Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat

12:01
Travis Sawchik: Happy Monday

12:02
Travis Sawchik: Let’s mourn together Ohtani’s right UCL

12:02
Travis Sawchik: Baseball cannot have nice things. We are reminded of this often. On that somber note, let’s get started…

12:02
GY: Do you think the indians could acquire Hand & Yates without including Mejia/McKenzie/Chang or Bieber?

12:03
Travis Sawchik: Indians-Padres seem like an obvious match

12:03
Travis Sawchik: Indians would have to give up a premium prospect

12:03
Travis Sawchik: The Miller-Frazier/Sheffield package might serve as something of a template for a deal

12:05
Sharp: Every sport would be better if the players got to carry the trophy around after winning.

12:05
Travis Sawchik: The NHL does get a nice week-plus worth of publicity every June which is nice. Not sure how the trophy has survived the practice, though

12:06
Oddball Herrera: Over/under 24 HR on the season for Muncy? middling prospect but the xwOBA leaderboards are a murderer’s row…and him.

12:06
Travis Sawchik: I’ll take the over. This feels kinda real

12:06
Jerry DiPoto: Who should the Mariners go get to boost playoff probability? It would seem an upgrade over Andrew Romine at utility would be worthwhile, options there? JA Happ seems like an obvious choice in the rotation, bumping LeBlanc to long relief. Bullpen seems to be set considering Nicasio, Nick Vincent and Nick Rumblelow all should be ready soon, with possibility of Erasmo Ramirez down the road as well, to go with the others they already have (Diaz, Colome, Pazos, Cook, Bradford). Or would it make sense to add a guy like Zach Britton to build a bullpen that is 7 or 8 deep with lockdown guys throughout. Adding him to a healthy pen would be (Diaz, Colome-Britton, Nicasio-Pazos, Vincent, Cook, 1 of(Bradford, Rumblelow, Erasmo, LeBlanc, Morin, Armstrong)

12:07
Travis Sawchik: Happ would be a huge get but I have to think there would be a lot of competition for his services and the Mariners’ system is depleted. I think SEA would have to shoot for a more modest rotation upgrade … 48% of postseason innings were thrown by the bullpen last Oct. so it makes sense to add more help there

12:08
hvc5139: The Orioles are the only team in baseball not to have 20 wins. The Orioles have the 2nd worst run differential of the 30 teams. The Orioles have zero players on the just released top 131 prospects by Kiley/Eric. No questions, just hello darkness my old friend. (And a new 1998-2011 Oriole depression seems to be upon us again.)

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Hello, darkness

12:08
Travis Sawchik: Sorry, Baltimore

12:09
Travis Sawchik: The Orioles waited too long to blow it up … but they should still be able to get decent returns for Machado and the bullpen arms. Might make sense to move Bundy, too. I don’t think he’ll be part of the next, good Orioles team

12:09
Brandon Nimmo: Ohtani the Pitcher might need Tommy John. What does that mean for Ohtani the Hitter?

12:09
Travis Sawchik: I don’t think he can hit through a UCL repair/rehab

12:11
Travis Sawchik: Angels have 31.3% playoff odds at the moment … but those have taken a massive hit

12:12
Travis Sawchik: After the Angels, Mariners have a seven-game lead over Twins. If Paxton stays healthy, I like Seattle’s changes for the WC2

12:12
stever20: So do you think San Francisco is a real contender in the NL West this year?  Feels like a 2 week period coming up with a huge chance to make a push- 11 games with Miami and San Diego with 3 others with the Dodgers.

12:13
Travis Sawchik: They have a slim chance in a wide-open NL, but I still like the Dodgers and Dbacks above them in the NL West, and then there’s the NL Central log jam and the Braves/Nats in the East

12:13
Travis Sawchik: It’s going to be tough for SFG

12:13
Travis Sawchik: They’re another team that could think about shedding assets at the deadline. We’ll see.

12:13
Larry Williams: I got Judge and Greinke for Verlander. I should be happy, right?

12:13
Travis Sawchik: I would be

12:14
K2: Is there any precedent for a player dropping off the face of the planet in the way that Chris Davis has since signing his current contract?  He’s been dreadful in each of the two and a third years under this deal with four more to go after 2018.

12:15
Travis Sawchik: The aging arc for Age 30-plus hitters is not often kind. Now, this is pretty dramatic but it still shouldn’t come as a total shock.

12:16
Sharp: Do the Padres, Twins, or Reds end their city’s championship drought next?

12:16
Travis Sawchik: Padres. It could be 10 years, but the Padres

12:16
Travis Sawchik: #TrustDaveCameron

12:17
Joe: If Pirates are sellers, do they actually move Dickerson/Cervelli at their current high prices?  If so, do they have suitors?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Pirates have an outfield surplus, and they’re not going to pay Dickerson, so I could see him being flipped. Could be a good sell-high opp on Cervelli, too

12:17
Shawn: Does J.A. Happ to Seattle make too much sense? Or is there another landing spot you could see him at?

12:17
Travis Sawchik: Happ would be great in Seattle, I just think they’ll be out-bid

12:18
Jason: What’s your take on Franmil Reyes, is he someone I should target in a keeper league?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: If you’re in a deep league, yeah, I’d try and make room and follow him

12:19
Streaking is Fun: How insane is Kluber’s walk-less streak and his >50-1 K-BB ratio since the beginning of May? Has the AL seen anything like this guy since peak-Pedro?

12:19
Travis Sawchik: I think Kluber has gone 168 batters without issuing a walk. Is Kluber getting better? Crazy to think

12:20
Travis Sawchik: With Kluber and Carrasco and Trevor Bauer emerging as a front-line guy (Bauer is forth in AL pitching WAR) the Indians are still going to be a tough out in October

12:20
Devante Smith-Pelly: Thoughts on the Brewers-Rays Ji-Man Choi for Brad Miller swap?

12:21
Travis Sawchik: Brewers have a 1B/OF surplus so breaking some of that up for a versatile piece in Miller makes sense. Rays get control and some power an patience

12:21
Tom: Given the strength of the rotation, could the Indians deploy Bauer in a Miller-like role for the playoffs? Perhaps suboptimal to take a top-10 pitcher out of the rotation, but have depth with Cookie and Clev.

12:22
Travis Sawchik: I assume they’d like to address bullpen issues without doing that but Bauer is so durable he could be a fascinating multi-inning weapon in the playoffs. If you’re creative, he could even fit in that role between starts. He’d be up for it

12:22
Bo: If the Braves happen to fall out of contention by the deadline, might they consider selling on guys like Markakis, Flowers, really anyone who isn’t in the 2019 plans?

12:23
Travis Sawchik: I would def. move Markakis. Framing ages well so I’d be curious to see if Flowers could be a longer-term piece. Keep loading up on assets to add to their impressive core.

12:23
Todd: The Angels were rocky *with* Ohtani. How does his likely surgery impact the way they move as the trade deadline approaches? It feels like their needs outweigh Eppler’s willingness to dip into the farm.

12:24
Travis Sawchik: Angels are in a tough spot. Farm is much improved but how much do you want to invest in a non-Ohtani team. I’d actually be less likely to invest, now

12:24
Jason: The Mets seem to be looking at Dom Smith to fill the void at first base.  He’s struggled pretty badly without power, whereas Peter Alonso has tore up AA.  Which do you like better long-term?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: I’m not a Dom Smith fan

12:24
Parts + Gleyber: Baseball can’t have nice things, but any team could have Hanley Ramirez for league minimum. When do you think that happens?

12:24
Travis Sawchik: Rockies need like five corners .. why not give Ramirez a call?

12:25
Lars Eller GWG: Do you think we’re heading towards seeing a team with a dominant bullpen and meh starters (Brewers) just say “screw it,” add a few more relief arms, and let no pitcher go more than once through the order?

12:26
Travis Sawchik: I think we’re probably headed to a hybrid future where most teams have a couple more traditional starters, that go multiple times, and then we’re looking at something more like bullpen or opening-combos

12:26
Travis Sawchik: The size of the 25-man roster, and the scarcity of quality pitching, limits how creative teams can be

12:26
Kevin: Travis, I know Kiley and Eric are more ‘prospect guys’, but do you feel versed enough to answer chat questions on prospects?  Don’t want to step in the water if it’s ice cold. Thanks for taking my question.

12:27
Travis Sawchik: Eric and Kiley are the experts for sure. I keep a toe in the water. Happy to see Fringe Five alum Chris Paddack graduate to an actual prospect list. He’s on an amazing run for SD system

12:27
F-Rome: Is the “opener” experiment coming to an end, or will it stay all year?

12:28
Travis Sawchik: It will spread. I don’t think it’s going to become a regular thing just yet, but more teams are going to look for spots to employ it

12:28
Vegan Man!: What do you think the Yankees would have to give for Tyson Ross? Thanks!

12:28
Travis Sawchik: Probably one of their 16 really interesting pitching prospects

12:29
Travis Sawchik: What’s interesting about the Yankees is they’re enjoying this wave of young position players and now they have an incredible amount of bat-missing arms getting closer and closer

12:29
Travis Sawchik: Yankees have enough prospect depth to be major players at the deadline for sure. They need a SO

12:29
Travis Sawchik: SP

12:30
Marshall : How likely is it that 1) Dodgers’ surprise performers (Kemp, Muncy, and and Stripling) continue playing great while 2) the Dodgers’ expected performers (Kershaw, Turner, really the rest of the injured rotation) return to play like we expected? In other words, will the Dodgers be even more awesome than preseason projections by the end of the season?

12:30
Travis Sawchik: It’s plausible. I still think Dodger win the West. And if they get healthy for the postseason the benefit of the injuries is they’ve unearthed some more talent and surprising success stories

12:30
Guest: Whos your current favorite flavor of Yankees starting pitching target at the deadline? Do you think they wait that long?

12:31
Travis Sawchik: I’m a big Happ guy. I’d want to see if Danny Duffy has really righted himself. Ross is interesting. I guess I’d wait at this point to see if some more teams elect to sell over the next month

12:31
kevinthecomic: How smart does Dipoto look now for not signing Ohtani?!?!?!

12:31
Travis Sawchik: Ha

12:32
John: Baseball’s trophy seems like an impaling hazard to carry around anyway.

12:32
Travis Sawchik: Baseball’s WS trophy is probably the least cool of the four major north american sports

12:32
Guest: Loved you on FG Audio with Carson last week!

12:32
Travis Sawchik: Thanks, Mom!

12:33
Trevor: Who fills the void as the Indians 5th starter ROS, think it is Plutko, Bieber, some trade candidate, other?

12:33
Travis Sawchik: Plutko is interesting because he’s been pitching way above his stuff, Bieber has plus-plus command … I’d lean Bieber, personally

12:33
Travis Sawchik: I think Indians have to save trade chips for bullpen help

12:34
Travis Sawchik: Once they enter the playoffs they’d shed their fifth starter anyways .. and in the AL Central, they probably don’t need a proven fifth starter to win division

12:34
chuck: Is Clint Frazier enough to headline a trade for a starting pitcher that the Yankees might target at the deadline?

12:35
Travis Sawchik: He can certainly be part of a package … depends on the arm

12:35
Travis Sawchik: Reportedly the Pirates passed on him leading a package in favor of the Houston return for Cole

12:35
Sad: Other than Trout, give Angels fans one good reason to not be sad please

12:36
Travis Sawchik: Hmmmmmm

12:36
Travis Sawchik: Farm system is improved!

12:36
Ronnie: Am I crazy to prefer deGrom to Thor? He has pitched better & been healthier, yet will likely cost less to acquire because he is older, more expensive & has one less year of team control/lower perceived upside.

12:36
Travis Sawchik: deGrom is a top-6 or so starting pitcher right now so it’s not crazy. Might not be consensus view, but not crazy

12:37
stever20: Is Strasburg going to ever reach his full potential?  Lost in all the Caps hoopla around here in DC, he goes on the DL.

12:37
Travis Sawchik: Even if Strasburg has reached his ceiling he’s still a very, very good major league starting pitcher. The biggest issue are the DL trips, of course

12:38
Richard: Is Amed Rosario a hold right now?  He’s shown some signs of life, but not a lot of production based on where he hits in the lineup.  Do you think he will develop in an above average SS with the bat?

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Too early to sell

12:38
Sir Nerdlington: Request for Sheryl to do a CBA renegotiation series where she alternatively sits on both sides of the table.  That is all.

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Not a bad idea!

12:38
Travis Sawchik: Sheryl’s legal writing has been really fascinating

12:39
Lee: In CLE I am dreading hearing LeBron free agency rumors.  When Trout approaches free agency are we going to hear the same type of ridiculous rumors and be subjected to articles like “Top reasons why Trout should leave the Angels”?

12:40
Travis Sawchik: We’re already hearing them … https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/will-mike-trout-sign-an-extension-i…

12:40
Bo: Newcomb seems to have found improved control in Atlanta while Simmons found his bat in LA… Win-win? Is there merit to a player furthering his development after a trade?

12:41
Travis Sawchik: Different orgs have different strengths including player development abilities … so yes, I’m sure that can/is true (though I’m not sure about this specific case)

12:42
Oyster Burns: meadows will return to earth eventually, think he can outhit his projections ros though? or will the regression hit hard?

12:42
Travis Sawchik: I wonder if he’s one of these guys who was bored in Triple-A. He’ll regress, certainly, but he wasn’t playing up to his true talent level in the minors

12:42
tb.25: Article idea: Derek Holland and his strike zone. Repeatedly, some media members (potentially born out of the announcer’s offhand comments) suggest that he hasn’t really changed this season except is now getting some corner strikes compared to earlier in the season, hence his recent performance

12:43
Travis Sawchik: Presentation is key!

12:44
stever20: how crazy is this run that Corey Kluber is on?  1.76 ERA since last June 1 in 266 innings.  With a 33/327 bb to k ratio(with 2 of his walks being IW).

12:45
Travis Sawchik: Pretty crazy. Verlander. Cole. Severino. Kluber. Bauer. Sale. Paxton. AL Cy Young race could be pretty interesting

12:45
Alec Asher Wojciechowski: Is it just me, or is the Astros bullpen actually really good, and the perception of it is driven by 2 or 3 failures in high profile games?

12:45
Travis Sawchik: It’s a solid group but I could also see HOU wanting to make it an elite group

12:46
Travis Sawchik: [Curious to see what the Padres do with bullpen. Seems like an ideal market for returns on Hand, Yates and even a Cimber]

12:46
Skip: As a Mainers fan “spurned” by Ohtani, can I simultaneously feel bad for the player and baseball as a whole, but allow for a tiny bit of joy in seeing the Angels playoffs odds decrease?

12:46
Travis Sawchik: Your feelings, even if socially frowned upon, are real

12:46
Travis Sawchik: As a fan, happiness is tied to playoff odds

12:47
Brent Suitor: Eric Thames returns tonight. How would you handle playing time between him, Aguilar, and Braun?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Thames posted a 138 wRC+ vs. righties last year and a 158 mark this year .. so I’d play him against righties

12:49
Frank: Is Twins prospect, Brent Rooker, someone I should target in Dynasty leagues?

12:49
Travis Sawchik: Monster college numbers and impressive pro debut last season. He has a slow start, but his bat is warming up

12:50
Garrett: What is wrong with Dexter Fowler? He has been terrible this year and is only in the 2nd year of his deal.

12:50
Travis Sawchik: The .200 BABIP isn’t helping. I’m sure some of it is poor fortune

12:51
Oyster Burns: who’s your favorite pitcher that seems to be on the market in terms of both potential cost and potential impact?

12:52
Travis Sawchik: Best value? I like how Happ has continued to evolve and I like that he gives teams an unusual look with plus four- and two-seam fastballs

12:52
Xolo: Who’s the top reliever that’ll likely be available at the deadline?

12:53
Travis Sawchik: Brad Hand

12:53
Egg: How likely is it that Ohtani continues to both hit and pitch at his 2018 workload after he comes back from his injury?(whether that is in 2018 or 2020) It seems a huge reduction in playing time is appropriate.

12:55
Travis Sawchik: I have my doubts that his hitting affected the injury. He already had some of the elbow issue when he arrived over here. Pitchers break. They do all the time, especially high velo ones

12:55
tb.25: Buxton, Brinson… what’s up with these top prospects gone bad?

12:55
Travis Sawchik: Hit tools

12:55
Travis Sawchik: The hit tool can derail even the best of athletes

12:56
Skip: What is the best hat in the majors? Minors?

12:56
Travis Sawchik: That’s so tough. Lot of great caps

12:57
Travis Sawchik: SF, SD, Det, LA, NYM, NYY, Phi, Oak are among my favs

12:57
Guest: All star game update has markakis and kemp in the NL OF. What a timeline

12:57
Travis Sawchik: It’s like 2009 all over again

12:57
Rollie’s Mustache: The Montgomery Biscuits!!!

12:57
Travis Sawchik: Incredible name

12:57
Travis Sawchik: And cap

12:58
Moltar: Does any franchise need a top-down overhaul more than the Mets? Maybe Theo Epstein wants a real challenge, but I doubt the owners would pay his salary.

12:58
Travis Sawchik: If Epstein wants a real challenge … How about Baltimore

12:59
Rollie’s Mustache: Thoughts on the Dodgers’ needs heading towards the trade deadline? Think they move any top prospects or play it safe?

12:59
Travis Sawchik: I think most of the Dodgers’ upgrades are housed on their DL which is both good and bad

1:00
Boomer: Rockies losing their last 6 at home v division opponents tends to point them to being a seller in July…or can they right the ship on the road between now and the all star break???

1:00
Travis Sawchik: Dreadful stretch. Rockies really have hurt themselves by not addressing obvious voids (almost all their corners) which would be among the lowest cost areas to upgrade externally

1:01
Travis Sawchik: If they go into selling mode, they have pieces of interest, for sure

1:01
Rockie Dangerfield: What are some other ranks of playing cards that we could co-opt into baseball lingo?  We already have “aces”.  What about “jacks”?  Or “deuces” for really crappy players?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Just seems too cruel

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Think about the Royals

1:02
ryan: can we please have the expos hats back?

1:02
Travis Sawchik: Great hat

1:02
Travis Sawchik: I think it’s still a pretty significant seller

1:03
vft: Epstein runs the Browns front office, Belichick manages the Orioles – who has more success?

1:03
Travis Sawchik: Epstein. Coaching impact is somewhat limited in MLB

1:03
tb.25: Angels GM just said doctors and front office said TJ not needed. Thoughts?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: Oh? Still, is this going to be a Tanaka thing where he has to decide to pitch with it partially torn or have the surgery. That’s a tough place to be.

1:04
Bo: Could Stroman be dealt? Is he worth much after his rough start this year?

1:04
Travis Sawchik: For the right price, I’d do it

1:04
The KHole in Calhoun’s bat: Two things: 1. I think the Angels go the Garret Richards route with Ohtani until the end of the season. That way he can still hit. If he does need TJ he will still be healthy by the start of ST 2019 and can continue to hit during rehab.  2. Angels AAA infield looks promising for the future. Who has a better chance at sticking at the MLB level, Ward at 3b or Fletcher at 2b?

1:05
Travis Sawchik: If the Angels wait till the end of the season for surgery, Ohtani’s entire 2019 is in jeopardy. The Angels know a lot more than we do … Tough spot

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Alright folks, thanks for stopping by and spending your lunch hour or some company time with me

1:06
Travis Sawchik: Good questions, good company … Until next week, 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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stever20
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stever20

really not seeing AL Cy Young race as wide open as Travis did. It’s Verlander/Kluber/Cole/Severino- and then everyone else. all 4 of those would have to fall apart for guys like Bauer/Sale/Paxton to get in the running at all.