Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

11:00
Travis Sawchik:

Do you watch Charlie Rose?

Yes (14.8% | 46 votes)
 
No (52.5% | 163 votes)
 
Never heard of him (28.0% | 87 votes)
 
I refuse to support public broadcasting (1.9% | 6 votes)
 
Other (2.5% | 8 votes)
 

Total Votes: 310
11:01
Travis Sawchik:

Team that will win the NL Central

Brewers (13.5% | 46 votes)
 
Cubs (77.8% | 264 votes)
 
Pirates (3.5% | 12 votes)
 
Cardinals (2.0% | 7 votes)
 
Reds (2.9% | 10 votes)
 

Total Votes: 339
11:05
Travis Sawchik:

Cody Bellinger’s career HR total

Less than 100 (3.1% | 11 votes)
 
100-200 (3.1% | 11 votes)
 
201-300 (24.1% | 85 votes)
 
301-400 (35.7% | 126 votes)
 
401-500 (15.6% | 55 votes)
 
501-600 (8.5% | 30 votes)
 
601-762 (1.4% | 5 votes)
 
763+ (8.2% | 29 votes)
 

Total Votes: 352
11:07
Travis Sawchik:

Shohei Otani should ..

only pitch in the majors (9.6% | 33 votes)
 
pitch every fifth day and pinch hit (32.9% | 113 votes)
 
pitch every fifth day and start a few of games elsewhere (19.5% | 67 votes)
 
pitch once a week and start 3-4 games as he does in Japan (37.9% | 130 votes)
 

Total Votes: 343
11:08
Travis Sawchik: Some polls for your enjoyment!

11:08
Travis Sawchik: I will be back at 12 pm est for your questions

12:00
Travis Sawchik: Howdy

12:00
Travis Sawchik: Let ‘s chat …

12:01
Jeb: What should the Pirates do with Cutch? Trade him at the deadline, trade him over the winter, or hold and see what happens?

12:01
Travis Sawchik: It’s a tough one … and complicated for what is reportedly a thin market, in terms of need, for position players

12:02
Travis Sawchik: I think you could get something decent for McCutchen now, but I wonder if his value would be higher in the offseason if he can continue to rebuild public confidence in his ability to play baseball … And I suspect a 4-win (or better) McCutchen in 2018 for the Pirates might be more valuable than what return they can get now

12:03
Travis Sawchik: One question I think he has answered is that his club option ($14.5 million) for 2018 will be exercised

12:03
Porcho Villa: Eric Thames has looked atrocious since April. Do you share your colleagues’ view that pitchers have adjusted and he’s back to his pre-KBO form (albeit with a bit more patience)?

12:04
Travis Sawchik: There was going to be a punch back from the league, and I don’t think Thames is Barry Bonds. But I do believe he’s a much better hitter than the pre-KBO player and he will have better days ahead

12:04
PTBNL: Travis – I completely agree with you that it’s time for the Orioles to start tearing it down, their window is clearly closing. But my O’s fan friends are just as stubborn as Duquette, and insist that they’ve got World Series hopes this year and next. What will it take for fans and management to realize the ride is over and they’re in for a tough 2019 and beyond if they don’t start selling now?

12:06
Travis Sawchik: New ownership? And maybe a new contract for Duquette who, I believe, has only one year left on his deal …. That complicates matters. It might take a really awful July for the Orioles to consider a rebuild. And maybe that is the best thing that could happen over the next four weeks. The sooner the Os come to grips with reality, the better ….

12:06
CamdenWarehouse: I voted “never heard of him” despite having heard of him 15 minutes ago when I opened up your article.  I hope you understand

12:07
Travis Sawchik: Charlie Rose is the man

12:07
Travis Sawchik: There is not a better talk show on TV, imo

12:07
Joe Douglas: Happy Monday, Travis. When it is mentioned that Otani should only pitch in the majors, it seems this is always due to the difficulty of developing players and playing major league baseball. While I understand this argument and am sympathetic to it, couldn’t small market teams appeal to Otani’s (perceived) desire to due both. For example, “We can offer you the $9-$10 mil max allowed, and we will let you play both ways.”

12:09
Travis Sawchik: Happy Monday to you, Joe. If I’m a small market team I’m letting Otani write his own script … at least early on. One differentce between developing, say, a two-way amateur player and Otani is that, of course, Otani is already largely developed. I hope he lands with an open-minded team

12:09
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Why doesn’t Gerrit Cole throw a 2seamer or a cutter? His fastball is so flat, I think if he learns to get some movement on his fastball he can become so much better.

12:10
Travis Sawchik: Well, he does throw a two-seamer, but he might be an arm who could benefit form a cutter. He has been throwing his changeup at a career-high rate, though I have not looked into the effectiveness of that pitch

12:10
Mark: If he keeps this up does Bellinger have a legitimate shot at MVP?

12:11
Travis Sawchik: If he keeps this up he’s going to hit 60 homers this year, so, yes

12:11
Sonny: I misread the Cody Bellinger HR total question as ‘this year’ but I stand by my 100-200 vote.

12:11
Travis Sawchik: That’s still pretty conservative

12:12
Gary: Is Bradley Zimmer not talked about enough? 128 wRC+ thru his first month or so, plus defender, etc. AL rookies are being shafted because of Judge!

12:13
Travis Sawchik: Zimmer has been really good, and he’s solidified the glaring CF hole for the Indians, who, if you recall, were playing Lonnie Chisenhall in center earlier this season. It’s another contender that doesn’t have a huge position player need assuming Kipnis and Brantley start producing … Zimmer has a chance to be Grady Sizemore Lite, which is pretty special

12:14
PTBNL: Biggest surprise/storyline of the season so far?

12:14
Travis Sawchik: Individual player? Judge …. Team? Brewers/Rockies/Dbacks have all been nice stories early on …. Overall? The continuing HR/FB surge

12:15
Vegan Man!: Is Conforto closer to his May version or his June version?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: I’m a big fan. Closer to his May version

12:16
Guest: Did everyone just completely whiff on the Giants true talent level? MadBum injury alone clearly isn’t responsible. Is this the sort of season that you feel significantly changes talent level expectations or are they a team that could realistically contend for the playoffs next year?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: There were a lot of whiffs on the Giants. They are the sixth-oldest team in baseball, so there is perhaps some age stuff there in addition to MadBum … We need a deep dive to see what exactly happened

12:18
curious: is it possible to look at old footage (say 40’s 50’s) and measure velocity that was faced then?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: Possible? I suppose it would be buy looking at pitch positions frame by frame and distance covered …. I am not volunteering for the task

12:21
Jeries: Who has more trade value, a meh Quintana or a possibly broken Rodon?

12:21
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think Quintana’s underlying skills have eroded at all so I think he still has a ton of value, and he’s not broken. So Quintana, I think

12:23
Sonny: The NYT ran a piece yesterday chronically exit velo on historic HRs (Reggie in Tiger Stadium and Mantle off the facade) and presented the numbers w some authority. How comfortable are we saying those were 124 mph?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: We can model the kind of force and LA those shots would require, right? So we should be reasonably comfortable with findings, I suppose

12:24
Britt: Jason Kipnis is not having a good year offensively or defensively.  Is this due to missing most of spring training with the rotator cuff or is it possible that he is already entering the decline stage in his career?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: I suspect it’s related to injury and delayed start

12:24
Rich : Berrios or Moncada – dynasty forever

12:25
Travis Sawchik: I’d always go with the position player in that format

12:25
Trader Dave: Are the Red Sox seriously really going to use Jhonny Peralta at 3B?  I dont understand the hesitation to bring up Devers.

12:25
Travis Sawchik: Patience is often a virtue but I don’t know about Peralta

12:26
Chris: What is the market for Andrew McCutchen? Also what kind of return could Pirate fans expect for McCutchen?

12:27
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think there is a great market for position players, and McCutchen has only had a couple good months since the second half of 2015 … so I think there has to be a degree of suspicion around his performance going forward. I think I’d hold and see where things stand in the offseason. A good McCutchen could be more valuable to Pirates in 2018 than what is available on the market

12:28
Travis Sawchik: The other thing is his defense in CF continues to decline, so many teams might look at him as a corner

12:29
Posey: What’s happened to my defense and Pitch Framing?

12:29
Travis Sawchik: Yikes!

12:30
Travis Sawchik: Smallish sample or Jonathan Lucroy II? I don’t have a great answer. But I might look into this …Good question

12:32
Moltar: Nearly all of the balls that Bellinger has hit out have been thrown in the zone. Am I wrong to be worried about a Pederson-esque slide in the second half? Will he be ale to lay off when pitchers stop throwing him strikes, and be able to take walks instead?

12:34
Travis Sawchik: The vast majority of HRs are hit off in-zone pitches so that wouldn’t concern me. Pitchers are going to try and make an adjustment so before we put Bellinger in the HoF let’s wait … But he’s been freaking incredible and that swing is a beautiful combination of violence, control and upper-cut plane

12:34
Whathappened: Yankees lost 10/12, still in first but look like we thought they might pitching wise, how deep should they go in the trade market given that next year and 2019 is when they should have a more developed core

12:35
Travis Sawchik: I’d still be pretty patient if I were the Yankees and stick to the plan. Maybe a modest purchase or two? 2019 would still be my arrival ETA where I push a lot of chips in

12:35
Cam Daveron: Are the Dodgers the New Cubs?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: Apparently! If I remember correctly, the Dodgers were right there or ahead of the Cubs in FG’s win projections before the season and a number of folks thought they were the NL favorite … So the Dodgers being awesome isn’t a surprise. But when are the Cubs going to get it together?

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Re:  that surprise storyline question from earlier …. The Cubs have to be on that list

12:38
Luke Singsank: Who should be going after Cueto and what would they offer the Giants?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Cueto is owed $84mm over the next four seasons, which isn’t terrible if you think he

12:38
Travis Sawchik: ‘ll age well

12:38
Travis Sawchik: That might limit his market to mid- and larger-market contenders

12:39
Travis Sawchik: But it could also reduce the prospect/young asset ask in return

12:39
Travis Sawchik: I’d call to investigate

12:39
Travis Sawchik: Maybe the Cubs should call

12:40
Bear Hands: Zunino? Will someone please write about Zunino? Dude has been on beast mode since returning from AAA. We all know how the M’s ruined his development by rushing him. Is he finally here?

12:40
Travis Sawchik: He’s kind of like the Austin Hedges of the AL, right?

12:40
Travis Sawchik: I am noticing significant improvement ….

12:41
Buff: If the Pirates should be soft sellers, should the Giants be hard sellers?

12:42
Travis Sawchik: I’d still want to keep MadBum, Posey, Belt and Crawford around … so no…But, I’d try to move Cueto in this market.

12:42
pirates hurdles: Cueto also has an opt out that could make him a rental if he does well.

12:42
Travis Sawchik: Oh that’s right ….

12:42
Travis Sawchik: That complicates matters

12:43
Travis Sawchik: I’d be listening on him if I were the Giants, for sure … But that puts more uncertainty into equation for buyer

12:43
Marcus: How worried are you about Gregory Polanco?

12:44
Travis Sawchik: I’m kind of worried because we’re at 1788 plate appearances now with this slash line: .251/.316/.399

12:44
Travis Sawchik: Injuries have played a role, but staying healthy is also something of a skill … Just have seen consistent above-average play

12:44
Zorn: Thoughts on Greg Bird ROS and beyond?

12:45
Travis Sawchik: Remember when Greg Bird was the Aaron Judge of the Grapefruit League? I like the skill-set but I haven’t heard how the Yankees play to employ him when he’s healthy

12:46
dan: thoughts on how Yankees rotation will evolve over the next couple years?  any of their fringe guys now stick in the rotation like cessa, green, adams , kaprellian, sheffield, or do they make a FA move? or trade for young pitcher w control

12:47
Travis Sawchik: I see them making a significant FA add … and I’m sure they’d like get some pre-arb value at least deep in the rotation …

12:47
Travis Sawchik: But despite the tough stretch, Yankees are eighth in baseball in fWAR among starting pitchers … so that group has raised its stock

12:47
J Lucroy: Is this me now? No framing skills with no strikeouts…weird right?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: One of the most curious players of 2016-17

12:48
PTBNL: Just got a notification that the Red Sox are among teams interested in Sonny Gray – surely Dom can’t deplete the farm system anymore than he already has over the past two years. There will be riots in Boston if Devers or Groome are moved.

12:48
Travis Sawchik: Yeah, I’d tread carefully, Boston. I wouldn’t sell major assets for Gray, personally

12:49
Danny: Starling Marte will be back in three weeks.  Does his suckitude before he got suspended worry you at all?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Not really

12:50
Timmy Zaj: How plausible is it that avisail Garcia is for real? Zswing rate is up 7 percent?

12:50
Travis Sawchik: yeah, there might be something interesting going on here. He’s a guy worth keeping an eye on

12:50
GS: This isn’t a question just an announcement: The 2017 Astros have already won more games than the 2013 Astros.

12:50
Travis Sawchik: It’s June 26

12:50
Famous Framer: If a catcher earned a reputation as a great framer at the MLB level, wouldn’t one expect that advantage to go away after that reputation is out there a year or two?

12:51
Travis Sawchik: You would expect umpires to be aware of this and develop a bias against that catcher, right? But a guy like Grandal is still elite and ranked as the No. 1 farmer, according to BP metrics

12:53
Travis Sawchik: I’ve asked the MLB umpire supervisor Randy Marsh about how umpires deal with elite framers … He says he doesn’t give them any information and wants them to be free of bias … but word and information gets around. So to answer your question, it’s hard to know

12:53
Moonlight Graham: Were you at the Pirates game on the Friday when the Marlins were in town?  Regarding the Stanton homer, have you ever seen a ball more destroyed than that one at PNC Park?  Right over the batter’s eye!

12:54
Travis Sawchik: I thought I might never see a player with more raw power than Stanton and then Judge came along

12:55
Post Malone: How can framing be real if our eyes aren’t real?

12:55
Travis Sawchik: A dream within a dream, an illusion within an illusion

12:55
CamdenWarehouse: And Grandal got an MVP vote thanks in large part to his framing

12:56
Travis Sawchik: What kind of jerk would vote for a guy based upon his framing?

12:56
Travis Sawchik: hmmm

12:56
Luck Dragons: How would fantasy sites handle Shohei Otani?

12:56
Travis Sawchik: THIS is an important fantasy question … As it is now, you’d have to declare him a SP or position player unless your league counts pitchers’ batting stats

12:57
Dudley: re: Yankees – If Yanks establish Judge and Sanchez as legit stars (and Didi and Hicks pieces), Montgomery & Severino as legit rotation pieces  and maybe get something from Bird and Adams in the 2nd half, 2017 is a resounding success no mater what, right?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Absolutely. Yankees have already exceeded whatever goals they had preseason in regard to developing assets … and that was the main focus of 2017

12:57
Marcus: I have heard almost nothing regarding Jung-ho Kang recently. Am I missing something? I assume the Pirates are still working on getting a visa?

12:58
Travis Sawchik: It’s been pretty quiet on that front. His future seems very much in doubt

12:58
LegallyEagle: Re: Otani in fantasy, why not just create 2 of him? One entry as a pitcher and one as a hitter.

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Problem solved

12:59
PTBNL: Worst run differentials in the AL:
1) A’s
2) O’s
3T) Twins
3T) Royals

Makes me think the Indians will start to pull away with the ALC now that Kluber is back

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Yeah, I think the Indians are going to pull away eventually

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Kluber has been the AL’s best pitcher in June

1:00
Paul Strelow…: Man…I hope we get more Tanaka like that last turn.

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Hey Paul! That 24% HR/FB rate can’t continue forever, right?

1:02
Ned Yost: The Astros lead the AL in runs scored and fewest runs allowed. The Dodgers are second in runs scored in the NL and first in fewest runs allowed. Are these two teams on a different level than everyone else?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Yeah, It appears so

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Good thing baseball doesn’t have a bowl system

1:02
Zock Jr.: I know he’ll only pitch and pinch hit, but god bless it I want to see Otani go all the way.

1:03
Travis Sawchik: I still think a team might be more creative with him … But if he’s Clayton Kersahw or Scherzer, yeah, you might not want to mess around with him in the field

1:04
cardsjason: Travis,

Do you think the Astros should trade for Sean Doolittle? What would that cost?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: The Astros could shorten games to four innings … He won’t come cheaply but with those two club options he is one of the more attractive relief assets out there

1:06
Big Tuna: Favorite sneaky 2nd half power sources?

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Greg Bird

1:07
Travis Sawchik: If you’re in an OBP league, Carlos Santana is going to have a better second half

1:07
Moltar: The Mets just aren’t a good team right now, and they have limited pieces worth selling off. I’m sure the team will say they’re going to contend in 2018, but if the pitching staff doesn’t bounce back in the second half, are they closer to a full rebuild than a world series?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Most teams are closer to a full rebuild than a World Series but the Mets have a rotation to get them to a World Series — with health — so I’d be patient and keep most of the band together

1:08
FireDrayton: Astros seem to be surviving their no-healthy-SPs period. With LMJ back, and Keuchel and McHugh and Morton all on their way, and a giant division lead — no need to pay up for a non-ace, right?

1:09
Travis Sawchik: I wouldn’t … plus that bullpen takes some burden off

1:09
PTBNL: Saw that the Nats are potentially interested in Melancon. How bad would it look to cough up prospects for the same closer twice in two years?

1:09
Travis Sawchik: Real bad

1:10
Joe Douglas: Re Otani in fantasy.  The plan I’ve heard some is that you have one Otani record, but it functions as two. So if you own Otani, you control him as a hitter or pitcher, but you only accrue stats in the role you play him in. If you play him as a SP, and he hits, you get no hitting stats. If he plays OF, then pitches, you get no pitching stats. Have to start him in the role being used.

1:10
Travis Sawchik: Otani is going to test conventional thought in real and fantasy baseball circles

1:11
dan: does Votto really fit in with the reds rebuild window? or are they stuck with that contract (plus being face of franchi$e)

1:11
Travis Sawchik: In the Reds situation you would like to move him, and from a fan of the game’s perspective, I’d like to see him play in some meaningful October games

1:12
Bart: Do you think Trey Mancini remain an everyday player, even when Chris Davis returns?

1:12
Travis Sawchik: He should find a place to play every day in Baltimore, particularly on a team that should be trying to unload some assets

1:13
David Dahl: What do the Rockies do when I am healthy and ready to play? Am I still an everyday player?

1:13
Travis Sawchik: CarGo is probably not coming back, right? There will be a spot there if you hit

1:14
Scott: Jeff wrote an article on Eric Thames in which he utilized the stat xwOBA… do you know if this metric will be available in the customizable stat charts?

1:14
Travis Sawchik: For now, that is a BaseballSavant tool

1:15
Tanaka: Do you think he could still opt out at seasons end, with how poorly he’s pitched this season?

1:16
Travis Sawchik: Here’s one look at the question: https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2017/5/25/15683658/masahiro-tanakas-…

1:17
Travis Sawchik: He’s owed $67 mm over the next three years. He could beat that aggregate total on the open market, I think, but not sure about AAV

1:17
PTBNL: Speaking of opt-outs, should Harper and Machado demand opt-outs early in their contracts? They have so much leverage and it seems like it could benefit them with the way salaries continue to go up.

1:18
Travis Sawchik: I would suspect both will negotiate opt-out clauses

1:18
Travis Sawchik: You wonder if a Harper or Machado would consider going full LeBron and signing a series of two-year deals

1:18
Anon: “In the Reds situation you would like to move him” could the Astros be a perfect landing spot for Votto if the Reds give him up?

1:19
Travis Sawchik: Astros with Votto? Dang. I want to see that

1:19
Travis Sawchik: Hey, the polls are closing

1:19
Travis Sawchik: Folks, more of you need to watch Charlie Rose

1:20
Travis Sawchik: I like the sentiment to see Otani play in the field, too.

1:20
Travis Sawchik: Selfishly, I want to see that

1:20
Travis Sawchik: FG community still believes in the Cubs. But Brewers with 13.6%  …

1:21
Over the fence: Isn’t Markakis MLb record 398 errorless games in a row for an outfielder likely to be unbroken for decades?

1:21
Travis Sawchik: We’ll end with a Markakis fact

1:21
Travis Sawchik: Thanks for the questions everyone. Same time/place next week. Be good, do good





A Cleveland native, FanGraphs writer Travis Sawchik is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Big Data Baseball. He also contributes to The Athletic Cleveland, and has written for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Sawchik.

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tuna411member
5 years ago

I hate the opt-out. It completely and totally favors the player. Considering what Harper and Machado are going to get in salary, why does a club give EVEN more in the contract? Opt-outs should be outlawed.

And I am STILL hating the new look…

bookbook
5 years ago
Reply to  tuna411

It fascinates me that we poor fans always want to favor the billionaire owners against millionaire players.

Los
5 years ago
Reply to  tuna411

The opt out isn’t free for the player though. They will get a choice of 10/400 or 10/350 with an opt-out (making up numbers obviously) but they have a real monetary cost. Also, why do you hate things that favor the players? Do you prefer when the owners profit more instead? Those are the two options. There is no dividend to the fans with excess funds.