Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat — 7/23/18

12:04
Travis Sawchik: Greetings

12:04
Travis Sawchik: We’re 100 games into the season….hard to believe

12:04
Travis Sawchik: Let’s get to it

12:05
Dave: Do you think this hot streak is going to keep Pittsburgh from selling? They’re not out of the wild card yet.

12:05
ballsandgutters: if Pirates somehow take 2/3 from Indians I’ll get excited.  Expecting 0/3.   Regardless,  I’m wondering if Hamels would OK a trade to Pittsburgh.  He’s from San Diego AND really intelligent… just like Williams, Brault and Musgrove.

12:05
Travis Sawchik: The Pirates’ FG playoff odds have jumped tp 13%. It’s still a long shot

12:06
Travis Sawchik: The Pirates, by about every measure, are an average team. 51-49 record, -3 run differential. While they could make a postseason run, how much do you bet on a .500 team?

12:07
Travis Sawchik: I think Pirates have to consider being a seller and a buyer at this deadline

12:07
Chris: What are your thoughts on Mejia? Does he stick at C?

12:08
Travis Sawchik: I think he can stick at catcher. To be a special player he has to stick at catcher. The arm is an elite toom and BP’s minor league framing metrics suggest he’s at least a competent receiver

12:08
Travis Sawchik: I spoke to a couple evaluators who think he has a chance to stick there

12:08
Travis Sawchik: I think he has more power potential down the road

12:08
Chris: How did the Padres do in the Brad Hand trade?

12:10
Travis Sawchik: It all depends on whether Mejia sticks at catcher, I think. He should hit. I like the general approach of targetting quality over quantity given the depth of their system. I like targetting upside, in general. But they didn’t do quite as well as the Yankees have done in selling relief assets. Hand isn’t peak Andrew Miller, of course, but he’s very good. And I like Cimber

12:11
Travis Sawchik: I understand for both clubs. The Padres should move their relief assets, imo. Pretty fair deal, maybe slight edge to Indians

12:11
Oscar Obannon: Not a question, but I’m just really, really happy that Jason Heyward is an above average hitter again. He’s not exactly raking, but hovering around a 110 wRC+ is great to see. He seems like a good guy and a hard worker, so it’s a nice story.

12:12
Travis Sawchik: One of the strangest career arcs this century, for sure. Maybe he has recovered the hit tool but where is the power? I still remember this guy coming up and blasting a 470-foot shot on one of his first MLB swings. So interesting that that hitter disappeared

12:12
Frosty the Sandman: What are your thoughts on Shane Bieber moving forward?  Is he the second coming of Corey Kluber, or a control specialist SP 4/5 with low upside?

12:13
Travis Sawchik: Starting with plus (maybe plus-plus) command and three or four viable pitches is a good starting point. I’m not going to put a Kluber comp on anyone, he’s an outlier story, but if he can sharpen an offspeed pitch or two he can be more than a back-end starter. His floor is a No. 4-type starting pitcher

12:14
Maples: You believing Dickerson right now and going forward?

12:14
Travis Sawchik: Yeah. He’s made some very real adjustments. He was one of the worst elevated four-seam hitters in baseball last year and he’s closed that hole for the most part. I wasn’t sure he could do that. Smart hitter.

12:16
Christopher: What should the Padres do next?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: Keep selling relievers

12:16
Daniel: Stock for Francisco Mejia going down?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: I think it’s down a tick. There’s obviously concern about his future position (though I think he can catch), and his offensive approach has raised some questions this year. I think he’s chased out-of-zone quite a bit

12:18
AC: Do you think players ever brag about who they got traded for? Like would players brag about getting traded for a high caliber player like Machado?

12:18
Travis Sawchik: I would brag about getting traded for Manny Machado

12:18
Travis Sawchik: Players certainly follow whom they’ve been traded for. Imagine being traded for someone in your office. You’d be following their career and questioning the value of the deal

12:19
Nikki: When are the Padres going to be good?

12:20
Travis Sawchik: I think the Padres can be competitive, contending for a playoff berth, in 2020-2021ish

12:20
Travis Sawchik: Loaded farm system. They need to figure out of they have some other answers that are the ML-level

12:21
Travis Sawchik: It probably can’t just be the farm, though. They’ll need to find value FA signings and value in the trade market.  Dave Cameron should help.

12:21
ca$hman: sheffield, frazier, andujar, acevedo for Blake Snell.  Who says no?  Yanks or Tampa

12:23
Travis Sawchik: Hmmm. That’s a lot to part with for the Yankees, but Snell is becoming a legit ace. Something like that could make sense for each clubs

12:23
Travis Sawchik: I’m getting more excited about the Rays’ system. Anyone see what Wander Franco is up as a 17-year-old?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: .379/.417/.647 slash line through his first 125 plate appearances in rookie ball

12:24
Jean Luc : Could the Phillies look to trade Cesar Hernandez this deadline?  Kingery could slide back into his natural position or perhaps they swing a deal for Merrifield.  Thanks.

12:25
Travis Sawchik: I think the Royals ought to sell high on Merrifield and he could fit many clubs including Philly

12:25
Gadi: Do Cody Allen and Andrew Miller receive Qualifying Offers? If so (and Brantley) could the Indians be more willing to part with a couple prospects for upgrades knowing theyll receive draft pick compensation?

12:26
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think QO comp is a major consideration at this point. I think a small-budget club has to be careful with handing out QOs to relievers. I don’t think Allen would be tagged. Miller, if healthy and elite when he returns, would be more likely

12:26
Alan: Matt Carpenter is now the NL WAR leader. Raise your hand if you saw that coming after his April.

12:27
Travis Sawchik: Homering every day helps

12:27
Travis Sawchik: Carpenter is a bit under-appreciated, I think

12:28
Jon: I play in a 12 team, 6×6 (std categories + OPS & K/9), keeper league (keep 8). I can trade my Jack Flaherty ($6) for his Carlos Carrasco ($31). I’m in it to win it this year, and Flaherty would be my 8th keeper maybe. Looking at Flaherty’s peripherals has me really excited for the rest of the year with him (low xwOBA, low Contract%, low Hard%, high Soft%, etc). Am I nuts to think that Flaherty could be just as good as Carrasco ROS and therefore not do this trade?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: At that price, I’d keep Flaherty. He’s really good.

12:29
Desperate, Confused Marlins Fan: What is taking so long for Britton to get moved?

12:29
Travis Sawchik: Bidding war?

12:29
Travis Sawchik: I have no idea but he’ll be moved

12:31
Dave: Which Padre pitcher has the highest ceiling outside if Gore?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: Paddack and his changeup are very interesting

12:31
Travis Sawchik: He doesn’t have the pedigree but he’s been one of the most dominant minor league pitchers in 2018

12:32
David: Did the Padres get fleeced sending Hand to CLE?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: I think it’s a pretty fair deal, slight edge for Cleveland

12:33
Travis Sawchik: If Mejia stays at catcher and becomes an all-star, it’s a big win for SD

12:34
Travis Sawchik: I’m not sure what else was out there, though. In theory, I like the idea of a rebuilding club trading a reliever(s) for a top 50 prospect

12:34
Jean Luc : I’d like the Phils to pursue Drew steckenrider.  What would he cost in terms of prospects?   Maybe evens Dietrich-Steckenrider combo.  Thanks.

12:35
Travis Sawchik: Dietrich is one of the more underrated trade deadline assets for potential purchase

12:35
Travis Sawchik: 125 wRC+ and can play all for corners

12:35
Chris: Who is your favorite Padre?

12:35
Travis Sawchik: Paddack #FringeFive

12:36
GENE: would you drop Carlos Santana for C J Cron?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: no

12:37
yojiveself: Is Gsellman the closer in NY?  His multiple innings use has me skeptical.

12:37
Travis Sawchik: I’d keep him in a role that allows for more flexibility

12:38
Lenn Sakata: Who has the better season the rest of the way- Harper or Soto?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Who had this question being asked back in April?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Soto is proving there will be baseball life in DC if harper leaves

12:38
Nick: A record number of questions? Has Travis Sawchik got a new competitive flame?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: We always need to be pushing ourselves, right?

12:39
Chris: Any good news in Hosmer’s huge contract?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: Not really

12:40
tb.25: McCutchen to indians possible? They lack quality OF and Giants may sell to retool for next year (read: won’t sell Bumgarner)

12:41
Travis Sawchik: That could make some sense. The McCutchen we once knew is not coming back but he could have a 120 wRC+ burst in him and he could perhaps fit in center given the high-K nature of the Indians’ staff

12:41
Jason: There seem to be a lot of reports coming out that Mejia cannot stay behind plate and that his bat will play down at other positions. What do you think?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: That’s the downside. The bat is probably only special at catcher

12:42
Knuckle Churve: Hey Trav. Please help! In a 16 team redraft. I have a big trade outlined and part of it is I give David Price for his Stripling. My question is will the Dodgers limit innings on Strip? Merci Beaucoup.

12:42
Travis Sawchik: I believe in Stripling

12:42
Travis Sawchik: I’m not sure I can help on the innings limitation aspect

12:43
Ed: What type of return would Kirby Yates net?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: I’d want another top 100 prospect

12:43
Miles: Thinking about the Machado trade…given his extreme home/road splits this year and the fact that Dodger Stadium is much less of a hitter’s park than Camden, might his offensive production decline at all?

12:44
Travis Sawchik: Most hitters have significant home/road splits. It’s tied to umpire bias more than the part in most cases. I wouldn’t be concerned with the ballpark change much at all

12:44
White Sox fan: Timing for Eloy?

12:45
Travis Sawchik: He’s a monster but there’s no reason to start that service time clock unless he’s willing to, say, sign a 10-year deal

12:46
White Sox fan: When will Madrigal go to High A?

12:46
Travis Sawchik: He’s not being challenged … no strikeouts in 40 PAs?

12:47
ben: Jerry dipoto has acknowledged that they don’t really have the prospects to make a big trade but they do have salary flexibility. what do you think about the Yankees sending Jacoby Ellsbury and his salary plus Tommy kahnle to the Mariners for some low-level minor leaguer.  it would basically just be a salary dump.  Is kahnle worth the $63 million?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: The Mariners might want to look at an NBA-style trade but Kahnle is not the piece you want back for taking on $63 million

12:48
Cleveland Native: Favorite restaurant in Crocker Park to frequent? Just had Viengs yesterday and it was absolutely fantastic.

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Thanks for the tip! I haven’t been. I’ve been pretty generic in Crocker Park, probably having been to Yard House and that burger spot more than any other palce

12:49
Travis Sawchik: *place

12:49
YKnotDisco?!: Better defensive OF — Broxton, Yelich, Cain — Betts, Bradley, Benintendi

12:49
Travis Sawchik: MKE

12:50
Will: The Nats should trade Harper. Bear with me. Soto, Robles and Eaton are locked up for at least three more years (Taylor two more). Robles is projected to be worth 14.7 WAR over the next five years. Harper is certainly expected to be worth more than that, but will cost around $400m. Essentially, Harper is comparatively worth less to the Nats than just about any other team. They would be much better off investing a third of that $400m into extending Rendon (no 3B prospects in the pipeline) and the remainder in their starting rotation (Gio and Hellickson depart this winter, plus Strasburg could opt out next year). Hell, based off how Harper has played this season, there might not even be any drop-off THIS SEASON swapping Harper’s playing time for Taylor+Robles. Tell me I’m not crazy.

12:50
Travis Sawchik: Harper doesn’t have a ton of trade value. They’re better off just hoping he gets his A-game back by October and taking the QO comp

12:51
Bo: Might the Braves give Markakis a QO? Would he take it?

12:51
Travis Sawchik: Dan will take all you Markakis questions

12:51
Corner of Carnegie and Ontario: How many innings should we realistically expect Klubes to throw tonight? I’d assume they will be conservative with him so he doesn’t re-aggravate his knee. Heading down to Progressive Field today and tomorrow so hoping for a few gems from Kluber and Bieber.

12:51
Travis Sawchik: I’d prefer to see Kluber given more rest. There’s no reason for the Indians to really push anyone

12:52
Daniel L: Where do you stand on framing value? Jay Jaffe included it in his most recent article. If he’s including it, shouldn’t it just be a part of fWAR?

12:52
Travis Sawchik: I think framing remains a very important skill

12:52
Mupples: What’s the honest assessment of BOS’s lineup vis-a-vis NYY’s, HOU’s, and CLE’s?  (SP and RP are other matters entirely.)

12:52
Travis Sawchik: CLE is a step behind BOS-NYY-HOU which are all fairly close in efficiency

12:53
Travis Sawchik: The postseason in the AL should be pretty awesome

12:53
Tony Womack: What kind of return would Zack Wheeler get?

12:53
Travis Sawchik: Wheeler is trending up, I’d buy

12:54
Nick : The Mariners and Athletics look to be in a dogfight for the WC2 spot. Who has the edge?

12:54
Travis Sawchik: I think the A’s are a slightly better team but the Mariners have a three-game lead..it’s going to be very close. Slight edge to Mariners

12:55
Travis Sawchik: But if Paxton’s injury issues pop up …. A’s

12:55
Bo: In fairness, Heyward’s first major league AB home run came against Carlos Zambrano. Still a majestic HR though.

12:55
Travis Sawchik: Fair

12:55
Nick : Jerry DiPoto has to be pacing the floor in Seattle after the Athletics acquired Familia. Who will the Mariners add in the next week or so?

12:56
Travis Sawchik: Mariners are running out of trade assets. They might have to be willing to take on a bad contract to get better as was mentioned earlier in the chat

12:56
Frank: I’m starting to think that the old adage that in the playoffs, great pitching beats great hitting and defense is everything, is not quite right.  I think it’s now, great relievers (and true SP aces) beat great hitters until they burn out.

12:57
Travis Sawchik: That’s kind of what we saw last year …. The AL playoff field is going to be nuts

12:57
Elliot: Harvey’s last start aside, it seems as if the Harvey/Mesoraco trade has been win win. And both guys will be trade again, so I suppose the jury is still out on who got the better deal? I guess not really a question…

12:58
Travis Sawchik: An astute observation

12:59
Deperate Marlins Fans: How has the new Marlins FO done so far? Like, objectively.

1:01
Travis Sawchik: On one hand, they’re not the worst team in baseball. They’ve beaten the lowest bar of expectations in Year 1. On the other hand, I don’t think they did well enough in moving their biggest pieces this offseason

1:01
Belted: Does it matter to FG if I don’t bother to sign into my account when I visit the site? Do you guys collect any meaningful data on member engagement, etc, that I could help with by actually logging in regularly?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Hmmm. A better question for mgmt. I will pass it up the chain

1:02
AKA22: Why is Atlanta not buying any of these super cheap elite RP options? Herrera and Familia gone for peanuts.. Braves have a super deep farm.. and they continue to roll out one of the leagues worst bullpens while sitting in a great playoff position. I love me some Peter Moylan, but maybe as a coach not a RP on a team trying to win games!

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Yeah, ATL ideally would upgrade pen

1:03
Hayves: do the jays have enough sellable talent to receive top 100 prospects this deadline?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: Probably not. Happ is a FA to be and the Mariners are out of top 100 prospects

1:04
Stuafoo: Aside from getting Cano back, what’s the biggest thing the Ms can do to hold off Oakland?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Have Paxton healthy and on the mound

1:05
Alice Cooper: Can you think of a more unlikely power hitter than Jose Ramirez? Ever? This is a guy who had 13 CAREER minor league HR. 19 HR over his first 1,253 AB. Now he’s the first in MLB to 30, in an era where HR are more prominent than ever? What a weird game…

1:05
Travis Sawchik: It’s crazy. Certainly one of the more unlikely power breakouts ever

1:05
Savis Tawchick: Have you noticed David Fletcher? His plate discipline skills are borderline elite, and he hit for a good amount of power in AAA this year

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Yes, because I read the FringeFive

1:06
Bort: The Eric Hosmer experience is going about as poorly as it possibly could. Thoughts/

1:06
Travis Sawchik: If only someone had seen this coming …

1:07
Travis Sawchik: If only he had been Dave Cameron’s No. 1 free agent landmine …

1:07
Savis Tawchick: Everyone has been talking about Bichette & Guerro super sons duo, where is the love for Cavan Biggio? This is a super sons trio!!!!!

1:07
Travis Sawchik: #FringeFive

1:07
YKnotDisco?!: You forgot to mention Franco plays SS and is a switch hitter too. What a dream!

1:08
Travis Sawchik: He has chance to be the No. 1 prospect in baseball a year from now

1:08
Rockie Dangerfield: I guess the Rockies are in on Gausman and Bundy?  Why?  Mid-to-high-4 FIPs don’t exactly scream, “Bring me to Coors Field!”

1:08
Travis Sawchik: The Orioles should move those guys … and the Rockies are always going to need pitching so I can see why there would be talk

1:09
ohtani: how is my batting looking

1:09
Travis Sawchik: 143 wRC+!

1:09
Travis Sawchik: Pretty good

1:10
Travis Sawchik: You can argue Ohtani has been a better hitter than pitcher (when healthy) to date

1:11
The Man With No Name: Some of your colleagues say Seager is very much an overrated asset dynasty leagues.  What say you?  Gotta be top-5 SS, right?

1:11
Travis Sawchik: This is a good time to buy Seager stock

1:11
Desperate, Confused Orioles Fan: What is taking so long for Realmuto to get moved?

1:11
Travis Sawchik: No idea

1:11
Travis Sawchik: A number of contenders have needed catching help since the offseason

1:11
AJ: Is Zach Eflin legit?  Is he as good as Flaherty and Taillon?

1:12
Travis Sawchik: He’s looking pretty legit. I need to see more before putting him in that class but he’s at least a useful mid-rotation piece

1:12
Sandy Kazmir: Would you rather be the Rays or the Pirates going forward? This assumes that you could be a baseball team instead of a great human, of course.

1:12
Travis Sawchik: Can I move the Rays out of the AL East?

1:13
Travis Sawchik: I like the Rays’ U25 talent better, so I’d probably pick the Rays

1:14
John: Paddack isn’t a reliever in the minors!

1:14
Travis Sawchik: Yes. I am aware. Mistyped. Fixed!

1:14
Peter: How bullish (or bearish) are you on Eloy Jimenez in a 5×5 keeper roto?

1:14
Travis Sawchik: As bullish as you can be

1:15
Fahad: What would you rate this chat so far on 20-80 prospect scale in terms of Questions asked, Duration, Spelling/Grammar, Attitude, Sustainability?  Thx.

1:15
Travis Sawchik: A 60, a little Padres-heavy …but they’ve been in the news

1:16
Tony Womack: Couldn’t the Indians have held on to Mejia and paid the minimal price on Herrera and Familia

1:16
Travis Sawchik: I’m sure they called around but I can understand why they would prefer Hand/Cimber

1:16
Traveling Man: I saw Cubs fans arguing that Kyle Schwarber should be off limits for deGrom. Thats pretty ridiculous, right. Regardless of his progress his profile isn’t very hard to find.

1:16
Travis Sawchik: I’d include Schwarber for deGrom

1:17
Jack: Better out of no where SP Stripling, Eflin or Bieber?

1:17
Travis Sawchik: Stripling

1:17
Travis Sawchik: But all three are very valuable

1:17
Alex: How does the SD foursome of Gore, Quantrill, Morejon and Baez stack up against Atl’s Wright, Anderson, Allard and Wentz?

1:17
Travis Sawchik: Paddack, too!

1:17
Travis Sawchik: Great groups, I prefer SD, I think

1:18
Nicole: Who has the best minor league team name?

1:18
Travis Sawchik: It was just for a day last week but it was the Charleston Boiled Peanuts

1:18
Travis Sawchik: Alright folks, thanks for participating in this 60-grade chat

1:19
Travis Sawchik: Until next week, be good and do good

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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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