Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/18/15

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: It’s baseball chat

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Live!

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Coming to you this time from sunny San Diego. I assume it’s sunny but I am inside on a computer doing a baseball chat

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Chat with me

9:16
Comment From Mike
Jeff, fun DH facts. EE has been worth ~3 wins in the last 47 games, 39 at DH. Second highest total from what I can see. He is so oood he only has to play half the game.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: And then he gets to rest for the hitting part!

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: it’s kind of crazy — Josh Donaldson is the MVP, and if it weren’t for a little BABIP luck, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista would rank just as well as hitters

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t new news, but that lineup is insane

9:17
Comment From marc
Coghlan’s slide on Kang, Dirty or clean? should there be a “Posey” rule for plays like that?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: By the way baseball’s long been played, that was clean — he was close enough to the bag. Nothing exceptional about that slide. So the argument then becomes: should we change this? Why do we allow this? And I wouldn’t mind the rule being changed, so that runners have to slide directly to the base. I don’t know if there’s as much pressure to adjust this as there was with the catchers, but it seems like it should happen

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Take-out slides don’t need to be part of the game. The game won’t be missing anything if they go away

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Some people might refer to that as the “wussification” of baseball, but literally every single one of those people is an idiot

9:20
Comment From Zonk
How many PAs does it take to get a decent sample for plate discipline stats?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: You can have a pretty good idea after as few as, say, 100 trips to the plate. Players usually don’t lie with their plate-discipline performances

9:21
Comment From Jim
If Mike trout passes Donaldson in HR and BA does he win MVP?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe more interesting: what if the Angels still sneak into a playoff spot? They’re not far away

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: For the past month or so it’s been assumed that Donaldson was playing for something and Trout wasn’t, but if they both make it to the postseason, it’s virtually tied

9:23
Comment From Daniel Carroll
How would baseball be different if it had been devised using the metric system? For reference, 90 ft is 27.4 meters (27 m is 88.6 ft, 30 m is 98.4 ft).

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Would it be different? What’s so special about 60 feet and six inches?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: And if I recall the baselines were set after trial and error. So they arrived at that eventually, after field tests

9:25
Comment From Gary
Lindor ROY yet?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Used to be easy to say “they’ll take the better hitter” and point to Correa, but now Lindor has basically caught him in hitting stats. So right now, it’s Lindor

9:26
Comment From Phillies113
Over the past 30 days, Lindor has pretty much BABIP’ed his way to leading the AL in WAR, while Correa has been effectively replacement level over that same time frame. Will this recent play affect the voters’ decision on AL ROY

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: It sure will!

9:27
Comment From marc
todays a sunny but dark day in Pittsburgh 🙁

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: The worst thing about sports is when the players who you like watching play them aren’t able to play them

9:28
Comment From Ralph
Harvey for Mookie, who hangs up?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Betts appears no worse a player, he’s a position player, and he’s under control a few years longer

9:30
Comment From Ampersand
There’s been talk in DC of the Lerners signing Harper to a Stantonesque contract this winter, but how much money would that take? And how much leverage would ownership have after an MVP season? I just don’t see it

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t see it either. Stanton would provide the example framework, but if Harper pushes this he could end up with the craziest free-agent sweepstakes in the history of professional sport

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: At the current rate, he’ll be turning 26 a couple weeks before hitting the market. He’ll be positioned like Jason Heyward. Heyward is about to make something close to $200 million. Now imagine if you could erase all of the hitting questions

9:33
Comment From Anthony
I know Kang isn’t as high-profile a player as Posey, but how likely do you think we are to see a rule change about take-out slides at 2nd?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I can see one happening in a few years. Less momentum here, based on specific injury examples, but it kind of follows — if you move to reduce contact/injury at one spot, why not others?

9:34
Comment From Josh G
What do you expect from Albert Pujols in 2016? He’s fallen apart in the second half partially due to his foot issues, but he was so good in the first half.

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Until there’s any reason to believe he’s totally over his foot problems, he’s going to be inconsistent. He doesn’t have the full power of his lower half, and every good hitter needs that. Given that he’s been plagued by these issues for years, it seems like it’s just going to be part of him.

9:35
Comment From Marvin
Who do you think makes it out of the Cardinals/Cubs/Pirates shootout and into the NLCS?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Cardinals rally past Cubs bullpen in the NLDS

9:36
Comment From Robbie
Matt Davidson is still in AAA. That means he’s pretty much a non-priority for CHW, right? Seems like the best case scenario would be to bring him up, hope he hits a couple HR, and then trade him for a AAA reliever or something.

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: He’s had a horrible year, following a horrible year

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: State of the White Sox: Matt Davidson is stuck in Triple-A, and Mike Olt is in the majors

9:37
Comment From Comegys
In your Sano article you had a BP link to who faced the toughest opponent pitchers. The top of the list is almost all AL batters. Why?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: AL is better. Half the NL sucks

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: You know how the Mets keep scoring runs? They’ve barely played anyone in the second half. They’ve whooped the Nationals, yeah, but the rest of the schedule has been pathetic

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Which is not their fault! It just is what it is

9:39
Comment From Daniel Carroll
You think the M’s try for Cespedes if he doesn’t sign with the Mets?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I could’ve seen them trying before he had this season, but I think he’ll be priced out. They have a few long-term contracts already on the books

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: But then, maybe they try for Chris Davis. Or maybe Matt Wieters

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: (Probably not Wieters) (But maybe)

9:43
Comment From Zonk
What kind of contract do you think Alex Gordon is in line for? And will he be play up to it?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Situation’s kind of similar to Heyward, except that Gordon is years older

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: So obviously that limits the length to five or six years. But the salaries should be similar. Not hard to see Gordon surpassing $100 million if he tests the market and doesn’t settle for staying in KC

9:44
Comment From Josh G
Travis d’Arnaud has been fantastic this year, posting a 152 wRC+, but in only 222 PA due to injuries. How much are you buying his improvements going forward?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Good hitter, I like him, but he’s benefited from a weak stretch of opponents. He’s not *this* good

9:45
Comment From HappyFunBall
So what’s the general angst level there in Sunny San Diego over the Pads missing the playoffs? More, or less less than the angst over that cloud that briefly blotted out the sun for a few minutes yesterday?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Hold on, let me ask my mom

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: She says she’s weeding

9:46
Comment From Kharlie
I’m kinda surprised you haven’t written an article on Chris Colabello yet, seems like your kind of guy/story.

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: So many interesting individual stories on that team. Still probably need to do something on Estrada too. Thank goodness the offseason is long

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Colabello fun fact: he’s gotten a lot more aggressive swinging at the first pitch, and *against* the first pitch, he’s got 28 hits out of 51 at-bats

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: He looks like a potential swing-change guy, but maybe he’s just a guy who took a little longer than usual to figure it out

9:49
Comment From hoytt
Do you think that when things like AAV and duration of a contract even out the fact that a NL pitcher gets a couple of at bats during a game is something that a pitcher who likes to hit takes into account?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, some pitchers think about that. Some pitchers are really into hitting. Some pitchers are not! Small but real factor.

9:50
Comment From Spclxk
Should the Jays try to lock up Stroman to a Longoria-style contract?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Too much risk right now. The thing about Longoria was he was so immediately reliable. They can try to do something with Stroman next year

9:50
Comment From Guest
Do you think the Astro’s will miss the playoffs with their recent slump?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think so, but then again, I didn’t think they’d get swept in a four-game series by a rival team I kept calling worse than them

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: So what the hell do I know?

9:51
Comment From Robbie
You think Kivlehan has a chance to contribute to SEA in 2016?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Needed to have a stronger year. Could still end up with a bench role, but he could’ve made himself the first baseman

9:52
Comment From Hector Olivera
what to expect from me next season ? HR production and average

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not going to lie to you

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I have no idea

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Given the blend of my having no idea and the fact that teams have scouted Olivera and liked him, I mentally think of him as a league-average player for 2016

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Call it the Marcel approach

9:54
Comment From Kharlie
Even assuming his 2013 was a fluke, Khris Davis has produced the 17th best ISO in MLB over the last two seasons. Where does that put his trade value? I’m thinking a package similar to what Evan Gattis returned?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: is this really someone named Kharlie asking a question about someone named Khris

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Gattis isn’t a bad comp, and with the attention paid to right-handed power, Davis is appealing. People would probably like to see him hit a little better outside of Milwaukee, and Gattis comes with more apparent raw offensive upside, but that proposal is in the neighborhood

9:58
Comment From Robbie
Rollins vs. Seager is the sort of legendary prospect vs washed-up vet showdown the LA circus needs and deserves, T or F?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Think of it this way: the Dodgers might have the smartest front office in baseball. If they don’t, they’re close. Certainly they have one of the most creative and progressive. If they end up sticking with Rollins, what does that tell you?

10:01
Comment From Comegys
Jeff Samardzija reportedly turned down $80 over 5 from the Cubs; do you think he will match/beat that in FA this year?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Almost no chance

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: But that doesn’t mean he won’t ultimately make $80 million over the next five years

10:01
Comment From maqman
Who would you like to see as the new Mariners’ GM?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve got no problems with the Dipoto idea. People seem to like Billy Eppler. I’ve seen less mention of O’Dowd lately. They should do OK here

10:02
Comment From Karl
True or false: GIF of the season is Seager calling time against Weaver

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Nah, that’s recency bias. There have been so many good baseball gifs this season. Impossible to remember even a tenth of them

10:04
Comment From Dmitry Choklin, PT
Have there been studies on reliever workload and injuries? I ask because I fear Betances is getting “Tanyon Sturtzed” with his workload, and his arm may fall off. What would you guess is the magic innings limit, knowing that we cant know for sure?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty obviously depends on the pitcher. Betances demonstrated a year ago he can withstand a big workload. He’s so very important to the Yankees that I can’t imagine they’d be allowed to use him irresponsibly. Their analysts/front office would be all over this. They’ll push him to his limits, sure, because he’s a huge part of their success, but I don’t think there’s a really great and convincing reason to slow Girardi’s roll

10:06
Comment From MSW
Is David Price now a strong candidate for AL CY? And if he is, doesn’t it prove Matt Kory right that Cespedes should be in consideration for NL MVP? Obviously she shouldn’t win because Harper has it in the bag, but at least the argument is sound.

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Clearly different, because Price was traded intra-league. Now, when you really think about it, that’s stupid. It’s stupid that Cepedes would be penalized for getting traded because his teammates were failures. But this is the precedent we have.

10:07
Comment From Sean Connery
Dear Pirates, if they send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue!!!

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I was pleasantly surprised that the Pirates didn’t in any way retaliate. Unexpected!

10:08
Comment From Neuroguy
BTW, its not the rule that needs changing, its the interp of it: If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Fair enough. But they could change the wording to specifically recommend sliding at the bag. With this wording, nothing gets enforced

10:09
Comment From Ol Sea Capn
How do you project taijuan next year? Is he still heir apparent to the throne?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Never has been

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: No. 3 starter with upside

10:11
Comment From Dave
The Donaldson trade was spectacular, but shoutout to the Lind for Estrada trade, Estrada has done a really good job this season and weve needed it.

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Funny thing about Estrada

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Career, pre-Toronto: 4.23 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 3.80 xFIP
2015, with Toronto: 3.14 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 4.96 xFIP

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Apparently the solution to a major home-run problem was getting traded to the AL East

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Estrada’s been big for them, no question. They shouldn’t think about giving him a qualifying offer

10:12
Comment From Nervous Trumbo
Mariners have multiple MI options and Cano’s range is BAD. Should the new GM consider moving Cano to 1B in 2016 or 2017, even if it would upset him?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

10:14
Comment From Billy Beane
Im the most overrated gm in sports right? My team would have comfortably won the division with Cespedes and Donaldson. Heck even addison russell would have been much more valuable than semien even though he hasn’t nearly reached his potential.

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Beane became GM after 1997. Since 1998, the A’s rank sixth in baseball in wins. Now where do you think they rank in money spent?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Now, over the past decade, they’re 12th. Obviously the GM situation around the league is a little more competitive than it used to be. Beane’s name value might now exceed his actual value, and he’s clearly made some mistakes, but you don’t want to lose sight of the fact that he’s built a lot of A’s teams into contenders despite zero resources

10:17
Comment From MSW
How good will Sano be? That power…

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Adam Dunn had a career 123 wRC+. Made more contact than Sano, but Sano also has more strength, probably. Reasonable career guess might be 120; upside obviously much higher than that

10:19
Comment From Always Negative
What kind of contract does Mat Latos get this off-season?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Small and short

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Last thing you want as a free agent is to get designated for assignment in September by a playoff team

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe he goes to Oakland!

10:20
Comment From Zonk
Are ML GMs fully bought into pitch framing when evaluating catchers? If they are, shouldn’t Chris Ianetta be getting as much money this offseason as Matt Wieters?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: They’re aware of it, and some front offices have been researching framing for longer than we’ve known about it publicly, but it doesn’t get rewarded the same. Teams don’t totally trust it, and at least as importantly, there’s a belief that it can be taught. Consider, for example, Iannetta himself

10:21
Comment From Marvin
Whose collapse is more legendary, the Angels or the Nationals?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: The Angels have a winning record in September

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing legendary about this. The Nationals are the far greater disappointment

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: But they can reasonably point to injuries. So while their season has been a total disappointment, it’s not inexplicable

10:22
Comment From Mr. GM
Kris Bryant is your NL ROY. Yes?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, probably

10:25
Comment From James
Jeff, why do the Astros struggle so much on the road but not at home? Is it because there’s a lot of younger players more comfortable at home, or just bad luck?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: With something like this, I think you *have* to believe it’s just randomness unless you have a really compelling reason not to. You cut an already small sample in half, and home/road splits are so complicated

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Now, the Astros do play in a unique ballpark, and there’s evidence to suggest that those teams show broader H/R splits

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: But, the Dodgers have a huge split. The Mets have a pretty big split. The Astros are curious, but right now I’m hesitant to say any more than that

10:30
Comment From Archie
Think anything can be made of the increase in Archer’s walk rate toward the end of the season? Fatigue?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe a little fatigue. He’s shown a gradual trend of dropping his arm slot. Could also have to do with his opponents. That one’s harder to check

10:32
Comment From Mike
Speaking of recency, will Keuchel’s dud of a game vs the Rangers keep the Cy Young away from him?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Felix Hernandez had a similar game late last year that some people blame for his losing out on the award. Keuchel’s ERA shot past Price’s, and his record isn’t any better, and there’s no gap in innings, and Price has more strikeouts. Keuchel lost maybe all of his lead

10:34
Comment From Matt
Would you rather have Trout or Harper going forward? Seeing that Trout’s defense and speed at declining sharply already.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Still take Trout. he’s got the longer track record, and he’s done all this in the better league

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Taking a quick look at the BP numbers, this year Harper’s opposing pitchers have been about 5% worse than average. Trout’s have been 3% better than average

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: And that doesn’t get into the league differences either, really

10:36
Comment From Julio Pepper
Probability that this is Harper’s best season? 90%?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah!

10:37
Comment From Always Negative
How would you change the deciding factor for home field advantage of the world series? Give it to the better record? How about overall interleague record? Run differential?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: If they can afford to wait until the end of the season, I’d give it to the league with the better interleague record. Tiebreaker would be team record. I’d be open to those two being swapped. If they prefer to know well in advance, then I’m comfortable just alternating year to year

10:39
Comment From Ryan
I do not think anyone predicted dbacks catchers to lead the league in homers at the begining of the year

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, this is a wonderful fun fact

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Remember Tuffy Gosewisch and the other guy?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Worst catching situation in baseball, bar none

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Now Diamondbacks catchers have 26 homers. No one else in the NL has more than 21

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Last year the Reds led the league with 27 catcher homers. This year they’re last, with four

10:41
Comment From marc
As a pirates fan, how worried should i be about the real possibility of a WC game in Chicago? based on the very small sample size, home field advantage hasnt really helped at all in the one and done game

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Worry less about where the game’s played, and worry more about who’s pitching in it

10:42
Comment From Jack Glasscocks Cup
If you had the opportunity, which would you prefer: Getting a bird’s eye view of a massive volcano eruption or following an all-time great (Ruth, Cobb, Aaron, Johnson, etc.) around for a month in his prime?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Volcano. People are insignificant

10:43
Comment From Josh G
Jimmy Nelson was yet another pitcher to get hit by a come backer last night. Do you ever see the padded caps like the one Alex Torres wears catching on?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a god damn miracle that Nelson somehow escaped that with just a bruise

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Direct shot, rocket off the bat

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Pitcher protection is inevitable. The protection just needs to get better. We’ll have it in 20 years

10:44
Comment From Neuroguy
Jeff, a few months back, Jeff Zimmerman did some research on re-examining defensive WAR, with the results indicating that perhaps the range of defensive adjustments should be more restricted (e.g., less bonus for SS/CF, less penalty for 1B/DH/LF/RF). If this is replicated, it might change valuations and thus projections is subtle ways; and might also impact $/WAR. Do you know if FG is planning to follow up on this?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Re-evaluations always happening on the back end, in the shadows. WAR is a huge part of the FanGraphs “brand” so we try to stay up to date with it. See: changing the pitcher park factors a few months ago. Given convincing evidence, Appelman will make updates/upgrades

10:46
Comment From TM
Alexei Ramirez and Leury Garcia pitched in the A’s blowout of the White Sox on Tuesday. How does that make sense with expanded rosters? I don’t even know if there’s a question there….

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Josh Phegley on Alexei Ramirez: “Every Spring Training, before we’d take infield, he’d get on the mound while we were waiting and start throwing pitches to me,” said Phegley. “I’ve always thought he has really good stuff.”

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: The actual explanation seems to have something to do with general bullpen fatigue, even with the roster expanded. But Garcia has pitched before, and Ramirez has a really good arm

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I love the idea, though, of two position players pitching in the same game for the same team, in September

10:48
Comment From Norrin Radd
Let’s say once a year, on the same day, every player has to throw and hit from the opposite side. Switch hitters must to sit to maximize chaos. How long do you think games would take?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: They’d never end

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Have you ever tried throwing with your opposite arm?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: It’s impossible. There would never be a strike, much less three of them, much less three of them before four balls.

10:50
Comment From Felix
Can someone explain why the Rangers are good?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: They can hit, they have a rotation now, and the bullpen has had really good timing

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Rougned Odor is quietly one of the stories of the season. Maybe the worst hitter in baseball turned into one of the best second basemen in baseball

10:52
Comment From greg
With slightly over a 1 win difference between fWAR (2.0) and bWAR (0.9)for Billy Hamilton this year, how is it best to view him? I’m really not sure if I should think of him as a guy who uses defense to turn himself into a league avg player or not.

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Probably the best baserunner in baseball, and he’s a good defensive center fielder, but the bat is a disaster. Zero progress from last year’s first half. He can fit in an NL lineup batting at the bottom, but realistically he needs to hit better than this if he wants to have a long starting career, because his main skills aren’t going to improve

10:54
Comment From Mike
Jeff, here is some wild Votto trade speculation: Votto to the Jays. Completely unnecessary, but would that not be amazing?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Good enough reason for me!

10:55
Comment From Owen S
So Eovaldi has a decent shot of appearing for the Yankees as a 1-2 inning reliever in the post season. In August, he AVERAGED 99.0 MPH as a starter. What do you think he is capable of as a 1 inning guy ( avg and max velo). Assume for the sake of discussion, he’s fully healthy.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Brooks Baseball has him topping out around 101 – 102. Now I don’t think he’s your ordinary guy, who stands to gain a bunch of velocity in relief. I expect that he pitches around the limits of his arm, hence this injury in the first place

10:56
Comment From Reed
What are the chances Stroman makes it back to the top of the rotation come playoff time?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Zero chance he gets to the tippy top

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: But that’s for obvious reasons

10:58
Comment From Allan
Caught the podcast a few days ago, the stuff about failed pop stars was hilarious, nicely done…what’s the likelihood of Stanton’s hand/wrist injury coming back next year? Or are these injuries isolated events? I seem to recall Cespedes had one of these in Oakland and it never came back.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: It was a broken hamate, right?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: The treatment for a broken hamate: removal of the hamate. So it literally can’t happen again, at least not in the same hand

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I believe Pablo Sandoval has now had both hamates removed

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton is still trying to come back from the surgery, and he’s had a setback or two, but he ought to be fine

11:00
Comment From Ullu Ka Patta
How fun would it be if the Jays passed on Price and spent that money on Chris Davis to play first base? That lineup with a left handed slugger in the middle of it would be absurd.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: And they might occasionally get the other team out!

11:00
Comment From TKDC
Wouldn’t a reasonable step regarding takeout slides be to start actually enforcing the current rule? The slide looked legal, but we’ve all seen many, many illegal slides and they are almost never called.

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Could be the first step, or the compromise

11:01
Comment From Mike
How much can a player’s swinging strike rate change? Like, can a spec who’s struggling to make contact improve from a bad rate to an acceptable one?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Improvement can definitely happen. It’s hardly the most extreme example but the other day I saw George Springer’s whiff rate is down four percentage points. Typically whiff hitters don’t become contact hitters and contact hitters don’t become whiff hitters, but the numbers do move around

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Matt Carpenter whiffs more than he used to, since now he’s trying to hit for power

11:03
Comment From Julio Pepper
Why am I seeing Rodon hate everywhere? He seems very far from a bust.

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like you should change your reading habits

11:04
Comment From Felix
Let’s say by some act of god all MLB & MiLB players became free agents the day after the World Series. Which three players would sign the biggest contracts?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Trout and Harper and…Bryant or Machado?

11:05
Comment From Mike
Who’s more at fault in the whole Seager/Weaver dustup from the other night? At least there have been some good quips in the media from both players after the fact!

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Weaver more at fault, but I guess Seager does have kind of a weird little thing when he’s getting ready in the box. But Weaver was probably just already annoyed, and he has a temper. So he acted out. Not the first time

11:06
Comment From el jefe
how common is it for guys to have a BB% around 10 and ISO at 100 like Goins?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Very uncommon over long periods of time

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: But Luis Castillo did it

11:07
Comment From Andy
My first attempt at a question might have gone through before I was done. I’ll repeat. What can you tell us about Baseball Prospectus? They do defense differently there—as far as I can tell, the approach is somewhat similar to the one the other two sites use only for games way back in time when there was much more limited data available—and the result is some striking differences in overall WAR. Notably, while Trout and Donaldson are very close now at both FG and BBRef, Trout has a huge lead, about 1.7 WAR, at BBPRo. Do most sabers simply not take this site seriously when discussing MVP prospects?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: You pretty much never see people cite BP’s value metric. They do a lot of terrific things but that isn’t what they’re known for

11:08
Comment From Houzer
is Joc Pederson Mark Reynolds 2.0?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: nah

11:10
Comment From TF Fredrik
Maddon twice let pitchers bat in big spots in that pirate series. Lester once in the 6th with a runner on third and one out, then again i think in the 7th he did something similar with Arrieta. Was this just regular season strategy from Maddon because he wanted to get innings from his starters? Those seem like big spots to be letting pitchers hit in important games.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Lester had a pretty low pitch count through five innings, and the Cubs were already up 2-0. At that point the leverage was 1.4

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Arrieta did bat in the eighth with a high pitch count, a close score, and runners in scoring position with two out

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: The leverage there was 1.9

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: I probably would’ve pulled Arrieta. Lester, I’m ok with

11:14
Comment From Houzer
better cheap off-season signing … Latos or Shark.

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Samardzija, if he takes a year

11:15
Comment From TF Fredrik
I wanted to make a comment on front offices and how happy I am to be a Cubs fan right now. Mainly because I would normally come into a chat like this and want to ask you a question about what should the Cubs do here, or who you think they will try to sign this off season, or why isn’t he up…but like you stated about Rollins/Seager, I don’t have to, because nothing you say (no offense, love your work!) or anyone else says is going to be more informed or thoughtful of both the Cubs present and long term future than the management in place. So here’s to Theo, Jed, Maddon, and the rest!

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Must be nice

11:15
Comment From Skeeter
If Houston collapses and fails to make the playoffs, does that ding Correa in the ROY voting, especially if it’s to CLE or MIN?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the ROY has ever been about team success, like the MVP. The ROY doesn’t have that V in it. But if Houston keeps losing, it’s probably in part because Correa isn’t doing much, and then that’ll be a problem

11:16
Comment From lunch
braves and phillies play tonight in battle for last place. whose rebuilding do you prefer?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Phillies

11:16
Comment From Zonk
Pick one: Schwarber or Sano?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Sano

11:17
Comment From MSW
Should the Mets be trying to lock up deGrom and Syndergaard? Maybe even buy out a FA year or two from Wheeler on the cheap?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: deGrom, yeah; Syndergaard, maybe you wait a year. I don’t think now’s the time to strike on Wheeler

11:18
Comment From Skeeter
Which GM job would you take?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: It’s tempting to want to be the guy to take the Mariners to their first-ever World Series, but the Phillies have so much going for them. I’d probably take that one

11:19
Comment From Nik
Regarding open GM spots, it would be hard to top the Phillies job at this point, right?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, provided you get along with MacPhail

11:20
Comment From b0b
[without implying this gives him a stronger case] do you think if David Ortiz was drafted by the Red Sox or a less contact-happy team than the Twins he’d be a sure-fire HoF at this point, given that he’d start mashing earlier?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Ortiz, Twins: 76% contact
Ortiz, Sox: 78% contact

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: I read what Ortiz said about his time in Minnesota, and it’s not like I can accuse him of being a liar, but the evidence is unconvincing. He didn’t hit more grounders as a Twin

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Ortiz just seems like a guy who figured it out late. His last year with the Twins saw him slug .500 over 466 trips to the plate. That’s not a guy who was being told to be slap-happy

11:23
Comment From Zonk
Kris Bryant is on pace for over 200 strikeouts. Should we worry?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: We knew this would be a part of it. Don’t worry too much

11:24
Comment From Sterling Archer
Hey Jeff, my girlfriend and I are thinking about doing a Chile-Argentina Patagonia vacation over Christmas-New Years.. What are a few cant miss things?

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: Go to the Torres and do the whole loop if you can, instead of just the W. And then spend time in El Chalten, enough so that you ensure you get good weather. Hike to Fitz Roy, and hike to Cerro Torre

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: The hike to Fitz Roy is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done

11:26
Comment From Felix
Let’s say you’re hired as an MLB GM and the only stipulation from the owner is that you have to hire Carson Cistulli to some sort of on-field, uniformed position. What job do you give him?

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Bench coach

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Or is that not on field

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: First-base coach

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Bullpen coach, in one of those stadiums where the bullpens are on the field down the lines

11:27
Comment From MSW
Has Washington really been hit that much harder than other playoff teams by injury? The Mets lost Wright, d’Arnaud for much of the season, Wheeler for the whole thing, their entire bullpen outside Familia (Black, Parnell, Mejia suspension, Edgin). They’ve been proactive about filling in those holes, while the Nationals seemed content to just wait for good health that never seemed to arrive.

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: I still think the Nationals have been hit harder, in terms of the games actually lost, and in terms of the games spent trying to recover from injuries when back on the field

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: This site now uses a form of WAR in its metric, which is an improvement over what it used to do http://www.mangameslost.com…

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know exactly how it does that, but it gives the Nationals a bigger injury impact than the Mets. They’re still short of the Giants, and Dodgers, and Rangers

11:28
Comment From Ken
What do you like about Dipoto? How much can one glean from his time under a bonkers owner and a manager as his superior?

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: I like his mindset

11:29
Comment From Brett W
As a pitcher, would you prefer a higher mound or deeper fences?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: Higher mound

11:30
Comment From Trapper
What were the 95 Mariners playoff odds like on September 18?

11:30
Jeff Sullivan: They were leading the wild card, so probably pretty good!

11:31
Comment From Kim
What historical examples are there of players like Zunino? Strong prospect, brought up too early, atrocious in the majors, and then sent down/sent to instructional league. Basically… is there any hope for Zunino?

11:32
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know the precedent for this. Hard to find comps. In theory, this is salvageable — if the determination is that Zunino just has too complicated a swing, they can work on simplifying. The power is there and he’s actually shown a bit of discipline before. Still a lot of upside, but he slipped into some awful habits

11:32
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t get ahead of yourself, but Zunino has the raw physical tools. His swing just sucks. Can be fixed

11:33
Comment From marc
what project pitcher would you love to see the PIrates try and fix next?

11:33
Jeff Sullivan: They should sign Samardzija for a year

11:33
Comment From Andy
Regarding taking into account pitch-framing in assessing the value of catchers: isn’t this issue going to disappear soon with the use of machines to call balls and strikes? They’re already experimenting with the technology in the minors, I’d assume ti won’t be too much longer before MLB adopts it?

11:33
Jeff Sullivan: An automatic zone would eliminate the value of framing, but an automatic zone isn’t happening any time soon

11:33
Comment From Guest
Why have GBs been going up every year?

11:33
Jeff Sullivan: More pitching down in the zone, with the zone expanding in that direction

11:33
Comment From Dan
Would you be in favor of eliminating teams in order to improve quality on the field?

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

11:34
Comment From Peter
” See: changing the pitcher park factors a few months ago.” Details on this?

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: We used to use the same park factors we use for hitters, but because pitcher WAR is based on FIP, after some prodding we switched to using FIP park factors, which are different in some cases

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: Time to wrap this up!

11:35
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 — 9/18/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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

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CM52
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CM52

I think I could throw strikes with my left hand if I threw underhand, and I might take my chances with that against a guy hitting from the other side. Hope for weak grounders.