Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:03
Travis Sawchik: Howdy

12:03
Travis Sawchik: How was your week?

12:03
Travis Sawchik: How was Ohtani’s (and Bryce Harper and Didi’s) week?

12:03
Travis Sawchik: Let’s talk about it …

12:04
Chris: Is there anything you see, besides bad luck, behind the Indians miserable BABIP?

12:04
Travis Sawchik: Mostly bad luck and awful weather

12:05
Travis Sawchik: There are reasons for concern about every OF spot, though. Brantley’s health, Zimmer’s hit tool, RF production/health …

12:05
Eddard Karstark: Freddie Freeman will win the MVP award this year and the Braves will not make the playoffs.  Change my mind.

12:06
Travis Sawchik: Freeman is a monster. I think he’ll be a top 5 finisher with 500+ plate appearances. Harper was my preseason pick but Freeman is great

12:06
snood: How is Ohtani’s whiff rate (as a pitcher) even more terrifying than the raw K%

12:07
Travis Sawchik: A 23.5% whiff rate from a starter is terrifying

12:07
Travis Sawchik: 70.3% whiff rater on his splitter!

12:07
Travis Sawchik: Really amazing. Small-sample. …. sure. But the stuff is legit

12:08
Look dude: Is there real reason to be concerned about Kenley Jansen?

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Any time velo is down like that there is reason to be concerned

12:08
Travis Sawchik: I’m still in ‘Let

12:08
Travis Sawchik: s keep an eye on it mode’

12:08
pirates hurdles: Polanco has already matched his 2017 WAR total and his babip is .286. Is the breakout finally here?

12:09
Travis Sawchik: He was on his way to a breakout in 2016 until injuries got in the way. The Pirates need him to be a plus corner and he can still be that

12:09
Travis Sawchik: The bat looks great but his instincts on the field and bases are still highly questionable

12:10
mcmadbat: So when does Ohtani get an extension and for how much?

12:10
Travis Sawchik: Does he get an extension? Or does Ohtani just bet on himself and become a FA entering his Age 29 season

12:11
Matt: Can the Mets find some place to move Brandon Nimmo?  I mean, his profile is great…could be an all star

12:11
Travis Sawchik: I’d find a way to get Nimmo regular PT. I’d try Bruce at first

12:12
I am a robit: If Bryce Harper continues his unsustainable pace for the rest of the year, what does his free agency contract look like?  500 million?  A billion?

12:12
Travis Sawchik: An owner gives Harper his franchise and Harper pays the owner

12:13
Travis Sawchik: Seriously, though, if Harper, say, repeats his 2015 he could exceed $400 million

12:13
Travis Sawchik: But, I’d expect a lot of opt-outs

12:13
The Old Buccaneer: Re: the Pirates running away with the Central- j/k I know it’s been the Tigers and Reds

12:14
Travis Sawchik: The competition has been weak … but Taillon looks awesome, Moran and Polanco have been encouraging, Rivero looks fine …

12:14
Travis Sawchik: Pirates still projected as near a league-average team without Cole and McCutchen

12:14
Travis Sawchik: But if you had THIS Cole and Taillon as a 1-2 ….

12:14
Travis Sawchik: And THIS Charlie Morton …

12:15
Josh: Is Colin Moran a guy you think will outperform his projections?  Do you believe in the power increase he showed last year?

12:15
Travis Sawchik: He’s a swing-changer. I think the power increase is for real

12:15
Towel: Matt Chapman was top of the WAR lists all weekend with 1.1 then he had to face Ohtani (again) and now he dropped to second with an even 1. This is unfair!

12:15
Travis Sawchik: WAR leaderboard: Didi 1.1, Harper, Ohtani, Chapman 1.0

12:16
Lindor, The Mighty Truffle: Gomes the hero yesterday less for his HR than the runs he saved with his cannon.

12:16
Travis Sawchik: When Gomes is going good, he’s a quality catcher … that bat is so up-and-down, though. So are the framing numbers for whatever reason

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Be interesting to see how the Indians ultimately address the Perez/Gomez/Mejia logjam

12:17
Scott: Julio Teheran is up to 100+ IP in SunTrust Park with an ERA over 6.00. Is the sample size enough to be confused/concerned? The numbers are so much better on the road and the rest of ATL’s staff doesn’t have such a stark H/R split.

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Still seems fluky to me

12:17
Gibby’s Waddle: In weekly h2h roto leagues – should I be using Shohei as a pitcher or a batter :(

12:18
Travis Sawchik: He’s still a pitcher for you

12:19
Travis Sawchik: Just 10 games, but Ohtani is doing things that haven’t been done since Babe Ruth did them in 1918

12:19
Travis Sawchik: That’s pretty damn amazing

12:19
Travis Sawchik: A once-in-a-100-year event … and player?

12:19
Greg Bird: Have I been over-hyped and over-rated? Am I injury prone? Or am I really a legitimate middle of the order bat who’s been unlucky?

12:20
Travis Sawchik: Unlucky and injury prone, sadly

12:20
Lindor, The Mighty Truffle: Chances Mejia makes his debut in RF?  Please, please please

12:20
Travis Sawchik: That’s not the worst place for an 80-grade arm

12:20
Travis Sawchik: Indians have looked at him in the OF and 3B, though I think the third base experiment is not going to happen

12:21
David: Hot take: Bryce Harper is good at baseball

12:21
Travis Sawchik: When Bryce is locked in, it’s so fun to watch

12:21
I am a robit: Idea taken from a baseball facebook group: Didi Gregorious and Gary Sanchez currently have a wRC+ that adds up to 250.  Do they finish the season with a combined wRC+ higher or lower than 250?

12:22
Travis Sawchik: I think that’s a good number … but I bet it’s slightly over

12:25
Travis Sawchik: Pardon the interruption … My 3-year-old requested (demanded) a

12:25
Travis Sawchik: sandwich

12:25
Trout: Is Mike Trout the best player on the Angels?

12:25
Travis Sawchik: To date in 2018, he’s not

12:26
Travis Sawchik: If Ohtani is an elite arm and above-average hitter, Trout might have a real competition on his hands

12:26
Travis Sawchik: Ohtani has been a 10-win player before, in the NPB in 2016 … it’s not the majors but it’s not Triple-A and it was as a 21-year-old

12:27
Brian CashGod: Is your 3-year-old a mini Eno?

12:27
Travis Sawchik: His palate is not that sophisticated quite yet

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Also prefers P&J to animal proteins

12:28
Josh: Sean Newcomb was unreal yesterday in Coors with a 9/0 K/BB ratio and no runs allowed. Do you think he breaks out this year or do you think he remains inconsistent considering he looked awful in his first start vs Washington?

12:29
Travis Sawchik: Command improvement would make Newcomb a very solid rotation piece

12:29
Travis Sawchik: Just a reminder: Cristian Pache homered twice off of Newcomb

12:30
Matt Klentak: I doubt Ohtani tests free agency, long way away but not every team would be open to him hitting and pitching. it really cuts his market to AL teams in contention, still will be interest but only from a handful of teams.

12:31
Travis Sawchik: I wouldn’t turn down nine figures, personally, but I don’t know what Ohtani will do. He could set arbitration records, right? So there’s a case to be made in going year-to-year

12:32
Hans not Gruber: How concerned are you about J-Mont? Velo is down, looking v hittable. Any thoughts or advice? (if it helps I’m in a ten teamer with a healthy wire)

12:33
Travis Sawchik: The velo dip and performance is something worth keeping an eye on. Skill loss can be alarming even in small samples … I would give it some more time

12:34
Hank: The Braves being supposedly in the Harper business — true or false?

12:34
Travis Sawchik: The Braves will have the payroll space, in theory

12:34
Travis Sawchik: NL East is going to become very fascinating, very quickly

12:34
Travis Sawchik: Maybe it is already

12:37
Davoink Showerhandel: First you jinxed Gary Sanchez to the benefit of Yankees fans, now you have cursed Giancarlo by preemptively saying nice things about him.  Were you just trying to even things out?  What is the origin of your sorcery?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: I don’t want any team to have an unfair advantage

12:38
Travis Sawchik: I am also still here for the new version of Giancarlo

12:38
Kevin: Blackmon signed an extension.  Does DJ LMahieu walk and Rodgers or McMahon take his spot?  Which saves $$$$ for Arenado.  Does Arenado get extended or will he shop around?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: It’s gonna be difficult to keep Arenado off the open market

12:40
Travis Sawchik: He’s making $17.8m this season and has another year of arb

12:41
Travis Sawchik: I don’t see them paying big money for DJL

12:41
Travis Sawchik: So there could be some voids to fill but Rogers is there and McMahon should find a home  somewhere

12:42
Bill Rott: Would you rather every ballpark brings their fences in 10 feet closer or moves them back 10 feet?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Most every team that has built large stadiums recently (Tigers, Mets, Marlins) seems to have brought their fences in. … So the people have spoken

12:43
mike: I know Stanton will not continue to strikeout 5 times a game, but do you think that being in NY is affecting his play?

12:43
Travis Sawchik: No. Stanton goes through stretches every year where he looks awful and you wonder if he’ll ever make contact again

12:44
Travis Sawchik: His contact gains last year were pretty remarkable.

12:44
RK: Does the replacement in WAR account for the replacement level correctly if the contribution is coming from both DH and Pitcher?  Asked another way, could Ohtani’s WAR be understated due to the fact his contributions are coming from both sides but only require 1 25 man spot?

12:44
Travis Sawchik: WAR is not considering the extra roster flexibility Ohtani provides

12:45
Nattitude: Is this the last year of the Nationals’ WS window? Will be hard for them to re-sign a few key players, even after assuming that Harper will leave.

12:46
Travis Sawchik: No. They’ll still have Scherzer, Strasburg, Turner, Eaton and Rendon together

12:46
Travis Sawchik: Stras and Scherzer through at least 2021, I think

12:46
Travis Sawchik: And Robles on the way …

12:47
Travis Sawchik: I wouldn’t count Nationals out of the Harper sweepstakes

12:47
Travis Sawchik: Wouldn’t it be nuts if the Phillies, Braves, Nationals were all bidding within the same divisions? Harper could have an amazing market when considering that plus perhaps the New York, Chicago and LA markets getting involved

12:48
brood550: How soon till we see David Dahl and Kyle Tucker make their MLB appearances this year?  Is Tucker a possible post Super 2  call-up like Willie Calhoun?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Dahl could really help the Rockies’ corner problems if he’s right … Do the Astros even need anything?

12:49
RD: I know Didi is not going to keep up his insane walk rate. But if he maintains it at around league average and the rest of his game is similar to last year, is he the best ss not named correa, lindor, seager?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Few players have elevated their status more than Didi

12:50
Bill Nyne: Can you name a better lineup and starting rotation than the red sox when they’re healthy?

12:50
Travis Sawchik: The Astros and … The Astros and Indians

12:51
Phil: I’m calling “no way” on Ohtani ever signing an extension. This is a man who already bet on himself when he could have waited two years and gotten $200MM. He isn’t selling those FA years.

12:51
Travis Sawchik: I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bet on himself … again

12:51
Travis Sawchik: There’s a price for everything, including his FA years

12:52
Travis Sawchik: A lot could depend on how he feels about his elbow and shoulder remaining intact

12:52
More ludes, please.: Can we just take a minute to talk about the awesomeness that is Shohei Ohtani? Thank you for your support.

12:53
Travis Sawchik: From Jay Jaffe: “Not since June 13-14, 1921 has a player followed up a win as a starting pitcher with a home run as a position player in his next game, and not since 1919 has a player served as both a starting pitcher and position player with any kind of regularity”

12:53
Travis Sawchik: Just a reminder, no one in this chat has ever seen this

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Ruth’s 1919 season is the last time a player threw 100 innings and reached 200 plate appearances in the same
season

12:54
Travis Sawchik: With health, Ohtani will easily get to those bench marks

12:54
Matt: Is Dansby Swanson turning a corner? I know what he’s doing now is unsustainable, but it would be nice to believe he could be an above average hitter with great defense at shortstop again.

12:55
Travis Sawchik: Encouraging start, for sure

12:55
Travis Sawchik: And regardless, I like Braves’ long-term outlook more than any other NL East team

12:55
tb.25: Any way to envision the giants preventing an age-and-contract driven decline over the next few years? They claim to be all in on Harper and other young FA this offseason… I don’t see it.

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Giants might soon become the current Tigers … It’s an old team with little on the farm https://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2018/2/5/16974990/sf-giants-farm-sys…

12:57
Travis Sawchik: But three flags will fly forever

12:59
Slapshot: You find yourself as a major league hitter for one day.  What three walkup songs do you choose for your plate appearances?

12:59
Travis Sawchik:

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Try not to move during that song

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Try to remain stationary

12:59
Foyle: Do baseball players have an oral fixation problem?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: You mean all the tobacco, gum, sunflower seeds and spitting? Possibly

1:01
Lex: Mets for real or no?

1:01
Travis Sawchik: The Mets might have the largest error bar of any team

1:02
Travis Sawchik: If that rotation is healthy and productive (Ditto Conforto) they could the division. We know the downside

1:02
Long Live Jeff Frye: Hanley Ramirez’s WRC+ is 132. Mitch Moreland’s WRC+ is -23. To what extent do you expect these trends to continue, and what will/should the Red Sox do about it? Is it a lot likelier now that Hanley’s option will be triggered? As a Red Sox fan, I’m really hoping to see less of Martinez playing left field. I don’t really see how Martinez not catching balls to give Moreland an opportunity to not hit them is helpful.

1:02
Travis Sawchik: I’m not a Moreland guy. League-average bat at first? No thanks. If you were going to hide JDM anywhere it would be in left field in Boston

1:03
Jake: Over/under 110 wins for the Astros this year

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Honestly, the over is not insane

1:04
Big Joe Mufferaw: How do you think the yankees would fit Judge, Stanton and Harper on the same team?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: With CF opportunities down by 27% compared to a decade earlier, I’d have no problem playing Harper in center

1:06
Travis Sawchik: I like Hicks, but, I’m more of a Harper guy

1:06
Justin: Judge is a CF now!

1:06
Travis Sawchik: With no balls being put in play, it’s amazing who can play CF

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis played some CF last year …

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Alex Gordon in KC

1:07
PD: Can you say something nasty about Gary Sanchez to break him out of his slump?

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Gary, you’re not a superstar

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Better?

1:08
mike: Who would you see as the most likely big ticket addition for the Yankees this offseason?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: If you want to second guess the Yankees on anything, Gerrit Cole would look pretty good in that rotation right now

1:08
Anal Hershiser: Is Senzel not replacing Suarez for $ reasons or him focusing on SS reasons, or both?

1:08
Travis Sawchik: $

1:08
Toss: With the advent of statcast, how viable are soft, medium, and hard hit percentage stats? Do you still use them?

1:09
Travis Sawchik: We’ve generally moved away from using them

1:09
Hello: Re: balls being put in play/cf, does that make defensive specialists more or less valuable? For instance, would it theoretically hurt Pache’s FV?

1:10
Travis Sawchik: Hurts a bit … Unless the fly-ball revolution begins to make up the loss from strikeouts

1:10
Kevin K: I’m sure someone has already researched this, but who was the last guy to hit 3 HRs and get 2 wins on the mound in a week before ohtani?

1:10
Travis Sawchik: I think the only other person in the last 100 years was Ruth

1:10
Travis Sawchik: Nice company, Shohei

1:11
Travis Sawchik: Alright folks, enjoy Ohtani and Harper and Didi and Chapman and I did my best to get Sanchez on track

1:11
Travis Sawchik: Gonna go write some more words for you in the form of a post

1:11
Travis Sawchik: Until next week, until Ohtani’s next WAR accumulated, 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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Shane Tourtellotte
Member

“Kevin K: I’m sure someone has already researched this, but who was the last guy to hit 3 HRs and get 2 wins on the mound in a week before Ohtani?”

Mike Hampton. June 5th (2 HR) and 10th (1 HR), 2001. I’m shocked it was this century, too. I am not shocked it was a Colorado Rockie.