Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 8/19/14

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: This time wasn’t my fault! This time I couldn’t get the Cover It Live website to load!

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Which, actually, could’ve been my fault somehow. But it wasn’t a deliberate act of tardiness.

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: So let’s talk about real baseball and not fantasy baseball unless by fantasy baseball you mean the slim odds of a White Sox 2014 division title

9:12
Comment From Andy
Lies

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: You’ll never know!

9:13
Comment From Guest
There are almost 200 million people in Brazil, why is baseball underdeveloped there?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: There are more people in India. Why is baseball underdeveloped *there*?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Brazil is making progress. Obviously, they have Yan Gomes and Andre Rienzo now. Teams have been pushing the boundaries for years but the process can take a long time.

9:14
Comment From Bren
Do you think there can be any downside to pitch framing? For instance Travis d’Arnaud is considered a strong pitch framer, but passed balls have been a big problem.

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s possible that emphasis on framing instruction can take away from emphasis on other instruction, but the better catchers know how to do both, and catchers have been knowing how to block for a long time, and ultimately the impacts of framing seem to be considerably more significant than the impacts of blocking anyhow

9:15
Comment From Harry Carays Ghost
When will the Cubs call up Soler? Now-ish or wait until September?

9:15
Jeff Sullivan: September. No real need to hurry and he’s hitting .230 in Triple-A

9:16
Comment From CuriousGeorge
What are your thoughts on the Outfield comparison article on the Pirates and Marlins? I disagreed with the author, I would take the Marlins guys.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I prefer the Pirates guys but it’s close and it depends in large part on how you feel about Marcell Ozuna

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I”m becoming increasingly interested in Yelich and I might write about him soon but he’s not a developing superstar

9:16
Comment From Cubbie Blues
Starlin Castro is 3 time All-Star, a top 5 shorstop by WAR this year, and he’s only 24. Is he secretly the Cubs best young player?

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: No, because Anthony Rizzo is better

9:17
Comment From Guest
Where is my Chinese baseball?!

9:17
9:18
Comment From Dr. Met
Is JBJ just…. Bourjos in disguise?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Bourjos has a career 94 wRC+

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Bourjos is a guy worth starting when he’s healthy. Bradley isn’t good enough at the half of his game to offset the other half of his game

9:20
Comment From Guest
Talk me off the xander cliff

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: The best thing you can cling to right now is the fact that he’s still 21 years old. Things have gone terribly, but the talent is obviously in there, and age is such a strong, strong factor when it comes to projecting future success

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Same reason I’m not totally worried about Javier Baez’s strike-zone control. It’s not good at the moment, but he’s 21, and historically young players have shown good improvement in this area if they get early big-league experience

9:22
Comment From Connor
Will Adam Jones ever be thrown into an MVP debate?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: He finished sixth in 2012 voting

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get his weird support

9:25
Comment From CS
What kind of upside do you see from A. Garcia? only 23 and some people expect decent things from him.

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: Well on the plus side I think people have stopped trying to compare him to Miguel Cabrera

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: Real power, toolsy swing, doesn’t seem particularly gifted in the outfield. He’ll go as far as his power can take him, and I suspect he’ll have a career peak somewhere around the 3-WAR range

9:27
Comment From Theo
Javier BAez’s production has been nice, but his 37% K-rate and .250 OB% have me concerned as a Cubs fan. What are your expectations, short term as well as long term? Will he learn to get on base?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not doing anything surprising right now. He wasn’t going to be a true impact player right away, not with his tendencies. I expect he’ll always be aggressive, and he’ll always be a heavy swinger, but as he ages his walks will go up and his strikeouts will go down and I think he’ll be a fine player who also happens to be streaky

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: He has the power to keep people from complaining too much about his strikeouts

9:29
Comment From scott
I’m flying to Iceland at the beginning of September. Should I be worried about it with all this volcanic hullabaloo?

9:29
9:29
Comment From Fowler
Do you think Rusney Castillo signs before the August 31 deadline? How good do you think he will be?

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: He’s signing within a matter of days. He probably will not be very good, but I’ll buy him as helpful if he figures out his best defensive position

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: As a not-great comparison point, Guerrero for the Dodgers has a sub-.900 OPS in Triple-A Albuquerque

9:31
Comment From Guest
Hi Jeff. Are there any groups or classes of pitchers whose ERAs regularly outperform FIP?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Lefties, fly ball guys, knuckleballers

9:32
Comment From Cubbie Blues
How can we make baseball games faster? I’ve got stuff to do.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Do a lot of the things the Atlantic League is doing. But this isn’t going to be an easy trend to reverse, and you probably have to get things started in the low minors or even short of professional leagues

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Players develop habits and they’re not going to be open to changing them when they’re already in the bigs

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: But, like, Carlos Pena? There’s no excuse for that crap between every pitch

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: A minor unspoken factor: mid-AB defensive shifts. Those cause little cumulative delays

9:34
Comment From Kirk Gibson
I bet all you damn hippies are sad to hear that I’m not getting fired. You suckers wouldn’t know a real man’s baseball game if it wound up and plunked you in the ribs!

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Thankfully your baseball team is extremely easy to ignore

9:34
Comment From GSon
Won’t framing statistics go away when MLB finally realizes the benefits to the K-Zone technology?

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: When that’s actually on the horizon, we can talk about it

9:35
Comment From David
Let’s say you’re Matt Williams … who starts game one of the NLDS and who’s not even on the roster?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: While it in part depends on the opponent, I’d be planning to start Zimmermann

9:36
Comment From Catoblepas
Did you read Jon Bois’s short novel, and did you love it?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have time during the week, really, to read that as it ought to be read, but I already know I’m going to love it and hate it. Love it because it’s fantastic, hate it because he’s too talented

9:39
Comment From Tom
As dominant as Herrera, Davis and Holland have been for Kansas City, they appear short on LHP relievers to mix and match with before the 7th inning. Who do you think would make sense for them?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: This appears to be a very minor issue and they already have Scott Downs, albeit on the disabled list

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: This isn’t the reason they might fall apart

9:39
Comment From Guest
When’s the last time a playoff contender had a platoon at shortstop?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: A playoff contender had Pete Kozma at shortstop

9:40
Comment From LA Doug
The Angels offense has gone quiet for a while now. Do you expect Angels to pick up the offense w/ Kendrick in the 5 hole while Hamilton simmers?

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: They still lead baseball in team wRC+. They lead baseball in team position-player WAR. I’m not really concerned about the Angels’ production and that’s even granting that Josh Hamilton is in one of his spells

9:40
Comment From Guest
there are 4 players in Pittsburgh that have wRC+ greater than 130. Considering that ballpark it’s pretty amazing collection of talent

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: wRC+ adjusts for ballpark

9:41
Comment From JBizzy
So, Bárðarbunga. Iceland going to shut down Europe again?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Highly unlikely!

9:41
Comment From Bret
The Jays – what are we gonna do about those guys!?

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: The sense I’m getting is complain a lot

9:41
Comment From Andy
True or false: There’s more to being a good big league manager than just X’s and O’s.

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Strategy is like the smallest part of it

9:42
Comment From Bob Barker
Betts is going to play everyday this time, right?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: That’s the idea

9:42
Comment From Gus
What do you make of Lloyd McClendon and Michael Saunders? It appears that Lloyd thinks playing Logan Morrisson in RF is superior to calling up Saunders. Is this due to Condor’s baby, or some failure to perceive the obvious by McClendon?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Saunders isn’t ready yet so in the meantime the team doesn’t have a corner outfielder worth a crap

9:43
Comment From Jim
Joc Pederson is going to have the first 30/30 season in the modern era of the PCL. Congratulations?

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: It’s fun to think about just why this is true

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: Kemp, Crawford and Ethier are the reasons why this is true!

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: And Pederson. Pederson is the one doing it.

9:44
Comment From Dr. Met
Will Scoop ever learn to take a walk? Hasn’t shown much plate discipline improvement over the year has he?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: He didn’t walk in Triple-A, either. Seems a lot like a guy who isn’t going to walk

9:45
Comment From Lutz
Given his knee injuries (plural) do you think Machado will return to SS when Hardy leaves?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: It’s the least likely that it has ever been

9:46
Comment From GSon
Of the following.. who might be considered a “developing superstar”: Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell and Carlos Correa?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: yes

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: yes, all of them

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: in different ways, naturally, but they all have top-prospect superstar potential. They won’t all be superstars but their superstar probabilities aren’t meaningfully different, to me

9:48
Comment From ArlingtonOsFan
Is Caleb Joseph actually a viable MLB starter going forward? Or is this unsustainable?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s a viable starter in that he wouldn’t be the worst starter in the league, but more reasonably he’s a viable backup who can handle the workload if your starter needs time or a trip to the DL

9:50
Comment From Kris
who’s playing who in the wild card games?

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Mariners @ Angels, Giants @ Cardinals

9:51
Comment From Billy
if the royals take the AL Central, does the Myers/Odorizz-Shields/Davis trade look any better? I’d lean no but we may need more time to answer that questions.

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think there’s any arguing it looks a little better. But, I mean, Odorizzi has arguably outpitched Shields this season. James Shields isn’t why the Royals are winning their division at the moment

9:52
Comment From buttes
rank the following teams in terms of their future outlook: Rangers, Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Rays, Reds

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: How far into the future?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Yankees and Red Sox will be healthiest on account of their payrolls

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Tigers might have a couple lousy contracts on the books. Reds are winding down an unremarkable window. Rays seem poised to be decent for a while. Rangers seem a lot worse than they are on true talent because of all the missing players

9:55
Comment From Jerry DiPoto
Is Kole Calhoun for real or is 2014 a fluke? And if he is for real, how do guys like this go completely unnoticed on prospect lists, etc?

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: He’s legit. But he doesn’t have a standout skill, and he’s mostly been old for his leagues in the minors, so he was never going to capture all that much attention

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Never a BA organizational top-10, though. That just tells you more about what BA is looking for in a prospect

9:57
Comment From Lutz
Do you think Machado will eclipse Longoria as early as next year (his OPS has already eclipsed him this year)

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, they’re already so close, and Machado is nearly seven years Longoria’s junior

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: So yeah, let’s call it 2015 in which Manny Machado surpasses Evan Longoria, if he’s able to stay healthy. But then you’ve got Seager/Donaldson to think about too

9:58
Comment From _David_
Lloyd McClendon’s decision to bat Elias before taking him out was curious. At first I hated it, but then it would be using a bench player for maybe a 12% extra chance they reach base, in a 2 out no one on situation. Is that justifiable?

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: It’s justifiable, although on the other hand there’s not much pain associated with wasting Endy Chavez

9:58
Comment From Teddy
Are the nationals a top 3 team right now?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I think so. I see them, the Angels, and the A’s as the three best teams in baseball

9:59
Comment From Mookie
Did you see the little league game between Puerto Rico and Korea, where they were plunking each other repeatedly? The pitcher from PR hits several batters and then poses when he gets drilled. Funny, and sad at the same time.

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: It’s almost like they’re behaving like little boys

10:00
Comment From Mike
Any guess where Rusney Castillo lands? Yesterday, as a Phils fan, we heard they were both longshots and favorites.

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Absolutely no clarity here

10:02
Comment From Catoblepas
There’s limits to how much defensive value a player can produce at a position, obviously, but beyond that, do you think there’s decreased tolerance for glove-first players at certain positions, even if they’re equally valuable? It seems like there are way more shortstops who fit that mold, and I’m wondering if it’s really the only position where that can happen.

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Well, for example, I’m not sure there’s really such thing as a glove-first first baseman. But defense remains undervalued, because defense remains a difficult thing to quantify and people have a lot more confidence in the offensive metrics. There’s clear evidence of teams looking at offense and defense combined, so you end up with this spectrum of players, but usually teams will avoid starting a glove-first player if he can’t hit a lick

10:04
Comment From Ringtone Composer
Why are waiver placements not public information?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: A waiver placement doesn’t really mean anything. Something only matters if a claim is put in and a transaction is agreed to. If waivers were to be made public, then players would become aware of them and they might not like that very much

10:07
Comment From Dale
I know Darvish has elbow concerns, but given the current market his deal is very affordable, especially for an elite pitcher. Why didn’t anyone claim him, even if the Rangers would just pull him back?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: because the Rangers would just pull him back

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: what, honestly, would be the point?

10:07
Comment From IndianaMike
Do you think the Mariners re-sign Chris Young despite having young pitching looking quite promising for 2015?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I think they make an effort, in part because the young pitching *doesn’t* look quite promising for 2015. Walker and Paxton have both had shoulder issues this year and Elias has been fine but not outstanding

10:08
Comment From Lutz
Not that I want to see it, by don’t out-of-contention teams like the White Sox shut down cornerstone players like Sale now? Why risk injury or wear and tear?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: Not only are the White Sox not shutting Sale down — they’re asking him to throw 100+ pitches every turn!

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: But players would never be receptive to being shut down for no reason. Best you can ask for is for players to be used a little more cautiously

10:09
Comment From STiVo
Can we go back to calling the highest mountain peak in north America “Denali”? That sounds much better than Mt. McKinley.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: I pretty much only ever hear people refer to it as Denali

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: but I hang around a certain sort of person

10:10
Comment From Andrew
I’m an Os fan and I want to go to as many playoff games as possible, BUT I have a chance to go to San Francisco with my girlfriend with some free hotel nights courtesy of her work October 8-12. What do I do?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: Your girlfriend is presumably more important than a baseball team

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: And if you go to SF your girlfriend might be understanding if you choose to then watch the baseball team on television some of the time

10:11
Comment From Catoblepas
Should we have seen an earlier-than-normal “decline” (haha 166 wRC+ CF in decline) for Mike Trout coming? Basically, for any player that good at age 20, it’s because he is ahead of the normal physical development levels, and should be projected closer to a 22- or 23-year-old?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: That works well enough for me. More generally, there wasn’t room for Trout to really get better, and players lose athleticism as they become more distant from their teenage years. So we’ll start to see how good a bat Trout can become, as the rest of his game gradually…I don’t like “deteriorates”, but “gets worse” is ok

10:12
Comment From Kimball
FG’s playoff odds are a calculation, not a simulation? Does that mean they overestimate the odds of a team who might have to play a tiebreaker game?

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: They’re a simulation of calculations?

10:14
Comment From John
Szym said yesterday that the Braves should cut BJ Upton after the season. Do you agree with that or do you think he can provide some value going forward?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: To be totally honest, yeah, cutting him is probably the right thing to do. Not that I’d expect them to do it

10:14
Comment From The Enthusiast
Do you think anyone has ever decided to go back to the pre-analytics baseball mindset once switching over? (In other words, going back to saying “yeah, I think I’ll judge players’ value on RBIs and their careers based on all-star game appearances.”)

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: no

10:14
Comment From Guest
How good should we expect Chris Taylor to be in the next several years?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Not very. Maybe an average player

10:15
Comment From ar
where does singleton go from here? what’s his best comp?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not a gifted defender and he’s always going to strike out. The Astros are hoping to develop Ryan Howard, but Singleton is probably going to end up short of that

10:16
Comment From Aaron (UK)
Is the 82.9% odds projection for the Nats (Stephen Strasburg) over the D’backs (Chase Anderson) tonight a record?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: That’s a good question! It’s probably close!

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Although Chase Anderson is not bad

10:17
Comment From Non-Disgruntled Orioles Fan
Have you ever taken a walk in the woods with Dave Cameron (the Fangraphs one)?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: He was almost coming to visit soon, and we were going to go on a hike, but then something came up and he won’t be making it to Portland after all. So the answer remains no

10:18
Comment From CC
Any concerns over Zunino and his K/BB? Is this something we can expect will be ironed out or is he just JP Arencibia?

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: He’ll get better in that regard but he’s a lot like Arencibia at the plate and a good defender in the field

10:18
Comment From Andy
Who makes it to the playoffs first? Mets/Astros/Cubs

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs, perhaps in 2015

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: then Mets, then Astros

10:19
Comment From Fendi
Is there a stat that takes BABIP, line drive rate, infield fly ball rate and all that and then spits out an expected batting average or OPS or something for a player? Seems like it wouldn’t be too difficult. But then again, I’m an idiot.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: There are a lot of BABIP estimators

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: from there, you can estimate the other stuff, since BABIP tends to bounce around the most wildly

10:19
Comment From The Oriole Bird
I read Dave’s article from last week on “The Orioles and Accepting Random Variation.” It was brilliant. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments. I can’t unthink some thoughts now. Help?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Go outside, sit down, and look at the trees and birds

10:20
Comment From CS
Next year – Who do you like better? Soler or R. Liriano?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Soler

10:20
Comment From Kevin
Do you believe in the idea that teams play to their competition?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Not in any meaningful sense

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: But I do think teams are extra motivated some of the time, and overlook opponents some of the time

10:21
Comment From Kimball
Notwithstanding blowhard accusations, it presumably has gotten harder to truly pad one’s own stats at the expense of the team’s best interests, given offices’ better understanding of what contributes. Can you think of an effective way to pad one’s own stats? Maybe going for the extra base, where the player still gets credit for his single/double if he’s thrown out?

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: That would pad some stats and un-pad some others

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know. Stealing bases in insignificant situations? Calling off other players for all catchable flies/pop-ups?

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: It’s hard, because “padding stats” is basically the same thing as “performing well”

10:22
Comment From Billy
will the cubs really consider sending a top SS (one of Castro, Baez, or Russell) to the Mets for a promising, if unproven arm? Couldn’t they just keep all three and sign a couple of free agents.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: They will consider lots of things. Judge the moves that actually get made

10:22
Comment From Ben
Weird situation over the weekend with McClendon getting ejected on consecutive days by the same ump. Day two seemed like little more than a carry-over from the previous. Do you think MLB will/should do anything either publicly or privately?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Privately I bet there will be or have been conversations. There won’t be anything public. What I learned is that both managers and umpires submit ejection reports. I did not know that!

10:23
Comment From CS LEWIS
Kole Calhoun .280 25 hr 10 SB over a full season? or is .270 20hr more likely?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: there’s like no difference between .280 and .270

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: he’s at .285/21/7 over the career equivalent of a full season

10:24
Comment From Lutz
Everyone says age is such a strong factor. Can you point me to the piece of research that confirms this?

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: Not on the fly in a chat, no, but you could probably find a bunch of stuff using Google, or you could just trust that players who are promoted justifiably and debut in the majors around 19 – 21 tend to become really awesome players

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: If you promote a young player to the majors just because, then that won’t accomplish anything, but if a guy earns his way to the bigs before he can drink or something, then that tells you a hell of a lot of positive things

10:26
Comment From Freakonomist
Are you planning on being involved in Clubhouse Confidential this offseason? That is my favorite show, and I enjoyed your performances.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not really something for me to plan around — they just send an email, and then a few days later I’m wearing a suit and talking to a camera in an empty room

10:26
Comment From Wine Judge Spitoon Collector
How many HRs could we reasonably (maybe 1% chance or so) see from G. Stanton this year? He currently has 32 HR, and his team has 38 games remaining.

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: I’d guess 1% would be around 47, or 32

10:27
Comment From cbird
say something nice about justin upton. and it can’t be “something nice”

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: he’s had as valuable a season as Jose Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, and Matt Carpenter

10:29
Comment From The Oriole Bird
If you were managing the Orioles, would you move Ubaldo to the bullpen?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t love Gonzalez either but it would take very little convincing

10:29
Comment From THE average sports fan
Who wins the AL West?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: A’s, barely

10:29
Comment From Baseball fan
If Trout finishes in second for MVP voting I might cry

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: What if he deserves it this time?

10:29
Comment From John
Why do lefties outperform FIP typically?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: One reason would be better control of the running game

10:29
Comment From Kimball
Could MLB prohibit batting gloves?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: …why would…

10:30
Comment From GSon
AL Cy Young Standing: the King, Kluber & Sale, in that order?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: don’t think Sale’s No. 3, because of his previous DL stint and subsequent innings gap

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: he’s in the conversation, but it’s a conversation that also involves Lester, Richards, and Price

10:31
Comment From Howard H
Is Corey Kluber a threat to King Felix for the Cy Young award?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: He’s the closest thing to a threat, sure. Big edge for Felix at the moment, but all it takes is a bad start or two

10:32
Comment From Dr. Met
People seem to be more willing to accept a DH or 1B that have high power numbers, bad BA and OK defense. If a MI could give you the same, you would take it right?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: value’s value. I’d be happy with prime Dan Uggla

10:33
Comment From Bob Barker
Why do MLB games need to be faster? NFL games take roughly the same time, with all kinds of breaks in the action, and nobody complains about that.

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Lots of people complain about that

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: But there’s no point of comparison between a baseball game and a football game in terms of average intensity. Baseball games need to be faster because the average fan thinks of games as being too long. It doesn’t matter what individual people think. Long baseball games turn people off

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: People pay to go to games live and leave them early. That means the process is broken somewhere

10:34
Comment From THE average sports fan
Are the Tigers really in danger of missing the playoffs? How the heck has this happened?

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: Sanchez got hurt and Verlander sucks

10:35
Comment From John
Do you think the home plate collision rule is good as-is, needs to be tweaked or scrapped altogether?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: This year is a beta test. I think it could be tweaked and I think the understanding/enforcement could be greatly improved, but we wanted to avoid collisions and we’ve successfully avoided collisions. That’s the main goal and we’ll go from there to polish the rest of the things

10:36
Comment From Steve
How do you feel about Ozuna? Budding All-Star, Solid regular, or playing over his head?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Fine, solid, streaky regular

10:37
Comment From Bárðarbunga Observer
What is the worst climatological incident you’ve personally experienced?

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Massachusetts in July

10:37
Comment From Kimball
Is there any evidence/research showing whether it’s actually possible for hitters to adjust to the strike zone being called in a game? I can imagine a pitcher attempting to adjust his location slightly, but I have to believe a hitter can’t/doesn’t want to attempt to differentiate an inch or two difference in what he should swing at.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I’d guess this is what you might observe — players will sense that a zone is either big or small, so they’ll swing a little more or a little less. It’ll slightly shift that mental calculation, but not to specific spots; just in terms of swinging or not swinging, generally

10:38
Comment From Red Heads of America
Over/under Kole Calhoun makes an All-Star team some time in his career.

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe one

10:38
Comment From A. Lane
Any way to look at standing by BaseRuns from prior years?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Sorry :(

10:39
Comment From Matt
There was a “What Scouts Are Saying” piece on BP where an anonymous scout complained about Bryce Harper and said “It wouldn’t surprise me if they kept Span and tried to trade Harper”. Is this just a crazy scout? If you were the Nationals,would you consider someone like a Stanton or a Sale for Harper given their window of contention? What kind of offer would you have to get for Harper?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: The Nationals aren’t trading Bryce Harper

10:40
Comment From Slew(Seattle)
Cleveland Indians: retool or blow it up?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Why would you blow it up? They’re not a bad baseball team.

10:40
Comment From Cubbie Blues
Have you followed any of basketball’s anti-tanking proposals, like The Wheel? Think it could work in baseball?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Outside of the Astros, I don’t think baseball teams tank. The incentive to do so is so much smaller

10:41
Comment From sk
are the types of pitchers who underperform their FIP? guys who can’t pitch out of the stretch?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, if you have trouble out of the stretch, you’re screwed. So much of it is about strand rate

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Take the opposite of the guys who can beat their FIP. Righties, groundballers, guys who have particular problems with stolen bases

10:42
Comment From Gus
Tigers, Angels, and A’s have sort of sputtered for much of August. Are you projecting a rebound for these teams and some come-uppance for the Royals?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing in the vein of the gambler’s fallacy, but I don’t think the Royals are very good and I do think the Angels and A”s are very good

10:43
Comment From commenter
I was reading about the Diamondbacks signing Brett Jackson, and I noticed that outside the walks, he kind of looked like Joey Gallo minus the speed. Is there significant reason to worry about Gallo becoming a major bust? Or is that power just too legit to hit the panic button for his AA K%?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Gallo has struck out 40% of the time in Double-A. Yeah, there’s very legitimate reason to worry

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Power comes from making consistent quality contact. Gallo hasn’t been making consistent contact

10:44
Comment From TKDC
Cano is killing it, but is his lack of homers a huge red flag for his contract going forward?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: He’s been awesome and reasonably powerful for a few months

10:45
Comment From OF
What’s the point of the Rangers putting Darvish on Rev waivers? They know they’re just going to pull him back.

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: On the off chance he gets through and then they can see what they can see if they want to see

10:46
Comment From Trey
Your NL MVP vote, if cast today, would be for whom?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Lucroy or Kershaw

10:47
Comment From Gus
Wait, didn’t Springer just have a 30/30? Is the Astros farm team not PCL?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Springer did it over two different levels

10:48
Comment From Will
Does Pat Venditte get called up when rosters expand?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not on a 40-man roster

10:48
Comment From John
Do you think the Mariners’ success is more defense or pitching?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Pitching, then defense, then luck

10:49
Comment From BassmanUW
To me it seems like a better end result comp for Baez than the Sheffield one we’ve heard forever is peak Soriano, minus speed and plus defense. And if the Cubs can get that sort of production from Baez for much of the next 7 to 10 years, that would be great.

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Baez is going to strike out a lot more

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: but in terms of general discipline, yeah, that makes a lot more sense than Sheffield ever has

10:50
Comment From ACE
If the Orioles win 95 games and go far into the post season, do you expect a full scale assault on castle Fangraphs?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: I’d hope that Orioles fans would just be happy because if you spend your time attacking the thoughts of a website you don’t seem to really be enjoying the season that’s actually taking place

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: If your team is playing well, and you’re upset about something somebody said about your team, you’re doing it wrong

10:51
Comment From Gus
Is plate discipline one of the better predictors for AAA hitters taking the next step to MLB, or is there a combination of predictors that augur success?

10:51
Jeff Sullivan: You want to see discipline, but discipline without power is likely to evaporate in the majors as pitchers challenge the zone

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, Tommy La Stella has kept it up so far. So it’s possible to take the next step if you know the zone and settle for hitting singles

10:52
Comment From Guest
Though it’s out of his hands, do you think a player such as Pederson is incredibly frustrated at not being called up?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: He’s probably able to not think about it too much, but he’s going to expect a job very soon

10:53
Comment From SteveV
The Cubs will have a challenge no one has ever met in MLB history. Essentially they will have 9 top level guys hitting free agency in the same year or two. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: If they all develop somehow into top-level guys, the Cubs will happily re-sign them with the revenues from winning all those consecutive World Series

10:54
Comment From Gus
In your article on Baez, you mention that Stanton isn’t thrown a lot of strikes because he has no lineup protection. I thought lineup protection (much like batting order) was fallacious. T/F?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Protection doesn’t make a difference in terms of overall production, but it can somewhat affect strike-zone frequency. More importantly, it was a throwaway line

10:55
Comment From Will
How much does having King Felix up boost the Mariners’ chances of winning the wild card game?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: No bigger advantage in the AL, but ther’es a good chance it wouldn’t be Felix’s turn, and the other team could conceivably counter with a good starter and/or early trips to the bullpen

10:55
Comment From Joe
Do you ever see the Braves finding someone to take BJ?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: good heavens no

10:55
Comment From BRL
Which team has more upside next season and beyond, the Pirates or Royals?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Pirates

10:56
Comment From Snooty Babbit
By what factor is a post season game more important than a regular season game? 2x? Same value?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Way more than two times. Are we talking about revenue? WS probability?

10:57
Comment From E. Hosmer
Please tell me I’m the reason the Royals are winning their division at the moment. That would make me feel better.

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: The Royals have a team Clutch score of +8.5 and the Tigers have a team Clutch score of -1.5

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: That’s really it

10:58
Comment From Tommy Wiseau
Which team should be the most comfortable about winning the division right now?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Nats, then Orioles

10:59
Comment From Aaron (UK)
Re tanking: there’s a pretty big difference between #1 & #2 now, especially since you can nearly always underpay the #1 pick.

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Players are just so much further away than they are in a game like basketball. So drafted players are so much less predictable

11:00
Comment From Heidi
Should the Tigers tear it down this offseason and start rebuilding?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: How much can they do? There’s no moving Verlander or Cabrera money

11:00
Comment From Blume
What’s the secret? You seem to have it pretty figured out.

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: We’re all winging it

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: You only see the things I allow you to see

11:00
Comment From Garth Vader
So the leaderboard doesn’t show the number of 0% events made, only the number that have been hit near the player, because no one makes the play right? Literally 0 players have made a 0% play?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, by definition, an impossible play is an impossible play

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to wrap up!

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: So thank you everybody for coming by, 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.


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DBA455
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DBA455

I know this isn’t the question box, but I won’t be here when the chat is up and running. I would love more color on Jeff’s insight into the Gil Meche retirement situation that he teased last week. Thanks.

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