Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/2/16

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s baseball chat

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Looking at the numbers I just realized Dee Gordon sucks again. Baseball!

9:06
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:07
Julio Pepper: Think we see Brinson up soon?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: All I know is he’s not on the 40-man roster, and the Brewers might prefer to keep giving maximum playing time to the guys already up. But Brinson, at least, should move quickly in 2017

9:09
General Joe: Red Sox/Astros end up with the WC?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: That’s my assumption, and that’s what I think the odds say, but there are so many teams involved here in a pretty close race it’s probably still best to bet the field

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Like, it’s conceivable we could have, I don’t know, Yankees/Royals. that would be wacky!

9:10
Pablo: Who’s gonna be in the NL Wild Card game?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Giants/Cardinals. I’m not buying the Mets or Pirates here

9:11
j6takish: Why is pitcher war more tightly clustered together? Every year there is always at least one truly awful position player season but you rarely see pitchers post something like -2.0 WAR over a season. This season alone, there are 13 position players with -1.0 or less VS just 3 pitchers. Since 2000, only 46 pitcher seasons have been worth less than -1.0 WAR and that’s using 10 IP as the minimum. It also seems harder for a pitcher to be worth a ridiculously high WAR total. Since 2006, only 3 pitcher seasons have been worth more than 8 WAR, with Zack Greinke’s 2009 topping the list at 8.6. In the same time period, there have been 19 position player seasons of 8 or more WAR with Mike Trout topping the list at 10.5. Is replacement level higher THAT much higher for pitchers? Or is it something else?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a matter of how the WARs are calculated. Position players are given credit for all of their results. Pitchers have their WARs “regressed” in a way by relying on the fielding-independent statistics. If you look at RA9-WAR, which is more like the equivalent of position-player WAR, you’ll see bigger spreads. Regular fWAR strips away one of the elements that causes that spread in the first place

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: If you think of regular fWAR as a more accurate measure of “true talent” — a “true talent” position-player WAR would also have a smaller spread, just because you’d bring in the extremes

9:13
Bork: Look into your crystal ball, who will have the highest payroll after the crazy 2018 free agency class and what will the payroll be?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I will forever assume Yankees. I believe the Yankees are way way way more valuable than any other franchise. For the most part they’ve held relatively steady so I’ll put their future payroll around $240 million

9:14
Shane: How do you decide what to write about? I’m an inspiring baseball writer and I always have trouble thinking of interesting ideas. Do you have any tips? Much appreciated!

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t mean to make fun but “I’m an inspiring baseball writer” is one of my favorite typos of the week

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: We all have trouble thinking of ideas. August and I talk about this from time to time. The greatest motivator for me is that I *have* to write two times a day. Pressure helps bring some ideas to the surface. Sometimes it’s as easy as seeing what a lot of people are already talking about. Sometimes I just search in numbers until something jumps out at me. And when the well is really running dry, there’s no substitute for just sitting down, watching a game, and letting your mind wander

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Watch any game you like. Sometimes it even helps to watch a game you’d never watch otherwise (hello, Reds!). So much happens in three hours you’re bound to come away with at least two or three ideas to pursue

9:18
Paul: Edwin Encarnacion’s strikeout numbers have spiked dramatically this season. Is that a cause for concern for clubs wanting to sign him in free agency?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Encarnacion’s strikeouts are up this year, but his contact rate, compared to last year, is exactly the same. The decrease there was between 2014 – 2015, but he remains a fantastic hitter. The usual aging concerns should apply here but I don’t see a red flag in the bat-to-ball skills

9:19
Real-me: I had a dream that Cistulli had to leave Fangraphs and Dream-me had to replace him. Dream-me immediately quit. What’s it all mean, doc?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: You don’t spend enough time outside

9:20
CapnZippers: Obligatory Seth Lugo update: reached 3498 rpm on a strikeout against Xavier Scruggs. 80 grade spin rate throwing to an 80 grade baseball name.

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I still don’t know how much to make of Lugo’s spin rate, because he’s not an extremely high-strikeout pitcher, but I know I’m still interested. It’s like, I’m interested in Lugo because I think he has a chance to be interesting, if that makes sense

9:21
Stuafoo: In your mind where do Taiwan Walker and James Paxton fall in the trade value conversation?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Paxton is a good deal more valuable. Walker continues to frustrate. Neither one of them is on a Chris Sale level or anything. The Mariners might figure Walker’s season was ruined by his foot injury so then they wouldn’t want to sell low in the winter

9:23
Nelson: How much are you looking forward to your boss now living right in your backyard, dropping in for suprise visits all the time, asking you to babysit, watch his dog….

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Bend is three and a half hours away. Far enough that I’ll only see Dave when I want to

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: And I assume he’d know better than to ask me to babysit. Just this morning I dropped a glass of water

9:24
Raindog: Hiya Jeff, I have another site request/idea this week. The WAR graph/grid tools are super fun to play with, but could easily be adapted for other stats too, right? It’d be fun to see how, say Pujols HR accumulation compares to Aaron’s or Ichiro’s hits compared to Rose’s.

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be surprised if Sean Dolinar got around to this down the road. He’s the graphics guy and he’s amazing, and recently he’s been most preoccupied with the splits tool

9:25
Bruce: Long-term are Walker and Paxton both 3’s?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Paxton should blossom into a No. 2 now that he improbably throws strikes. Walker might just follow the Samardzija path of being worse than his talent

9:26
Slothrop: Is Mazara a long term option at first for the Rangers?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe if he gains 50 pounds. They’re more than happy with him in the outfield

9:27
TP for my Jung Ho: What do you make of Danny Salazar? Was the last start encouraging enough to expect a good outing this weekend in Miami?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: He was pitching really well, then his arm started to hurt. I don’t think you have to get much more complicated than that. I don’t think he’ll ever be efficient, but you have to love the strikeout ability as long as he’s able to throw without pain

9:29
Justin: At the risk of sounding crass, do you think anyone has suggested to Rich Hill that he try wearing a band-aid?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: A band-aid wouldn’t help. Try throwing a baseball with a band-aid on your fingertip.

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: It’ll go somewhere, but good luck manipulating the spin or getting the right kind of release

9:30
Greg: Should the jays consider piggybacking Dickey with another of their starters in a playoff game? Dickey could face the order one time then happ/estrada/sanchez/stroman could come in and pitch 5-6 innings to take advantage of the ‘dickey’ effect

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I actually really like this idea, in theory, and it would help the Jays make use of everyone

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably too “out there” for a real team to implement in a game with real stakes, but it would be a fun way to broadcast the Dickey effect to a national (or international!) audience

9:32
Radials: Let’s say we have a player in his mid-20s who is essentially injury-free has played for four years, plays average middle infield defense and hits 35-45 HRs a year while batting ~.280/.340, but he K’s about 30% of the time and walks about 7%, so he’s got a real high BABIP and isn’t particularly patient. Would we say he’s been lucky for four years or is there something to his skillset? It seems unsustainable, but would a team take a risk and give this player $20 mil a year?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: You’d say there’s something to the skillset. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Ian Desmond before the collapse and re-creation. With Statcast data now, teams could really dive in and examine how that player has been hitting the ball. Odds are this would be a player who doesn’t pop the ball up. That’s a sustainable skill

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: You’d expect some kind of regression — you should always expect some kind of regression — but that’s a valuable player right there

9:34
j6takish: Jeff, in years past you were really big on pitch framing. It seems like the hype has really died down. In hindsight, was it ever as big of a deal as it seemed? Do you remember when the rays gave Jose Molina like 800 PA on purpose? Was there ever any possible way for him to out-frame a 50 wRC+?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: The hype has died down because pitch-framing is a few years old now. The novelty has worn off and now we all get to play with Statcast information instead. We also talk a lot less about Mike Trout than we used to, but that doesn’t mean Mike Trout is any less amazing. Pitch-framing still matters. In some cases it still matters a lot! It makes Yasmani Grandal super valuable. It makes Buster Posey even more valuable than he already seems. It’s a real thing that makes a real difference. It’s just no longer so fresh. We all move on

9:36
Terrible Ted: Lets stick all BBWAA voters in a room and let them decide jury style who gets what award.

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s not, because I don’t want to be trapped in a room with a whole bunch of people over a holiday weekend

9:37
Raindog: After Kershaw, Verlander, Felix, what active pitcher has the best chance at HOF? Sabathia done enough? Hope Scherzer/Bumgarner have excellent mid-career? Pray for health from Fernandez/Strasburg/Thor? Kimbrel going Rivera 2.0?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: I think Sabathia will have an opportunity, and Greinke could really boost his case if he ages as gracefully as it seems like he should

9:39
Ty: Are radars used as graphs to compare players more than is in the public’s eye? If not, is there a reason that sort of graph haven’t made their way into baseball?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really have a great answer for this. I would say that I don’t think we’re hurting for ways to illustrate value.

9:41
Andy: Best streaming option tonight: Twiggs, Richards, Sanchez, or Manea

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: You have successfully misspelled three of the four names in your question

9:42
TP for my Jung Ho: What percentage of the decision on the Cubs playoff starting rotation will be left up to Maddon? If he wanted to throw Hendricks first, what are the chances the front office vetoes that decision?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: More likely is that the front office and Maddon will have a series of conversations in advance of the playoffs so that, in the end, everybody agrees

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: The front office loves Hendricks. Everybody loves Hendricks. It’s really going to come down to whether Arrieta shows any improvement in the four weeks ahead

9:44
Zach: Does Billy Hamilton get his first Gold Glove this year?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: He definitely should. Inciarte is the only other reasonable contender and Hamilton has played more innings

9:45
Chris206: Oh my poor Mariners. When will the sadness stop Jeff??

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: October 3

9:45
Chuck Burly: Yankees got a haul of prospects and are in the WC race. Any chance Hal realizes he should just let Cashman just do his job?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I know we’re all kind of supposed to root against the Yankees or something but I love the way this has turned out. Sell *and* get better? It’s amazing!

9:46
TKDC: Today is my birthday. Please say something nice about the Braves. Thanks!

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I just noticed that Ender Inciarte would have the third-highest WAR on the Diamondbacks

9:46
EC: How excited was Carson for Max Schrock to get traded to Oakland? Also, decent trade for Rzep-whatever?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Oakland did really well there. I don’t know how much Carson cared about Schrock getting traded — all he wants is for Schrock to be successful someplace. But it must have felt good to see the industry recognition that he’s a desirable young player

9:47
Kevin: Is there anything behind a team either overperforming or underperforming their BaseRuns record, or is it just random variation?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not either/or. This variation should always be very heavily regressed, but I don’t think it should be regressed all the way to zero. Let’s say it’s 80-90% noise, and 10-20% signal

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: A reliably strong bullpen seems to help

9:48
termel sledge: I’m currently in a long back-and-forth of humorous baseball-ref pages with a friend. what’s a good general vein to start searching for names to send?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Just go back to some ancient year and team you don’t know anything about and simply click around.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: For example, I’ll type in “1934 Athletics”

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Immediately, I see a player named Sugar Cain! http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/cainsu01.shtml

9:51
Kolten: What kind of deal do you think that Ian Desmond should get in the off-season, and what you think he will get?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll end up with something kind of similar to the Daniel Murphy deal. Maybe you bump it up to 3/$45m, or perhaps even 4/$60m. It doesn’t help that Desmond has so far had a lousy second half, but he’s proven himself as a legitimate CF, which isn’t much worse than being a legitimate SS

9:54
Brett Lawrie’s Empty Redbull Can: Who is your favourite super obscure reliever having a good year?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not super obscure but I don’t know how many people realize that Addison Reed has thrown like six balls all season long

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Edubray Ramos is a name to know. 23, Phillies. 33 strikeouts and seven walks in the majors. 41 and 4 in the minors before getting promoted

9:57
Adam: Braves keep Inciarte and trade Mallex Smth? Vice versa? Keep both?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll explore trading Inciarte, but if it weren’t for the damn Kemp trade they could put them both in the same outfield. Stupid

9:57
Jeffery: If you had to guess, what sort of pitcher would the Yankees target in a trade and who would they give up?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: They’d look for someone young and cost-controlled. That seems to be their theme. I’m sure they’d love to try and pounce on Taijuan Walker. And if Cashman were to get really bold, they’ve probably assembled enough young talent to make a play for Chris Sale

10:01
Joe: Last night Hawk Harrelson said “Kris Bryant is good but you know he’s not Todd Frazier.”

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Well, he’s not

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact: our leaderboards show 25 qualified third basemen. Frazier is tied for 20th in WAR, even with Yunel Escobar

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: So many good third basemen

10:05
peopletocakeratio: billy hamilton’s career BB% is 6.4%. he finished august with a 12.1% BB%. his next three highest monthly BB% rates are 11.5% in september 2015, 10.8% in september 2014, and 9.1% in september 2013. fun statistical anomaly or more weird billy hamilton-ness? (monthly splits for his career: http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=10199&position=OF&season=0#advanced)

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s mostly noise. Hamilton didn’t swing at a lower rate of pitches out of the zone in August. I buy that he’s gradually improving, and I know he’s a hard worker, but he’s not ready to walk like that yet

10:07
Outta my way, Gyorkass: What do the Brewers need to do (or have happen) right to make it into the postseason in 2018?

Hader/Ortiz come up and pitch well, Peralta returns to respectability, Braun doesn’t regress too much, they find viable 1B/2B’s in trades, Arcia turns into early career Andrelton Simmons, Brinson becomes a 6 win CF, and one other MiLB OF takes over RF?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Long list. Need pitching! And it’s tough to replace a Lucroy. The Brewers are going to need some of the young talent in house to develop into 4+ WAR players. Every good roster needs a core. What I’m encouraged by is that Stearns has been good about finding those secondary supportive players. When the Brewers get going I don’t think they’ll ever be hurting for depth

10:09
Captain Krunch: So, what’s wrong with Freddie Freeman?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I assume this is sarcasm and I’m just not quite picking up on it because it’s morning

10:09
Outta my way, Gyorkass: What team’s the next to blow it up and fall into Reds/Padres type abyss, BAL? LAA?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: White Sox seem like they’re the most likely to blow it up this offseason. The Orioles aren’t close to bad enough, and you’ll never convince the Angels to trade Mike Trout

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: If the Diamondbacks struggle out of the gate in 2017, they could also move in that direction, under new management

10:12
Sam: Does Keuchel get the start if the Astros make the wildcard? Concerned about his fatigue.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s Keuchel, but there’s so much depth in that bullpen that they wouldn’t have to try to stretch him too far.

10:12
Outta my way, Gyorkass: What’s the maximum statistical impact that the “best” manager in baseball can really have? 1 WARM, maybe?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I genuinely have no idea. I think it would be more than one win. My preferred version of heaven is a place where I can get real answers to any question I ask. I think if I died and went to my heaven and asked this question, I’d find out that the best managers are remarkably valuable. Mostly in ways we’ll never quite be able to measure

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say…5? Maybe on average the very best manager would be worth five wins?

10:16
Raindog: The pro-rated minimum for a month is ~ 0.1 million. Other than delaying the clock on top prospects, shouldn’t contending teams just call up their entire 40-man roster now?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Well, there’s the service-time consideration, and there are other simply practical concerns. A clubhouse and dugout can hold only so many players in them.

10:17
Tom: Are the Astros the team to beat in the AL West in 2017?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I think so, but the Rangers are really close and they’ll find some way to replace Desmond/etc. Remember that adding Lucroy/Jeffress also helps them next season

10:20
Davis: I feel like Josh Bell goes into next year as a STRONG contender for NL ROY, right?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Looks like he won’t finish with too many at-bats this season, so, yeah, he’s positioned well, given that he should be on the roster all next season long

10:21
Ryan: Whom should the Reds be most interested in trading away this off-season to try to continue their rebuild?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: There’s not much for them to do. They should shed Phillips, and they’ll try to move Cozart again, but there’s no Cueto here to flip

10:23
Zach: Do you think Gerrit Cole’s down year can be attributed to him trying to play through injuries or something more?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry about that, another internet hiccup

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Cole’s funny — he’s switched to the point where now he can strike out lefties but not righties. It seems like he just hasn’t had the slider he’s wanted with righties at the plate, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence he’s got some arm issues. It doesn’t sound like it’s structural but I have to think a big chunk of his decline is health-related

10:28
NYTT: Why do right fielders *need* more arm strength than center and left fielders? If a right fielder gets to the ball quicker and gets the ball to whichever base quicker than the average right fielder, but does it with a 45 arm, don’t we still have an above average right fielder defensively?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: It’s pretty much all about the distant throw to third base. But I think you’re right that there should be other considerations.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: For what it’s worth, results from last year’s Fan Scouting Report:

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Left fielders got a 43 rating for arm strength. 46 for center fielders. 57 for right fielders

10:31
Murphy: i believe in Spring Training i asked your opinion on the 4th best position player on the Astros, assuming 1-3 were in some order Altuve/Springer/Correa, i opined Rasmus and you came back wtih Gomez, boy were we wrong! #4 is….

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Bregman

10:32
Jake: What are your thoughts on Abre?. He’s had a weird yr, 97 wRC+ first half, 149 the second. Just a meh first baseman going forward?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I like him overall as a hitter, but he’s too over-aggressive to be a consistent threat. And because he’s not an asset in the field or on the bases, you’re left with a player who needs to maximize his power in order to be above-average. That power hasn’t been around on a regular basis since he was a rookie

10:34
Roger: The Royals have been disappointing this year. Are they in for similar disappointment next year?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: The Royals had the best record in the American League in August, and they’ve had to fight through a bunch of injuries

10:34
Roger: Which team do you think spends the most in free agency this off-season?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: This offseason’s free agency sucks

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I guess the answer might be whichever team signs Aroldis Chapman

10:35
j6takish: Which team is next in line to go against common sense and bring in some “old school” GM to fuck everything up?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Diamondbacks might keep theirs

10:37
Tom A.: JBJ can’t hit right now. Seems like it would be a bigger story if he didn’t spike his line so high in the early months.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Jackie Bradley Jr has had one month this season out of five with a sub-100 wRC+. That was, of course, August, and a slump is always worth a certain amount of attention, but if I’ve learned anything from our rolling-average plots, it’s that every season for every player, no matter how good or how bad, includes a bunch of hot runs and cold runs. Every single player slumps

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: There’s really no such thing as consistency, at least not in terms of box-score results

10:38
doubletap: In the long run, would an automated strike zone tilt the advantage toward the pitchers, hitters, or not change things very much?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Entirely depends on the boundaries. If they automated the rule-book strike zone, that would be good for hitters, since the lower boundary would be raised, and the horizontal boundaries would be constricted

10:39
Dorn: Jameson Taillon’s upside: An excellent #2 or a back end #1?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Those might as well be the same thing

10:39
Rick: Whose trade value has most eroded since Dave Cameron published his trade value rankings?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Let me pull that up real quick…

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Right. Probably Salazar or McCullers

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Injuries can ruin a pitcher quick

10:41
Dock Ellis: Pitch sequencing question: do you know of any team has completely randomized in advance of a game so that the hitter can’t pick up on any patterns?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: No, pitchers and catchers still work it all out, and there’s no such thing as a dugout randomizer (or whatever you’d want to call it). A big part of catching is trying to read the hitters and make pitch calls in part dependent on what you see. No catcher is going to want to give that up for a theory

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Of course there are suggestions made, when patterns are recognized, but that’s always happened

10:43
Outta my way, Gyorkass: How do you find stuff to write about 2x a day during the offseason? I would have to imagine the few month period between winter meetings and the start of spring training has to be an awfully difficult time to draw writing inspiration.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: It blows, but it also allows for some creativity, and the pressure is reduced since fewer people are reading in the first place. Times get pretty desperate. But I like that that also makes it easy for me to take a two-week vacation

10:44
Lord above: How valuable are high floor center field prospects? Seems like those guys are projected to be minimum 2 win players because of their speed and higher if they can hit, but the austin jackson’s of the world aren’t highly valued.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Austin Jackson would have more value if he were a 22-year-old with upside making the minimum. As the Brewers have demonstrated, those are valuable prospects, because even in some of the worse-case scenarios, you get an athletic major-league player

10:45
Brett W: 2016 Cubs fan asking a 2001 Mariners fan if there’s anything I can do to better prepare for the worst.

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Make sure you have other things you enjoy just in case baseball goes down the shitter

10:46
Guest: What’s a realistic k rate for Moncada right now, 35%?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: I think 25-30%. I’m open to the idea that rookies can be of short-term value because opponents don’t know how to pitch to them yet. Moncada will have some holes exposed eventually, but maybe not in the first month

10:47
Andy: Looking far in the future, do you think we will ever be able to evaluate defense as accurately as we can evaluate offense right now? The major sites agree pretty closely on individual player’s offense, there are still major discrepancies in defense in some individual cases.

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing will ever be as easy to evaluate as offense.

10:48
Rick: Yesterday was a baseball wasteland, with only four games going on. What sport do you prefer fill the void with in such circumstances? Yesterday, for instance, we had college FB, US Open Tennis, and NFL Pre-Season football….

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: The only other sport I care about is hockey. I personally don’t mind when baseball takes a night off, because then it means I get a night off from furiously checking my phone to see if I’m missing anything

10:49
CapnZippers: More on Lugo: He’s only throwing his Curve 17.4% of the time, but the opposition is hitting only .174 and slugging .261 against it. He could probably benefit from throwing more of them a la August’s article earlier in the week about improving existing arsenals

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: My sense is you’re right, but then it also depends on Lugo’s confidence in throwing the pitch for a strike. It’s easy to keep average and slugging down if you mostly just throw a pitch out of the zone in two-strike counts.

10:50
Roadhog: The A’s are going to be going with a lot of young prospects in 2017, but the one thing they could really use is an elite CF, and have the trade chips to get one. What would it cost to get three seasons of AJ Pollock from the D-Backs? Graveman + Baretto + Holmes?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Diamondbacks at all want to move Pollock. I bet we could see the A’s try to make a play for Inciarte

10:51
Ryan: What would a Seager, Correa, or Lindor extension look like?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: A small pile of documents

10:51
CameronDaClub: This is probably something everyone has seen and I’m just now noticing, but it’s crazy that Kershaw hasn’t thrown enough innings to qualify for your guys’ pitching leaderboard yet would lead it in WAR if he had.

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: This is exactly the argument for why the Dodgers have always had a strong starting rotation. Just as Mike Trout counts as two awesome outfielders, Clayton Kershaw is like two No. 1s

10:53
Jaime: Cesar Hernandez is a 3-win player. Why?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Looks like UZR thinks he’s been a lot better defensively at second base. DRS thinks he’s been moderately better. I can’t pretend like I’ve been personally paying attention

10:54
BengieStacks: So Puig and Abreu got me thinking. Is there a hidden, future risk with Cubans? Spending 20 plus years in Cuba must make it tough to focus on baseball once you become an American millionaire.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: It’s an absurd and immediate culture shock. You can also think about the Yuniesky Betancourt example. Cubans are some of the only players from lesser-privileged countries to enter the major leagues almost directly

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, Puig was an immediate success. So was Abreu! And that’s when they might’ve had the most difficult time adjusting.

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: So I’m not sure how much I buy into that risk. I do, however, buy into the notion that Cubans became way overvalued for pretty much no reason

10:58
Wick: Jays’ six man rotation: sensible way to maximize Sanchez’s value this year/in the future or sure fire way to overexpose your sixth-best starter in EE/Joey Bats walk year?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t really have a terrible starter, and by going with this plan, it might in theory make all the starters a little bit more effective. I don’t have a problem with it

10:58
Jo-Jo: Does Michael Saunders get 3 guaranteed years in free agency? Or will his lengthy injury history limit him to 2+options?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: 2+option(s)

10:58
Amarillo Windmill: Adrian Beltre, amirite?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Also currently leading the league in Clutch!

10:59
peopletocakeratio: billy hamilton hit .270 in august. more importantly, he drew 14 walks. turns out he stole 19 bases too. how much should opposing catchers fear a potential billy hamilton who draws walks?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Not as much as pitchers. Pitchers bear the bulk of the responsibility

10:59
E: What volcano would you compare Mike Trout to? What about Yonder Alonso?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Mike Trout gets to be Mt Rainier, a massive and beautiful area icon whose collapse will one day devastate every city in its shadow. Yonder Alonso gets to be some shitty volcano in the middle of nowhere no one has heard about

11:01
Julio Pepper: How excited are you for Moncada tonight?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: More excited for Labor Day weekend. I am, however, excited for Moncada after Labor Day weekend

11:02
Monsignor Martinez: Hello Jeff! Is it safe to say that a player’s road splits are more indicative of his true talent than his home splits, since road games are played in a variety of different parks, effectively neutralizing the pluses and minuses of park factors?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not quite that easy — not all road splits are created the same. A Rockies hitter, for example, will have to adjust to road environments, and then three of the four parks in the division are pitcher-friendly

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: But just generally speaking, over big-enough samples, sure, road splits can be mighty useful

11:02
Julio Pepper: On the Rich Hill topic, what the hell kind of mutant blister is this? Have you ever heard of a blister lasting longer than a week?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: This has to be at least like two standard deviations worse than the usual blister, but if you think about the nature of pitching, and about the nature of *Rich Hill’s* pitching, it’s tough to give the blister an opportunity to heal without aggravating it by throwing baseballs. Can’t let the arm strength go back down to 0

11:03
Nathan: Why is noah syndegaard not in the NL CY conversation when he sits atop the fWAR leaderboard. Is it all IP?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Is he not in the conversation?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like he’s in the conversation

11:04
marklxndr: Paul Goldschmidt has stolen 21 bases this season (88 in his career at a respectable 79% success rate) and his height/weight are approximately huge/enormous. How does he do it? Good jumps? Is he actually fast? I feel like I’ve just heard “smart baserunning”, but what is he actually doing to be that successful?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Daniel Murphy showed that one year that you can steal a lot of bases just by being heads-up all the time. If a pitcher is really slow to the plate, just go and don’t be afraid. If the other team just doesn’t pay close attention, that opens the door. Joey Votto has stolen 67 bases in his career. He doesn’t move well, but teams give you chances when they don’t see you as a threat

11:05
BengieStacks: Brewers OF: Broxton, Perez, and Santana. That’s 3, young OF making adjustments and sporting some obscure profiles. Villar breakout. Guerra… There’s some interesting stuff going on in Milwaukee, no?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Very much so

11:06
Jo-Jo: If Sabathia has a chance at the HOF then surely Hamels is a lock?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Sabathia has thrown a thousand more innings

11:07
Jeff: Not to name names, but Keith Law tweeted that xFIP shouldn’t be used. Do you know why he thinks it doesn’t hold up? I haven’t seen anything showing it isn’t an effective stat.

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: xFIP shouldn’t be *only* used. It’s perfectly useful if you know what to do with it

11:07
Dominik: do you think the Braves will do an ill attempted try to get a competitive or semi competitive team for the new park with signings/trades? or will they wait until the prospects are ready? many Braves fans seem to think they are close to competing again.

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I think they think they’ll be all right in 2017. I think they’re wrong

11:08
E: Bumgarner has a 58 wRC+ this year, has the league stopped pitching him like a pitcher?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, even at his best, he never walked and he constantly struck out. He’s not actually *good* at hitting, relative to hitters. He’s just amazing for a pitcher

11:08
TP for my Jung Ho: Re: Hendricks spot in the rotation. You think it’s between Hendricks and Arrieta, meaning Lester is a clear cut #3 at this point?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Lester might take priority over Arrieta depending on the opponent and how left-handed they are

11:09
Will: Does Joey Gallo become a legit MVP candidate at 1B in his career?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Doubt it

11:09
Joe: In the past year Neal Huntington has traded Neil Walker for Jon Niese, gave up Keon Broxton and a projectable young arm for a a AAAA first baseman, and gave up two actual living, breathing prospects for Ivan Nova. Has he lost his mind? Didn’t he used to be a good GM?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Well, Nova has worked out, and you can’t win every single trade. But I do think the Pirates have been in something of a transaction slump, and they’ve been made to look a lot better over the years by the work of their pitching coordinators

11:10
Tyler: Used to live in Seattle, now in Denver. Is it possible the Rockies actually have a brighter future than the Mariners now?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I could easily see the Rockies winning more games over the next five years. Lots of good stuff going on there

11:10
AD: Man, what time do you wake up every day? A lot of your stuff gets posted ~ 6 AM PST…

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes I schedule posts ahead. They like it when I schedule posts ahead!

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: On the downside, I don’t love scheduling posts ahead, because situations can change overnight

11:11
Dave: What am I missing with the pirates extending David Freese? The guy has a career high K rate, a career high GB rate, he has no baserunning or defensive value, and his offense is being propped up by a HR/FB rate twice his career rate and a very high BABIP, even by his standards. Why would you want a guy on the wrong side of 30 for the next two years with all of that going for him?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really get it, but he’s also not going to cost them very much

11:12
Grand Admiral Braun: Loved you on 670 the Score in Chicago yesterday…the previous day GM Hoyer was interviewed on the same station and essentially praised your findings on Arrieta, mentioning that the Cubs feel the same way.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: That was one of the cooler things of the past few months. Can’t pretend like I’m bigger than that

11:12
E: Verlander have a shot at the HOF?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

11:13
Hugh: No love for Hector Neris? He got a bit of hype early on, but it feels like nobody is noticing that his second half K-BB% is 35%. 2 walks since the ASB!

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I like Neris, but I don’t think he counts as obscure anymore after everything that was written about him early

11:13
Rob: Jose Abreu over the past 28 games: .373/.421/.673 slash over that. Looking like his old self. Could he bring back one top 50 prospect in a trade this winter?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Probably

11:13
LudeBurger: Do you ever wonder if baseball players think about you the same you think about them?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I really hope not

11:13
Jeff: Addison Reed has to be Warthen magic right?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Well, he was good before. He just had a bad year more recently. He’s sort of back to what he was, and a little bit more aggressive than that

11:14
Jesse: With such a weak FA class this year, it could be a crazy bidding war for Sale and/or Quintana, right?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: There will be other pitchers available. It’ll be a lot like the market this past July

11:15
Jo-Jo Reyes: Why’s no one talking about Freddie Freeman? Been the most valuable 1B in baseball this year but you’d never know it.

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Braves just bum people out. And speaking from a writer’s perspective, we do notice players like that, but this time of year people mostly want to read about teams and players who’re still relevant. I’m sure we’ll cover Freeman again in the offseason

11:16
BOB: Which mediocre pitchers could you see becoming dominate relievers if they made the switch?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I bet Jeff Samardzija could close

11:16
Sonny: Lance McCullers…too beautiful for this world?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Turns out there could be a downside to heavily throwing such a power curveball.

11:17
Elton: Do you think it’s possible these days for a team to invest in defense and make a sudden leap like Tampa did back in the day? Or is defense valued more correctly these days?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Any kind of leap like that is more difficult these days with evaluation having gotten better across the board. All the analytical low-hanging fruit has been picked

11:18
Gabe: Do you think the Dodgers might make a qualifying offer to Jansen?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: No question at all

11:18
Jaime: #freevotto

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: The Blue Jays tried!

11:18
August Don: Better for the Brewers to hold or to move Junior Guerra? He is quite old for a rookie, but should be cost-controlled for nearly his whole career.

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: He’d be a very interesting trade candidate, specifically because of his age

11:19
Daniel: Can you see the Jays going after Toronto-native Joey Votto this offseason if EE and Joey Bats both sign elsewhere?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: They’ve gone down that road before, but not with this front office, I believe

11:19
James: What is the main difference between fWAR and bWAR?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: For pitchers, it’s similar to the difference between WAR and RA9-WAR. For position players, it’s mostly about UZR vs. DRS

11:20
Waldo: If the Nats make the WS, what’s the most likely reason?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: They won more playoff games than they lost

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: They’re just really good. That’s all you need, to be honest

11:21
Undecided: Kris Bryant or Bryce Harper, highest ceiling?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: oh god

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like I’m supposed to say Harper but Bryant is trying to have himself a 9-WAR season right now

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Throw in the versatility…I’ll say Bryant? By a hair?

11:22
Jeff: How was the trip to Eagle Cap Wilderness. I’m moving to Madras in two years and have a whole new hiking realm to start exploring.

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: We were turned back by snow. But that’s where we’re going tonight! And I need to pack for that right now!

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/2/16 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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