Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:01
Travis Sawchik: Happy almost end of spring training, folks

12:01
Travis Sawchik: Let’s get started, shall we?

12:02
Mel: Projection for Kingery now that he’s up for good?

12:02
Travis Sawchik: It looks like Depth Charts haven’t been updated for volume, but we are forecasting a modest 87 wRC+

12:03
Lars: Jose Matinez a 10-team bat for you or too shallow?

12:03
Travis Sawchik: The upside is so great I’d spend a roster spot on him

12:05
Augustus: Concern level if you’re a Greg Bird owner?

12:05
Travis Sawchik: Pretty ugly spring, but I wouldn’t be concerned quite yet

12:07
Marc: Gerrit Cole:  beast or bust this season?

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Cole is in the right place to breakout in Houston, and he began trusting his changeup last season, so those are encouraging elements

12:08
Pumper: New projection for Kingery after contract: ..272   70    17  57   21?

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Seems reasonable, not too different from ZiPs

12:09
Rob: What will Scott Kingery’s stat line look like on October 1?

12:09
Travis Sawchik: I think ZiPS/above forecast are reasonable

12:09
Travis Sawchik: 90ish wRC+

12:09
Guest: I just traded the #7 and #42 picks for the #1 (Trout) in my draft tonight. Sound about right?

12:10
Travis Sawchik: I think you might have done well

12:10
Look dude: I saw another mention today of Bryce Harper getting a massive payday.  I understand the guy is very talented.  But he’s also injury prone, and inconsistent from season to season.  Granted there’s only a few years to go by, but it’s all we have.  I mean, he’s had one great season.  I just don’t get it.  What am I missing?

12:12
Travis Sawchik: He’s had five 4-plus WAR seasons entering his Age 25 season. The injuries are a real concern but he’s going to be an elite FA at Age 26

12:14
Q-Ball: With MadBum and Shark’s injuries, how screwed are the Giants?

12:14
Travis Sawchik: For a team on that borderline place on the win curve, the MadBum injury seems really significant. Every game, every start really matters for SFG

12:15
Jkim: Is it just me or is the Dodgers’ starting depth much weaker?

Kershaw – back injury 2 years in a row

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Dodgers depth is down  …  and part of that is the power of the new tax threshold as they spent only $4m of FAs this season $4!

12:17
Coach K: With your background with Buc’s, tell me what you see regarding Meadows and coming to the show in 2018? Talented or just injury prone?

12:18
Travis Sawchik: Meadows definitely has talent but the injuries are concerning as we know. He has the talent to be Bucs’ best position player but he’s lost some valuable reps

12:19
yerp: Not related to the chat, but I’m incredibly grateful FG picked up Sheryl Ring–she’s a huge asset!

12:20
Travis Sawchik: Agreed! We’re thrilled to have Sheryl

12:20
Craif: When do you think Kingery is worth starting?

12:21
Travis Sawchik: He’s worth rostering, I think, to see if he’s going to beat rookie expectations

12:22
Roughneck Odor: Billy Ripken recently did a piece on MLB showing increase in shifting over the past few years and increase in BABIP over same period.  Has Fangraphs done any similar studies?

12:23
Travis Sawchik: There has been some research on this at BP, here and elsewhere …

12:24
Travis Sawchik: It’s a curious trend

12:24
Travis Sawchik: I have a theory

12:25
Travis Sawchik: And that’s that the shift has of course contributed to batters wanting to launch, which has contributed to batters better using the whole field with improved batted-ball quality

12:25
dave in slc: is brandon belt still any good?

12:25
Travis Sawchik: Brandon Belt is great

12:26
Travis Sawchik: His home park hurts him like no other player in baseball but he’s a very good baseball player

12:26
Ro Ro: Brandon Belt or Stephen Piscotty in 12 tm H2H OBP league?

12:26
Travis Sawchik: Belt

12:26
Glasnow half full: I think Tyler Glasnow is on the brink of establishing himself at the major league level, bullpen or starter, he’ll provide value.  What say you?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: He’s going to begin the year in the bullpen and I’d like to see if he can have success in that role

12:28
Travis Sawchik: He has such command issues I’d like to see him try and have success in smaller bursts and see if his stuff can further play up out of pen and mitigate command issues

12:28
Travis Sawchik: There’s been some evaluators who always thought he was destined for a bullpen role

12:29
ceasar: how would you rank sano now that theres no suspension uncertainty?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: 3B is deep, but he’s a top option for me in an OBP league. Few players have a better batted-ball quality and eye

12:31
Logan: Upside on Y Grandal?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: Grandal is apparently trying to add more launch to his game. His problem is Austin Barnes. I’m curious to see how the Dodgers split PT

12:32
DDD: Travis, How does the ball look in ST this year?  Does it look as “juicy” as last season?

12:32
Travis Sawchik: When I was in Arizona and Florida I heard pitchers complaining about the ball again

12:32
LoMo: Will Logan Morrison have a similar season in the power numbers dept to 2017?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: I do think he’s found a new a level, but 38 HRs are going to be tough to reach again

12:33
v2micca: Trout is entering his age 26 season.  Assuming he isn’t moved to a corner position, setting an over/under of 4 1/2 years that he continues to be the premier Center Fielder in Baseball, do you take the over or the under?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: Over

12:33
Travis Sawchik: And remember, there’s about 20% fewer batted balls in play than just a decade ago … so there’s less reason to move players down the defensive spectrum

12:34
Travis Sawchik: And then there’s Trout’s status …. That helped keep Jeter at shortstop, McCutchen in CF, etc. So even if glove declines, Angels might not want to move him

12:35
Grafsikov: Do you see Jose Pirela as the kind of player you’ve written about who’s being moved up the defensive spectrum to have his bat in the lineup? He’s locked up the LF job for Opening Day, but the Padres are also willing to start him at 2B (probably when they want Renfroe in LF) even though he’s rough and inexperienced there. Has he batted his way to a longer defensive leash?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: I think he has. It certainly sounds like his bat is going to keep him on the field somewhere. You can be more aggressive with a player like that in today’s game

12:36
cavebird: What are the odds that 2 or 3 of the following pitchers has a breakout season this year: Jon Gray, Bauer, Ohtani, Tallion, Giolito, Foltynewicz, Kyle Gibson, Gohara, and Mahle?  (Yeah, that’s what my six SP slots are reduced to. Sigh).

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Giolito’s arm slot change and results this spring are fascinating … Gray has already broken out. He just needs to stay on the mound. Bauer is going to be very good, I think.

12:37
tb.25: Out of Harper’s 6 seasons, one was all-worldly, 3 others were great, and one was really good. So, 5 of his 6 seasons have been incredible, given his age.

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Harper’s going to get $400 million, I think

12:38
CamdenWarehouse: What would Andujar and Torres have to do for the Yankees not to be players in Machado’s free agency?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: They’d have to look like sure-fire stars … and even then the Yankees might find room for Machado

12:39
Travis Sawchik: I’m a Harper over Machado guy, if you’re choosing one

12:40
Travis Sawchik: I like Hicks but I’d have no problem with Harper in CF

12:40
dave in slc: you know the pirates well, what are your thoughts on musgrove? reasons for concern?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: Musgrove was great in the bullpen and I would have been curious to see if he could continue that. We’ll have to wait and see on how the stuff plays back in the rotation

12:41
Nert K Kisblad: Is Chris Taylor really a CF?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: In 2018? Yes

12:42
Bert: Is this the year Blake Snell turn into a top 20 starter?

12:42
Travis Sawchik: Snell had a dramatic improvement in the second half in both command improvement and producing weaker contact. I wrote a piece for ESPN that will be published soon and he’s one of my breakout guys

12:43
Bob: If Greg Bird gets 500 ABs is he a top 10 1B?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: I think so

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Skills are a perfect fit for ballpark

12:43
Travis Sawchik: But I would over invest due to injuries and we don’t know if he’ll fall into a platoon

12:43
Mark: Senzel debuts before the All-Star game? Is he up for good when he arrives?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Yes and yes

12:44
Travis Sawchik: His bat should be advanced enough for him to iron out any other issues

12:44
Matt Klentak: I will take the over on Kingerys 87 wrc+

12:44
Travis Sawchik: I guess so!

12:44
Travis Sawchik: I will, too. But I wouldn’t expect immediate stardom

12:46
Hans Gruber: 10 team h2h keep forever. Who should i drop to pick up Jose Martinez: Verdugo, Mejia, Salazar, T. Walker (I have 6 solid starters), Honeywell, J. Urias?

12:47
Travis Sawchik: Shoulder surgery terrifies so probably Urias

12:47
Ed: Do you see Jack Flaherty sticking in the rotation past Wainwrights return?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: Flaherty can pitch his way into remaining there

12:48
Welcome to Salazar: Thoughts on Matz start yesterday?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Stay healthy, Mr. Matz

12:49
Randy: Are you high or giolito? Do you think he can be mid rotation arm this year or ever?

12:50
Travis Sawchik: He’s a guy I’m going to follow closely early this season. As Jeff noted, Paxton made a similar arm slot change and has had great results

12:51
Patrick: what are your thoughts for how many ABs Neil Walker can get with the Yankees this year?   And will Bird ever live up to potential or is he just too injury prone?

12:51
Travis Sawchik: The foot is a concern for Bird, no doubt.

12:51
Travis Sawchik: I should say that I really like Bird — major qualifier — if he’s healthy

12:51
Travis Sawchik: Walker is a good insurance policy on the right side

12:53
Pumper: Will Blake Snell breakout this year and provide ERA under 3.5 and whip under 1.20 ?

12:53
Travis Sawchik: Possible. Although in the AL East, and with this ball and swing change environment, you can breakout with numbers above those benchmarks

12:54
Pumper: Thoughts on Austin Barnes ABs, over or under 450?

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Under … but around 400

12:54
Q-Ball: What do you expect from Ohtani, and how has that changed from 2 months ago?

12:56
Travis Sawchik: Expectations were insane entering the spring. I don’t think we’re looking at an immediate 9 win player! But there’s probably some overreacting going on this spring

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Whatever happens, Ohtani’s best year is probably not going to be 2018. This is still a rookie player adjusting to majors and new culture

12:57
Doug: Has Giolito figured it out?  Or was last Sept and this spring just smoke?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Really curious to find out

12:57
Adam: How would you rank these young pitchers, Gohara, Musgrove, Flaherty and Lamet?

12:59
Travis Sawchik: There are some injury issues in there. I like Flaherty’s floor

1:00
mike: What will happen if every player bought in to adding more launch to their game?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Well, we might find out in 2018

1:00
Travis Sawchik: If this becomes widespread and effective, it’s really going to warp the run-scoring environment

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Especially if the ball is/remains juiced

1:01
Mike Wazowski: Here’s a counterintuitive theory I can’t get out of my head. Tell me if I’m crazy – the stiff luxury tax penalties have had an opposite effect than intended. Now big money teams have been forced to be smarter, reducing the only advantage the small markets had. And rich teams don’t have the detrimental effects of big contracts for aging players because the fans won’t be super upset if the team doesn’t go well into the tax. There’s no pressure to pay aging vets like there had been.

1:02
Travis Sawchik: I think big money teams were going to think more like lower budget teams but the tax increased incentive to figure out ways to be more efficient

1:02
Uncle Rico: McMahon going to open the season in Colorado?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Rockies need corner help. I suspect McMahon is going to get a long look

1:02
Nicole: Expectations for Brad Zimmer?

1:03
Travis Sawchik: He’s got an unreal skillset and I think he’s going to keep improving in 2018 with stardom potential down the road

1:03
GERB: 10 Players have had 3000+ PA before age 25 Season with a 130 or higher wRC+ prior to Trout and Harper. They were worth on average 50.6 WAR from ages 26-35. Harpers got a 141 wRC+. He should get PAID

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Yep

1:03
BSun: How come no one loves Zack Cozart? Good GB/FB ratio, good BB/K ratio, huge discipline improvement, maybe babip was a bit on the high side, but i think he’s the next daniel murphy. Agree?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: There should be more Cozart love in fantasy. He did appear to change his batted ball profile last season and he plays on left side of infield

1:05
Joey Boom Bats: How bad will the Jays have to be for Vlad Jr. or Bo Bichette to see MLB playing time this year?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Or how good will Bo and Vlad have to be?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Thanks for stopping by folks!

1:05
Travis Sawchik: I’ll be back next week. Enjoy Opening Day. Until next time, be good and do good

1:05
Travis Sawchik: d

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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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