Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat -- 2/26/16
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Jeff Sullivan
9:11
Hello friends
Welcome to late baseball chat
Last night I genuinely had a dream that I was late to this chat. I knew it was a dream instead of reality because I felt anxious about it
Guest
9:11
Daaammmnn Jeffrey! Back at it again with the friday chat!
Jeff Sullivan
9:11
Can't stop me
Nice try haters
Joe Ross
9:12
What are your expectations for me? Will I be as good as my big brother?
Jeff Sullivan
9:12
I'm going to assume not, because your brother is really good, but Joe Ross is underrated. People forget about him way too easily
Joe
9:13
Are the Orioles just awfully run? Did they get screwed over by Fowler? Does everyone hate them? Should I hate them?
Jeff Sullivan
9:14
Let's just say they're not a well-oiled machine. Things get a tiny bit extra complicated with the Angelos factor, and while he's not the only owner in the sport who makes his presence known, I think it's obvious even from the outside that things with the Orioles don't work like they do in other places. Everything is just a little bit harder
I don't know when we'll know more specifics about what happened with Fowler but my guess is someone with the organization got ahead of himself when talking privately to the media
The Oriole Bird
9:15
Hi, Jeff. Sad Oriole fan here. I was looking forward to the now-defunct Dexter Fowler signing. How many fewer wins will the Orioles have in 2016 than they would've had with Fowler? (Let's assume they don't make any other free agent signings.)
Jeff Sullivan
9:15
His reversal probably costs the Orioles only about a win and a half or so, but despite the phrasing of your question, I figure they'll just go out and get somebody else. Jay Bruce is the clear pick
9:16
Bruce has got plenty of his own imperfections, but he'd certainly help the lineup's power potential
Natitude Adjuster
9:17
Looking at the 2016 depth charts, I noticed something when looking at the projected Bat/Pit/WAR numbers by team: Some teams, e.g., Cubs, have a great disparity in how they obtain their WAR (31.8 Bat, 21.8 Pit). Others are much more balanced, e.g., Nationals (22.7 Pit, 21.1 Bat). Even though it seems like it shouldn't matter *where* your wins come from, do you think there is a slight advantage to having a roster constructed in either one of these two ways? If so, which do you think is better?
Jeff Sullivan
9:17
No, I don't think there are any meaningful advantages. Just with injury potential in mind, I'd rather line up to depend more on bats than arms. But then balancing that, arms are probably a tiny bit more valuable in the playoffs
TF Fredrik
9:18
In yesterday’s column about C. Rodon, I take it you mean he can be comparable to a post-TJ Liriano and not the pre-TJ version. At roughly the same age, pre-TJ Liriano was looking like a top 5 pitcher. Look at that 2006 line! Also as my memory serves (usually not that well), I do recall being super excited about Liriano because the change was on par with the slider.
Jeff Sullivan
9:20
Yeah, I probably wasn't clear enough but I meant Rodon could look like the recent, Pirates-y version of Liriano. Pre-surgery Liriano had a little extra giddy-up. Later in his career he's lost some of that top velocity but he's really maintained a consistent changeup to alternate with the slider
Liriano's slider has always been there. The changeup has been more up and down but he's got it figured out these days
Josh
9:22
Ivan Nova... Bounce back or done for?
Jeff Sullivan
9:23
Last year he was throwing the same stuff he was throwing in 2013, when he was pretty good. So while that stuff wasn't generating the same results, you can chalk some of that up to rustiness. I don't at all think that Nova is finished
TF Fredrik
9:24
Do you ever, or how often, do you get discouraged when writing about a topic (sports) that always is looking to predict future and find answers on why things are, yet is almost entirely unpredictable because of the ever fluid nature of an athlete's skills & inherent randomness?
Jeff Sullivan
9:25
In the grand scheme, it's funny -- I kind of feel like we're frauds, because we get paid to perform baseball analysis, and baseball is super difficult to analyze in any meaningful, predictive way. It blows my mind sometimes that we have so many readers
9:26
And honestly I don't *want* baseball to ever be predictable. That would suck the fun completely out of it. You never want to know what's going to happen in your sports, like DVRing a game and watching after you know the final score
9:27
What makes it fun to me is the constant pursuit of what MIGHT be predictable. We always get to learn, and we always get to try to look at things in different ways. We know that baseball isn't completely, utterly, 100% random. Some skills carry over, and some skills develop. I think we all get sucked into trying to find the signal among the noise. We're kind of like explorers. Really, really, really dorky explorers.
Guest
9:28
If an average FG reader was plopped into the middle of an MLB game as a pitcher, would the optimal strategy be to throw 4 balls way outside and hope the batter somehow fouls/misses and strikes out? Or to just throw strikes and hope the batter hits it right at someone? Assume it's the first batter of the game.
Jeff Sullivan
9:29
First batter of the game, so I say pitch away. Try to get him out. The average FG reader would probably just end up throwing four balls anyway, but the average leadoff hitter is a lot more likely to hit a single than a homer, and there are lots of potential ball-in-play outs. Pitch to him and try to get him to hit the ball at somebody
9:30
Now if the average FG reader were plopped into a high-leverage situation, I'd recommend either four balls or faking an injury
To spice things up, if you don't feel like faking an injury, you could always go mouth off to an umpire and engage in physical contact
TF Fredrik
9:31
Do you think its ok, or not as big a problem, for a pitcher to have a relatively straight four seamer if he can also throw a cutter or sinker or both? To me a fastball that doesn’t move, which ideally you could command better, wouldn’t be the worst thing as long as you have other fastball/s with movement.
Jeff Sullivan
9:32
You always have to think about the pitches in terms of how they play off one another. If a pitcher throws a fastball with great sink, great rise, or great run, that's a fastball that can probably work on its own. If a pitcher has a more boring, ordinary fastball, it would be beneficial to have another fastball to keep hitters honest
9:35
I was looking at Gerrit Cole the other day. Now Cole obviously throws really hard so he's not a great example but I think Cole's four-seam fastball is sort of dull, in terms of its movement. What helps a lot is that he also has a blazing sinker, and that makes things exponentially more difficult
S. Head
9:36
Steamer is bullish on Wei-Yen Chen. What say you?
Jeff Sullivan
9:36
I like him fine. I doubt I'll think about him much this year. Never have before, so why start now?
Anonymous
9:36
Do the Cubs have to give up a draft pick as a result of signing Fowler?
Jeff Sullivan
9:36
Sort of. The pick they lose is the pick they would've gotten had somebody else signed him.
The Other Sox
9:37
Would signing Ian Desmond and sacrificing a first-round pick have been a better move than signing Jimmy Rollins?
Jeff Sullivan
9:37
I believe so, yes
Oneear
9:37
Would you keep Heyward in center? He's a better fielder than Fowler, wouldn't he be a better center fielder? Doesn't having your strongest defender in center make more sense?
Jeff Sullivan
9:39
I'd keep Heyward where he's been elite. Now, I do think Heyward could adjust to center just fine, but that introduces an amount of uncertainty. Fowler is a known mediocrity in center. Heyward is known to be elite in right. If you flipped them around, you'd have two guys in new positions on a contending team. Unnecessary risk
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