Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat -- 9/23/16
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Jeb not bush
10:41
Do you think the JZ regime's downfall was all-around incompetency? He had a great scouting record with the Brewers and seemed to have a good eye for players even with the Mariners, but his player development was absolutely atrocious. Thoughts? I don't know why I'm still thinking about this.
Jeff Sullivan
10:42
The whole player-development system sucked. Way too many different people saying different things instead of being on the same page. We really don't know how good or bad the organization was at identifying talent -- it just couldn't make anything *of* the talent. The Dipoto front office is better at keeping everybody on the same page
Tanaka
10:43
So you often here about guys who profile as a one through five starter. When it comes to #1’s I know who those guys are in the majors, but the farther you go down the rotation, the cloudier it gets because really no team has a prototype guys in each slot. Could you maybe give an example of one guy who best represents a 2, 3, 4 and 5? I'm talking from a pure scouting standpoint, not by WAR.
Jeff Sullivan
10:43
Welllllll let's try this
No. 1: Chris Sale
No. 2: Rick Porcello
10:44
No. 3: Drew Pomeranz
No. 4: Jeremy Hellickson
10:45
No. 5: Josh Tomlin
Sean
10:46
Say baseball made a change so that only active players could be managers and make front office decisions. There is no set leader; it's up to the players on each team to figure it out. Baseball turns tribal. How entertaining would this be>
Jeff Sullivan
10:46
Less entertaining than you'd hope, because a lot of the drama would be taking place off camera behind closed doors, but I bet Zack Greinke would get the Diamondbacks turned around virtually overnight
Logan
10:47
Assuming he finishes the year with his rookie eligibility intact, I feel like Josh Bell enters next year as one of the favorites for NL ROY, right? It seems like the only other strong contenders who are currently playing at this moment are guys like Dansby Swanson and Alex Reyes (who might not have eligibility).
Jeff Sullivan
10:47
One of the favorites, sure, but you also have to look out for a guy like JP Crawford, who will be up shortly after the start of 2017
Billy
10:49
In regards to the 2016 Cubs, it seems that they're not only an elite defensive team (especially infield) but they're also elite at drawing soft contact. Clearly this recipe is the key to suppressing hits. Two part question, are there other teams that you can think of that have done something like this? Also, do you think this was done on purpose by Theo and his advanced scouts or on accident?
Jeff Sullivan
10:50
I don't think the Cubs got here by accident -- they've prioritized good pitchers and strong all-around position players and this is one consequence. Everything has worked well together -- they have a good defender at every position. It's incredible
10:51
Now, the magnitude of their success indicates there's almost certainly some element of luck. But if you go back over the last 20 years, the Cubs have the lowest BABIP at .251, but the 2001 Mariners were at .260. That was thanks to fly balls and Mike Cameron. A few years later the Mariners came in at .269, so they somewhat repeated
I bet the Cubs' "true-talent" BABIP is like .265 or .270. And that's fantastic. Even that would easily lead the league in 2016
Tim
10:52
Two Ariel Miranda questions: how has he only been worth 0.1 WAR, and what do you see for him moving forward? Not saying he's been a stud, but I would have expected him to be worth more WAR.
Jeff Sullivan
10:53
His FIP sucks, and he doesn't have a good breaking ball. That's why he's more like a No. 4 or 5 profile. But he's useful now and he should make for a 2017 sixth starter on a potentially contending team
Erik
10:54
With nearly all key players returning next season and on the right side of 30, and with a still-full stable of prospects to call on for reinforcements, have the Cubs even hit their peak? Are we at the beginning of one of baseball's once-in-a-generation dynasties? Or far too soon to tell?
Jeff Sullivan
10:55
It only takes an injury or two to knock a team down toward the pack, and the Cubs will also stand to lose some wins as teams like the Reds and Brewers improve, but just generally speaking, this window is definitely wide open. They're not going anywhere for a while
Well I guess there are two ways to take that last sentence. Don't take it in the wrong way
Beni Ficent
10:55
Price or Porcello for ALDS game 1?
Jeff Sullivan
10:55
Price
Sean
10:55
Better career WAR?: James Paxton or Taijuan Walker?
Jeff Sullivan
10:55
Paxton
Kristen
10:55
Before the season, seemingly every "expert" picked either HOU or SEA to finish ahead of the Rangers in the division, so how big of a bust of a season will it be for both teams if neither even make the playoffs?
Jeff Sullivan
10:56
Bigger bust for the Astros; they're supposed to be on the rise. Even Jerry Dipoto said his goal was to build a roster that could win ~85 games and then they'd see how things would shake out
Matt
10:58
The 2016 Cubs are the best baseball team since ___ ?
Jeff Sullivan
10:58
It would be easy to say 2001, but it kind of depends on what you make of the difference between leagues. If you penalize the Cubs for playing in the NL and dominating, then maybe they're not really any better than, say, the 2013 Red Sox?
Mike_C
11:00
Is it just me, or are we seeing a shift in 1B? Seems like a few years ago the 1st basemen in the league would generate more of their value from their ISO. Now, it feels like we have a lot more 1B in the Votto mold that balance a ISO in the mid to lower .200 range with high OBP.
Jeff Sullivan
11:00
I don't see any identifiable trend league-wide over the past like five years
11:01
But relative to the rest of the league, it's worth noting that this is the worst offensive year for combined first basemen of the millennium
So you might be seeing a little more emphasis on 1B defense
mtsw
11:01
In games where both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, the players should be forced to run the bases clockwise to keep things interesting. Change my view.
Jeff Sullivan
11:02
People would die
Tom A.
11:02
Are there recent examples of 4th & 5th starters becoming bullpen weapons in the postseason? I remember Sid Fernandez in '86. As teams are more willing to go to the pen early, do you think we see a return to 3-man rotations, with starter being pulled after 5ish innings?
Jeff Sullivan
11:03
I don't know why this just came to mind but I remember Jon Niese made a few good outings last year in the playoffs
11:04
I think teams will remain a little wary of starting guys on short rest for the foreseeable future, but we're definitely seeing shorter and shorter playoff outings, especially with the back-of-the-rotation starters
I'm reminded of Game 7 in 2014. Tim Hudson faced 10 batters. Jeremy Guthrie faced 15
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