Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 7/6/18

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: I was all prepared to bury the Nationals, and then they came back from down 9-0. That’s the Marlins for you!

9:07

:/: how long can the mariners pretend Ryon Healy is not a 0 WAR player and try something else?

9:07

Jeff Sullivan: The Healy thing is really not going very well

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: Not because he’s a bad player, but because he’s an entirely unimproved player

9:08

Jeff Sullivan: Meanwhile Triple-A Vogelbach is slugging .547 with 52 walks and 36 strikeouts

9:09

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners are fooling themselves if they believe Healy is the meaningfully superior everyday player

9:09

Sam: Does the Ranger’s Ronald Guzman profile as a poor man’s Brandon Belt? If not, what’s his ceiling?

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: You’re getting pretty poor, here

9:10

Jeff Sullivan: Dollar store Brandon Belt

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Belt destroyed the minors, and always drew plenty of walks. Guzman’s career walk rate is in the single digits

9:11

Jeff Sullivan: Right now I don’t look at Guzman and see a quality future regular

9:12

Jack: If they don’t get hot over the next few weeks, should the Nationals seriously consider selling? I know they already made a buyer’s move in acquiring Herrera, but should they maybe pull a Twins from last year and flip him before the deadline? Despite his relatively disappointing season, I’d imagine they could still drum up a serious bidding war if they let teams know Harper was available, right?

9:12

Jeff Sullivan: The Nationals would have to lose several more games of ground. As is, their playoff odds are actually 63%, and even if you’re somewhat skeptical, the history here is encouraging

9:13

Jeff Sullivan: They’re likely to get healthier and unless they go like winless until the All-Star break, they’re too talented to take apart

9:14

I’m Keith Hernandez: How soon does Kyle Tucker come up to the bigs??

9:14

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say somewhere in the vicinity of the trade deadline, unless the Astros make a deal for an OF. Tucker has long been the favorite to finish the season as the Astros’ regular LF

9:15

mike: What would it take for the Yankees to get degrom without including Torres?

9:15

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t say this to be annoying, but I genuinely don’t think the Mets and Yankees would be able to reach an agreement

9:16

Jeff Sullivan: I mean, on paper they could, because the Yankees have the prospects, but I don’t think the Mets would be willing to send deGrom across town. Teams still care about this stuff for some reason

9:16

stever20: what do you make about the huge spike in hard hit ball % this season?  It’s gone up 1st half of season:
2010 29.3
2011 23.8
2012 28.4
2013 30.4
2014 29.9
2015 28.6
2016 31.3
2017 32.2
2018 35.6

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: So, on the one hand, league-average exit velocity is also up a little bit

9:18

Jeff Sullivan: You’re also seeing a few more balls hit in the air

9:19

Jeff Sullivan: On the other hand, soft/medium/hard are subjective categorizations, and you can see an almost identical jump between 2015-2016. I think hitters overall are probably hitting the ball a little bit harder, but much of the difference here has been turning medium contact into hard contact

9:20

Jeff Sullivan: Soft contact has remained basically steady. So I think a few fliners are being pushed across the hard-contact threshold, if that makes sense

9:20

Tom: What Rangers’ position players have positive trade value other than Mazara?  Choo and Andrus are on bad contracts. Beltre and Chirinos have been often injured. Odor and Profar haven’t reclaimed any value. DeShields cannot find his stroke. What would Gallo fetch?

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: For whatever it’s worth, if it weren’t for the injury, I think Andrus might’ve become tradeable. He’s restored a lot of his previously lost value

9:21

Jeff Sullivan: Profar and Beltre, in theory, could get something. Profar is getting his career back on track

9:22

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think Gallo would get very much right now. There would be a market for him, but not so much among midseason contenders. More of a winter consideration

9:23

Ross: So what should the Blue Jays do about Donaldson? He’s been hurt most of the year, hasn’t been very good when he has played, recently had another setback and now may not even be back before the trade deadline now. I can’t imagine they’ll be able to get much for him. There doesn’t look to be a huge market for third basemen, and there are also guys like Machado, Moustakas and Beltre out there for the teams who are looking for one. Even though the Jays are obviously in a seller’s position, should they just keep him and make him a qualifying offer after the season? If you’re Donaldson’s agent, there’s no way you let him turn down a QO after this season, right?

9:24

Jeff Sullivan: Right now I do think you keep him and offer the QO. Not much of a market for a broken-down player, but the Jays could afford to have Donaldson around in 2019 if that’s the way things broke. You sort of do a DH/3B alternating swap

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: At the same time I don’t think it’s a given that Donaldson would accept the QO. Even after the year that he’s had, I could see someone in the market potentially offering $20m+ as a pillow contract. Still a lot of upside in there if you believe you can help him keep his legs healthy

9:27

Jim: Andujar for Nick Pivetta. Who says no?

9:27

Jeff Sullivan: Yankees wouldn’t and shouldn’t do it

9:28

Jeff Sullivan: You take the young position player over the young starting pitcher almost every single time

9:29

Vineet: The Brewers could probably do nothing at the deadline and be Ok? No reason to make a big push right?

9:29

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think they necessarily have to make a splash, but they’re not *that* far clear of the wild card, to say nothing of the Cubs

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: There’s a ton of value in winning the division outright, and the Brewers are short a starter, especially with Jimmy Nelson seemingly not all that close

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: I’d be shocked if the Brewers didn’t make at least one semi-significant trade

9:30

Jeff Sullivan: And they’re my current deGrom favorite, if the Mets choose to go that way

9:31

Rob: Which helps the Brewers more this year in their run for a playoff spot:  Machado or Degrom.  If you knew they were for sure going to make the playoffs, who would you want then?

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s deGrom. More of a difference-maker in October

9:31

Jeff Sullivan: There’s a reason why pitchers get more of a deadline premium than hitters

9:32

jason: Who do you think the Yankees go after this offseason with all the money they have to spend

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: Can we talk about the midseason Yankees first?

9:32

zvazda: I believe a couple years ago you (or Matt) said that you would record another podcast with Matt Carruth if the Mariners made the playoffs… was that only for that year or is that still true?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: Did we say that?

9:32

Jeff Sullivan: We’re not going to do that

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: And even if we did, it would be considerably less useful for you, because we are no longer devoted Mariners fans

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: You would probably hate it!

9:33

Bill G: Hi Jeff.  Thanks for doing these chats.  Max Kepler was forecast by many to break out this year, that has not happened especially against RHP.  What do you see?  Thanks!

9:33

Jeff Sullivan: We all pretend we can predict breakouts. We cannot predict breakouts. The most we can do is identify breakouts that have quietly already begun

9:34

Jeff Sullivan: Like, Blake Snell. He broke out in the second half of 2017. Now he’s great! But he was already more or less great

9:35

Jeff Sullivan: If it makes you feel better, here are Kepler’s expected wOBAs over the years: .291, .302, .323

9:36

Jeff Sullivan: He *has* gotten better, in a way the surface numbers are hiding. His walks are up and his strikeouts are down, and that’s a plus

9:37

Jeff Sullivan: You’d hope that, maybe soon, he can turn on the Benintendi-style power

9:39

Zonk: Do you see a way out of the Dexter Fowler situation?  A trade perhaps with St. Louis eating some money?

9:40

Jeff Sullivan: One possibility would be a bad-contract swap — would Fowler like to return to Colorado? Come on down, Ian Desmond!

9:41

Jeff Sullivan: Desmond’s no good, either, but he’d at least offer the Cardinals a greater amount of versatility, or something

9:42

Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise, yeah, you’re paying down his deal and letting someone else take him. Fowler is sinking too quickly on the St. Louis depth chart to earn his way back into good graces. Hard to justify playing him now over Bader, and if Fowler isn’t playing, how are his numbers supposed to improve?

9:43

Tim: It’s fair to say the Mariners and their luck dragons have ruined this season, right? Before the season, we were all saying thank god for the second wild card, because while four AL playoff teams seemed certain, at least the race for the second wild card should be fun and wide open. But nope, instead we already know the five AL playoff teams halfway through the season, and MLB has an attendance crisis in part because two thirds of the AL are already out of the playoff race. Way to go, Mariners. Jerks.

9:43

Jeff Sullivan: The National League is fun!

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anyone ever figured the two league wild cards would win a hundred games

9:44

Jeff Sullivan: At the same time, Safeco is selling an awful lot of tickets. A fan base is currently being restored, which is good

9:45

BHAM: Jesse Winker has an ISO over .200 in his last 100 PAs. Is that real and sustainable improvement? Or is his reality a number closer to .100?

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: No, I think Winker is a solid hitter all around. Should be good for a roughly .200 ISO and nearly as many walks as strikeouts

9:46

Jeff Sullivan: The issue is just that the guy can’t play defense

9:47

Jeff Sullivan: That’s a bummer, because I’m really fond of his bat

9:48

Mature Adult: Is T.J. McFarland more valuable than some of the stats suggest? He is doing his best 1999-2000 Derek Lowe impression right now.

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: 2017 McFarland: 54 innings, 29 strikeouts, 11 unintentional walks, 42 runs

9:48

Jeff Sullivan: 2018 McFarland: 54.1 innings, 29 strikeouts, 11 unintentional walks, 13 runs

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: That’s something we all just discovered at the same time

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s not collectively get our hopes up about TJ McFarland

9:49

Kyle: Are the Reds good?

9:49

Jeff Sullivan: No

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: They are simply better than dreadful

9:50

Jeff Sullivan: They are a team with good players, but still too many bad players

9:51

borksadork: How do you see Victor Robles projecting out?  Do you have an active comp?

9:51

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t have a comp, especially because Robles has been hurt this season

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: But here’s what our prospect team published earlier:

9:52

Jeff Sullivan: “Andrew McCutchen comps have been pretty common here because Robles has a similar build and swing, but from a skillset perspective, Robles looks more like Lorenzo Cain. He’s a likely star and arguably the most polished high-end prospect in baseball.”

9:53

Tim Tebow’s Thunder Thighs: What should the Braves target first – relief help, starter help, or a 3B?  Should they just call up Riley to fill the latter?

9:53

Jeff Sullivan: Not for nothing, but Johan Camargo is looking pretty…good

9:54

Jeff Sullivan: Reduces the urgency to make a move for Machado

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: Plus Machado might not really want to play third base anyway, and I’m not convinced the Braves want to demote Dansby Swanson

9:55

Jeff Sullivan: They could probably get a starter and a reliever in one fell swoop. Call the Padres

9:56

Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t even have to be Brad Hand. Get Tyson Ross and either Craig Stammen or Kirby Yates

9:57

Brian Cashman: Which pitcher am I trading for to pair with Sevy this deadline

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: JA Happ actually wouldn’t surprise me very much

9:57

Jeff Sullivan: I imagine they’d like to have someone so good against lefties

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: Garrett Richards would be a fun attempt

9:58

Miguel: What role do you see Matt Strahm settling into for the Padres going forward?

9:58

Jeff Sullivan: Multi-inning reliever

9:59

Outta my way, Gyorkass: Brewers don’t seem to want to pony up what Baltimore wants for Machado. From the Brewers system, what do you think it’d take to get him, ignoring if the Brewers would actually be willing to give that up?

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: Mandatory to start with Burnes

9:59

Jeff Sullivan: But honestly I think the real stumbling block here is it’s entirely unclear how much the Orioles expect. They have the best position-player rental arguably ever available, but rentals don’t get all that much, most of the time

10:00

Jeff Sullivan: Say the Orioles are sitting there demanding Peralta and Burnes. What are the Brewers supposed to do with that?

10:00

THE Average Sports Fan: Hot take alert.  Bryce Harper is more Norm Cash and less Al Kaline.  Good player 1 all time year.  Not all time player.

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: As interested as I genuinely am in arguments against Harper’s greatness, I simply can’t overlook the fact that his BABIP is 100 points below his average, and he still has a 120 wRC+

10:01

Jeff Sullivan: I know exactly how his season looks, but I still can’t see the guy and not think he’s a perennial All-Star

10:02

Jeff Sullivan: I do think Harper’s 2015 might’ve been his Adrian Beltre 2004, but nowadays we all look at Beltre as a Hall-of-Famer

10:02

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

10:03

All Cats Are Beautiful : Would Astudillo best be described as squat, sturdy, rotund, or portly?

10:03

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s go with squat

10:03

Dan: Tyler chatwood is having a very strange season. I couldn’t find a leaderboard for the highest single season BB/9 of all time, but he has to be on pace for a historically bad walk rate, right?

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s set a minimum at a convenient 70 innings

10:04

Jeff Sullivan: Chatwood has a walk rate of 19.4%. That would rank 10th-highest all time (out of 16,809 player-seasons)

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: By all time, I mean over the previous century

10:05

Jeff Sullivan: If you isolate only *starters* with at least 70 innings, then Chatwood ranks 8th-highest

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: In 1949, Dick Weik walked 23.0% of his opponents

10:06

Blake the Rake: Is Swihart worth anything to anyone at this point?

10:06

Jeff Sullivan: Not really

10:07

Outta my way, Gyorkass: Realmuto return – similar to what Lucroy got a few years ago, possibly with an extra 45-50 FV prospect in there to compensate for the extra year of team control?

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: Lucroy was traded with a year and a half left, and he was in his age-30 season

10:07

Jeff Sullivan: Realmuto has two and a half years left, and he’s in his age-27 season

10:08

Jeff Sullivan: Blockbuster return, at this point. Probably a winter move, if the Marlins can’t convince Realmuto to sign an extension (which they’ll try)

10:08

borksadork: My friend, Sammi Meatballs, thinks Manaea is a top 20 SP and Mike Leake in the top 40.  Please set him straight…

10:09

Jeff Sullivan: He’s wrong, but if he’s happy, who am I to intervene over something so pointless?

10:11

Q-Ball: What is a reasonable return for Scooter Gennett?  Who should be interested in him?

10:11

Jeff Sullivan: Let’s assume, for the moment, the Brewers have too much pride to bring Gennett back

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: The Red Sox are an option, if they don’t believe in Pedroia coming back to play the middle infield

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: The Indians are an option, if they’re growing tired of Jason Kipnis

10:12

Jeff Sullivan: The Dodgers *might* be an option if they don’t see Max Muncy as a true second baseman

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: The problem you run into, though, is that initial impressions last a while, and front offices are hesitant to believe in guys like Gennett who were so recently almost freely available

10:13

Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t mean an agreement is impossible, but you’re probably looking at one fairly interesting prospect, max

10:14

Peter Angelos: Why is Machado still wearing an Orioles jersey? What will his return look like

10:14

Jeff Sullivan: I’ll say the same thing I’ve believed for a while: he gets moved in a package headlined by two talented pitching prospects

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: That way, both sides can say they got what they wanted

10:15

Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles can put trust in the pitchers’ upsides; the other team can rightly point out that pitching prospects are lottery tickets

10:16

FlagsFlyForuhhhCmonRoyals: Which 2B breakout should I believe in more, Javy Baez or Ozzie Albies. On one hand, Ozzie Albies can’t hit for this much power consistently, right? On the other hand, Baez can’t get away with this swing rate… right?

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t consider Albies a breakout

10:16

Jeff Sullivan: He’s as good as he already was in 2017

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: I like Albies more as a hitter, and well actually also as an all-around player

10:17

Jeff Sullivan: Players like Baez are delightful, but an approach like that will always make me nervous

10:18

Dingo Dan Dan: Who would you rather have as a real-life closer long-term. Seranthony or Jordan Hicks?

10:18

Jeff Sullivan: Seranthony

10:19

Jeff Sullivan: Seranthony is like Hicks without that part where he was not very good

10:20

yankinstl: If players learn to switch hit because of the Lefty / Righty advantage, why don’t players use different stances? e.g. Open Stance for one, closed stance for the other?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not totally sure they don’t. We don’t have a batting-stance database

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: Players do, at least, make some mid-AB adjustments. They’ll open or close or move up or back in the box

10:21

Q-Ball: Should Cincy’s better play recently have them thinking about contending in 2019?

10:21

Jeff Sullivan: No

10:22

mike: When do the Yankees finally give up on Bird, he is consistently either struggling or injured and that is the one place the Yankees could upgrade their offense

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: There’s already talk about the Yankees thinking about a short-term 1B upgrade in the second half

10:22

Jeff Sullivan: Even in that event, though, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Bird got one more shot to open next season

10:22

Blake the Rake: Dombrowski claims to be looking for bullpen help. Do the Red Sox even have the minor league assets to trade for a significant relief upgrade?

10:23

Jeff Sullivan: The Mariners somehow traded for Denard Span and Alex Colome. If the Mariners can make an upgrade, anyone can make an upgrade

10:24

Outta my way, Gyorkass: Has Chris Davis overtaken Pujols for worst contract in baseball?

10:24

Jeff Sullivan: From 2019-2022, Chris Davis is due about $92 million, and some of that is deferred

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: From 2019-2021, Albert Pujols is due about $87 million

10:25

Jeff Sullivan: From 2019-2023, Miguel Cabrera is due about $162 million

10:26

Jeff Sullivan: Cabrera is the best of those players, but, yikes

10:27

jason: At what point do the yankees stop trotting sonny gray out evry 5 days to get shelled

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: Gray’s ERA and wOBA allowed have actually gone down this season every month

10:27

Jeff Sullivan: His K-BB% has gone up every month

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Over Gray’s last eight starts, he’s got a 4.63 ERA but a 3.80 FIP and a 3.56 xFIP

10:28

Jeff Sullivan: Some of his starts have been quite bad, but I bet in the Yankees’ front office, they’re actually somewhat encouraged

10:30

Palardelphia: Mike Moustakas a fit for the Phillies? He hasn’t looked much better than Franco this season.

10:30

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I’d see the point. I’m not a huge Franco fan, and Kingery has been a disappointment, but Moustakas isn’t very good

10:31

Jeff Sullivan: I think the Phillies are my current Machado favorite

10:32

Jeff Sullivan: They’ll want to sign him in the winter anyway, so might as well try to get in his good graces early

10:33

borksadork: Any idea why the Dodgers keep passing up Banuelos when they need a start?  His AAA #’s are good, and wouldn’t they be smart to see if they could build up trade value for him if they could?

10:33

Jeff Sullivan: If I had to guess, it’s in large part a 40-man-roster thing. Not just a matter of bringing him up; it’s a matter of bringing him up and losing someone else

10:34

Jeff Sullivan: Also worth pointing out Triple-A Banuelos has thrown just 61% strikes. He doesn’t exactly have plus command

10:35

TF Fredrik: When scouts put a grade on what pitchers throw, do they use the physical aspects alone (Velo, movement, pitch mix, maybe spin) or do they bake in results for those  pitches as well (Whiff, GB, IFFB, foul %)? Do you like to include results when you are judging the pitch?

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: Your typical scout doesn’t really know the pitch-type results when watching a guy from the stands

10:35

Jeff Sullivan: So when you’re looking at an amateur, you’re just going off what you see with your eyes

10:36

Jeff Sullivan: Me, I fold in pitch-type results, but then I’m dealing almost exclusively with major-league players

10:36

Mike: If the Cardinals hover around .500 until the deadline, do you think they should sell?

10:37

Jeff Sullivan: Right now they’re only three back of the wild card. 35% playoff odds. In order to sell, they need to lose more games of ground in the coming weeks

10:38

Eppler’s inner Dipoto: Angels need some more offense and Ward is destroying AAA, when does he get called up? Time for the young blood to take charge in Anaheim (Fletcher, Ward and Thaiss)

10:38

Jeff Sullivan: Not that hard to destroy in Salt Lake

10:39

Jeff Sullivan: But in any case, you’ll see some new names in September. Maybe even August, if, say, Kinsler gets dumped

10:40

john cale: Choo has been on an absolute tear…how much money do you think he’s saved the Rangers with this performance? Gotta think a team would take him on for 2/20 at this point, right?

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: Choo is due something like $51 million from now through the end of his deal after 2020

10:41

Jeff Sullivan: He’s 35 years old and he doesn’t play good defense

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: He projects to be about a one-win player the rest of the way

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: I think the Rangers would have to pay him down if they want to make a move for anything even remotely interesting

10:42

Jeff Sullivan: Choo is a worse hitter than JD Martinez was last deadline, *and* he’s older, *and* he’s more expensive

10:43

Adam: Heading off for a road trip soon and will be spending lots of time in a car…any recommended mobile apps for looking up stats? (Is that something FanGraphs is working on?)

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: No, we did our app thing years ago and that was discontinued

10:43

Jeff Sullivan: Since then we’ve just worked to become more mobile-friendly

10:44

Jeff Sullivan: So, use our mobile-friendly website to look up your stats!

10:44

larry: do you think the yankees should go out and get a first baseman at the trade deadline?

10:45

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it’s as important as addressing some pitching-staff depth

10:45

Dan: Should the orioles try to trade Bundy and gausman while their long term control makes them immensely valuable, or hold them and hope they can get back to relevance while they’re still in Baltimore?

10:46

Jeff Sullivan: The Orioles are likely to be down for a long, long time. As such, I don’t think they should declare *anyone* untouchable. We’ve heard some trade rumors around Michael Fulmer in Detroit, and he has one more year of team control than Bundy does. Plus, the Tigers are ahead of where the Orioles are, organizationally

10:47

Jeff Sullivan: Bundy is due to become a free agent after 2021. He has a history of arm problems. The Orioles should be open to moving him now or in the winter

10:48

Shuck Bowalter: Is Giolito salvageable?

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: I believe so, somehow, but he should be in the minors

10:48

Jeff Sullivan: Right now he is a complete disaster

10:49

stever20: what do you make of the comeback of Shelby Miller so far?

10:49

Jeff Sullivan: Stuff looks fine. Clearly rusty

10:50

Jeff Sullivan: When dealing with post-surgery guys like this I generally prefer to wait for the next full season

10:52

Doyers in the outfield : What’s the difference between Alex verdugo and yusial Diaz ?

10:52

Jeff Sullivan: Verdugo is only five months older than Diaz, but he’s already been a good hitter in Triple-A, while Diaz has been a good hitter in Double-A

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Additionally, while I can’t speak to Diaz, I have heard that Verdugo is not the most coachable player in the organization

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: So, there are a few differences

10:53

Roots for underachieving teams: Does the Dylan Floro trade matter?

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: Probably not very much

10:53

Jeff Sullivan: To us

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: It does mean an awful lot for Dylan Floro

10:54

Fangraphs reader: Is the Astros pen underrated? It seems like if Collin McHugh was in the Tigers pen, there’d be all sorts of articles about how the Astros should trade for him to fix their weak pen.

10:54

Jeff Sullivan: Astros are second in bullpen WAR and second in bullpen ERA-, but 14th in bullpen WPA

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: Astros bullpen has a league-leading 65 FIP-. Yankees are at 68; no one else is below 82

10:55

Jeff Sullivan: A little bad timing is all that keeps us from recognizing the Astros’ bullpen as being terrific

10:56

Matt D: Do we just have to live with inconsistency from start to start with guys like Pivetta, Heaney, & Newcomb?  How does a pitcher like that turn the corner from sometimes good to usually good?

10:56

Jeff Sullivan: When you have good but non-elite starting pitchers, you’re going to get a fair number of clunkers. Just the way it is. None of those guys are aces

10:57

Daniel Carroll: I just picked up hockey a couple years ago after going to a Leafs game. I know they’re super hyped up about getting Tavares, but should they be worried at all about losing Van Riemsdyk?

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: I’m not actually smart enough about hockey to know how to answer this question, except that I’m pretty sure you take Tavares over Van Riemsdyk eight days a week

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Also the only thing I’ve lately been able to think about is Ottawa trading the best player it’s ever had

10:57

Jeff Sullivan: Go to hell, hockey

10:58

Outta my way, Gyorkass: What is wrong with Lewis Brinson? He’s getting on half a season worth of PA’s already, and has been nothing short of awful.

I know he’s got the tools to be good to great…is this a guy who is putting things together to figure it out & break out sometime, or is this player we’re seeing who he really is?

10:59

Jeff Sullivan: It’s not much but, since the start of June, Brinson does have a 107 wRC+

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think he’s hopeless, but he’s been a high-risk prospect for a while. Swings and misses with a third of his cuts. It helps that he’s an above-average defensive CF. Just hope for progress over the next three months

11:00

The Law: The Yankees should send Sonny Gray to the minors when Tanaka returns. Yay or Nay?

11:00

Jeff Sullivan: Nay

11:01

Bort: What the heck is going on with Austin Barnes?

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: One could have rightfully asked the same thing about him last season

11:01

Jeff Sullivan: He’s not as good as last year’s 142 wRC+, and he’s not as bad as this year’s 77 wRC+. There you go!

11:02

borksadork: Odor turnt the corner?

11:02

Jeff Sullivan: If you can believe it, since the start of June, not only does Odor have a 111 wRC+ — he has a walk rate of 11%!

11:03

Jeff Sullivan: He’s swinging a lot less than he used to and, surprise, it’s gotten him into better counts

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I think this’ll be a cyclical thing — pitchers will come back into the zone more often, and then Odor will have to swing more often, and then all that goes on. I don’t think Odor is fixed. But I think he is in a better place than he was a couple months back

11:04

Dustin: I entered this season with modest hopes that the Braves would end their stretch of awfulness and at least be fun to watch again; for that reason, I continue to convince myself 2018 doesn’t end with a playoff berth. Am I wrong to do so?

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: I think you’d be wrong to do the alternative

11:04

Jeff Sullivan: With your approach, at least there’s the possibility that you’re forcing yourself to appreciate every game and every win

11:04

TRb: Just how much better are faster pitches? Is there a thresh where speed starts to matter less or more?

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I think velocity bumps are most impactful around the 90mph zone

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: But I’m also waiting for the day when baseball stops scouting velocity over everything else. It’s no coincidence pitchers are getting injured all the damn time

11:05

Jeff Sullivan: I used to celebrate the guys who gain a couple ticks season to season. Now they all just make me nervous

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: Drew Smyly might’ve been the tipping point

11:06

Vineet: Brewers have the biggest difference in Majors in their actual runs allowed (3.72/G) and Fangraphs ROS projected runs allowed (4.49/G). Projections don’t trust what’s happened so far? Do Brewers need to make a big push for this to be sustainable?

11:06

Jeff Sullivan: I think the Brewers will need to add a pitcher, but I also think the projections don’t fully understand the strength of the Brewers’ bullpen

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: I will point out the Brewers currently have baseball’s second-lowest BABIP allowed (.269)

11:07

drobber: Can we assume Cano will play some 1B when he returns? Wouldn’t that make the most sense?

11:07

Jeff Sullivan: Some first, some second, some DH

11:07

graphs man : the white sox have seen concerning approach problems with Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito looking like a nonfactor, horrific command from Michael Kopech, as well as a slew of other young players/ prospects performing poorly. how much does this set them back?

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: Overall, it has not been a positive season, to say nothing of the various top-prospect injuries. Doesn’t mean they won’t achieve a competitive window, but most definitely they shouldn’t even consider the chance of a 2019 wild-card berth

11:08

Shuck Bowalter: Speaking of the Mariners, they can’t be serious that they’re going to keep Dee Gordon at 2nd base when Cano comes back, right? That means either sitting Cano or putting Cruz in the outfield (barf) during a playoff chase.

11:08

Jeff Sullivan: As is, the Mariners might be playing a bunch of low-leverage games down the stretch, and they’ll need to keep Gordon ready at second base since that’s where he’ll have to play in the playoff(s)

11:09

Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:09

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 — 7/6/18 by Jeff Sullivan!

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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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