Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 1/7/22 by Jay Jaffe January 7, 2022 2:01 Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to my first chat of 2022. We’ve got a few inches of snow in Brooklyn from last night but against the odds, the kiddo is in school for the first time since December 17, the last time I chatted. 2:02 Jay Jaffe: Today I’ve got my third entry from among the one-and-done candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot, Ryan Howard https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2022-hall-of-fame-ballot-ryan… 2:04 Jay Jaffe: this completes a trilogy of first basemen who won the Home Run Derby and made several All-Star teams before their careers were indelibly altered by injuries. Prince Fielder (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2022-hall-of-fame-ballot-prin…) and Justin Morneau (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2022-hall-of-fame-ballot-prin…) preceded Howard. The explainer for my actual Hall of Fame ballot, which went into the mail on December 30, is here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jay-jaffes-2022-hall-of-fame-ballot/ 2:05 Jay Jaffe: Anyhoo, there’s not a lot going on besides Hall stuff given the lockout, so that will be the primary focus of this chat 2:05 TomBruno23: How can the wrong of Willie Davis never appearing on a ballot be righted? 2:07 Jay Jaffe: He’d be a candidate for the Golden Days Era Committee ballot, and the good news is that a whole lot of space just opened up there, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Past HOF ballot results probably play too big an impact in determining who gets first crack at making those ballots. 2:08 Jay Jaffe: While he’s 16th in JAWS, he made just two All-Star appearances, which is another impediment towards him getting noticed. 2:08 Marshall: Why do some candidates’ vote totals change so much during their time on the ballot, even absent new information (i.e., putting cases like vizquel aside)? 2:11 Jay Jaffe: A lot of it has to do with who else is on the ballot, and whether there’s room to include everybody. Some years there’s a real crunch because of the number of strong newcomers; that was especially the case from 2013-18, and it required voters to do some triage depending upon who was important to them. Also, it used to be that if a major first-ballot guy or two appeared, some voters would just include him/them and exclude everybody else. 2:11 John Olerud’s Helmet: Howdy Mr Jay, Do you ever see Bernie Williams getting a shot at the Hall of Fame. His peak of 9% seems criminally low considering his career numbers and his added postseason stats. 2:13 Jay Jaffe: Bernie would have fared much better in an age before defensive metrics. Despite his four Gold Gloves, he rates as 139 runs below average via Total Zone and Defensive Runs Saved, and just 28th in JAWS. Certainly, his postseason stuff mitigates that to a degree, but retiring short of 2,500 hits and 300 homer makes it easier to overlook him. 2:13 Martin: What would Shohei Ohtani have to do as a two way player to secure your support for the hall of fame, assuming he doesn’t meet JAWS standards as a pitcher or hitter? Would you consider a lower JAWS standard for Ohtani because being just “pretty good” as a pitcher and hitter would be special enough, assuming he doesn’t continue to put up 9+ WAR seasons? 2:14 Jay Jaffe: If Ohtani gets to 10 years maintaining any kind of level of excellence on one side of the ball, or the other, I suspect he’s going to get a lot of support, and deservedly so. I don’t think his JAWS is going to matter a damn bit if he keeps this up. 2:15 gg: If Jose Ramirez stays at this level for 2 more years and then ages gracefully enough to reach 2000 hits… he’s a HOFer right? 2:16 Jay Jaffe: From early September https://blogs.fangraphs.com/seven-pitchers-and-some-more-position-play…: José Ramirez, third base (32.8 career | 31.5 Peak | 32.1 JAWS, +4.0 JAWS). With a big age-28 season (5.2 WAR and counting) driven by his 31 homers, 138 OPS+, and 9 DRS, Ramirez is making notable progress toward Cooperstown, particularly given that he’s already banked two seven-win seasons. He’s got three seasons of 3.0 WAR or less as part of his peak score and has a good shot at continuing his big strides in the next few years. 2:17 Jay Jaffe: in the final month of the season he added another 1.5 points of peak and JAWS. A couple more strong years and he’ll be in good shape 2:17 TomBruno23: I was in Lafayette High School about a month ago, cool to see framed jerseys of Howard, Freese and Voit on the wall. 2:17 Jay Jaffe: Very cool! I didn’t know that all three went to the same school. 2:18 Ben: Ohtani inspired me to research two-way players from the early days of baseball. Have you ever written anything about Tony Mullane, Bob Caruthers, or Jim Whitney? And what do you think about their HoF cases? 2:21 Jay Jaffe: Mullane’s in the Casebook, interesting from a performance standpoint but racist as hell — he would deliberately cross up Moses Fleetwood Walker and wouldn’t take signs from him. The move to S-JAWS costs him about 5 points relative to the standards. I don’t think the Hall needs him at all. I haven’t written about Caruthers or Whitney. They’re both kind of interesting but my appetite for pre-1893 pitchers is next to nothing. 2:23 Tiger Fan: What current Tiger is most likely to head to the HOF, NOT named Miguel Cabrera. 2:25 Jay Jaffe: Eh, the only one I’d give odds on is Javier Baez but his 23.4 WAR through age 28 means he’d have to have several big seasons soon. Maybe somebody like Mize or Skubal or Manning puts it together but even then, staying healthy is so difficult. 2:25 Steve: A-Rod to David Cone is an upgrade of epic proportions. Not sure how JAWS treats Cone, but do you think this increased national profile will help remind future HOF committee members how great of a pitcher he was? 2:28 Jay Jaffe: Yes, I think so. If Jim Kaat’s broadcasting helped push his case over the line, then Cone’s should. For those unfamiliar with his style in the booth, you’re in for a treat, because he knows how to talk about pitching, has some good stories, and reads FanGraphs and is into the analytics stuff. Cone fares very well in S-JAWS, as he doesn’t lose anything in the conversion and winds up just four points shy of the standard — close enough that his postseason stuff and some mental adjustment for the strike gets him there, IMO. 2:28 Bill G: Do you believe there is enough MLB talent to support expansion to 32 teams? Thanks. 2:28 Jay Jaffe: Yes, but the game’s other problems appear to be so intractable at the moment that I don’t see the point. 2:29 Deebo: What’s for lunch? 2:29 Jay Jaffe: Leftover chicken fajitas, with a marinade using the Penzey’s Fajita Mix. 2:29 Jay Jaffe: They were excellent! 2:30 Justin B.: After some impressive gains the past two years, it seems like Sheffield is just more or less holding steady so far this year. Do you think he’s hitting a ceiling? 2:32 Jay Jaffe: It’s very hard to tell because the four 10-year guys plus the two big newcomers are taking up a lot of space, and some candidates who have made big gains recently will see their growth slowed. Right now, that’s Wagner and Sheffield moreso than Rolen, Helton and Jones. 2:33 Scott: You have mentioned the loaded Early Era ballot from last month’s voting. Does Bill Dahlen have a realistic chance of ever getting in? If they continue to go ten years between votes for that era, it seems likely that his candidacy diminishes. 2:36 Jay Jaffe: I think that there was — rightfully — a lot of emphasis on giving the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues Black baseball candidates a very close look this year, and that worked against Dahlen. I’m hopeful that we don’t have to wait another 10 years to evaluate the NeL/BB guys but even if that’s the case I think the dynamic will be different because there won’t be a Buck O’Neil on the ballot. 2:36 Ben Affleck: To your knowledge, is there any faction of the voters supporting a “movement” to just put the best PED guys in and move past the PED era (as much as we can)? 2:39 Jay Jaffe: A-Rod’s tracking at 44.8%, and while that share will fall once the final vote is tallied, I think that gives you a pretty good indication that there’s a significant segment of the voting body who have moved past the PED factor in the voting. I don’t know that it will ever be enough for him to get elected but I suspect there’s some fatigue after the Bonds/Clemens decade. I know I’m thinking about whether A-Rod is still on the wrong side of my line 2:40 Curtis: What is the fewest number of players supported for the HOF by any one voter? Has anyone just voted for one that you are aware of? 2:42 Jay Jaffe: Via the Tracker we’ve seen four blank ballots this year but nobody else has submitted fewer than three names. Last year there were 14 of the former and 7 of the latter, and the year before that there were zero blanks but 11 Jeter-only ones. 2:42 Mike Trout: Seems likely we saw close to peak Ohtani usage last year and he put up an 8 WAR season. Do you think he would top that as just a good defensive corner outfielder? What about a good defensive corner outfielder and reliever? 2:43 Jay Jaffe: I think it’s possible Ohtani could top that as a good defensive corner, but there’s a lot of risk involved when it comes to injuries and fatigue. I doubt he could top that total as an OF/Reliever. 2:43 Josh R: If the unthinkable comes to pass and Mike Trout dwindles from here and doesn’t make it to 2000 hits do you think he still easily skates into the Hall? 2:43 Jay Jaffe: Yes. 2:43 Guest: Bobby Grich modern era ballot candidate? 2:44 Jay Jaffe: I keep hoping he’ll get on the ballot, but so far it hasn’t happened. That Whitaker did bodes well for Grich, but he’s got a ways to go to get elected 2:45 Clu Heywood: I might have missed it, but can you cliff note what S-Jaws is? 2:46 Jay Jaffe: I introduced it in the Jim Kaat and Billy Pierce Golden Days profiles but gave a fuller airing in the Buehrle/Hudson/Pettitte profile https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jaws-and-the-2022-hall-of-fame-ballot-mark… 2:46 Jay Jaffe: From that piece: The idea behind S-JAWS is to reduce the skewing caused by the impact of 19th century and Deadball-era pitchers, some of whom topped 400, 500, or even 600 innings in a season on multiple occasions. The way I’ve chosen to do this is by prorating the peak-component credit for any heavy-workload season to a maximum of 250 innings. Why 250? Mainly because it’s a level that the current BBWAA candidates rarely reached, and only one active pitcher (Justin Verlander) has, albeit by a single inning a decade ago. Given the current trends in the game regarding starting pitcher usage, five or 10 years from now, looking at candidates on a 200- or 225-inning basis might make more sense, but I think this is a reasonable place to start the adjustments. 2:47 Jay Jaffe: As to how this plays out, Cy Young’s 453-inning 1892 season, which produced 11.2 pitching WAR and -0.9 hitting WAR, thus counts for about 5.7 WAR towards his peak score; he still gets credit for the full 10.3 WAR for his career total. Old Hoss Radbourn’s record-setting 678.2-inning 1884 season, the one in which he notched 59 or 60 wins (depending upon the source), scales from 19.2 pitching WAR and 0.3 hitting WAR to a total of 7.2 WAR towards his peak score, but again, his original 19.5 WAR is still part of his career total. 2:47 Gigi NYC: Will the season start on time, in your current estimation? 2:48 Jay Jaffe: I’m much less optimistic than I was a month ago. I’d have said 75% chance before, now I’m at about 25%. 2:49 Tigers Fan: If you were a betting man which of these current superstars would you bet on having a HOF career/getting elected to the HOF…Ohtani, Tatis Jr., Soto, Acuna Jr., Franco, Guerrero Jr.? 2:54 Jay Jaffe: They’ve all got a shot and would be worth putting at least some money on. Early arrivals are a major part of getting to Cooperstown, but obviously injuries can get in the way. Vladito’s path to DH probably makes him the least likely of those guys, though he was MUCH better than expected at first base last year, and if that can hold, it will help his cause. 2:54 Owen: My mom (who grew up near Detroit) has beat the drum for Bill Freehan for years – what would his odds be like on a VC vote? 2:55 Jay Jaffe: It’s frustrated me that he’s never even gotten on a ballot. But there’s suddenly a lot more room and I’d hope that between that and a chance to reevaluate him in light of his passing last year he gets on the next one. 2:55 david: are hall of fame voters putting too much weight on post season performance? It seems that way to me given how much better ortiz (29th in 1B Jaws) is doing then Helton (15th in 1B Jaws). Not to take away from Ortiz playoff performance but how do we factor in the fact that as a red sox he got way more opportunities then Helton did as a rockie? 2:59 Jay Jaffe: Hall of Fame voters have historically put a LOT of emphasis on postseason stuff; it helps to explain why choices that otherwise look like clinkers are there, particularly near the bottom of the JAWS rankings. With the postseason being larger than ever, there’s an argument that it should still be significant, but you’re right that opportunity plays a significant part there. The way I tend to look at it in my evaluations is that a player can gain significant extra credit by that route but that I can’t hold it against him for not getting many chances or not succeeding in a very limited number of opportunities. 2:59 Jay Jaffe: Nobody said the world was a fair place. 2:59 Ben: In light of all the allegations and the total collapse in his vote, is Omar Vizquel’s candidacy permanently doomed? 2:59 Jay Jaffe: Quite possibly yes. 2:59 A Jolly Good Oberkfellow: How do you feel about the suggestion that HOF plaques just tell the truth about PEDs-users as a way to attest to the complexity of an era we don’t know all the facts about? 3:01 Jay Jaffe: you are never in a million years going to get a Bonds or Clemens to stand there while his plaque is read and it says “alleged to have used PEDs” or whatever, though I’d bet A-Rod, who has been very candid about the mistakes he made, would probably be a different story. 3:01 Clu Heywood: What metrics do you use for managerial HOF candidates? 3:02 Jay Jaffe: There’s no managerial JAWS, so to speak. I played around with something while writing the Dusty Baker piece (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dusty-baker-job-security-and-the-hall-of-f…) but nothing I’m ready to share. 3:03 Jay Jaffe: I do think that Games Above .500 is an important number to look at because it captures some element of longevity and success 3:03 Jay Jaffe: though it’s also true that if you’re a great manager, you’ll retain your job through the lean years that might hold that figure down. True for Bochy, who will be the next manager elected I think. 3:03 Scott: Does Kenny Lofton have any hope on the committee with Bonds, et all stealing votes? 3:04 Jay Jaffe: I don’t see him as having a chance immediately if Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Bochy, and McGriff are all crowding that ballot. 3:05 Robert: Us White Sox fans are not happy with Dick Allen and Early Winn not getting in. I guess the New York contingent only thinks we can get one in at a time but Yankees can be put in by the handful. 3:06 Jay Jaffe: Um, Early Wynn was elected in 1972. Took him four tries, which was unusual for a 300-game winner, but he’s got a plaque. 3:06 Robert: I am sorry. I meant Billy Pierce. 3:07 Jay Jaffe: ha, fair enough. I simply don’t think Pierce is anything but a longshot-type of candidate. Interesting career but there are literally dozens of pitchers I’d elect before him 3:07 Justin B.: Do you think the impact of greenies by players in the 50s and 60s is comparable to the impact of modern PEDs? I’ve seen passing references over the years to some big names having benefited from greenies, but I haven’t done much reading on the subject. Are there any definitive treatments on use of greenies and their impact? 3:10 Jay Jaffe: The shape of the impact is different but the usage was supposedly pretty widespread. They may not have helped anybody break home run records but I’ll bet there are a lot of guys who reached 100 RBIs because they were able to stay in the lineup instead of taking days off when their bodies told them they should (or when they otherwise would have been too hung over) 3:13 Scott: I’ve always felt that Jim Fregosi didn’t get enough HOF consideration because of the Ryan trade. Have you ever done a full review of him? 3:14 Jay Jaffe: No. I had a bit on Fregosi in my October 29 chat (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/jay-jaffe-fangraphs-chat-10-29-21/) that ended up on the cutting room floor for the Baker piece. Last April Dan Szymborski did a ZiPS Time Warp piece that was interesting https://blogs.fangraphs.com/zips-time-warp-jim-fregosi/ 3:15 Dusty: I would argue we aren’t looking at postseason stats enough. Frankly they should put Wagner and Nathan on the wrong side of the line, given you already have to stretch to give them extra credit for their less than 1000 innings at least being high leverage. When it really mattered most, both performed horrendously. 3:19 Jay Jaffe: I don’t see how anybody could look at a 10-12 inning body of postseason work and think that was a fair evaluation. As I noted in Nathan, four of his six trips to the postseason featured series where he threw one inning or fewer. Obviously, none of that helps his case but I wouldn’t use that rule out a candidate. I’d probably close the browser tab on a voter’s ballot explainer if I came across it, too. 3:20 Mike Trout: Are you in favor of the committees? Sometimes they right wrongs but it’s weird to have players who failed the stricter voting process get in because their friends are voting. 3:21 Jay Jaffe: I think they need an overhaul. Double them in size and make anybody who played/managed/GMed with that player recuse himself from the vote; some candidates might have 29 voting on them, others 31, but to me that makes more sense. 3:21 Marshall: Do you have a heuristic for a “HOF-caliber” season? For example, I like to look at how many years a guy had above 4-5 WAR, and 10 or more such seasons feels HOF worthy 3:23 Jay Jaffe: it’s not a hard and fast rule but if I’m skimming a player’s page, I look for 5-WAR seasons and go from there. 3:25 Bob Caruthers: Thanks for the chat, Jay! While no two committees are the same of course, it should perhaps be noted that the same committee that overwhelmingly voted for Bud Selig for the Hall, is the one that (on the same ballot) gave nearly zero support to prominent illegal PEDer Mark McGwire. Isn’t it possible that the peers of Bonds/Clemens will see them the same way that committee saw McGwire, i.e., an unethical scumbag wholly undeserving of enshrinement? 3:25 Jay Jaffe: yes, especially because the Hall is likely to have some inkling of where potential voters stand when selecting them for the committee. 3:25 Farhandrew Zaidman: If Kershaw retires tomorrow, he’s in the hall on the first ballot, yeah? (Side note I think that’s a real possibility but it’s pure conjecture at this point). 3:28 Jay Jaffe: Yes, I think so. He’s a better candidate than Roy Halladay, totals of wins and no-hitters aside, and I was fully in favor of Halladay’s election even putting aside the grim circumstances 3:28 Farhandrew Zaidman: Hi Jay! I asked Dan the same question yesterday and I’m interested to see if you have a different response. Would you rather field a team of players who ~each~ have 60 bats and 45 gloves, or 45 bats and 60 gloves? 3:28 Jay Jaffe: 60 bats, and I’m going to invest in some high-strikeout pitchers. 3:29 Bob Caruthers: For Joey Votto’s sake, I hope we don’t look more closely at postseason stats when considering HOF candidacies. An isolated slugging of zero is a real turn-off. (Is Votto going to make it, if his career ended today, Jay?) 3:30 Jay Jaffe: Votto cleared the 2,000 hit mark and the JAWS standard in close proximity last summer. As I noted around the time (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/joey-vottos-gotten-his-groove-back/), the only players outside the Hall who meet both criteria and are currently eligible for election (five years retired, in other words, and not on the ineligible list) are Bonds, Dahlen, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, and Scott Rolen. Three PED-linked guys, an ancient guy, and a 2023 or ’24 honoree. 3:30 Dan: If I read you hall of Fame articles blast year how much is new? Is the new stuff all at the end? 3:31 Jay Jaffe: Mostly at the end of the intro and the article — updating the stuff about the voting outlook — but occasionally I’ve come across a quote or a video or something else worth adding. 3:32 DavidB: With what’s happening with Aaron Rodgers, should it be a consideration for HoF voting if we find out a current player lied about being vaccinated? I personally would find that to be a big factor under the character clause. It’s arguably worse than steroids or all the dumb stuff Schilling does. 3:37 Jay Jaffe: Eh, it certainly wouldn’t be a point in the guy’s favor but I’d need more context than just knowing his status. Unvaxed COVID+ guy causes an outbreak in his clubhouse that leads to their missing the playoffs? Proselytizing about COVID being a hoax and spreading disinformation about vaccines? I think it would take something at that threshold for me to consider it a factor. 3:37 Mike: Would you have voted for Nathan if he didn’t share the ballot with Wagner? Personally, I think the stats are way too similar to not vote for both him and Wagner 3:39 Jay Jaffe: If Wagner’s not on the ballot because he’s been elected, that increases the likelihood I’d vote for Nathan because he’d be the top eligible reliever outside the Hall AND there’s a greater likelihood I have space for him. But I already DID vote for him, so you’re preaching to the choir. 3:39 Ben: Regarding postseason stats, I agree that players should get extra credit for that, but does anyone really think that Ted Williams’ .533 postseason OPS or Gaylord Perry’s .614 postseason ERA disqualifies them? 3:40 Jay Jaffe: No, but those guys have milestones and JAWS and other stuff in their favor, and I think the person above who is arguing against Nathan or Wagner is suggesting that if they’re a fringe candidate then lousy postseason work should rule them out 3:40 Jadon: Do you think Adrian Beltre is a lock for first ballot once he is nominated? I don’t see how he isn’t considering how long he played and how great he was in the field (debatably top 3 defender OAT) and at the plate. 3:41 Jay Jaffe: 3166 hits, 477 homers, 93.5 WAR. He’s not quite at the “cut him in half and you’d have two Hall of Famers” point but he’s closer to that than he is to being a borderline guy. 3:41 Bob Caruthers: Thanks for the chat, Jay. How do you feel re your JAWs system of HOF worthiness versus the Bill James Quartet of barometers? By the B-WAR yardstick (and thus also JAWS) Rick Reuschel is a pretty clear HOFer and Lou Brock isn’t remotely close. But by Bill James and the voters, the exact opposite is true. Thoughts? 3:46 Jay Jaffe: JAWS was created i part because I felt that that the high scoring rates of the Wild Card era made James’ Hall of Fame Monitor and other Hall-related metrics somewhat obsolete, especially given that WARP and WAR produced much better measures of defense than anyone was using before. I’ve never used Similarity Scores for HOF stuff since coming up with JAWS and can’t make a case why anyone should outside of Eric Chalek with his Negro Leagues MLEs. Certainly there are players that are in the Hall that don’t fare well in JAWS, such as Brock, and it’s worth understanding and appreciating why they’re in — postseason, records and historical importance are all worth considering in a Hall of Fame argument. 3:47 Dusty: My point certainly wasn’t that Nathan and Wagner’s postseasons disqualify them. My point was that relievers in particular have such low totals value wise, they really shouldn’t have that dismal a performance in the admittedly low postseason innings they pitched. I’d say Hudson, Buehrle and Pettitte are all more deserving. 3:48 Jay Jaffe: Fair enough. I disagree with you because to me that trio doesn’t stand out enough among the dozens and dozens of very good starters outside the Hall but at least that’s a more fleshed out and coherent argument. 3:48 Guest: Markakis comes back to MLB and plays another five seasons and gets to 3000 hits. Is he a HOFer? 3:49 Jay Jaffe: if space aliens keep his head in a jar for 3,000 years and put it atop a robot that allows him to collect his 3,000th hit, no, my head-in-a-jar still won’t be voting for him. 3:49 Quarantino Martinez: Do see any Hall hope for Fernando Valenzuela? I know it was a short peak and long decline, but his legacy seems important. Been thinking about him during the Ortiz debate (even though Ortiz’s numbers are obviously much better) as a guy with a borderline case but outsize impact to push him over. 3:50 Jay Jaffe: no, but a Buck O’Neil award based on his playing and broadcasting days seems attainable 3:50 Hugh Duffy: Like me! I don’t fare well in JAWS, but I did pretty well for the 1890s. I got a lot of records, and I think that means something. 3:51 Jay Jaffe: it’s worth remembering that many of the 19th century guys didn’t play 154-game schedules, too. 3:53 Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, I should have quit at the head-in-the-jar one to leave things on an appropriately silly note, but it’s time for this chat to end. thank you all so much for showing up — like the last one, this was a lot of fun to do, and it’s boosted my spirits a bit. Please do what you can to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and let’s do this again real soon.