Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/23/14

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Well let’s talk about baseball, live

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: I suppose we don’t have many alternatives

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Or we have infinite alternatives

9:07
Comment From Jake
Shane Greene’s true talent, over/under league average starter?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: The last time I checked this — probably two weeks ago or so — Greene was the MLB leader in rate of pitches thrown low, as defined by some standard I used. Beat Keuchel. Beat some relievers who exceeded my minimum threshold. Greene knows how to keep the ball down like few others

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I think maybe that becomes exploitable, and maybe he owes a good deal of gratitude to Brian McCann and the Yankees’ receivers, but with the strike zone expanding down there I think Greene can succeed now in a way he might not have been able to do 5 or 10 years ago

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll buy him as at least average. I’m surprised by my own answer!

9:09
Comment From Mike Trout
Will I ever have another 10 WAR season?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: You know what? I’ll say no. But you’ll come mighty close

9:09
Comment From tommy
you are late!

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I’m late every week

9:09
Comment From THE average sports fan
How many Gm’s do you think will be replaced this offseason? How many should?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: 2? And, say, 4-5

9:10
Comment From Jake
What’s the best way to calculate a team’s true talent for a single game, accounting for a single starter?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Well, FG provides game odds, based on the specific starters and starting lineups, so that’s a thing that exists

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: But if you’re trying to do it yourself, you might pretend like that starting pitcher is every starting pitcher, and do some multiplication, and come up with a hypothetical team WAR if every starter were like the given day’s starter

9:11
Comment From Judy
Who do you like for the WS?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Tigers/Nationals? Hell if I know, it’s probably going to end up like Indians/Pirates

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I think my answer must change every week

9:12
Comment From Vslyke
PLEASE tell me that GMDM doesn’t end up in Atlanta? I was iffy on Wren’s firing but that would be a disaster.

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he gets away from KC, for better or worse

9:14
Comment From Jake
Biggest change in the 2016 MLBPA contract?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: International draft? Changes pertaining to service-time manipulation?

9:15
Comment From Sgt. Pepper
Is it possible to study whether or not baserunners miming the safe sign on close plays at first has an impact on calls?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: It’s possible to study, but no one’s going to do it

9:15
Comment From Jake
The Angels project for a .489 win percentage ROS. Is this just a consequence of them running a AAA team to rest the starters, or do they actually suck? They projected for a .522 percentage a week ago.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Basically noise. That’s not an accurate representation of their talent, and with so little of the season left anyway, I’m not sure the use of the ROS win%. The Angels are terrific

9:16
Comment From tom
adam wainwright looks like adam wainwright again!

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes dead arm isn’t a death knell

9:16
Comment From Crappy Junk Wilson
Should the Angels be concerned about limping to the finish line?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Not even a little bit, although I bet they’d like for their players to not keep getting somewhat injured

9:17
Comment From John
What happens to Pedro Alvarez this offseason? DFA, trade, posiition change?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve backed off from thinking he could get DFA’d, but I think we are at least looking at a position change

9:19
Comment From a boblowblalawbomb
if you’re billy beane and had a time turner, do you trade cespedes again knowing you’ll be depending on fewer streaky players who are on hot streaks at the moment?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: I bet Beane believes less in the Cespedes theory than even we do. I imagine he figures this is unfortunate noise, and I don’t think he’d *not* do that same trade if he had the opportunity. Cespedes has a .300 OBP.

9:20
Comment From Eric
Which move from this past offseason will turn out to be the worst?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Shin-Soo Choo or Prince Fielder. Hey, same team!

9:20
Comment From Bubba
I miss Trout’s sexier .320+ BA. Do you think the .290ish is here to stay?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not going to blow past the .300 mark if he keeps striking out a quarter of the time. So unless the strikeouts go away, this is going to be it

9:21
Comment From Guest
What’s your prediction for Josh Harrison next year?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Good player, worse player

9:21
Comment From neal
Today, Brandon McCarthy will (probably) throw 200 innings in a season for the first time, at age 31. How rare of a feat is this?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t answer that on the fly, but I couldn’t be happier for him. And what a pair of things to have happen — headed into free agency, McCarthy has not only stayed healthy, but he’s succeeded in New York

9:22
Comment From Nuke Laloosh
Yesterday I got the impression that Dan is fairly confident in a decent sized step forward for Taveras next year. Do you share his alleged sentiments?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, I don’t think he’s going to be a -2 WAR player

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Taveras has been really really bad. He’s not actually really really bad

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: There are lessons to be learned from Taveras and Polanco’s rookie seasons

9:24
Comment From hscer
The Nationals were 25-27. That’s a third of the season. Since then they are 66-37, a 104-win pace over a full season. The need to talk about stuff produces a lot of hand-wringing at points in the season where we still don’t really know anything about what we’re talking about, doesn’t it?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: That is an unavoidable consequence. Best we can do, short of not writing anything until August or September, is try to analyze early results responsibly. It’s something we have to keep in mind every single season

9:26
Comment From Ryan
Now that Travis Wood’s season has mercifully come to an end, with a below replacement level war if considering anything not purely fip based. Do the Cubs just run this back next year and hope for better or move on?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: In my head right now it’s 50/50. I can’t see the Cubs returning both Wood and Jackson, but neither is going to be cheap. I could see Wood starting again at the beginning to try to rebuild some value, but at the end of the day if the Cubs elect to DFA him I don’t think they’re going to be too broken up about it

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Through six starts this year, Wood had seven walks and 37 strikeouts. Boy, the things that were probably written

9:29
Comment From Player Development Nerd
In terms of WAR, would Derek Jeter have had a better career playing another position (presumably second or third)? In other words, for him personally, was the below average defense at shortstop more than offset by the positional adjustment?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, obviously, we can’t know, but based on observation and based on stuff from the Fan Scouting Report, it might’ve been interesting to have Jeter as a third baseman, where the average player isn’t so gifted with his first step and range. I think Jeter would’ve had the arm for third, so maybe there’s a few extra runs

9:32
Comment From The Iron Sheik
What’re the chances the Brewers make Ryan Braun available this offseason? Would he be in the Stanton/Tulo tier in terms of prospects required?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Ryan Braun has been a below-average player and he’s dealing with some kind of really problematic thumb/hand concern. Nobody’s paying very much to land a fish like Ryan Braun. He’s not the Brewers’ ticket to a restocked farm system

9:34
Comment From Art Vandelay
I understand that aligning starters for the WC play-in isn’t something always done, but in the case of the Giants and Pirates, where the division is almost out of reach, but the wild card is locked up, do you think they have an idea of who they want to pitch the game next Wednesday?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: We’re probably not going to see Madison Bumgarner start this coming Sunday. The Pirates don’t have a Bumgarner, but they could definitely hold Cole. The Pirates, however, are progressive enough to probably be aggressive with the bullpen if they need to be.

9:36
Comment From Tark
Do you see Rougned Odor being a league average 2nd baseman in 2015?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:37
Comment From Terrible Ted
Is Pena really blocking Mesoraco? What’s going on there?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Pena’s started three games this month?

9:38
Comment From ar
what do we think of jose fernandez next year?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Probably won’t pitch until the second half. I’m going to be interested to see what his pitch distribution looks like when he’s back on a mound. Is he going to lean just as heavily on his incredible breaking ball?

9:38
Comment From THE average sports fan
What is your take on the MLB pace of play committee?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I like that it’s a cause, and I’m naturally skeptical of committees of old men. Like Olney, I sure wish there’d be more young/active-player input. I know a lot of people don’t think baseball needs to get faster, but, baseball needs to get faster. For its own health. I’m happy to see a step, but really there need to be above five or six

9:40
Comment From The Iron Sheik
Mets competing for a wild card spot this time next year?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know about *this* time — there’s less than a week left — but I think they’re playing real, meaningful baseball into September

9:40
Comment From Rams
what is wrong with CJ Wilson, Will he be in the playoff roatation/ nexts years 5 man?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t really have options, but Wilson, last I checked, owns baseball’s very lowest strike rate among starting pitchers. There was an article some time ago about Dipoto telling Wilson how much better he is when he throws 60% strikes. 60% strikes! That’s significantly below-average! Wilson just needs to have a below-average strike rate to be okay, and he can’t even consistently manage that

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: He’s in the playoff rotation, and he’s in the 2015 rotation, but his leash is getting shorter

9:43
Comment From Jays fan
Jose Bautista is having a sneaky good/great year.

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Basically he’s Jose Bautista, with better BABIP. 6.3 WAR!

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: The meaningful change:

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: He still kills the ball when he pulls it. But this year he’s hit .340 to the opposite field, where he used to come in around .240. He’s taken better advantage of this shifts, which was one of his goals for the season

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Basically, Bautista has opened up the other way, without forgetting that he’s also a terrifying pull-power slugger

9:46
Comment From Spencer
Alex Wood is 8th in the NL in ERA and FIP, and has actually been better as a starter than as a reliever. He’s got two more starts, so let’s say he gets to 160 IP as a starter, with about a 3.20 FIP. And he’s only 23. The only guys in front of him are perennial CY candidates. Do you think he can build on that at all?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I feel like this is about what he is, with room for maybe a little decline in the future. He’s obviously difficult to square up, and he throws a perfectly adequate number of strikes and unhittable pitches. He doesn’t do anything poorly, but he has definitely benefited from lousy competition. Elsewhere, he wouldn’t have numbers this good, but he’d still be pretty good, and I think he’ll continue to be pretty good until/unless he gets hurt

9:49
Comment From J
I’m not normally able to participate in these but now I can and I don’t know what to ask. What should I ask?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: This was a bad start

9:49
Comment From john
What say you about yasmani tomas?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: A lot of money. Quite possibly nine figures

9:50
Comment From The Iron Sheik
What’s the best possible haul for any of the Mets mediocre triumvirate of Colon/Niese/Gee?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: A live-armed Dominican righty with good natural movement and a developing slider

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Projectable

9:51
Comment From Ralph
What does the future hold for John Holdzkom?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s still destined to issue a few too many walks, because I don’t believe in his *command*, but he’s so hard to hit I think he’ll make some millions of dollars as a setup guy who picks up a couple dozen saves

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: So, happiness, basically

9:53
Comment From Andy
As a royals fan, are you content that your team has a chance at the postseason this year? Or saddened that this perhaps gets Dayton Moore an extension?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I am a Mariners fan. You must be confusing me for the currently happier Jeff.

9:53
Comment From Hrkac Circus
Does any team stand out to you as potential big buyers or sellers this offseason?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Rockies could get crazy in one direction. Cubs could open up the wallets in the other direction.

9:54
Comment From Hrkac Circus
Who would you like to see in the World Series?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners and the Diamondbacks so the Mariners can win

9:55
Comment From Nuke Laloosh
At this point, is BJ Upton even an adequate 4th OF on a contender?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: No, he’s awful, but maybe he can make something better with a different team in 2015.

9:55
Comment From Matt Shoemaker
Am I legit?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I like you

9:56
Comment From My Friend Goo
Does Allen Craig have negative, neutral, or positive hypothetical trade value?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Negative

9:57
Comment From Jays fan
Did you see Pompey’s catch last night? Can he be the Jays cf next year?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I did, thanks, that was annoying. He can be the Jays CF next year if they’re willing to accept a below-average bat, but come the second half I think he’d be just about ready

9:59
Comment From lunch
did wren deserve the ax?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Not 100%, but it was time for change, so they made a change. They’re not going to be worse off for this

9:59
Comment From Stephen
Any chance a player not named Hamilton wins the NL ROY?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Very good chance

10:00
Comment From Shopping Around
In 20 words or less, sell me on why Fangraphs WAR is better than Baseball Reference WAR

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I work for FanGraphs

10:02
Comment From zmiko
Thoughts on the O’Dowd to Atlanta rumor?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Light on specifics. Has a previous working relationship with John Hart. There are going to be a lot of rumors until the Braves are all re-staffed. They’re probably not going to jump for one of the young progressive types (which isn’t to say they’ll hire some old-school maroon)

10:02
Comment From Risque Question
Would you rather spend an evening (and more) with your Hollywood actress of choice, or be Mike Trout for a game?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: What am I going to do with a Hollywood actress? I’d rather be Mike Trout and make a game’s worth of Mike Trout money

10:03
Comment From tommy
Whats your favorite kind of soup?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: good soup

10:04
Comment From Guest
is the advantage of having your ace start greater than homefield for the wild-card play-in game?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Depends on the ace — there’s a difference between, say, Kershaw and whoever is the No. 1 on the Pirates — but given the bullpen options, and given that the other team is probably also trying to start a good pitcher, I lean toward home field

10:04
Comment From THE average sports fan
Would you rather see more, less, or same amount of playoff teams?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I’m fine with this. Add more teams and you start really extending the schedule. But if, in theory, they added two more playoff teams and reduced the season to 154 games, that’d be fine too. I like the randomness and meaning of October

10:05
Comment From Tark
Place in order of your preference for the next three years: Kluber/Sale/Darvish

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: oh jesus

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: uhhhh Sale/Kluber/Darvish? there’s like next to no difference between No. 1 and No. 3 for me

10:06
Comment From Rams
what would you do to speed up the pace of play?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Keep hitters in the box and pitchers around the rubber

10:08
Comment From Nitesock
What’s your opinion on Shelby Miller? Expectations for the future?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t trust him now, but down the road he’ll resume being something like a No. 3 with flashes of being a No. 2

10:08
Comment From Daver in Chicago
Does it truly make sense for the Cubs to pursue a big name FA starter such as Jon Lester? Or should they continue signing “flippable” FAs and building their rotation from within?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: If they think they can start competing in 2015, and I think they can, then they’ll need to make a big upgrade or two. Doesn’t mean it’s Lester or bust, but it’s one thing to build an average team, and it’s another to build a good one. The whole one-year contract for flippable starters thing can get you somewhere decent, but they’re going to need stars

10:10
Comment From Alan
Shelby Miller has only 3 walks and 3 runs allowed over his last four starts (and those three walks all came in the least recent game). Is he less broken now?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: One of the walkless starts came against a dreadful Reds offense, and another came against a dreadful Rockies road offense. I’m glad he’s not still sucking, but, yeah, he needs to do a lot more than this to get people off his case

10:12
Comment From FelixTroutKershaw
If you were starting a new franchise and you could pick any three players from the majors, and then the rest from the minors, who would your three choices be?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Trout/Stanton/Puig?

10:13
Comment From Alex
How much value should we put into slumps? I know that they’re basically noise in full season stats, but if a player hits under .200 in a month or two, how important is that?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Totally depends on the reason. Is he okay? Is he being exploited? Can he address that?

10:13
Comment From Jon Paul
Are lefty pull hitters no longer a desirable commodity due to the presence of the defensive shifts? Is this the reason for Jay Bruce’s demise this year? Thanks!

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Not the only reason for that. This isn’t just a BABIP thing. They’re not undesirable, they’re just a little less desirable, if they can be easily shifted

10:15
Comment From David
So the big argument for the NAts putting Roark in the pen for the playoffs is his innings totals. So why not put him in the pen _now_ and rest him for a week or so, and have him available for that game 4 start in the DS?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: They’re all good. Somebody has to lose out. Whoever it is will feel slighted. It’s a good problem

10:16
Comment From Guest
Do you see the Astros making a big leap next year?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: No, they’ll just be better

10:16
Comment From Bruce
You get a chemex yet?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Like a year ago

10:17
Comment From Jays fan
What player transaction would you most like to see this off season?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Jeff Francoeur back to the Royals

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Brandon McCarthy to the Mariners

10:18
Comment From Dude
Is 2015 the year Bryce Harper finally makes Dave Cameron not look like a fool?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Harper has a 128 second-half wRC+, getting over his injury

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: He has a career 124 wRC+, and he turns 22 in October

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: HE TURNS 22 IN OCTOBER

10:19
Comment From David
Kershaw 6.8
McCutchen 6.4
Rendon 6.3
LuCroy 6.2
Stanton 6.0

Does “best player on best team” get Rendon any play in the MVP race?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get attention, but he won’t get meaningful attention, with regard to winning

10:20
Comment From Oracle of Delphi
Off the top of your head – best player in baseball, 2020

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I guess I have to say Mike Trout or Byron Buxton

10:21
Comment From klof
is there any way to include the value of lineup protection, or lineup strength in general, into isolated offensive statistics? it seems there are stats that look at the offense that a player like stanton produces on his own skill set, but with more of a supporting cast wouldn’t his performance improve? more walks, more stuff in the zone, etc. Thanks.

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely no evidence of protection making players better

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: How could Stanton have more walks *and* more stuff in the zone?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Protection can change numbers, but it doesn’t really make a player better or worse. If pitchers are more aggressive with you, you’ll walk less, and you’ll hit more. If they pitch around you, you’ll walk more, and you’ll hit less

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: These things basically even out

10:24
Comment From Tark
Besides going from New Yankee Stadium to Target Field, what enabled Phil Hughes to have such a terrific season?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Replaced slider with cutter, super aggressive within the strike zone, using his fastball better. He’s got terrible framers but it doesn’t matter because all he does is throw strikes. When you throw more than 70% strikes, you’re always going to be ahead

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: So with Hughes, it’s not just stuff — it’s also relentlessness

10:25
Comment From ShaneGreeneHimself
The Yankees are objectively a bad offense and an unfinished project, but remember when the speculation was that signing Ellsbury and not Choo would their downfall?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: The downfall is actually usually just signing any big-money free agent

10:26
Comment From penist
do players ever get spooked when they look out at a centerfield scoreboard and there is a 40 ft picture of their face right there, over the pitcher’s shoulder?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure they’re used to it, but I imagine a not insignificant number of hitter timeouts are for when the guy at the plate shakes his head a little and suddenly realizes, oh my god, that’s me, that’s enormous, what am I doing here

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Little in-game existential crises, that go mostly undetected

10:27
Comment From Stephen
Who’s you’re NL MVP?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw

10:28
Comment From Jeff
According to WAR, Jose Abreu (5.2) and Jose Altuve (5.1) provide similar value. They are both under team control through the 2019 season. Abreu, who is 3+ years older than Altuve (and closer to the start of his decline), will make $51 million while Altuve will make only $23 million. How is Abreu a more valuable trade asset (10th overall according to Dave Cameron) than Altuve (not even in top 50)?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: When Dave wrote that post, Altuve had three months of being a good player. This is also basically as good as he can be, and a skillset like Abreu’s carries a lot more weight in the market. It’s not just about value; it’s about trade value

10:29
Comment From Lukes Father
What is the correct order to introduce a young one to Star Wars?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Skip all of them and take the child outside

10:30
Comment From addison
is baez’s power really enough to make up for his horrendous average? if he’s dan uggla won’t the cubs be a bit disappointed?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: No amount of power can make up for .168

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, they don’t think he’s a long-term .168. But this was always the risk with him — extremely high reward, extremely high risk. I think the Cubs, to be honest, aren’t as high on him as prospect evaluators, and they probably wouldn’t mind being able to trade him this offseason for something a little less sexy and a lot more reliable

10:32
Comment From Alex
Is baseball shifting away from OBP towards SLG? If so, why?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball is shifting away from OBP and SLG towards zero runs being scored

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Both those numbers are declining. Strike zone’s getting bigger, pitchers are ahead more often, and emphasis on defense also tends to come with reduced ability to hit.

10:33
Comment From addison
the kershaw/edwin jackson matchup was the most uneven combo of starter quality since when?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Peak Pedro against somebody, perhaps

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Or Anthony Vasquez against somebody

10:34
Comment From o/
Jeff, enjoyed your All-Hindsight Team article. Here’s a hypothetical question: If one average team 20 years ago knew what we know today about advanced stats, how good do you think they could make themselves in one offseason? 95 wins? 100? 110?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I think they could make themselves really really good. Ben Cherington talked about this at the saber seminar not long ago — even a decade ago, it was relatively easy for a team to build and stand out. Now everyone basically has the same knowledge. But 20, 10 years ago, there would’ve been a big advantage from being statistically intelligent

10:35
Comment From Guest
should teams that impose innings limits ‘start’ the affected pitchers in may/june to avoid the playoff dilemma?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t really take the playoffs for granted. Better to just have pre-scheduled off-days and skipped starts

10:35
Comment From sk
Which upcoming free agent do you anticipate gets the most ridiculous team overpay? Shields? Russel Martin? Nelson Cruz? someone else?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Could be Shields

10:35
Comment From _David_
As a Mariners fan, this is better than if they had ended with 77 wins, right? RIGHT?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: In the big picture, they’ve kept us engaged into the last week of the season. That’s pretty terrific

10:36
Comment From john
your the mets, you dont want to get hogtied into long term deals. the astros have a lot of bats coming up. Could Chris Carter play a servicable enough LF to make him a trade possibility? If only to hold down the position for a season for the Mets young OF and then become a power option off the bench?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: That is so not the solution

10:36
Comment From Dempster Fire
In WAR, is replacement level assumed to be league relative or team relative?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: League

10:37
Comment From Anthony
Fun facts re: the McCarthy question earlier: Jamie Moyer threw 200 innings when he was 24 and 25, then not again till he was 35 — and then did it 7 more times.

10:37
Comment From Vic Romano
Any chance the Red Sox trade Pedrioa and give the 2B job to Betts next year?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Almost literally zero chance

10:37
Comment From Luis
Jeff, Jose Altuve is only 24 years old and has been a 5 win player this year. What does he project to be going forward? Top 50 player in baseball?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: It’s always going to be about ball-in-play average for him. He’s probably never going to walk, and he’s probably never going to be a power hitter. He also doesn’t seem to be a brilliant glove, so while this year he’s surpassed 5 WAR, I think he has a future of more 3-4 WAR seasons

10:39
Comment From Anthony
Fun facts re: the McCarthy question earlier: Jamie Moyer threw 200 innings when he was 24 and 25, then not again till he was 35 — and then did it 7 more times.

10:39
Comment From SomeSay
Does anyone keep track of the number of baseball a pitcher uses per plate appearance?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Somebody might. Nobody sane does. The leader might be A.J. Burnett.

10:40
Comment From Tark
Matt Kemp has been hitting very well in the 2nd half. Is this the kind of hitter that we should expect him to be from this point on?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Power’s back. Kemp’s back. Still something of an injury risk, still not a good defender, but this is why there were teams interested in trading for Kemp. With his shoulder problems apparently behind him, he’s a star hitter again

10:41
Comment From bill
In a vacuum, if you had to tear down a team this offseason and rebuild–would you choose Cubs’ path or Mets’ path?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs

10:41
Comment From Buck Showalter
I know that I can’t come out and say it but wouldn’t the optimal strategy for my team in the playoffs be to only allow my mediocre starting pitchers to go through the line up twice, regardless of how well they were throwing? With the built in off days, I can use O’Day/Miller/Britton for the 7th to 9th every game and use a Gausman/Hunter/Matusz combo to get from my starter to the end of the 6th.

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely!

10:43
Comment From Guest
In the WC game, would you trust Cole or Liriano more for the Pirates? Or would you make it a bullpen game early so it doesn’t matter?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Actually I suppose I trust Liriano more

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: But I’d definitely let the bullpen know I’m willing to go to them early and often

10:44
Comment From bill
Wilmer Flores—Yes the defense is bad, but if he can be above average offensively, then why spend $$ on shortstop like everyone says the Mets will?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Call me when he’s above-average offensively

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Well, don’t, but you can send me an email

10:45
Comment From Brock Sampson
Taking into account all factors–age, money, injuries–does it make more sense for the Orioles to try and extend JJ Hardy or slide Machado over to short and sign Headley?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I’m growing increasingly concerned about Machado as a shortstop. Not that third base is some sort of easy position on his body, but given what he’s already been through at a young age…

10:45
Comment From sk
can Michael Brantley slug .500+ again?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’ll hover around .475 – .500.

10:47
Comment From _David_
Is there precedent for a young player like Zunino drastically increasing his contact percentage? Did he always have this problem as a prospect?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Sammy Sosa got better about his strikeouts. Reggie Jackson got better about his strikeouts. Players deserve time, especially good defensive catchers. But Zunino will never be confused for John Olerud

10:47
Comment From dogbone
Why are some speedy players such bad base stealers? Experience? “Instincts?” Btw, why is McCutchen with his speed such a bad defender year in year out according to UZR?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Stealing bases requires awareness skills, not just sprinting speed

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Defensive numbers don’t love McCutchen, probably because he’s not a terrific defender. A big part of that is that he has a mediocre arm

10:49
Comment From David
Unless the #1 recommendation of the Pace Committee is “fewer commercials”, they will reveal themselves to be the farce we all know that they are.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball likes money

10:49
Comment From CaseyBlakeDeWitt
Opinion on the one game wild card? This last week of the season would be a lot more exciting if the A’s/Royals and Pirates/Giants were playing for the chance to get to the postseason right now.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I like it. I love it! The playoffs were never about rewarding the best team in baseball, so I’m all in favor of zaniness

10:50
Comment From Justin
2014 Rangers, to tank or not to tank?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously they are not tanking

10:50
Comment From Reginald Denton III
Who wins more games next season — Rangers or Cubs?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs. Rangers might be an organizational disaster

10:51
Comment From Guest
Jeff, does Ned Yost managing a 1 game winner take all playoff spell doom for the Royals? I understand he’s known as a “Nervous Nellie” in some circles.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Why would a manager doom a team?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Just how impactful do you think bad managing really is?

10:52
Comment From Chris Young
I overperformed my team into contention this year, but now I’m regressing and my team will likely miss the playoffs. Where do you think I play next year?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Seattle

10:52
Comment From Mike
A healthy Michael Pineda is the nth best pitcher in baseball. N = ?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Somewhere around 20-30?

10:53
Comment From john
Re: Tomas – consensus seems to be that Castillo was an overpay; given their differences in age/profile, if tomas gets more, is he also more likely to be worth it?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t really speak to specifics, but given that Tomas is younger and possesses more power, he’s more desirable, and he’s more likely to be a quality player

10:53
Comment From Comment
Ranch or Blue Cheese for buffalo wings?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I just like the flavor of buffalo wings

10:54
Comment From ar
follow-up to fernandez: what do you think of harvey next year. basically, how do we evaluate tommy john guys going into the next year. it seems way to easy to say, just expect a few mph off the fb, and some bite on breaking pitches, since those things are what made them so good in the first place.

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no simple statistical rule to apply across the board. I think the No. 1 thing fans need to do is keep from getting over-optimistic. TJ isn’t automatic and successful return isn’t automatic. The odds are good, but there are frequently setbacks, and one shouldn’t put too much pressure on Fernandez or Harvey right away just because they’ve made their way back. It’s a long, long process, even after you get back to pitching in the bigs

10:55
Comment From Nick
Do you think the Angels make a play for a top of the line starter like Scherzer/Lester? Or is their payroll pretty much maxed at this point?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t have the money

10:55
Comment From Guest
After a fastball, what’s the second pitch a kid should learn?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Changeup?

10:56
Comment From Big joe Mufferaw
What Kind of contract do you think McCarthy will get? He has been awesome as a yankee (I hope he re-signs).

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: 2/25, with a vesting third year?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Still can’t trust him enough to go super long-term

10:57
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
What is the best baseball team you remember watching?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: The obvious ones. 98 Yankees, 01 Mariners

10:58
Comment From War2D2
Does Kyle Hendricks turn into a regular major league starter, or is this just a flash in the pan? I recall in my youth being excited about Steve Trachsel, and he was never more than a journeyman 4th/5th starter; more recently I was excited about Randy Wells, and he’s not even pitching anymore. Hendricks reminds me too much of them.

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s a fine cheap back starter, but he’s very obviously not a 2-ERA asset

10:59
Comment From Ralph
The Pirates seem to like finding buy-low veteran starting pitchers and hope that Searage can work some magic on them. Who do you see them going after this offseason? Justin Masterson seems like he would fit the mold perfectly.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Ooh, I like that idea

10:59
Comment From Dave Zumsteg
I am heading to Portland in two weeks with the kids. Besides the zoo and OMSI, what else should we see?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Hang out in Washington Park. Hang out in Forest Park! Drive through the gorge. Activities depend in part on the weather, which is just about to make its annual turn

11:00
Comment From Bill
Are you sold on the idea that video scouting is the best way to determine fielding value? I think it will determine fielding talent, but I think stats like FRAA (pbp stats) already determine fielding value.

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I think we’ll learn a lot more from the future. The formulas will remain similar, but the inputs will be improved

11:01
Comment From Richie
When (as with the Braves) ownership fires the GM but keeps the manager on, isn’t that a suggestion to their GM candidates that ownership at least prefers that the manager be kept on? Don’t know that I’d like that if I were offered the position.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: You can only be so demanding when there are 30 GMs at a time, most of them secure. Get the job first, then try to change what you want to change. Wouldn’t be surprised if Gonzalez is gone by 2016

11:02
Comment From Yossarian
Do you know of anybody that studies the quality of a team’s medical division?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Basically impossible. BP took a look just like a week ago, but there are way too many variables and there’s also plenty of unknown turnover.

11:02
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Is Shane Greene in the yankee rotation next season?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Definitely ought to be

11:03
Comment From Mike
Earlier in the year I asked if you (i think it was you) if you would rather have a healthy Pineda or Zack Wheeler and you said Wheeler. Have you changed your mind?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Did I say that? I feel like I wouldn’t have said that. I’m not the biggest Wheeler fan

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: In any case, Pineda

11:03
Comment From Dustin
Do you think teams should be discouraged from pitching up and in? How many unintentional hit batters is too many?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have a good answer to this. I really don’t. Batters are going to get hit, no matter what. You don’t want to ask pitchers to pitch differently. But any ball to the head…it might just be sad and unavoidable consequence of baseball.

11:05
Comment From Mike
Gun to your head – Waino or Cueto?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Wainwright

11:05
Comment From Alex
So Eric Hosmer should actually hit his way to league average by season’s end. Thoughts?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: He was practically league average in the first half. Last year he was 20% better than average. This season sucked.

11:06
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Why do umpires not enforce the 26 second rule (or what ever the number of time between pitches is)?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: It’s only in play when no one’s on base, and the batter is in the box and facing the pitcher, who has the ball. That rule is seldom violated. That rule also is not the problem

11:06
Comment From Alex
Kris Bryant. When is he up, doing awesome things?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: May

11:07
Comment From Guest
would you personally consider this a successful Mariners season, even if they don’t make the playoffs?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: A very modest success

11:07
Comment From Dave Zumsteg
What’s the most underrated vacation spot in the continental United States of America?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Oregon

11:07
Comment From GK
Should the Rays feel pretty good about their return for David Price? They got crushed after that trade.

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: They should and they do

11:08
Comment From Roman
On a scale from Bad to Oh Lawd Jeezus, where would you rank the future outlook of the Reds?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Closer to Oh Lawd Jeezus

11:08
Comment From Boston Phan
Do pitchers have the ability to step up their game in clutch situations, unlike hitters? That seems to be part of what your post on Felix implies.

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers get to change their approaches. Hitters don’t, really. Also, somewhat related: pitchers throw harder with two strikes than with zero/one strike. Not the same thing, but they do reach back

11:09
Comment From Phillay!
Chances that RAJ still has his current job come opening day 2015?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: High

11:09
Comment From kevinthecomic
Showalter says he is going with 4-man rotation in the playoffs — isn’t being an Orioles fan hard enough without having to endure this kind of decision making?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Is being an Orioles fan hard these days?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: It seems like it isn’t hard these days.

11:10
Comment From lunch
do you guys ever see the listing of number of articles about each team at the bottom of the page and think “oh, geez, nobody’s done anything on the [insert boring team name here]. guess we better figure something to say about them?”

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: No one ever wants to write about the Padres

11:10
Comment From Gila Monster
You have to consider Lucroy for MVP and best player if you place any weight on framing, right? He has prevented 20 runs by framing which puts him even above Trout I believe

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Correct, if you believe in framing, you have to believe in Lucroy

11:11
Comment From Guest
does LAD have enough pitching to beat STL and win the NLCS??

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

11:11
Comment From Rainier
Do you feel any actual angst for the Mariners, or have you moved on from failures you have no control over?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: They usually make me upset for 5-10 minutes at a time. But I’m too old to have days ruined by sports. It’s not like I play them

11:12
Comment From Rainier
If you were putting money on it, do you think the Yellowstone Supervolcano blows first, the San Andreas/San Joaqin slip zone goes nuts in a big quake, or the Mariners win the Series?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners, then fault, then Yellowstone

11:12
Comment From Peter
Is 5 NL WAR the same as 5 AL WAR?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, WAR includes a league adjustment

11:12
Comment From Mike
Who is better – Pineda or Tanaka?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Tanaka

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Time to move on and tackle the rest of the day!

11:13
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 — 9/23/14 by Jeff Sullivan!

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

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Cant see why anyone would prefer Pineda
Pineda 3.61 xFIP, 6.31 k/9, .232 babip, injuries
Wheeler 3.49 xFIP, 8.98 k/9, .304 babip and1.5 yrs younger