Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:06
Travis Sawchik: Greetings!

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Looks like there was some issue with the queue prior to the start of the chat almost certainly my fault

12:08
Travis Sawchik: My apologies. Let’s talk ..

12:08
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Is it shocking to you that Alex Rodriguez is currently more popular than Derek Jeter?

12:09
Travis Sawchik: ARod’s turnaround as an analyst is a great comeback story

12:09
Travis Sawchik: I suspect he’s going to have a better run as an analyst than Jeter will as an executive

12:10
Waltharius: Jon Heyman thinks Ohtani goes to SD… What is your take?

12:10
Travis Sawchik: San Diego was the big winner Sunday and it looks plausible

12:11
Travis Sawchik: A former Nippon Ham Fighters trainer is with the club, and it appears Ohtani might prefer a small market on the West Coast

12:11
Travis Sawchik: And the weather of course … Maybe this was always about the weather

12:12
Andy: If (when) the Cards don’t land Stanton, where do they go next?  Assuming they don’t want to pay for a 1 year rental of a 32 year old third baseman (Donaldson), who else could they target?  F. Freeman?

12:13
Travis Sawchik: Donaldson makes a lot of sense … I’d love Freeman in StL

12:13
Jimmy Ballgame: Is it just me or does Ohtani not make much sense.  He wants to play in a small market but LAD and CHC are in the mix…..

12:15
Travis Sawchik: It is a little confusing … maybe the preference is to play in a small market but he’s open to being won over by a club during the next phase of recruitment

12:15
Jerry Diplo-to: Would the Mariners really consider putting Nelly Cruz in the OF a few times a week to make room for Ohtani? I understand that teams will take every measure necessary to sign the man, but that seems too far

12:15
Travis Sawchik: Sign Ohtani then worry about everything else

12:16
Terry’s Sarape: New Ohtani odds?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Mariners 5-1, Padres 7-1, Angels 8-1, Giants 9-1, Dodgers 10-1, Rangers 12-1, Cubs 20-1

12:17
Lefty : What are odds of Giants somehow landing both Ohtani and Stanton ?

12:18
Travis Sawchik: 40-1

12:18
CamdenWarehouse: What do you think of the Boone signing?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: A person with zero experience in that position is an interesting choice. I generally like what the Yankees have done since 2016, but this seemed curious

12:19
Kate Upton: Surprised at all the Othani’s final seven?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: Kate, I thought Ohtani would have a heavy West-coast lean, but I thought the Yankees would still be in the mix

12:20
Travis Sawchik: Also a bit surprised that there are 4 NL teams on the list

12:20
Jay: I saw in Laurila’s Sunday piece that MLB could eventually have managers who never even played. Works in NBA I suppose and baseball always seems slower to adapt to changes but baseball’s “code” and hierarchy make me think this manager who hasnt ever played would have an uphill battle getting respect from players. What do you think?

12:20
Travis Sawchik: I think that’s going to happen down the road. After all, we have quite a few GMs running clubs that have never played

12:21
Sterling Malory Chris Archer: First rule of Fangraphs: Always blame Cistulli for issues.  Question: Rhys Hoskins is a top 5 1B this year, yea or nay?

12:23
Travis Sawchik: Hoskins was a good chance to be a top 5 first baseman

12:24
Aspergillus Fumigatus: Every time I hear SD I can’t help but think LAA would be the better option in every respect except maybe market-size/media coverage… even then, Mike Trout is on the Angels and he seems to enjoy his peace and quiet.

12:24
Travis Sawchik: The Angels were my pick for Ohtani in doing what would be best for himself AND MLB

12:24
Travis Sawchik: I could never blame someone for moving to San Diego, though

12:25
Travis Sawchik: And while there will be less media coverage in SD, Ohtani is going to be a media circus in 2018 wherever he is

12:25
Ed in Iowa: I got Big Data Baseball for my brother for Christmas, except now I’m reading it (it’s really good) and with the new crease in the spine it’s gonna look like I just gave him one of my old books

12:26
Travis Sawchik: Ha. Ed, I won’t tell if you don’t. Thanks for reading!

12:27
Babe Lincoln: Are Padres really second most likely of 7 remaining?  Or just had the biggest jump in odds?  I think most people are surprised they’re still in the running, but that doesn’t mean they’re higher than the Angels (e.g.)

12:27
Travis Sawchik: If he wants a small market on the West coast with familiarity (former Ham Fighter trainer) … then the Padres should be the favorite

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Is that really what he wants? A small-market on the West Coast? I don’t know. It does seem like he wants to be on the West Coast

12:28
Travis Sawchik: I think it would be cool if he eliminated one team per day leading into his decision day

12:29
Jamison: I dont understand how Altuve consistently has such a high batting average. I realize it’s a wonky stat, but his BABIP has been high every year. He is fast, but all those IFH can’t explain this. He doesn’t hit the ball hard, and although he sprays the ball pretty well, other guys do it much better. Tell me why he consistently has very high averages? Is it that perfect launch angle right above the infielders??

12:29
Travis Sawchik: It’s a lot of those things adding up … and he has elite zone-contract and swinging strike marks

12:30
Travis Sawchik: Basically, he makes consistent, quality contact as well as anyone and is one of the fastest RHH in the game

12:31
Mister Puppy: How much do you think the threat of a major earthquake in CA will influence Ohtani?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: He’s lived with that threat his entire life in rural northern Japan

12:32
Jefé: If the Cubs land Ohtani are they back on the Dodgers level?

12:32
Travis Sawchik: It would help close the gap. But Ohtani might need to be a 10-win player to close the entire gap

12:33
Travis Sawchik: 10-wins is pretty aggressive, right?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: I have him as a 6- or 7-win, two-way player in 2018

12:33
Magic 8 Ball: Any guesses as to why Oakland didn’t make it an Ohtani eight?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: Ballpark probably didn’t help

12:34
Travis Sawchik: Remember, this is a recruitment. Facilities matter!

12:34
Garrett: Is Ohtani’s decision the biggest decision since The Decision?

12:34
Travis Sawchik: I think so. I think Ohtani’s debut season will also be the most interesting in all of US sports since LeBron’s

12:35
Travis Sawchik: Is the Boys and Girls Club available?

12:35
John Beasley: True or false: If Ohtani signs with San Diego, the wisest thing the Padres could do from a long-term organizational perspective is trade him before spring training given its place on the win curve.

12:36
Travis Sawchik: False. In a vacuum you could make that argument but I suspect owners want to sell some tickets and spike TV ratings. Ohtani will be the greatest draw in the sport in 2018 and perhaps beyond. And then there’s the freak talent….

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Everyone has a trade value but I think you at least have to hang on to Ohtani in 2018 (and for hopefully 10 years beyond that). I’d be looking at him as a top 5 trade value player immediately — and that’s just based on talent, age and contract. Tough to move that.

12:38
CamdenWarehouse: So for the first time in his life Ohtani could get out of an earthquake hot zone, don’t you think he would want to?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: It’s part of who he is. Living on the edge. Seeking danger.

12:39
Mike Rizzo: Okay, smart guy: so what would I have to give the Barves to get Tyler Flowers?

12:40
Travis Sawchik: I assume it would not be cheap … but for a team that is probably more “All in” than most in 2018, I’d go for it

12:40
Dunt: Now that teams are out of the Ohtani sweepstakes, do you expect to see the market surge this week?

12:40
Travis Sawchik: I just don’t see why that would have created a slow market since he’s so cheap …. Unless everyone was busy building presentations to him over the last two weeks

12:41
Hmm: What if Ohtani is a huge bust? I really, really hope he destroys the league personally.

12:42
Travis Sawchik: I think only injury is going to prevent him from being a top-of-the-rotation arm. The bat? The probability of a bust is higher with that skill, but I think he’ll hit

12:42
Sleepy: The Angels *do* play in a small market–Anaheim is the 56th largest city in the US.

12:42
Travis Sawchik: Angels might want to note that in their pitch

12:43
Bart: What is your comparison of Ohtani’s batting skills to Bumgarner’s?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Much better

12:44
Travis Sawchik: I know there is some debate about how good the bat is, but  the translations love him. 130 wRC+! That’s probably a bit aggrressive

12:44
Henry: Hard to believe a former trainer is going to have much sway on where he goes

12:45
Travis Sawchik: If he likes his program/thinks he can keep him healthy … it’s not insignificant

12:45
Stumped in Texas:

12:45
Travis Sawchik: Was this video part of the Cubs’ pitch?

12:45
Stumped in Texas: all the Cubs need do to land Ohtani is to show this opening day HR from Kosuke Fuludome

12:46
Wes: Who do the Rangers grab next if they get Ohtani and want to go with a 6-man rotation?

12:46
Travis Sawchik: Darvish?

12:46
Daniel: If Ohtani is doesn’t pitch like Kershaw and hit like Mike Trout, is he a failure?

12:46
Travis Sawchik: Well, if the expectation is he’s going to be a 16-win player out of the gate …. He will fail

12:47
Pedantic A-hole: Was it K. Law who said he had an 80 on Ohtani’s speed?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: I thought I read that he has been clocked at 3.8 to first?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: He can fly

12:48
Travis Sawchik: Unreal talent

12:48
Show Hey O’Tawny: Three teams didn’t respond to the 7 question memo, Marlins among them. Who do you think are the other two and what the hell is wrong with them?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: What are the Marlins doing exactly?

12:49
Peanut Wilson: Cervelli a fir for Washington?

12:50
Travis Sawchik: Those DL trips and contract are an issue, but I’d like the skill-set there

12:50
Kent: Out of curiosity, which of the final 7 do you think would give Ohtani’s bat the longest leash? Padres?.. Could be another factor

12:51
Travis Sawchik: I still think the AL gives Ohtani a longer leash with the bat

12:52
Babe Lincoln: Ohtani is still a young kid.  Think any work has been done on his parents as part of the recruitment process?  The only other situation in which a kid under 25 has all his major sports options open is college football/bball recruitment, and parents are often heavily involved.

12:52
Travis Sawchik: It’s said in college football that to win the kid you win the mom … I have no idea if that’s the case here, but if his parents are playing a role than the Rangers, I suspect, know him, best

12:52
Ohtani Hype: How unlikely is it that a country like japan where baseball is smaller (albeit still very popular) can produce a talent such as ohtani. You’d figure the U.S. could develop a player such as Ohtani, or is this one of those things where we are just being graced with a generational player.

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Ohtani is more likely to happen in the U.S. than Japan, but he’s a once-in-a-100-year flood. So it’s just kind of random. Over the next 1,000 years we will have more Ohtanis from the US than Japan. … Unless sports/position specialization is a limiting factor

12:54
YKnotDisco?!: What happens first? Browns finally win a damn game or Jake Arrieta signs?

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Arrieta signs

12:55
Babe Lincoln: Think the LOS ANGELES Angels pivot their presentation and try to sell Ohtani on the fact that he wouldn’t *really* be playing in LA?  And that even the best player in the world can largely fly under the radar playing there?

12:57
Anthony: Which teams would Travis Sawchik, new GM, immediately tear down and rebuild (excluding teams as lready rebuilding)?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Couldn’t hurt!

12:58
Travis Sawchik: I should probably give this some deeper thought, but Toronto and Tampa in the East have some assets to sell off and are kind of caught in-between at the moment.

12:58
Travis Sawchik: Mets could be an interesting sell case

12:59
Brandon M: Isn’t it kind of ridiculous that we are trying to assign odds here? Until 5pm yesterday, the Yankees were the clear favorite.

12:59
Travis Sawchik: We have a lot more information today than we did 36 hours ago

12:59
Travis Sawchik: And, hey, it’s fun

12:59
E: I don’t think a player like Ohtani would happen in the US, I think there are talented enough players but teams/coaches will make a player choose pitching or hitting before before too long

1:01
Travis Sawchik: That’s true. But Ohtani could have an impact on changing that

1:01
A cat: Does Ohtani to a NL team push the DH narrative toward full adoption? Not

1:01
Travis Sawchik: I’d prefer full abolishment

1:01
Cam: Why do the rangers know him best?

1:01
Travis Sawchik: They’ve scouted him the longest and tried to get him to sign out of high school

1:02
CamdenWarehouse: You’d rebuild the Orioles I’m sure

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Orioles, too. But I would have started two years ago

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Machado and Britton have lost so much trade value

1:03
Kosch: Did you see the quote by Ohtani when asked ” What are the benchmarks by which you will measure your career when it’s over?” Ohtani replied ” Of course, awards and milestones, but how much applause and love I get when I announce my retirement will be a good measure.”  The man doesn’t care about winning…

1:03
Travis Sawchik: San Diego is now the clear favorite

1:04
UncleWeez: Hunter Greene’s already switched to pitching full-time, though…

1:04
Travis Sawchik: I see he did announce that in Sept …

1:05
Lunar verLander: How many hours do you think the other 23 teams spent on a pitch to Ohtani, only to be thrown out before even getting to meet with him?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Hundreds of man-hours, but you have to do it

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Well, unless you’re MIA/BAL/ATL

1:07
Mahatma Gagne: Dodgers tried signing Otani out of HS just like the Rangers, FWIW

1:08
DJ Kitty’s Paw: It’s the Mariners, right? It was always going to be the Mariners? And the rest of this is just a show?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Not if he’s aware of the Mariners’ travel miles per season

1:11
Jack: How much of the pitches are going to be about why he shouldn’t sign with other teams?

1:11
Travis Sawchik: Negative recruiting attacks!

1:11
Travis Sawchik: I think most focus will be on selling their own teams

1:11
Jack: If the Ohtani sweepstakes was an episode of Mad Men, which would it be? Chevy? Heniz? Do the Mariners and Padres merge and create a superteam to land Ohtani?

1:12
Travis Sawchik: I think it would when Don decided to move out to California

1:12
Wes: America cannot develop a player like Ohtani because all of the ones that have that athleticism go to play football. Once the NFL dies, we will see more.

1:12
Travis Sawchik: Youth football participation is down, baseball is up …

1:12
Daniel: Best news yesterday, Ohtani not going to New York.  Hopefully next year we get the same news about Bryce Harper

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Bryce Harper to San Diego

1:13
Matt : Assuming Cubs miss out on Otani, what’s their move for front-line SP? Sign Darvish? Tradefor

1:13
Travis Sawchik: Cubs need a big-time arm and bullpen help. I’d take a long look at Darvish

1:13
DSav: If Ohtani & Stanton both land in LA do the Dodgers become a decent team?

1:14
Travis Sawchik: Let me think about this …

1:14
Babe Lincoln: Why don’t any Japanese players come stateside out of HS (or even earlier like non-PR Latin American players)?

1:15
Travis Sawchik: That’s a good question. A few Asian players have, like Choo, but I think there is pressure to stay … and it’s probably hard to make that leap to a new culture at 18 for many

1:15
CamdenWarehouse: You want to watch pitchers hit???? eww

1:15
Travis Sawchik: I want more decisions, quicker games, and head-hunting pitchers to have to step in the box

1:16
Birddog: have a hypothetical… If the Cards don’t get Stanton and trade for Donaldson, if January comes around and the price for Hosmer drops below $90 MM, would the Cards be in on the bidding?

1:16
Travis Sawchik: I’d want Hosmer on a short-term deal, not sure about the Cards. The price would have to drop lower for me

1:16
Travis Sawchik: Alright folks, thanks for attending!

1:17
Travis Sawchik: I have to go create more Ohtani content because you demand it as Ad-free members

1:17
Travis Sawchik: Until next week (when the FG team will be at the winter meetings) 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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Brians Sticky Sock
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Brians Sticky Sock

Anybody else do a double take when Travis said “I want more decisions, quicker games.”