Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/17/17

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:06
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:07
JT: Jeff, why is MLB literally willing to do anything to speed up games except for the most obvious problem of not enforcing the pitch clock and making batters stay in the box?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: So, the staying-in-the-box part, yeah, enforcement has gotten pretty relaxed. Batters have gone back to pushing that

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: But I think there’s a general misunderstanding of the existing rule about pitcher timing. The pitcher is supposed to deliver the ball within 12 seconds after receiving it back from the catcher, but that’s only when the bases are empty

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Most pitchers work roughly that fast when the bases are empty. The real problems tend to begin when there’s someone on. And then if you start talking about enforcing a pitch clock of sorts, you run into potential running-game implications

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Some form of a pitch clock is almost inevitable, and we’ve heard about the trials. It’ll be a while, though, because clocks are traditionally anathema to the sport

9:11
Dae-Ho Lee: While on a deep sea fishing trip, K. Duerr Seager’s boat is taken over by Carlos Silva, who is now a pirate. He is implanted with a microscopic doomsday device and is released to swim to shore. If K. Duerr fails to reach at least 3.0 fWAR in 2017, Silva will detonate the device, sending a toxic dose of Xylitol throughout his body. While confident, K. Duerr is responsible, and takes out a three year term life insurance policy on himself.

What are the odds Julie Seager cashes in that policy? Also, K. Duerr caught a

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I enjoy the premise of this question, even without a proper end to the tale

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Seager’s at four straight years of fairly easily eclipsing 3.0 WAR. Steamer projects him for 4. I’d say there’s a…1/4 or 1/3 chance he misses the mark, and that would presumably be due to an injury

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be tough to imagine a modest hamstring strain or something that knocks him out for a month and a half

9:13
Smokey: The Phillies’ farm system has been getting more middling reviews for this upcoming season, with some good pieces in the majors. How optimistic are you on their outlook for the 2017-2020 seasons?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I like that they already have what looks like a good number of core pieces, but arguably the best thing about the Phillies is that they have a ton of resources to throw around. That’s opposed to, say, the Brewers, who couldn’t compete with the money. So although I don’t think the Phillies are knocking on the door as of yet, I think they will be able to sustain their competitiveness when they return to that level

9:15
Jaff: If you could fix a super hyped prospect that failed at the major leagues who would it be? What would you fix?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’d fix Byron Buxton’s ability to make contact. If Buxton could show he could hit the ball consistently, it’s so easy to see him as another CF superstar

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: It’s weird that it’s 2017 and I’m more excited about Keon Broxton

9:16
Sam: Is Yu Darvish a Ranger at the All-Star break?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Yes. Big trades seldom happen before the All-Star break, and I expect that the Rangers will be pretty good too

9:16
Dae-Ho Lee: While on a deep sea fishing trip, K. Duerr Seager’s boat is taken over by Carlos Silva, who is now a pirate. He is implanted with a microscopic doomsday device and is released to swim to shore. If K. Duerr fails to reach at least 3.0 fWAR in 2017, Silva will detonate the device, sending a toxic dose of Xylitol throughout his body. While confident, K. Duerr is responsible, and takes out a three year term life insurance policy on himself.

What’re the odds Julie Seager cashes in that policy?

Also, K. Duerr caught a Ling Cod on the trip.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Thank you, I was wondering what he caught

9:17
Ronnie: If you knew your favourite team’s top prospect would duplicate the exact same career as Robin Yount, Paul Molitor or Derek Jeter which would you choose & why?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Derek Jeter, because he played for five World Series champions

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: That was an easy one

9:18
BC: Why do you love baseball?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I get to be scientific about it, without any of the stakes

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: I was always going to be some form of scientist. This is probably the most enjoyable way

9:20
TooDamnTall: I read Hyun-Jin Ryu was sitting at 85. How far into spring training do you give a pitcher before you worry that’s their new normal?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be more concerned if he were sitting 85 in the middle of March, instead of the middle of February. And even then, sometimes it just takes pitchers a while to build up.

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: On March 28, 2013, Ryu was clocked around 90mph. So check back in six weeks against that baseline. I expect he’ll narrow the gap, although not completely

9:23
Outta my way, Gyorkass: At the 2014 deadline, MIL and ARI conducted a trade of Gerardo Parra for Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger. 2.5 years later, this trade has spawned several more transactions involving these players…what team got the most out of it? MIL (Z. Davies, whatever value they got from Parra), BAL (lol), COL (lolol), ARI (Banda, whatever part of Walker/Marte they got for Haniger), or SEA (Haniger)?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I’d guess history will show it’s Seattle, then Milwaukee, then Arizona. Segura was the more important part of that last deal, even though I’m particularly high on Haniger

9:25
derewere: What’s your take on Austin Hedges? If any of the power is real, he looks to me like a guy who can approach league average offensively with elite defense. That

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Like everyone else, I’m still waiting to be convinced, but I definitely do believe that Hedges tapped into something. I think he has a higher offensive level than I used to, and even if he’s more like a 80-90 wRC+ guy, he’s a fine regular assuming his defense holds up. If he’s an average hitter, he’s super valuable

9:26
Tom: Will updated 2017 player profiles be added to player pages this year?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I would assume so, but that’s not my field

9:26
PF: Has Fangraphs ever considered an iPad app? Or expanding into other sports such as hockey?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I know we had some sort of an app once, but it wasn’t worth it and it shut down. As for the second part, I’ve never heard any talk about spreading to another sport. We don’t know anything about other sports

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Like, I bet in some universe, there could be a FanGraphs for the NBA or the NHL, but I have limited confidence it would be done very well, because FG is founded upon our years of baseball expertise.

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Also, money!

9:28
JT: Do you think the impossible standards for starting pitchers to make the hall will be relaxed? Right now, the only pitcher whose peak will take place during the 2010’s who has a realistic shot is Kershaw. Verlander is likely going to end up 2nd in WAR from 2010-2020 and people are already saying he’s a borderline guy. Can we really go an entire decade and only point one pitcher in?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll be relaxed; I assume this’ll prove to be kind of cyclical. But then, we’ve also entered an era of starters having their lightest-ever workloads, so we’ll have to re-define what makes a pitcher great in the first place. It’s not 1957 anymore

9:30
Ronnie: Singles are more valuable than walks because they offer more opportunity for runner advancement, but walks are more predictable from year to year. Does this added degree of certainty lead to walks actually being valued slightly higher?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think you’ll ever see a team considering a player because of the number of his singles. Teams care about overall offense, which means they care about wRC+ and contact and exit velocity. Walks tend to be at least in part a consequence of the other stuff, and plate discipline is just a part of the evaluative package

9:31
Jeff in T.O.: Which happens first (& when), the Sens win the Stanley Cup or the Mariners win the World Series? Thanks Jeff!

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I’d guess the Mariners. Just saying that makes me sad. 10 years from now? Sure, why not

9:32
PF: Can Tulo still be a 3-4 WAR player?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: If you look at DRS instead of UZR, he was a 3+ WAR player as recently as last season

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: He’s still pretty good

9:33
Mcmadbat: what are the chances otani actually comes over next year?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: uhhhhhhhhhhh 25%?

9:35
PF: What’s your take on dalton Pompey

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Modestly troubled by his blend of mediocre contact and mediocre power. There’s a good player in there somewhere, build upon his defensive skills, but for the moment he’s a backup until he proves otherwise

9:37
bl27: ROY in 2017 NL ? AL ?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Benintendi is eligible, right? It’s Benintendi

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: And then I’ll guess, I don’t know, JP Crawford? I assume he’ll be really good really soon

9:39
Marc: Pretty much 100% guarantee that TB forces De Leon to AAA for 1-2 months to start the year?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: For sure. Archer/Cobb/Odorizzi/Snell/Andriese. De Leon will come up when there’s an injury or a trade

9:41
Kiermaier’s Engaged Green Eyes: The Rays made Wieters and offer, and he’s easily better than Casali/Maile/Sucre to hold down C while Ramos rehabs. But why do I keep hearing talk about him taking DH reps when this team has players like Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza? Wieters has an 88 wRC+…

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe it’s just a matter of trying to think about how he’d fit if and when Ramos makes his return. Specifically because of Ramos, it’s hard for me to envision Wieters going to TB, because he’s going to want to have a career behind the plate after 2017

9:42
PF: Edwin Diaz or Roberto Osuna?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I trust Osuna a little more. I think they’ll both be great, but certain things about Diaz give me the willies

9:44
Mariners101: Two offseasons ago, Dave had the Nelson Cruz signing as the 4th worst. Was it because of the age and we’re you skeptical as well?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Cruz was 34, and although he had just been worth 3.7 WAR, his combined WAR from the three years before that was also 3.7. Mariners gave him four years and also coughed up a draft pick. I was extremely skeptical, and yet Cruz has already been worth more than his overall guarantee

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: We totally missed the boat on that one. Cruz has done an unbelievable job of keeping himself fit and together and productive as he approaches his later 30s

9:46
PF: When do you realistically think MLB will expand?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Five years or so

9:47
Jason : Whos is the greatest PTNBL in baseball history?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: September 13, 1996: the Seattle Mariners sent David Ortiz to the Minnesota Twins to complete an earlier deal made on August 29, 1996. August 29, 1996: The Seattle Mariners sent a player to be named later to the Minnesota Twins for Dave Hollins.

9:47
Johnny5Alive: You think familia loses his job during suspension?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get it back

9:48
Stuafoo: At what point does increased fastball velocity start producing diminishing returns? For fun, let’s assume there’s no upper limit.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, the returns probably *start* diminishing around the mid or upper 90s. But around the upper Chapman levels, you probably start seeing very little difference as you gain an additional tick. Moving from 104 to 105 will accomplish very little

9:49
Outta my way, Gyorkass: In what order do the following events happen?
Universal DH, 32 team MLB, (WS title for any one of CHW, MIN, MIL, CIN, SD, or ATL) Schilling HOF induction, heat death of universe?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Schilling, 32 teams, universal DH, the World Series title one, heat death

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Schilling’s already had five years on the ballot, and two years ago he finished at 52%. I think this was the year for writers to make their collective statement, but they’ll get that out of their systems, and he’ll end up in Cooperstown, because he deserves it

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: He also deserves to be booed at his induction

9:53
Jim Lonborg: The NCAA recently gathered together a bunch of respected analytics people to try to make their lousy tournament selection process less lousy. If MLB did something similar for the pace of play issue with you and Dave and some of the people from BP, 538, etc., what do you think the recommendations might be?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Some form of pitch-time enforcement, tighter restrictions on challenges/replay reviews, raising the bottom of the strike zone, and then I bet we’d propose something about limiting pitching changes that wouldn’t get past the approval stage

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Raising the zone, of course, wouldn’t make the game *faster*, but it would create more action and improve the tempo, which is the more important element

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe that comes with a push to finally get the freaking strike zone automated

9:57
Johnny Jackson: Is there a way for me to see how many WAR a player was worth over a specific amount of time? For example, to look up Trout’s WAR for May through June?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I’m afraid not. You can definitely see WAR over month splits — look at the team splits pages — but you can’t see WAR over specific date windows, like from 5/13 to 6/22

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I’d guess that has something to do with UZR not being able to be calculated like that

9:59
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Dave Cameron is publishing his best/worst transactions of the offseason list, but what is your pick for best and worst transactions?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Best for me would probably be Bautista or Thames

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Worst, I’m not sure. Desmond was super weird. The Mariners acquiring Yovani Gallardo on purpose looks strange. No clear idea on why the Rockies wasted money on Mike Dunn

10:00
ResumeMan: When people do projections for the upcoming year and need things like Linear Weights to do runs-created calcs, do you use last year’s LWs or generate new, projected ones based on the projected hits, HR, outs, etc.?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t actually know the answer to this, but the weightings are very consistent year-to-year http://www.fangraphs.com/guts.aspx?type=cn

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: So on the public side, I doubt you’d notice either way

10:01
David: Any advice for a first timer going to Spring Training games in Arizona this year?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Sit in the god damn shade

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: SIT IN THE GOD DAMN SHADE

10:02
Darryl: Carrera/Upton is bad. Prove me wrong.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: The last two years, they’ve averaged a combined 1.7 WAR/600. They’re not so much bad as they are not good

10:03
Pegleg: Do you agree with Cameron that the best role for Glasnow this year is in the bullpen?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t agree with that, but I do agree that the bullpen is a very likely destination for him down the road. I will be very interested to see if the Pirates are able to make him more mechanically consistent

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: To repeat something from yesterday: Carter Capps’ delivery gives his fastball an extra perceived 3.6 miles per hour. Glasnow comes in second in all of baseball, at +3.0. That’s crazy! And he could probably stand to shorten up

10:04
Guest: Will Harper, Machado, and Arenado all end up on different teams when they hit free agency?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Harper, yes, Arenado, yes, Machado, I’m not quite sure. I assume yes, but the Orioles kind of need him

10:05
Noah: Do you think Miguel Sano can stick at 3B?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: For a few years

10:06
Steve: Joe Poz and Mike Schur came up with an idea to genuinely speed things up — relief pitchers don’t get warm up tosses on the mound, unless they’re coming for an injury replacement. Could shave five or six minutes per game easily, right?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think the players would push back if you said no more warm-up throws. Would be easier to cut that down from eight to, say, three or four

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers are sensitive to differences between game and bullpen mounds. You have to give them *something*

10:07
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Ilitch was a treasure to the Detroit community for sure, and he’s an owner I am sad to see go, but him running the team in “win-now” mode for as long as he did is going to lead to one hell of a rebuilding phase, yeah?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, the Tigers have had two sub-.500 seasons out of the last 11. Four first-place finishes, four more second-place finishes. They’ve been consistently competitive, and they still haven’t fallen off the cliff. It’s something they will have to reckon with, but they’ve stayed OK for a while

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: And don’t underestimate how much they were already able to help themselves by selling in 2015 alone. Norris! Boyd! Jones! Fulmer!

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Bummer about trading Cessa, Green, Suarez, Ray, Travis…

10:10
Pennsy: Does Ryan Zimmerman finish the season starting for the Nationals?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Starting some of the time

10:10
D: With the Dodgers current starting situation, could you see the Dodgers having more than a 5 man rotation? To give rich hill/urias/ryu/McCarthy more rest since they’re all coming off injuries/fragile, or on an innings limit?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I think you’ll just see a lot of shuffling. Some skipped starts. But still the general skeleton of a five-man staff

10:12
D: Do you think the Dodgers make some kind of move before opening day to clear up their insanely crowded roster? Maybe move a pitcher who looks good to a team that loses a pitcher to injury?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to be honest with you — I don’t have a full understanding of the Dodgers roster, and which players do or don’t have options. It certainly *feels* super crowded. And players do emerge from every spring hurt. A Dodgers injury or two would clear things up. And they could also definitely ship a player or two elsewhere to fill another injury void. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Kazmir somewhere else in a month

10:14
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: Mike Trout asks you out for a beer and to talk baseball. You’re overly excited, dress nicely, and you put on that special cologne. When you get to the bar, you also notice that Mike Trout brought along Chone Foggins. Do you stay until they want to leave or do you make an excuse to leave early?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I bet I could have a better and deeper conversation with Figgins than I could with Trout

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Figgins is older, and he doesn’t have anything to lose anymore, and he went through some real shit. What’s Trout have to say? What’s Trout going to be *willing* to say? Figgins, that’s a guy with a story

10:15
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Steamer has Eric Thames pegged for a .364 wOBA season with 30 bombs. MIL will have to be ecstatic if they get that kind of production for even one season, right?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, absolutely. That forecast is crazy optimistic

10:15
Guest: We think of building through pitchers being higher risk. And, in most other circumstances, we think of higher risk being associated with higher reward. But is that the case in baseball? Are there any excess returns to be had for those willing to invest in riskier assets?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes, but not close to all of the times. With a guy like, say, Buxton, sure. But take Sean Newcomb. He’s a risky pitching prospect. But does he *really* come with unusually high upside? I doubt it. Risky pitchers are overrated, and “safe” pitchers are underrated

10:17
Pennsy: I’m on the team that believes people would be more patient sitting through a 3-hour game if they knew more of the players actually involved. We don’t need to shorten the game by fifteen minutes, we need to publicize the talent in the League so that people are comfortable investing time to watch the players.

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I think this is one of the reasons so many teams have been shooting quirky, clever commercials. Or you see those mid-inning segments on the scoreboard where players talk about their favorite subjects in school or whatever. The league wants fans to know the players better. They just don’t do a good enough job of it

10:18
Jim Lonborg: There seems to be a wishful theory floating around in Boston that Hanley will hit better as a DH because he won’t have the distraction of working his ass off just to be a below-average 1st baseman. Anything to that? The DH penalty usually goes the other way, right?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, although general rules don’t apply to every individual player. I could see it potentially being true for Hanley. But then, he just had a 127 wRC+. He was really good! Tough to complain.

10:19
diderot: Mistake or not: Astros not paying the price for Quintana?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Right now, I don’t think they need him. I think their rotation is okay, and the bullpen is really deep

10:19
Jon D: With everything tracked so well now, how long do you think until we get sensors in the balls or whatnot that will call fair/foul or home run or not which will, consequently, put an end to slow video reviews? Seems not that hard to do.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Five years? I’d love to see it

10:21
CJC: Do Danny Salazar’s 2016 batted ball velos concern you? What are your expectations for him this season?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t, really. I can buy him as a guy who allows slightly harder contact, but I don’t think he’s easy to hit or anything, specifically because he’s so *hard* to hit. I think he’ll be a perfectly fine and inefficient No. 2 or 3

10:22
J: Do you feel better about certain players’ declines? Everyone mentions speed players but power seems to decline as well but might be masked by pulling/fly balls as well as arm, range, etc. Most seem to feel contact hitters with a good eye and control pitchers age best.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I think we tend to dramatically overstate our ability to predict how players and player types will decline. To call back to an earlier example, look at Nelson Cruz. We whiffed on that one bad (so far). We similarly whiffed, in the other direction, with Chone Figgins

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I think the best predictor is player commitment, or drive. Related to that, a player’s ability to adapt on the fly. From the outside, we don’t get to know a whole lot about those things

10:24
Chris: the player who will outperform their projected wRC+ by the widest margin in 2017 is ____________

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Keon Broxton!!

10:24
JR: Am I insane for not caring about speeding up games? I like baseball. I like baseball games. I like watching them. I don’t care if they are shorter because they are fun to watch. Why am I in the minority?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not convinced you are in the minority. I think we all agree there are certain things about baseball that could be faster, but at the end of the day, we’re all still here, and baseball is still one of the most successful industries on the continent.

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Wasted time is bad for everyone, but it hasn’t ruined the game. The game is still the game

10:26
IWB: Jurickson Profar. Enough to headline a deal for 1 year of JD Martinez? Not many contenders with a COF/DH need.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: The Rangers wouldn’t do that

10:26
Mario: Thoughts on Matt Wieters? What team is going to land him?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Feels like he should just sign with the White Sox or something

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe the Angels for a year

10:27
Noah: Are you surprised by the Twins lack of moves this offseason, considering the regime change? Is this a result of Falvey and Levine not knowing what they have in terms of assets?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: I think they would’ve liked to move Dozier, but outside of that, there are already a lot of internal pieces that need some more time. The team wasn’t in position to shake things up too much. I was surprised by the Park move, but I do get it

10:29
Chaps: Suppose a pitcher is called up from the minors, and from his first day in the majors until the end of that regular season, he only throws perfect games (assume the manager doesn’t know what pitch counts are and just keeps letting him pitch). When would he need to be called up (and ostensibly, how many games will he have pitched) for him to win the Rookie of the year, Cy Young, and MVP awards?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Called up in the middle of August, for RoY. Called up around the ASB or the start of July for the Cy Young. Probably somewhere in June for the MVP

10:30
Matt Wieters: I’ve heard that the market for me was depressed because I am not good at pitch-framing, but my agent says that when I was a catcher for the Orioles the staff ERA was a run less than with any other catcher. Other than ERA not being a great stat, where is the disconnect?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Over the past few years, instead of just this one year, the Orioles’ staff ERA was actually a good deal worse with Wieters behind the plate

10:32
E: http://mets.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2017/02/16/the-improbable-prospect-list-rise-of-robert-gsellman/ Don’t mean this in a negative way at all- just think it could do you some good to read this or watch some more MLB level tape of him

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s fair to find Gsellman somewhat interesting while also pointing out that, over three levels last year, he ran average strike rates and average contact rates

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: The end result is that he looks like an average pitcher. Which is fine, but it doesn’t excite me

10:33
Robin: How do you think the M’s struggles over the past decade or so has affected your fandom for there? Do you think had they been better it would have taken you longer to transfer from a full time M’s blogger to a member of FG? While this year has promise, the years of disappoint are catching up to the point it’s harder to be cautiously optimistic

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I found it a lot more enjoyable to write about a bad team than a good team

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: When a team is good, all anyone cares about is winning more games, winning the most important games. You start to take shit too seriously. When the team sucks, and management sucks, that’s when you get to be creative

10:37
JC: Was Edgar Martinez a better hitter than Wade Boggs?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: At their peaks, they were about the same, but Edgar had the better offensive career. Boggs, of course, was better at hitting the baseball, but Edgar was better at hitting it hard

10:38
Guest: Game time… Once a plate appearance starts, a pitcher can legally pitch unless an umpire calls time. If a batter is out of the box, the pitcher will get an uncontested pitch. It doesn’t change the structure of the game while giving pitchers and batters a big push to be faster.

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: I like the idea except that it shifts most of the power to the mound to dictate the tempo. All players do need short little breaks, and I don’t think pitchers should be the ones in charge of all that

10:39
Bryan: Is the speed of the game really an issue? By this I guess the question is, is shaving off 10-15 minutes of game-play going to be the thing that magically brings in an untapped fan base?

I’ve never once met a person that said, 3:17 game is way too long but if you cut it down to 3 hours I’m all in.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think baseball is going to double its revenue by making games 5% quicker, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be helped by trimming off some of the fat. I find that there is a meaningful difference between a game in 2:45 and a game in 3:00. Nothing wrong with eliminating pointless delays, even though doing that isn’t going to reinstall baseball as America’s actual pastime

10:41
Hannah Hochevar: Can you explain why the O’s haven’t signed any of the cheap-even-if-not-studly arms this off-season? Seemed an obvious need. Are they lowering expectations ahead of a tank/fire sale?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t be surprised if they added an arm in ST, especially with the Tillman thing

10:42
Hector: Do you see Manny Machado reaching new heights this season? Perhaps he eclipses the 40-HR plateau or increases his walk rate. With him being 24 it is tough not to see another level, especially with his hard hit percentage increasing.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Machado is increasingly forcing pitchers out of the zone. The next step is to chase those out-of-zone pitches less often. Do that and there’s not much left to accomplish

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not going to sit here and predict that Machado will improve, given his 13 WAR over the last two years, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him polish his discipline as he embraces being The Guy in the lineup

10:43
DTH: best season by a SP FA to-be: Cueto, Arrieta, Darvish, Tanaka?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Cueto

10:45
Tanner: Hey Jeff, Brewers fan here. Going off of your answer to Smokey’s question–I’m loving what David Stearns has been doing the past year or so, and obviously I’d love for the Brewers to follow the Cubs’ rebuilding plan as closely as possible. But, a big part of the Cubs’ plan was to invest big into free agents, which the Brewers can’t really afford. So generally speaking, what sorts of risks/outside moves does a small-market rebuilding team have to make to succeed, that a larger-market rebuilding team (Phillies or Cubs) doesn’t have to?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Well, basically, the Brewers have to be as good as they can be at talent evaluation and development. That’s it, because there’s no making up for the resource gap between them and the Cubs. The Cubs could throw money at a problem if they wanted to. The Brewers can’t, so they have to do so much more internally. On the plus side, the early signs are incredibly positive

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: KEONNNNNNNNNNNNN BROXTON

10:46
Bryan: Now that Scherzer appears to be hurt, Strasburg is a when-not-if injury, they have an even older Werth and Zimmerman and Bryce Harper isn’t there for the long haul, is it time to blow things up and rebuild?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: What? Heavens no. They’re one of the best teams in baseball

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: The Nationals are so good!

10:47
Jim Lonborg: All right, I’ll ask, since I know everybody loves minor transactions. Thoughts on the Giants signing Aaron Hill? Odds of his getting 250 major league PAs?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t get it. Play Hwang.

10:47
Luke Singsank: Do you see Jarrett Parker or Mac Williamson winning the LF job in SF or a full season platoon?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: feels like platooning or some form of moving around is inevitable

10:47
Hector: Would you consider Josh Donaldson a late bloomer to the point where his age-31 season could be most players’ 28-29 age seasons? His peripherals are still great.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: If you’re asking whether Donaldson is going to improve, no, I don’t think so. But he is a late bloomer, and he is fantastic

10:48
Sum tin wong: Interesting idea for a Quintana to Houston trade. Quintana+ abreu for musgrove, martes, Tucker, guiriell, Cameron and reed.

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Feels like too much from Houston

10:49
Mariners101: If you can bring back one old stadium with renovations in seating….Which one would you bring back for like one annual MLB game?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know why but I loved Tiger Stadium. I have vivid memories of games in Tiger Stadium, so that’s my first choice

10:50
mike sixel: Will I ever be able to go golfing again, or does the rain never stop here? As for the Twins, odds the SP is not one of the five worst staffs this year?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: July through the middle of September are amazing!

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Except lately Augusts have been too hot

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: sorry

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Twins can make it into the 20 – 25 range. Having a pitch-framer, at last, is going to help them

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Granted, that would be value from the catcher, not the pitching staff, but we’ll still be talking better K’s and fewer walks

10:51
Guest: What are the chances Benintendi goes HAM this year and hits 20-25 bombs along with his great slash line/10-15 steals? Feel like it’s so easy to imagine some of that gap power getting muscled over the fence

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: It is horrifyingly easy to picture Benintendi being amazing from the get-go. I’m probably overexcited

10:53
PL: What would your walkup / bullpen entrance song be?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: my actual answer is

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: More of an entrance song than a walk-up song, but no right-minded team would ever have me take a plate appearance anyway

10:54
Jason : I really enjoyed your piece on Carter Capps. If MLB does determine that his illegal multiple hop delivery is in fact illegal, how is it enforced? Is such a pitch automatically a ball? What if the pitch is delivered and put into play? Please tell me we could see “do-overs” in a MLB game.

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: When Capps spent a stint in the minors, he ran afoul of an umpire who called a couple automatic balls. So that’s what we would see in the majors, if Capps was determined to be in violation

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Now, I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen an automatic ball called, but I’d guess it’s like a balk, where it’s called immediately. So the umpire would say something and make a signal as Capps is throwing, and the batter would probably respond by stepping out or taking the pitch or whatever

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Furthermore, I’d guess the play is immediately dead upon the call being made. So nothing that happens after would count

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: A hypothetical home run would therefore be negated!

10:58
Anthony: I presume this has been asked before, but I’ve never seen an answer personally. How good must a hitter be for it to be worthwhile to intentionally walk him in every possible plate appearance?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Quick approximate answer: if a batter walked in every single plate appearance, his wOBA would be .691

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: So you’d need a hitter whose true-talent wOBA is at least .692, roughly speaking

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Barry Bonds topped out at .544

11:00
James: Higher WAR in 2017, Smyly or Felix?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Aw hell, I’ll say it. Felix! I’m a partial believer

11:01
J: How do you feel about measuring a prospect’s ceiling? Waste of time or useful to know but not necessarily accurate?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Waste of time. We never have any idea

11:01
Kelly: What do you think of the work Dipoto has done since he started? He came in without too much to work with and it’s been refreshing to see strategies based on actual sound thought, at least (last year targeting buy-low guys, this year focusing on defense and swapping out volatile low minor league guys for ones with higher floors that will be able to debut quicker).

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Generally favorable. B or B+. Some stuff I’ve liked, some stuff I haven’t, but I support the overall plan and approach, and I support the implementation

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, he’s lucky that James Paxton basically fluked his way into being able to throw harder strikes

11:03
Miky: Hi Jeff, how do you feel about Michael Fulmer? 3 great pitches he can trust now, can he be an ace?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Has to prove to me he can throw more strikes or miss more bats. Until then, I’ll think of him as more of a No. 3

11:04
Positive in Pagosa Springs: So Tony Blengino gave Tyler Anderson a 71 “True ERA-“, which would be 3rd in the NL. How good is he, really?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s neat and super interesting, but if I recall, he also pitched against an overall weak slate of opponents. Right now, for me, mid-rotation

11:06
ALL_CAPS: Why isn’t Matt Chapman getting as much attention as Aaron Judge?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Chapman might actually have a worse strikeout problem

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: (Also, yes, the Yankees thing)

11:07
Mike: Why are you higher on Haniger than others? As a broader question, what do you value in prospects/forecasting more than other people (and conversely, what do others place a higher value on than you?)?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a believer in Haniger’s swing change, and so I’m a believer in his shorter-term results. I don’t care that he wasn’t a very good prospect before, because I think now he’s fundamentally different as a hitter. Additionally, there are good reports about his CF defense, and that tends to go underrated by prospect people who mostly focus on the bat

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Haniger is odd because his career path is somewhat non-traditional, but I’ve seen enough other players like this that I’m not deterred

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: With minor leaguers and the unproven types, I’m a believer in measurable performance. Many other people prefer to try to scout the skills, which is totally valid, but can easily mislead

11:09
Jeff: What are your top 3 spring training battles you are watching?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Profar vs. field, Sandoval vs. weight, US vs. US government

11:10
Yuk Yuk Puk: As a Rangers fan, if I had to pick an extension for one player between Darvish and Lucroy, I’m 100% picking Lucroy. Am I crazy? Am I crazy to think we could get both?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’d take Lucroy, too. Darvish has the bigger question marks and he’s likely to cost almost $200 million.

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt they can or will re-sign both

11:11
Fred: I’ve seen some research (https://www.thestar.com/sports/bluejays/2016/06/06/study-says-pitch-clocks-in-mlb-could-increase-risk-of-injury-to-pitchers.html) that suggests the implementation of a pitch clock could increase the likelihood of pitcher injuries bc pitchers will have less recovery time between pitches and thus be more fatigued and prone to injury when throwing a pitch. Prior to reading that, I thought pitch clocks made a ton of sense. Now I’m not so sure. Pedro Baez has only been on the DL once in his career (15-day DL for a strained pectoral). So, maybe he’s on to something and not just trying to annoy the heck out of Joe Buck.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I think we all want to see pitchers work as quickly as Mark Buehrle. In reality, that’s impossible. Pitching is *hard*, and it drains you. It’s incredibly exhausting, especially as you clear 20 or 25 pitches in a frame. Pitchers need breaks. …but they don’t need limitless breaks. You can regulate this without being unfairly harsh

11:13
Mike: Does any site have individual pitcher unearned runs as a sortable stat?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t…think so…but it would be easy enough for you to do on your own with a quick export and Excel subtraction

11:14
Dave: Is Valencia as full time 1B the Mariners’ only backup option if Vogelbach doesn’t play well? If so, should it be?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: In theory, DJ Peterson could do something in an emergency

11:14
Cody: What NL East team wins the most titles over the next 5 years?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Nationals

11:14
jon: Most starts for the Cubs in 2017:
1) Montgomery
2) Anderson
3) Butler + Mills

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: 1

11:14
J: Doesn’t it always make sense to trade 2 months of a player right before they become a FA especially if they can be signed back?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Depends on the player. Sometimes there’s just not enough value to get back if you’re talking about a reliever or something. There’s some value in roster continuity, and some value in keeping that player if you know you’re going to want to try to get him re-signed

11:15
Chris: thoughts on Berrios this year?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: Fresh start, cautiously optimistic.

11:16
Tyson in Oklahoma: How many more years until someone hits 62 homers in one year again?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: My answer depends entirely on whether MLB actually succeeds in shrinking the strike zone

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: If the zone stays as it is, it’ll take something extraordinary

11:17
Bort: Are hyped youngesters like Baez and Profar getting screwed by teams that refuse to play them everyday to let them develop into legit stars?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Rangers couldn’t really play Profar regularly when he was hurt for two years

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Last year he batted 300 times and wasn’t good

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Baez batted 450 times, which is plenty

11:18
Kristen: Who are some players that are still young but you think might have peaked already? Hard to see R. Odor becoming more than he currently is with his questionable plate discipline.

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Jose Ramirez has probably had his best season. Bryce Harper, of course. Don’t know what room there is for Mookie Betts to grow further. Rougned Odor is a good suggestion

11:19
DJ : Why does Jorge De La Rosa not have a roster spot in an MLB bullpen yet?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Probably because he hasn’t been a reliever for a decade

11:20
El Duderino: Who hits more HRs in 2017.. Matt Holiday or Gary Sanchez? 30+?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez, no question

11:20
Mike: Why does everyone seem to be meh on vogelbach? Obv defense would suck but seems to have quite a knack for hitting and could be a decent maybe just below peak billy butler

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: Below-peak Billy Butler is like a 1.5-2 WAR player. That’s a very meh player

11:21
Sterling Mallory Chris Archer: When you go hiking, what’s standard social protocol with dealing with others? Passing by is easy, but when you’re at the summit, do you engage in convo or just keep to yourself?

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: I pretty much always say hi when hiking. Most people say hi back. If I’m stopped, and I’m near other people who are stopping or have stopped, then I’ll evaluate and see whether I think they want to talk, but I like to be social outdoors

11:23
GG: Jeff, how do they cram all that graham?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: By eliminating unnecessary nutrients

11:23
AZ: In a trade would a team prefer $50 million in prospect value or $50 million in straight cash?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Straight cash. Cash is good right away. Prospect value is realized over several years

11:24
Graves: Is Brandon Phillips the worst? I mean I mostly am going off of his blow up that one time about OBP, but also his huge decline. Should he be given the benefit of the doubt or is he actually a colossal Jerk?

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: One could argue his decline has actually been pretty graceful for a middle infielder http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=791&position=2B

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: He is certainly opinionated and he might hold too high an opinion of himself as a baseball player, but speaking in terms of him as a person, he had a wonderful relationship with the community in Ohio. Seems like a good dude, with a few drawbacks, like most of the rest of us

11:25
GianMarlo Stanfield: Dansby still eligible for ROY I believe by 1 at bat/game? Might be wrong on that.

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: If this is true, it’s Dansby for RoY

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, OK, confirmed, Swanson seems RoY-eligible because he had 129 AB, where the cutoff is 130.

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: Whoa, it’s late! I need to stop chatting!

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, and 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.


Comments Are Loading Now!