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Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat -- 1/8/16
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Jeff Sullivan
Sorry about that, had to meet with the landlord right at 9 sharp
Her idea! I'm always late for this anyway! At least this time I have a good excuse for my terrible behavior
So anyway, hello friends, let's baseball chat
frank the tank
Brian Costa

WSJ exclusive: ex-Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa to be indicted today. Will plead guilty to charges related to hacking Astros.
10:29 AM - 8 Jan 2016
Jeff Sullivan
Remember this? This was the biggest thing! Literally only a few months ago. You figure discipline from MLB could and should eventually follow
If the Brewers move Khris Davis, could they expect a lower-end top 100 propsect back, plus maybe some filler? (Sorry, it's January and I'm bored)
Jeff Sullivan
Pre-arb, but very limited player. I think it's easy to draw some parallels between Davis and Mark Trumbo, but I don't think Davis would bring back a Skaggs + Santiago return.
Clearly some value though, despite his relatively advanced age for someone with his service time. Your proposed terms seem appropriate, in order to make space for Domingo Santana
What do you think about Rick Porcello in year 2 and Henry Owens?
Jeff Sullivan
I like Porcello just fine as a No. 3 who sometimes looks like a No. 2. He won't give up as many home runs and he made some meaningful progress elsewhere
From Owens, I need to see more strikes. Didn't throw enough in the majors, didn't throw enough in Triple-A. He's thrown strikes more frequently before, but he just took a year off, so I've got some skepticism
In hindsight, are the 1998 mariners one of the most disappointing teams of all time? They had prime seasons From Griffey, A-rod, Edgar, Unit, and moyer plus pretty good seasons from Segui, joey cora and fassero. How the hell does that team finish below 500?
Jeff Sullivan
Say hello to an MLB-worst bullpen WPA of -5.5. League average that year was +2 -- meaning the Mariner bullpen was 7.5 wins worse than an average group
Of course, even with another 7 or 8 wins, it was still somehow a disappointing team. Stars and scrubs ain't all it's cracked up to be, all the time
From 1995 - 1999, Mariners had elite-level position players, and roughly average starting pitchers. Bullpen was third-worst in baseball in WPA
Jeff, my good man! How many innings do you think Yu Darvish is going to pitch this year. I'm a cautiously optimistic Texas fan; any chance he's back by April or May?
Jeff Sullivan
Let's see. Surgery in March...already throwing...expected to miss the start of the year...I'll put him at 150 innings
Rangers are going to want to be careful, and for the moment they've assembled plenty of bullpen depth to pull him early, early on
Fade to Gray
Hey Jeff--did you see Eno's piece on Sonny Gray? It seems to make a pretty solid argument. But is there any reason to hope things might actually swing the other way? Gray's K/9 was so much better in his partial debut season...what's up with that? Do you ever see him becoming more of a strikeout guy?
Jeff Sullivan
Each year, Gray has gotten a little bit better at getting ahead in the count. I buy him somewhat as a soft-contact guy, and his command is improving. I don't think he's going to blossom into a swing-and-miss strikeout guy, but I could see him as a guy who ends up with a lot of strikeouts almost by accident. Not quite on the Cliff Lee level, but you get what I mean
Can you please explain the basis of Griffeys backwards hat thing? Did he wear it backwards during games?
Jeff Sullivan
“My dad had a ‘fro, and I didn’t,” he said. “So I wore his hat and it always hit me in the face, so I just turned it around and it just stuck. It wasn’t like I was trying to be a tough guy or change the way that baseball is played. It was just that my dad wore a size 7 1/2, and I had a 6 1/4. It was just too big.”
I guess that isn't super helpful. No, you aren't allowed to play games with a backwards hat, barring occasional exception. But it's how Junior was frequently seen and pictured
Better year next year, Baez or soler?
Jeff Sullivan
The Cincinnati Kid
How would the game be affected if teams used two SPs at the same time (two mounds, 1 RH & 1 LH required per rule change) and the batter got the better of the two outcomes (1 pitch is hit for HR, 1 pitch is a strike, it only counts as HR?) Erases splits, but also would take more concentration
Jeff Sullivan
The game would die and we'd all blame you for coming up with the proposal in the first place
In your defense, the game shouldn't have listened
Garrett Stephenson is off to an outstanding 11-0 start. But is he for real, or are the Cardinals going to have to rely on younger guys like Rick Ankiel and Matt Morris come season's end?
Jeff Sullivan
thank you for indirectly reminding me of Gene Stechschulte
who indirectly reminds me of Jason Simontacchi
who the hell were those Cardinals
Do Cubs just stay pat with Heyward in CF? With Span signing with Giants there doesn't seem to be many other options unless they push harder for Inciarte.
Jeff Sullivan
With every passing day, it gets a little more likely they run with Heyward in the middle, but there's a lot of time left, and they still have plenty of interest in Inciarte, so you can't rule that out
Sophomore Surger
A lot of people see Addison Russell's rookie year as a disappointment, though several FG/RG writers remain cautiously optimistic. I tend to think that a kid who plays a full season as a 21 year old and OPS's .780 when playing his natural SS position, still has pretty big offensive upside. Do you see any reasons to anticipate him making advances in contact% or plate discipline this season?
Jeff Sullivan
I assume you mean OPS's .696, at least in the majors
But that's still pretty good for a kid rookie handling shortstop in a pennant race. Historically young players have quickly improved in areas like discipline and contact rate as they gain experience, and so while I expect Russell will always have some swing and miss in his game, I think this year his K% ends up closer to 20% than 30%
How do you think Gyorko will do in st louis?
Jeff Sullivan
I like his bounceback potential, but right now he's slated for pretty limited playing time, so he doesn't have a clear avenue to 500 ABs