Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:01
Travis Sawchik: Happy eclipse, everyone

12:02
Travis Sawchik: I guess my first question is why y’all are here and not outside staring up into the Sun?

12:02
Travis Sawchik: But to those, like Nick Saban, uninterested in the moon passing before the Sun let’s get started …

12:03
Bork: Robot Umps can call a better game, sure, but can they release sick country albums like my boy Cowboy Joe West?

12:03
Travis Sawchik: They sure cannot and maybe that’s all that is keeping us from adopting robot umps

12:03
Tricky Dick’s KnuckleCurve: Do you welcome our robot umpire overlords with open arms or abundant caution?

12:04
Travis Sawchik: I think robot and home plate umpires can coexist peacefully … more on that in an upcoming post

12:04
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Hello Travis! After explaining Wins Above Replacement to my girlfriend, she and I created a ticket system for Wins over Relationship. Each of us starts with 50 tickets and, well, you can decide how we exchange them. Is this too tit-for-tat? What should the value of planning a date night be? A weekend get away?

12:04
Travis Sawchik: This is inspired. What happens if you fall below replacement level?

12:04
ED: Greetings from totality. Can’t we chat and see the eclipse at the same time?

12:05
Travis Sawchik: I suppose these things do not have to be mutually exclusive

12:06
Dosh Jonaldson: What would it take for the umpires’ union to go on strike, and how much would quality of officiating suffer if the AAA umps were “called up”?

12:06
Travis Sawchik: Robot umps? I suspect officiating is very replaceable

12:06
Mark: Is this a fantasy baseball chat?

12:06
Travis Sawchik: It is at times … it’s a delicate balance

12:07
Derek: Is giving bryce harper a $500 million deal a good idea?

12:09
Travis Sawchik: You’re going to buy his 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 seasons … And that could be worth nearly $500 million alone, and even if we’re conservative he should be worth $350 million or so in performance value for those seasons …. It’s a rare opportunity to buy a superstar’s late 20s, and most of his prime. I would buy as a large-market club

12:10
Travis Sawchik: Is he injury prone? This most recent issue was pretty fluky. His style of play carries more risk but he doesn’t have a chronic, degenerative issue

12:10
Matty P: How underrated is Jay Bruce? He has been a huge different maker for the Indians

12:11
Travis Sawchik: It was a nice pickup for Cleveland. The Indians rank in the bottom half of the AL in homers, Bruce hits homers, and home runs are particularly important in postseason to maximize mistake pitches and swing games

12:11
Ryan: Will MLB be passed up by the NBA within next 5 – 10 years ?

12:12
Travis Sawchik: In terms of  …. ? In terms of Twitter followers that happened long ago

12:12
Jorge Posada Ghost: When will we see a Female General Manager in MLB?

12:13
Travis Sawchik: I think it will happen but still probably 10-plus years away … One issue is there are simply not many women working in baseball so there are not many qualified candidates. The lack of women in baseball was a subject at Saber Seminar

12:13
Mike: who comes out of the AL? why?

12:13
Travis Sawchik: Cleveland

12:14
Travis Sawchik: and they are going to be luckier …

12:14
Travis Sawchik: Rotation has been outstanding for the last 45 days or so

12:15
Travis Sawchik: Kluber-Carrasco-[Good] Salazar is a tough 1-2-3, and Bauer has been much better since leaning on his best pitch more often

12:15
PS: Lets say you’re the Yankees and you’re now assuming you’re fighting for at best home field in the WC game– who do you want to face in said game, and would it change if you didn’t win homefield and it was on the road?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: So you’re probably looking at either the Twins, Royals, Angels or Mariners …

12:16
Travis Sawchik: I wouldn’t want any part of a meeting with James Paxton ….

12:16
Travis Sawchik: I also wouldn’t want to play a team with Mike Trout in any one given game

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Royals, maybe

12:17
Soxtober 2020: Nicky Delmonico has a 0.9 WAR through 71 PAs.  Obviously he’s not going to be a 10 win player over the course of a full season but does he potentially have the tools to be an every day regular?  If he continues to lay down bunts to beat the shift he could sustain a higher than average BABIP with a decent walk rate and some pop.

12:17
John: What the heck am I supposed to think about Nicky Delmonico?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: He’s not this good, of course, but there’s more reason to believe he could be a first-division player

12:19
Matty P: I want Mike Trout in the playoffs but I also find myself pulling for the Mariners. whats your take?

12:20
Travis Sawchik: I want to see Trout in a playoff series … and Simmons

12:20
Jamal: How likely is a strike in 2021? Players shares of revenue keep going down

12:20
Travis Sawchik: I think this is a real issue…but I don’t see a ton of concern from players, yet

12:21
Travis Sawchik: I authored this way back in the winter and it is an issue players face: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/baseballs-embattled-middle-class/

12:22
Mary Q: Corey Seager or Lindor?

12:22
Travis Sawchik: I love Lindor, but Seager is the better bat .. and this year he is the better defensive shortstop. It seems like Seager has eased any concerns about him having to move off shortstop in the near term, so Seager

12:23
Lloyd Braun’s Freezer: The Phillies infield could get pretty crowded in 2018, with Hoskins, Hernandez, Kingery, Galvis, Crawford, and Franco all vying for starting spots.  Would you consider shopping Hernandez/Galvis/Franco this winter?

12:23
Travis Sawchik: Possibly. I’m not sure all those guys are part of the long-term answer

12:23
Tim: Hi Travis, what do you think the LAD lineup looks like in October with the current log jam?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: What’s interesting is LAD could have two completely different OF lineups to create platoon advantage … Good problems to have

12:24
Dairy Dilemma: Who wins the NL Central?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: Cubs

12:24
Travis Sawchik: They still have 86 percent postseason odds

12:25
Travis Sawchik: I mean, division odds

12:25
?: 2nd in wRC+ since the AS break.

12:25
Travis Sawchik: Don’t cheat

12:26
Travis Sawchik: I assume Stanton is one

12:26
Travis Sawchik: Trout?

12:27
Travis Sawchik: A: Josh Donaldson, I presume

12:27
Travis Sawchik: Looks like he’s back

12:27
Travis’ friend: Does it seem like we’ve seen a relatively small amount of relievers change hands and a lot of uncertainty in bullpens?  With teams like the Cubs and Cardinals seeming a reliever short, will we see more relievers moved before the Aug 31 deadline?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Hi, friend …. I think of the 30 MLB players traded in the five days leading up to the deadline, 16 were relievers … I think it’s tough to get quality relievers through waivers in this market

12:28
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Or *can* a robot umpire create music?!

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/ai-music-robot-shimon

12:28
Travis Sawchik: hmmmm .

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Joe West is in trouble

12:29
Scouts?: Liked the article on scouts. Is there some link between the Astros firing scouts and the Dodgers grabbing 20 pitchers: having no competition creates complacency, so we need to make internal competition?

12:30
Travis Sawchik: Thanks! If you fire your least productive employees every year … you would probably have greater workplace productivity (and perhaps greater turnover). I’ll be curious to see what the Astros do. Luhnow claims it’s not a cutback, rather, a reorganization

12:30
Max: Article idea…….The National League is only 1 point behind the American League in OPS for the season. They’ve never had a higher season OPS since the DH came into A.L. in 1973.

12:30
Travis Sawchik: Woah. That’s pretty crazy. What is going on?

12:30
Outta my way, Gyorkass: Let’s say the Brewers finish the season (roughly) in line with what the projections say – making a good run of it, but ultimately falling short of the playoffs. What would, in your estimation, constitute an ideal offseason for them? Fill holes like relief pitching, 2B, etc., but mostly stay the course and let the farm system continue to develop?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: Mostly stay the course … but like the Pirates did in ’13-15, the Brewers ought to try and continue to find those low-budget gems. Finding another Travis Shaw and Eric Thames wouldn’t hurt

12:31
Lunar Verlander: Will the eclipse get me traded to the Cubs?

12:32
Travis Sawchik: Verlander since July 1: 9.37 k/9, 2.8 bb/9, 3.22 ERA … http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=8700&position=P&type=&gd…

12:32
Travis Sawchik: He can help someone

12:33
kevinthecomic: I have heard that there is a certain kind of breaking pitch, probably a curve ball, that can be thrown such that it is both unhittable and a strike (think of something crossing the back half of the plate travelling almost horizontally) and, furthermore, that human umps call this a ball while robo-umps would call it a strike.  Any truth to this or is this umpire union propaganda?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: I suppose, hypothetically, a Rich Hill like curve that drops from the sky and grazes the back of the plate is really, really difficult to hit

12:34
Travis Sawchik: But I think any pitch that crosses a portion of the plate below the chest … is hittable

12:34
Travis Sawchik: But robot umps would perhaps call pitches strikes we rarely see called strikes today which would change strategy and some player value

12:34
Mark: Does Stanton hitting all these homeruns get undervalued because of all the homers this year or can it still be Roger maris special?

12:35
Travis Sawchik: 61 and beyond is still pretty special if he can get there

12:35
Bo: How will you be watching the eclipse? What % of totality are you in?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: I think I’m in 80 percent totality range today … but in 2024? I’m golden … http://www.wkyc.com/news/eclipse/path-of-next-solar-eclipse-hits-ohio-…

12:36
Bob Villar: is Ryan Braun nice?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: I’ve been in the Brewers clubhouse several times and I’ve never seen Braun make himself available to the media .. so I don’t know

12:37
Will: Andrelton Simmons is a star. As a Braves fan, I both love and hate this

12:37
Travis Sawchik: That trade (and return) isn’t looking so hot

12:37
CamdenWarehouse: Kim Ng can come take over Dan Duquette tomorrow

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Well, there are a few excellent candidates so maybe 10 years is too distant

12:38
Hunky Dory: Jean Afterman for Yankees GM, Cashman to pres of baseball ops?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Another

12:38
Nate: What’s the better pitching matchup for Gm 7 of the WS? Sale vs Kershaw? Kershaw vs Kluber? Scherzer vs Kluber?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: Can’t go wrong … How about Scherzer-Kershaw in the NLCS. That would be fun

12:39
toki: After that in the parker by Buxton is his ceiling Willie Mays-Hayes?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: I still Buxton is going to figure it out

12:39
Travis Sawchik: He’s not going to be Trout II, but he’s so talented

12:39
E: So Bauer improved by throwing his best pitch more and Salazar improved by throwing his best pitch less, baseball is funny sometimes

12:39
Travis Sawchik: Salazar’s four-seamer is pretty great, too. I think it’s like fourth in whiff rate of its type

12:40
Anon: Who wins a WS sooner, Padres or Marlins?

12:40
Travis Sawchik: Padres

12:40
Travis: Did you know that if he qualified, Freeman would be leading the NL in OPS and wRC+?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: That injury sucked. He’s amazing and would have put up amazing full-season numbers

12:41
Craig in CHI: Bregman has an OPS over 1000 for the past two months. Can he do it for a full season? Has he shown the power that Blengino was worried about?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: This is the player the Astros  thought they were getting.

12:41
banana stand: Tim Beckham

12:41
Travis Sawchik: Orioles!

12:42
Jay: I see that Indians prospect Yandy Diaz is running an absurd 60% ground ball rate yet is putting up good numbers in Triple-A. An insight if anyone is working with him on getting the ball off the ground more?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think the Indians want to remake his swing … but he has elite exit velo, so he is a prime candidate to launch more balls into the air

12:43
E: Are you going to watch the fight Saturday?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: There’s a fight?

12:43
CamdenWarehouse: When do you move?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Sept. 14, God willing

12:43
Will: Where are Harper and Machado playing in 2019?

12:44
Travis Sawchik: For the Yankees

12:45
E: Will the Angels ever be good with Trout? It seems like they arent even really close to having a decent starting rotation for a playoff run

12:47
Travis Sawchik: Ownership might need to be willing to be big players in 2018-19 free agency to make it happen … Farm system is not helping http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2017-organization-talent-ranking…

12:47
Joe: Bauer is also throwing a slider a lot in his last few games. No one seems to be mentioning this. It’s not all the curve.

12:47
Travis Sawchik: PITCHf/x classifies his breaking ball as a curveball http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=12703&position=P&type=6&…

12:48
5 Run Homer: I’m only here because I have an appointment during the eclipse and I’ll be missing out

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Fair enough, thanks for hanging out!

12:49
Smoky Joe Wood: So, as Adrian Gonzalez’s career seems to be coming to a close, it seems like a good opportunity to assess the Great Trade. Beckett and Crawford are gone. The Red Sox’s return, Rubby de La Rosa and Allen Webster, turned into Wade Miley who turned into Carson Smith, who has yet to pitch for them. Is there a moral here somewhere? Would both teams make the same trade again?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Sounds like an ESPN 30 for 30

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Fascinating deal, for sure

12:50
Colt Holt : Is joey votto is the underappreciated player in baseball. Lots of talk about goldy, but votto just does his thing and gives some of the best interviews in the process which aren’t seen or appreciated on the national level.

12:50
Travis Sawchik: As much as people want to see Trout in October, I want to see Votto, too

12:50
E: Mike Trout is tied for 3rd in WAR and doesn’t have enough plate appearances to ‘qualify’

12:50
Travis Sawchik: Insane. He gave everyone a lap start in the 4X100 … and he still might win the race

12:51
The Dude: Is there a player with elite potential (i.e., Trout, Harper, Correa) in the minors right now

12:51
Travis Sawchik: That’s a high bar. I don’t think so

12:51
Robert Andino: Whats the bigger fight in baseball communities.. robo umps vs. umpires or scouts vs. sabr metrics

12:51
Travis Sawchik: Technology is disrupting a lot of industries

12:52
Travis Sawchik: But scouts and umpires will always have roles to fill, though some of their tasks will become redundant

12:52
Travis Sawchik: I think we’re going to have four umpires on the field for the foreseeable future, but I think we could see some scouting departments reduced

12:53
David B: If the season ended today, it would be the Yankees with their +111 run differential vs. the Twins with their -42 run differential in a win or go home game. When do we move away from dictating the outcome of a 162-game season with one game?

12:54
Travis Sawchik: The postseason has become more of a made-for-TV tournament … And I don’t see that changing, too much. I do think we will eventually see chances made to the wild card format. Maybe something like the KBO format, where the lower seed has to beat the top wild card twice. The top wild card only needs to win once

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Personally, I’d love to see a best-of-three that begins with a double-header. … .Could have an NCAA tournament feel to open October

12:56
Joe: Actually, I think it may be classifying the slider as a cutter. Look how the cutter usage has spiked the last 7 or so games. Bauer continues to evolve!

12:57
Travis Sawchik: It’s doing something …. Bauer has evolved

12:57
Brian Kenny: Pick a sport any sport where the coaches must wear the player uniforms

12:58
Travis Sawchik: We’re getting away from this in baseball where I rarely see some managers wear the jersey top … Getting pretty close to some team apparel on top and khakis on the bottom

12:58
Hadji the Cat: Travis, do you know of any studies on the value of a catcher’s throwing arm? I recently read an opinion that a weak arm (a la Montero or d’Arnaud) is no less valuable and potentially more valuable than a good arm because it encourages more steal attempts, which most teams overvalue, thus leading to more outs on the basepaths.

12:58
Travis Sawchik: It would be interesting to study. I don’t think I want Montero’s arm behind the plate

12:59
Anon: Girandi will literally never not wear a full uniform.

12:59
Travis Sawchik: So old school

1:00
Matt: Judge is striking out only slightly more than before, and his GB profile (without having looked at the #s) seems pretty standard. Seemingly the big difference is getting under pitches he usually drives and thus making warning-track outs and cans of proverbial corn. As an optimist, I feel this is just the higher strike zone on him, and he’ll adjust his hands and make the change. Should I be more concerned?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: What’s encouraging is Judge made a big adjustment from last season to this season, and I suspect he’ll be able to adjust again

1:01
Travis Sawchik: When you’re that massive of a human being, opponents have a larger zone to attack so i think he’s going to have dramatic peaks and lulls

1:01
CamdenWarehouse: Girardi isn’t old school. Here’s old schoo: http://baseballhall.org/hof/mack-connie

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Did Connie Mack wear suits in peak summer humidity?

1:02
Ghost of Billy Martin: Can’t kick dirt and throw bases in khakis

1:03
Travis Sawchik: It’s unconventional but it can be done

1:03
Smoky Joe Wood: You are right about managers not wearing the jersey, and actually a lot of football teams require coaches to wear the team logo, even if the NFL doesn’t. So it’s not hugely different.

1:03
Travis Sawchik: MLB is looking more and more like the NFL, especially when we arrive at a future of four-team divisions

1:04
Smoky Joe Wood: Cameron predicts Price won’t opt out. Do you agree? How much might his tension with Boston media affect the decision? I wouldn’t characterize him as unhappy overall, since he seems to like the team and the coaching staff.

1:04
Travis Sawchik: I think Price has had issues with the media at every stop he’s made … so I don’t think that will play into his decision

1:05
Matt: If you’re Joe Maddon facing Max in Game 1 of NLDS, what is your lineup? For all his lineup shifting in regular season, he settles in a bit during the postseason.

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Cubs vs. Scherzer from late June: http://www.fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2017-06-27&team=Nationals&dh=0

1:06
5 Run Homer: Ronald Acuna doesn’t have elite potential?

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Sure, but placing him in the Harper-Trout-Correa conversation seems unfair

1:07
Slapshot: Is Altherr and Devers too much to give up to get Sale for a pennant chase in ottoneu? While Sale helps a ton this year, I doubt I could keep him next year at his current salary, which leads to my hesitation in trading Devers for him.

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Devers for a rental? Nah …even  as good as Sale is

1:07
Michelle: I wanted to look at the eclipse, but everywhere with free glasses also offers too many people for my introvert self. What can I do?

1:07
Colin: Would you take the over or under on the Cardinals 30% playoff odds right now?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: I think that’s about right, but I’d take the under

1:08
Guest: Mike Trout: Legit shot at the AL MVP? Or are the voters going to dismiss him because of the injury?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Legit shot

1:08
Jason: Odds on an MLB player being placed on the DL due to vision impairment after the eclipse?

1:09
Travis Sawchik: 0.01%

1:09
Marwin Gonzales- Power Hitter: Couldn’t the umpires just get a buzz if the ball is over the plate and then the umpire decides if it was the right height for a strike?

1:09
Travis Sawchik: There is the potential for a hybrid relationship, I suppose

1:09
Travis Sawchik: If umpires are only focused on north-south, they should, hypothetically be more accurate

1:10
Pat: JV HOF chances- If he had 3 CY Awards, instead of 1 (He lost 2 very close selections, including the controversial 2016 one where the TB writers voted 1 week early) & 3 no hitters, instead of 2 (Has 3-4 1 hitters, including losing a perfect game vs Pittsburgh with 2 outs in the 9th in 2012), wouldn’t he already be considered a HOF lock, not the fringe candidate he is seen as today.

1:10
Travis Sawchik: He needs a strong finish, imo

1:10
Lee: To be clear,  Harper and Correa are NOT in Trouts league,   It’s Trout, then a level below with those guys and others.

1:11
Travis Sawchik: So many tiers

1:11
DeeGee: Odds that if this hypothetical player went on the DL for vision impairment, that he’s on the Mets?

1:11
Travis Sawchik: The way things are going this year> 67%

1:12
Travis Sawchik: Alright folks, I have an eclipse to go watch. It’s begun in Pittsburgh. 81 percent totality at 2:35 pm eastern. Don’t burn your retinas, please. Be safe out there today.

1:12
Travis Sawchik: I will be back next week ….

1:12
Travis Sawchik: Be good and do good

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A Cleveland native, FanGraphs writer Travis Sawchik is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Big Data Baseball. He also contributes to The Athletic Cleveland, and has written for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Sawchik.

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Red Sox definitely make that trade again as it freed up salary that led directly to key performers in the 2013 season. With that being said deal only cost the dodgers cash.