Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 1/3/19

12:16
Jay Jaffe: Hey folks, good afternoon, happy new year, and welcome to my first chat of 2019. Sorry for the delay — the payoff of a long game of phone tag came due. Anyway, let’s get started…

12:16
Sirras: Do you have any baseball-related resolutions for the new year?

12:18
Jay Jaffe: 1) More time at the ballpark — figuring out child care coverage of a 2-year-old when both my wife and I are working within the confines of daily baseball coverage is a trick we have yet to master.

2) Spread out my viewing among more teams.

12:18
Travis: Given Larry Walker’s (potential?) surge in balloting so far, and assuming he finishes above 50% – still more likely for him to go in via the Today’s Game committee? Or are we saying there’s a chance?

12:20
Jay Jaffe: We’re really kind of in uncharted territory here.

12:22
Jay Jaffe: we’ve never seen a surge from 20-something to 75%+ within a 2-year span, and we really haven’t seen even anybody recent get in from mid-50s to 75% in one year. I wrote about big jumps in the modern era of voting history (1966 onward) in connection to the candidacies of Bagwell and Raines a few years back (https://www.si.com/mlb/2016/01/05/hall-of-fame-ballot-vote-biggest-jum…) and the closest analogue I can come up with is Luis Aparicio, who went from 36.9% to 84.6% in three years. And that was years 3-6 within a 15-year cycle.

12:23
Jay Jaffe: If Walker can get into the 60s, then maybe he’s got a shot? But I still think the Today’s Game committee is a better bet, long term

12:23
DJ Kitty: What has surprised you the most in HoF voting since you started the JAWS project? Also which players surprised you personally the most in being HoF worthy (or not) based on JAWS?

12:27
Jay Jaffe: 1) that actual voters, including some of the biggest names in the industry, actually take JAWS seriously, and have taken undersupported candidates such as Raines, Edgar, Walker and even Bagwell to heart. Maybe some of those guys  get in eventually without JAWS. But all of them? I have a hard time believing that.

2) There were so many revelations early on, not always in favor of guys who got in, and they have been guys over whom there was a lot of old school vs. new school battles. Blyleven, Morris, Rice, Murphy, Parker, Santo, etc. I don’t think revelations of that caliber sneak up on us anymore because we’re checking WAR daily.

12:27
Friend: If you were to pick five under-thirty players who have the best chance to make to Hall of Fame who would they be?

12:29
Jay Jaffe: Trout, obviously — so far ahead of the pack that I’m going to assume you mean five OTHER guys. Mine probably would be Machado, Betts, Stanton, Simmons and Arenado, not necessarily in that order.

12:29
JC: It was a shame to see Jim Edmonds get the one-off. Do you think he eventually gets the nod thru the committee?

12:30
Jay Jaffe: The most we can say about the newest iteration of the committees is that longevity and a single statistical hook seem to resonate. Morris’ 254 wins, Smith’s 478 saves, Baines’ 2,866 hits. Trammell… that one doesn’t quite fit into that schema but I think the point stands. Edmonds doesn’t have the longevity or the statstical hook, not in the way that Lofton, with his 622 steals might.

12:33
LPFan: Is Trout on track to be the best player ever? best hitter ever?

12:36
Jay Jaffe: He’s got a shot, for sure, and in terms of the evolution of the game (and the human body, vis a vis nutrition and training) and caliber of competition, I think it’s fair to say that he might already be there.

I think the conversation about best player ever basically comes down to Ruth, Mays, Bonds and Trout. Segregation, a limited player pool and PEDs cloud the discussion but those are the guys that have been light years beyond the competition for a sustained time. Obviously not as sustained for Trout yet, but he’s in the picture.

12:37
Brick: What is a realistic slash line for Tulowitzki pre-Didi’s return?

12:39
Jay Jaffe: Steamer has him at .252/.312/.426, 99 wRC+, which is about where he was in 2016. I think that if he’s healthy and can elevate the ball (something he wasn’t doing in 2017 compared to years prior), Yankee Stadium will goose that line a bit, but that’s still a big bet on health, and  ¯\_(?)_/¯. There aren’t a lot of recent positives to draw upon for 30+ year old middle infielders missing a full year, as I wrote back in late August. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-season-without-troy-tulowitzki/

12:39
Not mean but regressing: Your mock ballot talked a bit about ballot management. So why vote for Rivera, who is already prepping his speech for July? I agree he is obviously worthy, but he and Halladay would not be in my 10 this year.

12:43
Jay Jaffe: Given that nobody has actually come forward to exclude Rivera yet, out of 140+ ballots, there is no way on God’s green earth that I’m going to be That Guy, not when Rivera meant so much to me, particularly dating back to when I was a fan rather than a pro.

And while Halladay is polling well on the published ballots, there’s still the possibility he gets dissed hard on the unpublished ones the way Mussina and Schilling, other guys with fewer than 300 wins, have. I’d rather get him above 75% and off. I’m not going to be the hardass who keeps the dead guy off my ballot the first time.

12:43
Hello: How many opt-outs does Harper get, and after what year(s)?

12:43
Jay Jaffe: i’ve long held that he gets at least one. Maybe only one, and I’d guess it’s after year 3 or 4 in a 10-year deal.

12:44
Yankees: … so let’s say Manny chooses New York. Not so much what they WILL do, but what SHOULD they do with Miggy? Some say he should pull a Braun and play LF (but they have, like, 5 LFs). Some say just put him at DH. Some say 1B (but range is his problem so..), some say “trade him for an SP” (but they already have 5 so…).

12:48
Jay Jaffe: If they land Manny, I think they either let him start at SS for half a season and see where that goes — obviously, tough luck for Tulo, and possibly bad news for Didi — or trade Andujar. The asymmetry of Yankee Stadium is such that left field ideally requires an outfielder capable of manning center, a Granderson or Gardner type who has excellent mobility and decent routes. That’s no place for a novice like Andjuar. As to what you trade him for, if you can’t fill an immediate need, you can probably get a haul of prospects that can help sometime between 2020 and 2022, or add Frazier to the package and bring home something big.

12:48
Sirras: Mike Trout – suppose he was a replacement level player for the next 5 years. Do you still consider him a HOF-caliber player based on peak alone?

12:50
Jay Jaffe: yes. He’s at 63.8 for his 7-year peak, where the average HOF CF is at 44.5. He’s at 64.1 JAWS where the average is at 57.7. His heavy lifting is done as far as the HOF is concerned. A guy who has six years where he was either 1st or 2nd in the MVP voting — either 1 or 1A in the minds of most people for the question of the league’s best player — is a Hall of Famer whether that takes place within a 7-year span or a 20-year one.

12:50
Josh: Is Edwin Encarnacion a reasonable comp for Miguel Andujar? Shoddy defense with a plus bat, who will do enough at the plate to allow teams to forget the defense?

12:54
Jay Jaffe: It’s not a bad comp but Encarnacion was a more patient hitter at a young age. In his age-23 season, his first full-ish one (117 G, 467 PA), he saw 3.84 pitches per PA and walked in 8.8% of his PA, whereas Andujar saw 3.52 pitches and walked just 4.1%. Andujar does strike out less (16.0%, vs 16.7%, a gap that would be wider if nomralized to league).

12:54
Friend: That’s Andrelton Simmons? Over guys like, for example, Harper or Lindor?

12:58
Jay Jaffe: Simmons is at 34.9 WAR through age 28; he’s the next Ozzie Smith type, glove-first infielder candidate, a guy who’s going to have an above-standard peak very soon. Lindor is certainly a guy I’d put in my top 10 such candidates but he’s just completed his age-24 season, and is at 23.9 WAR — just a further distance to travel, and likewise for Correa (18.3 through age-23). Harper would be in my top 10 but that’s a bet on upside, because the consistency hasn’t been there.

12:58
Ryan: Rick Reuschel accumulated 69.7 WAR, 200+ wins, and 2000+ strikeouts in his career, but he got only 0.4% of the vote and immediately fell off the ballot in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility.  What was wrong with his candidacy?

1:02
Jay Jaffe: He was rather unheralded in his day. Two top-3 CY finishes, 10 years apart, just 3 All-Star seasons, and no black ink in Triple Crown categories. 3x top 10 in ERA, 5x top 10 in K, but all 8th, 9th, or 10th. And the won-loss record didn’t stick out much. One 20-win season, a handful with more losses than wins. Voters didn’t have WAR and JAWS to look at in 1997 when he came on the ballot but even now I don’t think he’d outpoll a guy like Pettitte who had a much higher profile career.

1:02
Alec: Who’s your favorite all time player to watch, but that you couldn’t make a good HoF case for?

1:03
Jay Jaffe: Probably Fernando Valenzuela, but I might also include Davey Lopes and Ron Cey from those late 70s-early 80s Dodgers teams that were my first love. I can make better cases for Steve Garvey and Reggie Smith, if not actually good cases.

1:04
Bryce: does Harison Bader have a realistic shot at a 20/20 season in 2019?

1:05
Jay Jaffe: I would think so. Steamer has him for 16/14 for his age-25 season, so you’d figure the range of distributions puts 20/20 at maybe a 70th percentile outcome in there.

1:05
dan: Yadi Molina? Ehh??

1:05
Jay Jaffe: Do we have to discuss Molina’s Hall of Fame case every week? Please, I’ve covered this territory in past chats and recently in a conversation with the Athletic’s Mark Saxon. Google.

1:06
Baseball Brit: Dear Mr. Jaffe. Will you be attending the London Series? We have some smashing ales you may like. I

1:06
Jay Jaffe: Oh man, I would LOVE to go, but as yet I’ve made no attempt to even see if it’s feasible, the reality of life as a parent of a 2-year-old. But hmmm…

1:06
KD: When you were writing your HOF articles during the last two months, did you know you were going to be on MLBTV at the time?  I found your articles to be less of a “strong take” and more measured/reserved while I was reading them.

1:11
Jay Jaffe: I’ve been appearing on MLB Network during ballot season since late 2011 (long live Clubhouse Confidential), so this is nothing new. I’m sure my discussions in such context have become more polished and measured over that timespan, and not only because I’ve grown up just a little. Being part of the BBWAA (c. 2011), moving to SI (2012), doing TV and a book… all of these things and the places they’ve taken me have been opportunities to reshape how I communicate what I’m doing. And I like to think I’ve gotten better at it, out of necessity.

1:11
Tom: Was Jeff Kent really *that* unlikable where he’s not seriously considered a Hall of Famer, at least by the voters? He seems like more of a Hall-of-Famer than Utley

1:12
Jay Jaffe: I think the crowded ballot and unflattering advanced stats are doing as much, if not more, to keep Kent in down-ballot territory as his personality. I also think he’ll be fine when he’s a Today’s Game candidate down the road. Most homers by a 2B is another easy hook when you’re committed to doing zero in-depth analysis.

1:12
Lou: Was it a mistake for Grandal to turn down that (rumored) 4 year $60 mil deal from the Mets?   Will he be this year’s Moustakas?

1:13
Jay Jaffe: If I were him, I’d have jumped at 4/$60M if it was real, and even if it was the Mets. I have a hard time imagining him doing MUCH better than that unless it’s similar money from a more sure-fire contender or simply Not a Met.

1:16
Jay Jaffe: Remember all of that Grandal vs. Wilson Ramos discussion we had here late in the year? Given the rumor, I have to think that Grandal is gonna do a lot better than the 2/$19M Ramos got from the Mets, even with the attachment of the draft pick compensation.

1:18
Matt: Mussina is at 82.4% on public ballots, does he finally make it in?

1:21
Jay Jaffe: Given that Halladay, Edgar and Mo are all 90%+,I think that the major suspense for this year’s election basically boils down to Mussina in/out. Via the Tracker, he still needs about 71% from the remaining ballots (published and un-), and he got just 46.7% on the unpublished ones last year. If those old codgers are adding him at similar rates to the published ballots, he’s golden, but if not, he’ll have to wait a year. From my vantage, I always thought that last year’s 63.5% put him two cycles away.

1:21
LPFan: Surprised Ted Williams isn’t part of discussion as the greatest ever. If not for wars, I think he would have topped Ruth for most WAR, no?

1:23
Jay Jaffe: He might have challenged Bonds and Ruth for the top WAR if not for his military service, yes. And if we’re just talking greatest hitter, he’s certainly there, but once you start talking defense (or in Ruth’s case the add’l aspect of his pitching) then Ted F. Williams might be the 5th wheel of that conversation.

1:23
Phil: Wow, that’s a massive disparity between BRef and Fangraphs WAR for Simmons… I’m guessing that it is tied to DRS vs. UZR. Would be great to standardize the defense component one of these days.

1:25
Jay Jaffe: yeah 80+ runs more in DRS vs. UZR. i would not expect “standardization” anytime soon though. I’ve chosen to keep JAWS on the bWAR currency but  don’t think we need to view any single metric as the end-all of discussion.

1:25
Alex: What kind of a HOF chance does Andruw Jones have?  With all the fuss over Vizquel’s defense, it bothers me that a guy who could actually hit as well isn’t getting nearly the support.

1:26
Jay Jaffe: Maybe better in Committee? God knows he’ll have enough Braves-affiliated HOFers as potential voters in that context.

1:26
James: People (I’d imagine including yourself) have discussed the recently unprecedented lack of sure-fire HOFs debuting on the next two ballots aside from Jeter. This has to mean a huge boon for the tweeners like Rolen, Vizquel, Walker and others who would have been many writers’ 11th and 12th votes these recent years correct?

1:28
Jay Jaffe: It should help those guys, yes. It’s worth looking at that far right column on the Tracker, which notes when voters mention guys they might possibly have voted for beyond 10.

1:28
Andrew: Hey Jay how do you think Abreu does on the ballot next year when Derek arrives?

1:30
Jay Jaffe: 10% or less and likely below 5%. Underappreciated in his day, for sure, but a tweener in terms of speed and power (400 SB/288 HR), virtually no black ink, just 2 All-Star apperances and one Gold Glove. That’s not a recipe for ballot longevity.

1:30
Jim: How can you justify Kenny Lofton not getting in the HOF while Kirby Puckett is in?

1:32
Jay Jaffe: *I* can’t, but let’s remember that postseason performance/success has long been a huge part of the consideration for most voters, and that Puckett’s high batting averages also played to the electorate better than Lofton’s OBP/Speed/Defense combo does.

1:32
Ariel White: What do you think of McCormick’s, Tommy Bond’s, and Buffington’s Hof cases?

1:38
Jay Jaffe: I know there’s a guy building a movement for McCormick, and he’s the best of the remaining bunch, but I have a hard time getting worked up over missing 19th century pitchers, especially from non-NL leagues. Those three guys had 10-11 years max, so they barely meet that qualification, and the caliber of competition was pretty low.

The most interesting one, to me, is Tony Mullune, who was ambidextrous to the point of throwing lefty a few times, but also…

From The Cooperstown Casebook, “When Toledo employed black catcher Fleet Walker in 1884, before baseball’s “gentleman’s agreement” to uphold the color line had been implemented, Mullane refused to take pitch signals from him, at times deliberately crossing him up. So to hell with him.”

1:39
Ariel White: If you were given power to add 5 players to the HoF (who aren’t ineligible or still on the ballot) who would fill out the four spots after Minoso? Grich and Whitaker are kind of the standard guys that get mentioned. Do they make your list? Does Munson?

1:41
Jay Jaffe: I’d think about Munson for sure, esp. because I think he’s always going to have a hard time in the small-committee processes due to lack of longevity. Dick Allen is probably the 1st guy after Minoso, and I would put Ted Simmons ahead of Munson on my want list. Allen, Grich, Whitaker, Simmons, Munson plus Minoso? Where do I sign up to make this a reality?

1:41
Ariel White: What 1 player would you remove from the HoF if you could? I’d remove Anson (character clause)

1:42
Jay Jaffe: if it’s player, yeah, launch Anson’s plaque into the goddamn sun. And take Tom Yawkey’s plaque with it.

1:42
Andrew: Is there any 1st time Hof candidate next year other than Jeter that gets over 5%?

1:44
Jay Jaffe: Maybe the traffic easing up is enough to keep Abreu around, but if not him then Jason Giambi (BALCO, and just barely over 2,000 hits) and Cliff Lee (sub-Santana/Oswalt as far as JAWS go) are the next best, and their survival as candidates seems unlikely

1:45
Slothrop: Is there a particular Satchel Paige biography you would recommend?

1:46
Jay Jaffe: I loved Larry Tye’s Satchel: The Life and Times of an American legend, which came out in 2010. I wrote about it then http://www.futilityinfielder.com/wordpress/2009/09/one-for-the-ages-2….

1:48
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: David Roberston to the Phillies.

1:49
Jay Jaffe: 2/$23M, apparently. Good for Mr. High Socks and the Phillies — i like that move.

1:49
Jason: Andruw Jones career 62.8 WAR via baseball reference   Won’t even get enough votes to stay on the ballot.  Yet Rivera with a career 56.2 is a lock. The selection process is a joke.  Too much room for personal relationship to influence writers votes.  Am I crazy ?

1:51
Jay Jaffe: Most of the electorate doesn’t use WAR as its sole yardstick, and nor should they — that fails to capture Rivera’s postseason impact, which is a big part of why he’s such a lock.

Rivera was legitimately the best at what he was doing, for a very long time. Jones might have been the best — there’s room to question those defensive metrics, remember — but for not as long, and with a shocking fall-off that may well have been his own doing as far as the impact of his weight on his longevity.

1:51
Emily: Is David Ortiz a first ballot HOF? Thank you Jay : )

1:52
Jay Jaffe: Between the DH discussion and the survey test PED discussion it’s gonna be one hell of an interesting debate. I don’t think he gets in 1st year, but I do think he gets in within 3.

1:52
Webberoni PIzza: There’s no way that Albert’s time in Anaheim hinders his HOF case, right? Right?!

1:52
Jay Jaffe: right.

1:52
Michael: Does nyy also get option on tulo for 2020 at league min?  How does that work?

1:54
Jay Jaffe: I’m about 90% sure he just hits free agency again next winter. His 2021 option is, I think, voided by the release, with the $4M buyout included in what he’s still owed by them.

1:54
guess it doesn’t matter anymore: How many more years would Simba need to play at his current level to get into the HOF? Would he go in as an Angel? He would have 3 full years with ATL and 5 full with LAA

1:55
Jay Jaffe: I’m sorry, I don’t know who you’re talking about because Simba is Ted Simmons, Cardinals catcher, known for his long, leonine mane.

1:56
Ariel White: Why is the average WAR/WAR7?JAWS at each position weighted with average HoFers until reaching a total of 25 (the number of enshrined right fielders)? I could see benefits in comparing to all HoFers or all HoFers at a given position, but I can’t think of a reason that an adjusted average could be helpful. If it’s for sample size purposes, 25 seems like quite a random cut off and adding average HoFers seems like a pretty arbitrary way to deal with that.

1:57
Jay Jaffe: it’s based on the most HOFers at a given position (RF, which is now 26 with Baines’ election), designed to decrease the position-to-position gaps. It’s a very minimal impact. See for where the numbers were at the start of this cycle https://www.baseball-reference.com/about/jaws.shtml

1:58
Jay Jaffe: I just didn’t like the fact that there was about a 6-point gap between the JAWS standards in LF and CF. It’s closer to 4 points with this tweak. I like it better, but YMMV

1:58
Ariel White: Why aren’t median and stdev presented in the JAWS charts? Median is about as relevant as mean for something like this and those numbers would each have a lot more context if they were presented with an stdev.

2:00
Jay Jaffe: KISS — keep it simple, stupid. I think part of the reason JAWS has gained traction is that I’ve avoided making people feel like they’re in math class. I’ve considered medians, and percentiles and indexes and various alternate means of presentation, and I always return to leaving well enough alone on the theory that the last thing somebody needs is a few more numbers — beyond what I’ve already added — thrown into the mix.

2:01
Jay Jaffe: whoops, i’m out of time, went right up to the deadline! Fun stuff chatting with you folks today. Looking forward to it again 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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kevinthecomic
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kevinthecomic

Ya know, there’s 7 billion people on the planet and Jaffe acts like he is the only one who’s ever had a 2 year old.