Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 1/10/2019

12:16
Jay Jaffe: Howdy folks and welcome to another edition of my weekly chat – and as before, this one figures to be Hall of Fame flavored. Towards that end, I’ve got a piece on big year-to-year jumps in the voting centered around Larry Walker, which should be up by the time this chat is over.

12:16
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Hey there Jay. Did you ever get into Strat-o-Matic or MLB Showdown?

12:19
Jay Jaffe: No. I played Strat a couple times but growing up, neither my brother of my other friends were into such things at the time. What I did play a bit of was  Avalon Hill’s Baseball Strategy, and a ton of Strategic Simulations Inc.’s Computer Baseball, which I wrote about for Michael Clair’s blog-a-thon a few years ago http://oldtimefamilybaseball.com/post/73880788748/the-basement-tapes-b…

12:20
Jay Jaffe: Sorry, I had to spend a couple minutes in Google tracking that down, and now my lunch — banh mi from Hanco’s — is here. So if things are as slow-starting as Larry Walker’s Hall of Fame candidacy, that’s why.

12:20
Brodie: So Grandal only got one year… looks like a misread the market pretty badly to offer four years…

12:23
Jay Jaffe: I’d say it was a misread of Grandal’s to turn down four years — if that was actually offered, and with Heyman, Nightengale and Rosenthal all reporting that he did have one, in the 4/$50-60M range (see https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/yasmani-grandal), then I’ll take that as solid. But he gets to play for a contender, in a hitter-friendly park, so if he stays healthy, he’ll get another shot next year without being attached to a qualifying offer.

12:23
Zamora: Yasmani Grandal is the biggest FA steal since…?

12:24
Jay Jaffe: While a one-year deal avoids long-term risk, I wouldn’t call $18.25 million plus a lost compensation pick a steal.

12:24
Lou: What is behind the lack of a market for Grandal?  You’d think getting an elite framer with a 125 wRC+ and 3.6 WAR at an premium position would get more than a 1 year deal.

12:26
Jay Jaffe: I’ve heard that the Dodgers didn’t love his game-calling, and maybe that plus his Biogenesis history and/or his rough October may have been factors.

12:26
OddBall Herrera: Am I the only one surprised to see Berkman in danger of falling off the ballot in year 1 while Jeff Kent continues to chug along 6 years later?

12:28
Jay Jaffe: Berkman is going to be a Rule of 2,000 guy. Nobody from the post-1960 expansion era has been elected if they fall short of 2,000 hits. Dick Allen, Bobby Grich, Tony Oliva, Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds, Mark McGwire — voters don’t really give these guys much support. See https://blogs.fangraphs.com/joe-mauer-and-the-rule-of-2000/

12:29
stever20: how great of a signing was it for the Nats getting Dozier?  Seems like this is one that fits like an absolute glove.

12:32
Jay Jaffe: He’s coming off a dreadful season (0.8 WAR) marked by knee woes and two consecutive years of declining defensive metrics. If he’s healthy and rebounds to his projected 2.5 WAR, it looks like a great deal but it could also become a writeoff. Certainly a shot worth taking for the Nationals, but it’s not like they just won the lottery

12:33
Alan: Have you ever written about Kevin Brown’s HOF qualifications? As a one-and-done guy his odds must be pretty long, and he was in Ken Davidoff’s words “unpleasant,” but man could he pitch.

12:37
Jay Jaffe: I wrote a couple hundred words about him for The Cooperstown Casebook but I don’t recall more than a passing mention of him in anything recent. The Mitchell Report really hurt him, and his charm-school demeanor probably didn’t help, either, but his 56.6 JAWS is in the same general vicinity of Halladay (57.5), Greinke (56.5) and Verlander (54.8). I think his odds will improve 10-15 years down the road after we see the other non-300 win guys get in.

12:38
PD: There were a number of “one and done” players on the HOF ballot that surprised me to think that their last game was 5 years ago. Anyone in particular that stood out to you or made you nostalgic?

12:41
Jay Jaffe: They all did, to some degree — that’s what drives that phase of the project — but Ted Lilly was one that really jogged my memory because I was following his progress so closely as he was breaking into the Yankees rotation in 2001. Latter-day Freddy Garcia remains a favorite because I covered his re-emergence with the Yankees while writing for the Pinstriped Bible c. 2011 with Steven Goldman and Cliff Corcoran. And I gained a new appreciation for Darren Oliver’s career.

12:41
Ozzie Ozzie Albies Free: Re: Grandal, he got 18 mil for a year.  Which leaves 32 mil from his reported offer from the Mets.  He can easily make that in his next contract if he plays decently next year right?  Plus, he doesn’t have to play for the Mets.   Money isn’t everything, I think Grandal did the right thing.

12:46
Jay Jaffe: Yes, if he stays healthy but that’s no given for a catcher. It’s worth noting Grandal, though he’s generally been durable, is not bulletproof. He’s already had ACL/MCL reconstruction and A/C joint repair.

As for the Mets factor, I think it’s plausible that he could have turned his nose up at an offer that was on par with a similar one from another team based upon the team’s reputation for front office/ownership-induced chaos, but for as much as I bust on the Mets, I have a harder time seeing him spit on the largest mutiyear offer he’s received simply because of that reputation. Money talks first.

12:47
Bauer: So we’ve got ourselves a real Curt Schilling on our hands here, in several ways.

12:47
Jay Jaffe: Uh-oh, what now?

12:48
Dave: If a meatball sub was a baseball player, what position would it play?

12:48
Jay Jaffe: Right field. Big power hitter, good batting eye, but low batting average, loses hits to the shift, is pokey on the basepaths, and probably a future DH.

12:49
Al Pal: Fwiw, Strat/Showdown lives again currently with Clutch Baseball (clutchmoment.com), who are doing a great job with the game. Not affiliated, just really passionate about all three.

12:49
Jay Jaffe: For those interested in such things, there’s a lead…

12:49
Hammer: I feel like Roy Oswalt was a great pitcher, and while I think he’ll fall short, he seems to be getting no support or discussion which is a little surprising to me.

12:52
Jay Jaffe: Oswalt pitched only 2245.1 major league innings, which leaves his counting stats short, and he never won a Cy Young award or a World Series. This ballot is loaded with pitchers with bigger numbers and more hardware and so finding room for him among the 10 slots is nearly impossible. It’s a shame, because he was a damn good pitcher who had HOF-caliber talent, but he’s not the first to succumb to injuries instead of realizing it fully.

As doomed as his candidacy is, I enjoyed writing at length about his career rather than including him in the One-and-Done pile (which I had to do with Tejada due to scheduling).

12:52
Dave: Does Arenado have to leave Colorado to be a HOF candidate given the struggles that Walker and now Helton have had?

12:54
Jay Jaffe: The book is most definitely NOT closed on Walker, and Helton will at least stick around on the ballot. For as strong as both were defensively, Arenado is in another world in terms of the way his defense is perceived while being backed by strong metrics. All of which is to say that I think you’re guilty of premature extrapolation with regards to his Hall of Fame case

12:55
Jay Jaffe: And speaking of Walker: managing editor Meg Rowley has perfect timing in notifying me that my piece for today is ready https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2019-hall-of-fame-ballot-big-…

12:56
Mike: Is Jeff Kent the player from this era who makes the most sense of missing the HOF now but getting the nod by the Era Committee 15 years from now?

12:57
Jay Jaffe: I think Fred McGriff is the most likely to succeed in front of a small committee, and I’d also put Kent in that class because that group seems to need a simple, non-analytical hook for a candidate to catch their attention. Most HR by a 2B would fit that.

12:57
brad: dozier puts Nats over $200MM payroll, is there still room for Harper?

1:00
Jay Jaffe: The Nationals have reportedly upped their initial 10-year, $300 million offer, so I believe the answer is still yes. I’d expect them to do some paring if they land him — somebody else here asked about Adam Eaton and it would be a reasonable assumption that they think about trading him.

1:00
Justin Verlander: I know Fangraphs did an article last year, and Crawfishboxes just did an updated one on if he would be a Hall of Famer if he retired today. What is your take?

1:00
Jay Jaffe: Wrote about him in late August https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/verlander-and-the-200-win-club/

1:00
LPFan: What’s your favorite baseball video game?

1:01
Jay Jaffe: I haven’t played any in a long, long time. I loved the Intellivision one when I was a kid, c. 1980, but we had to go to a family friend’s house to play it, and that was particularly rare

1:02
Roger: The ballot tracker has Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling in the 73.2%-74.4% range.  Should we expect all 3 drop off some in the final voting?  I would think those who reveal their ballots in advance tend to be more progressive than those who don’t.  Has there been any analysis of past trends between these 2 groups?

1:03
Jay Jaffe: The projections done by Nathaniel Rakich (@baseballot) center around a 3-year average of the public-vs-private split. Here’s his latest, and there are links within there to explanations about his methodology

Edgar and Mussina are both UP in my latest #HOF projections. tinyurl.com/NRHOF2019
9 Jan 2019
1:03
Andy: Jason Varitek’ 4 caught no hitters and solid play put him in consideration for Hall?

1:05
Jay Jaffe: Varitek received 0.5% when he appeared on the ballot in 2017. 1,307 career hits — see the Rule of 2,000 above. Also just 21.5 JAWS, less than half that of the average HOF catcher (44.0). Was never a strong candidate despite those notable accomplishments you mention.

1:05
Jim: It looks more likely that Harper could sign with Washington. If that happens, what do they do with their outfield? They have to play Victor Robles everyday, don’t they?

1:06
Jay Jaffe: It’s a logjam, for sure. and yes, I think it would yield a Soto-Robles-Harper configuration, with Eaton on the outbound.

1:06
Matt W: He’s always been a sentimental favorite of mine because he helped me win a fantasy title way back when, but did we ever get a reason why Javier Vazquez was left off the HOF ballot completely?

1:09
Jay Jaffe: Nobody official ever gives reasons about this kind of stuff but it probably had to do with his 4.22 career ERA and 165 wins — numbers that won’t get anybody elected. Note that we had guys with lesser credentials on this ballot, like Lilly, Garcia, Oliver and Jon Garland, suggesting that the screening committee was a wee bit more inclusive if  not comprehensive (Ryan Dempster could have easily been in that group but did not make the cut).

1:09
Astros: Who do you think the next player that makes the HoF as an Astro is?

1:10
Jay Jaffe: Jose Altuve, probably? Verlander and Beltran won’t be wearing Astros caps.

1:10
Ariel White: When can we expect a summary of the fan HoF balloting that Fangraphs ran?

1:11
Jay Jaffe: I have the results. Right now i think we’re going to run that on the morning of 1/22 as my election preview piece, since 1/21 is Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday.

1:11
Brick: Reports are Miguel Sano is down 30 lbs – if not more – and absolutely destroyed a pitch in the DWL a few nights ago. Is he one of the bigger bounce-back candidates in baseball this season?

1:12
Jay Jaffe: Bigger in size, sure. And yeah, in terms of track record, too. If he stays healthy…

1:12
Soup for thought: I thought a meatball sub was a reliever with a straight fastball…

1:12
Jay Jaffe: well played, sir.

1:13
Dragon’s Milk: What’s your go to Stout? how about an everyday Amber?

1:15
Jay Jaffe: Sam Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, North Coast’s Old Rasputin, Left Hand’s Milk Stout and Founders’ Breakfast Stout (not Kentucky Breakfast Stout, a rare treat) are some go-tos. Just bought a 6-pack of Stone’s Xocoveza, which is outstanding. Brooklyn Black Ops is an annual treat.

1:17
Jay Jaffe: As for ambers, man i used to drink a lot of them but not so much anymore because my wife doesn’t drink them and if you’re going to the store you gotta come home with two six-packs… Lagunitas’ Censored Rich Copper Ale (aka The Kronik) was a go-to, as was Peak Amber and , if you permit me a bit of latitude, Brooklyn Brown Ale and Smuttynose’s Old Brown Dog

1:18
PM: Would you agree the biggest injustice of the 10 limit rule is that it causes players to be one who done who at least deserved several more seasons and cycles of appreciation even if they weren’t HOF worthy?

1:19
Jay Jaffe: It’s certainly one of the big injustices, but that aspect could be done away with if the Five Percent Rule were adjusted or discarded.

1:19
Rusty: Have you ever played OOTP? If so, what are your thoughts on the gameplay?

1:20
Jay Jaffe: No. I have a full plate keeping up with actual baseball, not to mention the responsibilities that come with being a husband and father. Right now, I can’t even find enough time to read many books, which really sucks.

1:21
Pitch_Out: I think the Curt Schilling reference above was regarding his username choice of ‘Bauer’ and inferring the similarities between the two…

1:22
Jay Jaffe: ah. In the heat of answering questions I sometimes don’t even notice user names, and that was one such instance. Yes, Trevor Bauer needs to Log Off, to say the least.

1:22
RockStar: Next year with Jeter being the only first ballot guy, and Moose most likely off the ballot, will Walker and Schilling have a chance??

1:24
Jay Jaffe: See today’s piece re: Walker. Schilling… if he gets to 60%, he’s in the same boat, in theory, but his candidacy is a singular one in terms of the way he’s crossed lines and burnt bridges. I don’t think he can depend on the type of groundswell most candidates get once they get above 60%

1:24
Dan: Do you think its fair for Joe Mauer to be considered a catcher for the HOF? Less than half of his games are at the position and his numbers at 1b or DH are much less impressive. To me hes not a hall of famer.

1:26
Jay Jaffe: Should Ernie Banks have been considered a first baseman because he played out the string there? Bro, do you even lift?

Most of Mauer’s value — all of his top 7 seasons that go into his peak score within my JAWS system, plus his MVP award, his batting titles, his Gold Gloves, his All-Star appearances — came while he was catching. Everything that made his career special, in other words.

1:26
Patrick: I’m thoroughly confused by the screening committee process, and wish it was more discussed. It seems like there’s no criteria, and it’s just kind of haphazard

1:28
Jay Jaffe: There’s not much light shed upon it because of the presumption that nobody (or nearly nobody) cares. It’s a committee of 6 guys, generally pretty grizzled ones, and you have to be nominated by two of them to make it to the ballot. Whether they sit around and do this over lunch or simply make their lists and somebody collates all of them, I’m actually not sure. But yes, guys do slip through the cracks.

1:28
Hammer: How long do you think it will be until Advanced Analytics are widely used in HoF evaluations?

1:29
Jay Jaffe: I mean, how advanced? Happily, I’ve lost track of the number of voters who cite WAR and JAWS in their ballot explainers, and we’re not yet at the point where candidates have ANY Statcast data to draw upon.

1:29
slicedfriedgold: Looking at Nathaniel Rakich’s projections, it strikes me odd that Bonds and Clemens have any gap, as they’re both obviously slam dunk candidates that have the same reason they’re not in, and that’s a connection to steroids. Gut instinct, do you feel like for HOF voters, a connection to steroids is worse for hitters than pitchers? Or do you think it’s just weird voter noise?

1:33
Jay Jaffe: I wrote a bit about the Bonds/Clemens split yesterday and some potential reasons why it may be. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2019-hall-of-fame-ballot-loos…. Long story short, yes, there’s a presumption that PEDs help hitters more than pitchers. But I don’t know how somebody could look at Clemens’ Cy Young wins at 38 and 41 (numbers six and seven!) and view them in a drastically different light than Bonds’ HR records.

1:33
Nick Stone: Jay, what’s going on with the Yankees? After years of saving pennies, isn’t now the time to crack open the safe for one of these young, generational talents? If not now, when? Is the Yankees revenue down or is this some 8th dimensional chess Cashman is playing?

1:39
Jay Jaffe: Hey Nick! It really is a puzzle, because for so long we’ve heard about the Yankees (and the Dodgers) wanting to re-set their tax rate in time for the big winter of 2018-2019 free agent class… which admittedly did not live up to the hype, with Kershaw staying put and guys like Harper and Donaldson entering the market off a less-than-stellar season.

The best that can be said about this situation vis a vis the Yankees is that 1) they’ve been burned by big long-term deals for the likes of A-Rod (version 2) and Ellsbury; 2) at most, they appear to have short-term needs at the positions that Harper and Machado play (Didi’s injury-related absence from SS); fitting either of those two into the lineup would involve position switches (Andujar or Harper to 1B, maybe?) or trades.

1:39
Jay Jaffe: Is that enough for the sudden change in the way they do business when it comes to 26-year-old generational talents? I don’t think so, and right now I think it’s strange what’s going on not just there but all around the game, with the limited markets for even the top free agents that so many were salivating over just a year ago.

1:39
Scott: With Baines in the Hall and Edgar on the verge, when will there be a separate JAWS category for DH?

1:41
Jay Jaffe: I don’t foresee adding one anytime soon. Baines’ JAWS is so low that if you’re just going on the average of him and Edgar, you’re going to get some exceedingly silly results and wind up with Hal McRae and Chili Davis on stage in Cooperstown.

1:41
Ariel White: Every makes a big deal of Schilling’s antics and about other player’s PEDs (whatever side the end up falling in terms of the voting), but almost no one seems to mention domestic violence such as in the case of Andruw Jones, unless they just do it in passing and even then I haven’t seen anyone decide not to vote for him because of that. This is voting for an award, not to give someone a contract to play (and even then, see Chery’s article on Addison Russell, what would she say?). What message does this send to victims of abuse?

1:48
Jay Jaffe: You’re correct, in that it doesn’t send a great message. I think there’s much more discussion about Schilling and the PED guys because they’re much closer to election (Schilling, Bonds and Clemens are all going to wind up ~60%) than Jones, who’s polling in the single digits. If he were at 60%, I think his DV case would be discussed more.

As I noted within my Bonds profile, he has allegations re: DV in his past as well. In his 1995 divorce case, his first wife alleged several incidents of spousal abuse, including being kicked while eight months pregnant. In this day and age, those allegations would be investigated, and probably result in a suspension. In 2011, his longtime girlfriend Kimberly Bell alleged that he subjected her to verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. From the NY Times:

1:50
Jay Jaffe: “Bell testified that Bonds threatened ‘to cut my head off and leave me in a ditch’ and said that ‘he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them.’ He also said he was going to burn her house down, she said. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/sports/baseball/29bonds.html

I haven’t seen much mention of any of this among voters. It’s a problem that I don’t want to downplay, but one that alas is a subset of larger ones, that we as a society are grappling with how to handle these, and those of us within the world of sports don’t have great answers to such questions.

1:51
Rusty: who’s a non-player you really want inducted into the hall?

1:51
Jay Jaffe: Marvin Miller. It’s ridiculous that he’s not in.

1:51
Conor: Who’s would you bet on being a modern-day Scott Rolen? In other words, what player that’s currently active could you see ending well-qualified for the hall by Jaws but being overlooked by many voters for some reason?

1:53
Jay Jaffe: Well, Scott Rolen is the modern-day Scott Rolen in that he still has eight more years of eligibility after this one. I’d say Chase Utley and Joe Mauer are the next two guys in that category — they’re above the JAWS standard if not necessarily widely perceived as Hallworthy — but both just retired. At the moment, I don’t think there’s anybody active who’s to quite that level.

1:54
Tim: Would you list the info re the bookstore that has your autographed copies of your book? I would like to get one for myself since I didn’t make Santa’s nice list. Thanks

1:54
Jay Jaffe: Sure thing. Signed copies of The Cooperstown Casebook are available via Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. Please see here https://cooperstowncasebook.com/2017/07/21/signed-copies-of-the-cooper…

1:56
Jay Jaffe: And with that, I’m about out of time. Thanks for stopping by, folks! See you next week…

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Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe.

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j_co88
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j_co88

Re: Mauer. One commenter mentioned that Mauer played less than half his games at catcher. That simply isn’t true. He played in 1526 games with appearances at C in 921 of them. For games he started, he started 885 of his 1470 games at C.