Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/15/13

9:00
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see, am I on time?

9:00
Jeff Sullivan: Nailed it!

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: Hey everybody and welcome to baseball chat

9:01
Comment From Sirras One
Congrats on being on time Jeff!

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: This is a big day for me

9:02
Comment From Roy Hibbert
if you were the dodgers who would u pitch for games 4/5/6/7

9:03
Comment From Guest
Roy Hibbert: the answer is always Jeff Suppan

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think they have the right idea. Ricky Nolasco is a pretty good pitcher, no matter what happened in September, and we shouldn’t overstate the degree to which he’s a weak link. Don’t want to push everyone else up just because you believe Nolasco is exploitable

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, the Cardinals can’t be thrilled to be going with Lynn, but that’s what they’ve got today

9:04
Comment From Sirras One
Carlos Beltran: Great postseason baseball player, or greatest postseason baseball player?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Greatest to date. He should just quit now

9:04
Comment From Alan
Jon Jay. Just ugh. Last year he looked like he could be a decent centerfielder. What happened?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Going to be interesting to see what the Cardinals decide to do with Taveras going forward since it’s looking like CF is a problem area

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, they could always go splurge on Ellsbury but that doesn’t seem like their sort of thing

9:05
Comment From Mike Matheny
Why the hell did I play Jon Jay over the right handed, better fielding Shane Robinson last night?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t tell you ,but I bet you don’t do that again

9:06
Comment From Prich
Fantasy Question: Kate Upton or Blake Lively?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: probably too complicated to be with someone famous

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: just ask Dave’s wife

9:06
Comment From Guest
Would you rather have 162 games of Troy Tulowitzki, or 162 games of Mike Trout?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Trout, but that’s as close as it gets

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Ideally I’d have 162 games of Clayton Kershaw

9:07
Comment From Guest
Shelby Miller no good?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: They think he’s gassed and I’ve no choice but to defer to their observation

9:07
Comment From Guest
Are the Cardinals boned if they don’t win today?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Why would they be? Didn’t they already win two games against Greinke and Kershaw?

9:07
Comment From Bren
I often see people make comments like, “Beltran’s defense won’t hurt the Mets as much because they have a much better CF in Lagares than the Cards do in Jay,” or some-such example. Even though some of this is probably true, isn’t it dangerous to believe Lagares would be able to make up for Beltran’s shortcomings without altering the approach that makes him so great?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, you’d probably see a good center fielder shift over, exposing other areas on the other side. The way to think of it is: there’s some overlap between defenders, but there’s not very much, and Beltran would still have a big giant space to himself. A space in which he’d be a below-average defensive player. The real reason Beltran’s defense wouldn’t hurt the Mets as much is because the Mets won’t be very good

9:08
Comment From Josh
So Dodgers lose Kershaw and Greinke starts and Cards lose Wainwright’s. Just how we assumed it would go right? Baseball!!

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Favorite part of the series so far

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: and none of them have been bad, either

9:09
Comment From Bret
Do you see the Tigers moving Rick Porcello this offseason to move Drew Smyly into the rotation? How would Porcello be valued, given that his profile seems to be changing and he continues to underperform his FIP.

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Porcello get moved given Smyly’s availability and the fact that Porcello is getting more expensive, with two years to go. If there’s anything to the Scherzer talk, they’d do that instead, but Porcello has been the subject of rumors forever and it’s about time for him to pitch in front of a real defense

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he would bring back a big haul, but young starting pitching is young starting pitching and the Tigers would get value on top of losing the salary. Think most teams would understand that he’s had Cabrera and Fielder behind him the last two years

9:12
Comment From Roy Hibbert
are you against the idea of a closer?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: The way they’re used now, yeah

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I am in favor of the idea of a preferred shutdown reliever

9:12
Comment From Erik
Is Detroit’s starting pitching that good or were the first 15 IP of 1 hit ball just one of those weird things that happen in baseball?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Well they’re not 1-hit-in-15-innings good. But yeah, Detroit has one of the best starting rotations ever, and they strike everybody out out of habit

9:13
Comment From Paul “Fuhrer” Beeston
If you were sitting in the Jays GM seat, which vet’ would you move this off season?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: No one seems like a good vet to move. I’d try to reload and give it another go in 2014

9:14
Comment From Greg
162 games of Lucas Duda or 162 games of Lucas Duda?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: In one of those I pretend that Lucas Duda is the name of a board game, and I’ll go with 162 games of that

9:14
Comment From Prich
More annoying: Duck fans, or Angels fans?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Can’t tell if you mean Oregon Ducks or Anaheim Ducks. But that reminds me of a story

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a big fan of the Ottawa Senators. In 2007, Ottawa lost the Stanley Cup to Anaheim in five games. They got manhandled. Anyway:

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: A couple years later, some friends and I were in downtown San Diego watching an Ottawa matinee on TV in a hockey bar. It was a glorious, I don’t know, Saturday or Sunday, and we were all wearing Ottawa jerseys. They lost to Montreal, and then I figured I’d show my friends Petco Park by walking a few blocks south

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Brilliant day. As we approached the fence around the outfield, I heard a voice behind us, 25 or 30 yards. I turned around to see a homeless man in a Ducks jersey, grinning and holding up the logo on the front of his sweater. “Let’s go Ducks,” he said, then he walked away, and I was left to contemplate the reality of what I’d just experienced.

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I was made fun of by a homeless man for wearing an Ottawa jersey in southern California

9:19
Comment From Sirras One
If you had to piece together a season of Tulo, Reyes, and modern-day Jeter, what proportion of the season would you want each to be healthy for?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: 100% Tulowitzki

9:20
Comment From Andrew
Sorry if this is painful, but can you tap into your knowledge as a Mariners fan, when can you tell that a front office has gone wrong, what are the warning signs, is there an identifiable pattern of behavior?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: When they trade value for Michael Morse and boost him as the savior of a struggling lineup

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: No front office is ever going to be completely up front about what it’s doing or what its philosophies are, but you can usually connect the dots on the sort of players the executives value

9:21
Comment From Sirras One
Make a pitcher with one pitcher’s arm, one fastball, one curve, one slider, one change, and one haircut

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think the answer I gave last week was Harvey fastball, Wainwright curve, Corbin slider, Strasburg change. Chapman arm, any haircut but Clay Buchholz’s

9:23
Comment From Matt
Lots of handwringing in Chicago over next Cubs manager. Makes more sense to focus on how to bridge talent gap til fruits of farm are ready, no? Any big moves this offseason?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I’d expect them to be in pretty hard on Ellsbury/Choo and they’ll take a deep long look at Price

9:24
Comment From Ace
How much will the Mariners overpay Kendrys Morales?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like $33 million/3yr

9:24
Comment From Greg
Is the idea that a player “is due” prevalent among managers and players? Is there any way to eliminate this egregious logical error?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s actually that prevalent among managers — I think it’s just a thing they say to the media. With players, it seems like it has some psychological value so they don’t get too down on themselves even when they’re slumping

9:25
Comment From TKDC
Prince’s homers fell again this year to 25. Last year, they dropped from 38 to 30, but the average distance was about the same. This year, average distance is down more than 10 feet. Would this make you worry more about the chances of a bounce back?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know enough about the significance of dinger distance to be able to confidently interpret that data. What makes me worry about the chances of a bounce back is the 35-point wRC+ drop in two years

9:26
Comment From Guest
Won’t Shelby Miller be less gassed after the million days of rest he has gotten? He hasn’t pitched in 2 weeks.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: If he’s actually that fatigued, that’s not the sort of thing you recover from in a couple weeks. But I do wonder why he’s on the roster if the Cardinals aren’t jazzed about the prospect of using him

9:27
Comment From Paul George
Trading for Porcello would be such a Cubs move.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Someone could come away from that really pleased

9:27
Comment From Guest
The Cardinals entire lineup has hit like pitchers and they’re still up a game

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: because the Dodgers’ entire lineup has hit like pitchers

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Well, all right, that’s an exaggeration. .573 OPS for the Dodgers, .366 OPS for the Cardinals. But a lot of that Dodgers OPS was bad defense yesterday

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: The Cardinals look like they’re really going to struggle against lefties without Craig

9:29
Comment From TKDC
And a similar question, does Trout leading the majors in average distance give you room for optimism that he could turn into a legit regular 40 homer type player? And if so, f#%k (in a good way).

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s pretty apparent Trout has even more power potential than he’s shown. He’s going to beat the crap out of so many baseballs as he fills out

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: he’ll also get a lot worse in the field, but they’ll take the trade-off

9:30
Comment From juan pierres mustache
Right before Ortiz hit that grand slam, I pictured him homering. At first I thought I was clairvoyant and then I realized I basically always picture batters homering before their at-bats and then mentally congratulate myself for calling it when it does happen

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I was thinking so hard about Seth Smith homering :(

9:31
Comment From Kimball
Going to dup a question I posed to Dave, hoping for a more concrete answer: a year ago, Nick Franklin was ahead of Brad Miller on all the prospect lists; now Miller’s on (most) every list of Mariner bright spots and Franklin’s (mostly) written off. Understandable why preferences would switch, but what are some concrete reasons for giving up on Franklin? Yeah, he didn’t make adjustments so well after his great start, but he did rebound a bit, and he’s so young! It’s not like his ugly K% and replacement level D are news . . .

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Nobody’s *giving up* on Franklin, but the reality is that he’s a weak defensive player who strikes out too much and who hits for unreliable power given his body. He’s going to have to maximize what he can do to make up for what he can’t really do, and the upside is very limited. Miller, meanwhile, looks like a potentially legitimate shortstop who can hit a bit

9:33
Comment From Steve
What if we redefined “clutch” to mean ‘A player who plays to his natural abilities during high pressure/close & late situations’? I don’t believe in clutch, but I believe that the ability to be unaffected by those situations isn’t universal.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I think the working theory is that if you can’t really handle the pressure, you’ll get weeded out somewhere before you reach the major leagues

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: What you’ll find is that, over a big enough sample, most everyone reaches their career averages or so in pressure situations

9:34
Comment From Sirras One
Would you rather have a ground ball pitcher in front of an infield of Dan Ugglas or a fly ball pitcher in front of an outfield of Lucas Dudas?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: The first one, then after the game I’d march into my general manager’s office and turn in my letter of resignation

9:35
Comment From Kimball
Isn’t it kind of effed up that the ALCS is on broadcast, but the NLCS is only on pay cable?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Not to me, because I see them both

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I have to imagine most people who want to see the NLCS are able to see the NLCS and this is a long-term contract they have with TBS

9:36
Comment From gSon
responding to Erik’s question.. the Tigers starting pitching is especially good when they’re facing a better team.. When will the Boston Rabbits at the top of their order put a bunt down?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s still the case there’s only been one bunt attempt at Cabrera, and it was popped up

9:36
Comment From Ace
Using the 20 – 80 scale, what would you give Jon Jay’s range?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: 45 and I’m not a scout and I’ve never used the 20-80 scale

9:37
Comment From dalkowski
Which team is closest to its ceiling?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know what this question means but the Pirates were pretty maxed out in 2013

9:38
Comment From tenebrous
The Rockies seem to have a solid core. Are they only a good pitcher and some good luck away from contending?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Good pitcher, good position player, healthy Tulowitzki

9:39
Comment From CF Logic
If a centerfielder is not particularly fast, but still plays center field, then he is a good fielder. It’s science.

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: He probably is, but he looks bad in center relative to our expectations of center fielders

9:40
Comment From Sirras One
Wainwright’s curve over Kershaw’s?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Wainwright uses his curve a lot more, and it’s highly successful

9:40
Comment From Kimball
Cabrera seems to be sitting pretty solidly in the gulf between the McCarver-types continuing to proclaim him to be the most dangerous player in baseball and the skeptics who say that a great hitter can knock a shot every now and then even when he’s broken. What’s the middle ground? Beane’s “sandbagging” claim?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Here’s what we know: Miguel Cabrera is not at 100%. At 100%, Cabrera is one of baseball’s most feared hitters, and even when he doesn’t have his body on his side, he still has all the other talents that you need to be amazing. Same mind, same wrists, same eye. A hurt Cabrera will still be a better hitter than a lot of other hitters, and a hurt Cabrera is by no means incapable of going deep, since even Munenori Kawasaki went deep. Cabrera should be feared right now, but he should be less feared than usual. He’s get-outtable

9:43
Comment From Winston
Do you think the Tigers have the character to bounce back after the tough loss?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I assume this is tongue in cheek

9:45
Comment From Winston
Who do you think has the better bullpen: Cards or Dodgers?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Cardinals have a little more depth, but there’s not a huge difference between the two. Rosenthal and Jansen are both so good

9:45
Comment From Gila Monster
With a healthy Morrow,Dickey, and Burhle, do the Jays resign J.J. or do they look elsewhere for a FA pitcher?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Johnson will probably get a better opportunity somewhere else

9:46
Comment From Guest
Bigger mistake: Mariners taking Clement over Tulo, or Rockies taking Reynolds over Longoria?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Were they mistakes, or were they just unfortunate rolls of the dice?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: WE CAN NEVER KNOW THE ANSWER

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: and the answer is Rockies

9:47
Comment From That One Guy
FWIW, Prince Fielder is going through a divorce this year. I think that as fans and analytical people, we can overlook the importance of off-field factors. No big leaguer is a robot, not even Mike Trout.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I think most people know about the divorce, and everybody understands that players aren’t robots, but it’s not like there isn’t legitimate reason to be concerned with Fielder’s future based on other factors. Just as we can’t say it’s all unrelated to the divorce, we can’t say it’s all closely related to the divorce

9:50
Comment From Gila Monster
Are you suprised umps don’t use stop watches to demean pitchers for pitching too slow? I mean we all know umps loves to make it the ump show too.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Umpires can count

9:50
Comment From Kimball
Could Puig have hit an IPHR last night if he hadn’t celebrated? It took him longer to get to first than from first to third.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: No, I don’t think so, the showboating didn’t cost him 3-4 seconds

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I did think about it, though. He got into third mighty easily

9:50
Comment From Andrew
Is there any data on how batted ball distance ages?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Not data that’s good enough

9:51
Comment From Larry Bird
Is Joe Kelly a mid-rotation starter or a decent relief pitcher for the future Cardinals? What is his ceiling?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Right now he’s a fringe #5, and he could be a 4 with a little more secondary-pitch development. Already has the parts to be a good long reliever

9:51
Comment From RSquared
Farrell will sit Nava again because of Gomes’ intangibles. Ross over Salty though DET has no running game. What’s up with that? Sit two better hitters when offense has struggled?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Well, I like David Ross a lot just because of his pitch-framing ability, so he has a ton of defensive value

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t quite understand the Nava/Gomes thing, but let’s not make too much of the difference in one game between Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes

9:53
Comment From dalkowski
Who ends up with highest peak wrc+ of harper/trout/puig? If you have any desire for ridiculous prognostications…

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Trout, around 190-200

9:54
Comment From TKDC
With Beltran’s comments about Puig, can we get over the false narrative that this is purely an American/Latino thing?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t seen Beltran’s comments yet, but I imagine Puig irritates everybody that he plays against, not just white Americans

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: And that’s silly because Puig is awesome

9:55
Comment From EG
Jeff, for what it’s worth, I just declare that Seth Smith did homer, and the A’s went on and won the world series. It’s remarkably effective, emotionally.

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Joaquin Benoit’s mistake before Joaquin Benoit’s mistake

9:55
Comment From Forsyth
David Ortiz and “clutch hitting” – My theory is that he’s very good at staying even keeled, and feasts on mistakes that pitchers make due to folding under the pressure. I very much believe in choking, but not in some kind of added talent. Thoughts on the theory?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: According to our splits, David Ortiz has a career 138 wRC+, and a career 128 wRC+ in high-leverage situations, in the regular season

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I do think there’s an impression of Ortiz in pitchers’ heads now, I think people see him as this incredible clutch monster in the playoffs, but I doubt that has an actual effect, aside from maybe trying to pitch around him a little more. Pitchers are very confident individuals, as they ought to be

9:58
Comment From J6takish
Look at Jeters career post season line vs his career regular season. It’s almost a mirror image. Everybody remembers the Mr November homerun, nobody remembers him batting 200 that whole postseason

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Almost identical numbers, against much tougher average competition

9:58
Comment From Catoblepas
Bunting is hard — I think a lot of people are like “ugh why don’t they just bunt at Cabrera” but it definitely takes some practice beforehand. That being said, he’s been gimpy for a while, so they’ve had time to practice, but it’s not something you can totally just decide to do the night before.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Right. I think teams should absolutely prepare by practicing bunting a lot

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, it’s right there for the taking

9:59
Comment From Larry Bird
What do you think of all these mid-inning manager interviews?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I miss Joe Maddon

9:59
Comment From tenebrous
I don’t get the “weeding out” argument vis a vis handling pressure. Just as hitting ability fluctuates at the Major League level, why can’t “mental toughness” in clutch situations vary? I’m not saying it’s easy to measure or definitely there, but saying “mentally less-strong players don’t reach the Majors” is too big an assumption.

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Is it? Do you understand how difficult it is to get to that level and stay there? Not everybody will have the same abilities across the board, but the weaker players aren’t going to have it in them to get to the mountaintop. At least, this is what’s suggested by rigorous analysis

10:00
Comment From TKDC
Is there a team with a greater chance to win 90 or more games next year than the Astros chances of losing 100 or more?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Tigers?

10:01
Comment From Joel
What do the rangers do with Andrus, Kinsler, and Profar?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Keep working Profar in semi-regularly all around the field

10:02
Comment From dalkowski
What team best utilizes its combination of talent and financial resources? (Cards and A’s individually, for example)

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Cards, A’s, Rays. Model franchises in certain ways

10:02
Comment From Gila Monster
I really enjoyed Ben Lindbergh’s piece on learning to scout. Imagine if statisics guys in the front office were also scouts. It would be incredible.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Give it time and everyone will start to blend together. Scout-types will learn more about numbers, number-types will learn more about scouting

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: But everything will always be group decisions

10:04
Comment From Al
Colby Rasmus for real as a four-win guy, or was this just another tease?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: He was probably over his head defensively but he looks like he’s a good player

10:04
Comment From Matt
Who will be doing the live game chat today?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know that we have a live game chat today

10:05
Comment From Al
Am I the only one who wants the TV to pick up as much Scully as possible if the Dodgers advance?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: What on earth makes you think you’d be the only one who wants more Vin Scully?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think Scully himself has said he doesn’t consider himself a great fit for those national broadcasts

10:06
Comment From dalkowski
Halladay or Johnson in 2014?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Johnson

10:06
Comment From Bret
Speaking of Munenori Kawasaki, is he one-half of an actually pretty good shortstop or second base platoon?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:06
Comment From dalkowski
Brian Kenny vs Hawk Harrelson for six rounds: who comes out on top?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hawk Harrelson is 72 years old

10:07
Comment From Ethan
Which team wins the most games over the next 5 years? The fewest?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox, Astros

10:07
Comment From Andrew
I keep hearing/reading about this dearth of right handed power hitters and the associated market premiums, is there anything other than anecdotes backing this up?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if anybody’s researched just because it seems so dumb on the face of it. Assume that it’s nonsense until/unless you read otherwise, convincingly

10:09
Comment From Catoblepas
divorce also cited as problems for Lackey in 2011, so maybe some precedent? of excuse making or of real problems, who knows.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I bet a whole lot of players have gone through mid-season divorces we heard nothing about

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Off-the-field stuff matters, we have no idea how much it matters, it stands to reason it would be different for everyone, and the best we can say is “Fielder’s numbers took a dive but maybe some of that was because he wasn’t as focused as usual”

10:10
Comment From Arquimedes Bozo
The dancing Dodger bear is better than the Mariner moose..

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: This giant cork coaster in front of me on the coffee table is better than the Mariner moose

10:11
Comment From Guest
Do we know who is pitching for Detroit in Game 4 or does it depend on today’s result?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: It’s Fister

10:11
Comment From Andrew
Maybe Prince is the most relieved as he’s been in a while getting this divorce. Maybe 2012 was even worse. Maybe, maybe not, the point being who knows?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than having a sliver of insight

10:11
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Is Corey Hart a reasonable idea for the Bucs at 1B?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: More reasonable than this year’s attempted solutions

10:11
Comment From Arquimedes Bozo
If you could sit at any brewery in Portland to watch both games today, where you going city boy?!

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Hopworks

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: or Cascade

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: or Deschutes

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: oh god paralysis by analysis

10:12
Comment From SK
who do you think is a safer bet for 2014: Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson or Bartolo Colon?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Colon of course because he was just good and the others were just bad

10:12
Comment From That One Guy
Jeff, what’s your pick today?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Tigers, Cardinals

10:12
Comment From Andrew
I hate the ‘Puig is a bad guy’ narrative as much as the next FanGraphs reader, but I seriously also don’t buy the ‘he’s just passionate for the game argument.’ If you’re passionate about succeeding in the game, you run after you hit the ball. End of story. He’s a showman, plain and simple, and that has nothing to do with ‘loving the game.’

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: They’re all showmen. Nobody understands that better than Ichiro. Baseball is a performance on a low grassy stage. Those reactions are instinctual. Puig though he hit a massive home run. He didn’t *plan* that. He’ll get more polished over the years, when he becomes more experienced in Dodger Stadium instead of ballparks in Cuba

10:14
Comment From Schpuig
when is the faux-hysteria going to stop over rookie “show-boating”? Jeez, I seem to remember having to endure a heck of a lot of HR pimping from Barry Bonds

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Over time these things get optimized. You come to better recognize when you have and haven’t hit a home run, and you save the showboating for the dingers

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: And in that event, I mean, you hit a dinger. Go ahead and show off

10:16
Comment From Arquimedes Bozo
re: Ortiz/Beltran article, how much better or worse do you think the 2 performed in those 10 abs than someone should expect?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: a hit or two. one of the Ortiz walk-offs, incidentally, was a flare

10:17
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
So, we are pretending that Zach Greinke and Roger Clemens don’t have differences in mental makeup?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: when it comes to the effect the mental makeup has on pitching performance in the clutch?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: all we really care about is how things change the performances, right?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Clemens allowed a .636 career OPS, and a .633 career OPS in high-leverage situations

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Greinke has allowed a .706 career OPS, and a .666 career OPS in high-leverage situations

10:19
Comment From The Oberamtmann
When do we hear more about the A-Rod saga?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Who would want to?

10:19
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
It sounds like you are claiming that the field of sports psychology is bunk.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: That is not what I’m doing, but we have to begin with the numbers. The numbers are the things that matter, to us.

10:21
Comment From The Oberamtmann
Why do the Red Sox carry two longmen on their playoff roster?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Because they’re pretty good!

10:21
Comment From Guest
re: Porcello – “it’s about time for him to pitch in front of a real defense.” The Orioles have a real defense and desperately need pitching. Good fit?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Yup

10:23
Comment From Munenori Kawasaki
.341 OBP vs. righties with good defense no good?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: 78 wRC+ vs. righties with okay defense

10:23
Comment From Prich
If you are running the Ms, could you justify giving Ellsbury 6/120, based on team needs and recent history?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, you could totally justify that. Might not even be much of an overpay

10:23
Comment From Larry Bird
Pick one player (not named Mike Trout) to clone and create an entire team (batting/pitching/fielding) … Kershaw or Harper?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: oh jesus

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Tulowitzki? Andrelton Simmons?

10:24
Comment From BassmanUW
Would the Astros winning the least games over the next 5 years be because you still expect them to be bad in 5 years, or that they’ll be so bad over the next 3 years that by the time enough prospects are ready and they are competitive in, say, 2017, they’ll be so far behind everyone else they’d need to be the best team in baseball to catch the next lowest win total?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: The only thing we can really try to predict is the immediate future and in the immediate future the Astros are still hot garbage. They have the worst present-day combination of talent and resources, I think, although there are other contenders like the White Sox and Brewers

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: maybe not the Brewers

10:25
Comment From Schpuig
everybody posits that playoff competition is “much tougher”, etc. is it? in general the pitching is better but these guys are also largely running on fumes. the “average MLer” is also pretty difficult to hit. what is it called, “survivor bias”? I think this is largely the explanation for what people are calling vastly better competiton.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: No more 5th/6th/7th starters, no more mediocre middle relievers. Pitchers on fumes from long season, but hitters also on fumes, and it’s not like pitcher velocity really goes markedly down

10:26
Comment From Larry Bird
Which Cardinals outfielder will Oscar Taveras replace next year?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: sure looks like Jay!

10:27
Comment From BassmanUW
I’m sure baseball players, like everyone else, have varying levels of ability to leave personal problems off the field. Some people find work as their escape and can put the personal problems on the side. Some people become wholly unproductive as their personal problems overwhelm everything else.

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: and Fielder played 162 games

10:27
Comment From McExpos
I’ve always been puzzled by saber-writers who throw out the data and think that’s enough to win over the non-stats crowd. One of the core principles of persuasion theory is that you don’t use information that YOU find persuasive, but that THEY will find persuasive. As someone who does this well, how would you advise the saber-crowd do a better job of being persuasive rather than just argumentative?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Write about numbers with care. Don’t overuse them. Avoid using numbers when you don’t have to. When presenting numbers, especially complex ones, consider how they’ll be read and pay some attention to formatting. Explain, concisely but coherently, any concepts that aren’t immediately obvious

10:29
Comment From Guest
Puig plays baseball like I play baseball videogames. And it’s wonderful.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a guy enthusiastic about playing baseball. The nerve!

10:29
Comment From Arquimedes Bozo
Do they have TVs at Cascade? Or is it more of a pretentious wine bar sorta feel?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: There are a few TVs as of a couple years ago. Not at all pretentious

10:30
Comment From J6takish
Can white players break the unwritten rules? Seems like this stuff only ever comes up with nonwhite players

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Roger Clemens threw a baseball bat at a guy

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Bryce Harper is a white player

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Shane Victorino was born in the US and he’s kind of an ass

10:31
Comment From Wink
So, how do you think managerial interviews go? Or, what are objective criteria for hiring a baseball manager? We DO seem to believe it matters. We generally feel Maddon and Francona are good at it. a) does the manager matter? and b) how do you decide what makes a good one?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: You go over the manager’s history, you probably present some examples of possible situations to see how they’d be handled, you talk about the organizational plan and figure out if you can be on the same page. You talk about philosophies when it comes to handling young players and deferring authority or not deferring authority to veterans

10:32
Comment From Jack Dorsey
Why do you only follow 37 people on twitter?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: Because I don’t want to follow more? Twitter is already overwhelming and I have enough other shit to do

10:33
Comment From Catoblepas
Even if there was a difference between Greinke and Clemens, who’s to say Clemens can focus easier because his pitches are better? No way to isolate cause/effect.

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: And maybe a guy like Clemens would get *too* jazzed up in a tough spot, while a guy like Greinke wouldn’t care about the circumstances. Lots of ways to interpret things based on what the numbers say, which is retroactive explanation

10:34
Comment From Forsyth
In regards to Ortiz’s wRC+ overall vs wRC+ in late and close, has there been any research done on the caliber of pitching in late and close vs the league average? Seems like the pitchers faced would be above league average in most late and close situations, no?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, you’re going to have more bullpen specialists in clutch situations, especially when your’e dealing with particularly tough hitters. I imagine platoon disadvantages occur in greater rates in high leverage

10:35
Comment From pinch
are you basing Victorino’s ass-ness on the hbp stuff, or is he otherwise an ass?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: lots of dirty slides

10:35
Comment From Schpuig
wait, is it fair to compare the wear on a pitcher’s arm after 200+ IP (Kershaw is up to 255 not counting ST) and the fatigue a position player has? I don’t know about that.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Do the pitchers look like they’re tired?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: The position players participated in a full season.

10:36
Comment From Mike
The reason I stopped watching football was because of the pimping. I don’t want to see anymore come to baseball. Hey look at that you did your job well, put your head down and run dummy

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a difference between celebrating literally every single tackle and celebrating the occasional big home run

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a fan of on-field emotion, myself

10:37
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Yeah, but how do you separate physical talent and mental ability. Isn’t it possible that some get buy on a talent advantage, others on mental strength advantage. The end result is the same statistically. the great ones maybe have both and thus the appearance of clutch?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: There are definitely guys who mostly just coasted by on talent, but what we end up with in the numbers is a reflection of performance, which depends on both ability and focus. Numbers are the result of the combination of the two. If two guys have a 3.50 ERA, how much should we care about how they got there?

10:39
Comment From Jeff
Think about something you’re really good at. Better than anyone else you know. Think about being so good at that that you are better at it than 99% of the world. Do you think any added pressure would make you worse at that one thing? I don’t.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say a lot of people would say they thrive on that pressure

10:40
Comment From Cory
Scherzer and Verlander were the only two players of the fifteen that were polled to say FIP as the most important stat for pitchers. They have arguably the best rotation in MLB history. Coincidence?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of! Some good pitchers like advanced stats. Brian Bannister also liked advanced stats.

10:41
Comment From Steve 1
You always chat for longer than an hour, do you just like it? Dave always does exactly an hour because he’s a robot.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I feel bad about going at a slower pace so I go longer to compensate

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Also I usually completely lose track of time somewhere around 10:15

10:41
Comment From Cory
Why is everyone being so hard on Jon Jay when Freese and Kozma were so much worse?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Jay was worse yesterday

10:41
Comment From Prich
Have your parents/girlfriend ever discussed your use of naughty language in these chats and or posts?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: No, but my grandfather did once

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: in just the kindest way possible of course

10:42
Comment From Los
Why do people hate Shane Victorino? Google came up empty…

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: hold on, I’m trying to find the right word

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: this is frustrating research. it always slips my mind

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: There we go. Agitator!

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Victorino is sort of a baseball equivalent of a hockey agitator or pest

10:46
Comment From Forsyth
I agree with the specialist/platoon disadvantages. So, if that’s the case, can you really just compare “Player X’s numbers in late and close vs overall numbers” to determine how they perform in late and close? Or, is wRC+ adjusted for situational hitting? (i.e., if league average wOBA is lower in late and close, a 128 wRC+ may actually be 140).

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: This year, the league posted a 100 wRC+ overall, and a 93 wRC+ in high-leverage situations

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: So that’s something you have to keep in mind when looking at a guy’s splits. It’s like comparing regular season numbers to playoff numbers — even if they’re the same, the latter numbers came against tougher competition, on average

10:48
Comment From Prich
Looking forward to any TV appearances this winter!?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I hope so!

10:48
Comment From Schpuig
yeah i will agree that the pitchers’s left hurling are pretty elite for the most part but I think there is some survivor bias in play as well. I’m not using that as an attempt to argue that “clutch” is a complete myth. I think the “clutchness” comes more from being mentally focused which is to say that some people seem to perform well when it counts most are prob just more mentally prepared even tho the results most likely regress to career avgs given enough time/samples.

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: It gets down to all the research. Research hasn’t really uncovered demonstrably clutch players. Maybe that all needs to be re-visited, I don’t know, but I’d assume most players are just focused almost all of the time. Maybe there’s not a benefit in baseball to focusing extra hard

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe you can be *too* focused. Maybe that means you’re too locked in on one particular pitch and you’re no longer playing easy and freely

10:51
Comment From Arquimedes Bozo
Let’s hear it for Jeff’s fucking grandfather, WOO!

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: well he’s dead now

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: so good going, Bozo!

10:51
Comment From Guest
Boston media completely wiped away all of Shane’s past transgressions from the interwebs~

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’d love Victorino if he played on my team, which is always the case with agitators

10:51
Comment From Guest
i’ve read the entire chat script and have not seen a single volcano question answered……. so tell me somthing about some recent volcanic activity i may or may not have heard about!

10:53
Comment From TKDC
If you don’t even understand why people dislike Victorino, you either don’t watch baseball or you have mental issues.

10:53
Comment From drCman
I hate victorino because he had a few dirty slides and there were 2 hbps that were strikes because of how close he stands.

10:53
Comment From TKDC
He’s pesky and annoying. And he’s also good.

10:53
Comment From ShaneVictorino
Nex time I’m in Protland, I’m kicking your ass, Sullivan!

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: You seem more like a yipper

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: It’s like, shut up already, Shane Victorino

10:53
Comment From ctTiger
who do you like to come out of each series, and the world series from here?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Red Sox, Cardinals, Red Sox. But apparently I’ve found myself rooting for the Tigers and Cardinals

10:54
Comment From Forsyth
So, a 7% dropoff in wRC+ in late and close situations. For Ortiz, in this situation, his wRC+ overall (138) is much closer to his adjust wRC+ in late and close, when you take the 7% adjustment into consideration (138 wRC+ would be ~128 wRC+ in late and close). Thanks for answering these, it’s really interesting.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Then there’s also the matter of how league-wide high-leverage changes aren’t the same as Ortiz-specific high-leverage changes. Does he see more or fewer specialists? How has this split changed over the years? Are teams more careful no with high-leverage situations than before? Gets complicated, like always

10:55
Comment From Kimball
Has Nate Silver offered you a job yet?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t want to leave

10:55
Comment From Forsyth
I’m a Red Sox fan, and I absolutely love Victorino.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: And I’m an Ottawa fan and I absolutely love Chris Neil

10:56
Comment From Justin
Frankly, I have more questions about the personality of a guy who hits a big home run and DOESN’T react.

10:56
Comment From Shark Mapiro
Do you think Tampa keeps Dejesus? Would he be a good fit to platoon RF with Raburn in Cleveland?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: I get the sense he’s sticking around where he is

10:57
Comment From Bubba
Who put up the best career post-Tommy John surgery?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Carpenter? Hudson? Wainwright? So many options

10:58
Comment From Guest
If Mike Trout hit the open market today, what kind of deal would he get? 10/300 as the starting point?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: That might be more like the finishing point, but we’d be talking about $300 million for real

10:58
Comment From William
So is Swisher an agitator? Yankee fans LOVED him and thought he was super nice but other fans seemed to dislike him.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s something different — I don’t think he goes out of his way to be obnoxious. He just is kind of obnoxious, in himself, and you overlook that if he’s producing for your own team

10:59
Comment From Guest
Matt Cooke: yay or nay?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: murder

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: would murder

10:59
Comment From Andrew
Jeff, can you give a range of your salary from FanGraphs? (I you think it’s a travesty of a question, saying $0- $1,000,000 will indicate as much.) I’m genuinely curious.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: less than your least-favorite player ever on your favorite baseball team

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll leave it at I live alone in an apartment I like in a neighborhood I love in a city that’s wonderful

11:01
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Salty back in game 3, Ross out – for the Sox hopeful

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Welp there’s that then

11:01
Comment From Guest
Ok so why on earth are there “tours” in the craters of seismically active volcano’s……thank god there werent any overnight camping trips in the one you linked!

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Extreme vacationing! There will be tours of anything where people can make money, and there will be people willing to pay that money because they want to experience the rush of confronting danger

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: As long as people understand the risks, I suppose they’re free to do as they wish

11:02
Comment From Schmiggy
does Cabrera DH full time next yr?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Hey, it’s been two hours! I gotta go!

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Stuff to do before today’s baseball. Thank you everybody for hanging out, sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t get to, and we’ll do it again next week around the same time. Be well, all, and have great days



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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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Jason B
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Jason B

Trout or Tulo for 162 games is as “close as it gets”? Yikes.

(Yes, healthy Tulo is outstanding. Trout has given two seasons showing that he may be a transcendent, generational talent. Not all that close.)

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