Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/4/15

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Well it’s Friday, which means a late start to this scheduled baseball chat

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s talk Matt Harvey shutdown!

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Or literally anything else

9:14
Comment From Phillies113
In the second half of 2015, Joey Votto’s walk rate is higher than his strikeout rate by DOUBLE DIGITS (29.1% vs 16.7%)! How bananas is Joey Votto right now?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I love this. Will probably write about it early next week. Votto has basically stopped swinging at inside pitches. Umpires don’t like to call strikes on inside pitches to lefties. So Votto is ahead in more counts, which means he can focus even more on the pitches he wants to hit…

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Also, Votto has gone back to hitting the ball the other way, after a spell of pull power. He’s not perfect, but he’s close

9:14
Comment From Jeff in T.O.
Do you have super powers or are you some sort of witch? How else do you explain the timing of your Goins article the other day?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t believe it when I came back to my computer later on and saw that he homered after I scheduled that article

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: That’s how an article about Ryan freakin Goins ends up carrying the week, traffic-wise

9:15
Comment From Justin
Assuming the Mariners move to a more traditional front office, what moves do you anticipate happening this offseason?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: A *more* traditional front office?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll find a catcher somewhere. Obviously the bullpen will be a priority of theirs. I imagine they’ll try hard to re-sign Iwakuma, and I imagine he’ll be willing to do that

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Strongly doubt you’ll see a wholesale tear-down; too much present talent, not enough future talent

9:17
Comment From Len
Latest rumors for the Mariners GM spot – to be taken with a grain of salt, I’m sure – are DiPoto. What can one glean from his time with the Angels regarding his approach, and what can be chalked up to Moreno/Scioscia?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Dipoto is a smart man. Progressive enough, and I’m sure he’s learned a few lessons about making concessions and compromises. Wouldn’t have that strong managerial figure in Seattle, but would potentially have to deal with meddling ownership, if less visibly than in Anaheim

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: The Angels’ plan lately has basically been Mike Trout + mediocre roster, and Dipoto had his misses, but my sense is he’d be a good upgrade for Seattle

9:18
Comment From James G
If you’re the Blue Jays, do you like the Rangers or Astros?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Neither; I’d like the Blue Jays

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: But the Astros are better than the Rangers

9:19
Comment From Marc
I eagerly await for next next Monday’s Sullivan post – The Return of the Stroman

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: PITCH COMPS

9:19
Comment From James G
If you’re the Yankees do you like the Rangers or Astros?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: The same question?

9:19
Comment From Aron
Why is Seattle seen as such an attractive GM position? Or is it just that they are being compared to the Brewers?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, almost any GM position is attractive, just because there aren’t many of them. But Seattle has a good park, and good revenue flow, and the perception is that the team is something of a sleeping giant, market-wise. A good Mariners team can win that whole region over. It’s happened before, and at some point the Seahawks will suck again

9:20
Comment From Houzer
E Rodriguez gonna dominate the Phillies this weekend?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: No

9:20
Comment From CTMike
A few weeks ago Dodgers replaced 3rd base coach to Roenicke. Is 3rd base coach effectiveness all word of mouth/reputation or are there any metrics to evaluate a 3rd base coach?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: If there are metrics, I’m sure they’re not super advanced, but it’s worth noting the Dodgers have been a pretty lousy baserunning team. I don’t know how much of that was on the third-base coach, but it’s a data point

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: From a quick scan of an article, the idea is indeed to elevate the baserunning performance

9:24
Comment From Willy
Hi Jeff! Very general question: what September call ups do you think could make the biggest impact the rest of the way?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: In general, or in the playoff race? Like, Hector Olivera is sort of a big deal, but the Braves are terrible

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Baez will be interesting to observe. Gallo gives the Rangers some more potent depth

9:26
Comment From June
Does Ichiro reach 3000 hits? He’s agonizingly close, but agonizingly not that good anymore.

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the compromise ends up being he spends next year in Miami again. He wouldn’t start, but he could serve on the bench, and it wouldn’t matter that he’s bad now

9:26
Comment From hscer
How much sense would the average of a player’s UZR, his DRS, and 0 make as a defensive measurement?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously rudimentary, but altogether not bad

9:27
Comment From Jonah
Since the return of Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, Clint Hurdle has left Jung-Ho Kang out of his lineup 1/3 of the time. This is insane, right? In what universe is it a good idea to play Jordy Mercer and Aramis Ramirez instead of Kang?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: A big part of this, presumably, is that Kang isn’t conditioned to playing so long a season. So they want to make sure that they can keep him somewhat fresh. It’s not a bad idea, and it’s not like the Pirates are in jeopardy of getting eliminated

9:28
Comment From Dustin
One time, a kid in my kindergarten class asked me how to spell “pies” so he could write it on the chalkboard. I told him p-i-s-s and then laughed when he got in trouble. Have my last two months of Braves fandom been some sort of cosmic comeuppance for something wrong I did 25 years ago?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Why did he want to write “pies” on the chalkboard?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Something doesn’t check out

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I cannot believe there is a team with a worse run differential than the Phillies.

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Since the All-Star break, the Braves have a pythagorean Win% of .228. Next-worst in the National League: .421

9:30
Comment From Ryan
Astros or Rangers, who wins the division?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Astros

9:32
Comment From Guest
Hey Jeff can you give me any rail recommmendations for Rainier or Olympic in the 10-15 mile range?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I assume you mean trail recommendations

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I cannot give you rail recommendations

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I’m biased in favor of Rainier over Olympic. Olympic is nice, but Rainier is spectacular. Provided the weather is okay. Make sure the weather is okay. Then this can be your resource: http://www.nps.gov/mora/pla… I haven’t hiked nearly all of them so you can probably be better off choosing on your own

9:34
Comment From Josh I
How do you see the AL West shaping out going forward – say, 2017? Angels/Mariners will likely fall off, Rangers/Astros look strong for the future, and the A’s seem somewhere in between. Your thoughts?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Astros are well-positioned. They’ll be hard to take down. The Rangers are also in decent shape, but they have that Fielder money, and that Choo money, and that Andrus money…

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll survive, but the Astros seem like the organization to beat. The A’s will probably always be somewhere within a standard deviation of .500

9:36
Comment From Lars
Asked Paul this earlier in the week but he said he wasn’t the best to ask. Thought I’d try my luck with you: Would a hitter who gets a doink single through the right side off a bad pitcher that scores two runs because the RF has a weak arm see more of an uptick in his WAR than a hitter who hits a line drive single off the top of the wall to score one run?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: As far as WAR is concerned, a single is a single, no matter how it happens. That obviously isn’t perfect, but there’s little to be gained from making it even more super complicated. Those little adjustments tend to even out over time

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Quality of competition, though, would be a worthwhile adjustment at some point

9:37
Comment From C
how excited are you for marcus stroman to make his return?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, I’m not losing my shit or anything, but I’m happy

9:38
Comment From Guest
What do you think is the point where teams look past off the field issues? If a guy is a domestic abuser, but consistently puts up 6+ WAR with no signs of slowing down, are teams going to balk at signing him? At what point do fans not care?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Milton Bradley kept playing until he’d basically demonstrated that he couldn’t hit anymore

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: With young players, teams will give them shots, figuring maybe it’s just immaturity. With older players, it’s more likely to be a real problem, but if they’re good enough, they’ll get chances, because most teams figure everything will be forgiven if there are dingers. It’s not the brightest side of baseball, but it is what it is

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the situation will be a little different now that there’s a domestic-abuse policy. But generally, character issues become less important, roster-management wise, as talent gets higher

9:41
Comment From Sam
How is it that the offensive RAA on the teams page do not sum to zero but seem to be skewed far negative?

9:41
9:41
Jeff Sullivan: ?

9:42
Comment From Danny
I was checking out the pitch f/x leaderboards for z-mov “rise” for pitchers and noticed that an insane amount of Rays pitchers are in the top 25 four seam fastballs with the most rise. Is this something they are teaching their pitchers, and what is the benefit of throwing riseballs?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Funny you mention that! http://www.fangraphs.com/bl…

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: The Rays seem to have a thing for these pitchers who generate a lot of backspin on their fastballs. Those are good fastballs to elevate, and the general idea is that the want fastballs up and offspeed stuff down. Difficult for the hitter to know what’s coming, and hitters these days continue to concentrate lower and lower

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Give me a moment to run a quick query

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe not that quick a query…

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Here we are. Rays pitchers have thrown 54% of their fastballs in the upper half. Second-highest in baseball (Nationals, 55%). Median is 46%

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Diamondbacks are alone at the bottom at 39%

9:47
Comment From Zonk
What direction should CIN and MIL take this offseason in a brutal NL Central? Re-load, or re-build?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Both of them probably ought to rebuild. Not convinced either will. Would be fascinating to see the Reds dump Votto, Chapman, Frazier, etc, but they’ll almost certainly never do it

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: But boy would this ever be an opportunity to check in on the potential Votto market

9:48
Comment From Houzer
what will the Puig acquisition package look like this offseason? And do the Tigers have the pieces to make it happen?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be surprised if the Tigers made something happen there without it just being a lateral move. They’re trying to assemble more young players, and Puig would cost them two or three

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I think he gets moved for two younger, lesser-proven players. Maybe a third is in there, of less value. Big-league-ready sorts. It’ll be a difficult trade for both sides

9:50
Comment From Danny
Do you think a more patient approach to the plate for hitters (low swing rate) is superior than an aggressive approach (high swing rate)?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: It’s all aesthetic. For any individual given hitter, there’s a better approach, but both types of approaches can work, and it’s all about a guy’s skillset. Patient hitters in the majors are better as patient hitters than aggressive hitters. Aggressive hitters in the majors are better as aggressive hitters than patient hitters

9:51
Comment From ed
Jays or Yanks. Please tell me who wins the division

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Jays; are better

9:51
Comment From Gene
Who is the best Seager?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Kyle is presently the best Seager

9:52
Comment From Mandatory High Socks
Who’s your favorite A’s pitching rookie this year? Graveman or Bassitt? Also, the A’s are LOADED with young pitching which makes me fear for Sonny’s safety.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: They’re definitely loaded with young, adequate pitching. They’re not loaded with young, quality pitching

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Bassitt is kind of neat, and I’m interested to see if Aaron Brooks is worth anything

9:55
Comment From Zonk
What team is in the biggest hole right now in terms of 3-year competitive outlook?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Difficult question, but could be the Brewers. Alternatively, could be the Rockies — they just can’t do anything consistently. Neither is positioned well. The Reds are also down here in the conversation

9:56
Comment From Zonk
Can you evaluate the job Rick Hahn has done this year as White Sox GM? Should they try another reload, or is it time for a teardown?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Overall, I think Hahn is fine — he just tried to get this team to competitiveness ahead of schedule. It has more or less played up/down to expectation. Good core pieces remain in place but they obviously need more depth in lots of places

9:58
Comment From BK
How effective would Dickey’s knuckleball be if he could throw a 95 mph fastball, I’ve always fantasized of someone like Chris Archer adding a nasty knuckler

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, you’d think that would be unfair. It’s also, unfortunately, unrealistic — the only people who take the time to master a knuckleball are the people who need to because the rest of their pitches suck

9:58
Comment From The Cincinnati Kid
If Bumgarner went into FA this offseason, how much extra money would his bat fetch?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Not actually that much. But it would be hard to notice anyway next to all the money set aside for his pitching

9:59
Comment From Hack Wilson
Hypothetically you have an outfield of Buxton, Hanley, and Billy Hamilton. Would you play Buxton and Hamilton in right and left center and play with 5 infielders?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: With a good number of hitters, I think almost certainly

10:00
Comment From The Cincinnati Kid
Can you list the current 80 PV players in MLB today? Trying to get a bead on what is 80 and what is 70-75

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really mess with scouting scales, so I’m not good at this. I’d assume 80 would be the Trout/Harper/Kershaw level

10:02
Comment From MikeM
Your playoffs odds (and season-long run differential) suggest the Astros are still strong favorites in the AL West. However, all recent day-to-day evidence since the trade deadline suggests the Rangers are a mini-Toronto, with a powerful lineup and a good-enough rotation with a new ace. The Astros, meanwhile, narrowly escape in the games they do win. Should I be more concerned than the odds suggest?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Run differential since the beginning of August

Rangers: +18
Astros: +18

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: WAR, last 30 days

Rangers: 6.1
Astros: 6.5

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: It’s quite possible our numbers are currently underrating the Rangers, but the Astros are a good team.

10:05
Comment From soaktherich
Would a volcanic eruption underneath the Antarctic ice sheet melt enough water to significantly raise the global sea level? West Antarctica is pretty active. How many major league ballparks would be flooded by a 1m or 2m rise in sea level?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not an actual scientist, and it would obviously depend on the magnitude of the eruption, but sub-glacial eruptions happen in Iceland all the time, and less water is released than you might imagine. If there were some cataclysmic event, that would be bad news, but it isn’t going to happen. Instead, as far as melting ice is concerned, we’ve orchestrated our own cataclysmic event, as a collective humanity, and we’re staring ahead into a terrifying future of our own construction

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Here, read, go nuts http://www.livescience.com/…

10:09
Comment From Justin
If you’re a baseball fan in San Antonio, do you like the Rangers or the Astros?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Probably

10:10
Comment From hscer
more impressive best 2-week stretch in 2015: Harper or Zimmerman? not better; still Harper?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Ryan Zimmerman’s last two weeks: 1.299 OPS
Bryce Harper in the middle of May: 1.978 OPS

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Harper had one of the best stretches in baseball history

10:14
Comment From Danny
Is something wrong with Chris Heston? He’s done a 180 in August and his velocity is down a tick.

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Velocity is down a little. Arm slot is down a little. Doesn’t have to mean injury, could just be fatigue, but it shouldn’t be a total shock to see a guy like that struggle

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Grounders abandoned Heston in August. Implies leaving sinkers up

10:16
Comment From CTMike
What metrics do you prefer to evaluate relievers that are not closers?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I treat them all the same. Strikeouts, walks, usual stuff. With relievers, it’s extra important to look at platoon splits

10:16
Comment From Bill
Has Joe Kelly found something or is he in a lucky streak?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not at all convinced he’s a good pitcher now

10:17
Comment From soaktherich
It seems like most relievers are essentially recycled starters. Does any team regularly acquire guys specifically to be relievers (ceiling = closer, of course) through the draft or international signings?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: You see relievers get drafted on occasion, but I don’t think it’s part of any organization’s routine plan. Everybody wants starters; everybody believes they can turn failed starters into relievers

10:18
Comment From Willie Hernandez
Can you help me explain to some of my dumber Tigers fan friends why Jose Iglesias isn’t really that great a hitter? They’re wowed by the .300 average. Should I just get new friends?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: hey, he’s been a league-average hitter since the start of last season

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how this happened, but here we are. Appreciate your friends and celebrate the things you have in common

10:18
Comment From Hunter
Jeff, just finished up my John Muir Trail trip! I didn’t die from the plague or a brain eating bacteria, but was forced to evacuate halfway due to a 47,000 acre wildfire. 🙁

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: God damn you natural disasters!

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sorry to hear about your evacuation, but I’m glad that you’re safe, and I’m glad you had the experience that you did, nevermind how it ended

10:19
Comment From CameronDaClub
You read that FanPost on LL about the M’s player development not deserving its poor reputation? Thoughts?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: But it’s not like we actually have a good idea of how to measure player development. All we have are suspicions, in both directions. Super difficult to research

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: We can’t even, say, look at how players of a certain status have done in different systems, because who’s to say it wasn’t the initial evaluation that was wrong?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Ultimately, look at the most visible busts — Ackley, Smoak, Montero. That’s a sample of three players. Small sample!

10:21
Comment From earls ghost
Qualifying offers: almost nobody accepts them. Do you see any exceptions this year? As an Orioles fan, I’m afraid that Matt Wieters might accept one. His market value hasn’t gone up. Any others you think might take a QO?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: As a catcher who can hit, Wieters will find multiple years somewhere

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Used to think Desmond might take one, but now he’s doing better just in time

10:23
Comment From Jonah
I would buy the “kang isn’t conditioned” argument a lot more if they were also resting Cervelli a lot. Cervelli is a CATCHER who has never played a full season as a starter, yet he is playing about twice as often as Kang is over the past few weeks.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Cervelli, second half: 35 starts
Kang, second half: 39 starts

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Cervelli, August/September: 24 starts
Kang, August/September: 25 starts

10:24
Comment From Joel
I went camping for 7 hours and woke up with a very angry back. Does this every happen to you? Any solutions besides lugging around a 45 pound cot?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Sleeping pad, either foam or inflatable. I really like mine. At some point you get to an age where you’re not longer okay just sleeping on the ground

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: This is the one I have http://nextadventure.net/wi…

10:27
Comment From senpaisanto
who are some of your favorite writers, jeff? not just baseball, but any writing. like many here, i dig your steez and am just curious…

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball, the usuals: Brisbee, Miller, Lindbergh. Non-baseball, I don’t know, Krakauer? Probably Krakauer

10:28
Comment From Danny
What do you like to do more: Write about baseball or talk to other people about baseball?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Probably write about baseball, because that way I can sort of “choose” my audience to be FanGraphs. When talking to people, I don’t know how much they know

10:29
Comment From Dustin
Where do you see Chris Davis ending up this off-season? And what’s your hunch on his contract?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t thought about that, but he’ll obviously get paid, and I wonder if the Mariners want to make another big FA investment to plug an obvious hole

10:30
Comment From BK
Krakauer is good – but what about fiction? Any favorites?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t read fiction

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: The world is amazing!

10:30
Comment From Kevin
What is up with Y. Cespedes? Incredibly talented but continues to move from team to team. Is he a problem in the clubhouse?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Whispers were only present when he was moved from Boston, and I think the Red Sox denied the validity. The last trade was an easy one to understand. And the first one wasn’t *too* shocking

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Basically, Cespedes is fine. Don’t worry about his clubhouse presence

10:32
Comment From Raeth
how much do you believe Harper’s walks help him? is he going through a period where pitchers just won’t give him what he wants to hit? he’s been homerless for awhile it seems

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: He’s definitely in a homer slump, but he’s still producing. Pitchers are probably just being extra careful, to Zimmerman’s benefit

10:32
Comment From James
Have you liked the M’s cream-colored jerseys this year?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Very much

10:32
Comment From CameronDaClub
What kind of boots you hit the trail with? Bought myself some Zamberlans a few years back and love ’em.

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Vasque, picked up at an REI garage sale. Highly recommended!

10:32
Comment From James
Mt Hood, Mt Baker or Mt Rainier?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Loyal to Hood, but Rainier is the king

10:33
Comment From Raindog
Matt Wieters is leaving the Orioles without even a QO, right? Then he’s gonna sign with I dunno, CHW or LAA and finally become a monster, right?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t imagine he leaves without a QO

10:33
Comment From Monroe
Since when is fiction not about the world?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Fiction is about its own world

10:33
Comment From Boze
Do you think the return of Springer is enough for the Astros to hold off the rising Rangers?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: The Astros overall are enough to hold off the Rangers

10:34
Comment From Kevin
RE: Ichiro, this might seem like either a question with either an obvious answer or a complicated one, but I’ll ask anyway: What exactly breaks down when a hitter gets older? Is it hand-eye coordination? Bat speed? Why is it that golfers can swing a driver well into social security age, but not a baseball player over 40?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know all the science behind it. A decent assumption: everything simply gets a little worse, a little slower. And the difference between elite-level baseball and replacement-level baseball is extraordinarily slim

10:35
Comment From Matt
I’m not making it but can you see an argument for Cubs moving Schwarber this offseason? Lots of ffensive depth? Not the most impactful defender? Actually, the ideas seems totally absurd; he’s going to be a beast.

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: It would be ballsy, and for all I know they have a different evaluation of him than the general public right now, but I assume the Cubs are all in on the Schwarber train

10:36
Comment From That Guy
Bryce Harper’s power (or lack thereof) seems to always be the big story with him, but a near 20% walk rate for a 22-year old seems like the far scarier element of his evolution, no?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: He’s amazing

10:36
Comment From Monroe
Who’s at first next year for the Mariners? (Votto sure would look good there)

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners don’t need another mega contract

10:36
Comment From Sirras
Will there be a year-end “Worst of the Best” column? I always enjoyed those, though I imagine they’re a lot of work

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe, but, yeah, they are a ton of work. I might elect to simplify

10:36
Comment From Shawn
Can you give a quick summary of what’s happening with the melting ice caps and what it holds for the future? How long out into the future before it turns really bad? 50 years? Shorter? Longer? I’m interested, but really know nothing about it

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not the right person to ask — I’ll probably just give you bad information. Google it. The good information is out there. From learned professionals! It’s bad news, but we’re doing it to ourselves. Some countries more than others. Don’t move to Florida.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: That’s probably good advice, independent of the rising water levels. Just, don’t move to Florida

10:37
Comment From Stan Conte
Peraza, Puig, Kike and Kendrick are all down with hamstring injuries. At what point does this move beyond randomness and into a potential training staff issue?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Not this point. I’d trust that the Dodgers are pretty well on top of what they can do to keep players in playing shape

10:38
Comment From JA
Is JA Happ doing anything differently in Pittsburgh than he was in Seattle or is this SSS luck? He’s been pretty good since he got there

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: A few little differences, but he’s also benefiting from an easier league

10:39
Comment From Monroe
Most people who read fiction find that it offers new insights into their real lives. But whatever.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t an argument we’re having. It’s completely a matter of taste. Some people like fiction. Some people don’t! Some people like fennel. Some people don’t! I do not assume that my interests are the same as everybody’s interests

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: For example, I like the Seattle Mariners

10:40
Comment From CameronDaClub
Ever roast a J at camp after a long day on the trail? Packing the roach out, of course.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Weed is sometimes very useful

10:40
Comment From Dave Kerwin
But should we believe/be concerned by everything we’ve heard about Puig’s clubhouse presence? Is this not essentially the reason it’s been accepted he’ll be traded in the offseason

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Puig is famously difficult

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: It’s among the reasons the Dodgers will probably trade him

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t mean you can’t win with him, obviously, but the Dodgers have given it their best effort

10:41
Comment From Phillip
The Mariners have plenty of money to spend if they want. You just suggested they should sign Chris Davis, who will get paid, but Votto’s 20-25 million a year is too much?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t suggest they should; I suggested they might

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: And Votto is under contract through 2023. Chris Davis will not be.

10:42
Comment From KilleBrews
What do you think of John Jamb?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I like him as a No. 3/4

10:43
Comment From spudchukar
I happen to believe St. Louis will re-sign Heyward, do you agree?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Not a given, but they have a better chance than most teams with an expiring free agent. He’s their type

10:43
Comment From Sam
Would the White Sox have enough to get Puig? Jose Quintana and another piece to the Dodgers?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: They could make something happen here if they wanted

10:43
Comment From Zonk
Since when to doctors set innings limit? That seems like a stretch from a medical protocol standpoint, don’t you think?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, it’s not like anyone really knows what’s best here so a threshold is almost completely arbitrary

10:44
Comment From Monroe
I don’t know why the Reds would keep Votto. Their idiot announcers rip him all the time for taking walks and subsequently their so-called fans don’t appreciate him either.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine this winter the Reds explore Votto’s trade market. But his price and position mean the market will be limited in size

10:45
Comment From Gene
How good is Franklin Guti really?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Good when healthy 🙁

10:45
Comment From Gary
Machado stick at short?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I do’nt think so, but I like that they’re trying

10:45
Comment From Kyle
Any Marcus Stroman articles on the docket?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Gonna go ahead and let him pitch first

10:45
Comment From Bobby Blownilla
what are your thoughts on Conforto so far? Is he a postseason starter for the Mets?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: He’s surprised me with his instant production. At this point, he needs to be playing

10:46
Comment From Gary
How big of a deal do you think the Blue Jays right-handedness makes in the post-season, assuming they very rarely face lefties? Would you be willing to call the Yankees a “better team” in the playoffs, with the above constraint?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not too concerned. The Jays have a lot of righties, but a lot of them are super awesome

10:46
Comment From BK
I’ve always wanted to make a trip to Portland and area, I’ll be finishing university this spring and will finally have the money to do it. What is your favourite time of year to experience the city and surrounding area. I’d be coming from Saskatchewan in Canada

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I love early fall

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Just absolutely beautiful when the weather’s right

10:47
Comment From Monroe
Are there any teams whose home broadcasters are so awful that you can’t stomach watching their games?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: MLB.tv lets me avoid said broadcasters!

10:47
Comment From ed
Anything special planned for Laborday weekend?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Driving six hours to the SE Oregon desert for exploratory reasons

10:47
Comment From Fitch McTeer
Do you see any busts in these 50FV SPs: ChiChi, Jungmann, Heston, Brian Johnson, Lorenzen, Miguel Almonte, Zach Davies.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: A few of them

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not a big Chi Chi fan

10:48
Comment From Danny
How can you look at a pitcher’s command besides F-Strike and Zone%?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: You can break it down further by looking at individual pitch locations, especially in individual situations. For example, a neat way to look at changeup command is to see how many of the changeups are kept down. Seldom does a pitcher want to leave a changeup at the thigh or the belt

10:49
Comment From Gendo Ikari
Stroman pitched on Wednesdsay, Jeff.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Not in a game I know anything about

10:50
Comment From Derek in Little Rock
Kevin Kiermaier presently or Franklin Gutierrez in his prime defensively?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll give Kiermaier a slight edge because of his arm

10:50
Comment From Chi Chi R
I’m not a fan of you either, Jeff

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: That’s fine man

10:50
Comment From BK
Follow-up to the time of year question, early fall in Saskatchewan tends to vary significantly, usually ending up sometime between mid-August to mid-October, I assume Portland is more normal and is around late September?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Late September/early October

10:51
Comment From Aaron
Does quality of competition get measured in WAR? Does that kind of thing even out over time?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: There is a league adjustment, but nothing more granular than that. It usually evens out, but it doesn’t always, especially over shorter samples

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get going! A little earlier than usual

10:51
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 — 9/4/15 by Jeff Sullivan!

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

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MikeM
Guest

Your playoffs odds (and season-long run differential) suggest the Astros are still strong favorites in the AL West. However, all recent day-to-day evidence since the trade deadline suggests the Rangers are a mini-Toronto, with a powerful lineup and a good-enough rotation with a new ace. The Astros, meanwhile, narrowly escape in the games they do win. Should I be more concerned than the odds suggest?