Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/30/14 by Jeff Sullivan September 30, 2014 9:01 Jeff Sullivan: Everybody ready to baseball chat? 9:02 Jeff Sullivan: One minute late this time! New recent record! 9:02 Comment From Jim Is Fangraphs looking at replacing FIP with SIERA as the main ingredient to pitcher WAR? 9:02 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we’ve ever even discussed SIERA in our meetings for years 9:03 Jeff Sullivan: Granted, Dave and Dave talk about things I’m not privy to, but I haven’t heard anything to that effect 9:03 Comment From Xolo Best team that didn’t make the playoffs? 9:03 Jeff Sullivan: Mariners, and this isn’t even my bias talking 9:03 Comment From Stephen PLAYOFF BASEBALL!!!! 9:03 Jeff Sullivan: Half the teams I most want to bandwagon will be eliminated today 🙁 9:04 Comment From _David_ A writer I respect interpreted Michael Saunders’ recent comments as indicating Saunders belief that he was headed elsewhere. They speculated that the Mariners would likely be willing to part with him for very little. Saunders hasn’t been durable, but is 27 and is coming off a half season where he played at a 4 win pace. One could argue it could be worth gambling on a breakout. The Mariners outfield is the Mariners outfield. What is going on here? 9:04 Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners would be stupid to non-tender Michael Saunders, so they will not do that. I suppose it’s possible they could trade him, but for the time being he’s part of the 2015 picture 9:05 Comment From Guest Green Light Going Right 9:05 Jeff Sullivan: Curtis Granderson led baseball with 13 3-and-0 swings 9:05 Jeff Sullivan: Jose Bautista had 11, Oswaldo Arcia had 10 9:07 Jeff Sullivan: Four different players hit two 3-and-0 dingers this season: Seager, Norris, Granderson, Dom Brown 9:07 Jeff Sullivan: Granderson was 6-for-9 with two doubles and two dingers 9:07 Jeff Sullivan: That seems like too much 9:07 Comment From San Diegan Does it make me a bad baseball fan that I don’t care about the Royals? 9:08 Jeff Sullivan: No. There’s no such thing as a bad baseball fan. Enjoy it how you feel like enjoying it 9:08 Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t bring myself to hop on the Pirates’ bandwagon because of the Steelers and the Penguins. How stupid is that? But that’s how my brain felt 9:09 Comment From benjamin What could the Twins get for Hughes this offseason? 9:09 Jeff Sullivan: Some value, for sure, but there might be skepticism of his being able to replicate that in a more pressure-packed environment and in a different ballpark. I think the Twins are best off hanging on and hoping for a solid organizational 2016 9:09 Comment From Jake Why is WAR such a poor metric? 9:09 Jeff Sullivan: Because your standards are literally impossible to meet 9:10 Comment From #KeepNotGraphs How many hashtags does it take to sway Cistulli’s icy heart? 9:10 Jeff Sullivan: More than you’ve got 9:10 Comment From Guest Are you as baffled by the decision to start Volquez as everyone else is? 9:11 Jeff Sullivan: I mean I’m never going to be comfortable with the idea of Edinson Volquez, but I think in these one-off games the starting pitcher identity is considerably less important than people think. The Pirates know enough not to let Volquez twist in the wind or like try to get into the 7th inning. They’ll be aggressive getting to their bullpen 9:11 Comment From Brad who has a greater love affair with the fan base, King Felix or Jeter? 9:11 Jeff Sullivan: Hard to answer because I don’t know how Derek Jeter has ever really felt in his heart. Felix makes it obvious. Let’s say that Felix has a more passionate love, but he’s also much younger. You know what happens to your idea of love as you age 9:12 Jeff Sullivan: Or maybe you don’t. Sorry, Brad! 9:13 Comment From Dewey I’m not sure the Braves trading Gattis is going to resolve any of their issues, it’s not like he has through the roof value. 9:13 Jeff Sullivan: They could probably do well in trading a cheap righty bat with plus power. Trumbo market idea. And the Braves might be trying to get over that kind of player profile. Besides, how many people see Gattis as a legitimate long-term outfielder? 9:13 Comment From Ben Any thoughts on Astros hiring Hinch? 9:15 Jeff Sullivan: All I really have to say is, even if Hinch was a mess his first time around, you have to operate under the assumption that people get better as they learn lessons from experience. So I don’t think it’s fair to think Hinch will be just as seemingly lousy as he once was. He’s gotten smarter, and from the Astros’ side I’m sure they like his open-mindedness and trust in numbers 9:15 Comment From Sam Who wins the CY Young in the AL, Felix or Kluber? 9:15 Jeff Sullivan: Keep getting the sense it will be Felix, keep getting the sense it should be Kluber 9:15 Comment From Ethan Biggest WTF contract signed this winter? 9:15 Jeff Sullivan: Someone giving Kendrys Morales millions of dollars 9:16 Comment From Nuke LaLooshs left eyelid oh man i’d pay to see Puig face Bumbgarner in the playoffs!!! 9:16 Jeff Sullivan: If you pay enough, you could get a ticket! 9:16 Comment From Dave Stewart Any hope for me in Arizona? 9:16 Jeff Sullivan: There’s not no hope 9:16 Comment From someone Deliberately open-ended question: which team do you think most “deserves” to win the World Series this year? 9:17 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with “deserves” 9:17 Jeff Sullivan: But I feel like Billy Beane deserves a title just so he can finally have one 9:18 Jeff Sullivan: Does he deserve it the most this year? I don’t know. But I think he’s deserving. Are the Dodgers deserving for spending a lot of money? Sure, in a different way. Are the Orioles deserving for being all weird-like? Absolutely, in a different way. Dang it this is going to bother me for hours 9:18 Comment From John Jon Lester puts his Boston house on the market… Should Realtors start looking for a condo nears Epstein’s Lincoln park house for Lester? 9:18 Jeff Sullivan: Sure if they have the time in the day 9:20 Comment From Guest Could the Pirates bring in Liriano in the 3rd or 4th inning if Volquez struggles? 9:21 Jeff Sullivan: I mean, sure, they could, but they opted against Liriano because he’d be on short rest and I think they have enough faith in the rest of their bullpen 9:21 Comment From Michael Given that the Nationals are the only team other than the M’s to have never played in the Series, are you rooting for or against them? (Seattle fan, I’m for. LAST BELLE TO THE BALL!) 9:22 Jeff Sullivan: Well I know I’m not *against* it. But other teams don’t really have an effect on the way that I feel about the Mariners. I guess if the Nationals do finally make it, then we have something kind of embarrassingly special to ourselves 9:22 Comment From Kyle Interviewing for a front office position for my local minor league team. I don’t have a question, just wanted to share my excitement! 9:22 Jeff Sullivan: Good luck and godspeed! 9:23 Jeff Sullivan: Anticipate the demands! 9:23 Comment From John Why is everyone considering Lester the Cubs top target? Why not Scherzer? 9:24 Jeff Sullivan: Probably the whole front office/Boston connection. They’ll be interested in both. Probability is they get neither 9:25 Comment From eknpdx Aramis Ramirez seems like he could flourish in the AL with time off at DH 40% of the games. Seems like he’s been under appreciated over the years… 9:26 Jeff Sullivan: Chance he sticks in Milwaukee for 2015, but there’s definitely still ability in there. For some reason when I think about him my mind automatically goes to his dreadful 2002. That was in 2002. I can’t seem to memorize an updated version of Aramis Ramirez 9:27 Comment From Mrs. Machado Anyone take a chance on Yonder Alonso next year? 9:27 Jeff Sullivan: The Padres 9:27 Comment From dogbone Who pitches a better game,Bumgarner or volquez? Pitt has the better off+def. 9:27 Jeff Sullivan: I love Bumgarner, but I figure it’ll be closer than people seem to believe 9:28 Comment From ChrisMonks Thanks Jeff for the great write-up on USSM after the final game. After his end of season tail-off, what kind of offer would you put to Chris Young? 9:28 Jeff Sullivan: 1/$5m, with innings incentives? Or maybe 1/$5m with a vesting second-year option? He’s not going to have much of a market on account of, you know 9:29 Comment From Sam Scouts excluded, how much statistical knowledge (in the mathematical sense) does the average front office analyst have? 9:30 Jeff Sullivan: Enough. You don’t actually need to be a math whiz in order to be able to analyze baseball. It’s fun to show off, but pretty much all the things really worth knowing and acting on, you can uncover with more simple and familiar techniques. 9:30 Comment From Ben Will Jack Z invite Kendrys Morales back as the Mariners’ DH. If so, what’s that contract going to look like? 9:30 Jeff Sullivan: It’s probably going to be Billy Butler 9:30 Comment From Gila Monster Can we have a Pirates-Royals World Series Jeff? Would this make the league office and television networks weep? 9:31 Jeff Sullivan: The league office would probably like it and the television networks can go to hell for all I care 9:31 Jeff Sullivan: what in the hell is Fox Sports 1? where am I supposed to find that? 9:31 Comment From Murphy Is there any reason whatsoever that would explain why Corey Dickerson strikes out so much more on the road than he does at Coors Field? http://www.fangraphs.com/st… 9:32 Jeff Sullivan: Last season, he actually struck out a little more at home than on the road 9:33 Jeff Sullivan: But this year, the Rockies as a team struck out 17% of the time at home, and about 25% of the time on the road. So Dickerson’s split wasn’t unusual 9:33 Jeff Sullivan: The Rockies tend to run big strikeout splits because pitches break differently in Colorado and elsewhere and they have a lot of trouble adjusting. They get used to the non-breaking versions of the pitches they see at Coors 9:33 Comment From Brad Do you have any coding knowledge? If so, what languages? 9:34 Jeff Sullivan: I’m incompetent! I’m nothing without Baseball Savant and Brooks Baseball! 9:34 Comment From Guest How would you fix the Brewers? Seems like there is little movement that could be made with that team due to payroll and farm depth issues. 9:36 Jeff Sullivan: I mean, it would help to just not have Jean Segura be a pile of crap. Ryan Braun was worth 1.2 WAR — it would help to have him recover from his hand issues. 9:37 Jeff Sullivan: But you’re right, they don’t have a lot of flexibility. I liked the Parra pickup, and I like the idea of maybe moving Braun to first base now, but that’s a team that might want to invest in low-cost starting-pitcher flyers, putting trust in Jonathan Lucroy to be able to make them better than they are 9:39 Comment From JayT There were tons of transactions yesterday, and it seems like they were all recalling guys that are on the 40 man roster from the minor league teams. What exactly is going on here? Wouldn’t they have already been on the active roster when the rosters expanded? http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/tran… 9:41 Jeff Sullivan: Okay so this took me a little bit, I apologize 9:41 Jeff Sullivan: Every player on optional assignment has to be recalled no later than they day after the end of the regular season 9:42 Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to guess that these are the players who weren’t promoted to the expanded rosters in September, and that the difference now is that the teams don’t have to pay these guys major-league salaries 9:42 Jeff Sullivan: I might be wrong — I”m not terrific with MLB’s complicated transaction rules 9:43 Comment From MickyisFine The best potential FA hitter for this years market is ____. Pitcher _______. ? 9:43 Jeff Sullivan: Hitter might be Victor Martinez, position player might be Hanley Ramirez or Yasmani Tomas, pitcher is your pick between Scherzer and Lester 9:43 Comment From Linklater Who is the 2015 JD martinez? 9:44 Jeff Sullivan: Could very easily not be one. Thing about these guys is they’re unpredictable. Let’s see what Dan Farnsworth has to say in December. But just for the hell of it, let me check the boards and make a little guess 9:45 Jeff Sullivan: The hell with it, how about Cameron Maybin? 9:45 Comment From re: Grandersons 3-0 swings where did you go to find that information? 9:46 Jeff Sullivan: http://www.baseball-referen… and the Play Index 9:47 Comment From dogbone With how Pittsburgh’s system is setup, will their pitchers consistently outperform their fip in the future? 9:48 Jeff Sullivan: Last year, they beat their FIP by all of 0.15 points. Over the last three years, the starters have a 3.77 ERA and a 3.78 FIP. I think there’s room for them to do better by a little, but I doubt it’s going to be a dramatic thing 9:48 Comment From ChrisMonks Is a final podcast on the cards at USSM when @msea1 gets back off holiday? 9:49 Jeff Sullivan: We’re going to keep doing them in the offseason when he’s back. We’re sponsored now so we have to give a shit, professionally 9:49 Comment From Anthony Do you know if anyone has run the numbers on how starting Cole affected the Pirates chances of advancing? My guess is it’s a pretty small impact, not justifying all the criticism Hurdle’s taking. 9:49 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if anyone ran the numbers but I am certain it was a small impact 9:49 Comment From Wilder Card As a lefty third basemen, Seager seems to address one of the Red Sox most pressing needs. Could they pry him away without giving up Betts or Bogaerts? 9:50 Jeff Sullivan: no 9:50 Comment From Thomas Is it wrong to trust the season-to-date projections more than the ‘normal’ ones at this point, considering injury issues that are better handled by season-to-date, and wear-and-tear, aging, etc. 9:50 Jeff Sullivan: As a whole, the normal projections will still be better, but there will be individual cases in which those projections are still missing something 9:51 Jeff Sullivan: Like, I’d trust the normal projections on the Tigers, but I wouldn’t trust them as much on J.D. Martinez 9:51 Comment From neal is dan duquette actually good? 9:52 Jeff Sullivan: he’s not the laughing stock people thought he was. Remember how crazy it was when the Orioles were trying to find a GM, just any GM? Case in point, people learn from prior experiences. People aren’t static 9:52 Comment From Erik Also, what’s the appropriate soundtrack for a Jeff Sullivan chat? 9:52 Jeff Sullivan: The soft patter of falling rain on the window while a vacuum runs down the hall 9:52 Jeff Sullivan: I might be biased by current events 9:53 Comment From MickyisFine Is it even worth it for my Rockies do end up trading CarGo? 9:53 Jeff Sullivan: Not after the season he had 9:55 Comment From Chef Jim Fix the Yankees in three sentences. Go. 9:55 Jeff Sullivan: Healthy Tanaka, keep Headley, sign Hardy? So much for 2015 hangs on Tanaka’s health, because that’s like 5-6 wins right there 9:56 Comment From Pennsy Total Runs is Bill James’ own version of WAR. Mike Trout led in 2012, led again in 2013, but this season he is tied with Jonathan Lucroy… for second, behind Anthony Rendon. Why ISN’T Rendon the NL MVP? 9:56 Jeff Sullivan: Because Kershaw was better 9:57 Jeff Sullivan: And for whatever it’s worth, the numbers indicate that Rendon was relatively “unclutch” if that’s something that matters to you 9:57 Jeff Sullivan: Rendon’s an awesome player, awesome awesome player, like his all-around contributions, but in this given year I prefer Kershaw and maybe Lucroy too 9:57 Comment From Jim Is Gardenhire, formerly of the Twins, more responsible for the failures of the team than the front office? 9:58 Jeff Sullivan: The front office is many people and Gardenhire was one people. Gardenhire didn’t sign contracts or make trades. 9:58 Comment From Guest Bobby Abreu have an HOF case? 9:59 Jeff Sullivan: Borderline with even a sabermetric voting pool. Next-tier type 9:59 Comment From Chef Jim Would defensive metrics be more accurate if they took hit/fx into account? 9:59 Jeff Sullivan: A little, yeah, but they really need to start by incorporating shifts somehow 9:59 Comment From Gson It seems as if the Red Sox enter into this offseason with a tri of needs: TORP SP(s), LHRP’s and someone anyone that can actually play 3B.. Where do you see the Red Sox on the eve of Spring Training? With Max Scherzer/Jon Lester & Cole Hamels in their starting rotation? Mike Napoli gone with Allen Craig taking over 1B? other? 10:01 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know enough right now to sit here and predict Boston’s offseason because I’ve been focused on the teams who still matter in 2014. But what I expect is to assume the Red Sox will contend next season, and I don’t think they’re giving a starting job to Craig given how miserable he was all year long. They’re going to make at least one splash. They’ll try to make that Stanton 10:01 Comment From Matt So Logan Morrison was really fun for the last two months of the season. Like, 157 wRC+ fun. I know he won’t be that good going forward, but what are the chances of him being productive at a 120+ wRC+ level for the entire 2015 season? 10:01 Jeff Sullivan: 25-30%? 10:02 Comment From Guest Kluber or Felix next 5 years? Contracts included? 10:02 Jeff Sullivan: If you include contracts, Kluber isn’t even arbitration-eligible yet. So that makes that easy 10:02 Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact: Kluber and Felix were born two days apart 10:03 Comment From Matt I know Baseball Reference calculates WAR differently, but how the hell do they think Cole Hamels was the second most valuable player in the NL? 10:03 Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t allow many runs, and B-R credits Hamels further for the Phillies having a bad team defense by their measures 10:03 Comment From Guest Isn’t October the best… Playoff baseball and the start of the NHL season. And also my birthday month. 10:03 Jeff Sullivan: You are me! 10:04 Comment From DTSS Root for the Nationals. No Washington team has been to the World Series since 1933. The current Expos/Nats franchise never has. All the other playoff teams have had recent success in comparison. 10:04 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I care anymore about tales of woe. I rooted for the Red Sox in 2004 and I regret that affiliation now. Like, it would be incredible if the Cubs ever won, but I think I prefer baseball as it is and I don’t think I could bring myself to bandwagon them. 10:04 Comment From Ben Put on your fortune teller hat, if the Mariners made literally ZERO moves at the deadline instead of the moves they made, do they make the playoffs or at least the play-in? 10:04 Jeff Sullivan: nah 10:05 Comment From Tim As I understand it, part of the rationale behind arguing that clutch is not a repeatable skill is that the players who panic/perform poorly under pressure do not make it to the highest level of baseball. Would it then make sense that the further down you look, into the low minors or college ball, the more you might be able to identify clutch as an actual ability, since the players whose process genuinely suffers under pressure haven’t been weeded out yet? 10:05 Jeff Sullivan: Very possible. Good luck conducting that analysis! I’ll check back in with you in six months. 10:06 Jeff Sullivan: Alternative explanation: it’s not that unclutch players get weeded out; it’s that unclutch players develop the ability over time to handle pressure situations. I mean, it’s all about experience, right? 10:07 Comment From Anthony If the timing of the Pirates and Cardinals games had been reversed, Wainwright likely pitches and Cole likely sits. Should MLB (like the NFL) make teams in races against each play their last games simultaneously? 10:07 Jeff Sullivan: Well that would be a neat little twist. I don’t know how practical it is or how realistic it is to implement, but I like the idea of simultaneous scoreboard-watching 10:08 Comment From john Sandy A says they are going to move in the fences to benefit a few of their players. Seeing as how he has built the Mets entire future on the backs of pitchers, isn’t making the stadium more hitter friendly, oh I don’t know, the most idiotic thing imaginable? 10:08 Jeff Sullivan: No? 10:09 Jeff Sullivan: because you evaluate pitchers in their context and other teams have pitchers who would be worse too. If the Mets’ stadium is a hitting deterrent, that’s not helping them. If they have trouble finding hitters, or if they have trouble developing hitters, that’s something for them to address. Matt Harvey isn’t going to suck because a fence somewhere got five feet closer 10:10 Comment From Jim Seems ever writer talking about the woes of the Twins focus on starting pitching and completely ignoring how awful the defense is. I believe that while the rotation is certainly bad, that defense makes it look much worse than it is. Am I wrong? Can they actually fix the rotation while keeping more or less the same players in place next season? 10:11 Jeff Sullivan: The Twins have had some lousy defenses, but a lot of that has also been due to players who aren’t going to be a part of the next good Twins team. So there’s been an unfortunate anti-synergy between contact pitchers and bad defense, but when the farm system starts producing more quality position players there’s going to be turnover and there won’t be any more Jason Kubels or Chris Colabellos 10:11 Comment From Wingo Jeff, your passion for highly nuanced concepts and ambiguity makes me think you could do well in law. Not that you would particularly enjoy it, but it does play to your strengths. 10:12 Jeff Sullivan: If I were more motivated by money I can’t imagine I would’ve allowed my brain to dedicate itself to baseball analysis and commentary. Boy would that have been a bad idea 10:12 Comment From James How many times will Ned Yost command the bunt tonight? 10:12 Jeff Sullivan: Aoki might do it himself 10:12 Comment From Dylan Do you think Lucroy gets any love for NL MVP/Fangraphs’s Player of the Year? 10:13 Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely. More here than in the MVP voting, probably 10:13 Comment From Guest What is the oldest you could reasonably expect someone to be good at mlb? Julio Franco? 10:13 Jeff Sullivan: I bet you could be a super old lefty specialist. 45? 10:13 Jeff Sullivan: Sorry to all 46+ year olds in here 10:14 Comment From Guest I was surprised how good the Yankees pitching numbers were this year, repeatable? 10:15 Jeff Sullivan: Well, I love Tanaka and I like Pineda and I believe some in Greene, but I don’t know how CC’s coming back and I don’t know what they’ll do about McCarthy. So, once more, there are question marks, in particular with health 10:15 Comment From guest Should the MLB retire the position of shortstop in honor of Derek Jeter? 10:15 Jeff Sullivan: Just retire the number 6. Henceforth an ordinary double play will be referred to as 10-4-3 in the scorebooks 10:15 Comment From Dave C Is Will Middlebrooks any good or is this just Boston-driven hype? 10:15 Jeff Sullivan: He is not good 10:16 Comment From Wobatus Will the Shields trade have been worth it if the Royals win the wildcard game? Is it already worth it? 10:18 Jeff Sullivan: We already know the Royals feel like they have no regrets. But the idea was to launch the organization into an era of winning and consistently competitive baseball. We’ll see the state of things in 2015-2017. Shields is about to be gone, after all. If the Royals win today and lose in the ALDS, how much will that have accomplished for them? It’s not an easy question to answer. We have the statistics, but Moore was thinking in terms of restoring his organization to respectability 10:18 Comment From Confused fan Should I believe Denard Span’s played sub replacement level defense at CF this year or my lying eyes that tell me that if the ball is hit to CF he will catch it. 10:19 Jeff Sullivan: Over his career, Span has been about 20 runs above average in center. Since he’s 30 now, he’s presumably worse than he was, so my guess is he’s a pretty usual defensive CF at this point 10:19 Comment From DTSS Could a volcano erupt in the U.S. without any warning like in Japan this week? 10:19 Jeff Sullivan: No warning, really, for phreatic eruptions like that. So, yeah, it could happen anywhere there’s sufficient groundwater getting close to hot molten rock 10:20 Comment From tony j. Giants win tomorrow right? I mean MadBum is basically kershaw lite 10:20 Jeff Sullivan: how lite 10:20 Comment From Baseball Crossing Does the lack of a reliable lefty in the KC pen hurt them against the platoon-happy A’s? 10:21 Jeff Sullivan: not really if they can get from Shields to Herrera to Davis to Holland 10:21 Jeff Sullivan: Very minor factor 10:22 Comment From TKDC What free agent to be has the most to gain during the postseason? 10:23 Jeff Sullivan: That’s a good question. Running over the list, I’m not sure, but if Shields has a monster October, he could end up mighty close to the Lester/Scherzer tier, despite being an inferior starting pitcher 10:23 Comment From Ed What grade would you give Lloyd McClendon for his first season in Seattle? 10:24 Jeff Sullivan: B+? B? sure, that’ll work 10:24 Comment From Jake I was being serious with the WAR question. You shouldn’t try to quantify the now unquantifiable (defense). 10:25 Jeff Sullivan: It’s not unquantifiable. Are we doing this? Just look at the number and imagine your own preferred error bars. How much is this really bothering you? WAR is a starting point. WAR is a starting point. 10:27 Comment From Brett W As currently constituted, who stands to have the worst rotation in 2015? 10:27 Jeff Sullivan: Like, right right now? Maybe the Red Sox. 10:27 Comment From Mike T NL Rookie of the year: deGrom or Hamilton? As a Mets fan I pray it’s deGrom because he deserves it! 10:27 Jeff Sullivan: Ought to be deGrom 10:27 Comment From Ben Can Dave Cameron and Carson Cistulli take their podcast a little more seriously? It’s actually good, and then Dave will do something like play with his dog to give it no credibility 10:28 Jeff Sullivan: It’s a casual podcast. Dave works from home with a lively attention-seeking dog. If that literally destroys all his credibility to you, then you are weird about credibility. The dog doesn’t change what Dave has to say about baseball 10:28 Comment From Mike C. your surprise out of nowhere playoffs overachiever? 10:28 Jeff Sullivan: I feel like if the Royals make a run Aoki is going to bat like .385 10:29 Comment From Guest looking over 2nd half hitting and pitching stats for the O’s and Tigers, these teams are more evenly matched than I thought. 10:30 Jeff Sullivan: Tigers have a huge edge in the rotation. Orioles have a huge edge in the bullpen. So this’ll be fun — the Tigers will try to get their starters as deep as possible, while Showalter will probably be aggressive going to his relief. Different strategies, both totally viable 10:30 Comment From Rufus Crystal ball time: who plays short for Yankees next year? 10:30 Jeff Sullivan: I just feel like it’s JJ Hardy 10:31 Comment From THE average sports fan When I look at the current status of the 2015, and going forward Cincinnati Reds, I don’t get the 2 year extension for Jocketty. What am I missing? 10:31 Jeff Sullivan: His contract was up and GM extensions are non-guaranteed in that they aren’t promises of job security. He’s earned the opportunity to fix this but a lousy 2015 means he’s gone 10:31 Comment From Kirk Jeff, I’m so damn sad about the Mariners missing out. Do you get the feeling that this will all collapse again next year? 10:32 Jeff Sullivan: I think they’re about the same next year 10:32 Comment From Chef Jim Would it not make more sense for the Pirates to start Melancon and have him go two innings? 10:32 Jeff Sullivan: He probably wouldn’t be comfortable doing that 10:32 Comment From Brian best hike in north america? World? 10:32 Jeff Sullivan: Jesus, I don’t know, but I just watched a documentary about the John Muir Trail and I want to go tomorrow 10:34 Comment From Tyler Who’s a hitter and pitcher you really liked in the 2nd half of this year that are poised to breakout next year? 10:34 Jeff Sullivan: Ackley and Carrasco? Shoemaker? 10:34 Comment From Matt Who would your AL and NL manager of the year be? 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t vote. Who knows? 10:35 Comment From Mike T Better shot to be a closer on a team next year: Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller? 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: Betances probably 10:35 Comment From Rated Rookie Do you believe Brad Miller is Seattle’s best SS option? 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: Yes 10:35 Comment From Max Do the Cubs trade for Jackie Bradley Jr and turn him into an All-Star? 10:35 Jeff Sullivan: probably not, probably not 10:35 Comment From Jon Do the Wild Card game projections take into account the extra rest teams have and the one-off rosters? If not, how much do you think those matter this week? 10:36 Jeff Sullivan: We don’t know anything about the effect of rest. I don’t think the projections know a ton about the one-off rosters but they do know about the lineups come game time. I don’t think the roster expansion makes an enormous difference, but there is a different margin of error in these things than there would be in a regular season game 10:36 Comment From Guest What are reasonable expectations for the Cubs prospects as a group next year? 10:36 Jeff Sullivan: More good than bad, less good than people dream about 10:37 Comment From Guest Am I a bad baseball fan because I hate the Royals and want to see them fail? Like really hate. I didn’t even realize I felt this way until this season. 10:37 Jeff Sullivan: Personally I can’t help but recall Eno’s clubhouse experience in Kansas City a while back that he wrote about. Totally anecdotal, maybe not at all representative, but it soured my opinion and I can’t help it. Oh well. I”m not in charge of my brain 10:37 Comment From Wilder Card Are you afraid that Jack Z is going to give Nelson Cruz every last dime he can scrounge together? 10:38 Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t a year ago, and now he has an outfield 10:39 Comment From Yed Nost Given the fact that the Pirates’ defense and shifting has helped Edinson Volquez remarkably outperform his peripherals, what ERA do you think Clayton Kershaw could’ve put up if he had the Pirates defense and shifting behind him (but still pitched at pitcher friendly Dodger stadium)? 10:40 Jeff Sullivan: I doubt it would be very different. Kershaw already allowed a super low BABIP on grounders. He also obviously gets a lot of strikeouts. Small boost 10:40 Comment From Big Commie Machine Have you/would you like to go volcano hunting in Japan or Indonesia? 10:40 Jeff Sullivan: Sure, eventually, but North America’s already so amazing to explore. Do you realize how amazing North America is? I’m not even finished with Oregon yet 10:41 Comment From Ben Lots of talk about the NL wildcard game, almost none about the AL that I’ve seen. Is there just less to talk about because both pitchers are good and the game is a coin flip? 10:41 Jeff Sullivan: All the games are coin flips 10:41 Jeff Sullivan: Every single playoff game or series — basically a coin flip 10:41 Jeff Sullivan: We’re going to keep writing about what’s going on, but our predictions are mostly for fun and we’ll all look like idiots 10:42 Comment From Dave C What’s your opinion on hard hit rates and using it as a way to identify unlucky hitters who should produce more? For example, Josh Reddick. 10:42 Jeff Sullivan: Well that depends. Are they hitting the ball hard into a shift? The shift isn’t going away. 10:43 Comment From Wilder Card How much stock do you put into McCutchen’s negative defensive metrics this year? According to the metrics he’s bad one year and then good the next. 10:43 Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s a roughly average fielder with a relatively poor arm that other teams know about 10:43 Comment From Geologist Best season ever by a single player? 10:43 Jeff Sullivan: Something Babe Ruth did 10:43 Comment From Ozzie Are the White Sox a 0.500 team next year? 10:43 Jeff Sullivan: Close to it 10:44 Comment From Big joe mufferaw Do you think we will ever see another 30-30 season from Mike Trout? 10:44 Jeff Sullivan: Maybe one 10:45 Comment From Rated Rookie Mere coincidence–or something else–that Gerrit Cole is so awesome in September and just pretty good the other months of the season? 10:45 Jeff Sullivan: yeah, that’s the very definition of a coincidence 10:45 Comment From Grand Admiral Braun Speaking of Dickerson, we have a decent sample of his play so far. Sustainable as a real good offensive player? Or a Coors guys? 10:45 Jeff Sullivan: I’m a moderately big fan 10:46 Comment From CMG8462 Do you think the Mets are at the appropriate point in their “rebuild” where they can start adding legitimate pieces through free-agency? Assuming the payroll won’t stay in the mid 80’s for perpetuity.. 10:46 Jeff Sullivan: I think they’re about ready to be a contender in 2015. I like the run prevention they’re establishing 10:46 Comment From Greg What do you think about expanding the world series to 9 games and the divisional round to 7 to reduce the randomness? 10:46 Jeff Sullivan: Why? Playoffs are always going to be random. That’s the fun of it. Embrace the noise 10:47 Comment From Guest When considering things like MVP/Fangraphs player of the year, how will you view defensive metrics? Will you look at multiple years of data to get a large sample? Or is that just as flawed as just using this years data? 10:48 Jeff Sullivan: I’ll cross the numbers with my own mental opinion and see where that leaves me. I place the most weight on hitting, for hitters, and I’m also putting stock in receiving for catchers. Defense wasn’t a big stumbling block for me in my voting 10:48 Comment From Guest Which pitcher would YOU rather have for a season: 10:48 Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw 10:50 Comment From Grand Admiral Braun Hamels + Cash for Baez. Does JedTheo say yes (saving maybe $75-100m instead of paying one of Scherzer or Lester)? Considering the huge bust potential on Baez and the depth of their middle infield, should this be strongly considered? 10:50 Jeff Sullivan: Depends on how much cash, but that could end up totally reasonable and faaaaaaascinating 10:50 Comment From Guest #3 Other than your names, how can I tell you and Jeff Zimmerman apart? 10:50 Jeff Sullivan: I write a lot for FanGraphs.com 10:51 Comment From Grant How many pitches of a particular type does a batter have to see before his linear weight pitch value for that type of pitch stabilizes? 10:52 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know. Be mindful. Don’t believe too much after a month. Start to believe something after a season or two. Always keep in mind that players adjust and not all pitch types are the same 10:52 Comment From Rod Allen RE: Gattis and the Trumbo Market, isn’t that partially why Kevin Towers is now unemployed? 10:52 Jeff Sullivan: Towers isn’t the only guy out there who loves the idea of right-handed power. 10:53 Comment From Yed Nost why do you think George Kottaras has bounced around so much and struggled to hold down a steady backup job? he is a career 100 wRC+ in 858 Plate Appearances and a 3.1 fWAR. defensive metrics seem to like him. those seem like pretty good numbers for a backup, plus he still hasn’t reached free agency. 10:54 Jeff Sullivan: Teams don’t like his defensive skills. Not a great receiver, not a great thrower, fine blocker, not known for his handling of pitching staffs. 10:54 Comment From Justin Are you aware of any research on if any umps are more prone to falling for framed pitches than other umps or anything like that? 10:54 Jeff Sullivan: All I know are umps with bigger and smaller strike zones 10:54 Comment From Mike Francesa The Yankees offense is doomed for the next few years. True or false? 10:54 Jeff Sullivan: False. Money! 10:55 Comment From Grand Admiral Braun Jose Abreu’s BABIP this season was .350. What is the highest BABIP for a large baseball man like that? 10:55 Jeff Sullivan: Mo Vaughn finished his career at .338 10:55 Comment From Reginald Denton III Are the Nationals really that much better than the Dodgers? Still think that series would be a coin flip? 10:55 Jeff Sullivan: Coin flips, always coin flips. Never stop flipping coins 10:55 Comment From ralph What are your feelings on the Cascadia Subduction Zone? 10:56 Jeff Sullivan: It’s neat and dangerous! 10:56 Comment From Ess Do you see salaries of / organizational competition for the top pitching coaches going way up in the next couple years? Seems like they’re more valuable than ever. 10:57 Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really see that — if anything, they might be valued a little *less* as teams do more of their own pitcher analysis. But teams will make sure to keep finding good communicators of analytical ideas 10:57 Comment From ballboy3 You mentioned Yasmani Tomas – how much upside is there? 10:57 Jeff Sullivan: More than Castillo 10:58 Comment From brian best hike you have ever done? 10:58 Jeff Sullivan: Tie-In Rock on Mt. Hood. Sorry, people asking baseball questions, but I am in love with this memory 10:58 Comment From Mike Francesa More likely to make a deal for a big-time impact bat – Yankees or Mets? 10:58 Jeff Sullivan: Mets 10:59 Comment From Mr. Meeseeks How would you succinctly describe the Padres’ long-term plan? And is it worse than the Phillies’? 10:59 Jeff Sullivan: I think their long-term plan is still under development, on account of having a new front office. I know a guy who they just interviewed for a job, and they didn’t even know what the job was going to be yet. I think the Padres will have a better plan than the Phillies, but the Phillies will forever have greater resources 11:00 Comment From CMG8462 Has there been a study done to show Catcher framing vs. blocking? It seems many of the plus framers have blocking issues. I know framing is more significant, is framing being taught with the acceptance of a decline in blocking ability? 11:00 Jeff Sullivan: Eno wrote about this not too long ago. Asked some guys too. Check it out! 11:00 Comment From Pirates Hurdles Cutch led MLB in wRC+ and wOBA, why isn’t he the NL MVP? 11:00 Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw 11:00 Comment From The Big Dipper Is Girardi, currently of the Yankees, more responsible for the failures of the team than the front office? 11:01 Jeff Sullivan: No, I think Girardi’s done a good job 11:01 Comment From Ess are you as giddy about Betts’ future as Dave seems to be? 11:01 Jeff Sullivan: Well he doesn’t make me giddy, but he’s answered most of the questions I have. He’s going to be good and super valuable 11:01 Comment From Chef Jim Did we just witness the Society’s best year? Or does he have a couple more years of ace-dom? 11:02 Jeff Sullivan: I mean, you always have to assume regression from extremes, but maybe some year soon he’ll have a better defense and therefore a lower ERA 11:02 Jeff Sullivan: I gotta get rolling now 11:02 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 11:02 Jeff Sullivan: We’ll have a live chat tonight for the ballgame. The ballgame!