Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/7/14

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s do this thing. Less late than last week!

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: This looks like it might be my last chat with CiL classic :( I’m afraid of sweeping change

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Or even minor, barely-noticeable change. To be honest I haven’t bothered to investigate

9:05
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
ruh roh….what changes are in store w/ CiL?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know. The screencaps make it look like big ones. Could be little ones but I like the current model! The classic model! Keep CiL Classic!

9:05
Comment From Froglegs Jackson
Do you know when ZIPS projections will start appearing on player pages?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I believe when all the team ZiPS projections are rolled out

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: That’s also when we’ll have ZiPS input for the projected team WAR and standings and everything

9:06
Comment From Gareth
After making a comment last week about Fangraphs writers complaing about attending the winter meetings in Florida, I ended up booking a Disneyworld Trip. Thanks for the inspiration Jeff! Also – It’s the Ice Age in Ohio right now.

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Be wary of frost quakes! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryoseism

9:07
Comment From Gareth
Changes of any member of next years Free Agent class accepting the qualifying offer?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly too early to say but let’s wait to find out what happens in the end with Cruz, Morales, Drew, etc

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t buy that the offer is much of a deterrent for the Mets, since the slot value of the pick they’d give up to sign him is less than $700k

9:09
Comment From FS
What does an Ian Desmond extension look like?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Well, you figure he’ll get about $7 million this coming year, and then something like $10-11 million in his last year of arbitration

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Then it becomes a matter of the length of the deal. If you go six years, I could see a dollar amount around $85-90 million

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: then add or subtract, say, $16-17 million for each additional or fewer season

9:13
Comment From Guest
If Albert Belle had the reputation of being a boy scout, like Greg Maddux, would Belle have had a real chance at the HOF?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Nope. Awesome, awesome player, but wasn’t awesome for long enough.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Basically played a decade, didn’t hit any of the usual HoF benchmarks outside of his rate stats

9:14
Comment From Gareth
Which player made the biggest mistake by not accepting the QO – Drew, Morales or Cruz?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Probably Morales, given that his market was automatically half the size of the others

9:15
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
did you see this: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/07/greg-maddux-will-not-be-a-unanimous-hall-of-famer/ SAD FACE….

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t care about HoF voting, but if I *did* care about HoF voting, I’d be really super aggravated by that kind of unjustifiable behavior

9:15
Comment From Conrad
Surprise CY candidate for each league next season? Someone who wasn’t top 10 this season….

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Just realized Matt Moore tied for ninth. Crap

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Give me a second here

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Aw the hell with it. Corey Kluber and Tim Hudson

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Kluber because of being awesome, Hudson because he’ll be fine in a park that suppresses run scoring more than any other

9:20
Comment From Gareth
Is 3B the weakest position in MLB right now?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Let me just load my trusty leaderboards…

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: By an arbitrary cutoff, it’d be shortstop, where Steamer has just seven players projected for at least 3 WAR

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: But then that doesn’t include guys like Bogaerts, Peralta, Lowrie, Cabrera, Hardy…

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Third base is in pretty good position though, especially with the coming switch by Matt Carpenter

9:24
Comment From Gareth
Loved your article about Stephew Drew. The thing that intruiged me was the MLB improvement at SS. Have shortstops really improved THAT dramatically the past 2 years? I remember a recent time when the position was a barren wasteland of talent.

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Most teams have what at least looks like the possibility of an answer at the position. It’s still pretty weak, relatively speaking, since there are still starting Florimons and Hechavarrias and Escobars, but right now Derek Jeter is projected to be one of the worst starting shortstops in MLB

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Still few elite talents, but lots of young talent is in the process of emerging and trying to establish itself

9:26
Comment From Gareth
What do you think about Scott Boras’s ideas on changing the QO format (such as banning to QO to Free Agents over 30?)

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I’d go two steps further and just get rid of compensation

9:27
Comment From Prich
Things likely to quickly pick back up in MLB, now that the Holiday Season is over?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Plenty should happen quick right around the Tanaka signing deadline

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: And then from there it’s just a short few weeks until the start of spring training, which some people get really excited about

9:27
Comment From GSon
The Tanaka Sweepstakes..anything more definitive going on.. or all speculation, still?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Not going to be much in the way of meaningful movement until the deadline approaches in earnest. No real reason for Tanaka to sign before then

9:28
Comment From Collin
What do you think of Tyson Ross and Josh Johnson for 2014. I am skeptical of Johnson as a pitcher but like him being a Padre.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I think they could both reasonably end up anywhere between 0-5 WAR. I like that kind of player volatility on a Padres team that needs some breaks to contend

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: If I’m wrong to be enchanted by risky high-upside pitchers, then slap me in fuzzy handcuffs

9:29
Comment From PK Subban
I made Team Canada!!!

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: go to hell

9:29
Comment From Oren
What should the Jays offer Stephen Drew?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Well realistically nothing until/unless they hear that he’d be willing to play second base

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: But then start at 3/$30 million and see what that does. Be willing to increase by a few million

9:30
Comment From Highway61
What other projection systems will be in the player pages this year? Thanks

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Steamer, Oliver, Marcel, ZiPS…Fans?

9:31
Comment From Tedley
Is Ken Gurnick more brave or dumb for publishing his HoF ballot?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Probably neither. It’s professional to publish one’s ballot but Gurnick also obviously doesn’t care about his feedback

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: If anything he *wants* that outrage. Which would be the opposite of bravery

9:32
Comment From A. Lane
When discussing how a different batted ball profile would benefit a hitter, more fly balls for a slugger, is not the null hypothesis that GB% and FB% rates are very stable? If this is true what would be considered a significant change in GB% /FB% rates?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously that depends on the sample sizes but as a rule of thumb a change starts getting my attention when it’s around 5 percentage points or so. 10 and it’s really something

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: But remember that a batted-ball profile is the result in large part of the characteristics of a batter’s swing, and it’s not easy for them to just be like “welp I guess I better put more balls in the air.” Change like that isn’t simple and sometimes players just have to maximize what they have

9:34
Comment From Erich
With the rash of players (Morales, Cruz, etc.) seemingly overestimating their markets and rejecting their initial teams’ QOs, how do you think the calculus changes with regards to players accepting QOs in the future?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Again, I think we should wait to see where these guys actually end up before we look for conclusions, but clearly players and their agents are going to need to have longer, more realistic conversations

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say it’s more likely a player accepts now than it was a few months ago

9:36
Comment From Eastern NC
PEDs aside, are Sosa and McGwire HOF players?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Right on the border, so it’s all about how big of a hall you prefer to have

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: My own mental cutoff is right around 60 career WAR, and that’s more or less where Sosa and McGwire find themselves

9:37
Comment From LarryA
Have you ever been to Cooperstown?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: nope

9:38
Comment From RotoLando
What can we expect from Year 2 of the Oswaldo Arcia Experience?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Actual positive value

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: but not very much of it

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: sorry :(

9:38
Comment From Bradley
Have the M’s front office said anything about Tanaka or is it all just talk from outside sources right now?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: The M’s front office doesn’t talk

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Like literally, even when they’re directly engaged face to face

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: they just stare until you feel like you’re the one being weird

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: It’s abundantly obvious that the Mariners will be heavily involved on Tanaka. They don’t need to say anything

9:39
Comment From tehzachatak
As a former SBNation writer – any comment on Viva El Birdos happenings?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I only saw Dan’s post and haven’t looked for any sort of follow-up, but Dan is an excellent baseball writer and SBNation will be just fine as a baseball business and brand without him because traffic is the internet’s only currency at the moment and so far we’ve been unable to do better than that

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: VEB will be worse; SBN won’t notice

9:41
Comment From Conrad
is it possible Stephen Drew doesn’t get signed at all? Your article points out the dinky market…after all, no one is obligated to sign him. Talk about little/no leverage…

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Thought the same about Kyle Lohse before he got 3/$33m

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Drew has *some* value to EVERYONE. Just a matter of compromises. He’ll get some millions

9:42
Comment From Eastern NC
Should the Orioles sign Morales? Nelson Cruz? Is a guy like Morales worth a first round pick?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: They should sign whichever one would settle for like 2/$20m

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: It’s basically between them and the Mariners for both, and the Mariners have less room for Morales than they do for Cruz

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: You don’t want to give up a first-rounder for either, but then a pick is nothing but a few million dollars, really. So you just account for that in the size of your FA bid

9:44
Comment From Eastern NC
Starlin Castro: the next Jose Lopez? Great start, poor finish to a career?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Increasingly looking like that

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: still waiting on the weird season with 25 dingers though

9:45
Comment From Guest
Whats all this about a supervolcano?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: too much

9:45
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
what are your thoughts on Garin Cecchini?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Legitimate major-league prospect, easily confused with Gavin Cecchini

9:46
Comment From Ohio
The community blog has had some interesting stuff of late. Do you enjoy reading those articles? Have a favorite article in the last few weeks or so?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I’m glad the blog has become so active over the past few months, after a series of starts and non-starts. As the editor of said blog, I read everything! Even the posts that don’t make it. I enjoy reading them a *little* less just because of the editing required, but not everyone requires much help and there’s creativity out there

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Remember folks! Submitting to the community blog is the best way to get noticed by FG and maybe end up on the front page

9:47
Comment From LarryA
Is is impossible for the Mets to catch up to the Yankees in revenue in 10 years? 50 years? What would it take aside from 25 World Series?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know anything about the nature of finance, really, but the Mets aren’t catching the Yankees. The Yankees will forever be a baseball empire.

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: How’s that for authority

9:48
Comment From Someguy
Chacin was once a heralded pitching prospect, but he hasn’t looked very studly? What kind of a floor/ceiling sitch are we looking at with him?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Man, he’s been weird

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: K% from 14% to 24%. GB% from 38% to 56%

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Realistically he’s probably a #2 trying to get out but it’s so impossibly difficult to evaluate these Colorado guys in a vacuum

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Actually I guess a vacuum is the whole problem

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’d like Chacin’s chances of looking amazing better somewhere else

9:53
Comment From Wilbur
Care to suggest an outfielder the Mariners should target? trade more viable than the FA leftovers? (Please, no Cruz!)

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners like Cruz the most, and could well end up with him, but my preferences would be, say, Jon Jay, or one of the Padres guys

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: People have floated the idea of Rasmus but I don’t know how well the teams match up. Wouldn’t want to trade Nick Franklin for one year of that guy

9:54
Comment From Eastern NC
Shouldn’t the Orioles be in on Tanaka? Shouldn’t they be behaving more like a major market team?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: As always, yes

9:54
Comment From Guest
and what would a Sale sale garner?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Everything

9:54
Comment From LarryA
Any indications of what type of a manager Brad Ausmus will be?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Simultaneously intelligent and respected

9:55
Comment From Steven
Thoughts on Ken Gurnick’s ballot?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: The sun is shining somewhere, and we’re all just trying to find it. Don’t get tripped up along the way in your pursuit of eternal warmth.

9:56
Comment From Grack Zeinke
have to think all Drew negotiations have to be about a 3rd yr. Makes sense that the Sox would still want him back for 1 or even 2 yrs. Boras has got to be holding out for 3. Mets prob would go 3 but only with price drop.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely no reason for either team to cave. This is why Boras might need the Blue Jays

9:57
Comment From zack
Should Dodgers fans be legitimately concerned about the lack of a Kershaw extension?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: Getting there. They’re still the Dodgers, and he’s still Clayton Kershaw, but this has advanced far beyond what I ever expected.

9:57
Comment From Grack Zeinke
Still so many arms available! Should make for a fun month. Wheeee!

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: More like a fun four or five days. They’ll all topple in a hurry. Maybe even David Price

9:57
Comment From Nick
How should the White Sox handle their second base situation; continue with Gordon Beckham or explore a new option like Marcus Semein or Carlos Sanchez?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Thankfully they have the luxury of being not good right now, with low expectations

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: They should weave Semein in some more

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think much of anything of Sanchez or Leury Garcia

10:00
Comment From zack
Opine on the fact that Mussina will probably fall off the ballot this year?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Every year, fewer and fewer people are going to care about who is and who is not a member of the Hall of Fame

10:00
Comment From Eastern NC
For the HOF, do you prefer guys with higher peaks, like Belle, or long careers, like Biggio. Wansn’t Belle better than Biggio?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I prefer higher peaks, but I still require a certain duration of productivity. And Biggio actually had a 9.3-WAR season at one point

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: A chunk of that is probably defensive-stat lunacy, but it’s still pretty to see on his player page

10:03
Comment From Jason
Belle had 61 RBI in one game on my Sega.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Leo Gomez was unstoppable for me in World Series Baseball

10:03
Comment From Compton
In your Drew’s market piece, you mentioned that the Pirates and Royals both have needs at SS, but would be reluctant to give up a first rounder. At what price would the benefits of a Drew upgrade outweigh the costs of that first rounder?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think for them it’s even more about just being more or less out of spending money. The Royals spent on Vargas and Infante. The Pirates couldn’t even extend to Burnett a qualifying offer.

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hypothetically both would be justified bidding, say, 2/$24m, or 3/$30m

10:07
Comment From Guest
Has Yovani Gallardo peaked? Would a change of scenery even help him?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: He’s peaked. I’m worried

10:08
Comment From Guest
Thoughts on Jerry Coleman?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I grew up in San Diego, so he was really the first voice to welcome me into major-league baseball. I was also far too young to appreciate him for everything that he was. I don’t have anything profound to say, here. He was without question the best ever, to anyone who chooses to feel that way. He lived a real and full life.

10:10
Comment From Vader mask unicycle guy
Are you a BBWAA member? If so, will you care to submit a HOF ballot when eligible?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: No, but if I were, I’d submit a ballot and I probably wouldn’t even get too stressed about it. With numbers, it’s not that hard

10:10
Comment From Gareth
Will Marcum be the Indians Kazmir of 2014?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Not that good

10:10
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
Danny Salazar: destined to be shut down by Sept. in 2013 or do we trust that Cleveland will be competitive/creative enough with his usage to avoid that scenario?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: He just made 30 starts last season, plus one in the playoffs. He ought to be okay

10:12
Comment From Guest
Better voter base: the BBWAA or everyone that has visited Fangraphs in the last week?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Probably BBWAA over literally the whole audience, but I’d take the regular FG audience over the BBWAA

10:12
Comment From L7_square
Who do you think Nyger Morgan can possibly contribute to?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Yokohama

10:13
Comment From Alan
Baseball is such a nuanced situational game, and numbers for almost every scenario can help explain and predict. I’m curious about how your team & colleagues start to work on creating a set of stats for the more subtle parts of the game…things like catchers’ pitch-receiving or pitchers’ ability to hold runners on.

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Well thankfully pitch-receiving isn’t that complicated

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: We have a big giant PITCHf/x sample of pitches in the database

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: For any given pitch in any given count, we have a certain probability of that pitch being a called strike or ball. That’s all we really need to measure a catcher’s ability to catch

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Holding runners on can be difficult to separate from the catcher effect, since, say, Yadier Molina will make everyone on the mound look more threatening, but in theory you start with SB attempts and adjust for the catchers behind the plate

10:15
Comment From Guest
re: Belle … does that mean that Koufax and Jackie Robinson don’t belong in the HOF either? It’s not unheard of for a player to be elected without a long career. Reputation can make a big difference with the HOF (and the mvp and …).

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Koufax and Robinson were far better than Albert Belle, and I don’t really need to explain the rest

10:16
Comment From RotoLando
Jesus Montero…man. Someone has to give this guy a shot at 1B, right? If it came down to Montero or Ike Davis, which would you choose?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Davis

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Montero sucks

10:16
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
would you be shocked if Edinson Volquez turned in a serviceable season for PITT in 2014?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Not at all

10:16
Comment From Gums
Also, why aren’t more teams popping up with 2 year 12 million contracts for Capuano. Does that seem fair?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Totally fair. He’s underrated

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: But again, at this point, probably all the pitchers are waiting on the best pitcher

10:17
Comment From Jim
Do you see any connection between the Tanaka quiet front and the Arod decision or is it just coincidence ?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Coincidence

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Not going to hear anything of substance regarding Tanaka until we get to the deadline

10:18
Comment From dbet
Why was Mike Pelfrey worth 2.1 War last year? Similar to Shelby Miller, Dickey and Cashner.

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Because he had a low FIP

10:18
Comment From Guest
Aside from paying increasing amounts to MLB players and draftees, is there any indication teams are spending more on scouting or aspects of player development? Do scouts still make peanuts?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Well, you hear about new academies and expansions into new markets. But scouts are still underpaid and player development still represents a tiny fraction of all organizational spending

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly, it’s not easy to just spend more on player development and scouting. Where does it go? What can you do to really gain a competitive advantage that’s worth whatever what you’re doing costs?

10:20
Comment From Erich
Better HOF induction process: the one they have now, or throwing darts at a dartboard?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Is Lee Smith on the dartboard?

10:20
Comment From Gums
If Cano gets hurt and you deal Franklin, you move Ackley back to 2B, or are you looking at Bloomquist as full time 2B?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: How badly is Cano hurt?

10:21
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
…and yet you claimed something of a “golden age of shortstops” in your Drew piece today…

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Not every statement I make is exhaustively researched. There is a lot of shortstop talent out there, broadly distributed. Seems pretty healthy, but it’s also still the second most difficult position on the field. It’s not thin; it just has fewer elites than other positions seem to, by a small margin

10:22
Comment From Peter Dipito
Final bid and winner for Tanaka?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Still feeling Yankees, now seeing something like $150m/7

10:23
Comment From LarryA
Will Brad Miller play in the field at all this year?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: What? He’s the everyday SS

10:23
Comment From Brew Crew
Mike Carp should be attainable for the brewers right ?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:23
Comment From Gums
Which of the remaining non-Tanaka free agents do you anticipate to provide the best WAR/$?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Capuano?

10:25
Comment From Robert
Have you guys thought about doing $/WAR on a position basis? Not all positions are viewed the same in FA

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: They basically are

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Consider that shortstop Stephen Drew remains unsigned, without a market

10:26
Comment From Marcus A.
Which team were you most surprised to see on the “contenders” list when writing your article about weakest position on a contender?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Well, to be honest, I consult that reference page often, so by yesterday I wasn’t surprised by any of the contender teams

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: But based on Twitter a lot of people thought it was funny to include the Blue Jays

10:27
Comment From Curious
Are you surprised at how the market seems to have slowed to almost nothing happening on either trade fronts or FA ? Tanaka can’t be wholly responsible for that right ?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: He sure as hell can!

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: No reason for Tanaka to do anything in advance of the deadline. Other pitchers waiting on Tanaka to determine their own markets. Tanaka is pretty much everyone’s top priority

10:28
Comment From zack
Do you think teams are overvaluing later first round picks in the 20″s?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I think teams have too high an opinion of their own abilities to get value out of those picks

10:28
Comment From Erich
Saw that the Reds were projected under 81 wins in your article about worst positions on contending teams…how did that happen? Was the loss of Choo really that big, or are we looking at major regression from the likes of Phillips, etc?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Right now, Reds projected at 78-84

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: but Steamer might be too low on Latos and Bailey

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Losing last year’s Choo, obviously, really hurts

10:30
Comment From Compton
Which team (besides CIN) from your list of non-contenders in yesterday’s article has the best shot to contend next year?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Padres?

10:30
Comment From Athletics Fan
Does Oakland make the playoffs in 2014?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah

10:31
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
Didn’t AZ move Drew to 3rd for a little while after his ankle injury? Anybody looking at him for 3B?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: He’s only ever played shortstop

10:31
Comment From Sam
How much do the Sox pay Drew to come back as a backup, If there really is no market for him?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: He wouldn’t be a true backup. He’d get a lot of the Middlebrooks PAs, and some of the Bogaerts PAs

10:32
Comment From Gary
will miguel olivo play anywhere this season?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: he’ll probably play with his grandkids

10:32
Comment From Gareth
How bad WILL Jeter be in 2014?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: More bad than people will want to acknowledge, but he’ll still look a lot like Jeter, just with worse results

10:32
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
let’s all be honest here: did you know who Ken Gurnick was before today? Do you know who he is now? (and I suppose the real question is does he have a book coming out soon or something?)

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I did know who he was, because of a Twitter rumor one time that traced back to him, and we all wondered, who is this guy?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: That’s when I learned who Ken Gurnick is

10:33
Comment From Preston
Do you believe the Rays when they say they aren’t trading David Price? Or are they just waiting for the Tanaka signing to heat up the pitching market?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I believe that they’re open to keeping him, and I believe their preference is still to move him. But they’re stuck for the next couple weeks

10:34
Comment From Gums
Is there any way to know if or how organizations can maximize player productivity? For example, can Dave Duncan be bottled? Do the Mariners corrupt the confidence of young men with too much Stacy Keach, etc.?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Do whatever the Cardinals do

10:34
Comment From Guest
So is LASIK the new market inefficiency? Any record of something like that ever making a serious difference in on-field performance?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Past research, some by me, has failed to turn up anything significant. Which is kind of weird, but what we’ve got is a history suggesting that LASIK doesn’t make a player good. What we *don’t* know is how those players would’ve done without LASIK, so maybe it does make a difference in that regard, but the players basically stay the same players

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: You have to account for the probable reality that more players are having LASIK after unusually unproductive stretches, so you’d regress to the mean going forward anyway

10:36
Comment From Evan
Do you think Tulowitzki will ever win MVP?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe once

10:36
Comment From Prich
What is the Tanaka deadline?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: January 24th

10:36
Comment From Polar Lobe
Quantify your reaction to this: ‘Of 17 MLB.com BBWAA voters, only Tom Singer (Pirates beat) voted for Edgar Martinez.’

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s the most crowded ballot in history. I can’t play favorites and pretend like Edgar is automatic.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Dave didn’t even get to include Edgar the other week http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/my-theoretical-2014-hall-of-fame-ballot/

10:38
Comment From Lawrence
What do you make of Rosenthal’s piece about the Mariners needing approval from ownership to make any more significant moves? Seems like Rosenthal is really pushing this “M’s are at their payroll limit” narrative. They’re still under last season’s payroll and have a pretty sweet TV deal. Is it just a lot of smoke from a source with a chip on his shoulder or do you think there’s any truth to it?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Rosenthal isn’t making stuff up. He’s good and responsible. Zduriencik has already said, some weeks ago, that he’d probably need permission from above to make a splash, because a splash wouldn’t be just a few million dollars. It would be $15m+, for more than one year

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty much every big move in baseball has to go through ownership. I don’t think this is unusual

10:39
Comment From Guest
Who has the best 2014 – Santana, Jiminez, or Garza?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I like Jimenez!

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Jimenez, then Garza, then Santana

10:40
Comment From Guest
I guess underlying my question was whether teams actively pursue scouts from other organizations, based on their track records.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t really think so, but that would be a better question for Dave, who knows more about these things

10:40
Comment From Monroe
Will the benefits of no longer having Dusty Baker manage the Reds make up for the loss of Choo?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Now they’re managed by a guy who worked alongside Dusty Baker

10:41
Comment From Gums
You also pointed out the weakest position by WAR was shortstop.

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: It would be possible for the shortstop position to be doing well, and to also be weaker than other positions

10:42
Comment From Gareth
Who’d be the best consolation prize if the Indians lose Ubaldo?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I like Capuano as the remaining “bargain”

10:42
Comment From Guest
Who is your favorite band?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: changes pretty often but the one I keep coming back to is The Naked And Famous

10:43
Comment From Wally
does Bryce Harper explode this year (>6 WAR)?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not

10:44
Comment From brad
what’s brad miller’s offensive ceiling this year? and floor?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll spare you the snarky answer

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: If everything goes amazing, .340-.350 wOBA. But he could also end up in the .300 neighborhood, sort of like last year’s Nick Franklin

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s steady and safe and predictable, though. Nothing outstanding — just a good cheap player at an important position

10:45
Comment From Polar Vortex
What team are you most excited to see play this year?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Cardinals

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Probably least excited by the Mets or Brewers

10:46
Comment From Guest
If Nick Franklin isn’t dealt club he be a everyday Of?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: no

10:46
Comment From Gums
Would you rather have Ubaldo or Capuano if money doesn’t matter much?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: well I mean Ubaldo is the better starting pitcher

10:46
Comment From J6takish
Inflated OBP from batting 8th in front of the pitcher, does it still “count”?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: It’s an adjustment. But usually, if you’re talking about the numbers of a guy batting 8th, he’s not a particularly good player anyway

10:47
Comment From JayT
I can’t find the page with projected team war. Where is it?

10:47
Comment From Jake
Why aren’t the Yakns bidding on Drew? is a 50th round pick really that valuable?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: They probably don’t think he’s a second baseman and they’re not going to use Stephen Drew to push Derek Jeter.

10:48
Comment From Jake
What does look like Jeter shake out to in stats? Is .330 OBP, .380 SLG reasonable?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Between 2010-2012, he hit ..294/.352/.396. Your numbers seem okay

10:48
Comment From Wally
Did you see the 60 Minutes piece on volcanos? Is Yellowstone that dangerous to life on earth?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t see it, but I can guess what they said. It is very dangerous to life on earth, but it is not *ultra*-dangerous to life on earth, and it’s not dangerous any time soon.

10:49
Comment From Zack
Is Billy Butler gonna fall off a cliff?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: I hope not!!

10:49
Comment From Zack
2014 only: Xander Bogaerts or Asdrubal Cabrera?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Bogaerts

10:49
Comment From Dan
Are LASIK and PEDs really that different?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: This was the question I had in college when I first started wondering for myself whether steroids are really that bad

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: It’s an important fundamental question

10:51
Comment From Huck
What could be the MLB equivalent of the NHL’s Winter Classic, Stadium Series, etc?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: There isn’t one

10:51
Comment From Catoblepas
Jeff, I just went to lunch and came back and you are still chatting. Do you enjoy this more than most, or feel obligated to chat a lot, or what? It’s awesome, in the biblical, awe-inspiring sense of the word.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I always sort of struggle at the start, then find a groove after about an hour or so, and then I’m going too fast to notice the time and stop like a responsible person

10:52
Comment From Shawn
More likely to have a bounceback season t his year, Braun or Albert P?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Braun, but I like them both in 2014

10:52
Comment From Jake
Is “Mariners are sleepers” for Tanaka pretty much over? Seems all but guaranteed Tanka gets 5+ years, $20mil+, that’s a huge commitment for a team at payroll limit

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: They’re still in

10:52
Comment From A Fan
Ausmus: Caputo asked Ausmus a rather pointed question about his opinion on sabermetrics, to which Ausmus replied that advanced statistical data is more for analysis “after-the-fact … it doesn’t blend too close into game action.” While he acknowledged that “There’s data that I will look at, that we will use during the course of a game,” he noted that “it’s the players who win or lose the games.” Ausmus referred directly to the fact that “People got the thought that, because of my age and my background, I’m a sabermetrician,” but dispelled this idea by adding, “I’m really not.” http://www.blessyouboys.com/2014/1/6/5282146/brad-ausmus-sabermetrics-tigertalk

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think any of that’s really unreasonable

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: People overestimate the importance of a manager being saber-friendly. Managers just need to be good leaders and non-idiots

10:54
Comment From david
Would Capuano be better than what the Nats would start in their 5th spot?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Probably by a hair

10:54
Comment From Prich
Would the Rangers be wise to shop Elvis Andrus, and free future salary?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Not in this current shortstop market

10:54
Comment From Gabe
How many Gurnick-related questions are you getting and rejecting? Or do your readers know you well enough to not ask too many HoF questions?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Several versions of the same question: what the fuck, Ken Gurnick?

10:55
Comment From Jake
Seeing as money is an issue, Capuano over Ubaldo, right?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Kind of depends on where Ubaldo settles, but I’d be happy with Capuano, yeah

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: But Ubaldo obviously is much more capable of a 4-5 WAR season

10:56
Comment From Andrew
factoring in their future contracts, who you like going forward: Bumgarner or Kershaw?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Oof. I like Bumgarner as the better asset, since his contract is amazing, but I don’t want to let anyone assume I think he’s comparable to Kershaw in terms of talent

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Kershaw is wins better

10:57
Comment From Preston
Do you think the Yankees pursue Drew if A-Rod gets 100+ games?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Really don’t think so. Cashman seems to have shot that down, specifically

10:58
Comment From Andrew
if you’re Sabean…what do you do with Pablo now that he’s 1 season away from FA? Late spring training extension? If so, for how much.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Based on the Pence/Lincecum examples, he might well give Sandoval the whole year to prove himself worthwhile

11:00
Comment From Andrew
Would you be opposed to giving Pablo the Hunter Pence (5/90) extension?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Only mildly

11:01
Comment From Jake
Royals sixth in the MLB for team WAR. What?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Awesome bullpen, few glaring flaws, young starters of interest behind the boring Vargas/Guthrie

11:02
Comment From Ryan
How do teams, if at all, use park factors?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: The way we all do, except better and more detailed for the most part. They’re an essential part of player evaluation

11:03
Comment From UncleWeez
Ervin Santana and Bill Bray both just followed 3 or 4 writers from Red Reporter on Twitter. LET THE RUMORS BEGIN SWIRLING

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Ervin Santana follows more than 29,000 people on Twitter

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: he started following me like a year ago, and it didn’t make any sense until it made total sense

11:05
Comment From Froglegs Jackson
Better pitcher in 2014: Tanaka or Jon Lester?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Push

11:05
Comment From UncleWeez
What’s hotter right now, Mt. Etna or Masahiro Tanaka’s contract rumors?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: The summit areas of Mt Etna are hotter than Tanaka contract rumors, but Tanaka contract rumors are hotter than Mt Etna’s flanks

11:06
Comment From Gums
Thanks for the long chat. Do people pitch around Cano constantly as the Ms lineup stands?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Not to any meaningful extent. He won’t be surrounded by crap

11:07
Comment From Bill
What exactly is Kershaw’s contract status?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Walk year!

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Projected to make $18.25m this coming season http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/11/projected-arbitration-salaries-for-2014.html

11:07
Comment From UncleWeez
Has anyone woken up Walt Jocketty from hibernation?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Dan Duquette was supposed to :(

11:08
Comment From big boy brandon geluso aka “lil bro”
more likely mike trout 5 war or 11 war next year

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: 11

11:08
Comment From Xav
If some reports are true that the Mariners told Cano they might be done this year and make splashes again in 2014 and 2015 who can you see them targeting?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: They’re not done and that’s too far ahead to project

11:09
Comment From Joe
Can you explain how a player’s WAR projection is changed by switching parks? Isn’t it supposed to stay the same since WAR is park/league-adjusted. Granderson, for instance, has a lower WRC+ and WAR projection from Oliver since signing with the Mets.

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: That would presumably just be a bug. There shouldn’t be any change

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Unless Oliver was previously projecting Granderson as if he were a Yankee, and decided he was unusually well-suited for Yankee Stadium

11:11
Comment From Bill
has anyone looked at “pitch effectiveness” for pitchers shaking off calls from the catcher?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: No, because nobody keeps track of that I’m afraid

11:12
Comment From Guest
Do NL teams get punished on the WAR Depth Chart ranking (relative to AL teams) for not having a DH, or am I reading that wrong?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I believe we’re working on that. Best right now to view the leagues separately in their own order.

11:13
Comment From Rated Rookie
Bryan Price is more than “a guy who worked alongside Dusty Baker.” Don’t confuse being succinct with being intelligent.

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Thanks for being cordial. I’m aware of who Price is and he was a smart pitching coach with the Mariners before he was anything else. Obviously, he’ll do things differently with the Reds than Baker did, but I was essentially saying that, no, I don’t think the manager swap will make the Reds better by any meaningful extent

11:14
Comment From Preston
Are there any 2014 WAR projections for Tanaka?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: “Despite these caveats, ZiPS projects Tanaka as the most valuable pitcher available in free agency this year. ZiPS estimates a mean projection (neutral park/league) of a 3.46 ERA in 190 innings from Tanaka, for an ERA+ of 117 and 3.9 WAR.”

11:15
Comment From Nick
Why are many so down on Nick Franklin? He tore through the minors and tore through his first few months in the majors before struggling. For a kid who doesn’t lack confidence I see a much higher upside for him offensively than Miller. Wouldn’t franklins offensive upside and average to slightly above average D be worth more than average offense and above average D ?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: People aren’t really down on Franklin, he just doesn’t have a place to play. Plus, he’s not much of a defender, and he strikes out a lot for a guy with real but limited power. He’s a switch-hitter who isn’t, really. He’s a good young asset but he’s far from a sure thing

11:16
Comment From Greg S.
If a pitcher that could control a baseball’s direction at any point were facing a batter that could read minds, who would win?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: The pitcher, because the batter would always be reacting

11:17
Comment From Zack
How badly would R. Zimmerman’s value be affected by a full-time switch to 1B?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Not that badly. Especially if his arm is still wonky

11:17
Comment From Jacob
Ratio of peanut butter to jelly? I’m 40:60 all the way.

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: I’m more of a PB guy, myself

11:17
Comment From Zack
Could/should the O’s trade for Nick Franklin?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: They should definitely be involved

11:17
Comment From Guest
You’ve said in the past that you have a cat. What color is said cat. I have three, myself: one black, one brown/grey, one grey/white.

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have a cat :( there is a cat, though, that I like who roams through the neighborhood. His name isn’t Mr. Meow, but I call him that

11:18
Comment From Jake
I’d kill for some good tacos right now. You up for tacos?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Who is ever not up for tacos!

11:18
Comment From Guest
As a fan, are you looking forward to watching Cano hit for M’s?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: I am, except I’m afraid I might not recognize actual offensive ability. And then I’ll turn the channel because I’ll think I got something wrong

11:18
Comment From Eddie
How many MLB outfields post less value than Mike Trout in 2014? Have to think the Cubs are on that list.

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Ooh!

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: I like this idea so much I might write about it in a few minutes!

11:19
Comment From Greg S.
Do you think the National League will get a DH anytime soon?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Not soon but it’s inevitable I think

11:19
Comment From Rated Rookie
You are both succinct and intelligent. I just thought calling the snark on that comment was warranted.

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Justified, totally, it’s just that the chat format makes it hard to give the sorts of answers I’d really like to

11:20
Comment From Joe
If that is true, re: park effects, then why do people bother saying things like “player X will be a great fit in park Y”? I mean sure his wOBA will go up, but hi wRC+ will properly adjust the change and he actually wont be any more valuable by WAR, right?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah. People misuse park factors all the time

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: But there are guys who fit particularly well in certain places. And, on the flip side, there are guys who don’t fit at all. And then it doesn’t make sense to apply one general average park factor. It would make sense for certain LHB, say, to be unusually productive in New York

11:21
Comment From Jake
Franklin gets replacement level WAR from steamer, 3 from Oliver. What gives?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Oliver is nuts with guys who’re mostly minor leaguers

11:21
Comment From Jake
“What Fangraphs needs is more articles about Mike Trout.” – Sullivan

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: And articles laughing at lousy teams!

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: Look, times are desperate these days, and all we’ve got are Tanaka and the Hall of Fame

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: A year ago I wrote about Brad Boxberger

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: and not even about Brad Boxberger’s pitching

11:22
Comment From The Cold Midwest!
I’m curious, what percentage of community blog submissions get rejected?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: maybe 25-30%? I go into everything expecting to accept it

11:23
Comment From JayT
Are you sure a better article wouldn’t be “which outfields will be BETTER than Trout”?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Perhaps we’ll see!

11:23
Comment From Joe
Any reason being down on seeing Milwaukee and NY Mets? Just boring rosters? Colon hitting should be enough to watch the Mets every 5th day, at least.

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: I just find them to be relatively unexciting rosters, based on my own particular interests. Really miss Matt Harvey. The Astros won’t be fun to watch either, but at least there there’s still some novelty

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: But now I”m regretting the Mets inclusion

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: swap Twins for Mets

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles might just make me sad but I’m a total sucker for orange

11:26
Comment From JTT
Jeff, a few months ago I asked you if long foul fly balls were a predictor of home runs later in the at-bat and you said you were compelled to write about it. Was it impossible go research or did you lose interest?

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Just don’t know how to research that

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: One of those fascinating ideas I don’t even know how to start

11:27
Comment From Jack Z
What is your expected line for Taijuan Walker this year?

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: about 160 innings, about 2 wins

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: 2 WAR. more than 2 wins.

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: I really have to get going you guys. These chats keep on getting longer and longer!

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: But there’s writing to do and jogging to do and lunch to prepare at some point. So thank you everybody for hanging out, and we’ll do it again next Tuesday at the same time. Sorry for everything I didn’t or couldn’t address, and I’ll catch you later. Until then, be well and have great days




Print This Post



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.


9 Responses to “Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/7/14”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. John K says:

    Jeff Bagwell was a great defensive 1B; however, WAR consistently measures his defensive play negatively. Why is this the case? Thanks for the chat!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Spencer Dean says:

      If you are looking at Def, that’s because it’s a positionally adjusted value, so even a superlative first baseman might be a 0 defender, whereas an average shortstop might also be 0, because short stops are so much better.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Andy says:

        Right. With the defense stat that’s now shown in the default grid listing only defensive runs, there are practically no 1Bs with positive value. Sort 1Bs by defensive runs for the years during Bagwell’s playing time, and you’ll see he’s consistently top 5-10 on defense as a 1B.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Spencer Dean says:

    What is Reach Rate?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. emilio says:

    In the final section (“Value”) Bambino leaf columns appear whose final sum (row) leads to the RAR, ie:
    Offense (1347.3), Defense (-18.6), League (47.8) and Replacement (325.2). This result (1701.8) agrees with the figure reported in col. RAR (penultimate right). Now, based on the theory, 1701.8 / 10 should give us the final figure of Babe Ruth WAR, but in the last column, we published Fangraphs WAR of 168.4.
    ?
    This discrepancy is even more noticeable in other tabs I’ve reviewed. For Cap Anson, the RAR reaches 1086.2, while 91.2 WAR is obviously far from 1086.2 / 10.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. emilio says:

    clear to me that this site has the offensive in its two components (Batting + – Base Running) and Defensive already set (Fielding + – Positional). Although not shown separately, also includes a correction factor for the park, but do not understand the contents of the “League” column. Please let me illustrate on this adjustment.
    ?
    Another issue of concern and that has nothing to do with sabermetric calculations. When we refer to the list of Fangraphs WAR highest achieved (position players) we see that Barry Bonds appears in a second historic place with 164.1. But what really surprised me is a rather elementary fact: Baseball and Baseball-reference-prospectus give an official number of games (G) for life in 2986 while both Fangraphs publishes 2976. Hello I think I have found even greater differences in other cases: Fangraphs “games” Rickey Henderson 3068,
    Reference and Prospectus 3081.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Wobatus says:

    We had a cat that roamed our neighborhood and he actually would come into our apartment, through an open window, even though we lived on the 4th floor. We didn’t call him Mr. Meow. We called him Bitey.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Nats On Vacation says:

    “Comment From Jake
    Franklin gets replacement level WAR from steamer, 3 from Oliver. What gives?”

    OLIVER assumes that everyone gets 600 PA, which is why the WARs are all over the place for rookies.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *