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Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat -- 2/12/16
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Jeff Sullivan
Hello friends
Welcome to the last Friday baseball chat before spring training?
Mark Teixeira HOFer?
Jeff Sullivan
Can't see it. He'd need to have an amazing back half of his 30s to even have a chance
Expectations for Blake Swihart?
Jeff Sullivan
Below-average offense overall, but not by too much, and the Red Sox in general will be satisfied with their catcher position
How many Joey Votto's away are the Reds from being good?
Jeff Sullivan
Two away from being decent, so I guess that means three away from being good?
Hopefully with two of those Vottos in the outfield and one in the starting rotation
What would the 2016 WARs be for the following players if they had been drafted/traded for by the Cardinals: Ackley, Zunino, Montero, Smoak.
Jeff Sullivan
Just for fun, let's say...3, 2.5, 0, 1.5
I'm not sure if there's a player-development system that could've done much of anything with Montero. Ackley though...what a waste that was
How does someone measure the effectiveness of an overhauled development system? Is it strictly results-based after X years, or can you look into the narrative as well?
Jeff Sullivan
It's enormously difficult to look into the narrative and try to piece something together *outside* of the results. Every organization will have a philosophy and if you were to read an article that focuses on a system, you'd probably come away feeling pretty good about the organization just for the fact of having read an article that focused on it. The best you can do is examine the results; farms churn out so many players that it's not really that much about a small sample size after a while
Of course, there's the complication of scouting -- how can you tell if the development is good but the scouting is bad?
You kind of have to group them together. I don't know an alternative
Jeff, I discovered this week that Javier Vazquez has 54 career war. Can you think of any other players whose public perception differs so wildly from their actual performance?
Jeff Sullivan
His problem is that his RA9-WAR is 11 wins lower because he always seemed to under-pitch his peripherals, which was frustrating
I think A.J. Burnett is a candidate for a guy who the public has underrated
Predictive metrics and projection systems are never too high on Sonny Gray, and yet he consistently outperforms them.
Jeff Sullivan
Well first let's be clear about one thing -- Gray will only reach 500 career innings in his first or second start of the year. So he hasn't really consistently outperformed anything yet. He's just outperformed something so far
But any projection system will take a while to come around on a soft-contact guy, which I think is the right approach. It seems like a skill of Gray's but it does take a while to prove
That being said, Gray has the potential within himself to increase his bat-missing ability. The fans already think he's an ace; with an adjustment or two, the projection numbers would agree
Most of the criticism of Taijuan Walker that I've seen has stemmed from his upright delivery. What potential ramifications does that carry, and have there been any examples of pitchers that have suffered because of a similar delivery (or had successful careers in spite of it)?
Jeff Sullivan
Watch some clips of Tyson Ross when you get the chance. You'll come away believing it's possible for a pitcher to succeed despite *any* kind of throwing motion
Walker is less extreme than that, and he's most of the way to where he wants to be. Last year he started throwing a lot of strikes. The remaining key is command or at least control of his breaking ball
The fastball is built to live up in the zone and he's able to bury his offspeed pitch -- just needs that breaking ball to increase the speed range
so gravitional waves huh
Jeff Sullivan
There's nothing that makes me feel more stupid than trying to read about space
Use 3 words to describe the Orioles current situation.
Jeff Sullivan
Could be worse
How important is ownership? People in Seattle are always clamoring for their ostensibly absentee owners to sell, but as long as they provide an adequate payroll and give the front office flexibility, does it really matter?
Jeff Sullivan
That's essentially what you're looking for. You want enough money, and very limited interference. The interference is frequently a problem
Trout starts making $33 mil a year in 2018--with a barren farm system and Pujols' dead money clogging the books, any chance the Angels start fielding offers at that point, or do you think they're committed to making sure he's an Angel for life?
Jeff Sullivan
In 2018, Trout will be 26, getting paid way, way less than he's worth
I want to apologize for any perceived hiccups because right now I'm having connection issues and I just lost a longer answer to the above question
Obviously the Angels will have to try to figure out if Trout is willing to stick around beyond the end of his contract, but he's almost irreplaceable and I can't imagine another team being willing to ante up for what would be an almost unprecedented talent exchange. The Angels, I think, have positioned themselves to forever try to build around Trout, and it's tough to see a better starting point than that
Like, if it weren't for Trout, the Angels might be a team you'd expect to rebuild, but Trout keeps them from having to rebuild almost by himself.
It's hard to be awful with an 8-win player
How do you feel about the Phaneuf trade, and why do you hate it?
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