Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/9/16

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s baseball chat

9:08
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:09
Andrew: The Mets, amirite?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing like a series against the Reds to perk up the energy

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: And now trace things out: the Mets have another 22 games, and three are against the Nationals. The rest of the pool: Braves, Twins, Phillies, Marlins

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets are in an excellent position here. They’re scoring runs again. Time to unpanic!

9:11
Outta my way, Gyorkass: What division is going to be the toughest to compete in the next 5-10 years?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: My default answer is usually the AL East just because of the presence of the Yankees and Red Sox

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I know they might not seem as fearsome as they used to but when you’re projecting that far into the future, resources trump everything, and they have a ton of resources to throw around

9:12
BJOGC: Jeff, people skeptical of defensive metrics are starting to accept that they can fluctuate year to year much like any other stat, but what does it take to randomly post a fluke +20 season? How many extra plays do guys need to make? Is it like batting average where 1-2 extra hits dropping in per week can have a huge effect or does it take a lot more consistency to move defensive numbers around by that much?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: In the field, the run value of a play made is close enough to 1 that it might as well be the same thing. So you’re talking about 20-25 extra plays over the course of a season

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: And it’s easy to see how those could add up all flukey-like. A few balls stay in the glove instead of popping out when you run into a wall or dive. You gather a few on the shoelaces. Maybe you make a catch or two over a fence. If you’re an outfielder, you can generate some arm runs by winning a few bang-bang plays at a base. Maybe that involves baserunners making some bad decisions

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: In essence, it’s the same as batting average — an extra play a week and you look like you’re elite

9:17
Tom A.: Craig Kimbrel has been great, but maybe a notch below where he’s been previously. (GB rate half of previous, BB rate up.) Has anyone studied aging curves of relievers specifically? Do they decline at a rate consistent with SP and hitters? Any other thoughts on him? Is 44ip enough to pay attention to the GB rate change?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Based on what I can recall relievers as a group actually age a little better than starters do but that’s far from being settled science. Probably best to think of them as being similar, and going from there

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: As for Kimbrel specifically, I don’t think there are any issues with his stuff. He’s elevating his fastball, but no more than he was a couple seasons ago. He’s still difficult to hit and his walk rate isn’t way too far out of line with where it’s been before. Factor in mechanical tweaks caused by the knee injury and I think you still have an upper-class closer

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: It’s definitely fine to notice the change in grounder rate, but you do have to remember that it’s not just a 44 inning sample — it’s effectively something less than that given how many hitters Kimbrel strikes out

9:20
Jonathan W: Hi Jeff! Did you know that the Orioles are currently on pace to smash their own post-1900 MLB record for fewest triples in a season? They’ve hit just 5 so far this year and the 1998 Orioles hit a total of 11. Any chance this is post-worthy? Thank you!

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I do think it could be fun to write about the Orioles’ general lack of athleticism. All they do is hit dingers and strike out. Can’t steal, can’t triple, can’t play defense…

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: And yet they show up at +2.5 BsR!

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: They’ve actually been top-10 in UBR, so, credit to them for making the most of their horrible legs

9:22
Jackie: Is Ivan Nova about to get paid?! Do we live in a universe where someone is gonna give Ivan Nova a 4 year deal?!

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Really is easy to just compare him to JA Happ. I could see three years. Not four. Maybe he ends up settling for two years and a vesting option, depending on a few factors. Nova has the slightly more worrisome injury history

9:23
Mariner’s fan: So your saying there is a chance?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Just enough to take you to Seahawks season

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Which at this point is I think the main reason behind the Mariners’ existence

9:24
Krob: Piss off, Jerk.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: It took me a minute to get this

9:25
Astros Fan: How disappointed should I be that the luckiest team ever ruined my team’s season with luck and dark magic?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Imagine how the Cardinals’ rivals have felt all this time

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think you just have to come to terms with the reality that the Rangers didn’t luck themselves into this record. They’ve just earned this record in a way that’s almost impossible to keep up in the long term. Which is maybe reassuring! But the Rangers have been the ones responsible for all those clutch hits and whatnot.

9:26
lunch: did you find any of the arguments for AL MVP candidates this week compelling? or is it kind of just like “yeah it should be trout.”

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: It should be Trout, but if I’m going to be totally honest, I’m behind on my reading because it was a short week and then I had jury duty that took me away from my routine

9:27
Henry: Why don’t we see teams trade minor leaguers for minor leaguers, is there a rule against it?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: It does happen from time to time. Almost never makes headlines. But it’s similar to how you seldom see similar big-leaguers exchanged. Trades are mostly driven by different needs, where one team is focused on the short-term and another team is selling. When you’re flipping minor-leaguers, there are no real short-term factors to fold in

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Basically, with prospects, teams like their own guys. They know their own guys. They’re invested in their own guys. And since you’re not going to rip anyone off with a prospect-for-prospect trade, there just isn’t much incentive

9:31
Bork: Is there even a comparable to Eric Thames when it comes to potential contracts? Dude was poop in the MLB but you can’t doubt his absolute dominance in the KBO.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a little like having a potential Quadruple-A player. Some teams don’t believe such hitters really exist. Thames should get more respect now than he might’ve were it not for the Korean players experiencing some big-league success

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still not going to break the bank — he’s almost 30 years old and he can’t really play defense. But his power is legit, and it’s possible he’s cleaned up some of his whiffs

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: The absolute upside, I think, is something like Nelson Cruz. Similar kind of profile, right down to the initial big-league struggles despite huge success in other places. In most cases, Thames won’t work out as well as Cruz has, but whoever signs him will be signing him upon that belief in his potential

9:35
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Two schools of thought exist on highly regarded prospects struggling in their first MLB action: “Let him take his lumps and figure out the majors on the fly” and “Send him back down to AAA to get more seasoning”. What is it that dictates the correct course of action?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Psychology. If a player is just mentally defeated, you send him back down to regain his confidence. If he seems to be holding up, and trying earnestly to make the necessary adjustments, then you’re more likely to keep the player

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Total case-by-case-basis thing.

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Alternatively, if a player needs to make mechanical changes, you might see a demotion so that those changes could be implemented in lower-pressure situations

9:38
Terrible Ted: What surprises you the most about the 2016 season so far?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Jose Altuve

9:39
Henry: Do you see Trevor Cahill or Travis Wood getting starter consideration in free agency?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Wood, no. Cahill, maybe a few bites. Still unlikely that’s his role

9:41
Otis Redding: Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: but most days my dessert is just a regular grapefruit

9:41
JTT: What do you lose if Max Schrock posts a positive WAR in the mlb? I can’t remember the terms of the wager

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I think it comes down to like $26 dollars or something if Max Schrock turns out better than Mylz Jones

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: But I definitely don’t remember and I suspect that Carson also definitely doesn’t remember

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: so you guys shut up

9:42
CapnZippers: Obligatory Seth Lugo update: Curveball spinrate @ 3336 RPM, sample size is up to 96. Shut down the Nationals to start the week. Apparently was doing so poorly in Vegas because he couldn’t grip the curveball in the dry heat.

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I figure with something like spin rate you basically don’t need any kind of real sample size. The way a pitch spins is part of its fundamental identity, just like how fast a pitch goes. For velocity, you need a sample size of 1

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: I will say that while Vegas is a lousy environment, it’s not like Lugo was totally dominant in Double-A. He doesn’t have the most awesome track record. But, boy, that curve is something

9:45
Jaff: Jeff for hiking the gorge what do you recomend: Dog Mountain or Angels Rest?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Actually, neither — Angels Rest is way overcrowded and Dog Mountain is also way overcrowded the one time of the year when it’s worth the ascent. Go check out Table Mountain. Or, start smaller, with Hamilton Mountain. Wind Mountain is pretty quick and has some sites of archaeological interest up top

9:46
CamdenWarehouse: True or false: we need more parody in MLB?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I do not know how to respond to this

9:47
Elton: I am fascinated with Joc Pederson’s splits this year. He is OPSing .887 against rights and .413 against lefties. Only 61 PA for the latter but still, yikes. Any thoughts on if he can recover to be at least playable against lefties?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, even last year, against lefties Pederson put up a 91 wRC+. That’s not that bad. Long-term, I don’t think he’ll be a strict platoon player. He’ll always have a sizable split just because of his swing, but he’s going to be a 600-PA player

9:50
Sean P : Jason Hammel makes the playoff roster, right? Many in Chicago media don’t think he will after his bad last outing, but it seems like he’d be a valuable bullpen piece in October and there aren’t enough better options for the pen

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be surprised to see him left off but that’s going to be mostly in his own hands. Needs to finish stronger than he’s pitched the last month or so

9:52
Jaack: What are the odds that whoever wins the Cards-Giants NL wildcard game will BS their way to a championship?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Giants have 76% playoff odds and 3.5% World Series odds, here. So basically we have them winning it all once per 21 playoff opportunities

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Cardinals are at 1 per 25

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: For the Giants it’s not hard to see how it could work — contact-hitting lineup, plus Bumgarner and Cueto at the top

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: The way I see it, the whole purpose behind this year’s playoffs is for opponents to try to knock out the Cubs. It’s the Cubs against everyone else. It’s already been established that the Cubs are the best team in baseball this year. There’s no question. So now the tournament gets to try to demonstrate yet again that it doesn’t exist to crown the best team in the game

9:55
Ryan: Jeff, please explain the silliness of life to me.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: We can’t do anything without structure, so we’ve built a complicated structure for ourselves, but as you get older you start to recognize how arbitrary and meaningless all of it is. We live according to rules we made up. There’s no reason why there couldn’t be other rules, or fewer rules. At some point you’ll experience a mental break. Many people subsequently choose to live in vans

9:56
Scott: Interesting stuff about the Coors Hangover in the community research. Seems to back up your idea that it’s real but lasts longer than a road trip

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: There shouldn’t be any question that hitting in Coors messes up your ability to hit elsewhere. What I always have trouble with is trying to settle on “home-field advantage” or “road-field disadvantage.” The Rockies’ home/road record splits are always ridiculous

9:59
Amarillo Windmill: Have you noticed the balance of the Rangers’ lineup? Only Carlos Gomez has less than a 97 wRC+. And he had been playing like a better than average player since getting all that icky Astros goo off him. A great offense and two aces bodes well for the playoffs, wouldn’t you think?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a difference between a balanced offense and a great one. The Rangers don’t have a great one. But it is pretty good, yes, and I like their roster now that the trade deadline has passed. Lucroy was a massive upgrade, as was Beltran, and we’ll see if Jeffress returns. I didn’t buy the early Rangers as real title contenders, but they got way stronger at the end of July. As is, they’re sitting pretty

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Granted, Hamels has his worst FIP- since 2010

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: But he obviously is still very good

10:02
Andrew: Anything good about Seth Lugo *other* than his curveball spin rate? What’s the rest of his career look like?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a strike-thrower. So that helps. He has two fastballs and a very intriguing breaking ball. Doesn’t mean he’s a long-term starter. But he could be an excellent late-inning reliever if his curveball was given the chance

10:03
Matt: How ’bout dem Yanks?!?! I’m going to get lifted ahigh and dropped on my head, aren’t I?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I never thought I’d grow up to be someone who would say this but I love how the Yankees refuse to go away

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Improbably I see them as an underdog. It’s so stupid but enjoyable

10:04
Tom A.: Your playoff odds (and all systems, I think) seem to ignore reinforcing effects or “snowballing” (or maybe just really bad stuff that impacts all remaining games). Seems like they underestimate the chances that a team with a somewhat big lead loses it. Has anyone tried looking at historical frequencies rather than a montecarlo-type approach?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: The playoff odds can do only so much. Like, they also don’t factor in, say, injury potential. They’re a starting point, and nothing more. I don’t really know how we could make them better

10:05
Dylan: What do you think of the A’s potential core of Healy/Barreto/Semien/Chapman/Davis/Manaea? Do you think they can compete soon?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: That is not really much of a core

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: You didn’t even mention Sonny Gray!

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Every single season, I look at the A’s and see a team that could somewhat easily finish around .500. Realistically I think that’s the general goal. They don’t do the big rebuild. I’m going to see them as a half-decent team again in 2017, I’m sure, and maybe they’ll even achieve that level if they can avoid all these players getting hurt

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: The A’s have to be about depth and eliminating holes, since they can’t get much in the way of upper-tier talent. Finds like Andrew Triggs further the cause

10:08
Slew: The top 3 teams in the AL in order are: Texas Boston Cleveland?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I’m inclined to say the Red Sox and Blue Jays are ~equal, and then the Indians and Rangers are ~equal

10:10
Ari: Felipe Rivero had been a starter in the minors with inconsistent results, but from everything I can tell, his changeup didn’t breakthrough as a plus pitch until he became a reliever. In fact, it didn’t even seem part of his repertoire. Now it’s arguably his best pitch to compliment a strong fastball and an effective slider. Knowing that he now has three pitches to work from, do you think the Pirates should experiment with him as a starter this spring?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Pirates tried to put him on the Nicasio course. There’s not much harm. But no matter what happens there I think the big takeaway should be that the Pirates did well in their Melancon trade. Rivero was underrated at the time and he’s going to get onto a whole bunch of radars

10:12
Burts_beads: Do you think it’s possible the two version of Grichuk can meet somewhere in the middle? Slightly improve K% and BB% while still mashing when he does make contact?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: As long as Grichuk produces, he’ll force pitchers out of the zone more and more and walks will come as a natural consequence. Not all the time, not often, but more. Grichuk just needs to be disciplined *enough*. My sense is he’s always going to be incredibly streaky because when he slumps he’s probably just going to over-expand

10:13
Jake: How bad of a position are the White Sox in going forward? With their pitching staff and Eaton in his prime is going for it again what you would do? Or do the lack of options just make it the only option?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: For weeks now I’ve kind of assumed the White Sox might go into the offseason looking to blow it up. Obviously, they have the pitching to sell. But now that Abreu is hitting again it’s not hard to see how they might want to give it another shot. They’re right on that border where one player’s streak or slump could determine the proper course. If they think they can finish .500 in 2017, then they should add, because you don’t need to be a lot better to be in the playoffs

10:15
termel sledge: How was jury duty?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a little sad I didn’t end up sitting for the Malheur case

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: but then FanGraphs probably wouldn’t have wanted for me to be gone for like a month and a half

10:15
Matt: Given the influx of HR in the league – should teams think about prioritizing finding sinkerballers? Or given the theory the ball has been changed – does that even matter?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Teams have never stopped prioritizing pitching down in the zone. What’s interesting here — if you figure hitters are trying to elevate the ball more, maybe the right thing is to search for *fly-ball* pitchers. Try to take advantage of that whole split they found in The Book, where fly-ball pitchers are better against fly-ball hitters

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: If hitters are getting better and better at taking aggressive swing paths against pitches down, maybe you stop pitching down so much

10:18
Brandon: If starting a team, would you go with Correa or Lindor?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I still lean Correa even though I’m fully aware of the WAR

10:19
Erik: Are there any playoff contenders who match up particularly well against other playoff contenders? Strikeout pitching staffs against strikeout-prone lineups, elite outfield defense against a flyball hitting lineup, etc.?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t thought about this too much yet — way too many different ways this could go. So there are too many potential combinations. We’ll get to focusing when opponents are actually determined, but for now I think it’s worth pointing out that the Giants and the Red Sox have really skilled contact lineups. Could be a deciding factor, as it was for the Royals

10:22
Hey: How far are the A’s from competing? The Gray/Manaea/Graveman/Triggs/Cotton rotation is looking great, the infield group of Healy/Barreto/Semien/Chapman is solid as well. A CF and a little luck away?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I already talked a little about the A’s above, but I just want to note that that rotation definitely doesn’t look “great”. Gray just spent the year being horrible, Graveman and Manaea have been mediocre, and while I’m a big fan of Triggs and Cotton they have an awful lot left to prove

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I think I tend to be a little higher on the A’s than most, but in any given season they’ll likely to rank around the bottom of the league in terms of 3+ WAR players

10:24
Coppy: How would you rate my tenure as Braves GM to this point? Am I more “wunderkind” or more “wondering what the heck I’m doing”?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: You have definitely tried your hardest

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: A little too much is determined by how you view the Shelby Miller trade. Do you give the Braves most of the credit for that, or were they just in the right place at the right time?

10:26
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Tim Tebow’s first major league plate appearance: solo HR, 2 run HR, 3 run HR, or grand slam?

10:28
2-D: Now that rosters have expanded, is there anyone you saw and thought, “Where has this guy been all year?”

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Mainly I’m happy to see more James Hoyt and Dario Alvarez

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: I know those aren’t just September guys and I know their results have been mediocre but I like them a lot

10:29
Evan: Yesterday in his chat, Eno said Neil Walker would be a good candidate for accepting the QO. Do you a.) Agree with this? B.) Say he turns down the QO, what kind of contract do you think he gets?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: It definitely feels like it could happen. Walker a year ago was almost a giveaway and though he had a good season, now he’s in his 30s and he’s got back trouble. You can never discount someone coming in offering two or three years, but Walker at 1/$17m or whatever feels reasonable

10:31
Bork: So what you’re saying is, if the Mets don’t make the playoffs we can laugh at them even harder?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: If they don’t finish well, that’s going to be kind of embarrassing for them

10:32
LA: Is there any excuse to how poorly Profar has played the last few months?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Statcast doesn’t love him. He’s a groundball hitter and his average batted-ball speed on flies and liners is around the bottom of the league. Makes him out to be like Andrelton Simmons without the defense. There’s more power in there, I have to think, but Profar this year looks a whole lot like Profar in 2013, before all the injuries.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Tons of people in the industry believe that Profar was greatly overrated. He might not be much more than this

10:35
Gregory: clay is back

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: If I know one thing about Clay Buchholz, it’s that you can always rely on him to be effective and consistent after you see him show a few positive flashes

10:36
Alex: The Mariners are a neverending fountain of deep sadness. It feels like their already narrow window is closing even more. Is there any hope?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they’ve actually managed to turn around the farm system?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Injuries kind of devastated the pitching staff. There’s still a decent club in there somewhere; 2017 doesn’t have to suck

10:37
Outta my way, Gyorkass: What happens first, an expansion MLB team, or either of the Reds or Padres winning a World Series title?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Expansion

10:37
Jose Canseco: Assuming Josh Bell is a full-time starter for the Pirates in 2017, do you think he achieves an .800+ OPS?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: You know what? Sure!

10:38
Aaron: How would baseball change if it followed one-pitch softball rules? So a strike/foul is a strikeout, a ball/hbp is a walk, and balls in play go as normal. I think contact hitters would be amazing and high velocity fastball pitchers with command would also be amazing.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Team executives would literally kill one another to get Ben Zobrist

10:39
termel sledge: Hypothetically if the Strasburg injury is of the severity to keep him out roughly a month medically, do you think the Nats chance it after that or shut him down?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Not hard to see how they could try to bring him back as a playoff reliever

10:41
Erik: In light of NFL opening weekend, what is one thing the NFL does well as an organization which you’d love to see MLB learn from?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: MLB could stand to do whatever it is the NFL does to prevent people from talking about how every single player in the sport uses steroids

10:43
Irving: Between Steven Brault, Trevor Williams, and Chad Kuhl, which of those three do you think has the best likelihood to become a respectable starting pitcher?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I trust Kuhl the most to throw strikes for whatever that’s worth

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: If I had to guess right now, I’d say Kuhl has the best chance to be a starting pitcher, and Brault has the best chance to be a pretty good one

10:46
Brett W: How are the Pirates going to improve their rotation next year?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: That Rivero question from before looms potentially large here

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Though it’s not going to happen I’d really love to see if the Pirates could make something out of Taijuan Walker

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: To throw an idea out there: Walker for Josh Bell? Would need some more parts but you could have the skeleton of a trade

10:48
Tom A.: When both outfielders can catch a lazy fly ball and one calls the other off, they get credit for one run saved?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I believe those plays are basically thrown out since they don’t mean anything

10:49
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Assume Joey Votto ages fairly gracefully. At what point does that contract become palatable for a team to take on and give up something of value, or will it require the Reds eating a significant portion of it no matter what?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Votto, through 2023, is due something like $179 million. Running some quick math based on his 2017 projection, we have him worth around $200 million through the end. That’s if he ages gracefully

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: So already, a bigger-budget team could and should be willing to acquire Votto while also surrendering a prospect or two

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: The Reds, in turn, could get a better package back if they chipped in some money

10:52
A. Reitz: Why are the Mets playing Granderson, and not Conforto. Please for the love of god explain this. Please, I need to know. Conforto hit over .400 in the minors this year. Over .500 in his last stint. Granderson is hitting .220. Collins. Is. A. Joke.

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Because Granderson has been a league-average hitter, more or less, whereas Conforto has been a complete disaster in the majors ever since his hot start

10:53
Kristen: TEX is 60-31 vs. teams above .500 this season with a +72 run differential. Also, 3 relievers responsible for a collective 88 earned runs allowed – Wilhelmsen, Tolleson, and Ramos – aren’t on the Rangers any more. We also added Darvish, Beltran, and Lucroy for the 2nd-half of the season. So, how is TEX merely “lucky” exactly, and why do people ignore the 3rd point when projecting TEX’s performance down the stretch?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think people are ignoring what the Rangers are today. But it’s also very easy to look at them and recognize that they achieved the record they have now through some unusual means. Doesn’t mean they project poorly for the playoffs. It’s just been a crazy regular season for them to this point

10:54
britishcub: why do people try to ding Bryant’s mvp case by saying Rizzo is a good player but no one mentions rendon when they talk about murphy’s case?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Because Anthony Rendon is wildly and mysteriously underrated

10:55
Slew: Isn’t a lot of the defensive variation due to opportunity? If a higher proportion of balls hit to an OF are lazy fly balls he has less opportunity to bank ‘plays that an average defender wouldn’t have made’

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, opportunity is basically everything

10:57
James: Xander Bogaerts has been… not good in the 2nd half. Just a slump or something deeper?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: It looks like pitchers are finding more success getting him to chase out of his own zone. The meaningful indicators haven’t collapsed but it’s fair to say that Bogaerts is slumping. He’s just about earned the benefit of the doubt to the point where it should be assumed he’ll recover

10:58
Kanye: Is Ivan Nova fixed? As a Pirates fan, should I be in favor of a reasonable contract this offseason?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not fixed. He’s just thriving in an easier situation

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Turns out it’s easier to convince a pitcher to be aggressive when he’s facing NL lineups in places that aren’t Yankee Stadium

11:00
Kristen: JD has built a decent bullpen on the cheap over the last 2 seasons, but it has been ineffective lately. Think he bites the bullet and shells out for a proven closer like Jansen or Chapman this offseason?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly I’m not convinced the Rangers have the money to contend with the other teams who’ll be bidding there

11:00
Jim: Are we still sleeping on the Dodgers? Kershaw/Hill with that bullpen and a lineup that has rounded into form looks terrifying compared to late June.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: FanGraphs has always liked the Dodgers more than the average media outlet

11:01
Justin: Ichiro’s career BABIP is .340. Would it be a decent rule of thumb to consider .340 the upper bound of true-talent BABIP?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Joey Votto’s at .358 and he doesn’t run all that well

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: If you had some freakish blend of Votto’s bat skills with Ichiro’s legs, you could push .380 I bet

11:02
Brett W: The Reds are not in a good position to have a winning season between now and when Votto retires. Tell me why I am wrong.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Because Votto won’t retire for a long time

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: That’s basically it

11:02
Chris: Javy Baez sits around 2.1 WAR on this site, 2.8 on Baseball Reference. if he got 500pa’s, what do you think is peak WAR would be? over 4? even higher?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: *Peak* WAR? Over 4, for sure. Homers move the needle awfully fast

11:03
CamdenWarehouse: I understand you’re going to do a road trip podcast with Cameron. Will it be more like your podcast Carson or Dave’s?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: It will ramble more than the usual Dave podcast just because we won’t be watching much baseball on the road. But Dave will also presumably rein it in when it goes too far off the rails

11:04
Erik: Would a team as oddly constructed as the Orioles play below their true talent in the playoffs, because teams can go all out to tweak their strategy to beat them? Or is there really not that much adjusting that can be done?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: On the contrary, I’d think they’d be a little better since they could lean on the starters less and on the best relievers more. Can’t really adjust to that very well as an opponent

11:05
Roadhog: The A’s will need to sign a lefty-hitting OF this offseason – so, Reddick?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Or Reddick’s Canadian equivalent, Michael Saunders

11:05
Roadhog: Odds on a Sonny Gray extension? Word is both sides are interested again.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be surprised if Gray were willing to sign now with his value in the tank but maybe he’s starting to fear for his long-term career and security

11:06
Royals Fan: How disappointed should I be that other team’s fans feel my team won a championship with luck and dark magic?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Who cares? You won a championship

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Every championship team gets lucky

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get going

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll…try to do it next week? Around the same time? And until then, be well and have great days

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

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

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Damaso
Member
Damaso

The question about which division is the best going forward, and Jeff’s response that it’s the AL East even though “they don’t look that scary anymore” is something that seems to be a common perception…..which is weird, because the AL East is the best division in baseball by a country mile this year, even better than last year when they were also the best division in baseball. And all the top teams have excellent looking young cores and all of their payrolls are well under control.

Division Win% and RunDiff per game

ALE: .524 (+0.33)
NLC: .505 (+0.14)
ALW: .502 (-0.07)
ALC: .499 (-0.08)
NLE: .489 (-0.20)
NLW: .482 (-0.12)

Spartacus
Member
Spartacus

So like, is this where you admit the Red Sox are good?

NickChristy
Member
NickChristy

It’s more about admitting the Orioles are like good. Everyone points to the Red Sox and Yankees but then you look up and realize they have the best record in the East since 2012 and are among the top 5 teams in MLB winning percentage wise in that same time period. And the players who contributed to that are locked up for the foreseeable future.