Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/18/14

9:00
Jeff Sullivan: Look at that, everybody! On time!

9:00
Jeff Sullivan: I’m too pleased with myself. I better take a few minutes.

9:00
Comment From @lomomarlins
Votto is averaging 65 RBI over the last two years, so he’s clearly bad. Bazinga.

9:00
Jeff Sullivan: Fun fact:

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: Last year, he was one of the least-clutch players in baseball!

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: That is, by the win expectancy Clutch score.

9:01
Jeff Sullivan: For his career, he’s been positive Clutch. But I suspect part of the perceived problem a year ago was that he really was not delivering enough in important situations. That should balance out going forward.

9:01
Comment From Zach
Ok…Jimenez signing…go!

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t love four years, but the reality is that $12.5 million AAV isn’t that much anymore. In the immediate, it’s the market rate of about two wins, and Jimenez has a reasonable shot of being worth that much. He probably doesn’t improve the rotation a lot, but he does help the depth, in that now Gausman looks like the No. 6 instead of the No. 5. That’s a good weapon to have stashed away.

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: I think tomorrow I’m going to write something about the Orioles’ window, and the post is going to look a lot like my post about the Royals’ window. It’s not 2014-2015 or bust

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: (spoiler alert)

9:04
Comment From tonyyyy
The 2014 team season projections and playoff odds changed. Does that mean the ZIPS odds have been added in?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: No, Appelman just ran an update. Hadn’t had one of those since at least right before Burnett signed with the Phillies. When ZiPS is added in, I imagine you’ll hear about it.

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Incidentally, the Phillies’ playoff odds were 10% pre-Burnett. Now they’re a little over 14%. That’s based on Steamer and our own depth charts.

9:05
Comment From Guest
Ubaldo Jimenez deal: great value or bad fit for division/ballpark?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Thankfully there are more than two options

9:05
Comment From Longoball
Ubaldo is gonna get wrecked in the AL East, right?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: And then a good observer adjusts for quality of competition

9:06
Comment From Marcus A.
Why does every writer think their team should go after Capuano but only 3 teams are reported to be “in” on him? Is there more health risk than we think?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not actually all that good, and there seems to have been a market shift against pitchers with health questions. Capuano’s had a couple Tommy John surgeries and teams seem extra wary

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s anything physically wrong with him now — I think the perception is just that he isn’t too reliable going forward

9:07
Comment From Joe
Will the M’s sign Cruz or Santana? Does either vault them into competing for the division?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll probably sign Cruz

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: They will not be good

9:08
Comment From Brad
How many wins do you think a good manager accounts for each you? I was thinking not much after watching Matheny and Farrell do a lousy job in the World Series.

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: The crazy thing is I have absolutely no idea. We’ll probably never have an idea. I think the answer *could* be around a small handful, but for all I know the truth is even crazier than pitch-framing. Maybe a manager really can allow a team to sink or swim

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Analysis is basically impossible, if you want to capture the whole scope of a manager’s job

9:09
Comment From Matt
The Ms are reported to be in on Capuano and out on Cruz! Feeling vindicated?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll still sign Cruz and they’re probably targeting Capuano as a result of Iwakuma’s injury. Been expecting them to move Franklin for a starter

9:10
Comment From Marcus A.
Does Ubaldo Jimenez signing with the Orioles make it more or less likely they sign one of Cruz/Morales?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I still expect them to end up with Morales

9:11
Comment From Richard
Do you think shifting to 1b will improve Mauer’s BA and OBP?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Over last year’s .324/.404? No

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I do think it’ll help him remain a positive offensive contributor for longer

9:12
Comment From Guest
Any guess how long before Votto’s deal is considered one of the worst?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I suspect by the time he’s declined into a less-awesome player, his salary won’t look that enormous. Of course every one of these contracts looks worse with each passing year but then that ignores that the value is toward the front

9:13
Comment From Andrew
Where do you think Barry Zito will go? Is he a good fit for LAA?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: home

9:14
Comment From Bob Throneberry
How good a shot do Paxton, Duffy and Ventura now have to crack their respective rotations?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Paxton’s on the fence — depends on Scott Baker, Erasmo Ramirez, and any other acquisition. One of Duffy/Ventura should make the rotation out of camp but they might want to give Davis another opportunity first

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: “The other path for Duffy/Ventura: Go to Class AAA Omaha, work as a starting pitcher and prepare for an arrival later in the season. But Yost, of course, is in charge of winning in 2014, not winning in 2017. Here is his rationale for balancing the short-term gain versus the long-term development.

“Look, you’ve got short windows,” he said. “There’s not a lot of teams out there like the Braves that won 14 consecutive division championships, right? Windows, they tend to be two, three, four years long. And I think when you get in those windows, you better take full advantage of it.”

9:17
Comment From Catoblepas
any reason for the red sox to spend the dempster money? net positive for them?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Hey, it’s another team that could get in on Capuano. Dempster isn’t a big loss, wins-wise, but if nothing else it was helpful to have that emergency depth.

9:19
Comment From Andrew
Chances of Jered Weaver finishing in the top 3 in AL Cy Young Voting?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Very high, in 2011

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t like his chances now with his stuff in decline. He’s still a fine starting pitcher but he’s left behind the realm of the elite

9:20
Comment From Chris_FB
Which team in MLB could most credibly say “to heck with free agents / trades, just play the kids”, and still have a close to .500 or better season?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: Starting when?

9:20
Comment From Jack
Who is the Astro’s closer?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: There isn’t one

9:20
Comment From RyanS
Next of the Frozen free agents to sign?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Santana shouldn’t be far off now that Jimenez has clarified the market

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Cruz will go whenever he or the Mariners decides to cave on a few million dollars

9:21
Comment From a guy
Is there a way to see somebody’s defensive split stats? E.g. Ryan Zimmerman’s first half vs second half UZR

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: no :( used to have home/road splits but even those have disappeared

9:21
Comment From Andrew
Is there a way the Angels could get Homer Bailey?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: The guy the Reds are signing to a long-term contract extension? No. No, not this year.

9:22
Comment From CMR
Do you enjoy reading about volcanic processes on other planets?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, but not as much as I enjoy reading about volcanic processes on our own planet.

9:23
Comment From Grack Zeinke
what do you think about the Jays whiffing on the best SPs on the market? Ervin looks like bad fit there… as bad a fit as Nelson Cruz is in Seattle. Now, flip it, and it makes way more sense – Cruz in TOR and Ervin in SEA…

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Not going to blame the Jays for not going to four years for Ubaldo, or for not dumping everything they have into the Tanaka wagon

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: They could stand to improve their rotation, but they could also stand to improve at second base, and I imagine that’s the move they’ll make this spring.

9:24
Comment From Catoblepas
are the Phillies really at that high-leverage a point of the win curve, that Burnett can make a 4% difference? woah.

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, he improves them by about two wins. They’re not actually at that high-leverage a point of the win curve. If they were, maybe that’d be more like 10%

9:25
Comment From Lemonpinella
As an M’s fan, should I feel/you yourself feel this way about the upcoming season: 1 Excitement 2 Nervous anticipation 3 Dread 4 Bored antipathy 5 other

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Try to feel something positive because if you feel something negative that kind of defeats the whole purpose of this pastime.

9:26
Comment From Reddickulous
I haven’t been paying too much attention. Is the AL East still the default best division (i.e. the one you don’t want your team to be in)? How about the division you wish your team was in?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Let me run some quick numbers:

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: AL East, this year, projected for 202 total WAR

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: NLW: 200

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: ALW: 190

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: ALC: 184

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: NLC: 179

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: NLE: 166

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: That’s all Steamer + depth charts. Will be interesting to see how things change with ZiPS inputs

9:31
Comment From David
If Homer Bailey gets 6/100, Jordan Zimmermann gets _____

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: 6/110?

9:31
Comment From Grack Zeinke
no, it’s more likely that Capuano has just been looking for a multi-year (2 or 3 yr) deal and teams prefer 1.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: It’s both, but word was a few weeks ago that Capuano had reduced his demands. He could/should be readily available for a year

9:33
Comment From Joe
Is Steamer unusually down on Baltimore? Playoff odds are just 5.5%, which is 3rd lowest in the AL. Projected for just 76 wins. This seems off, right?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Ubaldo isn’t in there yet, and there are considerable projected steps back for Davis/Machado. Also the division is really solid and the Orioles might well be the worst team. Steamer might be a little low, but I dont’ think it’s egregious

9:36
Comment From Guest
Does Morales make any sense now that he’s probably cheap? Or does Hart/Morrison/Smoak make him a net loss by encouraging playing all 4 at once and making our pitchers cry?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t make any sense to have all of them on the Mariners

9:37
Comment From KJ
I haven’t seen a lot of talk about Chad Billingsley, do you think he can make a comeback/impact this year?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: He can be fine depth down the stretch, but he’s still on the road back from TJS, and as recent history has shown, the rehab trail can be littered with setbacks and the Dodgers would be right to not count on him to be a major factor

9:39
Comment From Mike Frown
Baltimore better not forget to sign Ubaldo’s shrink.

9:40
Comment From Gila Monster
Don’t team like Baltimore minimize the impact of signings like the Ubaldo one by poor management? Because seemingly a rotation with Ubaldo and Gausman starting and Norris in the bullpen is better than one with Ubaldo and Norris/Miguel Gonzalez in the rotation.

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: The way things are on opening day isn’t the way things are in June or September. As time passes, the Orioles will find their best rotation

9:43
Comment From David K.
If you were the reds which two would you like to have over the next five years? Bailey, Latos, or Cueto?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I just spent a couple minutes trying to decide and honestly I couldn’t come up with a clear preferred two

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe Bailey/Latos just because of Cueto’s developing history of injury problems

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: But the bigger point is that I could be convinced in any direction

9:45
Comment From Joey Votto
How much do you think me walking all the time, being as it’s hard to have a very “clutch walk” per se, affects my Clutch Score Rating?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: You have a positive career Clutch score with a 21% walk rate in high-leverage situations

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Not many “clutch walks” but a walk is still a hell of a lot better than an out

9:46
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
If Pujols’ best contract value is in the front of his deal…

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: As much as I think he’s going to bounce back some, uh oh, disaster alert

9:47
Comment From Scott
Better Hitter – Billy Butler or Anthony Rizzo?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Butler by a slim margin today, Rizzo in a number of months

9:49
Comment From Mark
How much do you trust Wil Myers this year? Can he become a top 15/keeper worthy outfielder? He strikes out a ton and his babip was pretty high last year, I could see him struggling this year. But the talent is there.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: First 20 games in the majors: 3 walks, 25 strikeouts

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Remainder: 30 walks, 66 strikeouts

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: I like him as an overall above-average player who isn’t a superstar, but who is cheap enough to be worth crazy surplus value for a number of years

9:50
Comment From Dave
Starting to get abit concerned Toronto arn’t going to do anything. Abit worrying to see every other team in the AL East improve themselves whilst we have have done next to nothing to improve ourselves. What do you think happens now?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Spring-training trade for a second baseman. There’s a glut still available

9:53
Comment From Marcus A.
Bailey extension talks are hovering around 6/$100m. Seem fair for both sides? It strikes me as a little team friendly.

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Not too dissimilar from the contract Anibal Sanchez signed to stay with the Tigers. Values five free agency years around $90 million, or $18 million per. Seems like about the right rate for a good starting pitcher who isn’t an ace, and who doesn’t have a long track record of being as good as he was in his most recent season

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: With another good season maybe Bailey snags some more tens of millions, but he could get hurt or lose some of his velocity gain. This seems pretty fair to me

9:55
Comment From Matt
What is the optimal line up spending on hitting/defense/and pitching assuming a team had $100M to spend? There must be one right?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Probably something like 45/10/45

9:56
Comment From Mario Lopez
Explain how Ubaldo signing “doesn’t improve the rotation a lot.” Have you seen that rotation? yuck.

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Ubaldo isn’t that good, and the Orioles already had at least five starters who are okay

9:57
Comment From _David_
In rating a team’s scouting and development, is hitting on top picks more important or is it total output? If Seager and Ackley essentially became what the other was supposed to be, does that cancel out or would you judge the Mariners worse because of Ackley?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I’d say total output divided by expected output, based on opportunities (like draft position)

9:58
Comment From Sox Nation
Can Stroman make the Jays starting rotation out of spring training?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: He sure can, but he probably will not

9:58
Comment From Dan Duquette
Thanks for noting that the Orioles window doesn’t close after two years. Gausman and Bundy will mature, and a Bundy-Gausman-Tillman-Ubaldo rotation looks solid down the road. People act as if the club will cease to exist if/when Davis and Wieters depart via free agency, and thus should act irrationally in the near-term. Its utter, small-minded nonsense.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: And they’re also going to free up that Markakis money, which looks like a poor investment now

10:00
Comment From Ryan
With salaries continuing to rise making it increasingly difficult for small market teams to obtain quality (or even average) pitching at a manageable price, why don’t these teams resort to signing two mediocre starters (say, players like Maholm, Capuano, Freddy Garcia -just examples) for relatively cheap and combine them as a fifth starter (each pitching say 3 innings) and utilize them out of the bullpen on other days? Only pitching 3 innings would limit exposure of their mediocrity, as they would only be going through the batting order one time.

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Players don’t want to do that and it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper to just find cheap pitching within your own organization

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Free agency will never be a match for pre-arb cost-controlled youth

10:02
Comment From Woah
I just had someone suggest to me that Ryan Flaherty is going to slug .460-.475 this year. 1. Is this person crazy? and 2. what is his realistic offensive ceiling over 350-400 PAs, slash line wise?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: That person’s crazy and his realistic offensive ceiling over 350-400 PAs is slugging .460-.475

10:03
Comment From Prich
Any industry theory why the Yanks aren’t going after SDrew? Their MI situation is abysmal, will continue to be the next couple of years,have extra money b/c of ARod… Is it mostly due to not wanting to give up their 5th rounder, or something deeper?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Presumably they don’t trust Drew at another position and they don’t want to bump Jeter off shortstop

10:03
Comment From Joe
For whatever it’s worth on Cruz (translation: Mets continue conversations with Cruz):
?@MarlyRiveraESPN
Los Mets continúan en conversaciones con Nelson Cruz, pero no han dado ningún fruto todavía

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Plenty of teams are going to continue checking in, just to see how far the price falls. And the price will fall lower as long as a bunch of teams keep checking in. Don’t know why the Mets would be interested

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: *slower, not lower

10:05
Comment From Joe
What does Ervin Santana get contract wise?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Sure looks like something around 4/50

10:05
Comment From _David_
As a Mariners fan would you rather the team be interesting enough while winning 85 but missing the playoffs and retaining the front office, or winning 68 and getting new people?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Interesting enough. 85 wins suggests some things went well and I don’t trust the organization to hire people any better

10:06
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
California Angels 2016 salary obligations: Hamilton $32, Pujols $25, Weaver and Wilson $20 = $97 million for four players. How much does this hurt them in general, and Trout contract-wise?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: It greatly reduces their effective payroll, as that’s basically nine figures for maybe four league-average players. But that would still be an arbitration year for Trout, so he wouldn’t be getting FA money, and they’re going to make something happen there before too long

10:08
Comment From Guest
ALW has to be brought down by Astros being included, right? The top 3 of each division is probably a better measure of where teams would want to be

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Every division has someone mediocre

10:08
Comment From CookieMonster
What is your fav kind of cookie?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: fresh

10:08
Comment From Prich
Ryan Divish just tweeted a pic of Jesus Montero loosening up; He’s not… thin…

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: He’s a career C/1B/DH coming off a knee problem

10:09
Comment From toot toot
why havent the jays traded for nick franklin yet

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: They don’t match up well with the Mariners without the involvement of a third party

10:09
Comment From Neil Huntington
I don’t want to give up our pick to sign Morales, but if I do, the terms of the contract in terms of years and dollars will be _____?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, 2/16?

10:10
Comment From Marcus A.
Which “rebuilding” team do you think is doing the best job? Astros seem to be on the right track.

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I’m also fond of how the White Sox have begun the process

10:10
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
Which would you rather have for 2014: Corey Hart $6mil or Kendrys Morales for twice that?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Hart

10:12
Comment From Guest
Both projections and scouts don’t really seem to see Yordano Ventura as a potential 1 or 2. What’s missing with him? He looks very good to me, but I am a layman.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Size and a consistent, reliable second pitch. He also still doesn’t have much of a changeup

10:12
Comment From Prich
Lloyd McLendon was quoted as saying (to paraphrase): “We already have a lot of talent in the OF”… he had to be posturing, yes? (Note: This is not a plea to get Cruz)

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Everybody in every major-league outfield is very talented

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Just…don’t pay attention to these things for another six weeks.

10:13
Comment From JT
I’m very concerned about the Blue Jays for this year: can you please whisper me some sweet nothings about holding pat after the failed launch of the 2013 product?

10:14
Comment From Average Sports Fan
What team do you think could win 90 if things went right, or lose 90 if things go bad?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners, Royals, Jays, Orioles, Reds, most of the NL West…

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: That would probably describe more than half the teams in baseball

10:15
Comment From Lemonvalbuena
Do you think the universe is ever-expanding and knowable, or do you suspect there are infinite universes and multiple dimensions we are incapable of understanding?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: yes

10:15
Comment From Beattie
Have you ever examined guys those stuff seeming suggests they are better than their K%,SwgStk%…etc suggest. Garrett Richards and Chris Tillman are some guys that come to mind.

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: A problem is, how do you measure quality of stuff? Contact rate is likely to be a component, and then where do you go from there?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: It’s also basically impossible to separate stuff quality from delivery. We can’t evaluate deception on paper

10:18
Comment From Brandon
What are the chances that Miami actually signs Stanton to a long-term deal? Do you think he tries to force in a do-not-trade list?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: At this point, honestly, I think they get something done, and I think they do include at least a partial no-trade clause

10:18
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
Any thoughts on Cano’s potential impact on guys like Miller or Seager etc?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll allow them to play on a better baseball team

10:21
Comment From Tom
How much has Boston downgraded at SS/CF? Drew and Ellbsury combined for over 9 WAR last year. As underrated as they were last spring are they perhaps a bit overrated this spring?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Here’s the thing!

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Clearly, the Red Sox have gotten a bit worse.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: But last year, they led the majors in WAR by 3 over the Tigers and 12 over the next-best team, which was the Rays

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: So they don’t need to be as good as they were a year ago because a year ago they were an elite baseball team with little in the way of company. They’re still projected to be one of the best — they’re just closer to the pack.

10:23
Comment From Marcus A.
Now that the Orioles have done something, whose offseason has been the most disappointing? Reds?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: I’m thinking Reds

10:24
Comment From Clint Hurdle
Upon calling Gregory Polanco up this season, do I have him bat leadoff?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Certainly not right away

10:25
Comment From David Buona
What’s your thoughts on the Indians rotation now that Ubaldo is definitely out and Aaron Harang is definitely in (snicker, snicker)?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Middle of the pack. I like the top three of Masterson/Salazar/Kluber an awful lot but I wish they had more reliable depth

10:25
Comment From Marcus A.
Does Nick Franklin not have much trade value, or is the asking price too high?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Teams don’t buy his defense and long-term power potential, and the strikeouts last year were a problem

10:26
Comment From B
Have there been any studies done about the ability of a catcher to limit HR%?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Not to my knowledge, but, good luck! That sounds almost impossible!

10:27
Comment From Catoblepas
has anyone ever tested for division difficulty by comparing expected wins vs. actual? e.g., the Yankees have the WAR of a 85-win team, but because they play in the AL East (assuming that truly is the most difficult division), they only win 80.

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: We don’t have a long history of projected team WAR, so I don’t believe this research has been attempted yet

10:29
Comment From Mike Frown
If Masterson has a similar season to last and is healthy, what contract do you think he gets assuming the Indians give him a QO?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s try 5/100?

10:30
Comment From Woah
Do you have any sense what internal, realistic expectations are for Mariners attendance is this year? (team drew 21,747 per game last year)

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: 21-23k

10:30
Comment From Jake
Have people studied why home teams play better? What do you think? I’ve heard park familiarity, but it’s true in sports with standard playing fields, too.

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Park familiarity, comfort of own accommodations, partisan audience, subconscious umpire/ref bias

10:32
Comment From Hank
Is it just me or is Kelly Johnson at 3rd (avg 1.1 WAR over the last 3 years at 2nd) and Brian Roberts at 2nd (average 1.1 games played the last 3 years!) a completely crazy plan after spending 3/45 on Beltran?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: The season hasn’t started yet, the trade deadline hasn’t passed yet, and the Yankees have given themselves some extra options beyond just those two. It’s not like they’re not allowed to upgrade between now and the postseason

10:33
Comment From Jake
Where can I find projected splits for players? Does any projection system offer it, publicly or for sale?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t think of anything. Your best bet is looking at the historical splits and then mentally regressing them to something reasonable. Projections are actually pretty easy!

10:34
Comment From Dan
If you picked up the phone, could you call Keith Law, and would he answer?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing is preventing me from dialing that particular combination of numbers

10:35
Comment From Mike
Am I missing something on Jimenez? His fWAR from 2013 and down: 3.3, 0.1 (2012), 3.3, 6.5, 5.6, 3.9. He sucked in 2012, I get it, but otherwise has been consistently a 3+ win pitcher. He “isn’t that good?”

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: A few years ago he threw 96 and was younger and now he throws 92 and is older. I don’t care that he used to be an ace in Colorado because he’s not that pitcher anymore

10:35
Comment From Jake
Is there a premium on concentrating WAR in one position with a star player?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: In theory yes, in reality no

10:36
Comment From Tom
If you were the M’s GM, is there a specific player you would target for Nick Franklin?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: It’s never a good idea to target a specific player. I’d be looking for some kind of Franklin equivalent in the outfield, probably

10:36
Comment From Bench player
Is there anyone left for the Reds? Just nothing for this off-season?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Sure looks like a nothing offseason. Sure hope that Ryan Ludwick is healthy again!

10:37
Comment From Guest
Who do you think has a better year, Yordano Ventura or Danny Duffy?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Ventura

10:37
Comment From Tom
Do you think an extension for Seager is coming this year?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: I could see it next winter. The M’s probably don’t know what they’re supposed to do with a talented successful young position player.

10:39
Comment From Prich
Lets pretend: Os are realistically out of it come July, but Gaussman and Bundy are showing their stuff at AAA… would they be wise in looking to flip Tillman for young help at corner OF?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: If Tillman’s good, he’s still got three more years of team control ahead of him after 2014. You don’t give a piece like that away

10:40
Comment From Catoblepas
is the cheapness of pre-arb cost-controlled youth a reason not to change the draft system too drastically? is that what’s keeping the smart, small-market teams competitive?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, they’re competitive because they collect cheaper talent and stay away from FA prices. Turns out FA prices are generally terrible and most teams should stay away from them, but, that’s a different matter

10:41
Comment From Gila Monster
In the new BP Annual a MLB front office executive stated “Christian Yelich is the top bat for me in the minors;Even better than Oscar Taverez”. Do you buy it?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I do not buy that!

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Healthy Taveras sure is terrific

10:42
Comment From Nick Franklin
Why hasn’t anybody traded for me yet?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Somebody tried but it fell through

10:42
Comment From Tom
Rasmus for Franklin?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: He’s worth more than one year of a guy

10:43
Comment From Arms Of Chris Davis
Do you think that Stephen Drew makes sense in Baltimore as a 2B? It seems like this would be the kind of move that would really flip the ‘Baltimore has had the worst offseason’ narrative on it’s head.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: He would make some sense, but he’d make more for Toronto if you’re taking it as a given that Drew plays 2B.

10:44
Comment From Guest
Has there ever been any research done into what makes teams under/over perform their collective WAR? Sort of a study into if there’s any statistical correlation between certain team makeups and success/failure. For example how much defense does a team need in the outfield? Infield? How much does that change based on the type of SP? Is there an ideal range of power a team should have or do they get as much value from a team that’s SB heavy? Some stat to try to quantify the synergy of a team. I’m thinking it’d be great to have even a loose framework to judge an acquisition on aside from the individual player’s stats. Some sort of marriage between saber stats and old school team building technique.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: This kind of stuff will become more possible as we get more and more years of projected team WAR data. But what you’re always going to run into are sample-size concerns since a 162-game season isn’t actually that long and things can end up upset by injuries or trades or whatnot. The hypothesis always has to be, in individual cases, that a team under/overperformed because of sample size, or just an erroneous projection

10:46
Comment From guatguat
where will you go on vacation next?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: southeastern Oregon

10:46
Comment From Grand Admiral Braun
If the Braves had put Kimbrel on the trade market, how many top-100 prospects could they realistically obtain from one team in a trade?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Two? No one elite

10:47
Comment From Average Sports Fan
Speaking of the White Sox. How do you think the back end of their bullpen plays out? Is Jones good enough for closing duties?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I think Jones is super good. Last year, 125 relievers threw 50+ innings. Jones ranked 12th in xFIP, just a little behind Glen Perkins

10:49
Comment From Hank
Dean Anna ZIPs projections (ignoring the AB part) – optimistic for a 26 yr old who hit in the PCL or a credible replacement if/when Brian Roberts goes on his annual DL vacation?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: He’s interesting enough but I”m usually skeptical of the lower-power/higher-walk guys out of the minors

10:49
Comment From Pat
Simmons or Minor next guy up for a long term extension?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Simmons

10:49
Comment From Hank
If you had batted ball speed (hit f/x)that could be a loose proxy for ‘stuff’ no?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Still have to separate out from deception/delivery, and I don’t know how to do that

10:51
Comment From Bilbo
How far of a step back will the Pirates take this season?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: According to Cool Standings, last year their playoff odds didn’t drop below 90% after July 21st. This year maybe you push that back two months. They’re going to be scraping the whole time, I think

10:52
Comment From Mario Lopez
Comment From Woah
I just had someone suggest to me that Ryan Flaherty is going to slug .460-.475 this year. 1. Is this person crazy? and 2. what is his realistic offensive ceiling over 350-400 PAs, slash line wise?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: That person’s crazy and his realistic offensive ceiling over 350-400 PAs is slugging .460-.475
This made no sense…

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Read it again

10:52
Comment From Jake
What are the odds Drew or Morales don’t sign until after opening day

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: low

10:52
Comment From Sam
Who is the most tradeable fangraphs contributor?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Eno could bring back a lot of cheaper youth

10:53
Comment From Big in Japan
Do you think the Cardinals should be negotiating an extension for Lance Lynn immediately? He’s basically Homer Bailey without the salary negotiation leverage, right?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Lynn is dreadful against left-handed hitters. He’s got improvements to make and he’s shielded in that division a bit, as Dave laid out recently

10:54
Comment From Guest
Why don’t we consider quality of competition when determining value? Surely if two players have similar WAR while one faces the Mets, Matlins, and Phillies almost 60 combined times and the other faces the Rays, Sox, and Yankees., the AL East player is better, no?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I always have this in the back of my mind. Comes up in talks with Appelman from time to time. You’ll probably see something on FG eventually

10:57
Comment From Beattie
Using Pitch f/x data. We know Garrett Richard curveball drops off the table. We also know he throws gas. Seemingly a combination of pitches at move a lot, velocity, and change in velocity could allow use to judge stuff, right?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: What is the intent of the pitcher? Last year, Richards posted a crazy GB%. Seems he was probably trying for contact. How do you account for that when you’re dealing with stuff and SwS% results?

10:58
Comment From _David_
If Taijuan Walker were a free agent right now, how much less would his value be compared to a month ago?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Would be the same

10:58
Comment From Aaron
Who is Jeff Samardzija? Ace? Two? A guy who should’ve played football?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Two, flashes of a One, and he’s doing really well at the baseball thing

10:59
Comment From Aaron
Does Gerrit Cole get his K/9 up this year?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, he made a lot of progress in the majors last year and his K% continued to climb. He’s going to be a great one

11:00
Comment From Dave
Is there any SP on the trade market outside of Shark that might be available? I really dont like the idea of Santana in Toronto.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: There’s not a lot in terms of quality + availability. And teams will be less inclined to move starters now that spring training is underway. The fallback is waiting until the season and then re-evaluating the market in June/July

11:00
Comment From Prich
Will your article on Os tomorrow hit on ‘need’ to resign Wieters, or can I ask you to expand on that now?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: There is no need to re-sign anyone. Sign away a guy’s free-agency years this close to free agency and you’re not getting much of a value — you’re just getting what you pay for. Wieters isn’t a superstar and the O’s can survive his departure if it comes to that

11:01
Comment From Ruben
Where does Miguel Gonzalez fall in with the Phillies? I’ve seen him in the major league rotation, as a bridge in the ‘pen, and preparing to be a closer in AAA.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like nobody trusts him at the moment. He’s going to have to earn any opportunity that he’s given although obviously if he’s 100% he’ll be in the rotation since they liked him more than anybody else

11:02
Comment From Aaron
did you watch the 30 for 30 short on A-Rod over at ESPN? What’d you think?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: I did, I liked it, and I’m not a very good film critic

11:03
Comment From Gila Monster
You did something on when fans and defensive metrics disagree. What about when fan projections and projections disagree? What players do they disagree most on? This year? Historically? Which tends to be right?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: It’s fascinating stuff! I love playing around with the differences and intend to revisit eventually

11:04
Comment From Mike
But you said hes inconsistent and not very good, re, Jimenez. Sure he’s not the Rockie ace of 2009/2010 — he aged! — but he still looks very good to me. 2012 was the only year in which he was truly awful. I’d feel comfortable penciling him in for 2.5 to 3 wins next year and that is definitely worth 4/48 in this market.

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t consider 2.5-3 wins to be “very good”

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a difference between above-average and very good!

11:04
Comment From Jerry
Why does Duffy getting any recognition? Not to slight him but he’s not really in Ventura’s class, right? Ventura is one of the 30 or so best prospects in baseball.

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Duffy throws in the mid- to high-90s and he has a big-league strikeout rate of 20%

11:05
Comment From lolmontero
Knowing what you know know, if you had a time machine (and the authority to make trade decisions), would you say no to the Montero/Pineda trade?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: From the Mariners side? Hell yes

11:05
Comment From Guest
how many nick franklin Qs are in the queue?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: One fewer now!

11:06
Comment From Conrad
Are you a fan of any player – past or present – that had a terrible WAR?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Wily Mo Pena

11:06
Comment From James
Since 2009, Ben Zobrist has produced the 3rd highest total WAR among hitters. Why isn’t he getting zillion dollar contract offers?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Because he’s under contract through 2015

11:06
Comment From Guest
With young players who come up and have an immediate impact like Trout, Harper and Machado have done, at what point should their teams start thinking about extensions?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Very quickly, but then those agents will also recognize what the players will be capable of. Agents don’t want their players to sign the Evan Longoria contract.

11:07
Comment From Randy
Bailey or Tanaka?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Tanaka by a little

11:08
Comment From Dave
Please help me understand why you left Lookout Landing, a site you created, for USSMariner. Which site generates more traffic? I understand taking the Fangraphs job, but am confused by the other transition. Thanks!

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Writing about the Mariners was full-time with LL and now it’s part-time. Now I don’t have to do game recaps at midnight.

11:09
Comment From Steve
Jose Abreu, think he’ll have a Cespedish impact with the bat?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: You mean be above-average? Yeah, I think he can manage that, but he won’t be of a whole lot of value anywhere else

11:09
Comment From Enoch
Mariners having a winning season or witnessing a volcanic eruption from the safety of a helicopter–what would you rather experience?

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Volcano

11:09
Comment From marechal
What do you think Pineda can give the Yankees this year?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: If he’s actually throwing hard again, a No. 5 that pitches like a No. 3

11:11
Comment From Jarrod Parker
Why are so many analysts skeptical about me and what I’ll contribute this year?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: If I had to guess it’s probably the below-average ERA-, FIP-, and xFIP-

11:11
Comment From Swing and a Miss Puiggy
Is the “premium” of having lot of WAR wrapped up in 1 player totally offset by the “risk” of having a lot of WAR wrapped up in 1 player?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: And also it’s just not that easy to find, say, a 1-WAR player for cheap somewhere else

11:12
Comment From Tommy
Better in 2014: Jimenez or Santana? Which would you rather have over the next 4 yrs, assuming Santana basically gets the same deal.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t been able to pick a favorite between them. I think Jimenez comes with more volatility, but in terms of average overall value, I think they come out very very similar

11:12
Comment From Guest
Who ends up a 2B for the Braves?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Uggla for at least the first couple months

11:13
Comment From froglegs_jackson
If Zobrist was on the FA market, do you think he would be paid like a 5+ win player?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: He’d get a big contract, but he’s also 33 in May so it wouldn’t be anything enormous

11:13
Comment From Joe
How long before someone accepts a QO? You think next winter may be the tipping point?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: I’m thinking next winter, although I don’t have a name picked out yet

11:14
Comment From Silverman
When does Tommy La Stella become the 2B for the Braves?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: All-Star break?

11:14
Comment From Mike C.
if Charlie Morton and his 60+% GB rate, 3.20 Era, 3.60 xfip, pitched in a infield of 4 A. Simmon for a full season, what would his #s be?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: 60+% GB rate, 2.50 ERA, 3.60 xFIP

11:15
Comment From Guest
Couldn’t you have stayed at LL in the same capacity as your work at ussm and just let other people do all the recaps and such?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: I was never able to find writers I liked

11:15
Comment From Drew
Are people too quick to write off Jesus Montero? He’s had quite a fall, but he hasn’t actually struggled terribly for all that long, and he’s still quite young. People haven’t written off a guy like Ackley nearly as quickly. Is it because Ackley has shown the effort that Montero hasn’t? Or just that Montero’s value is so tied up in one skill now that his chance of success is so low?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Montero doesn’t have skills. Maybe power, but he can’t run, he can’t field, and he doesn’t walk. His upside now is super low and he’ll need an improved approach to even be able to slug .450

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Ackley still has discipline and athleticism

11:16
Comment From Arms Of Chris Davis
What is more amazing to you — Teams that consistently make smart moves and succeed year in and year out, or teams that consistently make awful moves and manage to stay in the cellar?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: The former. It’s harder to be consistently good than consistently bad in a competitive market

11:17
Comment From Matt
Who ends up closing for the O’s?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Hunter, right?

11:17
Comment From Brendan Ryan
Are you going to boo me when I fill in for Jeter?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: I love you :(

11:17
Comment From KJ
Jeff, this has been a marathon of a chat today, thanks !

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: And now I have to end it! Things to do, etc.

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: 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 Tuesday, and in the meantime, be well and have great days.




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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


2 Responses to “Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 2/18/14”

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  1. Joey says:

    Who would you guys rather have in a H2H keeper league, Votto or Fielder? The categories are R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP and SLG. I know Votto is an OBP God but Prince should easily beat him in HR, SLG and RBI’s. Which player would you guys rather have?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. LukeNalooshe says:

    I had no idea Danny Duffy was bringing that much heat. He averaged over 95+ MPH in 2012 on his 4-seam, while also maxing out between 98.2 and 99.5 MPH between 2011-2013. Really impressive arm. If he could learn to throw more strikes, there’s an impact talent in there.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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