Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:05
Travis Sawchik: Greetings!

12:05
Travis Sawchik: Happy LCS season to you ….

12:05
Travis Sawchik: Let’s get started

12:06
AJ Preller: With increase demand in long receiver especially in PS games, will I be able to sell Hand for a similar package I received for Kimbrel?

12:07
Travis Sawchik: No. But Hand should fetch a nice return

12:07
Padre fan: How many more years do I have to sit in the couch and hope that dodgers lose the POs until my team actually makes their way to the POs?

12:07
Travis Sawchik: Over/under 5

12:07
Travis Sawchik: Or maybe 4.5

12:08
Travis Sawchik: I like the SD system, but there’s still much work to be done

12:08
Andrew: Joe Maddon gave us his best Buck Showalter impression last night…what do you think of decision to go to Lackey in the 9th instead of Davis?

12:08
Travis Sawchik: I didn’t like it. I know Davis had thrown a lot of pitches the other night, but I still get one inning from him before going to Lackey

12:09
Travis Sawchik: While not every postseason game is a must-win game, I would try to manage like just about every game is a must-win situation

12:09
AC: Lots of complaints (rightfully so) about Lackey taking over 2 minutes to throw a pitch last night. And with the feeling that next year MLB will implement the pitch clock next year. However, is what Lackey did yesterday (stepping off repeatedly) a loophole to the pitch clock rule? And will pitchers use this strategy to get around the rule?

12:10
Travis Sawchik: While the product has been compelling, pace has been a real problem in the postseason

12:10
Travis Sawchik:

Seconds per ball in play (including HR). There have been an average of 4 min 35 sec between ball in play this posts… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…
12 Oct 2017
12:11
Travis Sawchik: I mean, that’s just a crazy stat

12:11
Travis Sawchik: And that Lackey situation is just absurd. I’m not sure if that’s a loophole, but MLB needs to look more deeply into its pace issues

12:12
Jack: Is Maddon spooked about overusing Davis like he did Chapman last year?

12:13
Travis Sawchik: Possibly…. But why overuse Lackey?

12:13
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: It took John Lackey over 5 minutes to throw six pitches to Chris Taylor. Just an observation.

12:13
Travis Sawchik: John Lackey was putting East Coast America to sleep

12:13
Nobody: Maddon and company keep saying that Culbertson was safe at home only because of the stupid Posey rule.  What I haven’t heard people saying is that Contreras would have gotten leveled by Culbertson and who knows what the outcome would have been.

12:14
Travis Sawchik: The spirit of the rule is good: to protect players … The actual rule and interpretation(s) are poor

12:14
Travis Sawchik: There’s gotta be a better way

12:15
LegallyEagle: If it holds up Dodgers v. Astros, who do you have as a favorite?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: Heckuva match-up… I like the Dodgers’ starting pitching a little better even with what Verlander has been doing. It would be a great series

12:16
Graver: in regards to pace of play: I think the batters are at fault as well, like, can they not jog to the plate? Can they not stay in the box, especially after a pitch that they don’t swing at?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: In general, I think the issue is actually more tied to batters stepping out

12:16
YKnotDisco?!: Your boy Watson has looked great – Clemson sure could of used him this past weekend. Syracuse?! Did Jim Brown, Donovan McNabb and Marvin Harrison all suit up for the Orange? Anyway, the Russell Wilson comparison seems spot-on.

12:17
Travis Sawchik: The Browns passed on selecting Watson at 12? Ouch. He does look great. Great kid, too

12:17
Enlightening Round: Over/Under Jose Altuve, career war 75?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Under

12:18
Travis Sawchik: He’s at 26.2 entering his Age 28 season

12:18
Im ron burgundy : with how good starters have been for the most part the past week or so including CC and Severino, who some people said should be passed up for “bullpenning”, how serious should we consider bullpenning to be an actual strategy at some point?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: Well, only 15 starting pitchers reached 200 innings and only 35 reached 180 innings this season … So I think bullpening, or at least tandem starters in the back-end of the rotation is the future

12:20
Travis Sawchik: But I think there’s still/always going to be a place for the legit ace….there just aren’t many

12:20
a different matt: Will Shohei Ohtani show up on both hitting and pitching leaderboards with combined WAR, or with WAR only from pitching on pitching leader and hitting on hitting leaders (assuming he is at least partial time DH on AL club)?

12:22
Travis Sawchik: I believe we are going to have to add the totals together

12:22
Batflips for BBs: Do you foresee a lowering of the mound in the next 10-20 years in order to offset increased velocity?

12:22
Travis Sawchik: I think so

12:22
Travis Sawchik: I’m not sure we’re going to see 100 mph become the new benchmark as Tom House suggests … but when the Yankees can average 98 mph in a start, we’re not close to Peak Velocity

12:23
Travis Sawchik: Hitters have adapted but they can only adapt so much

12:23
Shuck Bowalter: Do you think Judge is getting a fair strike zone?

12:23
Travis Sawchik: No

12:24
Travis Sawchik: And that’s been the case for much of the season

12:24
Randy: If you had to go one way or the other, more likely ALCS ends in 5 games or ends in 7 games?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: Five

12:25
Sharp: It seems like this offseason the majority of teams are going to be clearly fine-tuning as contenders (Red Sox, Giants, Dbacks, Indians) or are clearly rebuilding/cutting salary (Marlins, White Sox, Phillies).  Who falls into the middle group of waiting it out until the deadline to see?

12:26
Travis Sawchik: Angels/Twins/Rockies …. There will always be surprises, but I agree that there’s a pretty clear-cut landscape of the contenders and non-contenders

12:27
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Joe Maddon is a good manager of people and egos, but I still contend that the Cubs won the World Series last year in spite of him being at the helm. The evidence continues to pile up.

12:27
David: So do we still consider Joe Maddon an elite manager and tactician after this postseason?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: I think Maddon mismanaged the Lackey/Davis call last night, and he had some missteps in the WS last year, but I think the managing people part is still probably the most important part of the job

12:28
Travis Sawchik: And I don’t think he regularly butchers decisions

12:29
TP: Can we get a Sacre Bleu update???

12:30
Travis Sawchik: I’m so glad you asked! Spring training is nearing its conclusion, my HBD team is attempting to become the third team in league [BBWAA league] history to threepeat

12:31
Ballsandgutters : Could josh Bell play 1B and RF to allow Pirates to pursue a 1B bat in FA?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: I like Bell better at 1B, and Pirates have to hope Polanco offers more in RF … So I’m not sure they’d go in that direction

12:32
AHume92: With Maddon claiming that Davis couldn’t be used because “[they] needed him for the save”, do you think he actually meant that, or was it more of a throwaway answer for mainstream media/casual fans who still mostly believe “the closer is the closer because he is the closer”?

12:32
Travis Sawchik: I think it was an over simplification … He had one inning from Davis and was hoping to save it

12:33
Terry’s Sarape: Significance of Verlander’s 124 pitches?   Was that the best pitching performance of the playoffs thus far?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: Great performance. Trevor Bauer in Game 1 of the ALDS was pretty good, too

12:33
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: That was a terrible decision to send Altuve.

12:33
Travis Sawchik: Poor process, good result. Astros will take it

12:34
Julio: How is it that the Dodgers can keeping taking players like Barnes, Taylor and Turner and turn them into stars?

12:34
Travis Sawchik: Pretty remarkable. Turner is more of a self-made star, I believe, but it’s great value-adding

12:34
Terry’s Sarape: Scale of 1-10, how compelling is each Championship Series?

12:35
Travis Sawchik: They 2-0 leads make them slightly less compelling, but you couldn’t really ask for better good-on-good matchups. I’ll give LAD-CHC an 8.5 and HOU-NYY an 8

12:36
Fangraphs lurker: How amazing was Verlander’s sequences of pitches to Gary Sanchez in game 1? curve barely in the zone to start him off, a slider that breaks away low and makes Sanchez look silly, then a fastball down the middle to freeze him……wonderful.

12:36
Travis Sawchik: I don’t know how important sequencing is … but I suspect it’s pretty important

12:37
jkim: Re: best pitching performance

Also Strasburg, especially if he was really sick and had teh Nats won game 5 it would’ve been “the Mold Game”

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Actually, Strasburg might have been the best. That was a remarkable performance

12:37
pbcbreakdown: With their farm system seemingly in need of some serious refurbishing, shouldn’t the Marlins be thinking of a complete fire sale? I’m wondering why I don’t hear names like Justin Bour tossed in with the usual suspects Ozuna, Yelich, et al.

12:38
Travis Sawchik: It should be under consideration, but I’d be leery of a first-year executive (Jeter) leading such a project

12:39
LegallyEagle: True/False: Brandon Morrow will be a more sought after reliever this off-season than Greg Holland or Wade Davis.

12:40
Travis Sawchik: True. Holland’s second half was concerning and Davis’ command has taken a step back

12:40
M: Giants as contenders? I get that bumgarner, posey, Crawford is a solid core, but it would seem they need a bit more than just “fine tuning”

12:41
Travis Sawchik: I’d place the Giants in the in-between category

12:42
jkim: Is Kershaw tired? Saw him clocking 91 mph fastballs regularly, and unable to throw them in the zone.

Are his postseason problems (at least THIS postseason) from fatigue, or his inability to throw high fastballs like Rich Hill?

12:42
Travis Sawchik: Kershaw’s velo was down

12:43
Travis Sawchik: And he hasn’t had a full, healthy season so …. It’s tough to know. But I think Roberts has managed his staff pretty well

12:43
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think we’re seeing Peak Kershaw at the moment

12:43
Brendon: If we were to compare pitchers ability to hit to the everyone except professional baseball hitters, how would the pitchers do?

12:44
Travis Sawchik: They’d still probably be among the best hitters. They are some of the best athletes in the sport, and many of them were two-way stars at some point during their amateur careers

12:44
ljc: What’s your favorite thing about your new neighborhood?

12:45
Travis Sawchik: Being within walking distance to Lake Erie/Huntington Beach is nice … I’m of the opinion that you ought to trade square footage of home for location

12:45
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: In an attempt to right the wrongs of the NLDS, I started a postseason in The Show handling the Nats. I lost—this is not a joke—on a Matt Wieters error.

12:45
Travis Sawchik: I never liked or understood the Wieters signing and I like it even less now

12:46
Dylan: Do the Nationals roll with Weiters every day next year or will they pay him $10.5m to be a backup? I feel like they can’t afford to start such a bad player if they’re serious about winning in Harper’s last year

12:46
Travis Sawchik: Wieters shouldn’t start for a serious contender

12:46
Travis Sawchik: He’s the 100th ranked framer in the game and posted a 66 wRC+ … below replacement-level player

12:46
Andre: Don’t forget Tanaka

12:47
Travis Sawchik: And Tanaka … Game 3 of ALDS was a great all-around game

12:47
Josh in DC: In the post season, we often see starters throwing for an inning during the bullpen day. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand anything about anything, but why on earth doesn’t this happen during the regular season? If a starter is going to throw 25 pitches at near-max effort, why shouldn’t he throw them in the 5th inning?

12:47
Travis Sawchik: The between-start bullpen is meant to be a time to refine and experiment, tough to do that in live competition

12:48
Batflips for BBs: What would you put the odds of dual sweeps happening in the championship series? Would this outcome favor the Astros or Dodgers more?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Well, let me consult my binomial calculator ….

12:49
Travis Sawchik: The odds of dual sweeps is still very low, probably like 7%

12:50
Florida Devil Expos: At current time, what’s the most intriguing potential offseason pickup? Trade for Machado?

12:51
Travis Sawchik: As far as trades go, he’d be one of the bigger-ticket items, for sure. Donaldson, too, in the AL East.  Stanton, Yelich, maybe ….

12:51
stever20: what chance do you give the Cubs of getting back in the series.  Next 2 games you would think the pitching matchups favor them, then you get Kershaw in game 5 where he’s got all the pressure in the world on him.  Can the Cubs get there?

12:52
Travis Sawchik: Cubs have a chance, but Dodgers are more complete, better team

12:52
TP: If you were CLeveland’s front office, how would you approach the offseason? Status quo? Marginal tweaks? Major offensive changes?

12:52
Travis Sawchik: Most of the 25-man roster should be back, but I wouldn’t pick up Brantley’s $11m option. I’d use that money to find a corner bat and maybe look at replacing Shaw externally

12:53
Travis Sawchik: Indians still have one of the more enviable core groups going forward

12:54
Andrew: indians seem sort of committed to the game-calling/defensive excellence  of gomes/perez at C. Does it make sense to move mejia for the solid return he’d be sure to net?

12:55
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think Mejia is untouchable … But prizing defense at C makes sense. Mejia’s bat also might be good enough to fit at a corner, too. I think he’s going to get some looks at positions other than catcher.

12:55
Dan: Jason Kipnis – expecting a bounceback in 2018, or is this THE downturn for him? Thanks!

12:56
Travis Sawchik: He’s owed $25 million over the next two years, I believe, so the Indians are going to be hoping for a bounceback. …but at what position? They like Ramirez at second base

12:56
Scherzer? I hardly know her : Who is the best player in the NL not named Bryce Harper?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Harper needs to stay on the field to clearly be the best player in the NL .. Blackmon, Arenado, Goldy, Votto, Stanton, half the Dodgers’ lineup, Rendon  are all great

12:57
Birddog: How would you grade an Orioles off season where they… Signed Chatwood, Cashner(or Fister) , Granderson, McGhee and traded for Kasmir and Lowrie?

12:58
Travis Sawchik: Orioles are in a tough spot. I guess that would be OK but the longer the O’s wait to rebuild the longer and more painful the climb back will be

12:58
Scherzer? I hardly know her : Gut feeling, who is Bryce Harper playing for in 2019?

12:58
Travis Sawchik: Still gotta think it’s New York

12:59
yo knows: Wait, why would pitching matchups favor the Cubs? Wouldn’t you rather take Darvish and Wood over Hendricks and Arrieta at this point?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: In a neutral environment, yeah

1:00
Scherzer? I hardly know her : Gut feeling, who is Giancarlo Stanton playing for in 2018?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Miami

1:00
Scherzer? I hardly know her : Gut feeling, who is Otani playing for in 2018?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Yankees

1:01
Paul: Do you think the Dodgers move Grandal this offseason?

1:01
Travis Sawchik: I’m a big Grandal fan but Barnes is looking more and more ready for the lion’s share of work

1:01
Travis Sawchik: So, yeah, it’s possibly

1:01
Travis Sawchik: Or you keep a catching tandem together that’s worth about 9 bWARP this season

1:02
stever20: how lucky is baseball that they don’t have the severe injuries that we see in the NFL.  Yeah you have guys out like Trout and Freeman- to name 2- but they were out for 1/4 of the season.  NFL has guys like Rodgers who will miss over 1/2 the season and playoffs.

1:02
Travis Sawchik: MLB has plenty of injuries but there is rarely any one player as valuable as an NFL QB to a team … Trout might be the only equivalent

1:02
Mets fans: Travis thinks were favorites to get Harper? SWEEEEET

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Ha

1:03
Andrew: How strong does the money/wins correlation have to get before the MLB makes some change to the payroll/luxury tax rules

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Probably quite a bit stronger … I think MLB is pretty happy with its Final Four and overall playoff field this year

1:04
Birddog: fun article of choice: Imagine a league that salaries were flat and players played only in their favorite cities, what major shifts could we see from this.

1:04
Travis Sawchik: States without income taxes (Texas, Florida) would be popular spots …. a lot of players live in those states in the offseason. And, San Diego

1:04
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: My podcast game has gotten a bit stagnant. Any recommendations?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Only one: the Carson Cistulli Programme

1:05
Bill: Kris is the best player in the NL. I don’t know if it is close actually.

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Well, he wasn’t clearly the best player this year and his second straight historically poor clutch season is a bit concerning

1:06
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Tell Cistulli to get off his ass then!

1:06
Travis Sawchik: I will pass along this complaint. I suspect the issue might be fatherhood

1:06
Babe Truth: The clutch thing regarding Bryant is so f@cking tired.

1:06
Travis Sawchik: And it has also been a thing, twice

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Predicative? Probably not. I suspect he’ll be better next year. But there are exceptions to everything. I don’t think every MLB player handles stress situations in exactly the same way

1:08
Depressed Indians fan: Regarding pace of play, what do you think about limiting bullpen switches during innings throughout a game to 2 or, at max, 3? I feel that a lot of the pace of play problem is “bullpenning”?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Doesn’t help time of game, but pace, to me, is more about the lack of batted ball action and batters stepping out, pitchers taking forever, etc

1:10
Colin: If you could assign Otani to a team of your choosing, just because you think it would be the most fascinating environment to watch him in, where would that be?

1:10
Travis Sawchik: It would have to be an AL team,  because he’d more likely find his way in the lineup between starts

1:10
Travis Sawchik: And I’d like to see him on team on the bubble that could really use a 10-win player ….

1:11
Travis Sawchik: Trout and Otani would be fun

1:11
Travis Sawchik: Then we could see Trout in the postseason and Otani

1:12
Confused Pirates fan: My friends and I have been arguing over the Pirates approach for 2018. Should the FO make one last, big push with McCutchen, or should they rip it all up (Move Cutch, Cole, Harrison etc.)

1:12
Travis Sawchik: I’d make one more push … but I’d also be ready to push the rebuild button at the end of June if it’s not working

1:13
Travis Sawchik: I have a hungry (hangry) 2-year-old, so I have to depart folks

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Thanks for stopping by

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Enjoy baseball’s Final Four, I think it’s been a tremendous postseason

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Until next week, be good and 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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Meir-w
Member
Meir-w

I was watching live, and those pitch sequences to Sanchez were unbelievable.