Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 9/17/13

9:02
Jeff Sullivan: Surprise! Late!

9:03
Comment From Bip
You’re a rascal, Sullivan

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Ain’t I a stinker!

9:03
Jeff Sullivan: Woke up with the best of intentions, too. Then I got stuck reading volcano articles.

9:04
Comment From Danborski
Franklin or Ackley at 2B?

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Ackley

9:04
Comment From DTSS
Tell us something interesting you learned today when reading about volcanos.

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: There’s evidence of active cryovolcanism on Titan

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: that being the moon of Saturn

9:06
Comment From Steve
Rank these for 2014: Wacha/Cingrani/Holland/Archer

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: Holland/Cingrani/Wacha/Archer?

9:06
Comment From new beers!
Do you prefer wOBAR or BAR as when looking at new beers?

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I prefer trusting my gut, like a traditional

9:06
Comment From Doll
Well, now that you’ve finished with the volcano articles, this chat should really blowup

9:06
Jeff Sullivan: I appreciate the intent but the execution was lacking :(

9:06
Comment From Mike
How consistent are GB/FB ratios from year to year for batters? Should we expect Puig to continue hitting around 50% GB and 30% FB?

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: They’re pretty stable, and on top of that, in his brief stay in the minor leagues, Puig was also a groundball hitter. You don’t want to make too much of it because this is Puig’s first year against new competition, but the evidence suggests he’s going to put a lot of balls on the ground going forward, yeah

9:08
Jeff Sullivan: If he starts putting more balls in the air, it’ll be because he made an adjustment

9:09
Comment From Marty
Don’t know how far you are yet on your Minor League 30 team review, but which team do you think was the most positively surprisingly?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Who do you think I am?

9:09
Comment From Dale
Jeff, did you see Mike Trout’s homerun last night? That ball was absolutely crushed. I have been on commuter flights that didn’t travel as far. Do you think he could hit more homers if he sacrificed average?

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: The second-best part: Figueroa pointing up like he thinks the ball is going to be easily catchable

9:11
Jeff Sullivan: The best part: the home run

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I do think Trout could hit more home runs if his goal was purely hitting more home runs, because he could just go up there guessing and swinging as hard as he can, but I absolutely don’t think it’d be worthwhile. I think Trout is more or less optimized as a hitter, and I don’t think an adjustment toward hitting for more power would do him great favors.

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Who Trout is is the product of everything Trout has been to date. If he tried to hit for more power, he could become a whole different sort of hitter.

9:13
Comment From DTSS
Which volcano would the Nationals have to become to pass the Reds for the second wild card?

9:13
Jeff Sullivan: Glacier Peak

9:14
Comment From Godd Till
Tiger cub questions – how good do you think Jose Iglesias and Nick Castellanos will be?

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: Iglesias should be an everyday shortstop who’s visibly good enough in the field to keep people from complaining too much about his offense. I don’t love Castellanos as more than a more or less average player but he could look like a borderline star at his peak

9:17
Comment From Steve
This time next year, who’s better? Taillon/Cole

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Cole

9:17
Comment From SoCal
Ok, now explain cryovolcanism.

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: “A cryovolcano (colloquially known as an ice volcano) is a volcano that erupts volatiles such as water, ammonia or methane, instead of molten rock.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryovolcano

9:19
Comment From David
Where’s Tanaka pitching to open next season?

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: As a complete shot in the dark, Yankees!

9:19
Comment From DNA
Rank these for 2014: Matt Carpenter/Pujols

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: You already did

9:21
Comment From zack
where would Matt Carpenter rank as an NL MVP candidate in your mind?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: lower top 5

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: so, probably 5

9:21
Comment From FS
Is Mike Matheny underachieving as a Cardinals coach? Do you feel that their record should be better than it is?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: If anything, maybe it should be a little worse, considering the obscene performance splits w/RISP and w/ nobody on

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: He’s done well to keep the team highly competitive despite so many issues with the pitching staff. It’s probably frustrating to see the Pirates right there with a considerably worse run differential, but I don’t think it’s at all fair to lay that at Matheny’s feet. Way too much we don’t understand to just pin things on managers

9:24
Comment From _David_
I never root for the Mariners to lose, even for draft placement, it just doesn’t feel right. Now, however, doesn’t losing expose the roster flaws at a time when the ownership really needs to look at things critically?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, that could be excused as rough bits of development from young players getting used to the major leagues. Development taking place now instead of in 2014?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I do think this team has made a lot of things clear. They don’t need to be made clearer by further losing in the final two weeks. It shouldn’t be a mystery what’s going on, if ownership decides to take a critical look

9:25
Comment From Bret
What do you think about Jon Morosi?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I think he is very good at drawing attention

9:25
Comment From The other Kyle
Can we assume, based on your earlier ranking, that you believe Cingrani has a secure rotation spot next season?

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t speak to the Reds’ plans, but, he should

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: I’d like to revise, though, and knock Cingrani down another spot

9:28
Comment From zack
Is Ron Washington gone if they miss the playoffs entirely?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: there would be difficult conversations

9:28
Comment From Mike
Walker or Salazar for 2014?

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Salazar

9:29
Comment From Larry
What do you think of Burch Smith?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: there’s a half-decent starter in there, trying to come out

9:30
Comment From zack
How much more money would Adam Wainright have gotten if he hadn’t signed that extension with the Cardinals?

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe $10 million or so, but he did well for himself and he’s 32 years old

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Shares a birthday with Cliff Lee, except that Lee is three years older. Three years ago, Lee signed for five years and $120 million

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: Wainwright got 5/$97.5 million, and Wainwright isn’t what Lee was back then. At least, that isn’t the perception

9:33
Comment From Kris
Why won’t Fredi play BJ and Uggla to try and get them going in time for the playoffs? It’s so frustrating.

9:33
Jeff Sullivan: Probably because they’ve had a thousand plate appearances to get going, and they’ve sucked

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: Also, Upton’s started 3 of 4 games?

9:34
Comment From Levi
What is Mike Stanton’s trade value? He clearly has some serious contact issuesand it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. He is a good hitter (just not a top 20 hitter type) but being a zero/negative on defense and as a baserunner, how much do you think teams will be willing to part with in this era of greatly valued prospects?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: He actually has a career +16 UZR

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: The strikeouts have always been there, and over the last 3 calendar years, among batters with 1,000 PA, Stanton’s 12th in wRC+, ahead of Robinson Cano. He’s 23 years old.

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: His value remains enormous, especially considering his salary, and though the Marlins should’ve dealt him an offseason ago, they’re still going to do well when they cash him in somewhere around the upcoming winter meetings. He’s a great player overall, and he also has the skills that executives love to over-value

9:38
Jeff Sullivan: Stanton’s probably going to cost somebody three top-five prospects

9:39
Comment From Bip
Have you looked into the possibility that outside pitches are more likely to be called for strikes when pitcher/batters have different handedness? My theory is that the “lefty strike” is a thing because LHB face more RHP, and there is a “righty strike” for LHP

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: I’m having trouble finding a link, but I seem to recall some investigation that showed that the lefty strike was much more prominent for RHP than for LHP when working against LHB

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: This could be of some use: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12965

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Same-handed pitchers will be more likely to work inside than opposite-handed pitchers. It seems that the called zone is driven in large part by catcher target, so if the catcher is setting up away more often…

9:43
Comment From Why
Rangers. It hurts.

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: It has to help, though, knowing that they’ve snapped right out of a couple of these things in the recent past

9:43
Jeff Sullivan: I know that’s a difficult thing to appreciate in the moment, but at least they’ve rebounded from previous attempted collapses

9:44
Comment From zack
If Ubaldo and the Indians don’t exercise the mutual option, what kind of money is Ubaldo in line for?4

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: It’s an $8 million club option, no?

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll exercise the club option

9:45
Comment From Tim
Regarding batted ball data, what level of change in a given FB/LD/GB rate from one season to the next would lead you to confidently conclude that it was because of an adjustment? Or are there other variables at play?

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I’d never reach that conclusion just based on one stat alone, but a difference of, I don’t know, 10% in GB rate would cause me to dig deeper

9:46
Jeff Sullivan: I pretty much only look at GB%, and I’m talking about 10 percentage points, not 10 percent, by the way

9:46
Comment From Biggy
How much of a setback is it for the Cubs if Rizzo and Castro continue to not progress? Who are you more optimistic about in the long term?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty major setback. I’m more confident in Rizzo

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Castro’s had years of not getting better. Rizzo has less than half the plate appearances

9:48
Comment From Seth
What’s one thing you wish FanGraphs did different?

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: We could probably stand to have an actual active Twitter account, instead of just a link feed

9:48
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, maybe that’s a stupid answer. I wasn’t prepared for this question

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: Perhaps a few more articles containing enlightened commentary, instead of mostly just analysis

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: But I could be easily talked out of that

9:50
Comment From Marcus A.
Is the AL Wildcard Race one of the craziest playoff races we’ve had in the last few years? Say what you will about the 1 game deciding someone’s fate, the MLB accomplished its mission of having more contenders or at least “contenders” down the stretch.

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: This is why I became a fan of the one-game wild-card playoff. Sure, it’s dumb to have a season end because of one game, but it’s also kind of dumb to have a season end because of a short series. The playoffs don’t determine who the best teams are in baseball. Embrace the non-meaningful insanity

9:52
Comment From Nick C
Is there a correlation of BB% to height?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: presumably a small one

9:52
Comment From _David_
This is the first time forever that I haven’t really cared about watching the Mariners, even when they were terrible(er). Is there something wrong with me now or was there before and now I’m better?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing wrong with not wanting to watch a shitty product, just becuase you feel like you ought to be loyal to it

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Loyalty can take you so far, but eventually after enough losing people are going to check out. Not completely — a Mariners fan is a Mariners fan for life — but fans become less involved, just waiting for a reason to re-invest

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Bandwagon fans kind of have it figured out

9:54
Comment From Mike
Why do pitchers point to the sky on fly balls? Does that help an outfielder?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: Mostly habit, cemented at a very young age

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: It doesn’t *not* help, but it can sure look silly when the batters hits the baseball 450 feet

9:55
Comment From CouvCPA
I clicked on Dave’s link showing the WAR for AL 3rd basemen after he noted that Miguel is no longer #1. Obviously the items that stick out are his negative fielding and base running. My question is, how his .443 OBP is taken into consideration for his base running? In other words, is he negatively effected for being on base more often than most or positively effected?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I believe that would be negative — he’s a negative base-runner, who’s had more opportunities to base-run, on account of his OBP. But he’s at -3.4 runs on the season. Hardly anything to care about

9:56
Comment From Biggy
Is Peter Angelos really cheap enough to waste this team? I mean, couldn’t Cano about put them over the top? Has he always been like this?

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: He hasn’t always been like this because the Orioles have seldom been any good

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: Cano would obviously be a hell of a splash but I’m not at all convinced he’s getting away from NY

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: 2013 payroll is up $8 million from 2012. We’ll see if they hike payroll again going forward while the window is still open

9:58
Comment From Randy
That Trout clip is screaming for a Jeff Sullivan GIF column.

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know. “Trout’s really awesome.” “Ha! Silly pitcher.” Don’t know if there’s enough depth.

9:58
Comment From Bip
Hitting groundballs is not a problem for hitters necessarily, correct? I would think hitters who hit a lot of fly balls have the potential to hit a lot of homers, but are very unlikely to hit .300

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, it changes hitter to hitter, and though a high GB% limits power potential, it’ll probably be good for BA, due to grounders and line drives (many line drives are pseudo-grounders). You can be pretty damn good with a high GB%. Consider one Derek Jeter http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=826&position=SS

10:01
Comment From Erich
Thoughts on moving Braun to 1B next year to cover a gaping hole and give Khris Davis/Caleb Gindl a chance to produce in LF full time?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I think I’d rather move the unproven 25-year-olds

10:02
Comment From FS
What type of hitters tend to have lower BABIP consistently?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: I guess somewhat obviously, guys who hit a ton of infield flies

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: Those tend to be guys who swing with an uppercut

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Old fly-ball hitters

10:03
Comment From _David_
Does FG measure single game WAR, or if they did where might Cliff Lee’s yesterday rank?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Rounded, pitching + batting, Lee was worth 0.9 WAR in one day

10:04
Comment From Marcus A.
Any chance Abe Almonte is a ~2 WAR player?

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Some chance, but he’s probably a decent fourth outfielder

10:05
Comment From Bip
I noticed that the hitters with the highest GB% are, unsurprisingly, guys known to be lower power, speed guys. As long as Puig has excellent speed, hitting grounders could work for him. He hits the ball hard, which basically is always good.

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: He hits the ball hard, and though he has a high GB%, he doesn’t have an extreme GB%. So the actual difference between Puig and a league-average BIP profile is pretty small

10:06
Comment From Marty
Do you think either Peralta or Cruz (if TEX makes it) will be on the playoff roster?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I think both would/will be on it. These are different situations from the Melky situation a year ago

10:06
Comment From Noah
Are Sano/Buxton/Rosario/Arcia/Hicks a legitimate core of a contending team?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: Not right now they’re not

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Obviously the potential is enormous but you’re still talking about an awful lot of young unproven players

10:07
Comment From Zach
If forced to guess, right now: does Mike Trout accumulate more or less than 100 career WAR?

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Less

10:08
Comment From Owen
Which is the deepest and strongest position in the Majors these days?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I’m going to cheat and say CF?

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: 10th-ranked CF at 3.1 WAR. 15th-ranked CF at 2.3 WAR

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Too simple a way to look at it, but the best I can do in a chat format

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: On the mound, it feels like we’ve been blessed with an incredible amount of starting-pitching talent

10:10
Comment From rob
Who do the Reds go for next year? Choo? Hamilton? If they go for hamilton, please estimate his bSR Value.

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: I suspect they won’t be able to afford Choo, and I suspect they won’t want to give Hamilton a starting job out of the gate given his offensive struggles

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: But if Hamilton were to start and play a full season: the highest BsR ever for a single season is 15.7 (Vince Coleman, 1986)

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: So I’d project Hamilton for +10-15 runs on the bases

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Coleman, incidentally, did that with a .301 OBP

10:12
Comment From Avocado
Will the Royals miss the playoffs? Will 84 or so wins look like enough improvement to extend Dayton Moore and Ned Yost for several years? Will 84 or so wins in 2013 represent the high water mark for this generation of Royals?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they’re making the playoffs, but they’re going to see this season as a success, because they’re playing meaningful games in the final two weeks. They’ll re-adjust in the winter and try to give this another go before James Shields signs somewhere else

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 2014 Royals finish with a very similar record, again not good enough for the postseason

10:14
Comment From zack
Who is better at utilizing platoons: Joe Maddon or Bob Melvin?

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: My default answer is always Maddon

10:14
Comment From heychuck
Can a legitimate argument be made for Todd Helton in the Hall of Fame?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not, but you could make an illegitimate argument that ignores or underestimates the Colorado park effect

10:15
Comment From Prich
Have you ever discussed volcanoes on a 1st date?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve had only so many first dates in my life, and, yes

10:16
Comment From Guest
Is McCann the best FA “bat” this offseason?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: nope

10:16
Comment From Bip
Does it bother you when people vote for awards for flawed reasons, or when they dismiss statistical analysis for flawed reasons? Or just disinterested?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t actually care one bit about the awards. I’m more troubled by dismissal of statistical analysis, because there’s too much of that in society at large, and that speaks to one being a certain kind of person who is not the sort of person who ought to be making actual important decisions

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: Okay, so you don’t like numbers in baseball. How do you feel about numbers in general? A lot of these people are going to end up somewhat anti-science, they’re going to be under-thinkers, and that’s terrifying to me.

10:18
Comment From Greg
Of this year’s playoff teams, which most fits the mold of “great regular season team, so-so playoff team”?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: A’s

10:21
Comment From Prich
Your colleague Jason Churchill wrote a lengthy article on the 2014 Seattle Mariners in which he advocated no big FA spending b/c the timing for the organization and the talent available/price to be paid don’t match up… do you concur?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Objectively, I’m almost always against big FA spending, and it’s a reasonable and justifiable position to take. Realistically though, I just don’t care. I’m not invested enough to be passionate about every little thing. They’ll have the money because there are like no commitments on the books beyond Felix and Iwakuma. Fans won’t tolerate a miniature payroll, which is what they’d have if they more or less stood pat. It’s probably not in their long-term best interests to spend big, but it’s also not in their long-term best interests to keep these people in charge and they’re doing that

10:24
Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners are going to have to work hard to make people give a shit

10:24
Comment From _David_
Should teams, especially in the NL, try to convert failed hitting prospects into relief pitchers but also keep them as utility players to gain roster flexibility? I’m thinking someone like Triunfel. Maybe like a super low leverage pitcher to mop up innings but be good enough not to get them a call from Selig.

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: I do think there ought to be more two-ways players like that, but the actual value added is slim, especially if you figure that a two-way player will be worse at both things than a dedicated one-way player.

10:26
Comment From Jaack
Yesterday, your article titles had a bit of a fire/ice motif. Intentional or not?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Everything seemingly clever I do is actually a coincidence

10:27
Comment From brian
Aside from Wendy, can you suggest any good female baseball writers?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: It’s not the most diverse landscape

10:27
Comment From Prich
Will these last two weeks have an impact on Jack Zs job security?

10:27
Jeff Sullivan: They shouldn’t

10:27
Comment From Razor
Would a home team in an elimination game benefit in theory from starting their closer in the first inning, since that’s the only time of the game that’s guaranteed to be a 50% win expectancy?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: How do you know how the closer is going to respond to a completely new role?

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: You have to account for the humanity of all the players. Players perform as they do in the roles that they occupy

10:29
Comment From Steven
How many things are there in baseball better than watching Giancarlo Stanton hitting a monster HR? His bombs are poetic.

10:29
Jeff Sullivan: I love those, but I’m also partial to Evan Gattis monster HRs

10:30
Comment From _David_
Does Chris Davis’s career path increase teams’ interest in Wlad?

10:30
Jeff Sullivan: Doubt it. And Wlad isn’t coming over any time soon. He’s under contract for another three years after this one, I believe

10:31
Comment From Bip
Did Hyun-jin Ryu outperform your expectations? Did/Do you expect him to tire from an MLB workload?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I didn’t think he’d be quite this good

10:31
Comment From Marjinwalker
excited to learn about Tamu Massif last week? Also, what do you think of the rotation San Diego is putting together– Smith and Erlin finally establishing themselves?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: (2) It’s good to see the Padres showing that they have some starters. Obviously, Cashner just dominated, and I’m looking forward to seeing a healthy Luebke again

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: There’s pitching promise in that organization but they’ve spent a whole lot of time tooling around with guys like Richard and Volquez and Marquis. It’s been an ugly transition

10:32
Comment From Dale
What is anyone supposed to make of the Angels now? After this last month I am thoroughly confused. I want to say they are terrible but then I watch the games. Not so sure

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: They’re definitely not terrible. They’ve just been a terrible disappointment. They probably project as a .500+ team

10:34
Jeff Sullivan: The problem is that they have all this money tied up in Pujols/Hamilton, and those deals are supposed to pay off at the beginning, and Trout will probably never be better than he has been, and the farm system is barren…

10:34
Comment From Dave
With the Pirates 2013 season a success regardless of what they do in the playoffs and Taillon and Polanco so close, are the Pirates pretty much out of the running for the Cliff Lees and Mike Stantons of the MLB?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, Polanco isn’t the guy who’s going to prevent them from trying to trade for Giancarlo Stanton

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: They should be in the mix

10:35
Comment From Thomas
How’s the bouldering? Sending v14 yet?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: my fingers hurt and my joints hurt

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I think this is just how I get to live, now, for the rest of my life

10:35
Comment From Justin
Dodgers: stupid team, or stupidest team?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: well no

10:36
Comment From Herman
Is Puig on the short list of 5 or so NLers you’d want to start a dynasty league?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: probably

10:36
Comment From RSquared
Did Yost and Moore save their jobs?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: feeling that way

10:38
Comment From Tom
Matt Adams + Kolten Wong + Lance Lynn = Tulo?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Not by my math

10:39
Comment From Kieran Kelly
Do Gardner, granderson, soriano, and Ichiro all play for the Yankees next year?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Actually I do think it’s looking that way

10:40
Comment From Tom
Top 5 position players – Trout, McCutchen, who else?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Cabrera, Posey, Molina

10:40
Comment From Guest
Does Fangraphs need more Daves?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: more Daves and people with Mariners connections

10:40
Comment From _David_
Careful Jeff, your gonna be stuck with the Twitter job.

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: no dice, I’ve already got the Community blog job

10:40
Comment From TKDC
For just 2014, assuming no suspension, rank these wastes of resources: Hamilton, Pujols, Arod?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: A-Rod, Hamilton, Pujols

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: I think a healthy Pujols could really be pretty good again

10:41
Comment From Bip
Who is your favorite pitcher to watch? What is your favorite pitch (from a specific pitcher) to watch?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Darvish, and maybe Chapman’s fastball

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: but I love love love a biting curve that hits its spot and freezes the hitter, no matter who’s doing the throwing

10:43
Comment From Dave M.
What umpire has the best strike 3 called motions/sounds? I’m a Hallion fan.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: I’m a Hallion fan too but I can’t tell if I’m being ironic

10:44
Comment From DTSS
If you were going to die in a natural disaster, which would be your favorite way of going down? Lahar?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: I have a high degree of interest in not suffering

10:46
Comment From Guest
Four AL 3B in the top nine WAR of MLB. Name them.

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Donaldson, Cabrera, Longoria, Machado. But I look at our leaderboards a lot

10:46
Comment From Guest
Hi Jeff – on a scale of 1 to Breaking Bad, how excited are you about the hockey season starting?

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: 30 Rock

10:47
Comment From Guest
See that NYT article on pitcher “speed limits”? Seems like humans have topped out (unless pitchers adopt a new way of throwing).

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t seen it yet, doesn’t surprise me. There are reasons we haven’t seen people exceed 105

10:48
Comment From Et tu, Brute?
Jeff, I disagree with the mentally checking out of loyal fans. You have to find more specific aspects of the team to appreciate- particular players on the field or in the minors. The quality of fandom then isn’t worse– it’s just different. -A Twins fan

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Everybody is free to be a fan in different ways. No sense in being judgmental about how someone else decides to consume a sports team. I just think bandwagon fans get too much crap. That’s how they want to follow the sport. Rationally, they’re the correct ones. It’s the sensible behavior, and you don’t get an award for most hours sacrificed to a team for no positive return

10:49
Comment From Guest
Why doesn’t fangraphs have a combined pitcher and hitter WAR leaderboard?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Because WAR is the only thing that would be there, and it’s easy enough to just open a second tab

10:50
Comment From Madison
What’s the furthest from Portland volcano that you have ever visited?

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Vesuvius

10:52
Comment From John
When will there be new Blind Pilot :(

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Just researched. Don’t know. :(

10:53
Comment From Henry
Not sure if you talked about it already, but what’s the deal with the playoff odds? They went from giving the Red Sox 30% WS chances to 17% after a torrid couple weeks…

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, I noticed that yesterday. I assume a calculation was adjusted because the previous number seemed too high, but I’ll ask one of the superiors

10:53
Comment From SS for 2014
Jean Segura or Xander Bogaerts?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Bogaerts

10:53
Comment From SS for 2014
Jean Segura or Xander Bogaerts?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Bogaerts

10:53
Comment From SS for 2014
Jean Segura or Xander Bogaerts?

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Segura

10:53
Comment From Kevin
Could Usain Bolt as a Pinch Runner steal 2nd and 3rd without any risk of being caught? No real jump, just go when you’re 100% sure the pitcher is going home?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: Probably not. Base-running is hard!

10:54
Comment From Andrew
Can any generalizations be made of pitchers whose OPS has huge increases (>90 points) with each turn through the lineup? I understand the trend is to get worse, but does the magnitude of change say anything?

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, if you can prove its significance. I wouldn’t look at OPS — I’d look at other peripherals, over large enough samples

10:55
Comment From Ed
Alex Gordon made a pretty good transition from 3B to LF. Could Dustin Ackley make the same transition? He hasn’t looked very good in CF.

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Range-wise, Ackley could get there, but Alex Gordon has an arm

10:56
Comment From Guest
What’s your opinion on Abe Almonte?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Adequate young versatile outfielder

10:56
Comment From Jay
How much longer will Detroit’s championship window be open?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: few years

10:56
Comment From Henry
what traits does a “great regular season team, so-so playoff team” have? winning games is winning games, right? are teams with 2-3 great starters and 1-2 bad ones advantaged over 5 decent?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Depth is less important come playoff time, and it seems to be when you’d rather have certain stars, especially on the pitching staff

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Lineup depth is important, but pitching-wise, you can give almost all of your innings to a small number of arms

10:57
Comment From Sadwick
Did you get a second date after discussing volcanoes on the first date? If yes, did you discuss volcanoes on that date as well? Also, were any of these dates on a volcano? If not they should have been. **This concludes the volcano themed intrusion into your private life.**

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: There has been a lot of volcano talk and exploration — mutually enjoyed — in my current relationship. I think that means I win.

10:58
Comment From TKDC
Would it be a good idea to put yesterday’s pitcher in the starting lineup when playing on the road, so if you get to the 9th spot in the lineup (yes, unlikely), you could use a pinch hitter, and then just insert the starter?

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Well I suppose that could afford you the smallest of advantages

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Provided your actual starter isn’t disrupted by the change, which would be possible. I don’t know all the rules

11:00
Comment From Pearl
Emma Span not a good female baseball writer?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: She is. There are sadly just not very many

11:01
Comment From NoBattingGloves
If you were the Cardinals would you almost prefer to face The Reds in the Wild Card Game knowing the winner gets the Braves as opposes to facing Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu in a short sires

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: I’d rather win the division and skip the chance of being eliminated in a day

11:01
Comment From Chris
Evan Gattis may have hit the longest home run of the year, but you know who has the highest average home run distance this year? Eric Hosmer. Gattis has only hit one homer longer than Hosmer’s longest, and Stanton hasn’t hit one longer yet.

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: Yeah, Hosmer is really showing legitimate power potential, and though we aren’t yet quite sure what that means, it’s not not encouraging

11:02
Comment From Dave
Why so low on Polanco? Don’t see how 18 years of Polanco + Taillon + Glasnow is a good trade for 2-3 years of Stanton (injury prone)

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a difference between being low on Polanco and saying that Polanco shouldn’t get int he way of the Pirates trying to trade for Giancarlo Stanton

11:03
Comment From Guest
Mariners’ rotation starting next year?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: Felix/Iwakuma/Lincecum/Ramirez/Walker

11:03
Comment From Gila Monster
Regarding your Bucholz article, isn’t it odd someone without such elite control to generate looking strikes? Isn’t it something the league could adjust to?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: That’s the worry, yeah, the way baseball adjusted to Vance Worley. But then if batters change their approach against Buchholz, Buchholz is free to change back, and then you just have ethis constant battle of adjustments and readjustments

11:04
Comment From Bkgeneral
For all the advances in analysis, it feels like there has not been any advances in objectively ranking managers. Maybe Dusty is great and I missed some stat that flies in the face of all the games I have watched.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Manager analysis in the past has focused on strategy, because that’s all we can do. We have next to no hope of evaluating leadership ability. We need a bunch of years of pre-season team projections and then actual team performances. And even then, maybe that isn’t enough, because the projections themselves could be influenced by the manager’s presence and ahhhhhh why is baseball so god damned complicated

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Good luck to the next researcher, basically. Your results will be underwhelming and riddled with holes.

11:06
Comment From Jake
Weebs article about Ackley on LL; where do you stand?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t seen it, down on him, less down than before, don’t think he has a very high ceiling

11:07
Comment From LarryA
Is it just me, or has your snark decreased as the season has gone on?

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know, but I’m getting more and more accustomed to the chats, and to what works and what doesn’t

11:08
Comment From Guest
How big of an advantage will the Pirates haev against the Dodgers LHP heavy rotation considering…

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Pirates first in the NL in wRC+ against lefties

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Didn’t realize how bad the Cardinals have been

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: It’s a factor. It would probably be overrated as a factor, given that postseason matchup

11:10
Comment From Razor
Is the community blog job time consuming?

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a lot on the back end

11:10
Comment From JayT
With regards to Usain Bolt pinch running, his split times for the first 30 meters (basepaths are 27.4m) on a 100m dash is around 3.9 seconds, so figure somewhere around 3.7 to run the basepaths.

11:10
Jeff Sullivan: Handy!

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: Throwoutable

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: He could be taught, but without the teaching, he wouldn’t be very good

11:11
Comment From FS
Span seems to have adjusted to NL pitching or he is just enjoying a hot streak?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: He’s what he’s been for four years. The overall picture is what he is

11:11
Comment From Compton
Will Josh Donaldson get serious MVP consideration? Should he?

11:11
Jeff Sullivan: No, yes

11:12
Comment From WWMTD
Why is there a fangraphs author called Pizza Cutter, with one post back in 2011?

11:12
Jeff Sullivan: Holy hell it has gotten late. I need to get going! I have important baseball to do!

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: Thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next Tuesday around the same time, and until then, be wonderful and have great days

11:13
Jeff Sullivan: You never know when I might start one of these on time! Stay tuned!



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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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Levi
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Levi

Why is Mike Stanton’s trade value? He clearly has some serious contact issuesand it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. He is a good hitter (just not a top 20 hitter type) but being a zero/negative on defense and as a baserunner, how much do you think teams will be willing to part with in this era of greatly valued prospects?

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