Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 6/10/14

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Hello there, friends?

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Hello there, friends! I wasn’t looking at the queue by accident.

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: So let’s talk like we usually talk. Remember, either don’t ask fantasy questions or disguise them, because I will not give you good advice, because I cannot give good advice, because I do not play the game that you play

9:03
Comment From person hscer
Boy I sure am glad Stephen Strasburg pitches for my favorite team.

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Another great example of a guy we just take for granted now. Strasburg is *so* 2010

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: meanwhile he’s striking out 30% of the dudes that he faces

9:05
Comment From Inquiring Mind
What kind of outlook do you see for Kyle Seager?

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: This, basically. He’s blossomed into a quality player, and while I don’t think he has that much more upside, he has managed to add a little bit of power this season to boost his own stock. A 4-WAR kind of peak, and probably a long career in which he makes the most of what he has

9:06
Comment From TVM
Dave Cameron has been conspicuously silent regarding the M’s this year. Has he shared any thoughts with you?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: You can probably guess what his thoughts are

9:06
Comment From Guest
Hey Jeff,

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Hey Guest

9:06
Comment From quinceleather
I am intrigued by the closer carnage this year and curious what you think the O’s discovered about Balfour and what the Ray’s missed?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: It might not really be that simple. I mean, Joe Nathan is struggling too, right? It’s possible this is all just a coincidence

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: But then Balfour’s velocity is down two ticks. He’s never before been at this level. So the Orioles might’ve seen a hint of something and obviously Balfour at less than 100% is a problem

9:08
Comment From Johnny Ray Mack
With Latos return, how do you rank Latos, Bailey, & Cueto?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Cueto first, then it’s a virtual push. Somewhat depends on how Latos comes back

9:09
Comment From Jon
How reliable is team FIP? Is it good stat to see how well the pitching staff is or is it generally better to use it for one pitcher?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: It’s fine on the team level

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Regressions still apply though

9:10
Comment From austin
any guesstimations as to when the mookie monster will be in boston?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: No educated ones. He’s still got pretty limited experience in center field, and it’s not like he has any experience to call on in a corner. So he’s not going to come up in a hurry, and if he absolutely tears things up, maybe you’re looking at a month from now? But it’s probably further off

9:12
Comment From Johnny Ray Mack
Any concerns over Alex Cobb?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Not really. He’s even gained a little velocity. He’s probably fine, although it’s possible last year represented his ceiling, or something close to it

9:13
Comment From Jared
Jeff, who do you think performs better ROS: Polanco or Marte? Thanks!

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Polanco at the plate, roughly even overall

9:14
Comment From austin
heaney ETA?

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Soon. He’s got two walks and 27 strikeouts in Triple-A. The Marlins aren’t going to absolutely hurry him, but they’ll promote him to his level, and it’s looking like his level is the bigs

9:15
Comment From Oface
Whats different about Nelson Cruz this year? Can this keep up even remotely close to current pace?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: I haven’t found anything meaningfully different. Nor would you expect him to be doing anything differently

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: He’s just hit a few more balls over the fence than you’d expect, given his historical rates. Everything’s there but the ordinary HR/FB. That’s to his credit — those are good swings — but it’s a difference of a handful of swings over 2.5 months. Cruz has done well for himself, but I don’t think this is a new level

9:17
Comment From Kinbote
Any hope for Hosmer? Where did all the enthusiasm for him go to?!

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: At least he finally homered again

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Hope remains, but he is what he was in 2012. In 2012 he was worth -1.7 WAR. He’s only 24 and he was a good enough hitter a year ago to earn a longer leash, but right now you question what his ceiling really is. Doesn’t seem like a special player

9:19
Comment From Confused Fellow
I added up the World Series odds on your standings page, is there really only a 45.2% chance that the NL will send a representative to the World Series?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: 45.2% chance the NL will win it

9:20
Comment From austin
does heaney project to be a strikeout guy? i noticed he’s striking out a lot of guys at Triple A

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: He won’t be a low-strikeout guy, but he’s more of a strike-thrower with good stuff than a prospect with great stuff. Frequently in and around the zone

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: This year, 69% strikes in Double-A, 68% strikes in Triple-A

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: (league averages: 63%)

9:22
Comment From Jon
How embarrassing was Manny Machado this weekend?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: As embarrassing as most 21-year-olds

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: That’s kind of a half-joke. Most 21-year-olds don’t try to cripple other people. But then, Machado wasn’t thinking about crippling anybody — he was just lashing out without considering the consequences. Emotions don’t get the best of you so much as you get older. He acted young and stupid and people won’t forget that for years

9:23
Comment From Andrew
My official position: Manny Machado wasn’t necessarily trying to throw a bat at anyone, but he wasn’t trying particularly hard to NOT throw a bat at anyone. Does that make sense?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I think he was extremely frustrated, and he acted in the most immediate way he knew how. It’s kind of like if you’re mad at home you might punch a wall or slam a desk or something. It feels good to rage out, and then two seconds later you’re really embarrassed

9:24
Comment From Andrew
Who else are we taking for granted now?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Every good player!

9:25
Comment From Tom
Thanks for chatting, Jeff! Does Cory Kluber’s low swinging strike rate (relative to his K rate) suggest that his K rate is unsustainable?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: He has a lower contact rate than Yu Darvish, who has a higher strikeout rate

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t buy Kluber as one of the absolute strikeout elites, so in that sense I think he regresses some, but I don’t think he falls back to a low level. I think he’s awesome, and right now he’s pitching around peak-awesome

9:26
Comment From Guest
If Ji man Choi fails or isnt very good will Peterson get a shot this yr? The M’s have been aggressive in promoting some younger guys.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Peterson has had all of a good month and a half in the California League

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Also they still think Smoak isn’t bad

9:28
Comment From Jacob
Matt Cains fangraphs are U G L Y, what should we expect going foward?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not worried yet, but his command isn’t what his old command was. Stuff seems mostly fine. Just want him to pull up his strikes

9:30
Comment From Tampa Timmy
Hi Jeff. Hope all is well. Just wondering if you know much about Kevin Kiermaier. Early on, he looks pretty good.

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: with the Rays: three homers, 46 plate appearances

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: so he’s at six homers in 2014, which ties his professional season high

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: He’s best-known for his defense, and that’s the asset that first got him to the majors. Because of his defense, he doesn’t need to hit that much to turn into a useful regular or semi-regular. And I don’t think he *will* hit much, but he should hit enough to stick with the Rays for a while as a versatile sort

9:33
Comment From alex meyer
how long til i’m in the big leagues?

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: God willing, any week now

9:34
Comment From BDF
Cliff Lee trade: foregone conclusion? I mean, Jonah Keri now officially has the Phils as the worst team in baseball. If it’s going to happen, who are the contenders and what might the Phils expect?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: It’s June 10 and Cliff Lee is presently hurt with an elbow problem. He needs to get back to full strength, and then he needs to get enough innings to prove that he isn’t damaged goods. In order to move Lee before the deadline, it’s kind of a race against time, and I don’t think it’s going to come together the way it ideally would

9:35
Comment From Stanatee the Manatee
Who else would be on the list with Strasburg of guys we’ll look back at in 10-20 years and think, holy crap, how did we not realize how amazing these guys were?

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: This is a tougher question than I expected

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: It’s also just hard to get a sense of average-fan perspective vs. FanGraphs-reader perspective. Like, I’d say guys like Beltre and Utley but everyone here’s been on board for years

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Hell, at this rate, Josh freakin Donaldson

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Adam Wainwright is a miracle every turn

9:39
Comment From Guest
Was Chisenhall a good prospect that never got a real chance? now hes just flat out raking

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: #31 overall by BA before 2010, #25 overall before 2011

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: 1st-round pick, finally hitting, finally leaving the realm of the busted

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe not “finally” — he’s only 25. But this was the offseason where the Indians put Carlos Santana at third because they didn’t believe in their internal options

9:41
Comment From person hscer
What would be your answer to Mike Petriello’s rhetorical question, “Why would you ever throw Derek Jeter anything but a fastball?”?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Game theory, bitches

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Sliders inside, sliders low

9:42
Comment From Bart
What kind of a future does Derrick Norris have with the A’s being that he is currently splitting time with Jaso?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Norris is more of an actual catcher

9:42
Comment From B-to-the-mother-fn-ob
Thoughts on Khris Davis continuing being Khris-mother-f’n-Davis?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: The first month, it was all, “what happened to Khris Davis?” The second month, it was all, “look at Khris Davis!” Khris Davis is in between those two Khris Davises. Because he’s a power guy who doesn’t walk, he’s always going to be the streaky type

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Also apparently he walks some now. I guess this calls for a deeper investigation. But, he’s more of an average player than a great one

9:44
Comment From tommy la stella
i’m pretty good, aren’t i? also…when will i hit my first extra base hit?

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: you might never

9:44
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe an outfielder will dive for one of your loopers and miss, though

9:44
Comment From ellie
Yeah it looked like Seager was getting robbed on some pretty well hit balls and good at bats this last series

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: He hits the ball hard a lot. Almost always to the pull side

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: career .497 wOBA to the pull side, .284 and .256 up the middle and the other way

9:46
Comment From Alex
Is Brandon Phillips cooked? OPS at 706 last year and his mark this season isn’t any better. Anything the Reds can do?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Walks down, power down, strikeouts up, 33 in a few weeks. Still not a bad player but he’s not getting any better

9:47
Comment From Guest
How long will the mariners have to keep up their success to finally be taken seriously

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: People will take them more seriously when they’re not winning games starting Willie Bloomquist at first base

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: I’m as excited as you are, but let’s not pretend like this team is making a whole lot of sense

9:48
Comment From Jills Nipple
With Polanco finally up, you guys get to switch from “When’s he coming up?” To “When’s he gonna be as good as Cutch?”

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: or we’ll just go back to Nick Franklin trade rumors

9:48
Comment From Matthew Kory
What is your favorite part about baseball, Jeff? Is it the white part, or the red part?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: the red part makes it move funny

9:49
Comment From Guest
Dave seemed somewhat optimistic on Espn Radio last week in Seattle he said the M’s need to trade for Marlon Byrd

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Makes sense to me. Righty, outfielder, hits, cheap

9:50
Comment From Mack
Shin-Soo Choo is rocking a 72 wRC+ over the last two months, and he’s clearly playing hurt. Even though the Rangers have no healthy position players on the 40 who aren’t on the active roster, is he benefiting anyone by trying to grind it out every day?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: Wait, what?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: 151 wRC+ in April, 131 in May, 14 in a small June sample

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: He’s definitely playing hurt, but it seems manageable, and the alternatives all suck.

9:51
Comment From Indians Fan
DO the Indians turn it around now? With Kipnis getting going, Brantley playing good, Chisenhall (though last night is probably a fluke). Do they make a run at the Tigers?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Aren’t they already making a run at the Tigers? Before the year, they looked a handful of games worse, and since then Salazar has disappointed. But, Brantley and Chisenhall look like they’ve made substantial improvements and the Tigers are getting less from Justin Verlander. That seems to make up a lot of the gap, to me

9:53
Comment From Guest
How many WAR was Lonnie’s night worth last night?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: 0.6, apparently

9:53
Comment From Dan
What do you think about Danny Santana?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: I think that I don’t think that he’s very good

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: hasn’t hit in Triple-A, hasn’t hit in Double-A, didn’t even really hit in Single-A

9:54
Comment From braves fan
why is alex wood still in the bullpen?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: No one in the rotation sucks enough

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: Harang should suck enough, but, for now…

9:55
Comment From Bruce
If I told you in 2008 that 6 years from now Willie Bloomquist would DH for your favortie team, how would you have reacted?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: in 2008 my favorite team DH’d Jose Vidro and started Miguel Cairo at first base for a quarter of the season

9:56
Comment From Slow Mobius
So does Giambi get cut/phantom injured when Swisher is ready to come back? Can’t see them keeping him given Chisenhall’s play and needing Kottaras so that Santana doesn’t keep getting hurt catching

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, seems like Giambi is on the way out

9:57
Comment From Jord Windy
Any chance Verlander is just in cruise control, gearing up for the second half of the season?

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: no

9:57
Comment From Guest
Do you think climate change is ever considered by MLB as an intervening variable in the future of the sport? More storms means more double headers and make up games.

9:58
Comment From Jon
Nats rotation: 47k v. 0 BBs in last 6 starts. Is this not the most amazing stat of the season?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Ben Revere hit a home run!

9:59
Comment From Andrew
With the additions of Fowler, Springer and Singleton, the Astros suddenly have legit offensive players at C (kind of), 1B, 2B, CF and RF. Do you think Dominguez improves enough to become part of the Astros’ future core?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’ll become a core piece,but I suspect he’ll stick around as decent cheap support

10:00
Comment From balticfox
Big prospects, big hopes. Polanco and Taveras called up recently. But there aren’t many Mike Trouts in the history of the game. Is 2-3 a more realistic timetable for most prospects before they become major contributors to their teams?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Even Trout wasn’t very good in his first cup of coffee

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: But, prospects like this can make immediate impacts. They’ll just make *better* impacts down the road. They’re good players now

10:00
Comment From Jon
What kind of BABIP would you expect a prospect to have in a league that he has “mastered”?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t look to the BABIP

10:01
Comment From Jim Bob Duggard
How under rated is Adam Laroche?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Sufficiently underrated that I hadn’t noticed what he’s doing, but then a year ago he was not good and overall he’s definitely not great. So I don’t think he’s underrated much

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: For the audience: LaRoche has a career-high BB%, and a career-low K%, with solid power. He’s on one of his disciplined streaks

10:03
Comment From _David_
Erasmo Ramirez looked halfway decent (and he pitched better than Taijuan Walker yesterday)…Do you think the Mariners wait until Walker looks better in AAA or make the switch soon regardless?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: They’re trying to trade for a starter. Ramirez has sucked and Walker/Paxton are unknowns

10:03
Comment From Lars
Hey Jeff! Who do you see as the big sellers at the deadline and what will be the biggest names moved? Thanks in advance.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: You’re looking at Price, Samardzija, and *maybe* but probably not Shields/Lester

10:04
Comment From Jon
Why do the Nats have better odds at WS and title than the Giants right now on the teams page?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Because the projections still like the Nationals more. But this might suit you better http://www.fangraphs.com/co…

10:04
Comment From _David_
Do you think Felix wanted to pitch low all along and finally has a catcher who can handle it? Or does he now have the command to do it more effectively? (I know the answer is both)

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, it’s both. He’s just learned more about pitching over the years, and he and Zunino work well together

10:05
Comment From Guest #3234
What do you expect from Danny Santana going forward?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: outs

10:05
Comment From nerd
i’ve been wondering if hard hit foul balls are taken into account when a pitcher’s FIP is calculated? like a ball that’s hit 450 feet, but 6 inches foul — does that count against a pitcher in FIP?

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: nope! would be fun to have that data though

10:05
Comment From Bart
The Phils called up Ken Giles to take over Mike Adams spot in the bullpen. Do you know anything about him?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I know that he is a Phillies player, now

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: According to the page: righty reliever, lots of strikeouts, high walks. So, he’s one of those guys. You’ve seen these guys before, and they’re occasionally fun until they miss a season and a half with a blown elbow

10:07
Comment From David
Nats are finally getting healthy, and they’ve still managed to be tied for first in the NL East so far despite a bunch of injuries. That doesn’t bode well for everyone else, right?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Just going to note that, while the Nats have been hurt, the Braves are also without Beachy/Medlen and the Marlins are without Fernandez. So, it’s not like the Nationals are the only team in there with adversity

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: But they’re the only team with guys coming back. Yeah, they’re in a good position, and they’re probably the best team in the NLE

10:08
Comment From Josh
Excluding Joc, would your optimal Dodgers OF have Puig and Kemp in the corners with Ethier and Van Slyke platooning in CF?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, probably

10:10
Comment From ellis
whats happening with Cuddyer’s injury? Could he be a potential trade target for the Mariners if theyre still in it in a month?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: He’s out until late July or early August.

10:10
Comment From Dallas Keuchel
How long can I keep being this good?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Quite long. You’re probably not really a sub-3 xFIP kind of starter, but you’re definitely a good starter, in sustainable ways

10:14
Comment From Lo
If a HS player with a strong college commitment goes completely undrafted, is he then a free agent that teams can throw unrestricted millions at?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: For the record I am researching this

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like…the answer…is…yes? I’m not comfortable with that, but I haven’t found any indication otherwise

10:16
Comment From Guest
Is a .275/.325/.425 line a reasonable expectation for Polanco?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Very reasonable! Unusually reasonable

10:16
Comment From Lars
What is the real Justin Masterson? The pitcher he was last year, therefore expect a great ROS, or a continuing roller coaster ride of good and poor performances?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: He’s down two full miles per hour, so I suspect he’s not going to get back to 2013 level until/unless he finds that missing velocity

10:19
Comment From Guest
Beyond 2014 should the Jays FO, let Edwin & Jose finish off their contracts, extend them, or trade them before they hit FA?

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: They have club options on both for 2016. So, there’s no urgency at all

10:21
Comment From Scranton
Outside SS, it looks like the Pirates are set (i.e.- not reasonable to expect an upgrade in season) in the field. What starting pitching help can you see them possibly being in on?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Brandon McCarthy’s a free agent in a few months

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: Seems like he’s about the Pirates’ speed. Perfectly fine, relatively cheap to acquire

10:24
Comment From quinceleather
if you were managing the ChiSox, and I think you would make better decisions than ventura, when would you feel comfortable taking the egg from your ace? I read about Sale’s last performance, and I cant help but think that there aint much but hair beneath ventura’s cap.

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Sale was short of 100 pitches entering the bottom of the 8th of a five-run game

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: gave up a leadoff double, but then there was a grounder, then a grounder and an error, then a grounder, then a grand slam on a really great full-count pitch

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: It’s always a process developing a relationship with a staff ace, but so far I don’t see anything egregious, although I don’t love that Sale threw 127 back in April

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, you’re always going to trust Chris Sale over anybody else, right?

10:27
Comment From Gila Monster
Is the complete reversal of fortunes between the Red Sox and Blue Jays just show even 162 games isn’t a big enough sample? They both brought back the exact same team yet are experiencing wildly different results.

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: The Red Sox didn’t bring back Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or, for a while, Stephen Drew. So that’s not totally correct. But yeah, on the larger point, as much as 162 feels like a huge sample, it’s really not as far as these things are concerned

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: Since the start of last year, Boston has 12 more wins than Toronto

10:29
Comment From Catoblepas
What team is most likely to make a bad guess about which side of contention they’re on come the trade deadline?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: One could argue the Twins, already

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: But my guess is KC, and Seattle too if they slow down

10:31
Comment From Brad
Anibal sanchez’ peripherals seem to be down from last year. Can he keep up his current performance?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Last year was almost assuredly his career peak. He’s still a perfectly good starting pitcher, but when the home runs come he’s going to look worse. Good, but worse

10:32
Comment From benj
So Texas is completely out of guys who can play 1B. If you’re Jack Z, are you trying to shop Smoak to them knowing that you’ve got Hart and LoMo coming back soon?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: The Rangers want good players

10:33
Comment From Catoblepas
Do you really think the Twins would deal Kendrys Morales at the trade deadline? If they did, do you think the next CBA would see that prohibited, sort of like sign-and-trades?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Is there a meaningful difference between what the Twins might do and what the Cubs are doing with Jason Hammel?

10:34
Comment From Eno Sarris
Is Polanco basically a Marte clone?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Polanco isn’t nearly that over-aggressive

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Marte in Triple-A: 51% swings. Polanco in Triple-A: 40% swings

10:36
Comment From AL Pitching Coach
Dan Duquette was just quoted saying that Manny Machado might get sent down to AAA. Thoughts??? It be some sweet karma for him being such a tool over the weekend.

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s going to happen, but he hasn’t been a good hitter since last June. This isn’t just a season-opening slump

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Hey look!

10:37
10:37
Jeff Sullivan: “The #Braves have not officially made a move to activate Walden, but it sounds like Wood will be going to Gwinnett to stretch out”

10:39
Comment From lolmets
Do you think we’ve seen the last of Travis d’Arnaud for a while? Do you think the Mets were too quick to pull the plug on the young backstop?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: He’s been awful, right? It’s always tricky with these things — on the one hand you have a guy who seemingly has nothing left to prove in the minors, but then if he can’t hit in the majors, you wonder where the issue is and where it might be worked on. Sometimes these demotions are as much about psychology as about physical development and mechanics. I don’t know exactly what the Mets think d’Arnaud will do in Triple-A, but he’s by no means out of the picture. He’s just not going as quickly as they wanted

10:41
Comment From Defensive Indifference?
Does defensive indifference make sense? Can you link to any research posts about it? I feel like I’ve seen it backfire a bunch of times recently and it makes zero sense to me.

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Off the top of my head, while defensive indifference increases run expectancy, it could be that, by just agreeing to ignore the baserunner, the pitcher manages to decrease run expectancy by focusing just on the hitter. That is, the baserunner might gain a base, but the pitcher might be without the distraction cost

10:43
Comment From Sally
Josh Donaldson has not looked near as good lately. Concerned? Or is legit MVP Donaldson not really a legit MVP?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Halfway through April he had a .701 OPS

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: What’s more meaningful: that ,since then, he has a .949 OPS, or that he’s 0 for his last 15?

10:44
Comment From Glen Coco
Will you ever return to Lookout Landing? Your successors are nowhere as funny or good looking.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: no, never

10:46
Comment From Jake
Zoilo ALmonte has continually torn up AAA (120-130 wRC+), then absolutely floundered in the show (6 K in 19 PA in 2014). What is a guy like that usually missing? How could he take that next step?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: In the majors you get guys who know things about pitch sequencing and who have 2, 3, 4 quality pitches. In the minors you’re more able to sit on what you prefer to swing at. Sometimes you can just ignore offspeed stuff entirely

10:47
Comment From balticfox
Tampa looks like they’ll be sellers, they’re too far under .500 now to have a chance to make the WC. Price is the obvious piece–but who would want to ship some prospects for just half a season of control? Toronto? Boston? Somebody else?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: He’s under control next year too

10:50
Comment From Dylan
How are the Giants good? I feel like every-time I they do well, it never feels like they are actually a good team. I mean Pagan/Posey are good. and MadBum/Cain are good. But other than that?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: They’ve had the NL’s best offense in high-leverage situations, and they’ve allowed the second-lowest wOBA in high-leverage situations. That’s not everything — they’re not a bad team by any means — but that’s how they’ve managed to overachieve. It’s a little like last year’s Cardinals in that regard

10:52
Comment From Dusty Baker
Realistically speaking, how much of a chance do the Reds have of turning it around? With key players coming back, do you think they make a push?

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Even before the year, they didn’t project well, and now they’re looking at gaps between themselves and the playoff contenders

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Based on Steamer/Zips, they’re at 8% playoff odds. Based on season to date, 12%. Not an impossibility, but they’re looking up a tall mountain

10:54
Comment From benj
How does Mike Fiers strike out so many guys in AAA with an 88 mph fastball? Do you think he’s likely to translate that to the majors?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: He strikes them out with his non-fastball pitches

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: As recently as 2012, he got lots of strikeouts in the bigs. Seems like he’s a perfectly useful starter to me

10:56
Comment From Midre and Ryan: Cummins and Goins
Do you see the A’s giving near-full-time ABs to Blanks or Vogt. Everything scrap heap guy the touch turns to awesome.

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: the suggestion being that they take PAs away from Derek Norris, John Jaso, or Brandon Moss?

10:57
Comment From David
Everyone is screaming sell with Chisenhall because of the .420 BABIP, but he’s hitting 30% LDs. He’s not walking enough, but also doesn’t strike out much. Looking at Ichiro and Manny’s .370+ seasons, they maintained BABIPs close to .400 for a full season. ROS for Chiz?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not a .400 BABIP guy. He’s presumably a .300 BABIP guy. A .300 BABIP guy with power and limited strikeouts is a starter

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s not throw around comparisons of Lonnie Chisenhall to Ichiro Suzuki or Manny Ramirez

10:58
Comment From Bret
If the Jays just want rentals, and don’t seem interested in giving up major prospects – who can they get to help their rotation and infield at the deadline?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Hammel ,McCarthy on the pitching side

10:59
Comment From ED
Who wins AL EAST?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: BLUE JAYS

11:00
Comment From Billy
On Machado: Seems odd to speculate about, but how many more games do you think he would get if his bat had actually ended up even remotely close to (what I presume to be) his intended target?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: If Machado had hit the pitcher…50 games? 100 games? That’s big-time dangerous assault. I’m not worried about the precedent; this is a new age, and if taking a drug gets you 50 games, hitting a guy with a baseball bat should get you at least that much

11:02
Comment From person hscer
Wait, why was Chris Sale, or anybody, pitching to Mike Trout for the 4th time in a game, let alone with the bases loaded in the 8th inning of a 4-run game and already around 110 pitches?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: The White Sox bullpen is not good

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: That’s not a total justification, but it isn’t insanity. I know the analytical viewpoint on these things, but it’s not like it’s Robin Ventura’s fault Sale gave up a grand slam

11:04
Comment From Sam
Hi Jeff, I was wondering if you were starting a franchise tomorrow and could have any player bar Trout who would it be?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Puig or Harper

11:05
Comment From Colby for 3!
Is it possible Dunn is a quality major leaguer again and he’s getting overlooked? Rated 3rd last in 1B consensus rankings, but has the best K rate and BB rate since 2010 and ISO higher than 2013 levels

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: On pace for 1 WAR. which is an improvement!

11:05
Comment From Kretin
Is there any importance to ball/ strike ratio when evaluating a pitcher?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Like, how many strikes a guy throws? Yes that is important

11:06
Comment From Slow Mobius
Over/under 2.5 game suspension for Machado?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: If it’s under, that’s stupid.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Looks like 5 games. Less stupid

11:07
Comment From austin
matt holliday and jay bruce were the models of consistency coming into this season. what happened?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Holliday is 34 and Bruce has been hurt

11:08
Comment From William
Batting average aside, how has Oscar Taveras looked to you so far? Overmatched?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: Making *too much* contact. More of a good sign than a bad sign, but he’s still feeling his way

11:09
Comment From OSeamus OShay
Is “needs a change of scenery” measurable in any way? Park factors better suited for a certain skill set, etc…. or is it really just a roll of the dice?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Basically it means a guy needs a psychological fresh start, but I believe studies in the past haven’t shown any true benefit. More what you say when you’re picking up a player who used to be good. It buys a guy some time

11:10
Comment From Northsider
Did you see any obvious winners/losers in the draft?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely not. The draft literally just happened

11:11
Comment From Yoko Colliseum
Do you see any qualitative strides Quintana’s made to support his low-3 peripherals this year?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Looks like he’s pitching for more grounders? Haven’t done a full analysis but perhaps he’s taken a minor step

11:14
Comment From Mike
Now that Springer, Polanco, and Taveras are are in the majors, which current minor leaguer do you think will be the most impactful call-up this season? Thanks!

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: one of the pitchers. Walker, Bundy, Heaney, or perhaps Meyer

11:14
Comment From Davy
Any way Cliff Lee is acting like this injury is worse than what it is? I mean he is at the tale end of his career. He and his family are settled in Philly. Why would he want to go somewhere else?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, no. He already has some no-trade protection and he has yet to win a World Series.

11:17
Comment From Chino_S
I like your brand of analysis Jeff, who on Fangraphs does the majority of player interviews. Is that Eno? Is there anyway to get a guy like you in the clubhouse doing in-depth interviews?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Eno does a lot, Laurila of course also does a lot. That’s his specialty. Every so often I think I could benefit from an interview but mostly I’m content doing what I do, and I’m not in a major-league city anyhow, nor do I have interest in driving 6 combined hours to talk to a Mariner

11:19
Comment From the Average Sports Fan
At last night’s game they showed the league leaders in strikeouts. Ian Kennedy was on this list. WTF? How did that happen?

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: He’s back!

11:20
Comment From FC
Much has been made about Joe Nathan’s drop in velocity this year. But Fangraphs and Brooks Baseball don’t seem to agree that it has significantly decreased at all. What’s causing the discrepancy, and which one should we believe?

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: His velocity’s fine. The problem is something else

11:20
Comment From Charles
Do you think game theory is under-used in baseball? Shouldn’t teams be doing stupid, but also completely unpredictable things to take advantage of the other team?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: There is not enough unpredictability/randomness, but then it’s difficult for players to generate intentional randomness. Might be impossible

11:23
Comment From Breezy
Have you ever seen a manager bunt with a guy on third less than two outs in two games in a row? Because Clint Hurdle did it and miserably failed twice. That’s gotta be the worst manager decision I’ve seen in baseball this year.

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: I didn’t see the bunts in question, but I’m generally in favor of the suicide squeeze

11:23
Comment From Justin
I know the Dodgers want Kemp to learn LF, but putting Van Slyke in CF is just self-immolation, right?

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: If you don’t have a CF, you don’t have a CF. The 2013 Reds made the playoffs with Shin-Soo Choo

11:24
Comment From Mark Ellis Gold Glove
What happened to Mark Kotsay?!

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: I love this as the last question of the chat

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: Gotta go! Work time!

11:25
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 at the same time next week, and until then, 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.


10 Responses to “Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 6/10/14”

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  1. Gary says:

    Do you think the Indians can keep this up? Right now they seem to only have one reliable pitcher in Kluber and very poor defense, so how are they even as good as they are right now?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Gary says:

      Meant to make that a chat question, and now I can’t delete it. Sorry!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt Y. says:

      The offense is 4th in the AL in wRC+, and the rotation is actually second in the AL in FIP and xFIP. If they can somehow pitch around the defense, or if the defense regresses, they ought to make a decent run at the playoffs. At least that’s my hope.

      Comparing the Indians to the Tigers, they actually look kind of similar right now: good pitching and hitting, bad defense. The Tigers are probably still a little better though. The Tigers are just slightly worse in wRC+ on offense and FIP/xFIP in pitching, although not significantly worse. But the Tigers defense, while bad, is more adequately bad than horribly bad.

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  2. Schilling and Pence says:

    What are your thoughts about Danny Santana and Brock Holt for the ROY?

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  3. CF says:

    Jeff’s giving Ventura too much credit with Sale Sat night. Was watching as Sale cruised through 6 2/3, then gave up 2 hits before ending the 7th. 8th starts with a double and single ending the shutout – 4 hits in 5 batters. He clearly lost his effectiveness and needed pulled right there with a 5-1 lead.

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  4. Professor Ross Eforp says:

    I thought the response RE: Dunn was a bit flippant.

    Yes, he has a WAR of 0.4, but he has a wRC+ of 133. Nelson Cruz and Victor Martinez are the only DH with a higher current wRC+.

    I understand why his WAR is low because anybody can DH, but not everybody does. Seems like a guy that almost any team in the AL would be happy to have.

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    • He’s an above-average hitter. He’s the same as he’s been, and he doesn’t project for a 133 wRC+ going forward. I don’t see anything meaningfully different. He’s marginally useful, still. And extremely limited.

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  5. Follow up, via twitter:

    “@based_ball non-drafted players are still part of the draft pool first $100k is free but anything more is subtracted from the pool amount”

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