Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 10/29/21 by Jay Jaffe October 29, 2021 2:00 Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, and welcome to today’s chat! Thankfully the technical snarls that knocked last week’s chat off the table aren’t an issue today; apologies to those who showed up to that one or waited around for it to materialize to no avail. 2:01 Jay Jaffe: As I’m on recap duty for Game 3 tonight, I did not write for today but did a piece about Eddie Rosario’s hot streak yesterday https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/despite-a-rough-night-eddie-rosario-ha… and spoke to Kevin Goldstein about Dusty Baker https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-audio-kris-bubic-chats-changeups… and my recent piece on his managerial evolution and Hall of Fame case https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dusty-baker-job-security-and-the-hall-of-f… 2:02 Joe: How would you explain to the less analytically inclined why we care so much about pitcher K% but not nearly as much about hitter K%? 2:03 Jay Jaffe: Pitcher strikeouts strongly correlate with run prevention and future success, but the relationship doesn’t work the same way for hitters, in that a lot of high strikeout hitters have good power and generally strong production. 2:04 Dick Allen is a Hall of Famer: This year only 5 hitters with 400 or more PA matched or exceeded Mr. Allen’s career wRC+. It’s a similar number every year. Dick Allen is a Hall of Famer. 2:06 Jay Jaffe: Dick Allen should be a Hall of Famer. Dick Allen is not yet a Hall of Famer. Hopefully on December 5, that status changes (see here for more about this year’s Era Committee schedule https://blogs.fangraphs.com/with-experts-on-the-negro-leagues-involved…) 2:07 Ben: After Molina and Posey, are there any other current MLB catchers who have any shot at the Hall? To my eyes, even Grandal, Realmuto, and Salvador Perez seem like long shots. 2:11 Jay Jaffe: Perez’s Hall of Fame case depends way too much on ignoring the copious amount of data we have that says he’s been a lousy pitch framer. Grandal’s PED suspension (Biogenesis) will probably be an obstacle if he has the staying power. Realmuto will have to age very well, but as a latecomer to catching, it’s not out of the question. Will Smith is just getting started, and at a relatively late age, but the dude can hit, so he bears watching, but it could be awhile before anyone else’s case comes into focus. 2:11 Ben: Now that even elite relievers don’t always get a ton of saves, how do you think today’s young relief pitchers (like Josh Hader and Edwin Diaz) will and should be evaluated when it comes time for their Hall of Fame evaluation? 2:15 Jay Jaffe: Longevity and run prevention are always going to be the keys to a pitcher’s Hall of Fame case, and you’ll note that Hader had a very traditional usage pattern en route to 34 saves this year. Likewise for Diaz and his 32 saves. If we’re seeing leaders in the 20s, that might be cause to reevaluate but we’re hardly there yet. Higher-leverage success as expressed in WPA and WPA/LI is important and is increasingly part of what goes into the way I evaluate relievers from a Hall perspective. 2:15 John B: Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and two early period negro league players (I’m assuming buck O’Neill would be one ) so that we have a couple live players on the dais as the writers won’t put anyone in. Agree/disagree ? 2:16 Jay Jaffe: I’d much rather have the right guys — Miñoso and Allen first and foremost — elected than have living guys elected just for the sake of the fact that they’re alive, especially because I don’t think those two are very strong candidates relative to the competition. But if they get in and are around to celebrate it, good for them. 2:17 Ben: Has Carlos Correa now surpassed Lindor as most likely current shortstop to be a Hall of Famer someday? Or has Tatis already passed them both? 2:20 Jay Jaffe: Correa’s about a year younger and 3 bWAR ahead, so yes, he’s surpassed Lindor. He was about 5 bWAR ahead of Tatis through his age-22 season (18.5 to 13.6), he’s coming off the stronger year of the two, and he’s more likely to be a shortstop five years from now, so I’d think he’s ahead on that front as well. 2:20 RAndoM121: Do you believe Dusty Baker gets voted into the Hall of Fame even if he doesn’t win a World Series? 2:21 Jay Jaffe: Wrote about that earlier this week. I think it’s possible, especially when one considers what a trailblazer he’s been among minority managers in a game with a piss-poor track record of giving them opportunities. 2:22 Ken: You wrote awhile back about players who had improved their HOF case this past season. I was surprised there was no mention of Matt Olson, who in his age 27 season hit a career high in home runs (39), learned to hit lefty pitching consistently, and is in the running for another Gold Glove (granted, at first base). It seems like he’s on a glide path for strong HOF consideration if healthy (142 career home runs, strong OBP, and Gold Glove defense). Thoughts? 2:25 Jay Jaffe: Olson’s a very good player, but with 18.1 bWAR through his age-27 season, he’s not especially on a Hall of Fame path; he has one season of 5.0 WAR or better, and is 42nd in WAR. He’s got some Hall of Famers on either side of him in that ranking, and some decidedly non-Hall of Famers as well. 2:25 Jay Jaffe: 2:25 Sabey Sabes: It’s been ugly, but still good candidates out there. Are the Mets just Mets-ing up this POBO search at this point? Or is Cohen a real obstacle? 2:26 Jay Jaffe: What I’m hearing is that the main obstacle is the continued presence of Sandy Alderson with his son as assistant GM. That’s a daunting situation to step into, and I don’t think Cohen has impressed many potential candidates in his first year of owning a team. 2:26 Marshall: Do you think Kershaw will stay with the Dodgers? 2:27 Jay Jaffe: Yes. I don’t think the two sides want to separate, and the fact that he’s coming off a season-ending injury is going to dampen his market. Unless he *really* wants to leave to play in Texas, I think he’s a Dodger in 2022, and probably for the remainder of his career. 2:29 richie ny: I’M a NYY fan who doesn’t like Gallo. What lefthanded CF/OF can be had in trades this offseason? 2:32 Jay Jaffe: They have Aaron Hicks coming back from injury and on a long-term deal, so the assumption is that he’ll be back as the starting center fielder. I don’t see much in the way of likely trade candidates among LH center fielders anyway unless they want, say, Odubel Herrera and his baggage, or a buy-low on Jackie Bradley Jr. Maybe if AJ Preller is wheeling and dealing there’s a scenario where Trent Grisham becomes available but don’t hold your breath. 2:32 Guest: Independent of everything else going on with the Mets PBO/GM search, what do you think of the noise around Sabean? There were suggestions that his camp had been contacting reporters to talk him up for the position; now, today, he is apparently telling reporters that he’s longer interested because he hadn’t been brought in for an interview. The whole thing just sounds weird! 2:33 Jay Jaffe: He made sense as a candidate and would have brought a lot of credibility to the role. I don’t know why the Mets aren’t interested but again, with Alderson there it’s kind of weird. 2:33 How Bobby Grich Stole Christmas: If things got a little more out of hand, were we looking at Atlanta using a position player to pitch? 2:35 Jay Jaffe: Doubt it. It’s not like they left the roster spots of Ynoa and Morton empty, they added pitchers. But you might see a starter or reliever wear a tough outing or take a PA in a questionable spot in order to avoid a worse situation down the road. 2:35 How Bobby Grich Stole Christmas: Perez’s career 302 OBP seems to be doing as much, if not more, damage than his framing numbers. 2:35 Jay Jaffe: for sure. 2:35 To be honest: I enjoyed baseball a lot more before statistics ruled everything. I think the game is worse for it. 2:35 Jay Jaffe: Youmean before Babe Ruth hit 59 homers then? Sure thing, great gramps. 2:36 Guest: Manfred’s comments on “the chop” were terrible, but could he actually do anything about it? 2:40 Jay Jaffe: yes, and I suppose it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he was doing what he did in order to show how badly the Braves’ excuse (baseball’s a local game, we’re selling tickets locally and working with a local tribe — when the postseason is on national TV and the NCAI is condemning the chop) wears before turning up the pressure. That might be giving him too much credit. A lot of it comes down to whether the other owners have Manfred’s back if he leans hard on the Braves. He’s not going to do anything that will endanger his job security but he can make sure Atlanta doesn’t get another All-Star Game without a pledge to get rid of the chop. 2:40 Mike Ortman: As the buzz around the potential Negro Leagues candidates starts to get going, I’m seeing Gus Greenlee’s name come up. It’s not like they missed him before, I think it was because he ran a “numbers racket”, which is so classically old-timey. My question is do you see notorious, infamous guys like him, George Steinbrenner, or Charlie Finley ever going in? 2:41 Jay Jaffe: Steinbrenner hasn’t gotten much traction as a candidate and I don’t think Finley’s even been nominated. I imagine there’s some behind-the-scenes pressure exerted by the Hall board to avoid certain candidates, but I’m spitballing here. 2:41 Justin: What do you make of the Bob Melvin news, good fit for SD? Also how bad of a sign of things to come is this for the A’s 2:42 Jay Jaffe: Melvin is one of the most respected managers in the game, and seeing what he can do with a team with a bigger payroll and stars on the roster will be interesting. I do think this bodes poorly for the A’s, who seem committed to cutting payroll and looking to exit Oakland if they don’t get what they want in a local stadium deal. 2:44 Mr. Redlegs: How come Buddy Bell’s name never comes up in HOF discussions? By JAWS he seems just slightly below the average HOF 3B. 2:47 Jay Jaffe: Bell is strong in JAWS and thanks in large part to his defense, he didn’t get a ton of recognition in his day in part because he never got to the postseason; even with 5 All-Star appearances and 4 Gold Gloves, his Hall of Fame Monitor score is just 67. There’s a backlog of good candidates at third base, one that includes Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Graig Nettles, and Scott Rolen (who’s trending towards election), and a backlog of good candidates at other positions from his era, so it could be awhile before he ever gets on a ballot. 2:48 MoonBeamMcSwine: Brad Zimmer = LHH, CF’er OF’er can be had..for not much.. 2:49 Jay Jaffe: A soon-to-be-29-year-old with an 89 wRC+ in 2021 and 79 overall is a fallback for when your first two or three options get injured. 2:49 MoonBeamMcSwine: Gary Sanchez <== DFA?.. Should be DFA’d?.. or Will Brian Cashman make a ‘face saving’ deal like Roberto Perez for Gary + some cash? 2:52 Jay Jaffe: He’s not going to get DFA’d — have you seen the state of catching right now? It’s possible he gets dealt because the Yankees have so many arbitration-eligible players to deal with while also doing their free agent shopping, but it’s not like they have a serviceable starter to replace him (Higashioka ain’t that). 2:53 Jay Jaffe: Roberto Perez has produced a combined -0.1 WAR over the past two seasons, so I don’t see why the Yankees would deal for him 2:54 Joey Caltrain: Do you think Noah Syndergaard gets offered the QO? Do you think he takes it? $18.4 million seems at once like too much and too little for his 2022 campaign. 2:55 Jay Jaffe: I think he gets the QO and that it’s possible he rejects it and winds up with something more creatively structured (mutual option or player option for 2022) 2:55 WinTwins0410: Jay, I greatly enjoyed your piece on Dusty Baker and his HoF case. Is there a case, in your mind, for considering playing performance as being additive when evaluating managing Hall-worthiness? IE, does or should Dusty’s performance as a player (37.0 WAR, I know — not outstanding) help bolster his Hall case? One could have done that with Joe Torre as well, who was a fine player and always seen as sort of a near-miss (but a miss) for the Hall as a player and then of course a can’t-and-didn’t-miss for the Hall as a manager. (I’m sure there are other examples like this, but another similar candidate like this from these guys’ generation, Jim Fregosi, certainly didn’t belong in the Hall either as a player or as a manager.) Thoughts on playing performance aiding managers’ Hall-worthiness? 2:55 Jay Jaffe: Thank you. 2:55 Jay Jaffe: I started thinking about the Dusty piece with a chunk of research that I wound up not using, on the merits of a player/manager career combination route to the Hall of Fame. Ultimately I didn’t find it to be a tremendously useful construct in terms of suggesting there are a handful of people it should elevate. 2:58 Jay Jaffe: It turns out there are only 5 men with at least 30 bWAR as players and 1,000 wins as managers who aren’t already enshrined: Jim Fregosi, Felipe Alou, Jimmy Dykes, Mike Hargrove, and Baker. None has won a World Series, only Hargrove, Baker, and Fregosi won pennants (two for the first two, one for Fregosi), and only Baker has a win% above .503. Gil Hodges, a better player than any of them, only had 660 wins and was 93 games below .500. Don Mattingly doesn’t have a pennant yet and is below .500. I really think it takes near-HOF-level excellence to get to a point where the other career would push you over the line, and I don’t think that’s quite the shape of Dusty’s qualifications. 2:58 Joey Caltrain: Besides Adley Rutschman, who of Joey Bart, Keibert Ruíz, Tyler Stephenson, or the other nearly MLB-ready catching prospects would you take for next year? Who do you think gets the most playing time? 2:59 Jay Jaffe: Take where? I think Ruiz and Stephenson have clear paths to playing time. Bart’s situation depends on what the Giants envision for Buster beyond picking up his $22 million club option (a no-brainer, I think). 2:59 Jay Jaffe: and to a lesser extent what happens with the universal DH 3:00 How Bobby Grich Stole Christmas: Aside from Curt Flood, what “Golden Days” Era players who you do not think will make the ballot would be the most welcome surprise if they did? 3:01 Jay Jaffe: Bill Freehan 3:02 Jay Jaffe: to a lesser extent I’d say Buzzie Bavasi and Danny Murtaugh, but there are enough players on that ballot that I want to see elected before them. 3:03 richie ny: Rank the following on who deseves to be in the HOF. Lofton, Bernie,Cone, Kevin Brown, Posada, Belle. 3:05 Jay Jaffe: Lofton for sure, and maybe Brown. I don’t think any of the others are all that strong as candidates.. Cone’s a bit below my line, Posada and Bernie even further below (ugh on the defensive numbers on both) as is Belle. 3:05 Dave: Suppose Max Scherzer finishes his career in Los Angeles and wins a World Series while there. Does this change the assumption that he goes into the Hall wearing a Nats cap? 3:06 Jay Jaffe: Not unless he wants a blank cap. What he did in Washington might constitute the best of the $200 million contracts to date. 3:06 Bob Melvin Was Available?: How damaging is the Mets’ slow process in finding a POBO in the short and/or long term? 3:07 Jay Jaffe: I think it’s tough to get too far into an offseason without having one in place, and with having that as a top item on their to-do list. That said, this winter might be a slower-moving one because of the potential for lockout 3:08 Guest: WRT Dusty Baker and baseball’s poor record of hiring minorities as managers and GMs- are there some good, possibly lesser-known candidates of color (or women, for that matter!) the Mets should look to for either position? Beane, Epstein, Sabean, Melvin, Showalter– feels like a lot of recycled white dudes… 3:14 Jay Jaffe: Michael Hill and Billy Owens are a couple of names that come to mind; the Mets interviewed the latter last year for their GM opening but didn’t go that route, for whatever reason. DeJon Watson is another one who comes to mind. That there aren’t others that so easily do is just another indicator of how behind the game is when it comes to grooming minority candidates for such openings. [Update: while I was conducting this chat, SNY reported that Red Sox executive vice president and assistant GM Raquel Ferreira is now a candidate. See here.] 3:14 trip: I am hoping giants resign gausman and alex wood, and let DeSclafini go , I am wrong? 3:15 Jay Jaffe: i don’t know why the Giants wouldn’t want DeSclafani unless his price becomes too high. He had a great season aside from the time he got knocked around for 10 runs by the Dodgers, which i know looms large in some fans’ assessment of him. it shouldn’t. 3:16 Joey Caltrain: If you were an owner who wasn’t sure how the CBA would work out, would you hurry to sign players before December or wait until the new CBA is in place? 3:17 Jay Jaffe: I don’t think one can just decide that in a vacuum without knowing what the team’s needs and budget are, and who the players are that might be interested. 3:17 Jay Jaffe: There are some situations where it might make sense, and others where a team should see how the player’s market develops and what happens with the CBA and revenue sharing, etc. 3:18 nick: Did you ever write an article on posada’s hof case? 3:18 Jay Jaffe: yes, of course https://www.si.com/mlb/2016/12/16/jaws-2017-hall-of-fame-ballot-jorge-… 3:18 Ben: Which would be more surprising – Freeman signing away from the Braves or Kershaw signing away from the Dodgers? 3:19 Jay Jaffe: Good question. Probably be more surprised by Freeman at this point — he’s a face of the franchise type who is still in the prime of his career, whereas Kershaw is on the downslope and finally has his ring. 3:19 Mike Ortman: sorry if this got discussed during the season and I missed it… How smart is Jon Lester to hang around to hit some pretty significant milestones? He’s at 200 wins and just needs a couple of games to hit 2500 strikeouts. Although in the moment we might not think of him as a Hall of Famer, an era committee will sure look back on those numbers favorably! What do you think? 3:21 Jay Jaffe: i think all of the indicators on Lester’s performance over the past few years suggest he’s barely hanging on; he totaled 0.6 bWAR over the past three seasons, for example. He needs a great defense behind him, which is what he got in St. Louis. A few more wins or strikeouts isn’t going to change a ton of opinions around him — he’s not getting to 250/3000. 3:22 WinTwins0410: Re: the Dusty research (on at least 30bWAR as players and 1,000 wins as managers): great research. This truly is why FanGraphs is the place to be. *Thank you*. 3:22 Jay Jaffe: I love having an audience for this stuff here. 3:22 Jay Jaffe: So thank you for reading! 3:23 Guest: Royals infield 2022, who’s the odd one out: Merrifield, Lopez, Mondesi, Witt? Do the Royals shop Mondesi, and given his injury history, do you see them getting any takers? 3:27 Jay Jaffe: Merrifield’s versatility makes it easier to conceptualize keeping all of them, particularly when one considers the possibility of Witt starting the year in the minors because <shuffles papers, squints> he has to work on his defense. On the other hand, Merrifield’s affordable contact, which keeps him under club control through 2023, also makes him an appealing trade candidate. 3:28 Jay Jaffe: I don’t see them being in a rush to trade Mondesi. 3:28 Matt VW: How likely do you think a lockout is? The game has great young talent right now; it would be a shame to grind it to a halt when there’s a real opportunity to build momentum. That said, “it would be a shame to” is not always the disincentive in CBA negotiations that it might be. 3:31 Jay Jaffe: Seems more likely than not, but so much will depend upon whether the sides make any progress towards a deal in November. They might push back a lockout deadline if they don’t have a deal on Dec. 1. Maybe I’m wrong — it would be a first, of course, haha — but I don’t think we’re going to see a lockout that has a significant impact on the length of the 2022 season, because I think the possibility of a season largely unimpeded by attendance issues is one that has to appeal to teams after the loss of 2020 and the limitations of ’21. 3:31 Great Gramps?: preoccupation with statistics ruined the game the same way mba preoccupation with short term profits ruined American business. I’m after a while you don’t realize the air you breathe is polluted because all you have ever breathed is polluted air. The game is boring. It is dying. I blame analytics. 3:36 Jay Jaffe: so you’re using a blanket word like “statistics” — which for a large portion of baseball’s audience is one of the hooks of fandom — when you mean “analytics,” the common whipping boy of today’s game. I don’t disagree with you with regards to the way that teams have used analytics to gain small edges that have compromised the aesthetic of the game, but I think a lot of that has to do with the ongoing war between labor and ownership/commissioner, where the aesthetics of the game have taken a back seat to the ever-persistent attempt to grab even more cash. Let’s see the commissioner implement a pitch clock, trim commercial breaks by 30 seconds, and find a ball that doesn’t fly out of parks so easily, and maybe we’ll start to see some return to a more watchable game. 3:37 Ken: What do you make of Matt Chapman’s 2021? Still recovering from injury/surgery? Or have pitchers figured him out? It seemed like he couldn’t lay off the high fastball and could rarely make contact with it. 3:40 Jay Jaffe: Offhand I’d guess that it was a slower-than-expected recovery from the hip surgery, given that his EV and xBA were way down, but his sprint speed was good, and his defense was good as well. Probably deserves a closer look. 3:40 WinTwins0410: Under a weird iteration of the Veterans’ Committee, Charlie Finley got 9 votes in 2003 and 10 votes (12%) in 2007. 3:41 Jay Jaffe: ah yes, the vote by the living Hall of Famers and award winners. My bad. Nor surprising given how much the players disliked him. 3:41 Vermonty: Aren’t you being a bit too optimistic about Aaron Hicks as a CF? He can’t stay healthy. 3:44 Jay Jaffe: I’m saying that I don’t see it likely the Yankees punt the guy given the investment they’ve made in him. Remember, he was healthy in 2020 and hit for a 124 wRC+ on a 3-WAR pace despite a low batting average. They’ll probably look to find a better backup than Gardner (who played the position well but was dreadful for 2/3 of the year on the offensive side) 3:44 DS: Thank you for the chat, Jay. What do you think the Angels should do this off-season? Go after a solid free agent SP like Stroman? Or maybe go after a top SS, avoid expensive free agent SPs and think about “bullpenning” going forward a la the Rays? 3:46 Jay Jaffe: They need some frontline pitching. Stroman, Ray, Scherzer — they need to start at the top of the list and find a way to land somebody big 3:46 Scuffy Mcgee: Dave Roberts is actually just a puppet right? 3:47 Jay Jaffe: All managers work in collaborations with their front offices to a great degree these days, but bear a great deal of responsibility for communicating those plans to players and keeping the clubhouse harmonious, skills that shouldn’t be devalued especially when you’re talking about deep rosters that have a lot of moving parts. Talked a lot about this with Kevin on the podcast today 3:48 DS: Will you be reading Joe Posnanski’s “The Baseball 100” this winter? 3:49 Jay Jaffe: i’m not in much position to sit down and read any book cover to cover for awhile – most of my reading gets done on the elliptical machine, and that one is a big lift in that context. But I’m sure I’ll be checking in on it as I write about Hall of Fame stuff and one of these days I’ll get all the way through it. 3:49 WinTwins0410: And absolutely no need for a further response, but after I sent that, I see that Finley also was up on a veterans committee ballot (Golden Era) in 2012. Finley got less than 3 votes out of 16. Hard to see him ever getting in. 3:49 Jay Jaffe: I probably should have checked the Excel spreadsheet Graham Womack put together. 3:50 John B: If you got to choose which of the latest rules you would keep/toss/modify what would you say about: 3 batter rule, replay, mound visits, sticky stuff pat downs, running into catcher, running into second baseman, 7 inning DH, extra innings man on second, the designated hitter 3:51 Jay Jaffe: Toss the 3-batter rule as it’s not having the intended effect, kill the extra innings and 7-inning doubleheader rules with fire, modify replay to get rid of the millisecond loss-of-contact stuff, make check swings checkable (1 challenge per game), bring on the universal DH. 3:53 Ben: Who is more Hall of Fame likely between Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez? They are the same age and thanks to a younger start Machado is well ahead in bWAR (they are closer in fWAR), but in each of the past 5 seasons Ramirez has been better. Also, will voters hold the Pedroia slide against Manny? 3:54 Jay Jaffe: probably still Manny given the bWAR gap and the fact that he’s on a team willing to spend towards winning. I think the narrative about him is already starting to change — he’s already emerging as an elder statesman/mentor in SD — and the Pedroia thing will probably be a footnote as far as many voters are concerned. 3:55 Mike Ortman: Early Days committee. Do you think they will just vote in one person every decade for the rest of all time? Or will they eventually just recategorize the eras when the well dries up of players from those Casey at the Bat days? 3:55 Jay Jaffe: I think we’ll see multiple honorees and wouldn’t be surprised if the Hall moves to a new format after this 10 (or actually 11) year cycle is up following the 2027 election. 3:55 Cynthia: Is injury prevention the next major frontier for baseball’s information transformation? That cost in terms of money and talent seems very high–both in terms of DL time and nagging injuries that don’t require DL but add up over a long season and sap performance. 3:56 Jay Jaffe: yes but we’ve been saying that since like 2003 when Pitcher Abuse Points were a thing. 3:57 Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, I’m out of time here. Thanks for all the great questions today! No Friday chat from me next week as I’ll be playing hooky to celebrate my wife’s birthday, but I might get involved in one of our World Series chats or ‘casts. Stay safe!