Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 8/12/14

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t believe it’s a chat

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t believe it’s a chat for all of us!

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t ask bad fantasy questions! Nobody cares and I don’t care!

9:12
Comment From Jake
Carlos Ruiz’ ROS wRC+ projection: 109. That feel high to you?

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: He has a 110 wRC+ right now

9:13
Comment From Fish
The Royals! The Mariners! The Orioles! Wow!

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: I know I’m partially biased but I love this baseball season because it’s been so nuts. I mean, it’s bad for the FanGraphs business model because people aren’t going to trust us anymore as long as weird crap like this happens, but talk about your entertainment value

9:14
Comment From CuriousGeorge
Is there a good website for advanced minor league stats? PS thanks for outlawing bad fantasy questions. They get old.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: You can mess around with http://minorleaguecentral.com/

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: The plate-discipline stats aren’t really to be trusted, like O-Swing% and whatnot, but it’s a neat site

9:15
Comment From Jason
With their poor play, do Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales even make back their rejected qualifying offer money ($14.1M) in their respective 2014 + 2015 combined salaries?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: Drew should be able to do it. Morales is a different story. He’s really, really, really terrible at the moment

9:16
Comment From Jake
Still can’t believe the Phillies are this poorly run. Over/under .450 record in the next five year?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a 73-win average. I’ll take the over, on account of how much money they’re willing to spend. Rich teams have the potential to turn things around overnight, almost

9:17
Comment From Guest
Best movie you’ve seen lately? New or old.

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t watch a lot of movies but I enjoyed Happy

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: always looking for something comparable to 180 Degrees South

9:17
Comment From John
The mets wish they could play the phillies every game of the year. The rest of the league wishes they could play the Mets and the Phillies!

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: One of the worst things about the Phillies is that they don’t even get to play against themselves

9:18
Comment From _David_
Yesterday Dave was talking to Cistulli about how Trout appears to be changing, selling out all other skills for power, possibly to the detriment of his overall value…Do teams try to model what the optimization of a player’s skills would look like, and maybe present this to the player? Or, seeing as teams overpay for some skills like power, would they just get the model wrong anyway?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t think teams really do that. And sometimes they’d just get it wrong, like when coaches instructed Carlos Gomez to try to hit the ball on the ground and run. I think with Trout this is just an accelerated natural progression of things — athleticism and defense decline from a young age, as a player fills out and bulks up, and Trout’s always been a little ahead of his age-average physique

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: This was always a likelihood. It’s just happening sooner, but he’s still going to win the AL MVP this year, probably

9:21
Comment From Josh
Any chance the Mariners trade for a waiver SP? If so, who?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: They like what they have

9:22
Comment From Ernie
Are the Dodgers the best team in the NL?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: I prefer the Nationals, myself, and so do the projections

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers, of course, are really close, but the Nats are pretty outstanding

9:23
Comment From Tank
Yonder Alonso have a chance to right the ship in his career?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: Depends what you want him to become. Want him to be an average first baseman? Easily could be in the cards. Want him to be a star first baseman? Bad news :(

9:24
Comment From kirk
Have you ever been time before?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: I know what you’re trying to ask but as written this is incredibly deep

9:25
Comment From Ben
How many games back (division and wildcard) do the Yankees need to be before they don’t bother trying to bring Tanaka back this season

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: A lot of it’s up to Tanaka. Players want to play. And at this point, there’s not a meaningful difference between surgery tomorrow and surgery a month or two from now, so they might as well see what they have. Healthy Tanaka’s one of the most important pitchers in the league

9:26
Comment From Corona
Who are the biggest names on the trade market this winter?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Matt Kemp’s the biggest name, but he’s not a good player

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Cole Hamels, one hopes

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: And this could be the winter where you see Tulowitzki and Gonzalez become available

9:27
Comment From Guest
Take a look at Johan Santana and Felix’s career numbers. Strikingly similar in IP, K/9, BB/9, WAR, etc. Would make a nice comparison article.

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: And the same signature pitch, kind of. By name, anyway, and by production, but not by execution

9:29
Comment From Xolo
What can we expect from Rymer Liriano in 2015?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll be one of the most exciting Padres, which I suppose isn’t saying very much. Still a lot of polishing to do with his approach but it’s been a pretty good bounceback from a lost 2013. He’ll stick around and every so often he’ll look like the four- or five-tool player he’d be at his ceiling

9:30
Comment From xmx
What do you expect of Pineda ROS?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Basically the same stuff he was doing before. He should be effective and he should look weird throwing

9:31
Comment From Carl
How well would (number of outs participated in) – (positional average) work as a simple measure of a player’s defensive value?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: You’re always going to need to account for opportunities somewhere. And that wouldn’t even be that simple, given that you’d have to do some math. If you’re doing math, you might as well just look at the numbers that already do more complicated math for you

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: uhhhh I might have broken CiL

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: I submitted an answer to that question. Are you seeing an answer to that question? I am not

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Cool, okay, moving on

9:33
Comment From THE average sports fan
How shocked would you be if Tigers miss playoffs?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, in the moment, it makes sense — Verlander’s been awful, Nathan’s been awful, other things haven’t gone quite right. But in terms of how they projected, and in terms of where they were just three weeks ago, it would be one of the greatest disappointments/surprises of the last decade or two

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: It was supposed to be a cakewalk for them. Now they might have the worst contract in baseball!

9:36
Comment From Andrew
If the Astros were somehow awarded the second wild card in the AL this year, what would there odds of winning the whole freaking thing be?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I love this question and I feel bad that I don’t have the minutes to do the math during a live chat

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: But I’m guessing their odds wouldn’t be as small as you’d think, and that’s one of the reasons why the playoffs just don’t determine the best team in baseball

9:37
Comment From Pirates Hurdles
Thoughts on Russell Carleton’s “I believe in clutch” article today?

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t seen it but it’s probably interesting and somewhat medically accurate. I also just ultimately care about what we see in major-league performance and that research has been performed for countless years. And you know what the conclusions have been

9:39
Comment From Ronnie
Is Justin Masterson this bad now? Think he can get things turned around against Miami?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: I think we can conclude two things: he’s not this bad, and he’s not to be trusted. In Cleveland, he was working hard for a while on his delivery, and he’s got a whole new catcher and coaching staff in St. Louis. An adjustment isn’t surprising but boy are they probably counting down the days until Wacha

9:41
Comment From Jake
Thanks as always for the chats Jeff. Robertson’s gonna get his QO, what happens then? He take the offer, sign elsewhere, or sign in NY for below market price?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: My uneducated guess is that the market doesn’t offer him anything outrageously lucrative and he re-signs for two years

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get to test the waters, like he wants, but you know how it goes with closers and QOs

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I think. Do we know how it goes? We can guess how it goes.

9:42
Comment From bob
Tell me Manny is going to be ok.

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll definitely be okay. It’s just a question of how soon!

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: That was deliberately unhelpful

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I’ll tell you whatever but my word doesn’t mean the same as the MRI’s word. I’d expect a DL stint and I’d cross my fingers for nothing more than three weeks

9:44
Comment From Billy
Thoughts on Starling Marte for next year? Do you think he will remain injury prone? Or do you not like him altogether?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: I like him quite a bit. I don’t like his walks and his strikeouts and his bouts with a concussion, but overall he’s the kind of guy FanGraphs is going to love because he’s a borderline star with alternative value

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: Good defender, good runner, hits the ball hard a lot when he hits it. That Pirates outfield is something else

9:46
Comment From Mark
How can we be sure that former Royals Danny Valencia and Joakim Soria aren’t sleeper agents?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: Torture

9:47
Comment From Joe
What type of return can the braves get on Gattis/JUpton/Heyward or other players if they decide to sell this offseason

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: Well Heyward and Upton would be in their final years of control. Gattis is longer-term, of course, but people don’t really buy him as a permanent catcher. Also, the Braves aren’t going to sell this offseason

9:48
Comment From Brad
Kyle Hendricks come back to Earth and get rocked tonight vs Milwaukee?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: Rocked? Not rocked. Maybe shoved a little

9:49
Comment From Jacob
Which fielding metric on fangraphs do you value the most? I usually look at DRS & overall defensive rating.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I look at UZR and DRS and weight them about the same. If they disagree on somebody, then I try to figure out why that might be

9:50
Comment From J6 Takish
Is it really a bad thing to have a one dimensional offense? Would a lineup full of 120 wrc high OBP/ no SLG guys suffer because of no power?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: My understanding is it wouldn’t really suffer at all

9:52
Comment From Tom
The Cardinals lack of power seems to team wide and with some players that historically hit for power (Adams really sticks out). Could this be caused by team hitting philosophy?

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: 2012: .156 ISO
2013: .139 ISO
2014: .127 ISO

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Adams has still hit for some power. You have to account for Craig’s collapse. No real reason to think the whole hitting philosophy would’ve changed from year to year. I’m afraid you’re just dealing with, probably, age and a bit of bad luck, which the Cardinals might’ve had coming after last year’s clutch performance

9:54
Comment From dbet
Is it possible to search a players stats between certain dates on the leaderboards?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: No, only in their individual game logs

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Might make a note to add this to Appelman’s to-do list

9:55
Comment From Andrew
Are the Red Sox handling Mookie Betts properly in your opinion?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re doing damage. I think they’re just stuck. They need to make a Bradley decision and for the time being it wouldn’t do Betts a whole lot of good to hang around in a big-league clubhouse. It’s a bad problem and it’s a good problem, if you think about it

9:56
Comment From DarkKnight
Mariners Question – which duo is more important to the Ms, the Homegrowns (Seager and Felix) or the Imports (Cano and Kuma)?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: The former pair has Felix in it

9:57
Comment From Jake
Biggest con of crazy 2014: the 300% increase in John Sterling’s “You can’t predict baseball”s

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I was going to say Jose Fernandez’s injury :(

9:57
Comment From Chris Davis
What do you make of this Chris Carter hot streak? I’m a little jealous

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: This is what players like that do. This is what you did!

9:58
Comment From STiVo
If Manny Machado misses the rest of the season, how much do you think that moves the needle on the Orioles’ postseason odds?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: Well they’ve got a six-game lead, so I don’t think it would really severely damage their odds of getting to the ALDS. Their odds after that would be hurt, but it’s not like he’s been a 2014 superstar

9:59
Comment From Baron Von Waffles
You are building a rotation. Who is your number 1 Felix or Kershaw?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: A few weeks ago I would’ve picked Kershaw automatically. When I looked the other day, I wasn’t so sure. I still lean Kershaw, probably 65/35, but boy is it closer than I expected

10:00
Comment From Aaron
Do you think Evan Longoria is just having a bad season or starting to decline?

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Both. I think he’ll be a really good player again in 2015, but I think he’s also seen his best days

10:01
Comment From Kimball
Early in the season, Trout strikes out a lot, certain types freak out a lot, then he stops. Now he’s striking out a lot again, but enough of another great season is under his belt that no one seems to be noticing. Should we be noticing?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Last September he struck out 25% of the time and nobody cared

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: September before that, 26% of the time

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Earlier this year, his strikeouts were accompanied by under-performance. Trout’s August wRC+ is 167. He’s endlessly fascinating and so it’s fun to look at every last thing you can about his numbers and profile, but I don’t think there’s a need to worry about Mike Trout. He’s still clobbering the ball; he’s just changing some

10:04
Comment From BIG silly GUY
Is a rotation of slightly above average starters better than a rotation with an ace and 4 average/below average starters even if the latter has a higher aggregate WAR. And do issues like this show a flaw in total WAR properly valueing a team?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: You always want to take whichever has the higher WAR. If they have the same WAR, there’s no meaningful difference — then it’s just up to whichever you’d personally prefer

10:05
Comment From Phanatic
I feel like more should be said about just how awesome Chase Utley is. What a waste to see him on such a bad team.

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: 4-WAR season and no signs of aging. At least he was a part of the Phillies’ peak. Jesus, his career is amazing

10:06
Comment From Guest
So Adam Jones has improved his o-swing% by 4-6% (depending on which system you use) and is walking like 40% less than his career average. Can you infer walk rates using o-swing% or is it too loose to draw any correlations?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Too loose. And you can look at it this way: Jones has an O-Swing% of 39%, against a career 41%. He has a 3% walk rate, against a career 4%. The differences basically don’t matter. He’s Adam Jones again.

10:08
Comment From Dombo
Hey Jeff – how about that Tigers rotation? Can Buck Farmer pitch up to the standards of what is a potentially HOF-level name? Can Buck Farmer pitch at all?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Say, who here could’ve guessed that Buck Farmer’s from Georgia?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, in theory, the Tigers drafted him because they liked that he was polished, and I’m a supporter of pitchers spending less and less time in the minors, but let’s not pretend like the Tigers *want* to be using Buck Farmer in the 2014 stretch run. Depth has always been their issue, and now it’s actually being tested

10:10
Comment From Kimball
Oh good lord! And now Dave’s written about it, too. But that gives me a question: why did no one tweet/write about Felix as MVP last week, and almost literally everyone is today? Just because he passed Trout in WAR?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Felix turned in a big start last night in an important game with playoff implications, so there was a lot of attention there and there was some dialogue on Twitter. It’s a momentum thing and Trout has scuffled just a little bit while the Mariners have gotten good again. The same argument basically could’ve been posed a week or two ago, but better now than never

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: There’s certainly some intent to capitalize on attention going Felix’s way after yesterday. Writers can sense when it’s the right time for a story

10:12
Comment From Jim
Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez have performed better than David Price since the trade deadline. Baaaaaaasssseeeeebbbbbaaaalllll.

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: and Kendrys Morales has gone from a 58 Twins wRC+ to a 22 Mariners wRC+

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: Things that happen midseason are just nonsensical. Baseball is even more stupid-weird when you cut it in thirds

10:14
Comment From Jason
Did the Royals find a market inefficiency with defense and bullpen, or did the Royals stumble backward into a market inefficiency with defense and bullpen?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: They didn’t really exploit a market inefficiency. They developed Holland, they developed Gordon, and they decided to put Davis back in the bullpen after he failed all last season as a starter

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think this is necessarily accidental but the Royals’ real plan was to score more. But now Gordon is a sabermetric MVP and Davis/Holland have gone insane

10:15
Comment From Guest
Will Kim Ng ever be a GM? And will it be a big deal?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I think yes, and I think yes, although within a few months after her hiring everything will just be business as usual. Maybe even within a few weeks. Because it turns out a woman is just as qualified as a man so it would be insulting to continue to make a big story out of “woman swings successful baseball trade”

10:16
Comment From AL
Is Giancarlo Stanton the 3rd best hitter in baseball behind Trout and Miggy?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Setting a minimum of 50 PA, this year’s top wRC+ numbers belong to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Adam Rosales, so you’re way off

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton’s part of a group. You can argue for Tulo, you can argue for Bautista, you can argue for Encarnacion, you can argue for a healthy Votto, you can argue for McCutchen, you can argue for Goldschmidt…

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton belongs, but so would other guys

10:18
Comment From Dombo
Good morning Jeff….Can we talk about the Tigers historically great starting rotation? They are apparently starting one “Buck Farmer” tomorrow? Who is this man? At least he has an historically-great name

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Buck Farmer and Robbie Ray. I can’t get over this. It’s like Varsity Blues

10:19
Comment From Bitcoin Miner
Do you think the Cubs are keeping Bryant in the minors more for defensive work or more for service time? (Or… equal?)

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Have you seen this? http://www.baseballamerica….

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: “Best Defensive Third Baseman Kris Bryant, Iowa (Cubs)”

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Right now I think it’s a 40-man roster thing. He’s not on it, so they don’t want to hurry him up if they don’t need to

10:21
Comment From Brock Sampson
Obviously luck is a factor, but is Duquette’s ability to evaluate and acquire useful AAAA depth and role players part of why the Orioles are underrated within the statistic community, this skill being difficult to quantify? Three years in a row now, DD and Buck have gotten significant production out of has beens and never wases.

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: This is just a gut feeling, but I feel like the Orioles do well to avoid big individual disasters. So while overall they seem like they’re kind of over-achieving, I don’t think they end up with many players really dragging them down. They don’t suffer through a lot of negative WAR. Maybe I’m wrong! I also hesitate to give too much credit for, say, getting good production out of Steve Pearce and Delmon Young. Sometimes you get lucky, but let’s put it this way: it was embarrassing when the Orioles were trying to hire a GM. It seemed laughable when they wound up with Duquette. He’s done a good job. He’s done a surprisingly good job

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: I take back what I just said about Pearce. No, they *do* deserve credit for that. I’m a fool!

10:25
Comment From GetsByBuckner
why do you think Niese went unclaimed?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Why did Ian Desmond and Gio Gonzalez go unclaimed?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Niese isn’t a tremendous bargain; teams probably weren’t wild about the idea of guaranteeing $16 million over the next two years. It’s not a bad price, but it’s not an outstanding price, so I can kind of get it. Like, why bother?

10:28
Comment From Chris
Regarding the Felix Hernandez MVP candidacy, what do you think about pitchers and Cy Youngs and MVPs? It seems to me that (in general) Cy Youngs ought to be for pitchers and MVPs for hitters, unless a pitcher puts in an absolutely amazing season that far outweighs any other hitter. For instance Verlander (6.9 fWAR) over Ellsbury (9.1 fWAR) seemed like a joke. Hernandez over Trout seems closer, but still not enough of a gap to give it to the pitcher. Is there (in your mind/opinion) a certain distance that a pitcher would have to put between the next best candidate before he could seriously be in contention? Thanks.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: For the record, Verlander’s RA9-WAR was 9.2, and he was building a track record of inducing relatively weak contact

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: So that one was justifiable. Personally, I don’t see a real difference between pitchers and hitters — pitchers play one-fifth of the time, but they’re extremely involved while they’re in there. Maybe I’m under-thinking things, but why does it matter when you contribute your value, as long as you contribute a ton of overall value? If one guy bunches his home runs and if another guy spreads them out, they’re just as valuable as one another

10:31
Comment From Andy
So this seems absurd to ask given his age, but not absurd given the absurdity of his first two years – have we seen peak Mike Trout?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: I do actually think we’re seeing it. You have to look beyond age and just look at where a guy could go. Trout isn’t getting better in the field or on the bases. There’s room for some improvement at the plate, but only so much. He’s obviously filled out just about as much as he will. I don’t think Trout has a future of 13-win seasons ahead of him

10:32
Comment From Sam
Which do you trust more: The regular fangraphs zone data for batters or the pitch f/x data?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: always PITCHf/x

10:33
Comment From Tucker
Any thought of doing a NW Sabermetrics get-together like the one in Boston? Seems like there’s a pretty good concentration of writers up here, and I’m sure you’d get the San Fran guys too

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: I’d be open to attending one, but I wouldn’t be open to running and operating one. Soooo

10:34
Comment From Aaron
When all is said and done (ie when King Felix retires), who hadthe better career, King Felix or Koufax?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Koufax better peak, Felix better career, and of course they don’t actually compare very well given medical advances, changes in pitcher usage, and the lowering of the mound

10:35
Comment From Sam
If you are the Rays, do you trade Zobrist this winter or try to extend him?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I try to extend him first, while I evaluate how highly I think of Nick Franklin

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: If I can’t reach a reasonable agreement, then I turn to the market

10:37
Comment From Kimball
Should FG invest in some (I hate this thing, normally) SEO? Even though FG seems to be the second-most cited source of stats, search for a player (or especially a team), B-R usually comes up first or near the top, FanGraphs often doesn’t even show up until the second page.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think we’ve ever actually even discussed this. We’re not hurting. I don’t think I’ve heard Appelman or Cameron say the letters “SEO” once. It feels kind of nice to be the exception, even if we could in theory be getting a few percentage points more traffic

10:38
Comment From bobloblaw
Will Yost make Willingham the ~every day DH now?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Ibanez will get in there against some righties

10:39
Comment From Caleb Joseph
Do we have any research that shows when defensive catching stats stabilize? Am I this good of a defensive catcher?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: BP’s numbers like you, Carruth’s numbers like you, your sample is in the thousands. This is just with regard to pitch-framing, by the way. Seems like Joseph is a pretty good framer. Don’t know about the rest of the stuff; don’t care as much about the rest of the stuff

10:41
Comment From John
What is going on with McCutchen? Soon they won’t be able to retroactively DL him and it’s gotta be killing the roster keeping a player this long who isnt capable of playing.

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: He went on the DL yesterday

10:41
Comment From Kevin
If Billy Butler becomes a free agent after this year, what does he make on the open market?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, $7 million?

10:42
Comment From Dave Sims Fedora
If Dustin Ackley were a forest creature what kind would he be?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: He already looks like a forest creature

10:42
Comment From Chris
Who’s the next non-Trout AL MVP in the coming years?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s see if Tulowitzki gets dealt to New York

10:43
Comment From Jake
I still don’t see Trout’s decline, at all. His wRC+ is 173, roughly on par with his 2012, 2013 numbers. All his decline in WAR is on the defensive side of the ledger, easily explained by defensive metrics’ variance. Yeah, the strikeouts are up and the walks are down, but his discipline is actually better than his 2012/2013 numbers, and the drop in contract seems to be a result of swinging for the fences.

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Worse defense, worse baserunning

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: BsR of 2, compared to 12 a couple years ago

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: getting worse by UZR and DRS

10:45
Comment From Schmidtty
Should the M’s start talking with Iwakuma about an extension? Or is his health issues still a concern?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: No health issues. I bet they talk this winter

10:45
Comment From Jon
I like Bryce Harper, but he has a terrible swing. Don’t you think he is too much of a lunger to live up to his projections?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I have never once thought that

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Most experts love his swing

10:47
Comment From Tucker
Who do you think will be the next victim of Grant Brisbee’s “Ace Sucking Syndrome”?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Shields

10:47
Comment From Ira
Do you make anything of the Harper waiver stuff?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t even know what you’re talking about and no

10:47
Comment From Jake
Do the Mets make a push for a big trade (Stanton, Tulo, etc), big FA (Lester, Shields, Scherzer) and lean on Syneguard and Harvey push them into contention in 2015/2016?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’ll be in the big trade market this offseason. Not so much the big FA market. A healthy Harvey alone makes an enormous difference, if he can come back; they’re not really *that* far off

10:48
Comment From Kimball
I was thinking that losing Verlander wouldn’t have that big of an impact, given his season so far. But the depth charts have Verlander as the Tigers #3, worth 1.0 RoS (presumably not yet making predictions about the shoulder), which seems awfully optimistic even without the shoulder. If the projections have been overrating the Tigers because of him, maybe is there serious cause for concern?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: This is why it’s neat to have the projections and the season-to-date stat projections. They have very different opinions of the Tigers. In general you should trust the former more than the latter, but if you really think Verlander is truly messed up, then you make that mental adjustment

10:50
Comment From STiVo
The Orioles have the second best defense in MLB this season, per Fangraphs’ “Def” statistic. This despite receiving 57 games played in the OF by Nelson Cruz and 17 games played in the OF by Delmon Young. This seems noteworthy. Is this noteworthy?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: They’re pretty good in a lot of places and they’re pretty bad at very few places

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t they shift a ton? The Orioles are pretty defensively progressive

10:51
Comment From Matt
Why do athletes seem to “grow” and “get bigger” into their mid 20’s, while everyone else is seemingly done growing by the end of high school. Adding muscle at 24 is harder than it is at 17 or 18 as well.

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: Everyone else isn’t done growing by the end of high school

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: And as athletes reach the professional levels, they’re working out more intensely than anyone else in the world, and it’s all targeted and focused

10:53
Comment From Gila Monster
We know past injury is the best predictor of future injury. We know certain people are injury prone. But medically, do we have any idea what makes them injury prone? Why Brett Anderson is always broken and Mark Buerhle never is?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I think if you were to perform a thorough evaluation of Anderson and Buehrle, a team of doctors could probably identify reasons for why they’ve gone as they’ve gone. But we, presumably, will never know the details, and we’ll just have to assume that certain guys have stronger connective tissue than certain other guys

10:54
Comment From commendatori
I think Verlander and Cabrera will be the worst and second-worst contracts in baseball very shortly.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Ehhh, Pujols. So longgggggg

10:55
Comment From Jacob
Hunter Pence’s contract was scrutinized in the offseason & he’s played well. Fangraphs love him. What do you think of his contract?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: This is the first year. I think it’s not an awful contract, but I think it’s not a great contract. The evaluation now will be a little sunnier than it would’ve been at the time

10:56
Comment From Tucker
Who of the Cubs/Astros/Mets makes it to the playoffs first?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs

10:57
Comment From Matt
Why has Verlander been so bad? I mean averaging 94mph and topping out at 97-98mph is nothing to sneeze at. And he has good secondary stuff too.

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: When you don’t have your normal fastball command, you don’t have your normal anything. And Verlander said this shoulder discomfort has been lingering for some time so perhaps there’s been an underlying injury all along

10:58
Comment From Sean
What was the biggest factor in Randy Johnson not having much of a platoon split against righties? Was it his height (turning the sidearm into a “higher” arm slot)? His pure velocity? His slider? Something else?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: My guess: only the best lefties were allowed to face him, with a lot of subpar righties drawing into the lineups

10:59
Comment From MJ
Chris Carter has been on fire lately (OPS over 1 for July/August). He obviously won’t keep that up exactly, but do you think some of this is sustainable or is it just a streaky player on a hot streak?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Above-average hitter in 2012, above-average hitter in 2013, above-average hitter in 2014. He is what he is. It’s fun some of the time

11:00
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
Favorite Robin Williams? For me its HBO specials, World According to Garp and the episode of Homicide: Life on the Street he was on.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: I just want to watch Good Will Hunting like 30 times in a row

11:00
Comment From Guest
Better prospect: Gallo or Bryant? and how close are they

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Bryant, and he’s basically ready

11:02
Comment From Ck City
Is SEA regretting extending Felix too soon? That extra 15 million they threw at him this year could have really helped sign useful 1year FA guys like Fieldman or an OF like Fuld, Cruz, Dejesus to really put them into contention. Going half in is never going to get them a ring.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: What?

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Felix was under contract for $20.5 million. When they agreed to a new contract, his salary increased to $22 million

11:03
Comment From Willie
If Cole returns later this week and looks strong, does Pittsburgh have enough to make things interesting in the NL? Liriano’s been decent for a while now, but…

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: No reason to think they’re not right in the thick of things. The Cardinals have obvious problems. The Giants have obvious problems. The Braves have obvious problems. Every team in the Pirates’ position would be flawed, but you’re not competing against the flawless

11:03
Comment From Darth Stout
How soon do the Cubs win the Central?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: 2 years? 3?

11:04
Comment From Ben
What has been going wrong with the Angels recently and will it continue

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: bad baseball and no

11:04
Comment From bucs_lose_again
Looking at Josh Harrison’s minor league numbers makes me want to think that this season is that much of a fluke. He’s obviously not this good, but do you see him as a Zobrist-lite type player going forward?

11:05
Comment From JRock
Josh Harrison a good bet to carry this over to next year?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Harrison hit .314/.370/.486 in Triple-A

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Now I see that you made a typo!

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I think we all agree Harrison isn’t going to slug .500 over his whole career, but this is a useful all-around player with at least, say, an average bat. I like his value potential. The Pirates love and will continue to love his flexibility

11:07
Comment From francis
What accounts for the big disparity in Tigers playoff odds vs. Kansas City’s ?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: The projections like the Tigers a lot more than they like the Royals. The projections are slow to respond to, say, Justin Verlander happening

11:08
Comment From Guest
Predictions for what the Cubs do this winter? Anything to the idea that they turn a collection of prospects into Stanton?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: I think they’re primed for one big splash. There are going to be plenty of possibilities. I can’t predict which splash they’re going to make — they can’t, either.

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton is one of them. Hamels would be one of them.

11:09
Comment From Art Vandelay
Correia actually looked alright last night. Anyone ever write an article about pitcher bounceback after they leave the Twins organization? (to say nothing of the hitters that do the same.)

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: What’s Correia going to bounce back to? Old Kevin Correia?

11:10
Comment From JCA,CA
Which contract will be worse: Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Looks like Verlander

11:10
Comment From Hrkac Circus
If Kiley is the new prospect guy, any chance he’ll get a chat?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Every week!

11:10
Comment From Kimball
Are relievers less susceptible to late season decline because they pitch so many fewer innings?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt that this would be true, but I haven’t read a study

11:10
Comment From Dylan
If you were a professional baseball player, would Scott Boras be your agent?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not, but I’m not particularly money-driven, which is one of the reasons why I write about baseball for my job on the internet

11:11
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
Had any remarkable beers lately?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Mostly looking forward to this one in my fridge http://www.breakside.com/be…

11:11
Comment From Chris
Do you still root for the Mariners even though you write about baseball in general, or is the fandom tempered a bit?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Both, but there’s going to be a FanGraphs conflict of interest if I’m writing about the Mariners in the playoffs

11:12
Comment From Guest
Not really a question, but something I noticed today: In the second half of the season the Padres have the second best total Offense.

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Baseball’s amazing!

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: For a full month or so they were one of the worst offenses ever!

11:12
Comment From fan
What does Dave think of the Mariners these days?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Forever skeptical but in his heart of hearts I think there’s still a bit of a flame

11:12
Comment From Evergreen Bowl Subdivision
Think at some point Pujols takes the gilmeche way out and retires before his contract ends?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: There was more to the Gil Meche story, and, no

11:13
Comment From Chris
ISO is a measure of a player’s true power, with singles removed from the equation. How differently does this correlate with runs scored than traditional slugging percentage?

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: You want to include those singles

11:13
Comment From oldseacaptain
On the subject of Appelman’s to-do list, plate discipline numbers would be nice to have in splits. Abreu’s walk rate is up, and the world needs to know if it’s an aberration, or if he’s really becoming a superhero.

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: You can see that stuff on the team pages, but I’d personally be really interested in plate-discipline splits by pitcher handedness (or batter handedness)

11:14
Comment From Ben
If everyone had all their players healthy from the start of the season, who would actually be the contenders right now?

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: Well the Rangers and Rockies probably wouldn’t have collapsed

11:14
Jeff Sullivan: The Marlins would be actually interesting

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: The Mets would be the Marlins

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: this is getting complicatd

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: everyone would be amazing

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: except for the Astros

11:15
Comment From John
given the dearth of power across the league, isnt a chris carter, despite the strike-outs and low average, still very valuable?

11:15
Jeff Sullivan: No, because he has a .300 OBP and he doesn’t play defense

11:16
Comment From After Dinner
Who will win the AL central, Royals or Tigers?

11:16
Jeff Sullivan: I lean Tigers 60/40, but that’s the slimmest it’s been, and I’ll await the Verlander news like everybody else

11:16
Comment From PaulM
With a stacked rotation and tons of arms in the pipeline, the Padres basically have to move some for a bat, right?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: Because they’ve had such good luck keeping pitchers healthy and effective

11:17
Comment From Johnson
Polanco is struggling badly against lefties. Will he end up a platoon player?

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: No

11:17
Comment From JBizzy
Utley going to the Hall??

11:17
Jeff Sullivan: He better

11:17
Comment From Guest
The Red Sox young “studs” have not done very well this year (JBJ, Xander, SPers, and Betts (SSS)). Time for *some* concern?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Concern about Bradley is most legitimate

11:18
Comment From Ricardo
Is Felix approaching the conversation of being as good as Kershaw?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: They’re practically neck and neck

11:18
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Will Joey Gallo be more Adam Dunn, Giancarlo or Russell Branyan? In your opinion

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Still leaning toward the Chris Davis comparison

11:18
Comment From dbet
Think we will get 2 pitchers winning the MVP?

11:18
Jeff Sullivan: Nope!

11:19
Comment From Big Joe Mufferaw
Are you afraid that by Age 25, Mike Trout might be just another slugging corner OFer? (A great one). But he will not be close to the player he has been for the first couple years.

11:19
Jeff Sullivan: Basically you’re asking if I’m afraid that Mike Trout will decline into Giancarlo Stanton

11:20
Comment From Matt
What’s all this Kemp is “not great” talk? He has turned around his season quite nicely…

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: Great players have been worth more than 0 WAR since the start of last season

11:20
Comment From Goat
Trout vs pitches up in the zone- an exploitable weakness? His stats there are horrible!

11:20
Jeff Sullivan: it would appear to be not as exploitable as it seems

11:21
Comment From Guest
It seems insane that the Jays did not make any material moves at the trade deadline. Most people in Toronto blame ownership and not A.A. with the exception of trades that would fleece Toronto of players like Stoman and Sanchez. What do you think?

11:21
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they were in dire need of something — they could’ve used a big-time ace, but the guys who got moved got moved from within their own division, so that probably would’ve cost them a premium. The Phillies apparently didn’t entertain talk of trading Hamels. The A’s got Samardzija really early. I don’t think there was a big improvement really available to them

11:22
Comment From Heraclitus Smith
How do you value a player’s clubhouse presence? For example, a player like Gomes who is praised for his leadership qualities.

11:22
Jeff Sullivan: I listen to the points but it doesn’t play any role in my player analysis

11:23
Comment From Jon
In re Strasburg. “Pitch to contact” is killing him. He needs to try to strike people out with his excellent stuff and not “let them put it in play.” Thoughts?

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: He has the fourth-highest strikeout rate in baseball

11:23
Comment From Rob
Endy Chavez is still on the Mariner’s roster because_____________.

11:23
Jeff Sullivan: Michael Saunders hurt himself and managers love a happy veteran

11:24
Comment From JRock
Your feelings on Oscar Taveras?

11:24
Jeff Sullivan: Going to be a good player! Not going to be a good player tomorrow.

11:25
Comment From Not a bad fantasy question
A pitcher can contribute to a win every 5 days, a batter can do it every day. Doesn’t that make the hitter more valuable since theoretically a truly great hitter could win a team 162 games, while a pitcher could only win 33

11:25
Jeff Sullivan: When you put it that way, sure, but that isn’t how things work. Hitters don’t hit three home runs every game all season

11:26
Comment From Kris
Fredi gonzalez admitted he goes with ‘feel’ when picking his leadoff hitter. you really still think braves fans overrate his terribleness?

11:26
Jeff Sullivan: I think a lot of mangers would say the same thing, especially if they were given Gonzalez’s roster

11:26
Comment From JT91
Why is it that first basemen with reputations as sterling defenders seem to get rated very harshly by fangraphs’ defensive component. Teixeira and A-Gon have been brutal at times according to these numbers. And in the event that 1B defensive metrics are unrefined, how can we take stock in their total WAR rating if it’s weighted by an imprecise metric

11:27
Jeff Sullivan: Good defensive first basemen are good defensive first basemen, but first basemen get a strong negative position adjustment because good actual defenders don’t play first base

11:27
Comment From Matt
Could you make a reasonable case for Johnny Cueto as NL Cy Young?

11:28
Jeff Sullivan: Sure. Six more starts than Kershaw, tied (basically) in RA9-WAR, and Cueto has a history of beating his peripherals a bit. I’d take Kershaw myself, but Cueto wouldn’t be a *disaster* of a choice if voting were to happen tdoay

11:29
Comment From Rick Hahn
Do our contracts with Sale, Quintana and Abreu rank in the Top 10 in all of baseball?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: If they don’t, they’re super close

11:29
Comment From Jon
Should Denard Span be a top 10 NL MVP guy this year?

11:29
Jeff Sullivan: Nope

11:30
Comment From Charles
If Fangraphs are a paid-site, would the writers make more money?

11:30
Jeff Sullivan: We’d get less traffic

11:30
Comment From JT91
Does Yangervis Solarte end up with a major league contract this winter?

11:30
Jeff Sullivan: He’s under team control. He’ll presumably be on next year’s Padres

11:31
Comment From colby
You in attendance this weekend for the Saber Seminar?

11:31
Jeff Sullivan: Nope, but a lot of other people are!

11:32
Comment From Chris
I’ll see your Pujols contract and raise you Ryan Howard’s extension. That has to be a shoe-in for the Worst Sports Contracts Hall of Fame.

11:32
Jeff Sullivan: Pujols’ contract is twice as long

11:32
Comment From Garth Vader
Go with your gut/lighting round: Royals make the playoffs this year?

11:32
Jeff Sullivan: No, but I’m the closest to yes I’ve been in like two decades

11:33
Comment From Garth Vader
If Mike Trout was to be compared to an active volcano, which volcano would he be compared to? (active being they’ve erupted in the holocene epoch)

11:33
Jeff Sullivan: Mt Fuji is basically the perfect idea of a volcano

11:33
Comment From Catoblepas
Woah, we now have historical playoff odds data?? Is that new? Any retrospective posts in the works, in order to observe baseball doing what it does best, messing up projections?

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: Hey!

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: Appelman finally did it!

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: This is news to me too

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: I really got to cut this off now

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: Longest chat in a while

11:34
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, and until then, be well and have great days



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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.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 11 months ago

Hey Jeff,

Just for kicks, let’s assume that the M’s do make the wild card and play the Angels. How do you rate our chances and would we shift to get Felix to pitch that game? Who gets home field? I assume the team with the better record?

Thanks!

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
1 year 11 months ago

no

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 year 11 months ago

Re:1B defense

Fangraphs includes the negative positional adjustment in Def number (-12.5 runs over a full season). A first baseman would have to be exceptional in order to dig out of that hole. Look at their UZR or DRS number for just their defense.

Bookbook
Guest
1 year 11 months ago

Torture doesn’t work (because people will say/agree to anything to get it to stop)

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