Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:03
Travis Sawchik: Happy Tuesday, folks

12:03
Travis Sawchik: We need to talk …

12:04
Miky: Hi Travis. What are your thought on Giolito? He seemed so different, so much better during Spring, and even though it was only a Spring, it seemed somewhat indicative and important looking forward. But since the start of the season he’s been back to being absolutely terrible, with no velocity, no control, no putaway pitch. Is it mechanics? And more importantly, is he just a toast? Thanks

12:05
Travis Sawchik: That’s a great question and the White Sox would love to have the answers. Giolito looked like he might be on the cusp of something back in the spring. Is he healthy?

12:06
Chris: Seems like it’s hip to link the Indians to the potential Machado sale, but am I crazy for thinking the better position player get for the Tribe would be Adam Jones and the best deal overall might be for Brach or O’Day?

12:06
Travis Sawchik: Indians need bullpen help more than anything, and perhaps those arms could be fits, but how fun would a Machado-Lindor-Ramirez infield be?

12:07
Nick: I was in a discussion recently where someone claimed that pitchers were “rattled” by a fielding error and subsequently pitched worse the rest of the inning. Has this ever been studied or is there any statistical truth to this claim? My own searching turned up blank.

12:08
Travis Sawchik: We should be able to measure pre- and post-error performance somewhat easily but I have never dove into the research. Maybe someone else on the internet has? I suspect there are complicating factors like pitching from the stretch, etc.

12:09
D: How do you explain Freddy Peralta recording career high K totals in his MLB debut? I know he has some deception that make it hard to pick up his fastball (Rockies hitters had some very silly swings against it), but it seems strange to me that Peralta would have his best strikeout stuff against by far the best lineup he’s ever faced.

12:09
Travis Sawchik: Jeff dug in and wrote about Peralta yesterday https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/meet-the-extraordinary-freddy-peralta/

12:10
Travis Sawchik: He has Carter Capps-like extension so that makes him pretty interested. He basically dominated with one pitch, throwing 90 percent fastballs

12:10
Bort: The Twins have a hole at catcher. The Nationals might too. Might it make sense for the Dodgers to flip Grandal, install Barnes as the starter and add some prospect depth/clear salary?

12:11
Travis Sawchik: If the Dodgers were way out of the race this summer, sure. Until then, their catcher duo is a rare competitive advantage — Barnes and Grandal combined for 9 BWARP last season — and the Dodgers cannot really afford to create less roster depth

12:12
Fuzzy Dunlop: Is there a possibility that Corbins velo drop…now, this is gonna be nuts…may not matter that much?

12:12
Travis Sawchik: Perhaps!

12:13
Guest: Is there a problem with the Cubs’ pitching infrastructure?  They’ve failed to produce a single useful pitcher from a draft class, and some high profile acquisitions have really stumbled.

12:14
Travis Sawchik: I think the Cubs have the lowest pitching WAR total amongst contending clubs and they’ve developed the fewest homegrown innings, i believe, in all of MLB during the Theo era. Cubs are aware of all this and they did bring in some new personnel this past offseason like pitching guru Jim Benedict

12:15
Fred: BP had an interesting article about how Jordan Hicks is succeeding without strikeouts.  Do you buy that what he’s doing can be sustainable?

12:15
Travis Sawchik: A pitcher succeed without strikeouts but I wouldn’t bet on many with a -6.4 % K-BB mark

12:16
Spicy Boy: Is it possible Freddy Peralta’s crappy breaking ball on Sunday was because Coors?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: Let’s get a look at Peralta at sea level

12:17
Donnie: Matt Thaiss running a fly ball of 47% and has 5 bombs so far. Think the power has arrived with him?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: He had some of the better bat-to-ball skills in his draft class but the question was power. This transformation could make him pretty interesting

12:18
The only Reds fan in section 305: Is Luis Castillo back to being awesome?

12:18
Travis Sawchik: Not quite awesome, but he’s taking some positive steps

12:18
Guest: Quarter of the way done, are we convinced the Braves have staying power?  I know there are a lot of teams playing well in NL. but I do feel our offense is legit.  My concern is bullpen at this point. Thoughts.

12:19
Travis Sawchik: I believe the Braves have some staying power but I still think the Nats are the going to win the east. Braves need to add to bullpen to build upon this start

12:21
Can’t read good: I got Franchy and Teoscar, who have nearly identical stats so far- Which young gentleman would you bet on to fare better ROS in 6×6 OPS?

12:21
Travis Sawchik: I’d bet on Franchy because of the freakish tools

12:22
Do The Chop: Is Ozzie Albies taking the same development path as Frankie Lindor?

12:23
Travis Sawchik: Ozzie is amazing. Not quite the defender but the bat looks elite

12:23
Ichiro: Pick one as a dynasty beast for years to come…Eloy Jimenez or Kopech. Thanks.

12:23
Travis Sawchik: I’d almost always take the bat

12:23
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Are you chatting from Barnes and Noble? How many copies of Big Data Baseball are at your location?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: I am not but maybe I should begin chatting their before a live B&N audience

12:24
Dokken: What on earth is going on in the Rockies FO? They habe put together the best rotation and pen we have seen… And they wont cut dead weight. Desi, Parra, and Cargo are de railing their season.

12:24
Travis Sawchik: Rockies had huge issues at 1B/LF/RF last season and they remain some of the greatest voids amongst all teams with aspirations of contention

12:25
Travis Sawchik: If you haven’t been paying
attention Ian Desmond has a 33 wRC+

12:26
Travis Sawchik: Carlos Gonzalez: 61

12:26
Travis Sawchik: I guess Gonzalez’s 2017 was not an outlier?

12:26
Travis Sawchik: The good news is those should be some of the easier positions to upgrade via trade

12:26
Earl Weaver’s tears: What course should the Orioles organization take?  According to Camden Depot, there’s a fight between three parties (Duquette, Showalter and B. Anderson) for control.

12:27
Travis Sawchik: It’s well past time to break it up and sell off pieces. They need to do well in trades this summer, obviously

12:28
Rollie’s Mustache: Caught your last two podcasts with Carson – great stuff as always. Are there any strong correlations between spin rate and other pitch metrics? ie. higher RPM = lower contact rate, higher chase rate, lower xwOBA, etc.

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Higher rpm on four seamers has a strong relationship with greater swing and miss, lower spin should generate more ground balls

12:28
Do The Chop: Ozzie Albies or Javy Baez?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Ozzie

12:29
Ghest: What is the deal with Michael Conforto?  Is it the Mets?  Is it his shoulder?  Lines of blow with Harvey?

12:29
Travis Sawchik: He missed a lot of time. The walk rate is there. The raw power is there, I believe. I think he’ll be fine and continue his climb to status as one of the better young bats in the game

12:30
Ben: Do you think Ohtani will be a pitcher, designated hitter, or neither at the all-star game this year?

12:30
Travis Sawchik: How about Home Run Derby participant  and pitcher

12:31
John: Why doesn’t FanGraphs display xWOBA for hitters and xWOBA against for pitchers? It seems to me like the best stat out there right now.

12:31
Travis Sawchik: That’s a Baseball Savant, Statcast-based metric

12:31
Bo: Not nearly as fun as a Machado-Dansby-Ozzie-Freeman infield. Just saying.

12:31
Travis Sawchik: Braves could be players in the offseason for Machado

12:31
Travis Sawchik: NL East gonna be fun

12:32
Bork: Will Ohtani be able to pitch to himself at the Home Run Derby?

12:32
Travis Sawchik: That would be something

12:32
stever20: do you think the Nats using the Bullpen Carts in Arizona will start something?

12:32
Travis Sawchik: I’m all for more bullpen carts

12:33
PalestineGomez: Will we ever see a day where a rolling pitch count is used to manage a staff? Like a pitcher gets X amount of pitches a week and then they are used whenever. I know pitchers would hate this but I’m talking about “in the future”. Just like the shift in the NBA, flexibility and versatility seems like one of the most important traits for a pitcher (a la Hader). Obviously, stuff matters most but I would want my best pitchers in the best spots

12:33
Travis Sawchik: I think we will continue to see pitching roles blur and workload more closely monitored

12:35
Meow: Why isn’t bat speed a metric people use? Seems more predictive than exit velocity, since a slump can cause a decrease in the latter, but not the former.

12:35
Travis Sawchik: I believe swing speed is inferred … I don’t believe an actual bat-speed measure is available

12:35
Do The Chop: Do you see the Braves being major players on Harper or Machado this offseason?

12:36
Travis Sawchik: Possibly. Phillies, too. And Nats. Interesting bidding WAR shaping up in NL East

12:37
RetireHurdle: What are your thoughts on 4 Pirates ending up on the swing changers list from Sullivan? Evidence of a larger change in philosophy from Branson or coincidence?

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Pretty interesting. Dickerson’s transformation is remarkable. He was the game’s No. 1 high fastball chaser and he’s made remarkable contact gains. Maybe the Pirates are up to something

12:38
Wes: Zebra mussels are horrible and taking over lakes all over Texas. I share your pain.

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Really? Interesting … and thats probably not a great development

12:39
Bo: Are pitchers able to have any influence over launch angle against? Or does launch angle data help pitchers understand how/where to pitch to certain hitters?

12:39
Travis Sawchik: Launch angle is higher against elevated pitches, so yes

12:39
Waka : I thought I recalled in the early 2000s ESPN had a swing speed radar on their broadcasts. Maybe it was something else but I vaguely remember something close.

12:40
Travis Sawchik: Yeah, I remember that, too. There are ways to measure it in lab settings, and I assume game conditions, but I don’t think there’s anything publicly available

12:40
Babe Lincoln: Mets are really stuck in between (both in the short-term and in the long-term), huh?  Not good enough to contend now, no real avenue to improve, and not anywhere near a rebuild.  Some more years on the mediocrity treadmill?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: Mets are in a tough spot, for sure

12:41
TKDC: What do you think of this draft strategy? For hitters, focus on contact ability, look for guys who make great contact but maybe hit too many grounders, and then just try to teach them to lift the ball.

12:41
Travis Sawchik: I like it. That would be one way to find/add some value

12:43
Anon: Aaron Judge is playing as well or better than last year. This should be a bigger story.

12:43
Travis Sawchik: I think people are aware of his general greatness but maybe not that he is slightly above his 2017 level which is pretty amazing

12:45
Vinbaka: Is Clint Frazier somebody the Yanks will use as a trade chip this summer? He seems to be blocked from now until forever, especially if they end up signing Harper.

12:45
Travis Sawchik: He sure seems like a trade chip

12:46
Slurve: What do you know about bat weight/length selection from players?  How often do they adjust if slumping? Do we know if a certain size is more common among the best hitters?

12:48
Travis Sawchik: Hitters do make some adjustments with weight/length but not regularly, as far as I know. Also, hitters are ordering bats in advance so it’s not something that can be a day-to-day adjustment

12:48
Travis Sawchik: They can borrow a teammate’s bat, etc. But generally they have a preferred bat length and weight and model

12:49
Cam: Andrew Heaney last night … impressive.  Few starts before that as well.  Have you seen anything to say he has unlocked something?  Or is this he is finally healthy.

12:49
Travis Sawchik: I’d have to dig in but this could be a pretty big deal as far as the Wild Card race is concerned

12:50
HappyFunBall: Yu Darvish … Slow start or real problems?

12:51
Travis Sawchik: I’m not too concerned, yet, but the command and swinging strike declines are curious

12:52
stever20: Matt Harvey’s start the other night.  Was that just a factor of the Dodgers being a hot mess, or was there something positive that the Reds could build on long term?

12:53
Travis Sawchik: I don’t want to make too much of four innings but Harvey still has some level of talent and no player more needed a change of scenery

12:53
AT: What about  Quintana?  He looks awful so far.

12:54
Travis Sawchik: Cubs need some internal pitching improvement, for sure.

12:55
Batflips for BB: There’s been a lot of debate over what constitutes an “ace” over the past few years. What would you use to define an ace?

12:55
Travis Sawchik: For me it’s a star-level pitcher. There are not 30 aces in MLB

12:56
Anon: Considering age/contract/everything, which pitchers would be more desirable than Luis Severino?  Must be a pretty short list.

12:56
Travis Sawchik: That’s a short list

12:56
Lars: Tyler Chatwood, yes Tyler Chatwood, leads the Cubs SP in WAR thus far. Do you see them making a move for a SP or will they ride with what they have?

12:57
Travis Sawchik: They invested in a lot pitching back during the offseason but I suppose they could trade from their position player surplus. I think they should hold and wait and see

12:58
SPORTZ: Are the Pirates legit?

12:58
Travis Sawchik: We have them with 25% playoff odds … They are lurking

12:58
CamdenWarehouse: Kevin Gausman to the Cubs could make a lot of sense

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Jake 2.0

12:59
Do The Chop: AT, “awful” is pretty harsh for Quintana. Been lit up by the Braves twice but good otherwise. 16.71 ERA in 2 starts against the Braves and 2.88 ERA in his other 6 starts

12:59
Travis Sawchik: Given his track record, I suspect he’ll be fine

12:59
AC: If the Tigers win their next two games against Cleveland, they could be in first place with a 20-22 record. The AL Central is fun!

1:00
Travis Sawchik: The AL Central entered the weekend with a collective .397 winning percentage, which would be a record

1:00
joe maddon the dil·et·tante: As fangraphs conducts quality control on its chat content, does it find that hosts post simple submissions more frequently than complex ones or that trolling ones like this are routinely ignored or both?

1:00
Travis Sawchik: I try and mix it up

1:01
lilwayne?: In your opinion which team that isn’t currently contending has the brightest future?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: That’s a tough one with the Phillies and Braves now ahead of schedule … White Sox, maybe. Padres are interesting,

1:03
BK: Who wins the NL East?

1:03
Travis Sawchik: I still like the Nats

1:03
groucho: Thoughts on Miles Mikolas so far this season?  Seems like he’s been a great value add by the cardinals

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Nice find by the Cards

1:04
Dan the Mets Fan: Time for a partial rebuild?  Trade DeGrom and Familita, keep Conforto, Syndergaard, Nimmo, Rosario and try to salary dump Cespedes and Bruce and aim for 2021?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: Something like that could make a lot of sense if the Mets fall out of the East race

1:04
Soxtober 2020: This offseason Paul Konerko predicted 40 homers and an all-star appearance for Matt Davidson and we all laughed at him (rightly).  Does Paul Konerko have supernatural powers?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: Possibly!

1:05
Anon: Is the Marlins’ relationship with fans irreparably broken? Or would people come back in a few years if they start winning?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: Winning cures a lot of ills

1:06
Jeremy: Are the Mariners and the Mets really the same franchise?

1:07
Travis Sawchik: Thinking emoji face

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Alright folks, thanks for stopping by and for the questions

1:08
Travis Sawchik: I will be back in my regular time slot next Monday

1:08
Travis Sawchik: Until next week, be good and do good

We hoped you liked reading Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat by Travis Sawchik!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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.

Comments are closed.