Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 2/18/22

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Hey folks, good afternoon and welcome to my chat! I’m running a few minutes behind here as lunch just arrived and I had a home appliance situation to tend to . Gonna need 5-10 minutes to get settled

2:02
Avatar Jay Jaffe: your patience is appreciated

2:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: OK, I’m back

2:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My piece on the Juan Soto extension offer went up earlier today https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-nationals-350-million-extension-offer-….

2:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yesterday, we published my piece on S-JAWS and the dearth of Hall of Fame starting pitchers from recent decades https://blogs.fangraphs.com/cooperstown-notebook-the-incredible-shrink…

2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And earlier this week I had a look at the owners’ CBA offer from last Saturday https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-owners-latest-offer-gets-us-no-closer-…

2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Today is the 27th anniversary of my move from Providence to NYC, but as with that day — which also marked the death of the Replacements guitarist Bob Stinson (not to be confused with the 1970s catche) — I awoke to somber news. Dallas Good, the guitarist and singer for the Sadies, the world’s best country/bluegrass/surf/garage psych band, passed away at the age of 48 or 49. I’m spinning their albums as a backdrop to today’s chat.

2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: anyway, on with the show

2:10
Mark: What % of baseball fans realize that Juan Soto is worth substantially more than $350m?

2:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That’s a really good question. I’d imagine it’s pretty low. but it depends on what level of engagement you’re defining as a fan.

2:14
Avatar Jay Jaffe: 1%? 10%? 20%? I guess it depends where you draw the line

2:14
Jason: Why do people react so violently to baseball labor problems but not other sports? NHL lost half a season in 14 and the NBA lost a handful in 11. I didn’t see sports writers telling fans to stop watching those sports during that?

2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: probably because baseball still proclaims itself as the national pastime, and therefore there’s some (mistaken) sense that the players are therefore obligated to present it to us regardless of the circumstances

2:17
Avatar Jay Jaffe: “They’re playing a kids’ game! It’s as American as apple pie! Why are they striking? How come they hate America?”

2:18
Travis: Getting away from the current baseball landscape (or lack thereof) and looking forward to next year’s HoF ballot, who are some candidates that you’ll be considering/taking a closer look at for your ballot that you hadn’t in the past, now that there is a bit more breathing room?

2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: the big name coming for next year’s ballot is Carlos Beltrán, and while I fully support his candidacy on a statistical basis, I’m not yet sure how I will approach it knowing what I know about his place within the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scheme. From among the holdovers, I’m going to give a bit more thought to Mark Buehrle and Andy Pettitte in light of the work I’ve been doing on S-JAWS and starting pitchers in the Hall.

2:20
In There Like Fred Astaire’s Swimwear: Which of these 30-somethinghitters fresh off of a surprisingly good year do you think makes the HOF: Jose Altuve, Paul Goldschmidt, Sal Perez, Nelson Cruz, Freddie Freeman, or Joey Vottoe?

2:22
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Votto and maybe Freeman, and Goldschmidt. Maybe Altuve. Not Cruz given his PED suspension. Not Perez given his horrible OBPs and framing numbers.

2:24
DrT: Good Friday, Jay    Any possibility highly underrated [yet statistically supported] Kevin Brown gets in on the Today’s Game ERA ballot?  Not in Bonds, Clemens et are included this December, but what if they are not eg can they be voted on twice in same year?]  Thanks for all your great work on HOF

2:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think a logjam via which none of those guys are elected is most likely. I’ve come around to the idea of Brown being statistically worthy (more on him soon) but it’s easy to forget that he was named in the Mitchell Report, and that it’s still a rarity for a candidate who failed to poll 5% to even get on an Era Committee ballot, let alone one that’s going to be particularly crowded with managerial candidates as well.

2:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I also don’t think it’s a given yet that Bonds and Clemens will be on there, that it’s possible the Hall will throw a rules change into the mix; they’ve put their thumbs on the scale regarding these guys in the past, though you’d think they’d have acted by now on this given that the 2020 Era Committee postponement made this back-to-back situation into a likelihood.

2:27
RH: Missoula’s ballpark is 287 down the right field line and 304 down the left field line and it’s at altitude. If Joey Gallo joins the Paddleheads during the lockout how many homers can he get?

2:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Might i suggest you pitch this one to Mike Petriello sometime? He’s got the Statcast data where he could do a better job of it than I could. I’ll just say “bajillion” and you’re free to take the over or under as you see fit.

2:28
Juan Uribe Lifer: Friend of mine (@ydoright on twitter for anyone interested) created a database of estimated statcast stats for minor leaguers using MLB correlations between counting stats (ISO, SLG, FB%, etc.) and MLB statcast stats. Do you think there is practicality to this? Some of the R^2 values ran up into the .85-.9 range for barrel%, MaxEV, etc.

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: that could be interesting.

2:30
Jesse: With the Soto extention talks picking up, What do you think a contract for Vlad Jr look like? Would the Jays be worried about him breaking down earlier (Like Pujols or Miggy)? Plus if the Jays extend one of Bo or Vlad the other one would probably be upset no?

2:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: right now I think you’re looking in the $200-300 million range; he had a stellar 2021, obviously, but his track record of elite play is shorter than that of Soto, and the defense/DH/physical questions loom larger at the moment.

2:33
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As for how that will play out if they look at extending both Vladito and Bichette, I’d expect the former will be dealt with first, as he’s a Super Two who’s arb-eligible this year whereas the latter isn’t arb-eligible until next year.

2:34
Guest: I live in a town with a Double-A affiliate, I can walk to and see games very cheaply.  As a new fan of the sport, do you think it’d be more fun for me to adopt their major league affiliate (on the opposite coast) and follow/ root from a largely development perspective, or instead devote myself to the nearest MLB team, who are ~ 2.5 hours away and I’d be able to see live maybe once a year

2:37
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As a newcomer, you should be able to try both on for size to see if either of them fit. If you’re an East Coast person who stays up late to watch West Coast games, that’s helpful, but if it’s working the other way that could be tougher.

2:38
Tim: Hi jay. Do you think coaches will ever be on the Hall eligibility list?  Seems if they can put in umpires, they should also consider coaches. Crosetti Lau Mazzone?

2:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s pretty tough to define or effectively evaluate coaches so I am skeptical this ever becomes A Thing that includes full HOF membership. Might be more likely that we see a Frick/BBWAA Lifetime Achievement/O’Neil-type award dedicated to coaches, recognizing a few from different eras each year to catch up.

2:40
David: what is your best guess on how many games we have this year?

2:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: right now I’m going with 120 to 140. We’re going to lose at least a chunk of April.

2:41
Guest: Man first JT Earle now Dallas, the past couple years have not been good for the talented. I was lucky enough to see the Sadies play with JTE once and Jon Spencer another time.  So good.

2:42
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I never got to see the Sadies and Spencer together (or to see Earle). I did see the Sadies back Neko Case, Jon Langford, and Andre Williams, though — three great shows, all very different.

2:43
Devos: Have you ever been close to just not caring as much about the HOF? For me the Baines induction was like somewhere between comically nonsensical and just gross bias. As I age I find less effort to right these wrongs and just care less instead. Same with getting worked up about ASG, MVP votes, etc.

2:44
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not caring entirely? I’m certainly nowhere near that, but I kind of let go when it came to Bonds and Clemens this year. They were on my ballot, but with no expectation that they would make 75%, I didn’t spend an ounce of energy trying to change anybody’s mind.

2:45
Dick Allen is a Hall of Famer: I noticed that ZIPS’ career projection for Juan Soto has a lower OPS+ than Dick Allen! ended.  Soto is my favorite player to watch btw.

2:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Dick Allen was one of the elite hitters in major league history. It is a damn crime that he’s not in the Hall of Fame.

2:45
joe: Do you think the $/War framework often talked about makes sense?

2:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It’s a useful starting point when thinking about money and performance. It is not the be-all and end-all of evaluation, and it can be misused.

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: On the one hand, we talk about what Soto projects to do and what an appropriate contract would look like. On the other, we’re squeamish at the notion that WAR could be used to determine which players get pre-arb bonuses out of a pool — in part, at least, because we know that the metric is an estimate whose precision is open to question, particularly in areas such as defense. The idea that Soto might produce 50 WAR over the next decade and that teams should back up the Brinks truck if he hits free agency is one thing; the broad strokes tell us he’s an historically elite hitter. The idea that two players might be .1 WAR apart but one gets the bonus and the other doesn’t, because one defensive metric is favored over another, or some other very minor aspect causes that, I don’t think anybody who deals in WAR has the stomach for that.

2:51
Lars: Have any former players ever reached out to you for your personal take on their eligibility?

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Not seriously, no.

2:51
Jesse: As a newbie who is starting to get into baseball content creation (Great timing i know) what advice would you give them?

2:55
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Don’t refer to it as content, because that devalues it and designates it as disposable. If you’re writing, call it writing (analysis, journalism, history, whatever), if you’re doing video or podcasting, call it what it is.

As to how to catch a break in this landscape, I don’t f’ng know anymore, but the model by which I came up, blogging independently as a hobby, writing my way into a position where a career switch was possible, and taking a few more years to get to the point where it was truly viable — i don’t recommend that and don’t think one could even pull it off anymore.

2:55
Dick Allen is a Hall of Famer: Did you ever see Jon Spencer in Providence.  I saw Sh!thaus.

2:57
Avatar Jay Jaffe: oh wow. I never saw Shithaus but heard of their legend. The first time I saw Spencer was at Club Babyhead in June 1993, opening for Come. They… blew Come off the stage? Phenomenal show. I bought Extra Width the next day as did many of my friends.

2:59
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That is one unholy racket! [Update: My friend and FanGraphs reader Nick Stone unearthed a tape of Dig Dat Hole on the same site here. That band also featured Tod A, later of Cop Shoot Cop and Firewater, as well as Nick’s stepbrother, John Rose.]

2:59
Sirras: How, if at all, do you think Hall voters will account for the peculiarities of this era in terms of shortened season(s), games missed for illness, etc?

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As with the players who came up through the PED era and dealt with the strike, I think some of it will come down to a case-by-case basis. Missed milestones may count for something in hindsight (Baines very possibly getting to 3,000 hits if not for 1981 and ’94-95 was a big selling point for the Era Committee and I’d expect the same for McGriff and 500 homers). But I also think that some of it will be part of the coming reckoning with regards to starting pitching, the expectation of lower totals and comparatively shorter careers as we see the 250-inning workhorse model fall by the wayside.

3:03
GBS42: For Hall of Fame voting, a blank ballot would countt he denominator what percentagebut an unreturned ballot would not come correct?

3:04
Avatar Jay Jaffe: A blank ballot counts as part of the denominator, an unreturned one is an uncounted one.

3:04
Moe: I can never seem to find a satisfactory answer to the difference between command and control. Can you assist?

3:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The way it was always explained to me is that control is throwing strikes, command is throwing good strikes. It’s the difference between getting the ball to the plate and putting it in spots where the hitter can’t do the most damage.

3:05
Rocky Mountain High: What happens first, another player makes the HOF wearing a Rockies cap, or the Rockies move to another city?

3:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Todd Helton will be elected before his eligibility runs out and I don’t see the Rockies moving. Their ownership is utter trash, and the logistics of playing at altitude aren’t easy to surmount, but they have a great ballpark and are generally in the upper half in attendance.

3:08
Dick Allen is a Hall of Famer: Sh!thaus was like Neubauten wannabes (not a shot I love Neubauten) If I ever find the tape I bought at that show I’ll make you a copy

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I would love that!

3:08
Farhandrew Zaidman: (Ridiculous hypothetical incoming). The year is 2035. Mike Matheny just led the Royals to an unprecedented 4th straight world series appearance. Is that enough to elect him to the HOF and as a player/manager?

3:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: in this completely improbable universe, he would be elected as a manager.

3:08
Frankie: Do you think fewer catchers make the hall going forward, given the value placed on defense and a trend of a more even split of playing time?

3:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: We’ve got Mauer, Posey, and Molina on tap, maybe some overdue attention to Munson and Freehan — and then who knows what the hell happens if we get robot umps.

3:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: so i don’t see us getting fewer catchers in the near future. In the longer run, i don’t think anybody knows.

3:10
Appa Yip Yip: If you were taking BP in front of scouts do you think you’d manage to get a 20 power grade?

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: at age 52, with lousy eyesight, a bad right shoulder and a balky back? I would worry the scout would die laughing before assigning me a grade

3:11
Guest: Blues Explosion (!!) would blow just about everyone off the stage.  One of my go to videos is a performance on Australian TV show Recovery the last couple minutes are gold:

3:12
Avatar Jay Jaffe: If I’ve seen this I’ve forgotten about it!

3:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: And here’s a little taste of the Sadies. Dallas Good, the one who just passed, is on the microphone as well as guitar

3:14
Vermonty: Yankees will trade which if these: Voit, Sanchez, Hicks, Britton, Chapman?

3:18
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Britton had Tommy John surgery in September so I don’t see him getting traded unless it’s for bookkeeping purposes. Voit seems more likely to be dealt than Sanchez because there just isn’t much out there for catching. I don’t see Chapman getting traded, and Hicks not unless they come up with a legitimate center fielder.

3:18
section 34: Jay, all of the coverage of the CBA negotiations I have seen has not touched on the issue of competitive balance. Can you say how the current proposal on the table would affect competitive balance? This is an overlooked issue by many analysts but not by fans of teams that aren’t the big spenders. Thank you.

3:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: There’s talk of the two sides agreeing to a draft lottery but I don’t think much in the way of specifics has made it out there, so it’s tough to analyze. That seems to be the extent of anti-tanking measures that are in play. The league presents the CBT as being for the sake of competitive balance but <broad gesture at the last five years> that sure as hell doesn’t seem to have done anything to prevent tanking.

3:22
Evaszomjas: Why is Luis Aparicio in the Hall but Bert Campaneris is not?  Seems like their careers were pretty similar.

3:25
Avatar Jay Jaffe: they’re 22nd and 20th in JAWS, respectively. I think Aparicio got more attention as an early Latin American star and as the top base stealer of his time (he led the league in each of his first 9 seasons while stealing at an 81% clip) whereas Campy got kind of lost when it came to considering those star-studded A’s teams. He’s a bit low in JAWS for my tastes but it would hardly be an outrage if he were in.

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see myself as leading the Campy Marching and Chowder Society, to paraphrase Vin Scully.

3:26
Josie: What do you think the Yankees do at SS?

3:26
Avatar Jay Jaffe: is Bert Campaneris available?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: My hunch is that they’ll go for a stopgap and wait for Volpe, though it wouldn’t surprise me if they land Trevor Story and move him over once Volpe arrives

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think they’ll be players for Correa

3:28
Mike: Does the new proposed CBT make Cohen suddenly alter course and stop spending or does he start tweeting about it hoping to get his way?

3:31
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Let’s see where it ends up, but I I think he’s probably going to be stuck with the Mets being repeat offenders in 2022 and ’23. Roster Resource estimates them at $277M for this year and already at $191M for next year

3:31
BettsBellingerCaruso: Should MLB do a light “halftime show” kind of a thing for the World Series during the 7th inning stretch?

That tribute to LA during the SB Halftime Show was just so good as a millennial who grew up in LA

Jay Z & Alicia Keys doin “Empire State of Mind” in 2009 WS was really cool, I want to see something like that for every city in the WS (though I think only LA, NYC, Atlanta and maybe H-town can pull this kind of thing off)

3:32
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see it happening in mid-game. I was there for the Jay-Z/Keys thing, which was before Game 2 of the World Series (Pedro Martinez’s good start in that series), and that was cool; interrupting play with a 15-minute interlude would not be.

3:32
Farhandrew Zaidman: Trevor May recently on the Chris Rose Rotation described Juan Soto as having Tony Gwynn-type bat to ball skills with Albert Pujols-type production. If we were to fuse together Tony Gwynn and Albert Pujols, there’s an argument that the resultant player is the best hitter of all time, no?

3:34
Avatar Jay Jaffe: at the very least, you’d be talking Ruth/Bonds/Williams/Trout country.

3:34
Andrew: Hi Jay – to what degree do you think the sign-stealing stuff will be held against guys like Altuve and Correa as their careers are assessed (in HOF consideration, etc)? How much difference do you think it made on their actual production? Is it fair to say that the data (home/road splits, pre- and post-2017 numbers, etc) seem to indicate that the scheme had little impact on production? And while their scheme was overt and perhaps particularly egregious, everyone would acknowledge that they weren’t the only team using “technology” for sign-stealing, right? Taken together, what is a fair way to assess these guys? Thanks!

3:36
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think we’ll know at least a bit more about how they’ll be regarded when we see how Beltrán is handled. It may not be a factor for Altuve given that he’s said to have eschewed the system (though it’s still worth noting that he could have stood up for cutting it out instead of not going along with it). With Correa, well, he’s about to start writing the next chapter of his career in some city besides Houston, and I’m guessing that will weigh heavily

3:38
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As for the performance stuff, I don’t know that it had a huge difference based on the numbers but it certainly could have swung the outcome of the World Series, and so I think it’s much harder to give those guys particular credit for that accomplishment.

3:39
Old Professor: Love your chats, Jay, and your incredibly in-depth analyses of the HOF. Have to say I’m okay with losing a lot of April games. I have had Cubs season tickets since 2015 (how’s that for timing?), and now that they’re mediocre I was expecting having a hard time selling tickets to the numerous April games I wouldn’t be going to. Wrigley is often miserably cold, really well into May, due to a very chilly Lake Michigan just a few blocks away.

3:39
Avatar Jay Jaffe: April games at Yankee Stadium are an endurance test, too.

3:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: (and thank you for the kind words)

3:41
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: For the new AA fan, rooting for an out-of-market team means the ability to watch them on MLB.TV, which is huge. It’s really cool to look back at old scorebooks or pictures when you saw big leaguers in the minors. And following players also means cheering for people instead of laundry, which is also nice.

3:42
WinTwins0410: Jay, on the 1994 BBWAA ballot, Vida Blue (who I think everyone agrees is pretty clearly not a Hall of Famer) got 3.1% of the vote but was not five-percented off.  He wound up the following year on the BBWAA’s 1995 ballot (where he got 5.7%, so above 5%) and then he weirdly disappeared from writers’ ballots after that even though he got over 5% in 1995.  Were you aware of this weird quirk of the BBWAA’s vote?  And either way, Vida has given multiple interviews in recent years suggesting that the drug scandals are impeding his path to the Hall (https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/08/17/vida-blue-cocaine-hal…).  Do you think that’s even remotely the case?  (I don’t.)  I’d love your take on why you think he got so little BBWAA support.

3:46
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I’m not sure what happened with Blue on the 1994 ballot, TBH. Will have to look into that. As for his drug rap impeding his path, color me skeptical. He landed on the ballot in an era where Hall of Fame voters were electing only pitchers with 300 wins in the 20 years between the elections of Fergie Jenkins in 1991 and Bert Blyelven in 2011. Between that, his modest 108 ERA+ and 45.1 WAR, I don’t see a very strong case

3:46
DrT: Re- K. Brown, D. Allen   Why isn’t Lou Whitaker in the HOF??

3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Because the voters who 5%’d him were idiots, and because he had no single signature skill that made him stand out; he was merely a very damn good and consistent all-around player for a very long time

3:48
cpins: Do owners owe players pay for missed games under a lockout? I know they do not if it were a strike.

3:48
Avatar Jay Jaffe: no, I don’t think so.

3:48
cpins: Jon Langford! Mekons rule – let me on stage to sing off key though I’m pretty sure the sound guy slid the fader to zero on my mic!

3:49
Avatar Jay Jaffe: whoa! wow, that’s awesome. I have a bunch of Langford’s paintings in addition to just about a complete collection of his albums

3:50
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

Happy birthday, Dolly Parton!

(painting by ⁦@TheMekons⁩’ Jon Langford)

19 Jan 2022
3:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: and this seems an appropriate non-baseball note to end things, Langford’s painting of the band for their Pure Diamond Gold album:

3:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe:

3:53
WinTwins0410: Related to Vida Blue’s complaints, I have a question about Omar Vizquel.  Do you see a scenario where his BBWAA vote totals *don’t* fall below 5% but the Hall pulls Vizquel from the ballot anyhow, just due to his bad behavior?  I don’t think there’s a precedent for that (and I don’t think that’s what the Hall did to Vida), but….could you see the Hall stepping in and concluding that Omar’s behavior was so awful (maybe after a ban from baseball) that they just yank him from the ballot before his 10 years are up?

3:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t see that happening.

3:54
Avatar Jay Jaffe: anyway, I’m out of time, thanks for stopping by this week! We’ll do this again soon. In the meantime, stay safe.





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... and Mastodon @jay_jaffe.

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jfschillmember
11 months ago

So what would happen if the owners simply ended the lockout, say on Feb. 28 with no deal in place?

Greg Simonsmember
11 months ago
Reply to  jfschill

I think it means games would start, there’s no CBT, and the players could strike at any time. In other words, this won’t happen.