Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat -- 3/4/16
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Jon
9:39
I remember Dave Cameron - or maybe someone else at FG - cautioning people against being too excited about Mike Zunino's robust spring training numbers because of the nature of the pitch type and weather down there (I think). What kind of performances from spring training can/cannot be read into with any predictive significance?
Jeff Sullivan
9:39
Pretty obviously, velocity changes are important. Those are pretty hard to fake so that's something to keep an eye on
You also want to watch for changes in pitcher repertoire. Lots of guys go out there trying new pitches but only some of those new pitches last the whole spring and remain in the arsenal
9:40
From a hitter perspective, it would require some digging but I think you can read into changes in pull/opposite success. A few years ago I remember noticing that suddenly Michael Saunders was driving the ball the other way. It was just Arizona, but it seemed meaningful since he hadn't done that in the past, and sure enough it carried into the summer
9:41
For me the real fun of spring training is trying to dig through everything to find something, anything of substance
Larry
9:41
Do you like volcanoes more than Eno likes beer?
Jeff Sullivan
9:41
I don't visit three volcanoes every day after work
Raindog
9:43
Each of the last two years Austin Jackson has been a better hitter, fielder, and baserunner than Jay Bruce. Bruce will be paid more this year and comes with an acquisition cost that Jackson does not. Why do the Orioles apparently prefer to trade for Bruce than sign Jackson?
Jeff Sullivan
9:45
For the sake of simplicity, let's assume this is true. The Orioles might prefer the right fielder with a history of playing right field. Also, more importantly, they could believe that Jackson is trending down, while Bruce is due to rebound. It seems like there's a greater likelihood of Bruce getting back to his previous upside. The Orioles love their power, and Bruce could conceivably hit well again with his legs underneath him
It does seem like Jackson is being somewhat underrated by the market but I think the perception is that he's mostly finished as a regular
2-D
9:46
If you had free rein to completely redesign Coors' outfield fences what would they look like?
Jeff Sullivan
9:46
They'd look the same but they'd randomly flash a sequence of neon lights to mess up the hitter's vision
9:47
(The fences aren't an issue. No sense in doing much with the fences.)
Jim
9:47
What Tweet of yours do you think has gotten the most retweets?
Jeff Sullivan
9:47
Never checked. Probably some stupid gif
Q-Ball
9:48
What unfinished business do you think is out there? For one, I think the White Sox must be looking for quality defensive OF. Anything else?
Jeff Sullivan
9:48
Corner OF for the Orioles, corner OF for the Angels, 1B for the Rockies, maybe some bullpen help for the Marlins with Capps unfortunately hurt
The White Sox could definitely use an outfielder as well
Kim
9:49
What/who is a comp for Boog Powell's ceiling?
Jeff Sullivan
9:49
Brett Gardner
Pretty Tony
9:49
With Maybin out with a bum wrist, does Tony Gose play everyday and is this an advisable thing for a baseball team striving for success?
Jeff Sullivan
9:50
That's never advisable, but Maybin should only be out for about a month at most. So they can weather this provided Gose bats like eighth or ninth
Zonk
9:50
Cubs current division odds are currently 85% per Fangraphs, with Pirates and Cardinals in high single digits. Do you buy that? Does your model account for curses?
Jeff Sullivan
9:51
No, I don't buy that. I agree that the Cubs are the heavy favorites, but I like the Cardinals and Pirates more than the projections do
Jake
9:51
hi jeff! i wanted to ask you about your experiences at Lookout Landing. i currently write about the yankees, and was wondering if you had any tips for people who have to focus on a single ball-club. how did you generate ideas for writing when your scope was limited to one team?
Jeff Sullivan
9:52
The disadvantage is you have only one team to write about. The advantage is that you can go super in depth on stuff that wouldn't play on a national level, because the people reading are big big fans who just want to read as much as they can about the team in question. So you can write about, like, a player's true platoon splits or something, whereas if I tried to do that on FanGraphs it might be met with yawns and dismissal
9:53
I think it's also important to mix in plenty of articles that aren't just analytical. Have some fun with it, if that's something you're comfortable with. No better idea generator in the world than just watching or listening to a baseball game
klof
9:55
Could teams save money and give themselves a real home field advantage by moving their fences to 430+ to prevent most home runs, then filling their OF with three true centerfielders with good range, limited power, and high contact skills (and whose skills tend to cost less than corner sluggers), and stocking their pitching staff with fly-ball pitchers who would be giving up outs instead of HRs? Thinking specifically about COL and their wall changes but any small market team might benefit from this. The home field advantage of this might be cancelled out by having no true power hitters for road games. Thoughts?
Jeff Sullivan
9:56
There's a theory out there that the more distinctive and unique a ballpark, the stronger the home-field advantage. The home team can customize itself for the stadium, and the road team won't be able to do that, and that could be worth a win or three
9:57
But leaving aside how the league would never go or this -- you'd still have a bunch of home runs, just of the inside-the-park variety. And so many doubles and triples. It's not like fences are the only thing keeping home runs from being catchable. Those balls are struck very well and they seldom hang up enough for outfielders to get to them. Would-be homers would just sail over the outfielders' heads, and then those guys would have to run a bunch to recover the ball before the hitter made it to home anyway
Marc
9:57
Will pedro ever sign with a team? Is overseas a realistic option?
Jeff Sullivan
9:57
Nah, he'll get a chance
And given that he's one of the more extreme fastball hitters in the league, Japan might be murder on his statistics
TF Fredrik
9:59
How do balance finding topics to research/write about that go against the grain & those that fall in with the established beliefs currently out there in analytics/sabermetrics? Put it another way, Do you like trying to find something new, or continuing/bettering what we have already?
Jeff Sullivan
10:01
I want to find new stuff as often as possible, even if it's the smallest little thing. I don't find it enjoyable to tread on trodden ground. Then I just feel like I'm repeating someone else. At the very least I try to approach ordinary questions in maybe more unusual ways. New ways, so a familiar story can still somehow seem fresh
TuesMorningBear
10:02
considering the injury to Andersen, and the claim that he will get "at least 100 IP this year," when do you think we'll see Julio Urias in the show this year? Will he stick when he arrives, or is the 100 IP guarantee just smoke and mirrors?
Jeff Sullivan
10:02
I actually think we're likely to see De Leon sooner
10:03
I do think Urias will make it up this season, but I don't think he'll get established as a regular
Elisa Plum
10:05
Will Trevor Story be the rockies SS opening day?
Jeff Sullivan
10:05
I think it'll be Adames, and then Story after a month or two
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