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Chat: Matt Sussman

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday July 28, 2014 7:00 PM ET chat session with Matt Sussman.


Matt Sussman has never done this before.

Matt Sussman: That is to say, I have chatted with people before; usually in person, sometimes about baseball, sometimes about sandwiches. But never chatting in this particular forum. Let's change that.

Jay-Z (Robinson Cano wallet): Do you think you're hosting a chat on BP because you're funny or because you have a clue about baseball? Because I'm funny too and I wanna have a chat.

Matt Sussman: Good guesses to both but I'm doing this because the judge said it counts as community service.

Dick Grande (St Louis): Think Zack Wheeler turn into a future cy young candidate? His splits so far are nearly identical to what verlander's were through the same number of starts. Also to my (non-scout) eye, there is a very strong resemblance in terms of raw stuff

Matt Sussman: Verlander went deeper into games even at that age. Cy Young candidate can mean a couple different things, either a front runner or someone receiving votes. Looking up and down the cavalcade of NL pitching, jeez there's a lot of good pitching. Don't think he ever fits in with the elite crowd, but a one-time top 10 vote-getter wouldn't be a bad thing.

Christophe Kristofferson (Chicago): If the mets make a trade with the cubs in the offseason, what would it take for the cubs to add wheeler and either degrom, gee, or niese? Would Castro and Vogelbach be enough? Thanks for the chat and keep up the hard work!

Matt Sussman: Two Zack Wheeler questions in a row; the trifecta is in play! Well I guess the Mets have a lot of pitching; I wouldn't flip one of them to get a good first baseman. Now if they look bleak at shortstop, then maybe they can peddle one of those starters for Starlin Castro to shore up the position for the next five years.

BOB (Pittsburgh): More efficient infield at converting ground balls into outs: 6 Adam Dunn's or 4 Andrelton Simmons'?

Matt Sussman: It's all about alignment. You could lay six Adam Dunns end to end and span the perimeter of the infield, corralling every ground ball. Meanwhile, Simmons would be out of position at first base.

Shawnykid23 (CT): Do you think the Tigers make Joakim Soria the closer before the year is over?

Matt Sussman: Nooooooope. Tigers closers are the Spinal Tap drummers of the world. He may and will close some games, but christen him as the closer and whoops there goes the walk rate all the way to the moon.

Matt Zemek (Seattle): Who are the three most important players (no need to rank them in order of importance) in the race for the second American League wild card spot?

Matt Sussman: Hisashi Iwakuma needs to continue pitching like a No. 2; Brian McCann has to handle a hastily-thrown-together rotation and also clobber the ball some more; Billy Butler has to mash the baseball back in the air for doubles and dingers. If everyone is OK with it, I ranked them by body weight.

Alex (Anaheim): What's your favorite ballpark, major league or otherwise?

Matt Sussman: PNC is a delight to approach by foot. Lots of the minor league ballparks are also cozy and terrific but check out the one in Lowell, Massachusetts, if you're ever in the neighborhood.

Patty (BGSU): Why is Alex Avila still catching for the Tigers?

Matt Sussman: He's an excellent defensive catcher, a skilled pitch framer and he gets on base. I wish Ausmus would bat him at the top of the lineup for this reason.

Wino (Lawrence): Is it still appropriate as a fan to yell at the umpires, and what is an appropriate thing to yell?

Matt Sussman: You have every right! Just remember there are little kids around you. Also it's all for fun, so humor outweighs meanness. For example, "Angel Hernandez could have made that call!" If the umpire is Angel Hernandez, this line may backfire.

Jackson (Stockton): If it was the 18th inning and you needed to use a position player to pitch, would you use the guy who would throw the best (like Andrelton Simmons, if you were the Braves) or the guy you cared least about (like Ramiro Pena, if you were the Braves)?

Matt Sussman: If it's the 18th inning, everyone's tired and I just want to go home so if I'm the Braves I'm using Luis Avilan again.

drmorris75 (SF): With Angel Pagan broken and Gregor Blanco going 0-for-2014, what realistic CF move can Sabean make at the deadline?

Matt Sussman: Center fielders aren't cheap at the deadline. I'd normally say Drew Stubbs but you'd have to buy high. But focus on someone who can play defense mostly and not embarrass themselves swinging a bat.

JL (Ottawa): What does Lester's next contract look like?

Matt Sussman: Legal sized paper, 5 to 10 pages, one or two staples, probably a PDF available on the team's file sever.

manbearpig9789 (Pensacola, FL): Do you the think all five arms of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos staff (Lively,Lorenzen,Stephenson,Corcino,and Moscot)will carve out nice MLB careers as starters or are some of the destined for 7th inning duties down the road ?

Matt Sussman: Has that ever happened before? If it hasn't then of course not, it will never happen. If a few of them do continue as starters then hoo boy the Reds have an interesting situation three years from now.

John (Cincinnati): How well do you know the lyrics to "Friday" the song?

Matt Sussman: Friday, oh Friday, I love you next Friday, you're only a Friday awaaaaaaaaaaay

Francis (Boston): You're Dave Dombroski. What do you do this trade deadline, what do you do in August, what do you do in the offseason?

Matt Sussman: Hooray, I'm Dave Dombrowski! Finally I look good in striped polos. Well I'm running out of prospects as well as Prospect Erector Sets, so a lefty reliever is all I can afford this year. Andrew Miller coming back to Detroit for that purpose would be super cool, but I would NOT give up what was traded for Miller the last time. In the offseason I begrudgingly let Max Scherzer get his money somewhere and ask really nicely if Justin Verlander wants to spend his money on a right fielder.

Archers Bicep Kiss (lil guy syndrome USA): Do you think it's worth trading J. Zimmermann for J. Baez in a points keeper with K's- ? His strikeouts worry me since I saw R. Howard rendered useless even in his prime years. Zimmermann would't be a huge loss and I'm not looking good this year so it seems like the prospect route for next year makes most sense.

Matt Sussman: Caveat: I haven't played fantasy baseball in probably eight years for a few reasons, and having to make trades is one of them. I'll say you should make that trade, because Zimmermann (the operable pitcher not the broken third baseman, right?) seems like more of a command/contact pitcher. But ask Craig Goldstein about this in his chat next week and he'll give you the correct answer, assuming that's not past your trade deadline.

nottes (work): Hi Matt, do you think Chance Sisco will ever catch in the majors, or is he a future 1B/DH type? Also, is his bat even good enough to get him there?

Matt Sussman: Maybe, but also maybe not. I guess you could say he has a ... chance.

justarobert (Santa Clara): More lateral range: Adam Dunn standing up or Andrelton Simmons lying down? (Assume Simmons is allowed to get up once the ball's put into play.)

Matt Sussman: But Dunn can fall down faster than Simmons can get up, and Dunn covers more ground that way.

treynay3 (Indy): So obviously there's a bunch of hype surrounding Rusney Castillo. I know you probably don't know a ton about him, but what do you think his offensive ceiling is? Chances he hits for average and some power with good speed? I know he's not Puig, but what MAY he be capable of?

Matt Sussman: Not a very high one! I mean, name one much-hyped Cuban player this century who has ever made an impact in the MLB.

Okay, now name two.

Okay, name seven.

Okay n

Hillis (IL): Julian Leon is kind of an unknown it seems...any light to shed on him?

Matt Sussman: Jason Parks seems to like him, so I like him too because he knows more about prospects than me. What I don't like about Leon is he's 18; as a rule I don't trust teenagers, and this one was born in 1996, when I was a teenager, so that's just depressing.

ssimon (Pelham, N.Y.): How offended are you when a rehabbing minor leaguer plays an end at your curling rink?

Matt Sussman: Is that why Nolan Reimold keeps crashing my games? I knew it.

Beau (San Francisco): Which baseball player would be the best at curling?

Matt Sussman: Justin Morneau, born in British Columbia. I would also pay too much money to watch Yadier Molina try it and become terrific at it.

Play By Play (The Booth): I'm a college baseball broadcaster. When a pitcher has a no-hitter I don't want to make everybody mad by saying something, but I don't want to make everybody else mad by not saying something. Can you give me some good terms to use for "no-hitter" that won't violate jinx rules?

Matt Sussman: "Well, through six innings, Such 'N Such is working on a strawberry sundae." Because I think in Little League if you throw a no-hitter you should get a strawberry sundae, and this tradition should carry on through the ages.

scott (az): How come every picture I see of Julio Urias his left eye is close?

Matt Sussman: Because you're wearing an eyepatch.

Charlie (Tucson): What is your ideal home plate collision rule or regulation?

Matt Sussman: And now a story. One time in fifth grade I was walking around the playground looking for something to do. The kids were playing kickball and asked if I wanted to umpire, because they knew I was bad at playing. One time I called someone out at home because the catcher caught the ball before the runner touched home plate. They reminded me that he wasn't tagged out, so I switched the call.

Anyways what I'm trying to say is why not just make home plate a forceout always? If you're in a given vicinity of home plate and the catcher has the ball and stepping on home plate, you're out.

Zachthewriter (Tiffin): Was there ever a moment when Tigers fans missed Ryan Raburn?

Matt Sussman: Probably the second half of last year when Matt Tuiasosopo metaphysically disappeared. He's a role player and became persona non grata when he was the de facto starting second baseman, and that wasn't good for anybody involved. He also always, ALWAYS had a big hit in a given White Sox series.

Scott (Chucktown): Giolito's not getting promoted anytime soon right? Planning on going to watch him pitch this weekend.

Matt Sussman: Within the week? I think you're safe. But just so your weekend plans are not thrown asunder, I'll make some calls.

mattymatty2000 (Portland (left one)): I understand you enjoy curling the sport, but what are your feelings on curling the hair I'll take my answer off the air

Matt Sussman: I have the straightest hair in the history of homo sapiens, so naturally I am against this.

Leslie (Olympia): What do you make of Gillaspie? Are we seeing a breakout season or do you expect major regression going forward?

Matt Sussman: He never hit this well even in the minors, and possibly got some confidence when hit ahead of Abreu. But, yeah, this year's totally out of the blue. Enjoy the ride but wait and see.

Dan (Baltimore): Would an execution by a Yu Darvish pitched baseball, be a just death or would you always be wondering if he had another pitch he could use?

Matt Sussman: I imagine once I'm dead I would stop wondering.

Drew (Rockford, IL): Better young outfield now and in the future. Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte vs. Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Gincarlo Stanton?

Matt Sussman: Pirates now, maybe Marlins next year, Pirates after that. Because are we to assume Stanton stays in Miami? Because with five bazillion trade rumors in the last two years, one of 'em's gotta be true.

Curtis (Michigan): How will Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski respond to the Liam Hendriks trade the Royals just made?

Matt Sussman: By moving Danny Worth to Detroit and optioning him back to Triple-A.

Curtis (Michigan): Assuming Max Scherzer leaves Detroit in the off-season, who is more likely to replace his spot in the rotation, Robbie Ray or somebody who's currently outside of the organization?

Matt Sussman: Ray, or Drew VerHagen and 100/1 odds on Josh Beckett.

Shane (New Zealand): No question, just wanted to say the Hit List is the best part of my Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Thank you.

Matt Sussman: Hi Shane, what are your three favorite days of the w- wait, I think we're doing this backwards.

Thanks everybody for participating, sorry if I didn't get to your question, and sorry mom I couldn't pick out which question was yours.

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