Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 7/13/18

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: To my knowledge Manny Machado still hasn’t been traded

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: If it were to happen during the course of this chat, well, I probably wouldn’t know

9:08

Carl: Which Austin would you rather, Barnes or Hedges?

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: For a game today, Barnes. For the longer term, Hedges, since Barnes is three years older

9:09

THE Average Sports Fan: What is a reasonable return for the Reds to expect for Harvey?

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Jaime Garcia trade

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Either one of them

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Harvey still hasn’t been very good with the Reds, and while maybe another team could squeeze more out of his stuff, he’s obviously been a difficult person to deal with, and right now he doesn’t look like a guy you’d want starting in the playoffs

9:11

Babe Lincoln: Last day of work today.  How should I celebrate tonight?

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Responsibly

9:12

Pio: Is Castellanos getting slept on? .374 wOBA with a .397 xwOBA and he’s still only 26. His defense is rough to terrible depending on your metric of chose but the bat’ll play.

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: He’s beginning to hit in the mold of J.D. Martinez, and you don’t really want to have him playing anywhere for you in the field, in the mold of J.D. Martinez

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: He’s not as good a hitter as Martinez is, but the profiles are similar, and it’s just too bad his defense sucks because there’s so much to like about him in the box

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: One minor quibble: he’s beaten up on a lot of bad pitching

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: Comes from playing in the worst division in recent memory

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: Of the 248 players with at least 200 plate appearances, Castellanos’ opponent strength ranks 22nd-easiest, according to Baseball Prospectus

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: A bunch of Indians, unsurprisingly, rank even higher

9:18

stever20: Corey Kluber last month 5.03 ERA (15th worst) and 4.72 FIP(22nd worst).  How concerned are you?

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: As I look at the numbers, there’s something weird going on — over the past several weeks, Kluber’s arm slot has evidently dropped

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: The movement profile of his cutter has changed, and his breaking ball hasn’t been getting so many whiffs

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: Because at this point there’s no questioning Kluber’s true talent, I’m inclined to downplay the problems here — he could figure this out. He didn’t look like himself in April 2017, after all

9:23

Jeff Sullivan: But I don’t know why the arm slot would change. No reason for that to happen, unless we’re looking at a mechanical deficiency or some underlying injury. Impossible for me to tell which from here

9:23

APODionysus: Hey Jeff! I was wondering, has any research been done on the effect of a heavy/light schedule on a team’s performance in that stretch? Not so much strength of opposition, but more a schedule with very few days off/doubleheaders/etc?

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but then, there’s a lot of baseball research being done I’m not aware of

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: With the busy stretches, it’s also not just about performance while busy — it’s also about performance afterward, when players and rosters are simply more taxed

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: In theory, that should even out for everyone by the end. But there’s a reason so many teams like to have an active bullpen Triple-A shuttle. Fresh arms, always at the ready

9:26

Charles Finley: There’s been some discussion about the Yankees trading for another RP in addition to an SP.  Is this really necessary?

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: No deadline addition is ever necessary, and the Yankees certainly have more depth in the bullpen than most of their rivals, but I don’t think I’ve ever known a baseball team that had enough good relievers down the stretch

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: Think of it this way: the more good relievers you have, the less you have to ask for from the starters. It reduces the burden on everyone, and in effect makes the rotation stronger on a per-PA basis

9:28

naomi: If baseball seams are white, how much will it affect the batter’s offence performance?

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: Cataclysmically

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: And it would become incredibly dangerous to stand in the box

9:31

THE Average Sports Fan: Is any team more sad than the Orioles?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles right now are incredibly sad

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: But if I were to go out on a limb for a moment, might I point to the White Sox?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: The White Sox are supposed to be building something, and they suck too

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: Very few players in the organization have made meaningful statistical progress. The Orioles have no hope, and that blows, but the White Sox have *decreasing* hope, and that blows in a different way

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: (I’d still much rather be the White Sox)

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: (poor Orioles)

9:34

Kevin: Hello friend. Who do you think was the biggest All-Star snub?

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: If I can be completely honest with you for a moment, I don’t care

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: So many players get inserted and replaced I can’t keep track of who has actually made the team

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: I guess Jed Lowrie is on the team now? That’s good

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: I’d point to Eddie Rosario then

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: 3.4 WAR this season, 5.0 WAR over the past calendar year. That goes with a 132 wRC+ (679 plate appearances)

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: Oh, Anthony Rendon too

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: 3.1 WAR this season, 5.9 WAR over the past calendar year. That goes with a 133 wRC+ (581 plate appearances)

9:38

Jeff Sullivan: Bryce Harper career WAR/600: 4.7
Anthony Rendon career WAR/600: 4.6

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: And you’d never know it from reading the internet or watching TV

9:39

Simba Snubbed: Is the baseball world ready for JRam to catch up to Trout in WAR?

9:39

Jeff Sullivan: Even if he does, it’s temporary. It’s always temporary

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: And of course Ramirez gets to hit against much, much easier opponents

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: According to BP, Jose Ramirez has faced the second-worst average opponent for any regular hitter in baseball

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Ramirez is great! Trout is far better

9:41

Dystiopian Future: Will there be a fresh new wave of disappointment or will it just be perceived as more of the same if the A’s catch the Mariners in September and pass them for WC2?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: Kind of depends how it happens. Do the A’s stay white-hot, or do the Mariners just collapse?

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: I’m thankful that at least the WC2 race in the AL is becoming a little more interesting. No one wants to have the playoff picture settled in early July

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: Less than a month ago, the A’s were 11 games behind the Mariners. Now the difference is five. Over that stretch, the A’s have outscored their opponents by 34, while the Mariners have been outscored by 22

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: If the Angels were going to fade, at least someone has stepped into their place

9:45

Furious Brosius: What’s thoughts on Tony Kemp?  Whats he doing next year?  Do you believe he will every be an everyday hitter?  Thank you

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: So the thing about Kemp is that he makes very weak contact

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: He’s hit exactly two balls this season at 100+ miles per hour. They both clocked in at 100.2

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Out of the 303 players with at least 100 batted balls, Kemp ranks 298th in average exit velocity, and 303rd — last — in peak exit velocity

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: He runs well, but he doesn’t run *so* well that he can beat out every grounder

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: In this day and age, I think it’s important to recognize the upside in guys who can walk as often as they strike out. Kemp’s approach is just fine. But given his extremely limited power profile, I think he’s most likely to end up as a supersub

9:51

Mike: Hi Jeff, Theoretical question: What would a player’s OBP have to be to justify a spot on a major league roster if they had a .000 average and played average defense at their position?

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: This is where the Guts page comes in https://www.fangraphs.com/guts.aspx?type=cn

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s just say we want this guy to have a league-average wOBA even though he literally never gets a hit

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: The league-average wOBA is .314. The walk value you see there is .689

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: So he’d need a walk every 2.19 plate appearances

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: That’s an OBP of .456

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: That’s actually a little lower than I would’ve guessed

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: But remember the current league-average OBP is .318

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: How this guy walks so often without ever getting a hit, I haven’t the foggiest

9:58

Johnny : Is it feasible Ohtani could finish this season as only a hitter, get TJ surgery this winter, play next season as only a hitter, then both pitch and hit the following year?

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: When Shin-Soo Choo had Tommy John surgery at the end of September 2007, he wasn’t playing again until the middle of the following May

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: T.J. Rivera had Tommy John surgery last September, and he’s still rehabbing

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Now, Choo and Rivera both needed to get to the point where they could hit *and* play defense. Ohtani, presumably, wouldn’t have to worry about the second part

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe he could be ready to hit by next May. But obviously the Angels are going to have to chart their own course here — not much precedent for a rehabbing pitcher who is simultaneously a semi-regular DH

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: TJ rehab is grueling and draining, and Ohtani might not always have the mental energy needed to play in a live game

10:05

Nick: Is there a compelling reason to keep post-deadline waiver trades? For a sport that wants more attention, wouldn’t it be better to say “This is the trade deadline! Now or never!” Watch MLB Network all day!”?

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: I think they should just abolish the distinction and have one single set deadline around the middle or end of August

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: Dave wrote about this years ago!

10:06

Zihuatanejo: Re: your Machado article, how does the value of keeping such a player off a competitor affect the trade price?  I.e., should the Dodgers or Diamondbacks be willing to pay more for Machado just to keep him off the rival team?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: In theory this is kind of baked into every trade. Every time you trade for a good player, you’re keeping that good player from going to a rival

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: Now, rivals aren’t always in position to want the same upgrades, but it’s not like as far as this deadline is concerned, it’s Machado or bust. Even if someone loses out on Machado, that team can go get somebody else and improve

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: So to me it’s more or less a non-factor. I mean, it does matter a little bit to keep someone away from your competition, but that’s always been true, so the precedent holds

10:09

Reg Mowley: Who would you rather have long term: Albert Almora or Ian Happ?

10:10

Jeff Sullivan: Happ

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: Almora is the better defender, and he makes more contact, but I prefer Happ’s discipline, and Happ’s *quality* of contact is far superior

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: Consider, for example, expected wOBA on contact

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: Happ ranks 15th in baseball. Almora ranks 280th

10:13

…..: A few chats back (and I don’t even know if it was yours) someone said they just finished watching The Office and have determined that Jim and Pam are terrible people; if that person is here can he/she please expand on this cause its interesting.

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: That’s just Jim, but still

10:14

Erik: I know you don’t care about the Hall of Fame, but Willians Astudillo is a first-ballot shoo-in, right?

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: He struck out :(

10:14

Reg Mowley: Who are you most excited to see in the home run derby?

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: A good book

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s be honest — they’re all perfectly adequate home-run hitters

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: And in a contest like this, it’s impossible to predict who could get hot. I mean, Todd Frazier won the damn thing!

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: Harper and Schwarber are likely to hit the most impressive home runs, if that’s your thing

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: It’s sad there will be no Stanton or Judge

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t give a shit about watching Bregman try to go deep

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Quietly the most interesting part might be Baez, because everything is going to be in the zone. He never gets to do that on TV!

10:19

Poised: Is Trevor Story actually really good? Potential 5 win player down the road?

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: Pretty easy to figure this one out — Story has cut down on his strikeouts

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: His chase rate is down, his in-zone swing rate is up, and his contact is up

10:20

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s really going to be a 5-win player, but he is the best version of himself at the moment

10:22

Eric: Will the Mets get more for Familia than the Royals got for Herrera?

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: By a little bit, yeah, I think so

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: It’ll be within the margin of error, because the Mets aren’t going to get a blockbuster, but they can do better and even besides that, the trading team will owe Familia less money than the Nationals were poised to owe Herrera, since they got him so early

10:23

Jerry DiPoto: Am I right in thinking that adding Seth Lugo makes most sense for our pitching needs? Can be an effective multi-inning reliever while also stepping up as a SP if needed and at least able to give SP’s a break if needed, assuming everyone stays healthy. I am thinking I should add Marco Estrada and Seth Lugo, thoughts? Or do I add Zach Britton and Seth Lugo? Also, Guillermo Heredia has been exposed, what do I do there? Add Asdrubal Cabrera to play 2b and move Dee to CF right now and then Cabrera to UT when Cano returns? Or I can maybe talk Scott into just playing Haniger in CF, Gamel in RF and Span in LF more often.

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: This is way too much of a question

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: Which is probably actually an accurate portrayal of the man himself

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: Yes, Seth Lugo would make sense for the Mariners. No, I don’t think the Mariners have what it would take to acquire Seth Lugo, because the farm system is a catastrophe

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: Maybe if they took on some bad money, but it’s not like the Mariners should include Jay Bruce

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners’ best prospect is probably Kyle Lewis, who has a .310 OBP in the Cal League

10:26

Nate: How much does the bidding war for Harper change this offseason if numbers don’t improve much in the 2nd half?

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: It depends. Right now Harper has almost exactly the same expected wOBA as he had last season

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: 2017: .390 xwOBA
2018: .397 xwOBA

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: 2017: .416 wOBA
2018: .354 wOBA

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: If Harper just has an unlucky second half, the market will still be incredibly strong. If even his xwOBA tanks, though, that would make a difference. That would take more of the shine off the apple

10:29

Erik: What do teams typically do at the deadline when they’re competitive a year earlier than planned? What advice would you give the Braves and Phillies in that regard?

10:29

Jeff Sullivan: Last year’s Brewers added Anthony Swarzak, Jeremy Jeffress, and Neil Walker

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: The 2015 Cubs added Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: and Fernando Rodney and Austin Jackson!

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: The 2015 Astros added Scott Kazmir, Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, and Oliver Perez

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: The Astros made the biggest push, with the Gomez deal. Somewhat importantly, Gomez wasn’t a rental, not that it worked out for them in the end

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: Now, every circumstance is different. If the Phillies believe trading for Machado now would give them a leg up in offseason negotiations, that’s something to factor in

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: But generally speaking, I think when you’re early, you make more subtle deadline tweaks that don’t subtract from the longer-term future. Or if you want to make a splash, you make a splash for a player who’s around for more than a couple of months

10:34

gurp: I got Jose Ramirez the other day at +2800 to win AL MVP. Do you think he has a realistic chance to win even with Trout’s historical performance?

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: He finished in third place last year, and he’s been better than the two guys who finished in front of him

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Trout has cooled off a little bit and Ramirez has only continued to get more and more exposure. Mookie Betts might end up the real competition

10:36

dirty dan: Who would say no: Robles for Realmuto?

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Before the year, the Nationals. Now, probably the Marlins, at least for the time being given that Robles has missed much of the season due to injury

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: Going to guess the Marlins would want to trade Realmuto for at least three players to improve their chances of hitting with one

10:39

dirty dan: Gaussman and Machado for Frazier, Tate and Andujar, who says no?

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Yankees

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t want to give up Andujar for Machado, and even though Gausman is cost-controlled for a bit, he’s not so much better than other rental starters the Yankees could get for cheaper

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Why deal with the Orioles front office when you might just be able to go get Tyson Ross for a couple of months?

10:40

Estuary : Do you think the Richards news makes it more likely or less likely that Ohtani will pitch again this year?

10:40

Jeff Sullivan: Independent of one another

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: The Angels aren’t realistically playing for anything anymore, and with Ohtani they’re going to try to be as careful as possible

10:42

Kelvin: Hey Jeff, what’s the meaning behind the Rays’ new stadium? I thought they wanted to get out of FL, or at least move to an area that’s populated with… um, baseball fans?

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: I can’t speak to all of the details regarding the problems with the Trop, but the Ybor City stadium site is supposed to be a lot easier for more people to access

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: The Rays are actually pretty popular on TV. A market is there. Those people just don’t go to the ballpark. It’s not a lack of interest

10:46

Charles Finley: Would the Mets do Wheeler and Familia for Clint Frazier, straight-up?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: Close. They’d probably ask for a second piece of lesser but moderate interest

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Really just comes down to where the Mets scouts are on Frazier’s potential. If they still think of him as a special prospect, they’re not going to get a better headliner

10:48

Gest : Can you approximate what it would take to trade for Scooter Gennett this year?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: You’d be trading for a year and a half of team control

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: Gennett has been worth 5.5 WAR since the start of last season

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: I can guarantee you that front offices out there are still skeptical, given what Gennett was for so many years

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: When Oakland traded for a year of Ben Zobrist, they gave up Boog Powell, John Jaso, and Daniel Robertson

10:51

Jeff Sullivan: Robertson was the No. 66 prospect according to Baseball America at the time

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s say it would take something similar — a No. 51-100 prospect as the headliner

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Presumably closer to 100 than 51

10:54

Bort: What do you make of Dereck Rodriguez? Is there a top-60 starter in there?

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: I think he’s pretty interesting, and he’s been a quick riser, but there isn’t yet a putaway pitch. Probably needs some more depth on his changeup. For now, he’s a big-league No. 4

10:56

Bo: Where can the Braves realistically boost their lineup? Ender and Dansby are the two “black holes”, but their defense seems to make up for their lack of hitting.

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: You could turn Camargo, Swanson, and a third player into a SS/3B job share, assuming you aren’t actually the world’s biggest Charlie Culberson fan

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: But the Braves’ easiest upgrade would be on the pitching side, for sure

10:57

Mike: What does the return for a prospective Whit Merrifield look like?

10:58

Jeff Sullivan: Versatile, cost-controlled, but already heading into his age-30 season. Merrifield would probably get something kind of similar to what Gennett could get, even though they’re different players under different circumstances

11:00

Klint : What possible adjustment do you think pitchers can make to Gleyber Torres? He’s looked pretty good at the dish in his debut so far.

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Fastballs up and breaking stuff away

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Nothing too crazy, but this is a guy who’s already struck out a quarter of the time

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: I like Torres and I like where he’s going, but he’s not an unbeatable player

11:01

Bo: Will the Braves and Phillies remain in the NL East race to the end, or will Washington start playing to its capabilities?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: It’s a big gap to make up, right? So even though I assume the Nationals will improve as they get healthier, the Braves and Phillies are right there several games up, and they’re all going to be in the mix at the end

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: Fun race!

11:03

Nate: Who wins AL Cy Young for the 1st half of the season?

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: Sale

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: Been the best pitcher even before you factor in opponent strength

11:04

2-D: Do you think Dan Vogelbach is going to get an extended look in the bigs this season?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: No, but he should

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: Ryon Healy is just not a good everyday player

11:05

Fat Matt: Having gone to school with Jordan Zimmermann, I keep close tabs on him.  Do you think he’s pitched well enough this year after the DL stint to possibly get moved?  Assuming the Tigers eat some/a lot of his contract

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know how you begin to move that contract, but Zimmermann is definitely back to being a pretty good starting pitcher

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: But he’s still due like $62 million through 2020

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Tigers would have to pay him down dramatically

11:08

Jackson C: Is there any reason to believe that Trevor Bauer’s 4.6% HR/FB isn’t just an anomaly? His career mark is 11.0%.

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: It’s an anomaly

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Over the past decade, out of all starters with at least 500 innings, the lowest HR/FB% is 7.4%

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: Clayton Kershaw’s career mark is 8.0%

11:10

Klint : How do you utilize SIERA, and what’s the difference between FIP and SIERA?

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t

11:10

2-D: Would you rather see the Rays get their proposed stadium built or the team relocate entirely?

11:10

Jeff Sullivan: I would like to see them get their stadium built, provided they pay enough of the cost (which they will not, because they are a baseball team)

11:11

Jeff Sullivan: I get why relocation happens sometimes, but I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s good to the old city, nor do I think it’s the preferred origin story for the new one

11:12

Gary Sánchez: What was wrong with me before my DL stint? Unreported injury or mechanical/mental struggles?

11:12

Jeff Sullivan: Just a straight-up BABIP problem. Not saying there wasn’t anything mechanical going on, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything to worry about. Sanchez will be fine

11:13

Drac in Transylvania: What are your thoughts on Jesse Winker ROS and long-term?

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: Good hitter, bad fielder. Just in those general terms he’s like an NL version of Nick Castellanos

11:13

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:13

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

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 7/13/18 by Jeff Sullivan!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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.

Leave a Reply

5 Comments on "Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 7/13/18"

newest oldest most voted
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe
Member
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe

Hey, I am the one who posted about Jim and Pam being the absolute worst. If I find some time in the day, I’ll give you treatise on the matter!

Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe
Member
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe

For those interested, it was a few back-and-forths with Dan in this chat:
https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/dan-szymborski-fangraphs-chat-6-18-18/