Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/16/16

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat, hosted in Mapleton, Utah

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: This time around I only have about an hour before we get back on the road so we should probably get started post-haste

9:02
Pablo Sandoval’s Anus: So which one of you is the car farter?

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: the dog

9:02
HappyFunBall: I love lineups the day after a team clinches. Who knew that Munenori Kawasaki was even a thing?

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Who knew that he wasn’t?

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: In the least derogatory way possible, Munenori Kawasaki has to be major league baseball’s premier cheerleader

9:03
Roadhog: Thoughts on Joey Wendle: Leadoff Hitter? Still no XBH, but hard contract to all fields, great speed, and plus-plus defense. Seems like he could be the A’s version of Panik.

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, you’re looking at a guy who was a league-average hitter in the minors, with a relative inability to walk. Not saying there’s nothing there — he profiles as one of the underrated useful types — but you need to see plenty more before you put Wendle regularly at the top of a lineup

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes it feels like the A’s are an entire roster of second basemen

9:04
JD15: Alexei Ramirez has been worth -2 WAR this season. The Padres dropped him and right away the Rays picked him up and he’s played SS for them. What am I missing?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: The Rays lost their shortstop to injury and couldn’t play no one

9:05
Roadhog: Josh Reddick signs with the A’s in (circle one) [October][November][December][January]

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: You wonder if/when Michael Saunders pushes past Reddick in free-agent desirability. I’d be kind of surprised to see the A’s land either but Reddick would make for a sensible homecoming

9:07
Dock Ellis: Are you on time today because you’re with your boss?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not a coincidence

9:08
Undecided: How big of a gap is there between Bryant and Machado?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Very slim, in terms of true-talent level. Bryant has the advantage of playing a weaker schedule in the weaker league

9:09
JTT: Jeff whats your favorite MVP logical fallacy? Mine is the “team was too good, would have won without him” argument. Can the opposite also be true, a team that squeaks in by 1 game, literally any player could be the MVP! The 2011 Cardinals don’t make the playoffs without Nick Punto. Punto for MVP

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a good one, but I’m partial to “pitchers shouldn’t win because they have their own award.” How does that matter!

9:09
Nick: Does AJ Preller get fired over the information hiding scandal?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: No. They knew from the beginning they were hiring someone shady. There was no getting past Preller’s background. If and when he gets fired, it’ll be because of the job that he did

9:10
JD15: True or False: today’s Cubs lineup would be competitive in the NL East?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Very false!

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Probably. I haven’t actually looked at it yet

9:12
Undecided: Better arm: Mark Whiten or Vlad?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Recency bias leads me to Vlad but I’m pretty sure the answer, slightly, is Whiten

9:13
Undecided: More WAR by the end of career: Betts or Buxton?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Betts isn’t even 24 yet and he has a 13-win head start. It would be silly to choose Buxton here

9:14
Martin: Personally, who are your votes for the MVPs and Cy Young awards in each league respectively?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: The MVPs are easy — for me, it’s the obvious Trout and Bryant

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve spent less time thinking about the Cy Youngs and I’m still not quite sure what to make of Kershaw’s missing time. Given that I do think being available is part of a pitcher’s job, I think Kershaw loses major points there, and I’m inclined to say Kluber and Syndergaard

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: But there are two weeks to persuade me otherwise

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Tanaka, for example, is right there

9:17
Pat: Who are the best Manager candidates in your eyes for teams that will be in the market?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t mean this to be dismissive, but, I don’t know. I couldn’t even tell you who are the best managers currently serving as managers

9:19
hsilk: Hi Jeff, if you were the Brewer’s GM, how would you balance Puig vs. potential prospects in a deal for Braun? Does it depend on how soon you think the Brewers will be competitive?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: I’m personally disinclined to take on the Puig responsibility. I don’t believe much in players changing their makeup and it’s hard to see Puig settling in well in that sort of market. I think the electrifying player he used to be is gone. I don’t think it can be restored. And I think the Brewers already have a good number of outfielders. I’d rather end up with prospects or a different major leaguer

9:21
JTT: Why does nobody seem to want the twins job? The team is basically begging for people to interview and guys are turning them down. I realize the team sucks and ownership is less than ideal but the Angels/mariners jobs were considered difficult and they got their guys pretty easily. Hell even the Marlins went relatively smooth

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to guess this is more a case of just a few people saying no, and generating headlines. The Twins are going to fill their jobs and they will presumably fill them with quality candidates. It’s mostly a desirable spot to work — low expectations, great ballpark, loyal fan base. There are some issues people will have about working with ownership, and that might make it a little similar to when the Orioles had trouble finding a GM, but I can’t imagine ownership is *that* off-putting

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re a potential GM, you come in and figure you’ll inherit an improving Sano, Buxton, and Berrios. There are worse places to start

9:24
Guest: Is there a difference in run value for a caught stealing at second and a caught stealing at third? If there is a difference, what is it?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: The exact difference depends on the specific situations, but I’d assume getting caught stealing third is more costly, since you’re already in scoring position at second, and the relative advantage of moving up 90 feet is fairly slim

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Like, if you’re someone with enough wheels to try to steal third, you’re probably fast enough to score from second on most singles. So you’d better be sure

9:26
Fire Kevin Cash: Thoughts on Corey Dickerson’s adjustments after a strong second-half?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: To be honest, he still feels like Corey Dickerson to me

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: And I do like him overall as a hitter, but I don’t think he’s meaningfully different

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: He has been better at handling sliders, so perhaps he’s not quite so one-pitch minded. That was going to have to happen at some point

9:28
Mitch: How much baseball have you and Dave talked about on your trip? Or is that considered “work” and off-limits?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe 30% of what we’ve talked about? Possibly more if you count just talking about FanGraphs as a business

9:29
Erik: Have the Rockies been particularly poor at building to the unique elements of playing baseball in Coors, or is having such a unique field automatically a disadvantage? I would think that it would be a net positive, since you can build a roster particularly catered to your own weird park.

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I think the numbers show that the Rockies have had an enormous home-field advantage over their history. The problem is that their hitters then have subsequently struggled to hit on the road, presumably due to how pitches move differently, and I don’t know what the Rockies are supposed to do about that

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I really don’t. The environment is the environment. Short of constructing a pressurized dome, it’s an almost unsolvable problem

9:31
Doug: Ryon Healy hit ball far. That’s it.

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty fun pop-up prospect. He’s got his vulnerabilities but the A’s badly need more players like this

9:32
even year: do you agree that if any team was to shock the cubs early it would be the giants? Even though they have been terrible lately they somehow always get it done in october, i still don’t know how they beat the phillies in 2010 and that compares well to the cubs this year

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not hard to see how the Cubs could lose in the playoffs. Like, put them up against the Dodgers. Say, there’s Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill a bunch of times!

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Come playoff time, all the opponents are going to be good. So even in the best cases, the Cubs will be only slightly favored. Playoff upsets aren’t that upsetty, numbers-wise

9:33
Stone: Cashner at philly or Gibson at mets on Sunday for a stream? I need QS and K….era and whip don’t matter

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Sounds like you’re shit out of luck

9:34
Capn Canuck: Is Dave a super safe driver because he never blinks?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a relatively unsafe driver because the dog keeps waking him up ass-early in the morning

9:35
Undecided: BEST CASE scenario comp for Keon Broxton: Eric Davis?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: The best case for almost anyone is always a Hall-of-Famer, but Davis, indeed, would be a flattering comp. More recently, you could point to someone like Mike Cameron. Not that I think Broxton quite has that level of skill in the field, but the profiles are similar, and Cameron was forever underrated

9:37
Bump Bailey: I really like Aledmys Diaz’s bat-to-ball skills. His BABIP is solid, can he continue to put up these types of numbers? And will he stay at SS only?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Realistically the BABIP should come down some and he probably won’t be long for shortstop, but considering where Diaz was in the middle of last season, this year is a damn miracle. He’s one of the premier breakout players in the game

9:39
Pat: I’m a huge Girardi proponent and always a big defender against the people that say he’s terrible. Last night was bad though-
-Shouldn’t have taken tanaka out at 93 pitches…
-if tanaka pitches the 8 or at least part of it, its more likely that the big Sox Thumpers don’t come up in the ninth (aware that’s speculative). Then warren could have pitched the ninth against the “weaker part of the lineup”
-Hindsight would say he shouldn’t have used betances, but If betances is available, let him start the inning, don’t bring him in with guys on base (unless there are two outs) because he can’t hold runners

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Tanaka was going through the order for a fourth time, and I don’t think you worry too much about holding runners when there’s one guy on and you’re up 5-2

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Generally speaking, I think we can agree that Betances is probably suffering from overuse. Still, the Yankees are playing important games, and Betances is the relief ace, and Girardi got him the ball in position to seal the victory. It didn’t happen, but 19 times out of 20, Betances gets that save

9:42
Fitch McTeer: Tim Anderson looks like a freak athlete. How good can he be with the bat?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Not real good at all until he learns the strike zone and starts to elevate

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Right now he doesn’t walk, he doesn’t make a lot of contact, and the contact he *does* make goes on the ground. Worst of all worlds!

9:44
Ryan Zimmerman: Is my career over? The team has stashed me at 1B because I can’t play anywhere else and to make things worse I haven’t put up solid numbers since 2013.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: You’re still among the league leaders in exit velocity, so there’s real hope. Pop remains in that bat. But the injuries have all seemingly added up and you have reduced margin of error. I think healthy Zimmerman can still drive the ball but you need to be carefully managed

9:46
Jon Targaryen: Tell me there is still hope for the Yankees

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: There is still hope for the Yankees

9:46
K2: Was there any construction/I-70 nonsense to speak of on your trip between Golden and Vail? A prospective skier thanks you for the update.

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: It was all very smooth!

9:46
Erik: What team has the best chance of stopping the Cubs? Would you just pick the best team, or does any team match up against them particularly well? What weaknesses do the Cubs even have that a team could match up against?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: The Cubs, for the most part, are almost vulnerability-free. They have a clear strength in terms of suppressing BABIP so maybe that works against a contact-heavy opponent like the Giants, but I don’t think there’s a true matchup to exploit. You want lefties to hit against Arrieta. You want baserunners to run against Lester. But these are such little things. I think ultimately you just want to put a good roster up against their good roster and hope you get 6 out of every 10 breaks

9:48
Nick S: How would the A’s and Braves line up in an Inciarte or Mallex trade? Would Berreto make sense as a return?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think Barreto would go for a defensive specialist, no matter what WAR says. Even if Inciarte really is as good as his defensive numbers, those don’t go for as much on the open market as offensive numbers. And Barreto is important to the franchise

9:50
George: Is Jered Weaver the most or least fascinating player in baseball to analyse?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: He’d be more interesting if he didn’t suck

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, you could argue it’s amazing that he doesn’t suck more, but, Mark Buehrle kind of cut it as a guy throwing 83-84

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: It is fun to observe the extent to which Weaver has moved away from his fastball. And by pitch values, the fastball is terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: So even though he’s throwing it less than half of the time, hitters are still up there just waiting for the one

9:52
ben: How hesitant will other teams be to trade with Preller and the Padres?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Executives already didn’t trust him. This will hurt a little bit, but realistically, if the Padres have something valuable, the market can’t just ignore that entirely

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: There are only 29 other teams to trade with. Even fewer if it’s midseason and you’re looking to buy. Being an asshole GM just isn’t really disincentivized

9:54
Kthen: What do you think is the most impactful part of your team during the postseason(itself, not the race)? So in other words, if the one team had a strong lineup, another has a strong starting rotation and the last one has a strong bullpen, which type of team would be at the “advantage”.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: The lineup is still the most important, when you consider that it provides both offense and defense.

9:55
JD15: Does anyone at Fangraphs do a Least Valuable Player Award at the end of the season? Either way, who would get your vote?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I really want to say Alfredo Simon

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: You could make an argument for Wade Miley or Shelby Miller

9:56
Fitch McTeer: Talk about Ryon Healy. Is he this good with the changes that Eno noted or is he just riding a goofy-high HR/FB rate?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s outperforming his own true power level, but he is a legitimately improved hitter, relative to last season

9:57
Goatees Only: If you’re the mariners do you consider putting Edwin Diaz on the market this offseason? What names might they look at if they were targeting an MLB ready OF?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re in position to make that kind of trade. They need more good young pitchers, not fewer

9:58
Erik: What team has need, desire, and ability to pay Jose Bautista what he wants this offseason? He seems like a huge risk unless his demands have been brought way way down.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Nobody has the need, desire, and ability to pay Jose Bautista what he wants

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: So, obviously, it’s up to Bautista to adjust

9:59
Justin: Pirates bounce back and make the playoffs next year?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll be .500+, but, no, probably not

9:59
Justin: What should Pirates do with McCutchen? Trade him?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Unfortunately for them, McCutchen has basically spoiled that idea by not being very good

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: He’s shown some signs of coming out of it so it’s not like I think he’s toast, but he’s going to go into 2017 as a reason for the Pirates to hope for a rebound

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Well look at that! My hour is up, I’m afraid to say. And we need to get back on the road

10:01
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

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Next week we’ll be back to the standard two hours

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: So long!

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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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Brians Sticky Sock
Member
Brians Sticky Sock

My favorite part of this season will be the Giants failing to make the playoffs, thus ending all the even year speak… plus that annoying commenter we all know and love… to all Giants fans other than the aforementioned, my apologies for the dick comment… this isn’t meant to be a personal attack on any of you… just tired of then endless talk… if your team does make it, I hope you enjoy it 😉