Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat by Travis Sawchik May 1, 2017 12:01 Travis Sawchik: Welcome! I am chatting live from the South Hills Honda service center in McMurray, Pa. Feel free to stop by if you’re in the area and I can answer a question in person … 12:01 Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Noah Syndergaard had a shoulder issue. Then some things happened. (1) He refused to get an MRI. (2) The Mets allowed him to refuse. (3) Syndergaard is now injured. It is easy to explain (1) and (3), but I’m a little stuck on (2). Can you help? 12:02 Travis Sawchik: This situation is a real mess and the shame of it is it probably could have been prevented, or mitigated, by exercising some caution. After all, this is one of the 10 or so most valuable baseball players in the game, right? 12:02 Travis Sawchik: More on Syndergaard later today at FanGraphs … 12:04 Sim: Please put in order from best to worst: Nola, B. Anderson, Cotton, Hahn 12:05 Travis Sawchik: For rest of the season? Nola, Cotton, Hahn, Anderson 12:05 Jar: If I want to get an internship or start my career in baseball do I have to wait after I get my degree to get goingv 12:05 Travis Sawchik: No. I don’t there are any hard rules put in place … if you’re talented teams will find a place 12:06 Matt: Regarding Thor – I think Dan Szymborski hit the nail on the head in a Tweet this weekend saying that, at the end of the day, the Met’s chose to allow him to pitch after refusing the MRI. It’s fine for him to refuse the MRI – but if the Mets want him to get one because they’re concerned about his health, and he refuses, they should tell him he’s not starting until he does. 12:07 Travis Sawchik: Yes, I agree. A most unusual and short-sighted decision by the club. 12:07 Uncle Chips: Which side would you prefer? Ivan Nova and Cesar Hernandez or Gerrit Cole and Michael Conforto? 12:07 Travis Sawchik: Whatever side Conforto is on 12:08 Larry Williams: Which side would you want…Kluber/Arenado or Sherzer/Braun/Rendon? 12:09 Travis Sawchik: I like getting the best player in the deal, typically, and that’s Arenado 12:11 Helpmetomcruise: At peak, is Lindor a top 15 fantasy player in an OBP league? 12:12 Travis Sawchik: I think he is already. I think he’s No. 12 in head-to-head points w/walks at the moment. Lindor said he’s not a power hitter, and never will be …but i think he’s wrong. He’s changed his batted ball profile, he’s refined his zone, and he’s always had surprising pop 12:13 Travis Sawchik: The Mariners considered making him the No. 2 overall pick in 2011 after he put on an impressive power display in a pre-draft workout at Safeco 12:15 Dylan: For the 2nd year in a row, the Mets have been destroyed by injuries. Is this a product of a poor medical staff or the result of having a roster full of players that are more susceptible to injuries? 12:15 Travis Sawchik: Outside of David Wright, it’s probably mostly about bad luck … but I think reasonable people can agree Syndergaard wasn’t handled well 12:16 Travis Sawchik: And if that’s the norm behind the scenes, that would be problematic 12:16 Travis Sawchik: I can’t give you a great answer 12:16 Jimmy Sak: Selling Kyle Schwarber? 12:16 Travis Sawchik: Now is the time to buy 12:17 BrotherMan: I think I accidentally drank NyQuil while sleepwalking last night. I feel like a baby that can’t hold its head up. Any suggestions? 12:17 Travis Sawchik: DayQuil 12:17 Travis Sawchik: Be careful out there, folks 12:17 stevez: The Pirates will try to trade Cole this summer. Yes or No? If yes, which teams are likely to bid for him? 12:18 Travis Sawchik: I think the Pirates are going to have to entertain that idea since there is close to a zero percent chance Cole signs an extension. Whether that is this summer or down the road depends on a number of factors including the market and team performance. But each day the club waits, he loses control (and value) 12:20 Westernal : Who do you think is better inning for inning, Alex Wood or Chris Devenski? 12:21 Travis Sawchik: Devenski has an absurd 42.9% K-BB so Devenski 12:21 Hunky Dory: Cole to NYY? They drafted him in high school, and they desperately need SP beyond 2017. 12:22 Travis Sawchik: It will be interesting to see how willing Yankees are to trade young assets at deadline if they’re in the thick of things for a divisional crown. I kind of doubt they would be willing to pay what would be a high ask. But Cole to NYY after 2019 when he’s a FA is in play, I would think 12:22 Frrrrrrrunkis: Taillon actually this good? 12:22 Travis Sawchik: He’s pretty good. The curveball, command and two-seamer are legit …I do wonder if he needs a better third offering. 12:23 DPF: Josh Bell looks like he’s going to blow past projections on the offensive side, and be predicably not good in the field. His D with a 120 wrc+ is still a pretty good player, no? 12:23 Travis Sawchik: Yes, he’s a bright spot for the Pirates. He has excellent command of zone, bat-to-ball skills and he’s a switch hitter. he’s a worker so it would not surprise to see him improve defensively 12:23 Paul Molitor: I love how Miguel Sano is playing right now… Hitting the ball so freaking hard! He does have a .450 BABIP though. Where do you think he’ll end up on MVP voting lists? 12:24 Travis Sawchik: Paul, he’s got a shot to garner some MVP votes as down-ballot candidate …. He’s going to get 90-100 walks and hit 35-plus bombs and his skill-set at third base is probably better than most think. We’ll have to see what Buxton does, but Sano looks like a star 12:25 Craiggers: Do you buy Cahill staying above 10 K/9 for the rest of the season? 12:26 Travis Sawchik: This question seems absurd … but I have not watched Cahill pitch this year but he began to do some interesting things last year. His swinging strike rate is up to 14%. Baseball is weird, so yeah, it could happen 12:26 The Final Judgement: Aaron Judge is going to come down to earth eventually. Who are some targets you would focus on in a league of ding dongs who buy high? 12:27 Travis Sawchik: Schwarber would be on my list 12:27 The warm side of the pillow: Judge looks like a monster, or rather like an even bigger version of Stanton. You buying or selling? 12:28 Travis Sawchik: While he won’t keep this up, I am buying that he’s a quality regular and big-time slugger. He made real adjustments in shortening his path to the ball this offseason that showed up this spring and continue to play 12:28 Adam: Will Freddie Freeman have a shot at the MVP? 12:28 Travis Sawchik: Yeah, I think so. He doesn’t need to be on a winner if he continues to mash like this 12:29 Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: I’m thinking of making a hamburger casserole tonight – layers of burger bun, ground beef, onions, cheese, and more burger bun, all baked in the oven. Bad idea or best dinner ever? 12:29 Travis Sawchik: I’m going to eat elsewhere, thanks 12:30 Vlad’s Dad: Touching on the ballpark article from last week, is there any way to save the Rogers Centre? I know they are putting in real grass but that concrete jungle can’t stick around much longer, right? 12:30 Travis Sawchik: I haven’t been to Rogers in, like, 20 years …. but I’m sure the experience there is lagging behind. Is there talk of building a new park in Toronto? 12:31 Chip Chipperson: Should I be selling Ryan Zimmerman? What could zimmerman and starling marte return in a dynasty league? 12:32 Travis Sawchik: Zimmerman is another swing-plane-change guy. So some of this is likely rooted in an improved process. If he stays healthy, he’s going to put up big numbers, I think. But he’s also a guy I’d see what I could get in a trade 12:32 Keith Hernandez: How did the Mariners go from watching a young Lindor with an “an impressive power display” to drafting Danny Hultzen? Yikes. 12:32 Travis Sawchik: I have no idea! But I’m sure they would like to have that pick back. In a 2011 re-draft, Lindor goes 1-1 12:33 InternetJackson: T. Saw (can I call you that?), what do you think about Edwin? I’m worried because I’m a worrier. I loved your piece on Andrew Miller for The Athletic, btw (can I say that here?) 12:35 Travis Sawchik: Thanks! (I think, you can). Edwin E. has generally been a slow starter so I wouldn’t worry too much. His out-of-zone swing rate is in line with career norms, so he’s not expanding. He’s drawing some walks. He’s just swinging through too many pitches at the moment. I’m not near the panic button yet 12:35 Reginald Denton III: Yeah but the lat thing was new, right? Last week it was his biceps they said. Biceps tendinitis. Or was he overcompensating yesterday, and that’s how they’re related? 12:37 Travis Sawchik: That’s the problem when there is a weakness in one area of the body, a player can overcompensate and stress another area 12:38 Electric: Lindor’s BP round at the Aflac Game in San Diego that year was also legendary. 12:38 Travis Sawchik: The Cubs, I think, liked him at 9 overall. Imagine that! 12:39 Travis Sawchik: It is somewhat amazing that Lindor fell to eight …. I think if that draft had taken place after the Tommy John spike he would have gone earlier 12:39 Evil Goatee Travis: When is the last time you thought about Kent Mercker? 12:39 Travis Sawchik: It’s been a while, mid 1990s? 12:40 Larry Williams: Who would you rather have on your fantasy team…Brantley or Conforto? 12:40 Travis Sawchik: It looks like Brantley is in a pretty good place, but I like Conforto’s power potential and I do worry about Brantley’s injury resume 12:41 Curly: Kind of crazy to think Thor was still throwing 100 with all sorts of physical issues yesterday. Are all these ailments what you had in mind when you wrote that a guy like Thor *shouldn’t* be trying to add velo? 12:41 Travis Sawchik: Thanks for reading! I just worry that an arm like Thor is really pushing the limits of what his body can handle. Maybe that’s what we are seeing 12:42 rustydude: After some fast starts by some other hitters, Harper and Trout have migrated to the top of the WAR rankings. Is this a signal that hitting stats are normalizing across the league? 12:42 Travis Sawchik: A number of offensive measurements should be stabilizing … Harper and Trout at the top seems about right 12:42 Alex Wood: Steamer loves me. But I look so silly throwing the ball. Do you think I will stay a starter and match the projections… or do you think I go and become a mid reliever? 12:43 Travis Sawchik: I kind of like you as LAD’s Devenski 12:43 Aaron Judge: Am I for real? What’s a (my) realistic end of season slash? 12:44 Travis Sawchik: .265/.345/.505 … 35 HRs 12:45 Chip Chipperson: Does Eickhoff improve on his current ratios, or is this about who he is? 12:46 Travis Sawchik: I think he’s going to improve upon his command from 8.6 BB% to nearer 6 where it was the last couple of years. He looks like a solid mid-rotation arm 12:47 Travis Sawchik: Now if the Phillies could just get Nola healthy and Vince V. throwing strikes … 12:48 Dave: If the Mets are out of it at the deadline, should they sell Harvey? They can’t do a full rebuild because they can’t squander Syndergaard and Cespedes. But they need to move someone, right? Amed Rosario can’t be their only savior coming up. 12:48 Travis Sawchik: I wonder how much value Harvey has at the moment … velocity, strikeouts, swing strike rate are all down again 12:48 Travis Sawchik: If you could get a significant return I’d certainly listen 12:49 The warm side of the pillow: Feels like no one is talking about Corey Seager anymore. Lindor is amazing and we can talk about Correas potential to our faces are blue, but Seager looks even better than last year and he was a legitimate MVP candidate. Do you buy him as a top 5 position player in baseball? 12:49 Travis Sawchik: Let’s take a moment to appreciate one of the finest players and swings in baseball 12:50 Travis Sawchik: Seager is definitely in the top 10 conversation, maybe top five. He’s just about the perfect player. 12:50 Travis Sawchik: I like Lindor a little more long term because the glove is better and he’s no threat to move off of shortstop 12:50 SOS: I know he is out injured at the moment, but is there any chance Haniger might slot in as a CF for the Mariners long term? 12:51 Travis Sawchik: I don’t think that is in the immediate plans as the Mariners have focused on OF defense and lead the majors with +16 DRS in the OF at the moment. 12:52 Lou: Should the Dodgers deal some of their excess pitching or just wait for everyone to get hurt again? 12:52 Travis Sawchik: Depth is fleeting. Be careful, Dodgers 12:52 Moltar: As a fellow Devenski-phile, you have to also be glad that ‘zona decided against moving Bradley back to the rotation, and will keep him as a multi-inning reliever. 12:53 Travis Sawchik: I will gladly accept as many Devenskis as are made available 12:53 Thor Jr.: Given today’s news, are you holding or dropping Thor in 10-team redrafts? 12:53 Travis Sawchik: I haven’t seen a timetable yet…but this is going to be awhile 12:54 HappyFunBall: Comparing strong, and probably unsustainable starts … would you trade Thames for Paxton in fantasy? 12:54 Travis Sawchik: I would do that in real life if that helps 12:54 rustydude: The Mariners that year desperately needed a top hitter with both Lindor and Renton available. Passed on both. 12:55 Travis Sawchik: I’d always be leaning toward position player talent in the top 10 unless there is clearly a top, elite arm that is a cut above the field 12:55 Travis Sawchik: The Cubs Way 12:55 Joe: What’s with the Red Sox power outage? Does this last all year or begin to normalize? And if they don’t figure it out soon, does it shake your confidence in them winning the division? 12:56 Travis Sawchik: We haven’t started May play yet. It was like 25 degrees at Fenway yesterday,. I think the Red Sox will finish with plenty of extra-base production 12:56 Daniel Castro Fan Club: Amir Garrett: Smoke and mirrors, or a legit starting talent? 12:56 Travis Sawchik: I haven’t seen enough yet but I’m curious to follow him going forward 12:57 Eric: How much longer can Hellickson keep the mirage going? Look at that K rate 12:57 Travis Sawchik: The good news is that rate is not supported by his swinging strike rate (8%)…it will improve. The bad news is his 4.4% HR/FB rate is due for a spike 12:58 Travis Sawchik: Hellboy has lost some velocity so you wonder if batters are having more success laying off his go-to changeup 12:58 E: Are we seeing a Matt Wieters resurgance? Or just a good month? 12:59 Travis Sawchik: Maybe Nats ownership wasn’t just doing Scott Boras a solid ….But I think it’s probably just a good month 1:00 John S: Hard to find a worthy bat in the top 7 or so of the amateur draft this year…. no? 1:00 Travis Sawchik: This is not a great year, yeah 1:00 E: I still cant get over Lonnie Chisenhall playing center field. I feel like there is an article there. 1:00 Travis Sawchik: Weird, right? But he’s held up OK there and he is a good athlete, who played shortstop in college 1:01 Travis Sawchik: Hey, if Andrew McCutchen was left in center for 2015-16, maybe more teams should try and sneak in some offense there 1:02 Mark: If you were forced to drop one in a very deep standard league, who would you choose: OdorizziManaeaPorcelloMorton 1:02 Travis Sawchik: I think Odorizzi has the lowest ceiling, so probably Odorizzi 1:02 Drew: Splitting catcher reps between Gattis and McCann seem to be paying big dividends thus far. 1:02 Travis Sawchik: I like the Astros’ plan at catcher. I like the Astros’ plans for most things 1:03 Travis Sawchik: (Other than Appel over Bryant) 1:03 Moonlight Graham: Will you be heading over to Sarris in Canonsburg after your car appointment for a sweet sundae and some chocolates? 1:04 Travis Sawchik: Sadly that is southwest of my current location and I plan to soon be traveling north-east-north to a coffee shop to continue churning out content for y’all/yinz/guys 1:05 Travis Sawchik: PA requires our cars to be inspected yearly for emission standards … nice way for the state govt to make an easy $59, eh? 1:05 Kristen: Gallo trending upwards but Odor and Mazara are really struggling and TEX has zero high-upside prospects at AA-level or higher. How confident should Rangers fans actually be that TEX has a young core that can carry the team post-Darvish/Lucroy? 1:06 Travis Sawchik: I like the three names you mentioned, but the Rangers are going to have to be creative in trades and FA to supplement it 1:06 Adam: Best “unheard of prospect” 1:06 Travis Sawchik: Are you familiar with the “Fringe Five?” 1:06 John S: happy for Mitch T or worried for Mitch T? gotta be a better landing spot than CLE 1:07 Travis Sawchik: Trubisky is from my childhood neighborhood and we are each Mentor High grads 1:07 Travis Sawchik: How about that? 1:07 Travis Sawchik: I actually think CLE is in better shape than CHI going foward 1:08 Travis Sawchik: Moneyball to football and all that 1:08 Anthony: With regards to Devenski, do you think it’s possible a majority of pitchers ever buy in if arbitration doesn’t get fixed? I’m skeptical 1:08 Travis Sawchik: That’s certainly a complicating factor 1:09 Travis Sawchik: Maybe teams could be creative in locking up players to arbitration buyout deals that more fairly value the players 1:09 spencer: best buy low candidate is _______ 1:10 Travis Sawchik: Schwarber is going to be better. Bregman, too. Remember when everyone was buying Greg Bird? You could get him cheaply now and I still think he will hit 1:10 Travis Sawchik: Edwin E. will hit in Cleveland, too 1:10 Uncle Chips: Would you rather have Lance Lynn or Ivan Nova ROS? 1:10 Travis Sawchik: Since Nova is never going to walk another batter, I’d lean Nova 1:11 Travis Sawchik: I wonder how much of Nova’s turnaround is solely tied to confidence of pitching in pitcher-friendly PNC and away from Yankee 1:11 Bork: Feel good for Mitch T. Feel bad for the Bears. 1:11 Travis Sawchik: It did seem like a reach 1:11 Keith Hernandez: Given that DePodesta is running the Browns, what current non-Tebow baseball player would make the best football player? 1:12 Travis Sawchik: Buxton could play WR/DB 1:12 Travis Sawchik: Trout as McCaffrey? 1:12 Scruffy-Looking Nerf Hurler: Is Pollock back to his breakout year production level for good now? 1:12 Travis Sawchik: Love Pollock. Glad to see he looks like he’s back to being an all-around force 1:12 GB: Manny Machado is 3rd in avg exit velocity but has a BABIP of 224. Is this the unluckiest guy in the league this year results wise? 1:13 Travis Sawchik: Pretty unlucky 1:13 John S: Should the Braves demote Swanson for his own damn good? 1:14 Travis Sawchik: I’d be patient 1:14 Jim Lahey: Buxton was a 4 star WR recruit out of HS who was committed to UGA 1:14 Travis Sawchik: I really hope he made the right choice 1:14 GK: What do you make of Keuchel? Very low BABIP and very high LOB%. 1:15 Travis Sawchik: Very dangerous combination. 98.7 LOB% !!!!! 1:15 Travis Sawchik: He’s also still not throwing pitches in the strike zone. It’s going to catch up to hi 1:15 Travis Sawchik: m 1:15 Scruffy-Looking Nerf Hurler: Buxton and Bird will hit right? RIGHT?! 1:15 Travis Sawchik: I think Bird well. Buxton had a better week. Maybe it means something 1:16 captainpeanutbutter: Judge @ TE 1:16 Travis Sawchik: Oh man 1:16 Travis Sawchik: Yeah, that might work. Or left tackle. Ha 1:17 Harold: Where do you think Arenado would rank if he didnt call Coors home? 1:18 Travis Sawchik: The defense plays anywhere and he posted a 118 wRC+ on the road the last two years … and all players should perform worse on the road given the strike zone works against them there compared to home 1:18 Travis Sawchik: In short, he’s a great player anywhere and everywhere 1:18 Matt: Monstrous collapse aside, is Gallo in the bigs for good now? 1:19 Travis Sawchik: I hope so. Even if he Ks 200 times he still has positive value 1:19 Adam: Is there a mass prospect list with all of the grades on it? 1:19 Travis Sawchik: If there I don’t have it. Maybe Eric has it buried in the desert somewhere 1:19 Moltar: Has Khris surpassed Chris? 1:19 Travis Sawchik: Not yet 1:20 Moltar: Buxton has already made millions of dollars, stands to make a couple million more even if he flames out, and has seemingly all of his brain cells intact. I think he made the right decision… 1:20 Travis Sawchik: That’s all true 1:20 Grant: Giancarlo could have played TE at USC… 1:20 Travis Sawchik: We’re putting together a decent team here 1:20 Jim Lahey: Judge had TE offers out of HS on the west coast. MW schools though I think, nothing Pac-12. Lol I have a very random knowledge of things like this 1:21 Costanza: Springer for Carrasco, which side ya want? 1:21 Travis Sawchik: Fantasy, Springer …. Real life, Carrasco 1:21 Matt: “and all players should perform worse on the road given the strike zone works against them there compared to home” I understand analysis has been done, but considering that umpire crews do not call a stadium home and they travel just as teams do, how can this be explained in context outside of the data? 1:22 Travis Sawchik: Umpires have a bias for the home team/crowd 1:22 Travis Sawchik: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/is-home-field-advantage-becoming-endang… 1:23 Keefths: What’s the deal with CarGo ? 1:23 Travis Sawchik: He’s always been kind of streaky, right? If sure feels that way 1:23 Richie: No corner outfielder is fast enough to play tight end in the NFL. Any one of those under 250 lbs. can RUN! 1:24 Travis Sawchik: I doubt this is true but MLB players don’t regularly run 40s 1:24 Till He Got Hit: B. Hamilton the return specialist! 1:24 Travis Sawchik: I’d pay to see that 1:25 Travis Sawchik: I would at least change channels to see that 1:25 Philbert: Kevin Pillar has had a lot of hot streaks the last couple years, but this is the first time it’s come with improved plate discipline numbers (huge drop in O-Swing and increase in Z-Swing). Considering being more patient out of the zone and more aggressive in the zone was a stated goal in the offseason, does a tangible and intentional change in plate discipline numbers suggest the improvements may be more sustainable than otherwise? 1:26 Travis Sawchik: I think so. I think that’s what we’re seeing with Lindor, this year. Judge, too. That’s a signal of a potential major improvement 1:26 Bartolo Colon: You are the worst Fangraphs writer 1:26 Bartolo Colon: you are the best Fangraphs writer 1:26 Travis Sawchik: That’s a wide range of possibilities! I’d be OK with somewhere in between 1:26 Evil Goatee Travis: No one is mentioning Jeff Samardzija in this MLB/NFL conversation. Josh Donaldson was (surprisingly?) an All-State cornerback in high school. And Joe Mauer was a quarterback! 1:27 Travis Sawchik: Samadrzija is probably the best potential footballer we’ve mentioned. He was great at Notre Dame. Donaldson! So scrappy 1:28 Larry Williams: Jeff Francour was headed to Clemson. 1:28 Hannah Hochevar: Danny Duffy’s velo is down, contact is up, but his SwStr rate is high. Is he cruising for a bruising or ready to prove the doubters wrong? 1:29 Travis Sawchik: I’m not concerned yet 1:29 Mike: Bubba Starling still might pull a Brandon Weeden and go play QB at Nebraska before long 1:29 Matt: You are a Fangraphs writer 1:29 Travis Sawchik: Yes, I am. 1:29 Travis Sawchik: And this was a FanGraphs chat 1:29 Travis Sawchik: Thanks for being present. Your attendance was noted and appreciated 1:30 Travis Sawchik: Be good and do good. ‘Til next week!