Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 5/21/13

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: And we begin at my customary three minutes after the hour!

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Usual notes: the queue is very busy so don’t be offended if I don’t get to your question. I don’t know much of anything at all about fantasy baseball so asker beware. I’m going to try to cut this off after an hour instead of 100 minutes because today is unusually busy.

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Onward, friendly chatters

9:04
Comment From Chris
Patrick Corbin has a .246 BABIP, 88% LOB, 3.9% HR/FB, and an xFIP of 3.59, yet Keith Law said on Twitter that he was legit. What are us normal folks missing on him?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to be writing about Corbin a little later today! More investigating to be done, but his slider looks to be incredible against both handedness…es.

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Corbin shouldn’t strike anyone as an ace in the making, but he looks to be a legitimate above-average starter, as Law might have been implying.

9:05
Comment From Hank
Assume Hart and Teixeira both come off DL at same time. Who’s the better stash? The numbers say Teixeira has more upside but the wrist issue seems like it would effect those numbers more than a knee would effect Hart. Plus, Teixeira is always a slow starter anyway. Thoughts?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: This is a case where nothing I could tell you would be of more value than a Steamer rest-of-season projection

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Steamer prefers Teixeira. Teixeira is coming off of a wrist injury, diminishing his stock. Meaning they’re very close, meaning you’d be hard-pressed to go wrong with either

9:06
Comment From JEB
I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: No you’re not

9:06
Comment From Steve
Is Justin Smoak alive?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Yesterday he hit the fastest home run of his major-league career. I’ve been waiting for a dinger like that, from him. 113mph+

9:07
Comment From Clownbro mcQuestions
This is the Corey Hart’s return from the DL in 2013 of chats

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Jeff Sullivan chats

9:07
Comment From JEB
Jeff, you headed over to reddit after this to mess with eno? http://www.reddit.com/r/fantasybaseball/comments/1ernmp/im_eno_sarris_from_fangraphs_lets_talk_fantasy/

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not, but you guys should.

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: I have to write something about Patrick Corbin, and the post hasn’t yet crystallized in my head.

9:08
Comment From Bob Loblaw
Spitballs! (Not a question, an exclamation!)

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: I liked the timing of the spit — right after a home run, when no one would’ve been paying attention. But I’m hardly convinced it made any difference. And Sanabia isn’t good. Which, granted, would be a reason for cheating, but I’d love to see good evidence that spitting on the baseball makes a pitcher more effective. I don’t know what Sanabia was thinking and I think he’ll be disciplined without having received any true benefit.

9:09
Comment From Guest
will dee gordon stay in LA all year and will he hit above the ike-davis line?

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he sticks around because he is not very good

9:10
Comment From zack
The Phillies used a 35 year old pitcher (Cliff Lee) to pinch run for a a 27 year old outfielder (Delmon Young). Discuss?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Young since 2011: 1 steal, 2 caught. Lee since 2011: 2 steals, 2 caught

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Of course, Lee got caught in this instance. But, yeah, that says a lot about Young and about the fact that the Phillies still play him in the field

9:11
Comment From Guest
Would you rather have a DH or a designated juicer?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve always wanted a good juicer

9:11
Comment From JEB
As an Indians fan, the past four games could not have gone better imo!

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: Surely, disappointment couldn’t possibly lie ahead!

9:11
Comment From juan pierres mustache
is alex sanabia just dumb, or what? what’s the thought process of a guy who has 30 cameras on him and still thinks “yeah i can blatantly spit on the ball, no one will notice”

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Interestingly, after the fact, there wasn’t much of an immediate Twitter freakout. That only came hours later, when more well-known people noticed what had happened. I’d love to hear Sanabia’s explanation because maybe he just wanted a better grip and didn’t think about it. Maybe it wasn’t about cheating at all. If you aren’t intending to break the rules, you don’t really think about when it looks like you might be breaking the rules. But that was a pretty vivid and disgusting loogie.

9:13
Comment From BJ Upton
I might not have the BA, but I still have the tools, right?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, now use them to build yourself a WAR

9:13
Comment From Clownbro mcQuestions
Eno is very concerned about the generally poor called strike rate on the splitter re: Mujica this season….do you share the same concern over his incredibly splitter heavy approach?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t. For one thing, Mujica has Yadier Molina back there. For another, 8% of Mujica’s pitches in the zone have been called balls so far, against a 14% league average.

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: 7% of his pitches out of the zone have been called strikes, against a 7% league average.

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a thing to pay attention to, sure. But one shouldn’t pretend like it could make all the difference. If Mujica loses a strike here and there, well, he has strikes to spare. He throws them more than 70% of the time

9:16
Comment From Kenny
How good do you think Pat Corbin really is? I thought he was a back of the rotation guy coming into this season.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Again, going to explore this in more depth later, but I’m coming around to the idea he could be an actual No. 2

9:16
Comment From Three Fingers Stump
Smoak and Ryan hitting home runs in the same week. The world must be ending.

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Smoak and Ryan going deep is inflation of the Yellowstone caldera. The Mariners getting swept in Cleveland is subsidence of the same. False alarm

9:17
Comment From Anon21
Maybe Sanabia’s spitter was just one piece of an elaborate piece of performance art: the 2013 Miami Marlins’ reenactment of the Deadball Era. They play in a cavernous ballpark, they score no runs, nobody watches them on television, and their owner is a shady oligarch who treats his players like cattle.

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t know how Dave didn’t think of this

9:18
Comment From Matt
Has there been any research done on the vertical trajectory of a fastball and called strikes? From observation this year (no research) I have a working theory that Casey Janssen gets more low strikes because of a relatively flat fastball trajectory.

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: I believe that four-seamers get a better rate than two-seamers/sinkers do, presumably because the movement is easier to follow and presumably because four-seamers are thrown higher in the zone. Low strikes/low sinkers are hit or miss with umpires, which you can observe with any number of pitchers

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Jonathan Lucroy’s big skill is being able to turn pitches down in the zone into strikes more often than other catchers

9:21
Comment From Steve
With Adam Eaton’s (semi)imminent return, how does playing time in the Arizona outfield fall? Parra has been substantially better than Kubel or Ross, but he always seems like he ends up with the short stick.

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: Tried to research to answer this question. Only came across Kirk Gibson quotes suggesting that no one should worry about it, that he’ll find the time. So that’s hardly reassuring and that hardly answers your question. Expect Parra to lose some PAs. Expect him to still get a lot of them because he’s earned the opportunity

9:23
Comment From senorpogo
Indians fan here. How bearish should I be on Yan Gomes?

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Good power, relatively undisciplined approach, mediocre behind the plate. Role player, occasional hero

9:23
Comment From Metstache
Is Corbin for real or should I trade high now?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve already addressed Corbin but note that the two options are not mutually exclusive

9:24
Comment From Guest
On Vogelsong – is there any historical effect of finger injuries on the pitching hand? Will this renew the whole pitcher batting vs DH debate?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: If one were to rank pitching hand injuries by severity, a broken pinky would show up pretty low on the list, I imagine. Vogelsong’s pinky will be hardly involved in his actual pitching and there’s no reason to assume a troubling recovery. So, he should be all right at the other end. Everything renews the pitcher-batting-vs-DH debate. People love to talk about it. Way too much, in my estimation.

9:26
Comment From Metstache
Just traded Yadi Molina + Fister for Posey and V Mart. How did I do?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know anything about your league expect that it’s presumably a baseball league

9:27
Comment From Zack
Orioles should pretty much stick with Jim Johnson at closer (for now) despite the straight blown saves, right?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t see good reason for a change. He’s Jim Johnson. Blown saves are going to happen, and he’s not as good as his 2012 ERA.

9:28
Comment From Tricky Dick
Is are can Marlins is to be worst evar?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: The Marlins have a better run differential than the Astros, and the same record, and they haven’t yet had a healthy Stanton or Morrison. The big key is going to be the trade deadline — does Nolasco go away? Do Norris and Harrell go away? What’s left for these teams, down the stretch? That could determine which team is quickest to 110 losses

9:30
Comment From Andrew
there is a great piece today on cole hamels doing something different. do you have a take on his early season struggles? thanks!

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t yet read the piece, but while Hamels’ overall numbers are discouraging, I’m heartened by the fact that so many of his other numbers look familiar. His pitches are healthy, his plate-discipline stats are healthy. Hamels doesn’t worry me in the way that Roy Halladay worried me before

9:31
Comment From The Old Professor
Pujols or Rizzo..rest of season ?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Rizzo. Pujols is old, hurt, and worse.

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: It’s close, of course, but I’ll go with the guy who isn’t already injured. Anthony Rizzo may have officially passed Albert Pujols in true talent

9:33
Comment From zack
Who has more pitching depth: Cardinals or Rays?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I want to say the Rays, but we’ll see how David Price is, health-wise. It’s a pretty close race, if it’s even an actual race

9:33
Comment From Tim
Microsoft is announcing its new Xbox today in an hour, in case you were wondering. That could affect baseball in some way I suppose.

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: This is something that I included in the baseball chat

9:34
Comment From Anon21
By how long has the bodily ascension of Our Savior Bryce Harper and his Choir of Celestial Nationals into the annals of baseball history has been delayed? There’s still time for them to bypass the ’27 Yankees as the Greatest Team in Baseball History, right?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: It’s worth noting that the projections didn’t absolutely love the Nationals before the season started. They were optimistic, but not as optimistic as some of the rest of us. And we probably aren’t smarter than projections

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: Nationals projected to be a half-game worse than the Pirates the rest of the way

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: And their lack of starting pitching depth hasn’t even yet been exposed

9:37
Comment From zack
Who would you rather have: Matt Adams or Jesus Montero?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Jesus Montero sucks

9:37
Comment From Kris
Al Leiter suggested last night that BJ Upton shouldn’t be batting 8th, as the opposing pitcher has little to no incentive to throw strikes, since the pitcher is batting behind him. He said BJ should be batting 7th (as a Braves fan, I’d still rather see him leadoff). Your thoughts?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Upton is seeing a normal rate of fastballs, and he’s actually seeing more pitches in the strike zone than he has in the recent past. Two-thirds of first pitches for strikes. Nice theory, doesn’t seem to be the case in reality. It’s less about the approach to Upton, and more about Upton himself

9:40
Comment From zack
Are the Reds and the Cardinals the two best teams in the NL?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: By a hair, perhaps, especially with the Vogelsong injury, but they’re not running away with it

9:40
Comment From Chicago Mark
Hello Jeff, I’m still a little spellbound by the Rizzo signing. Did he sell himself short? Should he have had more confidence in himself, waited and received much more? I’m guessing someone passes the

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: It’s possible we just don’t properly appreciate the appeal of forty-one million dollars. Contracts should all be considered on a case-by-case basis, and Rizzo might just love where he is and want to have that security

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Rizzo is 23 years old, and he’ll never have to worry about money again. Not for him, not for his family.

9:42
Comment From Steve
Wouldn’t it be gross to be the catcher catching a spitballer? Eww.

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: “Whoops, I dropped it in the dirt, better kick this out of play and get a new baseball.”

9:42
Comment From Clownbro mcQuestions
Can we get some .gif goodness of Alex Sanabia’s “arsenal” from last night?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I think Dave is working on a follow-up post, if it hasn’t already gone live. I suspect one won’t bea ble to see much of anything, though

9:43
Comment From bird
Trevor Bauer still in ace in the making?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: No, probably not. Aces throw strikes.

9:43
Comment From zack
Was Cole Hamels better last night or was he just facing the Marlins?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t watch, but I assume both. The Marlins really really suck. Starts against the Marlins are effectively triple-A rehab starts.

9:44
Comment From Tim
More at the end of the season, Joey Votto popups or Ben Revere home runs?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Votto. Fun question!

9:44
Comment From josh donaldson
i’m a legit middle lineup hitter and feel very undervalued. i’m good! perhaps better than that guy in Sandiego.

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: You are quite surprisingly good, but let’s not go overboard. Let’s just settle for “Josh Donaldson is a quality everyday player”

9:46
Comment From Joe
Not baseball related, but any interest in the next-gen x box reveal this morning/afternoon?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: no

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: There are people who have time in the day to play video games. I am not among them

9:47
Comment From Bill
What the hell is wrong with Rickie Weeks?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I’m less concerned since he kind of did this same thing a year ago before turning it around, but Weeks’ groundball rate is unusually high, so there could be something going on with his swing. Just because Weeks has bounced back int he past doesn’t mean he’ll do it again, and it doesn’t mean it’s okay to start slowly. I don’t know what’s wrong, specifically, but I’m open to there being a real problem

9:48
Comment From BradleyJR
Jacoby Ellsbury, can you speak to his apparent constant overranking by folks? His 2011 appears to be an outlier, and his other seasons show mediocre on-base skills. He scores runs and steals bases, but so does Aoki & Gardner. Your thoughts on him?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: It’s hard to forget a 9-WAR season. Especially when it happened just two years ago.

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Going to be interesting to see if Ellsbury ends up like Adrian Beltre — a good regular player who feels like something of a disappointment because he hit an early impossible peak

9:50
Comment From Spooks
What does it mean to get swept by a team you managed for the better part of a decade?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Probably nothing more than any other series sweep, which is to say it sucks

9:51
Comment From Bert
Do the Nats groom Rendon to play 2B, another position, or trade him? Seems his bat is pretty ready.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Just played second base on Monday. I think the Nats will have Rendon work on his versatility to increase their options. If Rendon can hold his own at a few positions, the Nats have a few different routes, and they could even conceivably mix and match, depending. Nothing is forcing the Nationals into a major move — it’s good for them to have talented alternatives.

9:52
Comment From moonman
As a former HS and college pitcher i’ve spat on the ball a few times because it was an evil sphere and not my friend. think alomar and hershbeck.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I’m just going to go ahead and guess that you’re left-handed

9:53
Comment From Terry
Who strikes out more vs. the ultimate spitball out of 5 ABs, Uggla or Bossman Upton?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: They strike out at the same rate, for eternity. It’s like a never-ending hockey shootout.

9:55
Comment From Bronn
Jordan Schafer has an ISO of .123 and no history of hitting for power. He’s walking 16.3% of the time. Is there precedence for guys with limited power posting extreme BB rates?

9:55
Comment From Crawdad
Is your Baseball will surprise you thing going to become a series (because it was awesome)? Conversely, is it already a series that I ignored until yesterday?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have plans of making it a regular series, but I imagine it will probably be revisited a few times every now and again

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: It was good to have two really early games, that wound up so weird. But the idea came out of not having any other ideas, to be perfectly honest

9:56
Comment From Kevin
The Indians’ next 25 games come against the Tigers, Red Sox, Reds, Rays, Yankees, Rangers and Nationals. Best guess: how many do they win?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll go with a healthy 13

9:57
Comment From dude
Do you consider LOB% a stat that can be a skill? Or is it heavily luck based? Please explain…thanks!

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Some luck, some skill. Good pitchers will post higher LOB% than worse pitchers, owing to things like strikeouts and such. But even, say, Clayton Kershaw has a career LOB% under 80%

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Mariano Rivera’s at 80% for his career. I think Rivera makes for a good sanity test — people shouldn’t have a higher LOB%, or a lower BABIP, than Mariano Rivera

9:59
Comment From Benjamin
Is Andrew Cashner here to stay, barring an injury? Looks like he’s finally blossoming into a real pitcher instead of just a pure flamethrower.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, he’s not going away unless he gets hurt, but I’m somewhat troubled by the numbers.

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Fastball isn’t what it was, strikeouts aren’t what they were, walks still elevated. Need to monitor

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: “Blossoming into a real pitcher” seems to gloss over some of the red falgs

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: flags!

10:02
Comment From Izzy
Does the fact that the ASG is at Citi Field make it more likely that Harvey is chosen to start the game?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Won’t hurt

10:03
Comment From Crawdad
Jeff Kobernus is hanging with Billy Hamilton on SBs. (and actually hitting) Who has more stolen bases in 2014?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hamilton, because he’s the guy who’s demonstrated 100+ steals

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: two years in a row

10:04
Comment From Guest
Can Lawrie turn it around?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: You can expect him to be better, but you shouldn’t expect him to be great, or anything particularly close

10:05
Comment From Guest
True or False. Mariners SS thrive off your hate.

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: I like Brendan Ryan

10:06
Comment From John
Explain to me the mets thought process. They have nothing to play for this year. Whats the point of bringing in guys like ankiel and now they are talking about barton instead of just playing ike and lagares every day. Ankiel and Barton have no future on this club, shouldnt they let guys show whether or not they have a future at the big league level, and if they are going to replace them, bring in other guys from the farm? Sandy is a moron

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes a team needs stopgaps. You don’t just toss youngsters into regular big-league action if you don’t think they’re ready for it

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: It doesn’t benefit a young player to play in the majors too much, if he isn’t sufficiently developed

10:08
Comment From Rated Rookie
What is behind Julio Teheran’s recent run of quality starts? Will his strikeout rate ever increase or is this about what is to be expected?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: He’s peppered the zone and throwing 70% strikes goes a long way toward making you effective. I would not expect him to turn into much of a strikeout pitcher

10:09
Comment From Bkgeneral
Think we are getting close to the first trade involving current MLB players?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: We can’t not be getting closer

10:11
Comment From Logan Davis
Is there some reason the Mariners don’t just acquire a whole bunch of pitching prospects with bad platoon splits and then have Lance Painter teach them all cutters? (Hello, Danny Farquhar!)

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Farquhar picked up a cutter before he joined the Mariners’ system.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Painter’s ability as a coach is overstated

10:12
Comment From zack
Is having an ace overrated? A team like the Diamonbacks just have a bunch of good pitchers, but no ace.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, people focus too much on labels when labels don’t win ballgames

10:12
Comment From Greg
Wash said yesterday that Garcia and Profar would split time at 2B while Kinsler is on the DL. Just how dumb is it to not have Profar there every game while he’s up?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Less dumb than the average fan thinks. Garcia’s the guy who’s going to stick on the big-league roster so he’s of more short-term importance. Profar might not be ready to play for 2-3 weeks straight in the majors. Profar’s probably still going to get the majority of the time but people need to not freak out when a prospect doesn’t get as many plate appearances as possible

10:14
Comment From CJ
Better career: Mike Zunino or Yasmani Grandal?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Slight edge to Grandal for having performed well in the majors, but obviously there are questions about that. I think Zunino has a long career, but perhaps not an outstanding one

10:15
Comment From Max
Hi Jeff! Do the pitch framing studies control for the movement of the pitches as they cross the front of the plate? A straight(er) fastball at the bottom of the zone has a better chance of being called a stike (regardless of catcher/umpire) than a Justin Masterson sinker that crosses the front of the plate at the same point (on it’s way to the dirt), right? Great chats, btw!

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Correct, movement matters, and it isn’t really taken into consideration. Different pitches have different “framing” rates and a good study will incorporate that. I think…Bill Petti? might have something coming along this vein but I could be wrong

10:16
Comment From Will
So how well would Iwakuma pitch if he was throwing to Lucroy? Seems he gets robbed at the bottom of the zone more than most.

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Iwakuma runs pretty average called strike/ball rates, despite his receivers. And we don’t know that much about the real effect of framing, to be honest. So my guess is that Iwakuma would not be much better in the end

10:17
Comment From Chicago Mark
How important is a secure roll in the pen to relievers? I’d suspect it ranges from very to little based on the person. Or am I wrong?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: You’d be correct. It matters a lot to some guys, who like some element of predictability. Other guys just adjust on the fly. Always assume stubbornness, in general

10:18
Comment From Guest
Nolan Arenado is already +6 UZR, is he really this good?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: He is not a +43/150 defensive third baseman, no

10:18
Comment From Chris
Will Ubaldo put it all back together and become a stud again?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: He has a 3.44 xFIP. He will never look like the guy he was at his peak in Colorado, but he can be effectively wild in the Gio Gonzalez mold

10:19
Comment From Logan Davis
Brandon Maurer’s thing in the minors was home run prevention. What happened?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Two years ago, Maurer allowed ten dingers in 79 innings.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Home-run prevention isn’t sustainable if you don’t generate a bunch of grounders or strikeouts

10:20
Comment From NotJeffSullivan
Steamer/ZiPS like Pujols

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: As they should, but they don’t know that he’s hurt. He’s not bad now. He’s just not the Albert Pujols character that he was.

10:20
Comment From Jimbob
Concerned about matt moore’s peripherals or is this ride legit?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Wish he’d throw more strikes. His last start was an improvement

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, time for me to get going, need to tackle a Patrick Corbin post.

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Thank you everybody for your active participation, I apologize for the stuff I didn’t get to, and we’ll do it again next Tuesday at the same time. Three minutes after the hour!

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: Have great mornings and afternoons and evenings




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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.


4 Responses to “Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 5/21/13”

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  1. Bill says:

    Hey guys,
    During the chat Jeff mentioned that Mujica had a 7% rate of in zone pitches called for balls, versus 14% for the rest of the league. Does anyone know where that data can be found?
    -Thanks

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. rusty says:

    If anon21 turns his thesis into a guest post, I’ll email it to my friends.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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