BP's Director of Technology takes your questions on the new season (and anything else on your mind).
Harry Pavlidis: another round of opening days is about to get underway ... which means I need to get this chat going and make my way to 1060 W. Addison ...
mbosley (Alabama): Is CC Sabatthia done or is it too early to judge?
Harry Pavlidis: somewhere in between. CC has had the low velo start to the season before, and picked it back up. Last year in particular. His overall trend for the past few years has been downward, so we're clearly in a new age for the erstwhile power pitcher--he has to adapt. He's trying a cutter (a real one, not his misnamed slurve) which is a sign of acceptance. So don't write him off quite yet. But don't look at him the way you used to, that's for sure.
Hihn (Uranus): What's your thought on Jake Odorizzi?
Harry Pavlidis: solid starter, not a star. If his changeup took a step forward he'll stick in the rotation, since the book on him has been "unable to put guys away"--a pitch like that can move the needle quickly for a pitcher like Odorizzi.
Matt Trueblood (Under a Foot of Snow): It seems to me that the Cubs have an absolute glut of trade chips for the coming summer. An underachiever here and an injury there could change things, but there are a dozen trade candidates on the club, all things considered. Give me 1-10 scores of the likelihood that the following are dealt:
The team's top IFA signing slots
Harry Pavlidis: Shark 7, Boni 7, Valbuena 5, IFA 2, Olt 3, Starlin 4
jlarsen (Inside the mind of Busey): Jason Hammel is ___ starts away from being dealt for decent-to-good prospects?
Harry Pavlidis: 15-20
jlarsen (Chicagoland): All the teasing about it, from Spring Training and anonymous AL Scout praise and not one change-up. Well, here's to possibly 8 years of waiting and watching...for Chris Archer and his change-up. #swoon
Harry Pavlidis: this was a surprise, not one changeup from Archer in his 2014 debut. It's gonna be really hard for him to make it with two pitches, as good as those are. My suspicion is he wasn't feeling sharp--as reflected by his fastball command--and his confidence with the changeup is shaky. Put those together and we get a 0 changeup day. I would've expected more progress by now, but we'll see next time.
Ryan O'Gara (E-Town): Are you concerned with the hacks Baez takes with two strikes? Do you think he will ever temper the stroke and develop a two strike approach? If he doesn't, how will it impact his future projection?
Harry Pavlidis: to quote myself, I both love and hate it. He did it last night, prompting that remark in a tweet. On one hand he's telling the pitcher to always be on guard, but he's also telling them he can be taken care of more easily than most hitters.
Will he temper that stroke? I think so, he has enough power to do damage without going balls out every time. If he doesn't, it puts him in the "he's good, dangerous, but could have been great" category.
Howie (NYC): Any chance we can get a BP smartphone app? I would probably never put down my phone or tablet. My wife will love it!
Harry Pavlidis: we won't be breaking up your marriage this year (at least not that way). But I do have some goals for 2015 that would work towards that end. This web site we're on is a little old and clunky, but as we address that we'll also lay the groundwork for a mobile-friendly/marriage-destroying app. Like Tinder.
Sagar (Lincoln Park): Prediction on when Baez will be up and what position he will be playing?
Harry Pavlidis: this answer is going to vary a lot based on when you ask me ... so next month it will change based on what's happening in Iowa and Chicago. But, at the moment, if I had to guess ... second base in late July. And I think that's a bad guess.
jlarsen (Chicagoland): Sabathia eulogy needing to be penned yet or does the once super-sized ace still have a few more awesome starts left in him?
Harry Pavlidis: Not quite yet, but as I noted earlier there is (a) cause for concern; (b) reasons to be patient; and (c) the possibility of some resurgence if he adapts well
Clark (Kansas City): Luis Sardinas' strength is in the field. However at 6'-1" and 150# is there room for weight and as a result some power? Something to get him above a slap hitter. Is this true or is the thought process that he should stay slim to keep range and mobility in the field?
Harry Pavlidis: he's young so he'll add weight (trust me). But he can make it with his speed and glove alone. I wouldn't mess with the existing tools to improve another, let him take his natural development course and then trade him to a team that can use him. Or teach him to play multiple positions, further mitigating any bat weaknesses.
Big Mo (Chicago): Harry, do you see shark getting signed or dealt? How many chances with Veras get as closer?
Harry Pavlidis: I think he's likely to get traded away. 2:1 in favor of that, roughly. Veras should be given all the rope he needs to hang himself. He's going to be a roller coaster ride, but so would Strop.
gerrybraun (San Diego): Harry -- you're just the man I want to talk to: As Director of Technology, can you do something to improve BP's player search site? For example, if I'm looking for Carlos Garcia, your search engine takes me to a list of 12 Carlos Garcias, with the distinguishing characteristics being DOB, handedness, playing time, etc. Often, this is the kind of information I'm seeking, not information that helps me find the player. I end up clicking on half of there links before finding the Carlos Garcia I'm looking for. (Obviously this is not a problem when I'm looking up Tuffy Gosewisch.) Any thoughts?
Harry Pavlidis: yes, and I agree. One of the challenges of our exhaustive player db is making it easier to find guys. I think the first improvement we could make is to try and group the players by active/mlb/milb (in other words, rip off Sean Forman's bb-ref search results). Major overhauls won't happen quickly, but perhaps that's an idea we can implement sooner than later.
Harry Pavlidis: and that's that, an abbreviated session ... but I gotta bundle up and hit the L. Until next time ...