase Middlebrooks, and gain nothing by benching him now and reducing any perceived trade value (not that he has much). Am I imagining things? If I am, where do you think Mookie ends up next year?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Red Sox even know. I think they know they have a variety of options, but plans can change in a damn hurry when you think about packaging prospects for one star, and I certainly don’t think the Red Sox think Middlebrooks’ trade value will benefit from continued playing time. I don’t really believe in showcasing when it comes to bad players. The Sox say they haven’t thought about Betts as a third baseman and I pretty much believe them. They could have that discussion next January or February, but by then Betts might no longer be on the team

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Sox know they have a busy offseason ahead, and they’re aware of their own clutter, but I don’t think they want to keep shuffling Betts around if they don’t have to

9:45
Comment From Jake
How real is Michael Brantley’s breakout season?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Very real, I think

9:46
Comment From Gila Monster
If you go by RA9 WAR and are slightly convinced that WAR slightly undervalues IP, Couldn’t you make the case for King Felix or Cueto over Kerhsaw?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: If you stretch, and I mean really stretch, you might be able to get someone to equal Kershaw, but by 50/50 WAR/RA9-WAR, it’s Kershaw by a good amount, especially ahead of Cueto

9:48
Comment From Dunx
Not that it matters much, since the one-game playin is so flukey, but the best case scenario for the A’s right now is to play the Royals in Oakland, right? They’ve got the best bullpen, but Shields seems like the weakest of the possible aces.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Cover It Live is eating my answers again

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Well this is a nuisance. I’m just going to have to imagine that you can see things that I can’t see sometimes

9:50
Comment From _David_
A genie offers you the following choice: The Mariners next 20 years will play out like the Marlins last 20 years. Same results, same talent…Maybe explain the financials by the Mariners owners refusing to let salaries rise at the inflation rate as the rest of baseball…You wouldn’t know what was coming, and somehow wouldn’t be able to see the resemblance to the Marlins and think you were in some freaky simulation…The other choice is to let everything happen as it would otherwise…What do you choose?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: That’s an extremely complicated hypothetical

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: So I’m offered a choice, but if I choose the one thing, I don’t know I made that choice somehow? So it’s like a Men In Black situation?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I choose regular reality. Baseball isn’t only interesting and fun to me because of winning championships

9:51
Comment From Bradley
Seriously though, which teams (if any) that are currently outside of the playoffs spots do you think will make the postseason?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: None of them

9:52
Comment From Matt
If you were voting for Cy Young, How would you balance FIP-based and RA9 WAR?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a case-by-case thing. My default is 50/50, but I need to know about each pitcher’s individual team defenses, and so forth

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Cueto, for example, has earned the benefit of the doubt with his RA9-WAR skills. Kluber has pitched in front of a shitty defense. Felix has pitched mostly in front of good defense, with a very capable framer

9:53
Comment From Kirk
Why is Joe West so terrible?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: his diet and upbringing

9:53
Comment From Jaack
Quick! Who has been the most value A’s player over the past 10 season? If you guessed Mark Ellis, you’re lying, but correct.

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Thankfully I did not have time to guess

9:53
Comment From 1990JaromirJagr
Best Lettuce in the game, DeGrom or Samardijia? After last nights display, I think DeGrom takes the cake. He was throwing junk, and his lettuce was greasy

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I hate this

9:54
Comment From A. Lane
Have yet to read it but, Blengino’s pieces are great, don’t seem to start the comment wars but excellent addition to Fangraphs.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Many of his pieces are very similar, so you basically know what you’re getting into when you click on one of his headlines. The usual troublemakers aren’t going to make the effort when there are so many other comment sections around

9:54
Comment From Rated Rookie
Anthony Rizzo is a good reason to watch the Cubs. There are others–and will be many more others, soon–but he’s an impressive ballplayer and seems like a decent human being.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: yes

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Cover It Live hiccup…

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Boy do I hate this service sometimes

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Well, sorry, Blue Jays question, it seems the window doesn’t want you to be submitted and answered

9:56
Comment From Julio Bourbon
Has there been any research done on how well switch hitters do when batting from the opposite side of the plate than their previous AB (in the same game)?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I have not seen anything

9:57
Comment From Rated Rookie
Could the Indiana rotation be the best in baseball next year? Kluber, Salazar, Carrasco, House, Bauer seem like a pretty stout rotation, and with upside!

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: It could be, but it probably will not be

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Someone will probably get hurt. Someone will probably underachieve. Not much of a track record with most of those guys

9:59
Comment From _David_
If a team has a pitching coach like Dave Duncan or Don Cooper, are their talents being wasted in the majors? Why not (and pay them enough that they would accept this) send them out frequently to evaluate and coach minor league pitchers too?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, you’d want those guys to be able to see some of your up-and-comers, but then, this kind of thing does happen. The Astros had a whole situation not long ago when they brought in Mark Appel to throw a bullpen in front of Brent Strom. That isn’t an uncommon event — it’s just, because it was the Astros, it turned into news

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: This is one of the reasons spring training can be so valuable

10:01
Comment From Dunx
Sale has to be Felix’s biggest competition for Cy Young, right? Kluber’s fantastic, but Sale’s got that sexy, sexy ERA.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Kluber has awesome numbers and seven more starts than Sale does

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hey, I just found out that I can ban readers!

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: So long, question-queue spam!

10:03
Comment From Hamilton Porter
Do you feel confident that Sano will get aggressive treatment?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll earn it

10:04
Comment From Dunx
Re: Playoff Odds — does the suspended game KC has to finish do anything to meaningfully impact Seattle’s playoff odds? They’re down 4-2 in the bottom of the 10th, so it’s not technically a loss, but yeah it’s a loss

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not factored in, but yeah, it’s something to file away

10:05
Comment From GSon
Jason Kipnis responded via twitter to a fan giving him crap for a game the Indians lost. The fan claimed this is the reason no one goes to the games. It’s not that simple, but, how does Cleveland’s ownership and leadership get more fans in the seats?. Can Jason Kipnis help besides being on the field playing his heart out?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: It helps to have developing star power like Kluber and Brantley. It helps to have guys who blossom into great players that don’t get traded away. But honestly, short of building a new stadium, the biggest thing they can do is just win, and win more consistently. There’s no other way around it. Consistently good teams will usually draw, and bad teams won’t, and it will take a while for the Indians to recover from those miserable seasons they had in the recent past

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Then you get into matters of local economies and so forth, and there’s nothing the Indians can do about that, but this isn’t a marketing problem. This can’t be solved in an office. Fans need to believe there’s a product on the field worth checking out over and over, and the team’s making progress in that direction

10:08
Comment From Kimball
Probability that Ned Yost uses his amazing bullpen creatively in the playoffs to give the Royals a fighting chance? Is there any manager in the MLB, given the same bullpen, *less* likely than Yost to use it creatively?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: The good news is he doesn’t even have to be that creative. He just needs to make sure to use Herrera and Davis and Holland a lot. Given the number of playoff off days, that’s going to help his process. Provided he gets there.

10:09
Comment From john
Sandy Alderson says the mets are going to probably stay in house at SS and OF this offseason. While I know he just says things to say things, can we seriously believe that he has built this pitching staff and is going to stick an infield with Wright, Flores, Herrera and Duda? Would that be the worst defensive infield of all time?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: The Marlins had some doozies in the Dan Uggla days

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: As you know, better to believe actions over words, so we’ll just see where the Mets end up going, but if you figure Harvey will be back, and there’s Syndergaard, and if Wright is able to recover from this lost season…I mean, they’re not actually all that far away from contention, so they might not even need meaningful roster upgrades to have a worthwhile 2015

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Granted, that means they’d be right in the place on the win curve where they should WANT to upgrade, but that’s why I imagine they’ll be more active than they’re letting on

10:12
Comment From TKDC
It’s pretty amazing how similar the Royals and Braves are, especially if you view Bethancourt as the catcher for the Braves. They both have good pitching staffs without having an ace; a dynamite closer, some great up the middle defense, some black holes, and their best players, Heyward and Gordon, are almost the same player.

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, tons of parallels. Biggest difference: the Braves, on average, swing a little harder. So, more strikeouts, more ISO. But as an overall design, they’re similar baseball teams. Maybe not a surprise!

10:13
Comment From Kimball
If Shoemaker goes to the DL, Angels’ winning % will only increase, right? That’s how statistical trends work?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, then everyone starts hitting like Trout

10:15
Comment From Jay
How would you order the O’s Playoff Rotation?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Tillman/Norris/Chen/Gausman? Honestly, it doesn’t make much difference, as you probably suspect. And some of it will depend on the matchup they get. If it seems like a complicated issue, too complicated an issue to easily resolve, it’s probably because the order isn’t actually very important

10:17
Comment From Jim
Knowing your opinions on the difficulties of judging managers and their value, how would you (in a world where you’re a voter) decide manager of the year, and who would you pick?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I’d opt out. Honestly. I wouldn’t vote. Right now I wouldn’t be comfortable helping to decide something like that. I have absolutely zero information and I don’t want to give out an award people value for arbitrary reasons. That probably seems like a cop-out answer but until we know more I can’t add anything to the conversation, and so I wouldn’t want the authority

10:19
Comment From Jake
How damaging is it to the Dodgers if Ryu cannot pitch in the postseason?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Reasonably damaging. You move up Haren, and you give the last slot to Hernandez. Makes the team worse. Moves the odds a few percentage points. Doesn’t cripple anything. Just leaves Mattingly having to go to the bullpen sooner, some of the time

10:19
Comment From Guest
Is wrc+ position adjusted?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: no

10:20
Comment From Loren
As an idea to reduce strikeouts and walks, what if the strike zone was changed to be dynamic, getting smaller on 2 strike counts and bigger on three ball counts? Would this be feasible with human umpires or would it cause endless confusion, bitterness, and arguments?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Funny you should say that

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: The strike zone already gets smaller in two-strike counts and bigger in three-ball counts. It’s not supposed to, but the evidence is undeniable. Umpires are reluctant to call strikeouts and walks

10:21
Comment From a boblowblalawbomb
how much money has the injury cost giancarlo stanton?do the marlins have a better shot of resigning him now?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: It will make almost literally no difference. Little reason to be spooked long-term about this, and it’s not like this is the sort of thing you can add to the evidence of Stanton maybe being injury-prone

10:22
Comment From CaseyBlakeDeWitt
Yesterday on fangraphs Petriello’s Ned Yost article mentioned Derrick Turnbow and Salomon Torres among other obscure relievers. What’s the best mid-2000’s obscure player you can come up with?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Brendan Donnelly?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: You’ve got me thinking relievers

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe a little Robb Quinlan, to stick with the Angels

10:23
Comment From guy smiley
Why does Kyle Seager keep batting behind Kendrys Hart? It makes me sad (even though I’m not a Mariners fan).

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t want to have Cano and Seager batting back-to-back in case they run into an awesome lefty. That much is understandable. But yeah, there’s nothing to be done at this point with No. 4. They’re boned if Morales doesn’t hit, and he’s got all of two weeks to go

10:24
Comment From Guest
What are your expectations for Ozzie Arcia at peak? .260/.330/.500 with some off days against tough lefties seem crazy?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not getting to a .330 OBP as long as he’s striking out 30% of the time

10:25
Comment From THE average sports fan
Both Colome and Karns came up and pitched very well for the Rays. Why not have them up earlier?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Because Colome is not very good and Karns also is not very good. And they haven’t really been in desperate need of arms

10:27
Comment From A. Lane
There has been the discussion/articles on over-performance by the Royals and Orioles, why none about the Cardinals, beating BaseRuns by 6 games, PythagenPat by 7 (the most)? Is it just reputation?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Cardinals have started to build these gaps more recently, so earlier in the year when we paid more attention they didn’t exist

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: But since around the end of June, the Cardinals are 39-30 while being outscored by 22 runs. It’s a thing

10:28
Comment From a boblowblalawbomb
in light of cano’s great season and the mariners being in the playoff hunt, has cano prevented his contract from ever being an albatross?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Because of one presumably non-playoff year to lead off a decade-long commitment?

10:29
Comment From Milwaukee Pete
So if someone offered me the choice of Brewers playoff tickets or a dozen fine bratwursts now, I should take the bratwurst, right?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: No!

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: What’s 20% times the market value of Brewers playoff tickets?

10:30
Comment From Jake
True or false: Javier Baez will be an above average major league player

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think true

10:31
Comment From THE average sports fan
Who is your pick for the most surprising player to get a MVP vote? Dee Gordon is mine.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Surprising given 2014 performance, or surprising given expected 2014 performance?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: For the latter, sure, Gordon. He was supposed to be awful

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: For the former, maybe Zach Britton?

10:35
Comment From testing
What do you think happens with V-Mart this offseason? What will he get paid as a weirdly viable 35 year old DH who is, well, a 35 year old DH.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Beltran got $45m/3yr around Martinez’s age with a less impressive most recent season. Beltran offered a little greater positional flexibility but I think that gives you an idea of the probable AAV, and I wouldn’t be surprised by three years given Martinez’s skillset

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: And Beltran got paid despite the QO, as well. Martinez will presumably get one. I don’t know where he ends up, but teams are going to be knocking down his door

10:38
Comment From Kimball
Unwritten rules aside, would it make sense for the Angels to give guys extra rest days, etc., against the Mariners? They’ll probably still win most of the games, but if they don’t, and it puts some pressure on the A’s, preventing them from resting their guys, so much the better?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, teams have to look out for No. 1. If a team has a cushion going into the final weeks, it’s more important that they get healthy and rest up than it is that they put the best possible team on the field at all times. You don’t just punt whole games and series, but you don’t push it

10:40
Comment From Guest
so fans always want extreme pull hitters to beat the shift and bunt to third base. but if they do this, the other team will just move their left side infielder more to the line and take away the bunt. then the hitter will continue to pull the ball, and nothing changes. you’d have to consciously hit opposite field line drives to avoid the shift, which isn’t something those guys can do. basically, these guys are screwed, right? in terms of BABIP love.

10:41
Comment From Jake deBomb
but you realize that ROY voters aren’t going to look at splits, etc. they are going to look at full year impact and so most will prob still vote for BH.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: The point is that deGrom’s numbers are going up and Hamilton’s numbers are simultaneously going down

10:42
Comment From Jack
Thoughts on Carlos Santana’s second half? .274/.389/.527 wRC+ 159 and a staggering .268 BABIP

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Big time pull air-ball hitter. Power’s not surprising, neither is the low BABIP

10:43
Comment From Andy
Who has been a bigger surprise to you this season (actual performance vs. expectations), Kole Calhoun or Deven Mesoraco?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Mesoraco. Calhoun did this last year

10:43
Comment From erghammer
Re the decline in offense: isn’t shifting a factor (perhaps not a big factor, but a factor nonetheless)? You don’t see effective countermeasures yet (e.g., better bunting, traditional pull hitters learning to go the other way). Perhaps the offense doesn’t revert to mean until they figure out ways to beat the shift.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: It isn’t clear how much shifts are actually helping overall, given the lack of league BABIP trends and such, but yeah, most generally, shifts are more bad news for offense than good news

10:44
Comment From Kimball
Dave’s been very clear that the FGPotY won’t just be a WAR ranking, but PR aside, isn’t that slightly odd given that WAR is the best single stat for ranking players. So isn’t the PotY kind of a referendum on WAR anyway? E.g., we may learn different staffers beliefs about its measure of defense or balance of pitching/hitting or catcher defense or, I suppose, the relative impact of a DL stint, but is there really a realistic possibility of a voter not using WAR as the baseline and tweaking based on personal opinion as to what it misses? (Which is still incredibly interesting, btw.)

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: CiL is really pissing me off right now

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t tell which answers are going through

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry guys

10:46
Comment From Kimball
(I think CiL ate your response to the shift question.)

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: barg

10:47
Comment From Frank
Is spite a sufficient reason to watch the playoffs, or should I just forget about baseball for a while?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Rooting against somebody is basically the same thing as rooting for somebody!

10:47
Comment From john
Another Mets pitcher that outpaced his minor league numbers: Matt Harvey! Minor league numbers aren’t everything… Don’t forget deGrom lost a year to TJS

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: And I’m guessing we’ll see more and more cases like this as we learn more and more about big-league data. This is part of the fun of it. It’s fun when players aren’t what you think

10:48
Comment From Guest
Who wins the Ws between the Nats and Halos?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Nats

10:48
Comment From Ryan
Tonight, the odds of the Pirates beating the Red Sox (87.2%) and the odds of the As beating the Rangers (85.4%) are both higher than Michael Jordan’s career free throw % (83.5%). Are the Red Sox and Rangers still required to take the field?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: And those odds haven’t even factored in the lineups yet!

10:49
Comment From HittersPark
How do you deal with arguments against a Pitcher winning the MVP in light of the Cy Young award?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Mostly I don’t really care about awards, so I don’t get upset by people’s reasonings, but I am of the opinion that pitchers are just as valuable as hitters so I don’t discount great pitchers at all

10:49
Comment From Jaack
Who win the NL Cy Young if Clayton Kershaw were to be indicted on high treason tomorrow?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Cueto

10:50
Comment From Guest
what happens first a volcano erupts in North America or the Mariners win the world series?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Volcanoes erupt in Alaska all the time

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, jesus christ, CiL is extra buggy today

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll have to wrap this up in a couple minutes

10:51
Comment From Guest
With offense being down, how does Trout putting up a 10 (or 8) WAR compare to someone doing it in 2001? What would Bonds’ 2001 WAR be today? Since offense is down, replacement level falls, right? So 7 WAR now isn’t really the same production as 7 WAR then? Or am I misunderstanding that?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Every year, there’s the same amount of position-player WAR, so a 10 WAR is a 10 WAR. Trout being ten wins better than replacement in 2014 isn’t any different from someone being ten wins better than replacement in 2001. Everyone always has to be considered in the context

10:53
Comment From Mike C.
When do you think we’ll get official advanced metrics #s from korean/japese leagues? Pitch fx? Thankfully unofficial fangraphs wannabe sites DO exist 4 them, just not in English.

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I actually saw a site with something kind of like Japanese PITCHf/x data a few years ago. I don’t know where it went, but some of that stuff is out there

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: So we’ll probably have more of it before long

10:54
Comment From Guest
Given how bad the White Sox’s current roster is and how bad their farm system has been, Would it be outrageous to cash in on Jose Abreu and try to get the top #10 trade value Dave suggested he has? They have nothing to build around him + Sale.

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: They have awesome contracts in Abreu/Sale/Quintana, and then that’s a heck of a foundation. They’re not that screwed, especially with Eaton doing well too for free

10:55
Comment From bryce
who’s the nats’ #1 starter for the playoffs? Zimmermann? Fister? Strasburg?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Probably going to be Zimmermann

10:55
Comment From Dave
Is the Pirates pool of prospects shrinking? How can they avoid peaking in the next year or two?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t they want to peak in the next year or two?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Isn’t that the whole point?

10:56
Comment From Mike C.
Though I disagree on the pitcher getting the MVP, it seems given Kershaw is gonna win it. Who’s your #2? Stanton or Cutch? Are you excited 4 the fangraphs awards?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: probably ends up McCutchen

10:56
Comment From Guest
Almost one season into it, how does Robinson Cano’s contract look? Still bad at the back end but not quite as bad as you would expect from a $200 million deal?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Looks the same. He’s been great in Year 1, as expected

10:57
Comment From Guest
Chris Sale has a sub-2.00 ERA. Are the 7 missed starts really going to kill him in the cy young voting?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Given what Kluber and Felix have done, yeah, they’ll be hugely important

10:58
Comment From Guest
Do you think either, or both, of Sanchez or Norris could be good SPs in the Jays’ rotation next year?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Very possibly Norris, probably not Sanchez

10:58
Comment From Brian
Best baseball game you ever watched..not necessarily in person?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: My bias says Game 5, Yankees/Mariners, 1995, but my brain says Game 6, Rangers/Cardinals, 2011

11:00
Comment From Bill
What are your thoughts on the whole WAR discussion lately. It seems like a lot of writers around the net are up in arms one way or another about WAR.

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m not emotionally invested in this. WAR’s always a starting point for me, and then I go from there. We’ve known about the defensive issues for a while. There are some offensive issues also, with context and clutch performance and everything. I don’t spend a lot of my time ranking players and so it’s an interesting thing to think about and that’s where I leave it. I’m not going to be one of the people who “solves” this — I’m not smart enough or capable enough. I’m just here to tell stories. I’ll use WAR when I think it’s useful

11:02
Comment From Dan
Between Bourn, Stubbs, and Murphy, is there any reason why guys seem to come to Cleveland and have their outfield defense tank?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I bet there is! I don’t know it. 🙁

11:03
Comment From Bryce Harpers Mom
At this point, who won the Rizzo for Cashner deal?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs

11:03
Comment From Mike C.
Seeing as Russ Martin is the first big FA catcher with top 5 framing skills, how do you think teams will value this?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: They didn’t value it very highly before, so that’ll probably be the case again.

11:04
Comment From A. Lane
Just read that piece on Steve Pearce, do we really know anything about projecting baseball performance?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t been able to read it yet, but, the answer is yes. Overall, we do pretty well. We just don’t write about the guys who do what we expect. We highlight the weird ones, and so that can make it look like there is a massive population of the weird ones

11:05
Comment From Kimball
Do you think use the high fastball will start to trend up dramatically next year, or is it just too hard/risky to try to get most guys to significantly change their best spots once they’ve developed?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’ll be dramatic. No baseball trends, really, are dramatic. But I think some guys will pitch up more, and I think some guys will be selected more for their abilities to pitch up. I don’t know if it’ll start next year as long as the zone keeps dropping and dropping, but eventually, I do think we’ll see a reversal once teams figure out how to build low-hitting offenses

11:07

Comment From kvk
Was wondering why Michael Brantley’s WAR is higher than Alex Gordon or Anthony Rendon? Offensively they are very similar, but Brantley has negative dWAR, and Rendon even has better BsR.

PA/HR/R/RBI/S
Brantley: 628 19 89 94 21
Gordon: 597 19 81 68 11
Rendon: 646 20 108 80 15

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Brantley’s been the best hitter by a lot

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: 152 wRC+, to Rendon’s 130 and Gordon’s 124

11:08
Comment From Bill
Would a Jonathan Lucroy MVP win be a HUGE victory for those touting pitch framing data?

11:10
Comment From Sean
Out of the current teams sitting in playoff position (including both wild cards), which team would you most want to play in a division series?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Royals, because they’re the worst

11:11
Comment From Kretin
What do you think of the Angels using an army of relievers in the 5th starting pitcher spot?

11:11
11:11
Comment From Sadwick
I’m pretty biased towards the Yankees/Sox NLCS in 2004. There were some awesome games during the comeback from 0-3.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: That might be my favorite series ever, but I don’t think it had my favorite games ever. Great moments, though, of course

11:12
Comment From Jake
Long chat today, eh?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I always really suck at stopping

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: But I’m going to do it now!

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Appropriately, I think CiL just ate my closing remark

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s try this shit again

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. I’m also sorry for CiL being a pile of crap today. 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 — 9/16/14 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.

newest oldest most voted
Kv
Guest
Kv

Was wondering why Michael Brantley’s WAR is higher than Alex Gordon or Anthony Rendon? Offensively they are very similar, but Brantley has negative dWAR, and Rendon even has better BsR.

PA/HR/R/RBI/S
Brantley: 628 19 89 94 21
Gordon: 597 19 81 68 11
Rendon: 646 20 108 80 15

anon
Guest
anon

You need to look at the factors that matter to WAR. R and RBI are not among them and really aren’t worth comparing individual players with.